1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Burgoyne, Sir John Fox

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BURGOYNE, SIR JOHN FOX, Bart. (1782-1871), British field marshal, was an illegitimate son of General John Burgoyne (q.v.). He was educated at Eton and Woolwich, obtained his commission in 1798, and served in 1800 in the Mediterranean. In 1805, when serving on the staff of General Fox in Sicily, he was promoted second captain. He accompanied the unfortunate Egyptian expedition of 1807, and was with Sir John Moore in Sweden in 1808 and in Portugal in 1808-9. In the Corunna campaign Burgoyne held the very responsible position of chief of engineers with the rear-guard of the British army (see PENINSULAR WAR). He was with Wellesley at the Douro in 1809, and was promoted captain in the same year, after which he was engaged in the construction of the lines of Torres Vedras in 1810. He blew up Fort Concepcion on the river Turones, and was present at Busaco and Torres Vedras. In 1811 he was employed in the unsuccessful siege of Badajoz, and in 1812 he won successively the brevets of major and lieutenant-colonel, for his skilful performance of engineer duties at the historic sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. He was present in the same year (1812) at the siege and battle of Salamanca, and after the battle of Vittoria in 1813 he became commanding engineer on Lord Wellington's staff. At the close of the war he received the C.B., a reward which, he justly considered, was not commensurate with his services. In 1814-1815 he served at New Orleans and Mobile. Burgoyne was largely employed, during the long peace which followed Waterloo, in other public duties as well as military work. He sat on numerous commissions, and served for fifteen years as chairman of the Irish board of public works. He became a major-general and K.C.B. in 1838, and inspector-general of fortifications in 1845. In 1851 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and in the following year received the G.C.B. When the Crimean War broke out he accompanied Lord Raglan's headquarters to the East, superintended the disembarkation at Old Fort, and was in effect the principal engineer adviser to the English commander during the first part of the siege of Sevastopol. He was recalled early in 1855, and though he was at first bitterly criticized by the public for his part in the earlier and unsuccessful operations against the fortress the wisdom of his advice was ultimately recognized. In 1856 he was created a baronet, and promoted to the full rank of general. In 1858 he was present at the second funeral of Napoleon I. as Queen Victoria's representative, and in 1865 he was made constable of the Tower of London. Three years later, on resigning his post as inspector-general of fortifications, he was made a field marshal. Parliament granted him, at the same time, a pension of £1500. He died on the 7th of October 1871, a year after the tragic death of his only son, Captain Hugh Talbot Burgoyne, V.C. (1833-1870), who was in command of H.M.S. "Captain" when that vessel went down in the Bay of Biscay (September 7, 1870).

See[edit]

  • Life and Correspondence of F.M. Sir John Fox Burgoyne (edited by Lt.-Col. Hon. G. Wrottesley, R.E., London, 1873).
  • Sir Francis Head, A Sketch of the Life and Death of F.M. Sir John Burgoyne (London, 1872).
  • Military Opinions of General Sir John Burgoyne (ed. Wrottesley, London, 1859), a collection of the most important of Burgoyne's contributions to military literature.