Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chapman, Stephen Remnant

CHAPMAN, Sir STEPHEN REMNANT (1776–1851), officer in the royal engineers, and governor of Bermuda, eldest son of Richard Chapman of Tainfield House, near Taunton, by Mary, daughter of Stephen Remnant, was born at Tainfield House in 1776. He received his professional education at Woolwich, and entered the royal engineers as second lieutenant on 18 Sept. 1793, and was promoted lieutenant on 20 Nov. 1796. He first saw service in the unfortunate expedition to the Helder in 1799, and was promoted captain-lieutenant on 18 April 1801, and captain on a March 1800. He served in the expedition to Copenhagen in 1807, and was ordered to join the army in Portugal at the same time as Sir Arthur Wellesley, in March 1809. He soon rose high in the estimation of Wellesley and of the commanding royal engineer, Colonel Fletcher. He was employed in the neighbourhood of Lisbon in preparing for its defence during the campaign of Talavera, and if he did not actually suggest the formation of the famous lines of Torres Vedras, he was certainly the chief assistant of Colonel Fletcher in the fortification of them; his thorough knowledge of the ground made his co-operation invaluable, and in a despatch to Lord Wellington, Colonel Fletcher speaks of his services in the very highest terms (Wellington Supplementary Despatches, vi. 537). In 1810 he went to the front, and was commanding royal engineer present at the battle of Busaco, when his services were specially mentioned in despatches. Towards the close of 1810 he was appointed, by Lord Mulgrave, the master-general of the Ordnance, to the important office of secretary to the master-general (Wellington Despatches, iv. 470). Wellington did yet more for him, for after repeated solicitation he secured his promotion to the rank of major, antedated to the day of the battle of Busaco, and on 26 April 1812 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel in the army, and on 21 July 1813 lieutenant-colonel in the royal engineers. He continued to fill the office of secretary to the master-general of the Ordnance until his promotion to the rank of colonel on 29 July 1825. From 1825 to 1831 he filled the office of civil secretary at Gibraltar, and in the latter year he was knighted and appointed governor of the Bermuda or Somers Islands. In Bermuda he remained until 1839, and the most important duty which he had to perform during his term of office was to carry into effect the emancipation of the slaves there in 1834. He did not again leave England; in 1837 he was promoted major-general, and in 1846 lieutenant-general; and he died at Tainfield House on 6 March 1851.

[Royal Military Calendar; Gentleman's Magazine, April 1861; Williams's Account, Historical and Statistical, of the Bermudas, 1846.]

H. M. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.62
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
67 ii 14 Chapman, Sir Stephen R.: for his promotion read Dec. 1818. He was promoted
16 for From 1825 read For several years
26 after lieutenant-general insert he was colonel commandant Royal Engineers 1850