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BRITISH EXPEDITION TO EGYPT.
extent of 5000 men; and Prince Eugène was at the same time directed to send Colonels Haxo and Foy, with Engineers and Artillery, to render the Turkish capital secure from future insults from the British and Russians.
In the month of June this year the unfortunate Sultan fell a sacri. fice to popular fury in his own capital, as will be after related, and was succeeded by Mustapha, who, however, adhered to the cause of Napoleon.
2. BRITISH EXPEDITION TO EGYPT. The attack by the British on the capital of Turkey was immediately followed by an expedition against her distant possessions. Egypt was thought to be an easy acquisition from the feeble sceptre of the Porte, and, could the statesmen of that day have looked half a century a-head, it would have been well worth the conquest. At the time, it was considered more as a blow against Napoleon, who still warmly coveted it, than as an operation that would injure Turkey, or a gain that would compensate an expenditure of blood and treasure on the part of Great Britain. However, the Government had already collected troops for this purpose at Sicily, contemporaneously with the attack on the Turkish capital. On the 6th of March, the “ Tigre,” 74, Captain Benjamin Hallowell, accompanied by the “ Apollo,” 38, Captain Fellowes, and the “Wizard,” 16, Captain Palmer, with 33 sail of transports, having 5000 troops on board, under Major-General Fraser, set sail from Messina, and on the 15th the “ Tigre,” keeping the rest of the expedition out of sight, reached the offing of Alexandria, and summoned the governor. This having been refused, Captain Hallowell waited till the 20th, when the whole of the armament anchored in Aboukir Bay; the troops, to the number of 1000 men, were, amidst many difficulties, got on shore, with five field pieces and a detachment of blue jackets, under Lieutenant Boxer, who moved forward the following day, and took possession of the castle. The Governor, as soon as he perceived the accession of strength, accepted terms of capitulation, and on the 21st, the anniversary of the battle of Alexandria, the city was taken possession of. On the 22nd, Vice-Admiral Duckworth arrived on the coast, and Captain Hallowell landed and joined Major-General Fraser, who, having all his troops on shore, detached 500 to effect the reduction of Rosetta and Rahmanéeh, the possession of which was deemed essential to supply, not only the troops, but the inhabitants of Alexandria with food, who otherwise might run a risk of being starved. These men, consisting of the 31st regiment and chasseurs Britanniques, were placed under the command of General Wauchope, who, without any loss, obtained possession of the heights of Aboo Mandoor, which command the former town; but, instead of keeping post there, he led his whole force into Rosetta, where such a fire was poured upon them from the windows and tops of the houses, that, after a loss of 300 men, they withdrew, and were recalled to Alexandria. Another detachmert, 2,500 strong, under
1807.7 WELLINGTON'S FAMOUS AXIOM ILLUSTRATED.
the command of Brigadiers Stewart and Oswald, appeared before the Alexandrian gate of Rosetta, on the 9th of April, and summoned the town to surrender. This being received with defiance, batteries were forthwith prepared ; but, as there was reason to expect that a large body of Mamelukes were about to join the British army, Lieut.-Colonel Macleod, with 700 men, were sent to El Hammed, in order to facilitate a junction with the expected succour; several days of suspense passed by, however, until at length, on the morning of the 22nd, 60 or 70 vessels were seen descending the Nile, when it was discovered that this was a reinforcement sent down from Cairo to the enemy! Orders were at once transmitted to Colonel Macleod to come with all expedition to the main body, but these orders were intercepted, and the detachment at El Hammed was surrounded by an overwhelming force of
Turkish horse, and after a gallant resistance, in which the whole of their ammunition was expended, they found themselves hopelessly cut off, and obliged to lay down their arms. Brigadier Stewart hastily collected the remainder of his force, and made good his retreat, but had to fight the whole way to Alexandria, losing 1000 killed, wounded, and missing, in the march. From whatever cause arising, the little army was now left wholly isolated, nor, as might have been expected, did any reinforcements arrive from the Mediterranean garrisons of Malta and Gibraltar. The fortifications of Alexandria certainly enabled the British to bid defiance to the enemy, and it was soon discovered that all apprehensions of famine were groundless. Rice enough for a year's consumption, and wheat sufficient to supply the army, navy, and inhabitants, for many months, were found in the magazines, and, indeed, provisions of all kinds were readily brought in by the inhabitants, during the whole period of the stay of the British. Nevertheless, there was great animosity in the surrounding country against the intrusion of an European force, which, through the indiscretions of Fraser and Wauchope, had obtained no respect among them for prowess; and now a formidable force of infantry and cavalry appeared from the side of Cairo, under Mehemet-Ali. General Fraser, who had been abandoned by Duckworth, and deprived of the aid of Admiral Louis by death, on board the “ Canopus,” now saw himself without any hopes of relief, or even, as it would appear, of instructions from home, and, losing all heart, sent a flag of truce to the Pacha, announcing that, on the delivery of the British prisoners in his hands, the army under his command would evacuate Egypt. This condition was accepted without hesitation, and on the 23rd the troops re-embarked on board their ships and returned to Sicily. The government of the day had taken an impolitic step in this affair, and furnished an illustration of Wellington's famous saying, “ that a great country should never make a little war.” An expedition should never be sent out without reserves being sent in succession after it, which are as essential in the plan of an enterprise as in the hour of battle.
