Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Waugh, Andrew Scott

WAUGH, Sir ANDREW SCOTT (1810–1878), major-general royal (late Bengal) engineers, surveyor-general of India, eldest son of General Gilbert Waugh, military auditor-general at Madras, grandson of Colonel Gilbert Waugh of Gracemount, Mid-Lothian (descended from Waugh of Shaw, standard-bearer at Flodden Field), and nephew of Sir Murray Maxwell of the royal navy, was born in India on 3 Feb. 1810. He was educated at Edinburgh High School, and, after passing through the military college of the East India Company at Addiscombe in half the usual time, came out first of his term and received a commission as lieutenant in the Bengal engineers on 13 Dec. 1827. After a course of professional instruction at Chatham under Sir Charles Pasley [q. v.], who recommended him to the chief engineer at Bengal, Waugh went to India, arriving in that country on 25 May 1829.

Waugh was appointed in the following year to assist Captain Hutchinson in the construction of the new foundry at Kossipur. On 13 April 1831 he was appointed adjutant of the Bengal sappers and miners, and on 17 July 1832 to the great trigonometrical survey of India under the immediate direction of Major (afterwards Sir) George Everest [q. v.], the surveyor-general. Waugh, with his friend and contemporary, Lieutenant Renny (afterwards Major Renny Tailyour), was sent in the following year to assist in operations near Sironj, to carry a series of triangles up one of the meridians fixed by the longitudinal series. They explored the jungle country between Chunar and the sources of the Sone and Narbada up to Jabalpur, and submitted a topographical and geological report, now in the geographical department of the India office. In the following year the surveyor-general wrote officially in terms of great commendation of Waugh's capabilities and services.

In November 1834 Waugh joined the headquarters of the surveyor-general at Dehra, to assist in measuring the base-line. In April 1835, Everest having represented that Waugh and Renny unquestionably surpassed all the other officers under his orders in mathematical and other scientific knowledge, in correctness of eye and in their aptitude and skill in the manipulation of the larger class of instruments, Waugh was appointed astronomical assistant for the celestial observations connected with the measurement of the great arc. At the end of 1835 he was at Fathgarh, conducting the rougher series of the great trigonometrical survey; but in January 1836 he joined Everest at Saini, to assist in the measurement of the arc of the meridian extending from Cape Comorin to Dehra Dun, at the base of the Himalayas, commencing with the northern base-line in the Dehra Dun valley, and connecting it with the base-line near Sironj, some 450 miles to the south, and remeasuring the latter in 1837 with the new bars which had been used at Dehra Dun. The wonderful accuracy secured in these operations may be estimated by the differences of length of the Dehra base-line as measured and as deduced by triangulations from Sironj being 7.2 inches.

Everest continued to report in the very highest terms of the ability and energy displayed by Waugh, and the court of directors of the East India Company on several occasions expressed their appreciation of his services. His training under Everest instilled into him the importance of the extreme accuracy with which geodetic measurements have to be conducted. In November 1837 two parties were formed, one of which was placed under Waugh to work southwards on the base Pagaro to Jaktipura; the other, under Everest, proceeding upon the base Kolarus to Ranod. The work was satisfactorily accomplished by the end of February 1838, when Waugh was detached into the nizam's country to test the accuracy of the triangulation between Bedar and Takalkhard and to lay out the site of an observatory at Damargidda. In October he took the field, commencing with azimuth observations, at Damargidda, and, working north with the triangulation, completed his portion of the work at the end of March 1839. He shared with Everest the arduous observatory work carried on simultaneously at the stations of Kaliana, Kalianpur, and Damargidda from November 1839 to March 1840, by which the arc of amplitude was determined.

In 1841 Waugh was engaged in the remeasurement of the Bedar base, which resulted in a difference of only 4.2 inches. Between 1834 and 1840 Waugh had conducted the Ranghir series of triangles in the North-West Provinces, and in 1842 he carried the triangulation through the malarious Rohilkhand Terai, which Everest considered to be ‘as complete a specimen of rapidity, combined with accuracy of execution, as there is on record.’

At the end of 1843 Everest retired, and, in recommending that Waugh should succeed him as surveyor-general, he wrote: ‘I do not hesitate to stake my professional reputation that if your honourable court had the world at your disposal wherefrom to select a person whose sum total of practical skill, theoretical attainment, powers of endurance, and all other essential qualities were a maximum, Lieutenant Waugh would be the very person of your choice.’ Although only a subaltern of royal engineers, Waugh was accordingly selected to fill, from 16 Dec. 1843, this very responsible and important post. He was promoted to be captain on 14 Feb. 1844. He began by carrying out the remaining series—seven in number, a total of some thirteen hundred miles in length, embracing an area of some twenty-eight thousand square miles, originating from the Calcutta longitudinal series on the ‘gridiron system’—projected by Everest (to form a correct conception of this system, see the chart facing p. 109 of the Memoir of the Indian Survey). The eastern side was formed by the Calcutta meridional series (begun in 1844 and finished in 1848), which terminated in another base-line near the foot of the Darjiling hills.

