Battle of CopenhagenThe Battle of Copenhagen took pace on 2nd April 1801 anchored of Copenhagen.

The Royal Navy, under the command of Sir Horatio Nelson (overall command Sir Hyde Parker) defeated the Danish defenders under Olfert Fischer and Steen Bille. 

Summary:

The League of Armed Neutrality comprising Scandinavia, Prussia, and Russia, to enforce free trade with France, was seen by Britain as a threat to the supply of timber and naval stores from Scandinavia.

A fleet was sent which needed to act before the Baltic Sea thawed and released the Russian fleet. Parker was ordered to detach Denmark from the League by 'amicable arrangement or by actual hostilities'. On 30 March they passed through the narrows.

The Danish fleet was moored along the shore with old ships (hulks), no longer fit for service at sea, but still powerfully armed, as a line of floating batteries off the eastern coast of the island of Amager, in front of the city in the King's Channel. The northern end of the line terminated at the Tre Kroner forts armed with 68 guns. Batteries covered the water between the Danish line and the shore, and further out to sea a large shoal, the Middle Ground, constricted the channel. The British spent most of the night of 31 March taking soundings in the channel up to the Danish line.

Parker gave Nelson the shallower draft ships whilst he remained to the north-east screening Nelson from external interference. The British ships anchored by the stern about a cable (240 yards) from the Danes and they exchanged broadsides until a ship ceased firing. Thinking that Nelson might be being fought to a stand-still but unable to retreat without orders Parker signalled to discontinue the action but upon receiving it Nelson made his famous comment "You know, Foley, I only have one eye - I have the right to be blind sometimes," and holding his telescope to his blind eye "I really do not see the signal!".

Eventually the superior gunnery of the British started to silence the Danish ships. The cessation of firing left the way open for the British bomb vessels to approach Copenhagen. Several Danish ships fired on British boats sent out to them after their officers had signalled their surrender and Nelson said that he 'must either send on shore and stop this irregular proceeding, or send in our fire ships and burn them'. He sent a note under a flag of truce to the Dano-Norwegian regent, Crown Prince Frederik. After a further exchange of notes a twenty-four hour ceasefire was agreed.

The Danish-Norwegian loses were estimated between 1,135 to 2,215 captured, killed or wounded. British casualties were 264 killed and 689 wounded. Eleven Danish prizes were burnt and Holsteen returned to England with the wounded.

Novels based around this battle.

  Ships Guns Captain Ships fate
British Fleet - Nelson's Squadron  
UK Polyphemus 64 John Lawford  
UK Isis 50 James Walker  
UK Edgar 74 George Murray  
UK Ardent 64 Thomas Bertie  
UK Glatton 56 William Bligh  
UK Elephant 74 Flag - Vice Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson
Cptn. - Thomas Foley
 
UK Ganges 74 Thomas Francis Fremantle  
UK Monarch 74 James Robert Mosse  
UK Defiance 74

Flag - Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves
Cptn. - Richard Retalick 

 
UK Russell 74 William Cuming  
UK Bellona 74 Thomas Boulden Thompson  
UK Agamemnon 64 Robert Devereux Fancourt  
UK Désirée 36 Henry Inman  
UK Amazon 38 Edward Riou (Killed in Action)  
UK Blanche 36 Graham Eden Hamond  
UK Alcmène 32 Samuel Sutton  
UK Jamaica 24 Jonas Rose  
UK Arrow 28 William Bolton  
UK Dart 28 John Ferris Devonshire  
UK Cruizer 18 Cdr. James Brisbane  
UK Harpy 18 Cdr. William Birchall  
UK Discovery Bomb Cdr. John Conn  
UK Explosion Bomb Cdr. John Henry Martin  
UK Hecla Bomb Cdr. Richard Hatherhill  
UK Sulphur Bomb Cdr. Hender Whitter  
UK Terror Bomb Cdr. Samuel Campbell Rowley  
UK Volcano Bomb Cdr. James Watson  
UK Zebra Bomb Cdr. Edward Sneyd Clay  
UK Otter Fireship Cdr. George M'Kinley  
UK Zephyr Fireship Cdr. Clotworthy Upton  
Danish Fleet - King's Deep Division (North to South)
Denmark Prøvesteenen 60 Cptn. L. F. Lassen UK Captured
Denmark Wagrien 50 Cptn. F.C. Risbrich UK Captured
Denmark Rendsborg 20 Lt. C.T.Egede UK Captured 
Denmark Nyborg 20 Lt. C.A. Rothe Sunk
Denmark Jylland 50 Cptn. E.O.Branth UK Captured 
Denmark Sværdfisken 20 Lt. S.S. Sommerfeldt  
Denmark Kronborg 22 Lt. J.E. Hauch UK Captured 
Denmark Hajen 20 Lt. J.N. Müller  
Denmark Dannebrog 60 Flag - Cptn. Olfert Fischer
Cptn. - F.A. Bruun
Caught fire & blew up
Denmark Elven 10 Lt. H. Holsten  
Denmark Grenier's float 20 (floating battery)  
Denmark Aggershus 20 Lt. T. Fassing Sunk
Denmark Siælland 74 Cptn. F.C.L. Harboe  
Denmark Charlotte Amalia 26 Cptn. H.H. Kofoed UK Captured 
Denmark Søehesten 18 Lt. B.U. Middelboe  
Denmark Holsteen 60 Cptn. J. Arenfelt UK Captured
Denmark Indfødsretten 64 A. de Turah  
Denmark Hjelperen 16 Lt. P.C. Lilienskiold Withdrew
Danish - Fortifications      
Denmark Sea battery TreKroner 68    
Denmark Sea Battery Lynetten      
Denmark Land battery Sixtus      
Denmark Land battery Quintus      
Denmark Fortress Kastellet      
British Fleet - Also Present - Parker's Reserve Squadron   
UK London 98

Flag - Admiral Sir Hyde Parker
Cptn. of the Fleet - William Domett
 Cptn. - Robert Walker Otway

 
UK St George 98 Thomas Masterman Hardy  
UK Defence 74 Henry Paulet  
UK Ramillies 74 James William Taylor Dixon  
UK Saturn 74 Robert Lambert  
UK Warrior 74 Charles Tyler  
UK Raisonnable 64 John Dilkes  
UK Veteran 64 Archibald Collingwood Dickson  
Danish Fleet - Also Present - Inner Run Division
Denmark Elephanten 70    
Denmark Mars 74    
Denmark Sarpen 18    
Denmark Nidelven 18    
Denmark Danmark 74    
Denmark Trekroner 74 (not to be confused with Tre Kroner fortress)  
Danish Fleet - Also Present - Inner Harbour Division (Flag - Cptn. Stein Bille)
Denmark Iris 40    
Denmark Aalborg   x  
Denmark Arendel   x  
Denmark Christiansund   x  
Denmark Flensborg   x  
Denmark Langesund   x  
Denmark Naskau      
Denmark Nykøbing   x  
Denmark Odense   x  
Denmark Stavaern      
Denmark Stege      
Denmark Viborg      

 

Battle_of_Copenhagen_Diagram

© 2008-2017 David Hayes (Astrodene)