Imatges de pÓgina

Such, as we have above described, was the critical position of the Turkish garrison and their brave allies when Hassan Bey's reinforcement arrived. The reader will of course understand that they came along the sea-coast in transports. These troops, before the vessels anchored, were hurried into the boats, but they were still distant from the shore, whilst the French were rallying the last and their best energies to carry the town. Such being the critical position of affairs, a strenuous and sudden effort on the part of the British was indispensable to preserve the place for a short time, until the landing and receiving the reinforcements into the fortress.

This effort, at once gallant, wise, and successful, with its subsequent operations, we shall give in Sir William Sidney Smith's own words, in his animated and graphic official report to Lord Nelson.


* Tigre, Acre, May 9. My Lord, --I had the honour to inform

your lordship, by my letter of the 2d instant, that we were busily employed completing two ravelins for the reception of cannon to flank the enemy's nearest approaches, distant only ten yards from them. They were attacked that very night, and almost every night since, but the enemy have each time been repulsed with very considerable


loss. The enemy continued to batter in breach with progressive success, and have nine several times attempted to storm, but have as often been beaten back with immense slaughter.. Our best mode of defence has been frequent sorties to keep them on the defensive, and impede the progress of their covering works. We have thus been in one continued battle ever since the beginning of the siege, interrupted only at short intervals by the excessive fatigue of every individual on both sides. We have been long anxiously looking for a reinforcement, without which we could not expect to be able to keep the place so long as we have. The delay in its arrival being occasioned by Hassan Bey's having originally had orders to join me in Egypt, I was obliged to be very peremptory in the repetition of my orders for him to join me here: it was not, however, till the evening of the day before yesterday, the fifty-first day of the siege, that his fleet of corvettes and transports made its appearance.

The approach of this additional strength was the signal to Bonaparte for a most vigorous and persevering assault, in hopes to get possession of the town before the reinforcement to the garrison could disembark.

“ The constant fire of the besiegers was suddenly increased tenfold ; our flanking fire afloat was, as usual, plied to the utmost, but with less effect than heretofore, as the enemy had thrown up epaulments and traverses of sufficient thickness to protect him from it. The guns that could be.worked to the greatest advantage were a French brass eighteen-pounder in the light-house castle, manned from the Theseus, under the direction of Mr. Scroder, master's mate, and the last mounted twenty-four-pounder in the north ravelin, manned from the Tigre, under the direction of Mr. Jones, midshipman. These guns being within grape distance of the head of the attacking column, added to the Turkish musketry, did great execution ; and I take this opportunity of recommending these two petty officers, whose indefatigable vigilance and zeal merit my warmest praise.

. The Tigre's two sixty-eight pound carronades, mounted in two dgermes, lying in the Mole, and worked under the direction of Mr. Bray, carpenter of the Tigre, (one of the bravest and most intelligent men I ever served with,) threw shells into the centre of this column with evident effect, and checked it considerably. Still, however, the enemy gained ground, and made a lodgment in the second story of the north-east tower; the upper part being entirely battered down, and the ruins in the ditch forming the ascent by which they mounted. Daylight showed us the French standard on the outer angle of the tower. The

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fire of the besieged was much slackened, in comparison to that of the besiegers, and our flanking fire was become of less effect, the enemy having covered themselves in this lodgment and the approach to it by two traverses across the ditch, which they had constructed under the fire that had been opposed to them during the whole night, and which were now seen, composed of sandbags, and the bodies of their dead built in with them, their bayonets only being visible above them. Hassan Bey's troops were in the boats, though as yet but half way on shore. This was a most critical point of the contest, and an effort was necessary to preserve the place for a short time till their arrival.

“ I accordingly landed the boats at the Mole, and took the crews up to the breach, armed with pikes. The enthusiastic gratitude of the Turks, men, women, and children, at the sight of such a reinforcement, at such a time, is not to be described.

Many fugitives returned with us to the breach, which we found defended by a few brave Turks, whose most destructive missile weapons

, were heavy stones, which, striking the assailants on the head, overthrew the foremost down the slope, and impeded the progress of the rest. A succession, however, ascended to the assault, the




heap of ruins between the two parties serving as a breastwork to both; the muzzles of their muskets touching, and the spear-heads of their standards locked. Dgezzar Pasha, hearing the English were on the breach, quitted his station, where, according to the ancient Turkish custom, he was sitting to reward such as should bring him the heads of the enemy, and distributing musket cartridges with his own hands. The energetic old man, coming behind us, pulled us


, down with violence; saying, if any harm happened to his English friends, all was lost. This amicable contest, as to who should defend the breach, occasioned a rush of Turks to the spot ; and thus time was gained for the arrival of the first body of Hassan Bey's troops. I had now to combat the Pasha's repugnance to admitting any troops but his Albanians into the garden of his seraglio, which had become a very important post, as occupying the terreplein of the rampart. There were about two hundred of the original one thousand Albanians left alive. This was no time for debate, and I overruled his objections by introducing the Chifflick regiment, of one thousand men, armed with bayonets, disciplined after the European method under Sultan Selim's own eye,

and placed, by his Imperial Majesty's express command, at my disposal. The garrison, ani

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