Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Boxer, Edward

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BOXER, EDWARD (1784–1855), rear-admiral, entered the navy in 1798, and after eight years' junior service, for the most part with Captain (afterwards Sir) Charles Brisbane, and for some short time in the Ocean, bearing Lord Collingwood's flag, was confirmed, 8 June 1807, as lieutenant of the Tigre with Captain Benjamin Hallo well (afterwards Carew), whom, on promotion to flag rank in October 1811, he followed to the Malta, and continued, with short intermissions, under Rear-admiral Hallowell's immediate command, until he was confirmed as commander on 1 March 1815. In 1822 he commanded the Sparrowhawk (18) on the Halifax station, and was posted out of her on 23 June 1823. From 1827 to 1830 he commanded the Hussar as flag-captain to Sir Charles Ogle at Halifax. In August 1837 he was appointed to the Pique, which he commanded on the North American and West Indian stations; and early in 1840 was sent to the Mediterranean, where he conducted the survey of the position afterwards occupied by the fleet off Acre, and took part in the bombardment and reduction of that place in November. For his services at that time he received the Turkish gold medal, and was made C.B. 18 Dec. 1840. In August 1843 he was appointed harbour-master at Quebec, and held that office till his promotion to flag-rank, 5 March 1853. In December 1854 he was appointed second in command in the Mediterranean, and undertook the special duties of superintendent at Balaklava, which the crowd of shipping, the narrow limits of the harbour, and the utter want of wharves or of roads had reduced to a state of disastrous confusion. This, and more especially the six-mile sea of mud between the harbour and the camp, gave rise to terrible suffering and loss, the blame for which was all laid on the head of the admiral-superintendent at Balaklava, so that even now Admiral Boxer's name is not uncommonly associated with the memory of that deadly Crimean winter. But in truth it ought to be remembered rather as that of the man who, at the cost of his life, remedied the evils which had given rise to such loss. He died of cholera on board the Jason, just outside the harbour, on 4 June 1855, and Lord Raglan in reporting his death said: 'Since he undertook the appointment of admiral-superintendent of the harbour of Balaklava he has applied himself incessantly to the discharge of his arduous duties, exposing himself in all weathers; and he has rendered a most essential service to the army by improving the landing-places and establishing wharves on the west side of the port, whereby the disembarkation of stores and troops has been greatly accelerated, and communications with the shore have been rendered much easier.' He had been a widower for nearly thirty years, but left a numerous family.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. (1855), N.S. xliv. 95.]

J. K. L.