Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Chapman, Frederick Edward

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CHAPMAN, Sir FREDERICK EDWARD (1815–1893), general, only son of Richard Chapman of Gatchell, near Taunton, and nephew of Sir Stephen Remnant Chapman [q. v.], was born in Demerara, British Guiana, on 16 Aug. 1815. After passing through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich he received a commission as second lieutenant in the royal engineers on 18 June 1835. He became brevet colonel 2 Nov. 1855, regimental lieutenant-colonel 1 April 1859, major-general 7 Sept. 1867, lieutenant-general and colonel-commandant royal engineers 12 April 1872, general 1 Oct. 1877.

After the usual course of professional instruction at Chatham, and a few months' service at Portsmouth and Woolwich, Chapman went to the West Indies in November 1837, returning to England in February 1842. He spent a short time in the Dover command, and then was employed in the London military district until February 1846, when he went to Corfu. There he became first known to the Duke of Cambridge, who was commanding the troops in the Ionian Islands. He returned home in October 1851, and did duty at Chatham until the beginning of 1854.

On 13 Jan. 1854 Chapman was sent to the Dardanelles to report on the defences and to examine the peninsula between the Dardanelles and the Gulf of Saros. On the arrival of Sir John Fox Burgoyne [q. v.] at Gallipoli in the following month Chapman, by his direction, surveyed the line which Burgoyne considered suitable for an entrenched position to cover the passage of the Dardanelles. He was assisted by Lieutenant (afterwards lieutenant-general) C. B. Ewart and Lieutenant James Burke (afterwards killed on the Danube), and some French and Turkish officers. In spite of severe weather and deep snow Chapman executed the work rapidly, and Burgoyne took the survey with him to England to lay before the government. Chapman next examined and surveyed the position of Buyuk Tchekmedjie, with a view to cover Constantinople by a line of defence works running from sea to sea in the event of the advance of the Russians.

On the declaration of war Chapman was attached to the first division, commanded by the Duke of Cambridge, as senior engineer officer, with Captain Montagu's company of royal sappers and miners under his orders. He did duty with this division while in Turkey, and also for some time in the Crimea. He took part in the battle of the Alma on 20 Sept., and was mentioned in despatches of 28 Sept. 1854. In October he was appointed to the command, as director, of the left British attack at the siege of Sebastopol, and continued in this post until 22 March 1855, when Major (afterwards Major-general Sir) John William Gordon [q. v.], the director of the right British attack, being severely wounded. Chapman became executive engineer for the whole siege operations under Sir Harry David Jones [q. v.] Chapman was present at the battle of Inkerman on 5 Nov., and distinguished himself throughout the siege operations, especially in the attack on the Redan on 18 June 1855 and in the assault of 8 Sept. He was mentioned in despatches of 11 Nov. 1854, 23 June and 9 Sept. 1855. He returned home in November; was made a companion of the order of the Bath, military division, on 5 July 1855, an officer of the French legion of honour, and received the Crimean medal with three clasps, the Sardinian and Turkish medals, and the third class of the Turkish order of the Medjidie. He was also awarded a pension for distinguished service on 23 Nov. 1858.

On 8 April 1856 Chapman was appointed commanding royal engineer of the London military district, from which in September 1857 he was transferred in a similar capacity to Aldershot. From 1 Sept. 1860 he was deputy adjutant-general of royal engineers at the Horse Guards for five years. On 1 Jan. 1866 he went to Dover as commanding royal engineer of the south-eastern military district. On 9 May, while at Dover, he was appointed a member of the commission to inquire into recruiting for the army. He was promoted K.C.B. on 13 March 1867. On 8 April he was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the Bermudas. On 1 July 1870 he resigned this government to accept the appointment of inspector-general of fortifications and director of works at the war office. During the five years he held this post the works under the fortification loan for the defence of the dockyards were in full swing; a large amount of barrack construction and alteration was in hand in connection with the localisation of the forces, of the committee on which he was appointed president on 2 Sept. 1872.

On 2 June 1877 Chapman was promoted G.C.B.; on 21 Feb. 1878 he was sent on a special mission to Rome. He retired from active service on 1 July 1881. He died at his residence in Belgrave Mansions, Grosvenor Gardens, London, on 13 June 1893, and was buried on the 17th in Kingston churchyard, near Taunton, Somerset. Chapman was twice married: first, on 17 Jan. 1846, to Ann Weston (d. 30 Dec. 1879), eldest daughter of William Cox of Cheshunt and Oxford Terrace, London; and, secondly, on 23 May 1889, to Matilda Sara (who survived him), daughter of Benjamin Wood of Long Newnton, Wiltshire, and widow of John Rapp, consul-general in London for Switzerland.

[War Office Records; Royal Engineers' Records; Desipatches; Obituary notices in the Times of 1.5 June 1893 and in the Royal Engineers Journal of July 1893; Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea; Knightages.]

R. H. V.