Asgill, Charles

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Asgill, Charles

ASGILL, CHARLES. (1763–1823). British officer in the Huddy-Asgill affair. The only son of Sir Charles Asgill, first baronet and self-made banker, he became an ensign in the First Foot Guards on 27 February 1778. He became a lieutenant in the same regiment with the army rank of captain on 3 February 1781. Subsequently sent to America, Asgill was taken prisoner at Yorktown in October. On 3 May 1782 Washington ordered Moses Hanzen to choose by lot a British captain for execution if Richard Lippincott, Captain Joshua Huddy's executioner, was not put to death. A British court-martial acquitted Lippincott on the ground that he was obeying the orders of the Board of Associated Loyalists; but when Clinton sent Washington the proceedings and his strongly worded disavowal of the execution of Huddy, Washington was partly mollified. However, Asgill was not finally released until his mother appealed to the French foreign minister, the comte de Vergennes, who—at the request of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette—approached Washington. Washington then passed the French request to Congress, which on 7 November 1782 passed an act authorizing Asgill's release. He was then returned to Britain on parole.

Asgill succeeded to his father's baronetcy on 15 September 1788. After the outbreak of war in 1793, he served in Flanders and Ireland and in staff posts before reaching the rank of full general on 4 June 1814.

SEE ALSO Huddy-Asgill Affair.


Van Doren, Carl. Secret History of the American Revolution: An Account of the Conspiracies of Benedict Arnold and Numerous Others. New York: Viking, 1941.

                            revised by John Oliphant