Nile, battle of the

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Nile, battle of the, 1798. The site of this annihilating encounter between thirteen British ships of the line under Nelson, and thirteen French under Brueys, is at the western end of Aboukir Bay. This extends some 18 miles south-west/north-east 20 miles east of Alexandria, close to Rosetta on the Nile delta. In the evening of 1 August 1798, after a chase of over two months, Nelson sighted Brueys's ships there, Napoleon having disembarked the ‘Army of Egypt’ at Alexandria a month before. Brueys had moored his ships in line about 3 miles offshore, but at intervals which prevented them from mutual support if attacked: their moorings betrayed their situation, since each ship was moored only at the bows, showing that each had room to swing to either side and yet be clear of shoals. In a night action five British ships attacked from the landward side where the French were least prepared for action, and seven from seaward, led by Nelson in Vanguard. By midday on 2 August all but two of Brueys's ships had surrendered, at no British loss. In consequence French land forces were both marooned and blockaded. Nelson was rewarded with a barony.

David Denis Aldridge