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Copenhagen, battle of

Copenhagen, battle of, 1801. This encounter with the Danish fleet was fought on 2 April in the narrow 3-mile-long King's Channel, of varying depth, which bounded the eastern defences of the Danish capital. These consisted of the formidable Trekronor fort, flanked to the north by 5 moored warships and to the south by a redoubtable line of 7 unmasted warships and 10 floating batteries, all moored, heavily gunned and manned. The British under Sir Hyde Parker with Nelson as his second had 15 ships supported by a variety of assault craft and 600 soldiers. Following a daring navigation aided by a southerly wind the British attacked in line and broke the Danish defence, Danes and British each sustaining over 1,000 men killed. Nelson ‘turned his blind eye’ to Parker's premature signal to withdraw. The victory was as much a blow at Russia, leading the offensive ‘Northern League’, Nelson showing all his chivalry in subsequent armistice negotiations with the Danes.

David Denis Aldridge

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Copenhagen, battle of

battle of Copenhagen, 1801, an important incident of the French Revolutionary Wars. In Dec., 1800, Denmark joined Russia, Sweden, and Prussia in declaring the armed neutrality of the northern powers in the French Revolutionary Wars and in announcing that they would not comply with the British rules on neutral navigation. England considered this a threat and, without declaring war, sent a fleet under admirals Sir Hyde Parker and Horatio Nelson into the Baltic. On Apr. 2, 1801, Nelson attacked the Danish fleet at the roadsteads of Copenhagen. During the battle he deliberately fixed the telescope to his blind eye, thus ignoring Parker's signal to discontinue action, and destroyed the Danish fleet after a hard battle.

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