Napier, Field Marshal Robert C., 1st Baron Napier of Magdala

British Soldier in India, Afghanistan, China & Ethiopia, Commanded Army In India, Governor of Gibraltar

Price: $150.00

Description:
(1810-1890) British soldier, born in Ceylon, son of an officer. He was educated at Addiscombe Military Academy then joined the Bengal Engineers, arriving in India in 1828. In Dec. 1845 he joined the Army of the Sutlej and commanded the Bengal Engineers at the Battle of Mudki. He was severely wounded at Ferozeshah in 1845 and also fought at Sobraon in 1846 and in the advance on Lahor and received a brevet majority. In May 1846 he was chief engineer at the reduction of Kote Kangra in the Punjab. In 1848 he directed the siege of Multan, was wounded in the attack, but was present at its successful storming in 1849 and the surrender of the fortress of Chiniot. Joining Sir Hugh Gough, Napier took part in the battle of Gujrat in Feb. 1849, accompanied Sir Walter Gilbert as he pursued the Sikhs, and was present at the passage of the Jhelum, and the surrender of the Sikh army. For his services he received a brevet lieutenant-colonelcy. In Dec. 1852 Napier commanded a column in the 1st Hazara expedition, and in 1853 against the Baris on the North-West frontier and received a brevet-colonelcy. Napier was appointed military secretary and adjutant general to Sir James Outram, whose forces took part in actions leading to the first relief of Lucknow in 1857. He then took charge of Lucknow's defense until the second relief, when he was badly wounded. After the fall of Lucknow, Napier was made CB and joined Sir Hugh Rose as second-in-command in the march on Gwalior, and commanded the 2nd Brigade at Morar in 1858. After Gwalior fell, he and his 700 men pursued, caught and completely defeated Tantya Tope and 12,000 men on the plains of Jaora Alipur. After Rose's departure, Napier assumed command of the Gwalior division. He captured Paori in August, routed Prince Ferozeshah at Ranode in December, and in January 1859 secured the surrender of Man Singh and Tatya Tope, ending the war. For his services Napier received the thanks of Parliament and of the Indian government, and was made GCB. In Jan. 1860 during the 2nd Anglo-Chinese War, he assumed command of the 2nd division of the force under Sir James Hope Grant. Napier took part in the action at Sinho, the storming of the Taku (Peiho) Forts, and the entry to Peking. For his services he received the thanks of Parliament, and was promoted major general for distinguished service. He was a military member of the Governor-General of India's council until 1865, acting for a short while as Governor-General after the sudden death of Lord Elgin. In January 1865 he assumed command of the Bombay Army. In March 1867 he received promotion to lieutenant general and later that year took command of the punitive expedition to Abyssinia. He achieved his greatest fame when he led the 1868 expedition against Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia, who was holding a number of Protestant missionaries hostage, as well as 2 British diplomats who had unsuccessfully attempted to free them, in his mountain capital of Magdala. After months of planning and preparations, the advance guard of engineers landed at Zula on the Red Sea to construct a port. Napier arrived in Zula on 2 Jan. 1868, and on 25 Jan. led his troops south in the Ethiopian highlands, crossing 400 miles of mountainous terrain lacking roads or bridges occupied by hostile local people. Napier's troops defeated the 9,000 troops under Tewodros at the Battle of Magdala on April 10 with the loss of only 2 British lives. Emperor Tewodros surrendered his hostages but Napier ordered an assault on the mountain redoubt 13 April. The British captured Magdala, and Emperor Tewodros took his own life. Napier ordered the destruction of Tewodros' artillery and the burning of Magdala. After the Ethiopian campaign, The Royal Society of London inducted him as a member in 1869. He received a parliamentary pension, was made Grand Commander of the Order of the Bath, a Freeman of the City of London, and given a hereditary peerage, Baron Napier of Magdala. Napier was Commander-in-Chief in India 1870–76, promoted to general in 1874, and was Governor of Gibraltar 1876-83. In 1883 Napier was promoted to Field Marshal, and in 1887 appointed Constable of the Tower of London. He died in London on 14 January 1890, receiving a state funeral and being buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. In 1883, the British government installed an Armstrong 100-ton gun in a battery in Gibraltar that they named the Napier of Magdala Battery. A statue of Napier on horseback is located on Kensington Road, Queen's Gate, London. 7 ¼ x 4 ½ ALS “Napier of Magdala” while Governor of Gibraltar, 3-½ pp (folded sheet), np 9Gibraltar?), August 17 1879, to “Miller”, apparently an office seeker. Miller apparently sought some recognition of his services and Lord Napier responds that “the matter was the subject of anxious consideration and exigency and had it appeared to me that there was any chance of success I should have acted but I was assured that there would be no chance of success at the present time.” Lord Napier apologizes for not responding sooner but he has been very much occupied and unable to attend to any private causes. Handwriting can be difficult to decipher!

Condition: Very good
Type:Letter






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