Joseph Muter

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Sir Joseph Muter CB KCH (1777 – 23 October 1840) was a British Army officer who fought in the Peninsular War at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.

Early life and career

Born the youngest son of William Muter of Annfield, Fifeshire in and Janet, née Stratton of Kirkside in Kincardineshire,[1] he was educated at the University of Edinburgh where his classmates included James Abercromby, later Speaker of the House of Commons.[2][3]

Muter joined the British Army as a cornet in the 2nd Dragoon Guards in December 1794.[1] On 5 September 1801 he was promoted from captain to major by purchase in the 13th Light Dragoons.[4] then on 6 May 1808 he transferred in the same rank to the 23rd Light Dragoons.[5] He later saw service in the Peninsular War with the 13th Light Dragoons and was present at the battles of Campo Mayor, Albuera Usagre Arroyo de Molinos and Alba de Tormes.[1]


At the Battle of Waterloo and by then a Lieutenant-Colonel, Muter commanded the 6th Inniskilling (Irish) Regiment of Dragoons. During the battle, in response to the French Infantry assault on Wellington's left centre, the Union Brigade moved forward. Unobserved until late in their advance, they caught the French by surprise and took around 1,000 prisoners, despite the two British heavy cavalry brigades losing half their numbers at the hands of the French Lancers and Cuirassiers.[6]

Following the death of Major-General Sir William Ponsonby command of the 2nd Union Cavalry Brigade devolved upon Muter.[7]

At around 6pm, after La Haye Sainte farm had fallen to the French, Muter was struck by a musket ball in the right wrist. The injury quickly became infected with pieces of glove and pus oozing from the wound although he subsequently recovered without the need for amputation.[6]

Later life

After Waterloo he was awarded the Russian Order of St. Vladimir and served in Ireland in 1819. He was made a baronet and colonel of the 8th Light Dragoons on 24 August 1839 and Colonel of the 6th Inniskilling (Irish) Regiment of Dragoons on 30 April 1840.[1] Some time around 1816 he changed his surname to Straton after inheriting a property belonging to his aunt in Kirkside, 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Montrose in Scotland. Muter left a legacy of around £70,000 (about £6.2 million at 2015 values) to the University of Edinburgh.[7] He was later described as one of the greatest benefactors of the university.[3]


Muter died in London on 23 October 1840 at the age of 63 and is buried in the family plot in Nether Kirkyard, St Cyrus, near Montrose where there is monument with a dedication to him.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bromley & Bromley 2015, p. 111.
  2. ^ "Professor Dalziel's Class in 1791". Dundee Courier. 21 October 1864. Retrieved 4 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ a b "Lord Broughham and his Education in Edinburgh". London Evening Standard]. 6 November 1857. Retrieved 4 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "War Office Sept. 5". Morning Post. 7 September 1801. Retrieved 4 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "From the London Gazette". Belfast Commercial Chronicle. 14 May 1808. Retrieved 4 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ a b "Letter describing Waterloo by Colonel Joseph Muter". 200 Objects of Waterloo, National Army Museum. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Dalton 1904, p. 62.
  • Bromley, Janet; Bromley, David (2015). Wellington's Men Remembered Volume 2: A Register of Memorials to Soldiers who Fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo- Volume II: M to Z. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-4738-5768-1. 
  • Dalton, Charles (1904). The Waterloo roll call. With biographical notes and anecdotes. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. 

External links

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