One of the finest of surveying operations commenced about this period was the north-east Himalaya series, connecting the northern end of all the before-mentioned meridional series. In these field operations Waugh took a leading part. The line of the country was along the base of the Himalaya Terai, and proved very deadly to a large proportion of the native establishment and to many of the European officers and assistants (40 out of 150 were buried in and about the swampy forests of Gorukpur). By these operations were fixed the positions and heights of seventy-nine of the highest and grandest of the Himalayan peaks in Nipal and Sikkim, one of which—native name Devidanga—29,002 feet above the sea, was named by Waugh Mount Everest, and was found to be the highest in the world. The series was the longest ever carried between measured bases, being 1690 miles long from Sonakoda to Dehra Dun.

On 3 Dec. 1847 Waugh was given the local rank of lieutenant-colonel. In the south of India, the South Konkan, the Madras coast series, the South Parisnath and South Maluncha series were begun and finished. Waugh was now free to undertake a project originated by himself of forming a system of triangulation to the westward of the great arc series over the east territory, much of it newly acquired, that lay in Sind, the North-West Provinces, and the Punjab. The Khach base, near Attak, was measured in 1851–2, and the north-west Himalayan series, emanating from the Dehra base, extended to it, while from Sironj the Calcutta great longitudinal series was carried westward to Karachi, closing on another base-line at Karachi, measured in 1854–5 under Waugh's immediate supervision. Waugh was promoted to be major in the Bengal engineers on 3 Aug. 1855. In 1856 the great Indus series was commenced, forming the western side of the survey, having the usual north or south supplementary series. The mutiny in 1857–8 delayed this work, which was finally completed in 1860. In 1856 Waugh instituted a series of levelling operations to determine the heights of the base-lines in the interior, commencing in the Indus valley. He was promoted to be regimental lieutenant-colonel on 20 Sept. 1857, and in the same year was awarded the patron's gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In the following year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

Of all the Indian survey work which originated during Waugh's tenure of office, that of Kashmir was perhaps most interesting. Upon this work Waugh employed Colonel Thomas George Montgomerie [q. v.], and the results in 1859 elicited a warm letter of acknowledgment to Waugh from Lord Canning, the governor-general. During Waugh's tenure of office he advanced the triangulation of India by 316,000 square miles, and of this 94,000 were topographically surveyed. He was promoted to be colonel on 18 Feb. 1861, and retired from the service on 12 March following. He received the honorary rank of major-general on 6 Aug. 1861, and in the same year he was knighted. The members of the survey department presented him, on leaving India, with a farewell address and a service of plate. On his retirement he resided in London. He was a deputy-lieutenant of the city of London for many years, a prominent member of the council of the Royal Geographical Society, and its vice-president from 1867 to 1870, honorary associate of the Geographical societies of Berlin and Italy, a fellow of Calcutta University, and an active committee-man of the London Athenæum Club, to which he was elected by the committee for distinguished service. He died at his residence, 7 Petersham Terrace, Queen's Gate, on 21 Feb. 1878.

Waugh married, first, in 1844, Josephine (d. 1866), daughter of Dr. William Graham of Edinburgh, and, secondly, in 1870, Cecilia Eliza Adelaide, daughter of Lieutenant-general Thomas Whitehead, K.C.B., of Uplands Hall, Lancashire.

The results of Waugh's work while surveyor-general are given in some thirteen volumes and reports deposited in the India office, parts of which, originally complete, appear to have been lost. He published in 1861 ‘Instructions for Topographical Surveying.’

[India Office Records; (Sir) Clements Markham's Memoirs of the Indian Surveys; Reports of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, 1834 to 1861; letters in the Friend of India, 17 Feb. 1861; The Hills, 31 Jan. 1861; Royal Engineers Journal, May 1878 (a memoir by Lieutenant-Colonel H. H. Godwin Austen); Times obituary notice, 28 Feb. 1878; Geographical Magazine, March 1878; Presidential Address to the Royal Geographical Society by Sir Rutherford Alcock, 1878; Professional Papers on Indian Engineering, vols. ii. and iii.; Vibart's Addiscombe: its Heroes and Men of Note, p. 423; Nature, 28 Feb. and 6 June 1878.]

R. H. V.