Edward Chappell (1792-1861) was a British officer and explorer of Canada and North America. He was born 10 Aug. 1792. Chappell entered the Navy, in May, 1804, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Kingfisher 18, Capts. Rich. Wm. Cribb, Nathaniel Day Cochrane, Geo. Fras. Seymour, and Wm. Hepenstall, in which vessel he attained the rating of Midshipman 23 April, 1806, and continued to serve until April, 1807. In the course of 1805, independently of the capture, in the West Indies, of Les Deux Amis, of 6 guns and 40 men, of L'Elizabeth, of 14 guns and 102 men, and of a Spanish register-ship, he distinguished himself at the cutting-out, from under the fire of heavy batteries on the Spanish main, of the Isabella la Damos, of 4 guns and 57 men, and, in the open day, of a Spanish merchantman.
After participating in the victory off St. Domingo, 6 Feb. 1806, the Kingfisher returned to England with the despatches, and was then sent to Basque Roads, where she towed out the Pallas at the close of her action with the Minerve, 14 May, 1806. She subsequently formed part of the force under Sir Thos. Louis at the capture, on 27 Sept. in the same year, of the French 44-gun frigate Le President, and was next ordered to the Mediterranean. On becoming attached, in April, 1807, to the Favorite alias Goree 26, Capt. Wm. Standway Parkinson, Mr. Chappell assisted at the ensuing reduction of the Danish West India islands of St. Thomas and Sta. Croix; after which he joined in succession the Ulysses 44, Intrepid 64, and Captain 74, all commanded by Capt. Christ. John Williams Nesham, under whom, in the Intrepid, he served on shore with a party of seamen at the capture of Martinique, in Feb. 1809, and was present when that ship was severely cut up in an engagement with the French frigates Henriade and Felicite, under the guns of Fort Matilda, Guadeloupe, 15 April following.
In Dec. 1809, he removed to the Tonnant 80, Capt. Hassard Stackpoole, and sailed for the port of Cadiz, where, on being appointed to the command of a gun-boat, he witnessed the destruction of a Spanish prison-ship, co-operated in the defence of Fort Matagorda, lost nearly the whole of his crew in killed and wounded, was himself severely injured, and obtained for his services an Acting-Lieutenancy in the Temeraire 98, flag-ship of Rear-Admiral Fras. Pickmore, by whom he appears to have been soon after detached to assist in navigating the Fernando Septimo, of 120 guns, to Port Mahon. Having been officially promoted in the Minorca 18, Capt. Ralph Randolph Wormeley, 18 April, 1811, and been for some time successfully employed in cruizing between Tunis and Sicily, Lieut. Chappell returned to England in the Implacable 74, Capt. Joshua Rowley Watson, and was paid off in Nov. 1812.
We afterwards find him appointed - 3 Dec. 1812, to the Rosamond 20, Capts. Donald Campbell and Edw. Stopford, in which he visited the shores of Newfoundland, Labrador, and Hudson's Bay - 9 Jan. 1815, to the Beaver 10, Capt. Edw. O'Brien Drury, lying at Sheerness - and, 17 Jan. 1815, as Senior, to the Leven 20, Capt. Buckland Stirling Bluett, which vessel, after being employed, during the war of 100 days, in supplying arms to the Royalists in La Vendee, was placed out of commission in Nov. 1815. From 8 Feb. 1819, until advanced, in acknowledgment of his effective services, to the rank of Commander 19 April, 1826, Mr. Chappell was next engaged on the Coast Blockade as Supernumerary-Lieutenant of the Severn, Ramillies, and Hyperion, Capts. Wm. M'Culloch and Wm. Jas. Mingaye.
He had, during that period, been strongly recommended by the Grand Jury of Sussex, and highly complimented by the Judge, for his exertions in detecting and convicting a gang of smugglers at Bexhill; and had also, in 1822, received the thanks of the East India Directors, accompanied by a piece of plate, valued at 100 guineas, for going off in a boat and rescuing the passengers and crew of the Thames Indiaman, when that ship was wrecked near Beachy Head. Immediately on his promotion, Capt. Chappell was appointed, under the Post-office, to superintend the Steam-Packet Establishment at Milford, whence he was subsequently removed to Liverpool, and there, on the Packet-service being transferred to the surveillance of the Admiralty, placed in command, 27 June, 1837, of the Redwing steamer, from which he was posted 27 Dec. 1838. In 1840 we find him, by order of the Board of Admiralty, circumnavigating Great Britain in the Archimedes steamer, for the purpose of reporting on the properties of the screw-propeller. At present he is on half-pay.
Capt. Chappell has been frequently examined by Committees of the House of Commons on matters connected with steam-navigation; and on one occasion he was employed by the President of the Board of Trade to prepare the rough draft of an Act of Parliament for the regulation of steam-vessels. In Dec. 1840, he was appointed Marine Superintendent, and in Feb. 1842, Secretary to the Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company, in which latter Capacity he now officiates. We should not omit stating that Capt. Chappell, in 1817, published a narrative of a 'Voyage to Hudson's Bay,' &c., another, in 1818, of one to 'Newfoundland and the Coast of Labrador,' and, in 1840, the results of his experiments in the Archimedes. He married, 5 Oct. 1819, Elizabeth, only child of Commander Wm. Wood (a), R.N., by whom, who died 14 Jan. 1842, he has living one daughter. Agent - J. Chippendale. (Capt., 1838. f-p., 20; h-p., 23.)
William Richard O'Byrne, A Naval Biographical Dictionary. pgs. 186-187.
John Marshall, Royal Naval Biography. pgs. 182-184.