Edward Gerald Butler

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Sir Edward Gerald Butler (1770–1824) (named as Edward Gerard Butler in the Dictionary of National Biography) was an Irish soldier.


He was a son of Gerald Butler of Cashel, County Tipperary, and Ann Butler of Hemmingstown.

Early in his military career, he was one of the heroes of a battle to save the Austrian emperor, Francis II, for which he was made a knight of the Order of Maria Theresa. He was never knighted but held the rank of Knight Bachelor and the appellation of "Sir" from having obtained a royal licence to accept the Order of Maria Theresa before the regulations of 1812 relative to Foreign Orders came into effect.

Butler entered the army by purchasing a cornetcy in the 14th light dragoons on 30 September 1788, gazetted Aug 1789. He was promoted Lieutenant dated 13 October 1791, gazetted Dec 1791. He exchanged to the 24th Regiment of Foot, gazetted August 1792. In 1793 he became Captain of an Independent Company, gazetted Sept 1793. Butler then purchased a cornecy in 15th Regiment of Dragoons, gazetted March 1794. He was sent to take part in the Flanders Campaign, which was part of the French Revolutionary Wars. On 24 April 1794 during the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, he was one of the officers of the two companies escorting the Emperor Francis II,(the other was a company of Black Hussars) which saved Emperor Francis II from being taken prisoner by a numerically superior French force. For their gallantry the emperor gave the eight English officers medals, and they later received the Military Order of Maria Theresa.

Butler had been promoted lieutenant in the 11th light dragoons in May 1794, and he was in 1796 gazetted major without purchase in the newly raised 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers regiment. With it he served in the West Indies in 1797 at St Lucia where he met and married Rosetta Martin des Rameaux. In 1804 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and in 1806 the 87th was ordered to form part of the British invasion force under Sir Samuel Auchmuty attacking Montevideo. In the attack on Montevideo Butler especially distinguished himself, and also in General Whitelocke's attempt to capture Buenos Aires, where the 87th had 17 officers and 400 men killed and wounded.

From 1807 to 1810, while the 2nd battalion, under Colonel Hugh Gough, was distinguishing itself in the Peninsula, the 1st battalion of the 87th, under Butler, garrisoned the Cape of Good Hope In 1809 he was made Commandant of Simonstown. In 1810 he was second in command of a force ordered from the Cape to assist Major-general Abercromby in the capture of Mauritius, but the island was already taken when the contingent arrived. Nevertheless, though he saw no more service, Butler was promoted colonel in 1811 and major-general in 1814, and made Commandant of Mahebourg, Mauritius. He retired due to ill health in 1818.

He died at Ballyadams, Queen's County, Ireland, 30 November 1824.


 "Butler, Edward Gerard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.