1801 - Armistice with Denmark


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 British and Danish Fleets 66

On the 23d the Blanche returned to the fleet, having on board, with Mr. Vansittart, Mr. Drummond, the British charge d'affaires at Copenhagen; and from the Danish government, instead of a reply of conciliation, came, as was to be expected, one of open defiance. Much valuable time had thus been lost, and the Danes were taking advantage of it in strengthening their means of defence ; the formidable appearance of which had already excited the surprise of the British envoy.

The pilots, who, not having to share the honours, felt it to be their interest to magnify the dangers of the expedition, occasioned a few more days to be dissipated in inactivity. In the course of these Admiral Parker sent a flag of truce to the governor of Elsineur, to inquire if he meant to oppose the passage of the fleet through the Sound. Governor Stricker replied, that the guns of Cronenburg castle would certainly he fired at any British ships of war that approached. At length, at 6 A.M. on the 30th, the British fleet got under way, and, with a fine breeze at north-north-west, proceeded into the Sound, in line ahead ; the van division commanded by Lord Nelson in the Elephant 74, into which ship, as a lighter and more active one than the St.-George, he had, the preceding day, shifted his flag; the centre division, by the commander-in-chief; and the rear division, by Rear-admiral Graves. At 7 a.m. the batteries at Elsineur commenced firing at the Monarch, who was the leading ship, and at the other ships, as they passed in succession. The distance, however, was so great, that not a shot struck the ships ; nor did any but the van-ships fire in return, and these only two or three broadsides. The seven bomb-vessels, however, threw shells ; 200 of which were stated to have fallen in Cronenburg and Helsingen, and, among other damages, to have killed two, and wounded 15 men. The bursting of a 24-pounder on board the Isis, whereby seven men were killed and wounded, was the only casualty that attended the British in their passage through the Sound.

As the strait at Elsineur is less than three miles across, a mid-channel passage would undoubtedly have exposed the ships to a fire from Cronenburg castle on the one side, and from the Swedish city of Helsinburg on the other ; but the latter, the batteries of which, instead of being a subject of dread as the pilots had given out, mounted only eight guns of a light caliber, did not make even a show of opposition. On observing this, the British inclined to the Swedish shore, passing within less than a mile of it; and thus avoided a fire which, as coming from nearly 100 pieces of cannon, could not fail to have been highly destructive. About noon, or soon after, the fleet anchored at some distance above the island of HuŽn, which is about 15 miles from the city of Copenhagen. The commander-in-chief, Vice-admiral Lord Nelson, and Rear-admiral Graves, accompanied by Captain Domett, and the commanding officer of the troops, then pro-

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