Des Barres or Desbarres, Joseph Frederick Wallet (dābärˈ) [key], 1721?–1824, British army officer, surveyor, and artist. He was born of French parents (probably in Switzerland), was educated at Basel and in Great Britain, and became a British citizen. He served with British forces in America in the French and Indian War, rendering valuable service as an engineer in the taking of Quebec. He later spent 10 years surveying the coasts of Nova Scotia and another 10 years in London editing his data, incorporating the surveys of others, and supervising the engraving of the plates; the result was The Atlantic Neptune, which appeared in successive issues (1777–81) and was used by British seamen in American waters for three generations. The plates are justly famous for their artistic excellence, and they are collector's items; the largest collection is found in the U.S. Library of Congress. Des Barres was later lieutenant governor of Cape Breton (1784–1805) and then of Prince Edward Island (1805–1813). His name also appears as Joseph Frederick Walsh Des Barres.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.