Ewart, Charles Brisbane (DNB12)

EWART, CHARLES BRISBANE (1827–1903), lieutenant-general and colonel commandant R.E., born at Coventry on 15 Feb. 1827, was fourth son of Lieutenant general John Frederick Ewart. His elder brother, Sir John Alexander, is noticed below. After passing with credit through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich Ewart received a commission as second-lieutenant in the royal engineers on 18 June 1845. Promoted lieutenant on 1 April 1846, he served at Woolwich, in Ireland, at Gibraltar, and at Chatham. In January 1854 he accompanied General Sir John Fox Burgoyne [q. v.] on a special mission to Turkey to examine the defences of the Dardanelles and the expediency of holding the straits as a base of operations in the event of a war with Russia. After surveying the ground at Gallipoli Ewart went to Varna, and acted as brigade major, while assisting in the preparations for the arrival of the allied army. He landed with it in the Crimea in September, was present at the affairs of Bulganak and McKenzie's Farm, and at the battles of the Alma, Balaklava, and Inkerman, was promoted captain on 13 December 1854, and was acting adjutant throughout the siege of Sevastopol until its fall in September 1855. Mentioned in despatches, he was promoted brevet-major on 2 Nov. 1855, and acted as major of brigade to the royal engineers, until the troops left the Crimea in June 1856. Returning from the Crimea, Ewart did duty at Shorncliffe and Dover, and from 1860 to 1865 was assistant quartermaster-general at the Horse Guards. In the early part of 1866 he was on special service in France and Algeria, and was commanding royal engineer of the London district for another five years. Created a C.B., military division, he was (1869-72) in the barrack branch of the inspector-general of fortifications' office, of which he was head as deputy director of works for barracks (1872-7). During these years his promotion had been steady: brevet lieut.-colonel on 3 March 1866; regimental lieut.-colonel on 4 March 1868; brevet colonel on 4 March 1873; and regimental colonel on 21 Oct. 1877.

As colonel on the staff and commanding royal engineer of the south-eastern district, he was at Dover (1877-9), and held a similar post at Gibraltar from 1879 to 1882. From Gibraltar he was sent in March 1881 to be commanding royal engineer of the Natal field force in the Boer war, but by the time of his arrival peace had been made. On returning from Gibraltar in Oct. 1882, he remained unemployed, living at Folkestone. In April 1883 he was appointed extra aide-de-camp to George, second duke of Cambridge [q. v. Suppl. II], and in April 1884 a member of the ordnance committee. Promoted major-general on 27 Jan. 1885, Ewart was sent with the Soudan expedition under Sir Gerald Graham [q. v. Suppl. I] as a brigadier-general in command of the base and line of communications, including the general supervision of the railway construction from Suakin to Berber. For his services he was mentioned in despatches.

After his return and two years' unemployment Ewart was lieutenant-governor of Jersey from Nov. 1887 until Nov. 1892. He was promoted lieutenant-general on 20 July 1888, retired from the service In 15 Feb. 1894, and was made a colonel- commandant of his corps on 30 March 1902. He died at Folkestone on 8 Aug. 1. 903, and was buried there. Ewart married in 1860 his second cousin, Emily Jane, daughter of Peter Ewart, rector of Kirklington, Yorkshire, and sister of Major-general Sir Henry Peter Ewart, i.C.B., crown equerry; by her he had three sons and two daughters.

[War Office Records; Royal Engineers Records; Memoir in Royal Engineers Journal, 1903; Porter, History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, 1889, 2 vols.; The Times, 10 Aug. 1903.]

R. H. V.