1805 - Full strength of Invasion Flotilla


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1805 Invasion Flotilla 315

so near to the shore. " Les cris à l'abordage ! a l'abordage ! " says the writer, " retentissaient dans la ligne française." This, if we are to credit the French accounts, is about the hundredth time that the same cry has been uttered ; and yet the French sailors, for some reason or other, have not moved from their own decks.

If, by his perseverance in pushing on towards Ambleteuse, Admiral Ver-Huell had got his gun-vessels somewhat roughly handled by the British, he had brought down upon the latter such a storm of shot and shells from the French batteries, as compelled there to retire to repair damages, thereby leaving open a passage for the remaining divisions of the Gallo-Batavian flotilla at Dunkerque; some of which appear to have reached Ambleteuse in the course of the night succeeding the action. On the next day, the 20th, an account was taken of the different vessels of the flotilla, armed and unarmed, which then lay at the seven ports, Etaples, Boulogne, Vimereux, Ambleteuse, Calais, Dunkerque, and Ostende, whence the expedition was to depart. The number of prames and gun-vessels at Boulogne alone amounted to 578, and the number of transports to 526, together 1104 vessels ; and the total of the flotilla amounted to 1339 armed and 954 unarmed vessels. making a grand total of 2293. These were destined to carry 163,645 men and 9059 horses, including among the former 16,783 sailors. *

The flotilla was separated into six grand divisions. The first under the designation of the left wing, commanded by Rear-admiral Jean-François Courand, and stationed at the port of Etaples, was destined to carry the troops from the camp of Montreuil, commanded by Marshal Ney ; the second and third, called the left and right wings of the centre of the flotilla, under the respective commands of Rear-admiral Daniel Savary and Capitaine de vaisseau Julien Le Ray, occupied the port of Boulogne, and were destined to carry the troops from the two camps to the right and left of the town, commanded by Marshal Soult ; the fourth, named the right wing of the flotilla, commanded by Capitaine de vaisseau Francois-Henri-Eugène Daugier, occupied the port of Vimereux, and was to carry the corps of Marshal Lannes, composed of sundry divisions of light infantry, among which were those of the grenadiers of the advance and of the reserve. The Gallo-Batavian flotilla, assembled at the port of Ambleteuse, under the command of Vice-admiral Ver-Huell, formed the fifth grand division of the expedition, and was to carry the troops commanded by Marshal Davoust. The sixth or reserve division, lying in the port of Calais, under the command of Capitaine de frégate Charles L'Evêque, was destined, to transport the division of Italian infantry, and several division of dragoons, mounted and dismounted.

* See Appendix No 34

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