Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Barnard, Henry William

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BARNARD, Sir HENRY WILLIAM, (1799–1857), lieutenant-general, son of the Rev. William Barnard of Water Stratford, Bucks, and great-grandson of William Barnard, bishop of Derry [q. v.], was born at Wedbury, Oxfordshire, in 1799. He was educated at Westminster and Sandhurst, and obtained a commission in the grenadier guards in 1814. He served on the staff of his uncle, Sir Andrew Francis Barnard [q. v.] during the occupation of Paris, and afterwards on that of Sir John Keane in Jamaica. Later he was with his battalion in Canada, and filled various staff appointments at home. A newly made major-general, Barnard landed in the Crimea in 1854, in command of a brigade of the 3rd, or Sir Richard England's, division of the army, with which he was present during the winter of 1854–5. When General Simpson succeeded to the chief command on the death of Lord Raglan, Barnard became his chief of the staff, a position he held at the fall of Sevastopol in September 1855. Afterwards he commanded the 2nd division of the army in the Crimea. After brief periods of command at Corfu, Dover, and Shorncliffe, Barnard was appointed to the staff in Bengal, and reached Umballa, to take over the Sirhind division, towards the end of April 1857, when rumours of impending mischief were gathering fast. On 10 May occurred the outbreaks at Meerut and Delhi, the vague tidings of which reaching Umballa were at once sent on by Barnard, and gave the first warning of actual revolt to the commander-in-chief, General Anson, then at Simla. Upon Anson's death at Kurnaul a fortnight later, Barnard received in charge the scanty force available for the movement against Delhi, and at its head he struck a heavy blow at the mutineers, at Budlee-ke-Serai, on 8 June following, taking up his position on the ridge commanding the north-west front of the city of Delhi the same evening. The value of this victory, as the historian Kaye has truly said, was not to be measured by returns of killed and wounded or captured ordnance. ‘It gave us an admirable base of operations—a commanding military position—open in the rear to the lines along which thenceforth our reinforcements and supplies and all that we looked for to aid us in the coming struggle were to be brought. And, great as this gain was to us in a military sense, the moral effect was scarcely less; for behind the ridge lay the old cantonments, from which a month before the British had fled for their lives. On the parade-ground the British head-quarters were now encamped, and the familiar flag of the Feringhees was again to be seen from the houses of the imperial city.’ Four weeks of desultory and unprofitable fighting followed, the strength of the mutineers in the city—strangely under-estimated in most other quarters at the time—being to Barnard's force as six to one in men and four to one in guns. And then, like his predecessor Anson, Barnard was stricken down at his post by the pestilence that was among the British ranks. He died of cholera on 5 July 1857, eleven weeks before the fall of the city, leaving behind him the name of an officer, skilful, if little versed in Indian warfare, and a brave and chivalrous gentleman.

[Army Lists; London Gazettes, 1854–56; Kaye's Hist. of Sepoy Mutiny, vol. ii.; also Sir H. Norman's estimates of strength of mutineers at Delhi in Hist. Record the King's, Liverpool Regiment (1883), pp. 106–7 and 113.]

H. M. C.