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List of the regiments and general officers employed in Egypt, 1801.
Guards Major-general Ludlow.
1st or Royal, 2nd Battalion^
2 Battalions, 54th • • • > Major-general Coote.
13th \ Major-general Craddock.
2nd, or Queen's • • • ~i
50th > Major-general Lord Cavau.
44^ . . . . '. '. J Brigadier-general Doyle.
De Rolles J. Major-general Stuart.
Reserve. 40th, Flank Company ."\
42nd • \ Major-general Moore.
58th /Brigadier-general Dilkes.
Corsican Rangers • • • I
12th Dragoons • • . i D . ,. . ,
26th Dragons . . . } Brigadier-general Finch.
Artillery and Pioneers • Brigadier-general Lawson.
According to the " Memoirs of Napoleon," vol. 1. p. 97. we are to believe, that Menou, who had succeeded Kleber in the command of the army, had in different garrisons of Egypt thirty thousand men.
It must be allowed, even according to the calculation of the supposed strength of the enemy, that to attack with such a force as ours, the possessors of a country, strengthened by the advantages of fortified posts, a numerous cavalry, a powerful artillery, and a perfect acquaintance with those few points where a debarkation was practicable, was an enterprise of the most desperate character. What then must be the astonishment of all military men at the success of the expedition, when the real force of the enemy is ascertained?
Soon after the British fleet had sailed, one of the Greek transports foundered with a cargo of mules, and others, under the same flag, parted company from bad sailing: so that our force was still farther reduced in number of cavalry and artillery horses, with which these vessels were laden.
On the 26th of February, the fleet was joined by his Majesty's ship La Pique, commanded by Captain Young, who had under his orders a number of transports laden with provisions. On the 1st of March, the look-out ship made the Arab's Tower, and on the following morning the fleet anchored in Aboukir-bay: the ships of war lying nearly on the spot where the battle was fought, and the cables of the Foudroyant were said to have been chafed by the wreck of the Orient. It was a serious loss to the army, and a bad omen of its future success, to learn, on its arrival, that Major Makarras, an enterprising officer, who had been despatched to gain intelligence, had been killed, and Major Fletcher, who accompanied him, had been taken prisoner.
On the morning of the 2nd of March, a French frigate was seen running into Alexandria, where she anchored in safety. It appeared afterward that her name was the Regeneree; that she had been in company with the British fleet the whole of the preceding day, having joined them in the night; that she had answered all the signals, and was so admirably conducted as never once to excite suspicion. She brought with her six hundred artillerymen, besides ordnance and other stores; a supply of vast importance at that time to Menou. The frigates Egyptienne and Justice had got in a short time previously, with similar cargoes; and on the night between the 2nd and 3rd, the Lodi brig also got into the same port.
The continuance of bad weather prevented any movement among the troops or boats for one week; a misfortune to us, and an advantage to the enemy, of which they ably availed themselves. On the morning of the 8th, at two o'clock, the first division of the army, consisting of the reserve, under the orders of Major-general Moore, the brigade of guards under Major-general Ludlow, with some other battalions, amounting to about five thousand men, the whole commanded by Major-general Coote, assembled in the boats; while the remainder of the first and second brigades were placed on board of ships near the shore, in order to be ready to give immediate support, after the first landing was effected. So great was the extent of ground occupied by the fleet, that it was not till nine o'clock in the morning, that the whole of these
VOL. III. F
gallant men were prepared to land, in face of an enemy on a commanding height.
The bay of Aboukir appears to have been the only spot known to the Admiral on the coast of Egypt, adapted for the disembarkation, and where a constant intercourse could be kept up with the fleet, on which the army was entirely dependant for its support. Sir Sidney Smith, who had previously reconnoitred the ground, instructed the men, that where date trees grew they would find fresh water by digging; and this proved to be invariably the case.
The arrangement for landing the troops was completed under the superintendence and management of Captain William Young; who, on joining the Admiral, received the appointment of captain of the fleet, a situation which he filled with great advantage to his country.
The number of flat boats was sixty, each conveying fifty soldiers.—There were ninety-three launches or long boats, each conveying on an average thirty soldiers.—One hundred and forty-two rowing-boats, each containing (besides their crews) eight soldiers.—Fourteen launches, each having a field-piece and her own carronade, twenty-five seamen and eight artillerymen, besides boats' crews; and fourteen rowing-boats to tow them.
The number of troops landed was . . . 6544 Seamen and artillerymen 462
Total . . . 7006
Six launches were in the centre, two on each wing, and two between the wing and the centre. These were all towed by the boats of the ships of war, and kept in exact line with the flat boats, landing at the same moment. All long boats and launches, having either troops or ordnance stores, were towed by the ships' boats in the rear of the flat boats; and these were also followed by other rowing-boats, to pick up men in case of accidents. The flat boats were not towed, but rowed by the crews appointed to them.
The boats carrying the same regiments were next to each other, so that each company on landing found itself as it should stand on parade ; and the exact line abreast was so well preserved, that all the boats with troops and guns touched the beach at the same moment. The men formed in line, fired, charged, and advanced, with a coolness and precision that must have had a powerful effect in checking the ardour of their opponents. The field-pieces, placed on skids in the launches, were landed with ease and celerity, and commenced firing almost at the same moment with the infantry. These guns were brought into action by the seamen, five-and-twenty being attached to each with drag-ropes.
Captain the Honourable A. Cochrane, of the Ajax, led this division in his gig: from the centre he gave the signal to advance, and was answered by the animating cheers of the soldiers and sailors; the boats gallantly rushing in, and the crews vying with