Morshead, Henry Anderson (DNB00)

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MORSHEAD, HENRY ANDERSON (1774?–1831), colonel royal engineers, born about 1774, was the son of Colonel Henry Anderson of Fox Hall, co. Limerick. He entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich on 29 May 1790, and received a commission as second lieutenant in the royal artillery on 18 Sept. 1792. He served in the campaigns on the continent under the Duke of York in 1793-4, and was present at the action of Famars 23 May 1793, at the siege of Valenciennes in June and July, the siege of Dunkirk in August and September, and the battle of Hondschoote 8 Sept. He gained the esteem of his commanding officers, and in acknowledgment of his services was transferred, at his own request, to the corps of royal engineers on 1 Jan. 1794. He took part in the siege of Landrecies in April 1794, affair near Tournay on 23 May, and siege of Nimeguen in November. On his return to England he was sent, in June 1795, to Plymouth. He was promoted first lieutenant on 19 Nov. 1796, and in May 1797 he embarked with two companies of royal military artificers for St. Domingo, West Indies. On the evacuation of that island in 1798 he was attached to the staff of Sir Thomas Maitland [q. v.], who was his warm friend through life. When he returned to England in November 1798 he was employed in the Thames division, and stationed at Gravesend. He was promoted captain-lieutenant 18 April 1801, and was sent to Portsmouth, and subsequently to Plymouth. He was promoted captain 1 March 1805, and in that year he assumed by royal license the surname of Morshead in addition to that of Anderson.

In July 1807 he was sent to Dublin, and three months later was appointed commanding royal engineer of the expedition, under Brigadier-general Beresford, which sailed from Cork early in 1808, and in February took possession of Madeira. He remained in Madeira until 1812, and on his return to England in November of that year was posted to the Plymouth division. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel 21 July 1813, and sent to Dublin; was appointed commanding royal engineer in North Britain (March 1814), and in July 1815 was transferred as commanding royal engineer of the western district to Plymouth, where he remained for many years, and carried out important works for the ordnance and naval services in consultation with the Duke of Wellington and Lord Melville. On 29 July 1825 he was promoted colonel.

In 1829 he was appointed commanding royal engineer at Malta, and died at Valetta on 11 Nov. 1831, while acting governor. He was honoured with a public funeral, and was buried in the old saluting battery overlooking the grand harbour. He married in 1800 Elizabeth, only daughter of P. Morshead, esq., of Widey Court, Plymouth, Devonshire, by whom he had eleven children. A man of frank and engaging manners, a good conversationalist, and a clear writer, he was fond of society, and exercised a genial hospitality. There is a bust in the royal engineers' office in Valetta, Malta.

The following plans by Morshead are in the war office: 1. Edinburgh Castle, two plans, 1814 and 1815. 2. Whiteforland Point and Defences, two plans, 1814. 3. Leith Fort and Breakwater, 1815. 4. Plymouth, Survey and Drawings of various parts of the Defences, Piers, and Ordnance and Naval Buildings, nineteen drawings, 1815-26. 5. Plan of Plymouth Sound, showing intended breakwater and the soundings, with an original pencil sketch by Mr. Rennie of the lighthouse, 1816. 6. Plymouth Citadel, 1820. 7. Devonport Lines, 1820. 8. Scilly Islands, St. Mary's, Plan of the Defences, 1820. 9. St. Nicholas Island, Plymouth, 1820. 10. Pendennis Castle, Falmouth, 1821. 11. Pendennis Castle, and Falmouth Harbour, two plans, 1828-9. 12. St. Mawes Castle, Falmouth, 1829.

[Royal Engineers' Records; War Office and Board of Ordnance Records; United Service Journal.]

R. H. V.