CURACOA STORMED BY CAPTAIN BRISBANE.
3. CAPTURE OF CURACOA. A squadron of frigates was despatched by Vice-Admiral Dacres, Commanding-in-Chief on the West India station, to reconnoitre the island of Curaçoa, and ascertain the disposition of the population to ally themselves with Great Britain. Accordingly, the “ Arethusa," 38, Captain Charles Brisbane, the “ Latona," 38, Captain Wood, the “ Anson," 44, Captain Lydiard, and “ Fisgard,” 38, Captain Bolton, were placed under the command of Brisbane for this object. This gallant officer, however, having more taste and abilities for fighting than for negotiating, thought that the most ready mode of carrying out his orders was to dash right into the harbours, and, by pointing the muzzles of his guns into the windows and doors of the burghers, at once command their ready acquiescence.to the transfer of their allegiance. At one in the morning of the 1st of January, the high land of Curaçoa was sighted, and the frigates having hove to hoisted out their boats and took them in tow. At daylight the squadron entered the port, and was received by the Dutch forts and shipping with a smart though ineffective fire. The frigates, however, held on until they took up a position for opening their broadsides, when Captain Brisbane sent off to the Governor the following summons: “ The British squadron under my command are here to protect and not to conquer you; to preserve to you. your lives, liberty, and property. If a shot is fired after receipt of this summons at any one of my squadron, I shall immediately storm your batteries. You have five minutes to accede to this determination.” No notice being taken of this mission, all the frigates opened their broadsides, and, after three had been given, Brisbane, at the head of a portion of his crew, boarded and carried the Dutch frigate “Halstaar,” 36, Captain Cornelius Evertz, while Captain Lydiard, with a party from the “ Anson," did the same with the “Surinam,” 20, Captain Van Ness. This done, Brisbane and Lydiard pulled straight for the shore, and landing together proceeded to assault Fort Amsterdam, mounting 60 guns in two tiers, which stood on the right hand of the port. The vigour of the assault was such, that, though garrisoned by 275 soldiers, the fort was carried in about ten minutes. A chain of forts on Misselburgh heights and the citadel were next assaulted and speedily secured, and 300 seamen and marines were landed to attack Fort République, an almost impregnable fortress upon a high hill, on which the British flag was seen to wave by 10 o'clock, when the whole island submitted with no greater loss to the squadron than 3 killed and 14 wounded. The Dutch are represented to have lost in killed and wounded about 200 men, including the Dutch Commodore, who was killed, and the Captain of the “Surinam” severely wounded. The Dutch resisted bravely ; and, but for the suddenness of the attack, and the immediate occupation of the harbour, would have assembled a considerable reinforcement against the assailants. Perhaps a valuable colony, so protected and so defended, never before fell to a
CANNONADING OF MONTE VIDEO.
squadron of four frigates and three ships' companies without a single soldier, on any better negotiation than pluck, energy, and rapidity.
