1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Evans, Sir George de Lacy

7069631911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10 — Evans, Sir George de Lacy

EVANS, SIR GEORGE DE LACY (1787–1870), British soldier, was born at Moig, Limerick, in 1787. He was educated at Woolwich Academy, and entered the army in 1806 as a volunteer, obtaining an ensigncy in the 22nd regiment in 1807. His early service was spent in India, but he exchanged into the 3rd Light Dragoons in order to take part in the Peninsular War, and was present in the retreat from Burgos in 1812. In 1813 he was at Vittoria, and was afterwards employed in making a military survey of the passes of the Pyrenees. He took part in the campaign of 1814, and was present at Pampeluna, the Nive and Toulouse; and later in the year he served with great distinction on the staff in General Ross’s Bladensburg campaign, and took part in the capture of Washington and of Baltimore and the operations before New Orleans. He returned to England in the spring of 1815, in time to take part in the Waterloo campaign as assistant quartermaster-general on Sir T. Picton’s staff. As a member of the staff of the duke of Wellington he accompanied the English army to Paris, and remained there during the occupation of the city by the allies. He was still a substantive captain in the 5th West India regiment, though a lieutenant-colonel by brevet, when he went on half-pay in 1818. In 1830 he was elected M.P. for Rye in the Liberal interest; but in the election of 1832 he was an unsuccessful candidate both for that borough and for Westminster. For the latter constituency he was, however, returned in 1833, and, except in the parliament of 1841–1846, he continued to represent it till 1865, when he retired from political life. His parliamentary duties did not, however, interfere with his career as a soldier. In 1835 he went out to Spain in command of the Spanish Legion, recruited in England, and 9600 strong, which served for two years in the Carlist War on the side of the queen of Spain. In spite of great difficulties the legion won great distinction on the battlefields of northern Spain, and Evans was able to say that no prisoners had been taken from it in action, that it had never lost a gun or an equipage, and that it had taken 27 guns and 1100 prisoners from the enemy. He received several Spanish orders, and on his return in 1839 was made a colonel and K.C.B. In 1846 he became major-general; and in 1854, on the breaking-out of the Crimean War, he was made lieutenant-general and appointed to command the 2nd division of the Army of the East. At the battle of the Alma, where he received a severe wound, his quick comprehension of the features of the combat largely contributed to the victory. On the 26th of October he defeated a large Russian force which attacked his position on Mount Inkerman. Illness and fatigue compelled him a few days after this to leave the command of his division in the hands of General Pennefather; but he rose from his sick-bed on the day of the battle of Inkerman, the 5th of November, and, declining to take the command of his division from Pennefather, aided him in the long-protracted struggle by his advice. On his return invalided to England in the following February, Evans received the thanks of the House of Commons. He was made a G.C.B., and the university of Oxford conferred on him the degree of D.C.L. In 1861 he was promoted to the full rank of general. He died in London on the 9th of January 1870.