General Gerard Lake: Commander-in-Chief of India (1801 –1805)
General Gerard Lake was a British general. He commanded British forces during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and later served as Commander-in-Chief of the military in British India.
In 1799, Lake returned from Ireland to England, and soon afterwards travelled to British India where he was appointed Commander-in-Chief. He took up his duties at Calcutta in July 1801, and applied himself to the improvement of the East India Company army, especially in the direction of making all arms, infantry, cavalry and artillery, more mobile and more manageable. In 1802 he was made a full general.
On the outbreak the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1803 General Lake took the field against Daulat Scindia, and within two months defeated the Marathas at Kol (now called Aligarh), after storming Aligarh Fort during the Battle of Ally Ghur (1 September 1803). He then took Delhi and Agra, and won a victory at the Battle of Laswari (1 November), where the power of Scindia was completely broken with the loss of 31 disciplined battalions, trained and officered by Frenchmen, and 426 pieces of ordnance. This defeat, followed a few days later by Major-General Arthur Wellesley’s victory at the Battle of Argaon, compelled Scindia to come to terms, and a treaty was signed in December 1803.
Operations continued against Yashwantrao Holkar, who, on 17 November 1804, was defeated by Lake at the Battle of Farrukhabad. However, Lake was frustrated by Jats and Yashwantrao Holker at Bharatpur which held out against five assaults early in 1805.Cornwallis succeeded Lord Wellesley as Governor-General of India in July of that year – superseding Lake at the same time as commander-in-chief – and determined to put an end to the war. Cornwallis, however, died in October of the same year and Lake pursued Holkar into the Punjab. However, after seeing the stronger position of Holkar and his effort to gather all Indian princes under one flag against the British, the British East India Company signed a peace treaty with Holkar which returned to him all his territory and promised no further interference from the Company.