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Rainier at the same time, acquainting him that the French intended setting up the frames of ships of war at Suez, previously prepared in France, the Centurion of fifty guns, Captain J. S. Rainier, was despatched from Bombay. She arrived at Mocha, in December, 1798, and found there the Albatross brig of war. From reports which came down from Egypt, Captain Rainier judged it expedient to proceed up to Suez: and these two were, we believe, the first British vessels of war that had ever visited the head of the Red sea. On his return from Suez, Captain Rainier found Rearadmiral Blanket at Mocha, in the Leopard of fifty guns, with the Daedalus of thirty-two, and the Orestes of eighteen guns.
Rear-admiral Blanket, having acquired much local knowledge by this voyage, was sent again in the following year, to conduct the Indian army; when he was joined by Sir Home Popham, in the Romney. Admiral Blanket dying soon after, Captain Surridge, who commanded the Leopard, returned to Bombay, leaving the direction of the naval forces under the able management of Sir Home Popham. The squadron was three months working up to Suez, which it did not reach till April. Colonel Lloyd, who commanded the detachment in these ships, instantly proceeded to join the British forces on the banks of the Nile before Cairo, and effected the junction after one of the most painful marches ever accomplished; some of his men having perished with thirst in the desert. The distance from Suez to Cairo is about fifty-eight miles; but he was advised by the guides to make it more circuitous, in order to avoid a superior force of the enemy.
The army of General Baird, which had been collected from Bengal and Madras, rendezvoused at Columbo in the island of Ceylon, and had a very long passage to the place of its destination. It was not till the 30th of June that he reached Kenneh, on the banks of the Kile; nor till the latter end of July, that he had assembled the principal part of his forces, which amounted to six thousand rank and file, including royal and Bengal horse artillery. The junction of Sir Home Popham, in the Romney of fifty guns, and Captain Sauce in the Sensible, of thirty-two, with a detachment from the Cape of Good Hope, proves the admirable arrangement and good fortune of our government, and the judicious selection of its officers to carry its plans into execution.
The vessels sailed from the Cape on the 28th of February, 1801, and were followed on the 30th of March, by the Sheerness, forty-four, armed en flute, commanded by Captain J. S. Carden, and the Wilhelmina, by the late Sir James Lind. The 61st regiment, which they conveyed to Cossier, landed on the 10th of July, after a passage of sixteen weeks from England, and had scarcely one sick man, out of nine hundred. The army of General Baird immediately marched for Cairo, sending forward Captain Mahany with a party to dig wells; a precaution from which they derived important benefit.
The navigation of the Red sea, hitherto so little known, was found by our officers to be a more arduous undertaking than any other they had encountered. Rocks and shoals innumerable opposed their passage, so that to run in the night time was impossible; and in spite of every exertion of skill and seamanship, seventeen sail of vessels were lost, and the remainder reached Mocha andCossier with the greatest difficulty. At the latter place, on the west side of the Red sea, the army disembarked, and marched through the desert to join the British army, on the banks of the Nile. Mocha and Cossier are but indifferent harbours: the latter is shoal, and open on the east and south. None of the harbours in the Red sea are good: that of Jedda appears to be the best, but its entrance is so narrow as to render it dangerous to the most skilful pilots; and La Forte, a noble English frigate, was wrecked on the sunken rock, which nearly blocks up the entrance. On the 23d of June, another reinforcement of fifteen hundred men, Chasseurs, Britanniques, and Wattevilles, arrived in the bay of Aboukir from Malta; and on the 16th of August, General Sir John Hutchinson landed from the Foudroyant, and took the command of the forces besieging Alexandria.
In the meanwhile the French army of Cairo embarked at Rosetta, and the. British officers beheld with astonishment near ten thousand men, with fifty pieces of artillery and ammunition, defile before them, besides an irregular body of natives. The arms and artillery remained with us.
Nothing could exceed the mortification and disappointment of Menou, when made acquainted with the surrender of Cairo. He had calculated, and with much reason, on the firmness of that garrison, until the inundation of the Nile should have compelled our army to embark; and the expected arrival of Gantheaume, with succours, would have enabled him to bid defiance to our united forces of army and navy; but the French army unanimously desired to return to their country. Brave as the troops of that nation certainly were, they could not endure to face death in the horrible shapes with which it made its appearance on the shores of Egypt; nor could the promises of reward or the fear of punishment, restrain the army of Belliard from open demonstrations of their wishes.
Admiral Gantheaume, it appears, sailed from Brest on the 23d of January, 1801, with a squadron of seven sail* of the line and two frigates, having on board a land force of five thousand men,
* L'Indomptable • "l La Bravoure • . 7 „
Le Formidable • • J.80 La Creole • • . $w
L'lndivisible • • I Le Vautour (lugger)
La Constitution- •}
Le Dix Aout • "C74
Le Dessaix • • • L
Le Jean Bart • • J
Precis des Evenemens Militaires, vol. 7. p. 96.
VOL. HI. G
and a quantity of provisions. With these, his orders were to proceed to Egypt, and to put them on shore at all hazards. Dispersed by a gale of wind on the night of their departure, they were seen by the Concorde, which engaged the Bravoure, and gave the account of their escape to Sir Henry Hervey, off Ushant; and while Sir Robert Calder, detached in pursuit of him, steered for Barbadoes, Gantheaume, on the 6th of February, entered the Mediterranean, and rejoined all his squadron on the 10th, off Cape de Gat. Sir John Warren, who lay in the bay of Gibraltar, unprepared for sea, despatched the Incendiary sloop, to watch his motions; but that vessel was captured, together with the Success frigate and Sprightly cutter, and by them the Admiral was informed that Lord Keith had already arrived in Aboukir-bay. This false intelligence was the cause of his failure: he hauled over from the coast of Africa to the shores of Europe, and entered Toulon with his prizes. Sailing again on the 19th of March, he was closely pursued by Sir John Warren, who, reaching the coast of Egypt on the 25th of April, obliged the fugitive Admiral to abandon his design, and return once more to Toulon.
After the siege of Porto Ferrajo, at which he assisted, Gantheaume again set sail for Egypt, taking with him three Neapolitan frigates, which the peace between France and Naples had put into his power; but sickness, from the crowded state of his ships, obliged him to send back Rear