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had not yet learned to act in combined masses with success, even against a beaten Elevated by the partial advantage that their bravery and physical strength had procured, they rushed out tumultuously from their entrenchments, and, according to their custom, began lopping off the heads of the slain and wounded. In the dispersion necessary to this barbarous operation, they exposed themselves to an impetuous attack of the republican generals, Lannes and the afterwards celebrated Murat. A dreadful carnage ensued, which terminated in a total defeat of the Turbans, and the recapture of Aboukir.
In this sanguinary conflict the greatest part of the Turkish army perished, for those who escaped the sword were mostly drowned in their fruitless attempt to get off to the vessels in the bay. As they had so lately refused quarter to the enemy, they expected and they received none.
Disastrous as was this defeat to the common cause, it was productive of one advantage, the freeing of the Egyptian soil from the presence of Bonaparte. This last victory of his forces afforded him the means of making his flight appear the less dishonourable. He immediately sent home a splendid despatch of his victory, and, four days
after its receipt by the Directory, he astonished them by his presence, having left Egypt on the 24th August, and landed at Frejus on the following 7th of October, to commence a career of military glory, for long unchecked until the fatal opposition of the English in Spain.
- Towards the conclusion of this October, a considerable reinforcement of troops and ships having arrived from Constantinople, Sir William Sidney Smith, accompanied by the Turkish vice-admiral, Seid Ali Bey, resolved to proceed to the Damietta branch of the Nile, and to make an attack on that quarter, which, by thus occupying the attention of the enemy, would leave the Grand Vizier more at liberty to advance on the French, with the grand Egyptian army, on the side of the Desert. This plan of operations had been previously arranged between the commanders of the two forces. The result of this we will give in the commodore's own words, in his despatch to Lord Nelson, dated November 8th, 1799. It is a melancholy recital, and goes completely to prove how inadequate were the Turkish troops to act in masses.
“ I lament to have to inform your Lordship of the melancholy death of Patrona Bey, the Turkish vice-admiral, who was assassinated at Cyprus in a mutiny of the Janissaries on the 18th October.
The command devolved on Seid Ali Bey, who had
and leave his highness more at liberty to advance with the grand army on the side of the Desert. The attack began by theTigre's boats taking possession of a ruined castle, situated on the eastern side of the Bogaz, or entrance of the channel, which the inundation of the Nile had insulated from the mainland, leaving a fordable passage. The Turkish flag displayed on the tower of this castle was at once the signal for the Turkish gunboats to advance, and for the enemy to open their fire in order to dislodge us : their nearest post being a redoubt on the mainland, with two thirty-two pounders, and an eight-pounder field-piece mounted thereon, at point-blank shot distance.
“ The fire was returned from the launch's carronade, mounted in a breach in the castle, and from field-pieces in the small boats, which soon obliged the enemy to discontinue working at an intrenchment they were making to oppose a
landing. Lieutenant Stokes was detached with the boats to check a body of cavalry advancing along the neck of land, in which he succeeded ; but, I am sorry to say, with the loss of one man killed and one wounded. This interchange of shot continued with little intermission during the 29th, 30th, and 31st, while the Turkish transports were drawing nearer to the landing-place, our shells from the carronade annoying the enemy
in his works and communications ; at length the magazine blowing up, and one of their thirtytwo pounders being silenced, a favourable moment offered for disembarkation. Orders were given accordingly; but it was not till the morning of the 1st of November that they could effectuate this operation.
“This delay gave time for the enemy to collect a force more than double that of the first division landed, and to be ready to attack it before the return of the boats with the remainder. The French advanced to the charge with bayonets. The Turks completely exculpated themselves from the suspicion of cowardice having been the cause of their delay; for when the enemy were within ten yards of them, they rushed on, sabre in hand, and in an instant completely routed the first line of the French infantry. The day was ours for the moment; but the impetuosity of Osman Aga and his troops occasioned them to quit the station assigned them as a corps of reserve, and to run forward in pursuit of the fugitives. European tactics were of course advantageously employed by the French at this critical juncture. Their body of reserve came on in perfect order, while a charge of cavalry on the left of the Turks put them completely to the rout in their turn. Our flanking fire from the castle and boats, which had been hitherto plied with evident effect, was now necessarily suspended by the impossibility of pointing clear of the Turks in the confusion. The latter turned a random fire on the boats, to make them take them off, and the sea was in an instant covered with turbans, while the air was filled with piteous moans, calling to us for assistance. It was (as at Aboukir) a duty of some difficulty to afford it them, without being victims to their impatience, or overwhelmed with numbers: we however persevered, and saved all, except those whom the French took prisoners, by wading into the water after them; neither