4. BRITISH EXPEDITION TO MONTE VIDEO. The British Government, displeased at the unauthorised proceedings of Sir Home Popham in the capture of Buenos Ayres, ordered him to England to be tried by a court-martial; but the subsequent events in the river La Plate, which had brought disgrace on the British arms, required to be wiped out, and accordingly a reinforcement of 3000 men was sent there, under the command of BrigadierGeneral Sir Samuel Auchmuty, which, on arriving in the river on the 5th of January, under convoy of the “ Ardent,” 64, Captain Ross Donelly, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sterling, found the remnant of the former expedition cooped up in Maldonado, with a scanty supply of provisions, and exposed to the daring insults of the adventurous horsemen of the Pampas. On the 13th, Maldonado was relieved and evacuated, and Sir Samuel and the Admiral resolved to turn their arms against Monte Video, a fortified seaport admirably situated for a depôt and base of operations, but respectably garrisoned, and mounting 160 pieces of cannon on its ramparts. The squadron assembled for the purpose consisted of the “ Diadem,” 64, Captain Warren, to which vessel the Admiral shifted his flag, the “ Raisonable,” 64, Captain Josias Rowley, the “ Ardent,” 64, Captain Donelly, the “ Lancaster," 64, Captain Fothergill ; with the following frigates—“ Leda,"38, Captain Honeyman,“ Unicorn,” 32, Captain Hardyman, “ Medusa," 32, Captain Hon. Philip Duncombe, besides sloops and gun-brigs. The conjunct expedition assembled off the island of Flores, and on the 16th effected a landing about 8 miles to the westward of the town, then on the 19th the army advanced and encamped 6 miles nearer Monte Video. The enemy came out of the town and attacked Auchmuty with their whole force, consisting of 6000 men and several guns. They advanced in two columns : the right one, consisting entirely of cavalry, attempted to turn his left flank, while the left one, consisting exclusively of infantry, made a front attack. The British force of 400 being somewhat pressed, Colonel Browne, in command of that wing, sent up three companies of the 40th, under Major Campbell, who fell with such impetuosity on the head of the attacking column that it gave way. An attack from some light troops completed the rout, and the Spaniards escaped into the town with the loss of a gun. The Spanish cavalry, seeing this, rapidly retired without coming into action. On the 25th, the General opened his breaching batteries, and the lighter vessels of the squadron, which could get near enough, maintained a distant cannonade. The siege continued with various results until the end of February, but the defences of the place were found stronger than had been expected : the powder in the fleet was almost all blown away, and intrenching tools were, as usual, bad and insufficient. To add to these anxieties, 4000 troops, with 20 guns, were reported to be approaching to raise 10
HONOUR OF THE BRITISH FLAG AVENGED.
the siege. Under such critical circumstances, the General resolved to hazard an assault, though the breach which had been effected could scarcely be called practicable, and orders were issued for the attack an hour before daybreak on the 3rd. A summons was sent in to the Governor, which received no answer. Accordingly, the troops destined for the assault moved forward - the light infantry and rifles under Lieut.-Colonel Brownrigg, in advance, were followed by the grenadiers under Majors Campbell and Tucker, and the 58th under Lieut.-Colonel Vassall. These were supported by the 40th under Major Dalrymple, and 87th under Lieut.-Colonel Butler ; the whole commanded by Colonel Browne. The reserve was under the command of Brigadier Lumley, and consisted of the 17th Light Dragoons, and 3 squadrons of the 20th and 21st, under Lieut.Colonel Lloyd, the 47th, one company of the 71st, and 700 marines and seamen. The assailing party had nearly arrived at the breach before they were discovered, and a heavy fire was opened upon them ; but when they reached it they found it barricaded with fresh hides, and so shut up that it was mistaken for the untouched wall. Under these circumstances, the troops halted, exposed to a heavy fire, until the breach was discovered by Captain Renny, of the 40th, who led the way, and fell, but was followed by the advance, who soon pressed into the town; cannon had also been placed at the head of all the streets, but the troops, nevertheless, rushed forward in all directions, clearing the way and overturning the guns. The 87th moved to the north gate, which they expected their friends to open for them, but, too impatient to wait, they followed their Colonel up the walls, and the town, except the citadel, was secured before daylight. In these affairs, from the landing of the troops to this glorious storm, the loss of the British was about 140 killed and 350 wounded, of whom Lieut.-Colonels Vassell and Brownrigg died of their wounds, and the Brigadier Auchmuty had a horse killed under him. The casualties in the navy were few, but they captured in the harbour about 70 rigged vessels and some row gun-boats. The ships of war taken were of little value, and a sloop of war, with a vast quantity of treasure on board, was blown up during the storm.
The honour of the British flag was thus far completely avenged; but, in the anxiety of the nation to wipe out the disgrace attending Sir Home Popham and General Beresford's failure, the government, at the same time that they sent off Sir Samuel Auchmuty's expedition, directed a force of 4200 men, under General Craufurd, which had been intended for another service, to proceed to the Plata, and these two detachments effected a junction at Moi te Video on the 2nd of June, and on the 15th Major-General Whitelocke arrived to assume the command of the entire force, now amounting to upwards of 7972 men, with 18 pieces of artillery. With this force it was deemed advisable to make an attack up in Buenos Ayres. The command of the squadron was at the saine time assumed by Rear-Admiral George Murray, whose flag was on board the “Polyphemus,” 64, Captain P. Heywood. Under luis