Battle of the NileThe 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

Summary:

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.

  Ships Guns Captain Ships fate
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 UK Captured. Scuttled (burnt) 18 Aug.
France Conquérant 74 Etienne Dalbarade (Mortally Wounded) UK Captured
France Spartiate 74 Maurice-Julien Emeriau  UK Captured  
France Aquilon 74 Henri-Alexandre Thévenard (Killed in Action) UK Captured 
France Peuple Souverain 74 Pierre-Paul Raccord UK Captured 
France Franklin 80 Flag - Rear-Admiral Armand Blanquet du Chayla
Cptn. - Maurice Gillet
UK 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)
UK Captured
France Heureux 74 Jean-Pierre Étienne  UK Captured. Scuttled (burnt) 16 Aug.
France Mercure 74 Lt. Cambon UK 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

 

Battle_Nile_Diagram

© 2008-2017 David Hayes (Astrodene)