1801 - Capture of Marabou and Alexandria


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 British and French Fleets - Mediterranean 108

including three officers, having perished in the desert with thirst.

The last division of the French troops taken prisoners at Cairo and at other places, the whole of which amounted to nearly 13,500 men, having, by the 10th of August, sailed from the bay of Aboukir, and Lieutenant-general Hutchinson having arrived from Cairo at his head-quarters before Alexandria, immediate measures were taken to reduce that remaining stronghold of the French in Egypt, and thus accomplish the ultimate object of the expedition.

On the night of the 16th about 5000 troops under Major-general Coote, embarked on Lake Mareotis, in the boats of the men of war and transports, and in a quantity of djerms which had been assembled for the purpose, and, escorted by the flotilla of gun-vessels still under the orders of Captain Stevenson, proceeded to a position to the westward of the town of Alexandria. Early on the morning of the 17th the detachment disembarked with a slight opposition ; previous to which the French had set fire to their flotilla of 18 gun-boats, which had been stationed opposite to Pompey's pillar, under the protection of a battery of three long 18-pounders. The slight opposition experienced by the British is acknowledged by the French to have been mainly owing to the spirited demonstration which Captain Sir Sidney Smith, with some sloops of war and armed boats, made upon the town of Alexandria from the sea.

On the night of the 18th a combined military and naval attack was made upon the small, fortified island of Marabou, which protects the entrance to the western or great harbour of Alexandria. The naval force consisted of the armed launches of the squadron, under the command of Captain Cochrane of the Ajax. Finding it in vain to hold out longer, the commandant of Marabou, chef de brigade Etienne, capitulated on the 21st; and on the same evening Captain Cochrane, with the ship-sloops Cynthia and Bonne-Citoyenne, brig-sloops Port-Mahon and Victorieuse, and three Turkish corvettes, entered the harbour: soon after which, to prevent the further progress of the British to the eastward, the French sank several merchant vessels, having previously moved their two 64s, frigates, and corvettes, from Cape Figuiers close up to the town at the extremity of the harbour.

On the morning of the 26th four batteries on each side of the town were opened against the intrenched camp of the French ; and on the 27th, in the evening, being thus pressed on all sides, General Menou sent an aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-general Hutchinson to request a three days' armistice, in order to give time to prepare a capitulation. This was acceded to ; and on the 2d of September Alexandria surrendered. By the terms of the treaty the garrison, consisting of upwards of 8000 soldiers,

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