Sir Charles James Napier, a British soldier, cousin of the preceding, born in Whitehall, London, Aug. 10, 1782, died at Oaklands, near Portsmouth, Aug. 29, 1853. At an early age he received an ensign's commission in the 4th regiment of foot, with which he served during the Irish rebellion of 1798, and again in 1803. He commanded the 50th regiment of foot in the retreat of Sir John Moore, and in the battle of Corunna (Jan. 16, 1809) received five severe wounds, and was left for dead in the hands of the enemy. He returned to England on parole some months later, to the astonishment of his friends, who had already administered upon his estate. Before procuring employment he occupied his leisure by writing pamphlets on a variety of subjects. He finally went to the Peninsula as a volunteer, had two horses shot under him at Coa, and was severely wounded at Busaco. In 1811 he procured a regular command, and served until the close of the war. Immediately afterward he was sent to Bermuda as lieutenant colonel of the 102d regiment, and for some months participated in expeditions which harassed the coast of the United States. The return of Napoleon to France recalled him to Europe, but he arrived too late to participate in the battle of Waterloo. In 1824 he was appointed governor of Cephalonia, where he remained five years, and was active in promoting the cause of Greek independence.
After a long period of inactivity, he was appointed commander of the forces in the northern district of England, whence in 1841 he was transferred to the command of the army in Bombay. He commenced his Indian career by a number of sweeping reforms in the service, which gained him the dislike of his officers. Upon the arrival of Lord Ellenborough in India in February, 1842, as governor general, Napier sketched out for him the plan of a second Afghan campaign; and in the early part of the succeeding year he took the field against the ameers of Sinde. He made a rapid march across a desert to the fortress of Emaun Ghur, one of the chief strongholds and magazines of the ameers, which he blew up. On Feb. 17, 1843, with a force of less than 2,000 men, he overcame an army of 35,000 Belooches at Meeanee, compelling the surrender of the important fortress of Hydra-bad. On March 24 he defeated Shere Mohammed, who had collected an army of about 25,000 men at Dubba, near Hydrabad. The war being ended, Napier set to work to improve the condition of the conquered province, of which he had been appointed governor.
He protected the Hindoo and Sindian population, who had long been subjected to the military despotism of the Belooches, encouraged native industry, and abolished slavery and the slave trade, sutteeism, infanticide, the military tenure of lands, and other barbarous customs. At the breaking out of the first Sikh war in 1845 he organized a force of 15,000 men to operate against the enemy, but was ordered elsewhere before the commencement of the campaign. In 1847 he returned to England. In March, 1849, he was again sent to India, as commander-in-chief of the British forces in the second Sikh war, superseding Lord Gough. He found the war virtually ended before his arrival, and coming into collision with the governor general, Lord Dalhousie, on some points of prerogative, he returned to England in 1850. His health rapidly failed after this, his last public appearance being at the funeral of the duke of Wellington in November, 1852. Among his numerous publications those of most permanent importance are: "Lights and Shadows of Military Life" (1840), a free imitation of Alfred de Vigny's Grandeur et servitude militaire; "History of the Colonies: Ionian Islands" (1853); and " Indian Misgovernment and Lord Dalhousie" (1853). His career in India has been described by his brother Sir William F. P. Napier, who also published his " Life and Opinions" (4 vols., London, 1857). Monuments to him have been placed in Trafalgar square and St. Paul's church, London.