Edward Barnes (British Army officer)

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Lieutenant General
Sir Edward Barnes
Sir Edward Barnes by William Salter.jpg
5th Governor of British Ceylon
In office
18 January 1824 – 13 October 1831
Preceded by James Campbell
acting governor
Succeeded by John Wilson
acting governor
Acting Governor of British Ceylon
In office
1 February 1820 – 2 February 1822
Preceded by Robert Brownrigg
Succeeded by Edward Paget
12th General Officer Commanding, Ceylon
In office
1820 – ?
Preceded by Alexander Cosby Jackson
Succeeded by James Campbell
Personal details
Born 1776
Died 19 March 1838 (aged 61 or 62)
Spouse(s) Maria Fawkes (1798 - 1854)
Children Maria Anne (1825 - ?)
Richard Hawksworth (1831 - 1904)
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands General Officer Commanding, Ceylon
Indian Army
Battles/wars Peninsular War

Lieutenant General Sir Edward Barnes, GCB (1776 – 19 March 1838) was a British soldier who became governor of Ceylon.

Military career[edit]

Barnes joined the 47th Regiment of Foot in 1792, and quickly rose to field rank. He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1807, serving in the Invasion of Martinique in 1809, and colonel in 1810. Two years later, he served on Wellington's staff in the Peninsular War. His services in this capacity gained him further promotion; as a major-general, he led a brigade in the Battle of Vitoria and took part in the battles the Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive and Orthez.[1] He was awarded the Gold Cross and three clasps for his Peninsula service. Barnes served in the campaign of 1815 as adjutant-general, and was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo, where he was known as "our fire eating adjutant general".[1] Already a KCB, he was a recipient of the Austrian Order of Maria Theresa 3rd Class, and the Russian Order of St Anne. [2]

In 1819, his connection with Ceylon began. Lieutenant-General Barnes was acting governor of Ceylon from 1 February 1820 to 2 February 1822, succeeding Robert Brownrigg. He was governor of Ceylon from 18 January 1824 to 13 October 1831, succeeded by Robert Wilmot-Horton (1784–1841, governor 13 to 23 October 1831). He directed the construction of the great military road between Colombo and Kandy, and of many other lines of communication, made the first census of the population, and introduced coffee cultivation based on the West Indian system (1824). In 1831, he received the GCB. From 1832 to 1833, he was commander in-chief in India, with the local rank of general. [2]

On his return home, he was appointed in 1834 Colonel of the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot, a post he held until his death. The same year he stood for Parliament as Conservative candidate for Sudbury at a by-election. The votes between the two candidates were tied, and the returning officer gave Barnes his casting vote and declared him elected; however, his opponent petitioned against the outcome, denying that the returning officer had the right to a casting vote, and the issue had not been resolved before Parliament was dissolved. At the 1835 general election, Barnes was narrowly defeated, but he finally became MP for Sudbury at the third attempt in 1837;[3] however, he died in the following year.[2]

Along with Admiral William Bowles, Barnes was responsible for the establishment of the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall, London.[1]

Sir Edward Barnes' portrait was painted, for Ceylon, by John Wood, and a memorial statue was erected in Colombo in front of the President's House, Colombo from which point trunk road mileage was measured in Ceylon.[4]

See also[edit]

  • Raj Bhavan, originally known as the Barnes' Court after Edward Barnes[5]


  1. ^ a b c Dalton, Charles (1904). The Waterloo roll call. With biographical notes and anecdotes. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. p. 29. 
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832–1885 (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  4. ^ Rewriting history Chinthana style
  5. ^ Gillian Wright (1 August 1991). Hill stations of India. Odyssey. p. 101. ISBN 978-962-217-137-4. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 

Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Barnes, Sir Edward". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Robert Brownrigg
Governor of Ceylon

Succeeded by
Edward Paget
Preceded by
James Campbell
acting governor
Governor of Ceylon
Succeeded by
John Wilson
acting governor
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir John Benn Walsh, Bt
Michael Angelo Taylor
Member of Parliament for Sudbury
With: Sir John Benn Walsh, Bt
Succeeded by
John Bagshaw
Benjamin Smith
Preceded by
John Bagshaw
Benjamin Smith
Member of Parliament for Sudbury
With: Sir James John Hamilton, Bt 1837
Joseph Bailey 1837–38
Succeeded by
Joseph Bailey
Sir John Benn Walsh, Bt
Military offices
Preceded by
Alexander Cosby Jackson
General Officer Commanding, Ceylon
Succeeded by
James Campbell
Preceded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Commander-in-Chief, India
Succeeded by
The Lord William Bentinck