General Sir William Fenwick Williams, 1st Baronet GCB (4 December 1800 – 26 July 1883) was a British military leader of the Victorian era.
He was born in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, the second son of Commissary-General Thomas Williams, barrack-master at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Through the interest of the Duke of Kent he was educated at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. He entered the Royal Artillery as second lieutenant in 1825. His services were lent to Turkey in 1841, and he was employed as a captain in the arsenal at Constantinople. He was British commissioner in the conferences preceding the treaty of Erzerum in 1847, and again in the settlement of the Turko-Persian boundary in 1848 (brevet majority and lieutenant-colonelcy and CB).
Promoted colonel, he was British commissioner with the Turkish army in Anatolia in the Russian War of 1854–56, and, having been made a pasha (general/governor/lord) with the degree of ferik (major-general), he practically commanded the Turks during the heroic defence of Kars, repulsing several Russian attacks and severely defeating the Russian general Muraviev in the siege of Kars (not to be confused with the Battle of Kars) on 29 September 1855. Cold, cholera, famine and hopelessness of succour from without, however, compelled Williams to make an honourable capitulation on 28 November following.
A baronetcy with pension for life, the KCB, the grand cross of the Legion of Honour and of the Turkish Medjidie, the freedom of the City of London with a sword of honour, and the honorary degree of DCL of Oxford University, were the distinctions conferred upon him for his valour.
Promoted major-general in November 1855 on his return from captivity in Russia, he held the Woolwich command, and represented the borough of Calne in parliament from 1856 to 1859.
From 1859 to 1864 he held the position of Commander in Chief, North America, and was responsible for preparations for war with the United States in the case that relations broke down. The most severe strain in relations occurring during the Trent Affair.
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