1799 - Sir Sidney Smith at Acre


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 British and French Fleets 286

13-inch mortar on board the Perseus burst, whereby one man was killed and three wounded, and the mainmast sprung. This, besides sinking two French transports in the harbour, and frightening the Turkish ships of war out of it (consisting of one or two frigates or corvettes), appears to have been all the mischief which the seven bombardments had occasioned.

On the 3d of March the British 74-gun ship Tigre, Commodore Sir William Sidney Smith, in company with the Marianne armed galliot, a French gun-vessel captured two days before, arrived off Alexandria, to supersede Captain Troubridge in the command of the squadron on that station. Sir Sidney had been invested with the rank of minister plenipotentiary to the Sublime Porte, jointly with his brother, Mr. John Spencer Smith, and had since been at Constantinople and at the island of Rhodes, arranging a plan of active co-operation on the part of the Turks against the French in Egypt.

Having obtained the concurrence of Captain Troubridge, Sir Sidney immediately despatched to Achmed-Djezzar at St.-Jean-d'Acre Lieutenant John Westley Wright of the Tigre, attended by an interpreter, in order to arrange with that personage the plan of future operations. In the mean time another bombardment was made upon Alexandria, but with as little effect as any of the preceding ones. On the 7th Captain Troubridge, with the Culloden and two bomb-vessels, sailed to join Lord Nelson ; leaving Sir Sidney with the Tigre, Theseus, Alliance, and the two gun-vessels Torride and Marianne. On the same evening an express arrived from Djezzar with an account of the invasion of Syria by Buonaparte, and of his having, that very day, carried Jaffa by storm.

On the 8th, in consequence of this intelligence, the commodore despatched the Theseus to Acre, with Colonel Phelipeaux, of the engineers, a French royalist officer of distinction and a tried friend of Sir Sidney's. The Tigre, meanwhile, remained before Alexandria to observe the enemy's maritime movement ; when, remarking that most of the vessels in the old or western port had removed to the eastern or new, Sir Sidney conjectured that an expedition by sea was on foot. Receiving a confirmation of this from a neutral vessel which had sailed from Alexandria on the night of the 9th, Sir Sidney, on the 10th, detached Mr. James Boxer, midshipman of the Tigre, in the prize galliot Marianne, with orders to examine minutely the coast to the eastward, and to rejoin the commodore in the road of Caïffa, a port about eight miles south-west of St.-Jean-d'Acre, and towards which the Tigre immediately made sail.

On the 15th, having been rejoined off Caïffa by the Marianne, the Tigre anchored in the bay of Acre, in company with the Theseus, who had arrived two days before. On the 16th Sir Sidney landed and paid a visit to Djezzar ; and, assisted by Colonel Phelipeaux, Captain Miller, and some other officers,

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