The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, in French as the Bataille d'Aboukir or in Egyptian Arabic as معركة أبي قير البحرية) was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798. The battle was the climax of a naval campaign that had ranged across the Mediterranean during the previous three months, as a large French convoy sailed from Toulon to Alexandria, carrying an expeditionary force under General Napoleon Bonaparte. The French were defeated by the British forces led by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson.
Bonaparte had sought to invade Egypt, as the first step in a campaign against British India, whose ultimate aim was to drive Britain out of the French Revolutionary Wars. As Bonaparte's fleet crossed the Mediterranean, it was pursued by a British force under Nelson, sent from the British fleet in the Tagus, to establish the purpose of the French expedition and defeat it. For more than two months, Nelson chased the French, on several occasions only missing them by a matter of hours. Bonaparte, aware of Nelson's pursuit, enforced absolute secrecy about his destination and was able to capture Malta and then land in Egypt without interception by the British force.
With the French army ashore, the fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay, a station 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Alexandria, in a formation that its commander, Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers, believed established a formidable defensive position. When Nelson's fleet arrived off Egypt on 1 August and discovered Brueys's dispositions, he ordered an immediate attack, and his ships advanced on the French line. As they approached, they split into two divisions, one of which cut across the head of the line and passed between the anchored French and the shore while the other engaged the seaward side of the French fleet. Trapped in a crossfire, the leading French ships were battered into surrender during a fierce three-hour battle, while the centre was able to successfully repel the initial British attack. As British reinforcements arrived, the centre came under renewed assault, and at 22:00 the French flagship Orient exploded. With Brueys dead and his van and centre defeated, the rear division of the French fleet attempted to break out of the bay, but ultimately only two ships of the line and two frigates escaped, from a total of 17 ships engaged.
The battle reversed the strategic situation in the Mediterranean, and allowed the Royal Navy to assume a dominant position which it would retain for the rest of the war. It also encouraged other European countries to turn against France, and was a factor in the outbreak of the War of the Second Coalition. Bonaparte's army was trapped in Egypt, and Royal Navy dominance off the Syrian coast contributed significantly to its defeat at the Siege of Acre in 1799, which preceded Bonaparte's return to Europe. Nelson, who had been wounded in the battle, was proclaimed a hero across Europe and was subsequently made Baron Nelson. His captains were also highly praised, and would go on to form the nucleus of the legendary Nelsonic Band of Brothers. The battle has remained prominent in the popular consciousness, with perhaps the best-known representation being Felicia Hemans's 1826 poem Casabianca.
Other articles related to "battle of the nile, battle, battle of":
... Finding that there was nothing he could do, Thompson took Leander into the battle, despite his ship being considerably smaller than the French ships of the line ...
... gone up against the much larger 110-gun French first rate Orient earlier in the battle, until being dismasted and forced to drift out of the action ... Swiftsure had seven killed and 22 wounded during the battle ... Hallowell received a Gold Medal for his role in the battle, and Swiftsure′s first lieutenant, Thomas Cowan, was promoted to commander ...
... The Battle of the Nile remains one of the Royal Navy's most famous victories, and has remained prominent in the British popular imagination, sustained by its depiction ... One of the best known poems about the battle is Casabianca, which was written by Felicia Dorothea Hemans in 1826 and describes a fictional account of the death of Captain Casabianca's ... Ali of Egypt in 1819 in recognition of the battle of 1798 and the campaign of 1801 but not erected on the Victoria Embankment until 1878 ...
... Chayla fought gallantly during the battle and tried in vain to persuade Brueys to order the fleet to set sail ...
Famous quotes containing the words battle of, nile and/or battle:
“The militancy of men, through all the centuries, has drenched the world with blood, and for these deeds of horror and destruction men have been rewarded with monuments, with great songs and epics. The militancy of women has harmed no human life save the lives of those who fought the battle of righteousness. Time alone will reveal what reward will be allotted to women.”
—Emmeline Pankhurst (18581928)
“Hard by the lilied Nile I saw
A duskish river dragon stretched along.
The brown habergeon of his limbs enamelled
With sanguine alamandines and rainy pearl:
And on his back there lay a young one sleeping,
No bigger than a mouse;”
—Thomas Lovell Beddoes (18031849)
“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
—Bible: Hebrew Ecclesiastes 9:11.