Battle of the Nile

The Battle of the Nile started late on the 1st August 1798 and took place throughout the night in Abū Qīr (Aboukir) Bay, Egypt.

The Royal Navy, under the command of Sir Horatio Nelson with 14 ships of the line defeated an anchored French fleet of 13 ships of the line under the command of Francois-Paul Brueys D’Aigalliers


As many of the French sailors were ashore the anchored French fleet was unable to weigh on the sudden appearance of the British. Brueys may also have expected them to wait for morning to enter the shallow bay. Cptn. Thomas Foley leading the line in HMS Goliath realised there was sufficient depth to pass round the end of the French line and engage from the landward side. He did so followed by other ships of the fleet.

Vanguard lead the rest of the fleet down the seaward side leaving part of the French fleet engaged on both sides whilst some were not enaged. As the battle raged Orient was seen to be on fire. The nearest British ships seeing the danger stopped firing, closed their gunports and began edging away from the blazing flagship. Three French ships also cut their anchor cables and drifted away. At about 22:00 the fire reached the magazines and the ship was torn apart by a massive explosion, which was so stunning that all firing ceased for a while. Next morning the surviving French ships Guillaume Tell, Généreux, Justice and Diane, formed up and stood out to sea.   

British casualties were 218 killed and approximately 677 wounded. French casualties are estimated from 2,000 to 5,000, with a suggested a median point of 3,500 which includes over a thousand captured wounded and nearly 2,000 killed, half of which died on Orient.

Novels based around this battle.

Plan of the Battle

Ships Present

British Fleet

UK Goliath (74) Thomas Foley

UK Zealous (74) Samuel Hood

UK Orion (74) Cptn. Sir James Saumarez (Second in Command)

UK Audacious (74) Davidge Gould

UK Theseus (74) Ralph Willet Miller

UK Vanguard (74) Flag - Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, Cptn. - Edward Berry

UK Minotaur (74) Thomas Louis

UK Defence (74) John Peyton

UK Bellerophon (74) Henry D'Esterre Darby Dismasted. Drifted away

UK Majestic (74) George Blagdon Westcott (Killed in Action)

UK Leander (50) Thomas Boulden Thompson

UK Alexander (74) Alexander Ball

UK Swiftsure (74) Benjamin Hallowell

UK Culloden (74) Thomas Troubridge Grounded. Did not engage


French Fleet

France Guerrier (74) Jean-François-Timothée Trullet Captured. Scuttled (burnt) 18 Aug.

France Conquérant (74) Etienne Dalbarade (Mortally Wounded) Captured

France Spartiate (74) Maurice-Julien Emeriau Captured

France Aquilon (74) Henri-Alexandre Thévenard (Killed in Action) Captured

France Peuple Souverain (74) Pierre-Paul Raccord Captured

France Franklin (80) Flag - Rear-Admiral Armand Blanquet du Chayla, Cptn. - Maurice Gillet Captured

France Orient (118) Flag - Vice-Admiral Francois-Paul Brueys D’Aigalliers, Contre-Admiral Honoré Ganteaume, Cptn. - Luc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca (Killed in Action) Exploded

France Tonnant (80) Commodore Aristide Aubert Du Petit Thouars (Killed in Action) Captured

France Heureux (74) Jean-Pierre Étienne Captured. Scuttled (burnt) 16 Aug.

France Mercure (74) Lt. Cambon Captured. Scuttled (burnt) 18 Aug.

France Guillaume Tell (80) Flag - Rear-Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve, Cptn. - Saulnier Escaped

France Généreux (74) Captain Louis-Jean-Nicolas Le Joille Escaped

France Timoléon (74) Captain Louis-Léonce Trullet Run aground and scuttled (blown up) 3 Aug.


British Fleet - Also Present

UK Mutine (16) Lt. Thomas Hardy 


French Fleet - Also Present

France Justice (44) Cptn. Villeneuve Escaped

France Diane (38) Flag - Contre-Admiral Denis Decrès, Cptn. - Éléonore-Jean-Nicolas Soleil Escaped

France Artémise (36) Pierre-Jean Standelet Surrendered but run aground and scuttled (blown up) 3 Aug.

France Sérieuse (36) Claude-Jean Martin Sunk by Orion 1 August, later burnt

France Salamine (18?) Escaped

France Railleur (14?) Escaped

France Alerte (12?)

France Hercule (7?) Scuttled

Plan of the Battle


© 2008-2024 David Hayes (Astrodene)