Battle of The Nile - Aftermath - Legacy


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 in a large number of cartoons, paintings, poems and plays. 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 son on Orient. Monuments were raised, including Cleopatra's Needle in London. The monument was given by Muhammad 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. Another memorial, the Nile Clumps near Amesbury, are stands of beech trees purportedly planted by Lord Queensbury at the bequest of Lady Hamilton and Thomas Hardy after Nelson's death. The trees form a plan of the battle; each clump represents the position of a British or French ship. A similar arboreal memorial is thought to have been planted near Alnwick by Nelson's agent Alexander Davison. In the Royal Navy the battle has been commemorated by the ship names HMS Aboukir and HMS Nile and in 1998 the 200th anniversary of the battle was commemorated by a visit to Aboukir Bay by the modern frigate HMS Somerset, whose crew laid wreaths in memory of those who lost their lives in the battle.

Although Nelson's biographer Ernle Bradford assumed in 1977 that the remains of Orient "are almost certainly unrecoverable", the first archaeological investigation into the battle began in 1983, when a French survey team under Jacques Dumas discovered the wreck of the French flagship. The work was later taken over by Franck Goddio, who led a major project to explore the bay in 1998. He found that material was scattered over an area 500 metres (550 yd) in diameter, and in addition to military and nautical equipment recovered a large number of gold and silver coins from countries across the Mediterranean, some from the seventeenth century. It is likely that these were part of the treasure taken from Malta that was lost in the explosion aboard Orient. In 2000, an excavation focusing on ancient ruins on Nelson's Island under Italian archaeologist Paolo Gallo uncovered a number of graves that date from the battle, as well as others buried there during the 1801 invasion. These graves, which included a woman and three children, were relocated in 2005 to a cemetery at Shatby in Alexandria. The reburial was attended by sailors from the modern frigate HMS Chatham and a band from the Egyptian Navy, as well as a descendant of the only identified burial, Commander James Russell.

Read more about this topic:  Battle Of The Nile, Aftermath

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