The Egyptian Campaign of 1801, Part II

On the eve of the Treaty of Amiens, writes D.G. Chandler, the French Army was eliminated from Egypt, and news of the victory heartened the British public.

On March 1st, 1801, the combined Anglo-Turkish fleet sighted the Egyptian coast, slightly to the west of Alexandria. In full view of the town, the vessels sailed eastward to their planned beach-head in a small bay almost under the guns of Aboukir Castle.

All hope of surprise was thus lost. The only advantage of the site chosen was the possibility of finding fresh water close to the beach. That evening the Fleet anchored off Aboukir Bay, and the landing was ordered for the morning of the 4th, at dawn. During the night, however, a gale blew up, and the landing had to be postponed, much to the chagrin of all concerned in the crazily-pitching transports at anchor.

Sir John Moore had even more reason for rage—since he had accompanied Abercromby on a reconnaissance of the beach at considerable peril—for the landing was once again postponed on the 6th. No wonder the mood of the sea-sick soldiers was “grim,” as Moore described it: it appeared to be the Cadiz story all over again.

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