Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors][merged small]

dria. The batteries in breach, and cross batteries, being completed, the siege was commenced on the 26th of March. Although they had only field pieces for battering cannon, on the evening of the 28th, a breach was made in the wall, and an assault attempted; but the assailants had not proceeded far before their course was arrested by a fosse fifteen feet deep, sonnected with a good counterscarp, which the grenadiers in vain attempted to mount; and in the meantime the pacba having rallied his forces, and ascended the parapet of the tower, poured upon the assailants a shower of stones, grenades, and combustible materials of every description.

The pacha, having despatched emissaries to Siuɔn, Damascus, and Aleppo, to stimulate all true Mussulmen to rise en mass, to combat the infidels, a considerable body of troops assembled at Damascus, to reinforce the garrison at Acre.

Bonaparte perceiving that the place could not be taken by a coup de main, endeavoured to cut off these reinforcements. General, unot having been detached to watch the movements of the Mahomedans, having turned a mountain, found himself surrounded on a plain by a body of 3000 cavalry. His small party consisting of but 500 men, following the example of their intrepid leader, defended themselves in the most heroic manner, against such a superior force; succeeded in gaining the heights of Nazareth, and fought his way for two leagues. In this affair they lost sixty men, and the Turks six hundred.

General Kleber having with the advanced guard been despatched to join Junot at Nazareth, marched to attack a large body of the enemy upon a position near Loubi; but the Turks, consisting of 4,000 cavalry and 600 foot, descending from their height, surrounded and prepared to charge his troops; but anticipating the enemy, and charging their cavalry with part of his force, and their camp with the residue at the same time, they were routed, and fled in great dis



order towards the Jordan. The entire force of the Mussulmen was estimated by the French general at between fifteen and sixteen thousand, but they were represented by the inhabitants of the country to be forty or fifty thousand.

Bonaparte, learning that the natives were rising in all directions, determined to strike a blow which would awe them into submission. Leaving the direction of the siege of Acre to generals Regnier and Lasne, he marched to reinforce general Kleber. Having reached a height affording a view of Mount Tabor, he per-. ceived at a distance of about three leagues, that Kleber, whose force did not exceed 2,000, was surrounded with about 25,000 of the enemy's cavalry. Having taken steps to cut off their retreat, Bonaparte attacked them on the flank, in the rear, and stormed their camp at the same time; Kleber, perceiving the timely arrival of this reinforcement, no longer acted on the defensive, attacked and carried the village of Fouli by the bayonet, and then charged the enemy's cavalry, who fell like grass before the scythé ; perceiving that they were surrounded on all sides, and destruction staring them in the face, the utmost confusion and disorder prevailed; what escaped, took refuge in the rear of Mount Tabor, and during the night fled across the Jordan.

In this action 4,000 French troops defeated 25,000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry, killed more than 5,000 of their number, compelled the remainder to fly to Damascus, and captured all their magazines in these parts. In the meantime general Murat drove the Turks from their position at the bridge of Jacob, surprised the son of the pacha of Damascus, carried their camp, killed a great number, and pursued the fugitives several leagues on the route to Damascus.

Bonaparte having returned to Acre, renewed his exertions in prosecuting the siege of that place. On the 25th of April a mine was sprung, intended to blow up the tower near the breach which had previously



been made ; but the object being but partially effected, the breach continued of difficult access; and on the same evening an attempt being made to effect a lodgement in the first story of the tower, the Turks allowed the French to approach the breach, when they poured down such a shower of combustible materials as compelled them to retreat with precipitation.

Having received a number of twenty-four and eighteen pounders, several of these were directed against the tower to widen the breach; and in the evening another attempt was made to effect a lodgement, which partially succeeded; but the grenadiers being exposed to a cross fire from the British mariners in the fosse, were obliged to retire. An attempt was made to form a mine and effect a breach in the curtain of the fortification to the eastward ; but perceiving this, the besieged laboured incessantly, and carried on their sapping with great activity to counter-work the mine, in which they finally succeeded.

