CORTLANDT, HENRY CHARLES VAN (1814-1888), son of Colonel Henry Clinton Van Cortlandt of the British army, by an Indian wife, was born at Meerut in 1814, and was educated in England. In 1832, he returned to India and joined Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh's army on a monthly salary of Rs 250, subsequently raised to Rs 800, with a monthly stipend of Rs 800 for his wife. Cortlandt participated in various campaigns including the battle of Jamrūd in which the famous general, Harī Siṅgh Nalvā, was killed. During the reign of Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh, Cortlandt's command was increased to two regiments and he was posted to Hazārā. He was recalled to Lahore upon the murder of Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh and his son, Partāp Siṅgh. While on leave in India in January 1845, he openly joined the British. During the first Anglo-Sikh war, he was sent to Fīrozpur as political agent in which capacity he witnessed the battles of Ferozeshāh and Sabhrāoṅ. On the conclusion of the war, he was reinstated in the Sikh army, promoted a general and made governor of Ḍerā Ismāīl Khān. In 1846, General Cortlandt accompanied the British, with the Sikh force under his command, to Kashmīr to quell the revolt instigated by Wazīr Lāl Siṅgh. During the Multān uprising (1848), he openly supported Lieut Herbert Edwardes. Similar was his role in the second Anglo-Sikh war. After the annexation of the Punjab, he was transferred to the British service as a civilian. He was made a companion of the Bath for his services in the 1857 uprising. Cortlandt retired in March 1868 and proceeded to London where he died in 1888.


  1. Grey, C. , European Adventurers of Northern India, 1785-1849. Patiala, 1970
  2. Gulcharan Singh, Ranjit Singh and His Generals. Jalandhar, n. d.
  3. Ganda Singh, Private Correspondence Relating to the Anglo-Sikh Wars. Amritsar, 1955

Gulcharan Siṅgh