Mann, Gother (DNB00)

MANN, GOTHER (1747–1830), general, inspector-general of fortifications, and colonel-commandant of royal engineers, second son of Cornelius Mann and Elizabeth Gother, was born at Plumstead, Kent, on 21 Dec. 1747. His father, a first cousin of Sir Horace Mann [q. v.] , went to the West Indies in 1760, and died at St. Kitts on 9 Dec. 1776. Gother was left under the care of his uncle, Mr. Wilks of Faversham, Kent, and after passing through the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, obtained a commission as practitioner engineer and ensign on 27 Feb. 1763. He was employed in the defences of Sheerness and of the Medway until 1775, having been promoted sub-engineer and lieutenant on 1 April 1771.

Towards the end of 1775 he was sent to Dominica, West Indies. He was promoted engineer extraordinary and captain lieutenant on 2 March 1777. He commanded a body of militia when the island was captured by the French in September 1778. The little garrison made a stout resistance, but were outnumbered, and surrendered on terms of honourable capitulation. Mann made a report to the board of ordnance dated 14 Sept., giving full details of the attack. He was only detained for a few months as a prisoner of war, and on 19 Aug. 1779 he was appointed to the engineer staff of Great Britain, and reported on the defences of the east coast. He was stationed at Chatham under Colonel Debbeig. In 1781 he was selected by Lord Amherst and Sir Charles Frederick to accompany Colonel Braham, the chief engineer, on a tour of survey of the north-east coast of England, to consider what defences were desirable, as no less than seven corporations had submitted petitions on the subject.

In 1785 he went to Quebec as commanding royal engineer in Canada. Promoted captain on 16 Sept. he was employed in every part of the country in both civil and military duties, erecting fortifications, improving ports, and laying out townships, such as Toronto and Sorel. He returned home in 1791, and joined the army under the Duke of York in Holland in June 1793. He was present at the siege of Valenciennes, which capitulated on 28 July, at the siege of Dunkirk from 24 Aug. to 9 Sept. and at the battle of Hondschoote or Menin, 12–15 Sept. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel on 5 Dec. 1793. On his return to England in April 1794 he was employed under the master-general of the ordnance in London for a short time, and was then again commanding royal engineer in Canada until 1804. He became colonel in the army 26 Jan. 1797, colonel in the royal engineers 18 Aug. the same year, and major-general 25 Sept. 1803. From 1805 until 1811 he was employed either on particular service in Ireland or on various committees in London. On 13 July 1805 he was made a colonel-commandant of the corps of royal engineers, on 25 July 1810 lieutenant-general, and on 19 July 1821 general. On 23 July 1811 he succeeded General Robert Morse [q. v.] as inspector-general of fortifications, an office he held until his death. He was appointed president of the committee to examine cadets for commissions on 19 May 1828. He died on 27 March 1830, and was buried in Plumstead churchyard, where a tombstone was erected to his memory.

His services in Canada were rewarded by a grant, on 22 July 1805, of 22,859 acres of land in the township of Acton in Lower Canada. He also received while holding the office of inspector-general of fortifications the offer of a baronetcy, which, for financial considerations, he declined.

Mann married in 1767 Ann, second daughter of Peter Wade of Rushford Manor, Eythorne, Kent, rector of Cooling, vicar of Boughton Monchelsea, and minor canon of Rochester Cathedral. By her he had five sons and three daughters. Of the sons, Gother was in the royal artillery, Cornelius in the royal engineers, John in the 28th regiment, and Frederick William in the royal marines, and afterwards in the royal staff corps. William, son of Cornelius, is noticed below.

Three coloured miniatures belong to his descendants. One, taken when he had just entered the corps of royal engineers in 1763, is in possession of his grandson, Major-general J. R. Mann, C.M.G., of the royal engineers, son of Major-general Cornelius Mann, royal engineers. This is reproduced in Porter's ‘History of the Corps of Royal Engineers,’ 1889, i. 215.

The following plans by Mann are in the British Museum: (1) A drawn plan of the Isle aux Noix, with the new works proposed, 2 sheets, 1790; (2) a drawn plan of the Post at Isle aux Noix, showing the state of the works, and those proposed for connecting them together, 1790; (3) St. John Fort, Lower Canada, a drawn plan of part of Lake Champlain, with the communication down to St. John's, 2 sheets, 1791; (4) a drawn plan of Fort St. John on the river Chambly, 1791; (5) a drawn plan and sections of the new works proposed at St. John's, 1791.

The following drawn plans by Mann, formerly in the war office, are now among the records of the government of the dominion of Canada: (1) Plan of town and fortifications of Montreal, 1768; (2) Plan of Fort George, showing works of defence, n. d.; (3) Fort Erie, proposed work, n. d.; (4) Entrance of the Narrows between Lakes Erie and Detroit, n. d.; (5) St. Louis and Barrack bastions, with proposed works, and six sections, 1785; (6) Casemates proposed for forming a citadel, 1785; (7) Quebec and Heights of Abraham, with sections of works, 1785; (8) Military Ports, Lake Huron, Niagara, entrance of river to Detroit, Toronto Harbour, and Kingston Harbour, 1788; (9) Defences of Canada, 1788; (10) Position opposite Isle au Bois Blanc, 1796; (11) Isle aux Boix, and adjacent shores, showing present and proposed works, 2 sheets, 1797; (12) Works to be constructed at Amhurstburg, 1799; (13) Amhurstburgh and Isle au Bois Blanc, with works ordered to be constructed, 1799; (14) Ordnance Store House proposed for Cape Diamond Powder Magazine, 2 sheets, 1801; (15) City and Fortifications of Quebec with vicinity, 1804; (16) Citadel of Quebec, 2 sheets of sections, 1804; (17) Fortifications of Quebec, 1804.

[Connolly MSS.; Royal Engineers Records; Ordnance and War Office Records; Porter's History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, 1889; private manuscripts.]

R. H. V.