1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alexander, Sir James Edward
ALEXANDER, SIR JAMES EDWARD (1803–1885), British soldier and traveller, was born on the 16th of October 1803. He joined the East India Company’s army in 1820, transferring into the British army in 1825. As aide-de-camp to the British envoy to Persia, he was an eye-witness of the fighting in the war between Persia and Russia (1826), and in 1829 was present in the Balkans during the Russo-Turkish war. In 1832–34 he was in Portugal during the Miguelete war, and in 1835 served in the Kaffir war in South Africa as aide-de-camp to Sir Benjamin D’Urban. Subsequently he conducted an exploring expedition into Namaqualand and Damaraland, and was knighted for his services (1838). From 1841 to 1855 he served in Canada, proceeding thence to the Crimea, and in 1862 held an important command in New Zealand during the Maori war. He retired from the service in 1877, and in 1881 was given the honorary rank of general. He was largely responsible for the preservation and transfer to England of Cleopatra’s Needle in 1877. His varied experiences provided material for a large number of books, among which were Travels from India to England (1827); Transatlantic Sketches (1833); An Expedition of Discovery into the Interior of Africa (1838); Passages in the Life of a Soldier (1857); Incidents of the Maori War (1863). He was also the author of a Life of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington (1840). He died on the 2nd of April 1885.