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Robert Cornelis Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala GCB GCSI FRS (6 December 1810 – 14 January 1890) was born in British Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to Major Charles Frederick Napier.


Commissioned into the Bengal Engineers at sixteen and served throughout the 1st and 2nd Anglo-Sikh Wars.  He was severely wounded at Ferozeshah in December 1845.


He later served in the North West Frontier District and saw action in Peshawar and Afghanistan. He also served during the Indian Mutiny, taking part in the first and second reliefs of Lucknow. He was again severely wounded during the seocnd battle in November 1857. He was present at the recapture of Lucknow in March 1858.


He was in command of the 2nd Division during the Second Anglo-Chinese War (Opium War) of 1860. He took part in the capture of the Taku forts, and the capture of Peking (Bejing).

Napier achieved his greatest noteriety as leader of the 1868 Abyssinian expedition, which was mounted to compel the release of British hostages held by King Tewodros II of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). It involved crossing 400 miles of mountainous terrain lacking roads or bridges and Napier demonstrated a mastery of logistics and military administration. The campaign ended in the total defeat of Tewodros at the cost to Napier's force on 2 dead, 14 wounded.


Napier was appointed commander-in-chief in India in 1870 and was promoted to field marshal in 1883.

Carte de Visite

Edwin Sutton - Photographer

204 Regent Street, W., London, England

c. 1860s

Napier Signature.png

Autographed Slip

5 1/2 by 2 3/4 Inches

(14cm x 7cm)


October 7, 1858

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