On the 7th of May, Bonaparte having discovered a Turkish fleet approaching Acre, to reinforce the besieged, determined to make a vigorous and decisive effort before the succors should arrive. Accordingly, at 10 o'clock at night, a most spirited attack was made; the fire of the besiegers was increased tenfold; the ravelins, the works upon the glacis, and the tower upon the breach, were all carried, a lodgement mado in the tower, the newly constructed works of the besieged filled up, and a number of their cannon spiked. The determined resistance of the Turks and the Anglo Turks, and a tremendous fire from the batteries and the shipping in the harbour, could not check their operations, or retard their progress.

Daylight discovered the French standard on the outer angle of the tower; the fire of the besieged was much slackened, and 200 of the French had made a lodgement in the second story of the northeast tower. In the mean time the reinforcements had arrived and were in boats, but had not reached the shore ; this was



[merged small][ocr errors]

a crisis in the contest, and the utmost exertions on the part of the English and Turks were necessary to preserve the place until the boats could land. Sir Sidney Smith, having landed his boats at the mole, conducted the troops armed with pikes, immediately to the breach ; the appearance of a large reinforcement animated the garrison, who redoubled their exertions. The French who had made a lodgment in the tower were either all killed or dispersed.

The besiegers attempted to make a new breach, south of the lodgment, and were more successful, every fire knocking down whole sheets of a wall much less solid than that of the tower; and a breach of considerable extent was opened.

Just before sunset a column approached and mounted the breach, unmolested, and descended into the pacha's garden, he having suffered them to advance with the view of closing with them and cutting them off. Suddenly they were furiously assailed by a large body of Turks, with a sabre in one hand, and a dagger in the other; the foremost of them were killed, and the rest precipitately retreated.General Lasne, who was seen bravely encouraging his men to mount the breach, was wounded by a musket shot, and carried off.

The breach being practicable for fifty men abreast, the French renewed the attack with increased ardour and intrepidity ; nothing but the most determined courage could resist their impetuosity; a close and sanguinary conflict ensued ; they fought man to man, for a considerable time with the greatest fury; but Bonaparte perceiving that success in this contest would be purchased at too dear a price, ordered his men to retreat.

Another assault was made on the 9th, attended, like those which had preceded it, with partial success, but ultimate failure.

In these various attacks of the French, no men ever displayed more ardour and intrepidity, or persevered in their object, with more determined resolution.

[ocr errors]



But such daring bravery and perseverance, was attended with a serious loss ; the three last assaults cost the French two hundred killed and five hundred wounded, and among the latter, were general Bon, adjutants general Fouler, Pirault, Gabault, Venoux, chief of the twenty fifth, citizen Crazies aid-de-camp to Bonaparte, who all died of their wounds.

Bonaparte, having learned from the two Turkish vessels captured by the French admiral Perree, that á large Turkish expedition originally destined against Alexandria, on intelligence being received of the attack upon St. Jean de Acre, was ordered to that place, and from the menacing movements of the enemy in various directions requiring his attention, abandoned his operations against this town.


Great victory near Aboukir-Considerations which induced

Bonaparte to return to France-He arrives safe---remarks on the expedition-Charges against Bonaparte-Conquest of Egypt by the French compared to that of Hindostan by Great Britain.

BONAPARTE proceeded to Cairo, and from thence to the pyramids of Giza, where he had ordered general Murat to join him. Bonaparte had designed to halt several days at this place, but receiving intelligence from Alexandria that a Turkish fleet of 100 sail, had anchored off Aboukir, and manifested hostile designs against Alexandria, he instantly made his dispositions to meet such an unexpected contingency. Murat with his cavalry and grenadiers, was ordered to Rahmanieh ; the divisions of general Lasne and Rampon were directed to cross the Nile, and proceed to the same place, and during the night orders were forwarded to the different provinces in the utmost haste. Bonaparte wrote to Desaix, directing him to send

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »