Campaña en el Mediterráneo de 1798

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Campaña en el Mediterráneo de 1798
Campaña en el Mediterráneo de 1798
On a choppy sea, a large warship burns out of control. The central ship is flanked by two other largely undamaged ships. In the foreground two small boats full of men row between floating wreckage to which men are clinging.
Fecha Mayo – diciembre de 1798
Lugar Mar Mediterráneo
Beligerantes
Bandera de Reino Unido Reino de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda
After June 1798:
Bandera de Portugal Portugal
Bandera de Rusia Imperio Ruso
Fictitious Ottoman flag 2.svg Imperio Otomano
Plantilla:Geodatos Kingdom of Naples
Bandera de Orden de Malta Order of Saint John
Plantilla:Geodatos First French Republic
Bandera de España
Comandantes
Bandera de Reino Unido Horacio Nelson
Bandera de Portugal Marqués de Nisa
Bandera de Orden de Malta Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim  Rendición
Bandera de Francia Napoleon Bonaparte
Bandera de Francia François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers  
Bandera de Francia Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
[editar datos en Wikidata]

Plantilla:Campaignbox Mediterranean campaign of 1798

La Campaña en el Mediterráneo de 1798 fue una serie de operaciones navales importantes que rodearon a una fuerza expedicionaria francesa enviada a Egipto bajo Napoleón Bonaparte durante las guerras revolucionarias francesas. Francia intentó capturar Egipto como la primera etapa en un esfuerzo para amenazar a la India británica y así forzar al Reino de Gran Bretaña para hacer la paz. Partiendo de Toulon en mayo de 1798 con más de 40.000 tropas y cientos de buques, la flota de Bonaparte navegó hacia el sudeste a través del mar Mediterráneo. Fueron seguidos por una pequeña escuadra británica bajo el contralmirante Sir Horatio Nelson, later reinforced to 13 ships of the line, cuya persecución fue obstaculizada por la falta de fragatas e información confiable. El primer objetivo de Bonaparte fue la isla de Malta, que estaba bajo el gobierno de los Caballeros de San Juan y teóricamente concedió a su dueño el control del Mediterráneo Central. Las fuerzas de Bonaparte desembarcaron en la isla y abrumaron rápidamente a los defensores, asegurando la ciudad portuaria de Valletta antes de continuar a Egipto. Cuando Nelson se enteró de la captura francesa de la isla, adivinó que el objetivo francés era Egipto y zarpó para Alejandría, pero pasó por los franceses durante la noche del 22 de junio sin descubrirlos y llegó primero a Egipto.

Incapaz de encontrar a Bonaparte, Nelson volvió a cruzar el Mediterráneo, alcanzando eventual Sicilia el 19 de julio. Mientras Nelson regresaba hacia el oeste, Bonaparte llegó a Alejandría y asaltó la ciudad, capturando la costa y marchando hacia el interior con su ejército. Su flota, confiada al Vicealmirante François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers, was anchored in a line of battle en la bahía de Aboukir. El 1 de agosto, Nelson, que había regresado a la costa egipcia después de que los informes reunidos en Koroni (Coron) revelaron la invasión francesa, llegaron de Aboukir Bay. Aunque era tarde y la flota británica no tenía cartas exactas de la bahía, Nelson ordenó un ataque inmediato a los franceses van. Brueys no estaba preparado y sus naves no podían maniobrar cuando los británicos se dividieron en dos divisiones y navegaron a ambos lados de la línea francesa, capturando los cinco barcos de la vanguardia y atacando a su buque insignia de 120 cañones Orient en el centro. A las 21:00, el Orient se incendió y explotó, matando a la mayoría de la tripulación y terminando el combate principal. Los combates esporádicos continuaron durante los próximos dos días, hasta que todos los barcos franceses habían sido capturados, destruidos o huidos. En la batalla del Nilo, once barcos franceses de línea y dos fragatas fueron eliminados, atrapando a Bonaparte en Egipto y cambiando el equilibrio de poder en el Mediterráneo.

Con la Armada francesa en el Mediterráneo derrotada, otras naciones fueron alentadas a unirse a la Segunda Coalición e ir a la guerra con Francia. El Reino de Nápoles, el Imperio Ruso y el Imperio Otomano, posteriormente desplegaron fuerzas al Mediterráneo. Los rusos y los turcos participaron en el bloqueo de Egipto y las operaciones en el mar Adriático mientras que los portugueses se unieron a Siege of Malta, que fue conducido distantemente por Nelson de sus alojamientos en Nápoles. Nelson, que había sido herido en la Batalla del Nilo, se involucró en la política napolitana y alentó a Fernando I de las dos Sicilias a ir a la guerra con Francia, dando por resultado la pérdida de su reino continental. En el Mediterráneo occidental, el vicealmirante Earl St Vincent, que comandó la flota mediterránea desde Cádiz, desplegó fuerzas contra Menorca, capturó rápidamente la isla y la convirtió en una importante base naval.

Background[editar]

Plan de Bonaparte[editar]

A principios de 1798, la Guerra de la Primera Coalición había llegado a su fin con el control francés del norte de Italia, gran parte de los Países Bajos y Renania confirmado por el Tratado de Campo Formio.[1]​ De todas las principales potencias europeas que en algún momento se aliaron contra la Primera República Francesa, sólo el Reino de Gran Bretaña siguió siendo hostil, y el Directorio francés decidió poner fin a la Guerras revolucionarias francesas eliminando a Gran Bretaña. Se planificó una serie de invasiones de las Islas Británicas,[2]​ y el general de 28 años Napoleón Bonaparte, que había derrotado a los austriacos en Italia el año anterior, fue asignado para conducir el Armée d'Angleterre (Ejército de Inglaterra) que había sido reunido en Boulogne.[3]​ Sin embargo, el Canal de la Mancha estaba firmemente controlado por la Armada Real y los suministros de invasión franceses, especialmente de embarcaciones de desembarco viables, eran totalmente inadecuados para el propósito.[4]

A principios de la primavera de 1798, Bonaparte dejó su mando en Boulogne y regresó a París, informando que la continua supremacía naval británica en aguas del norte de Europa hizo imposible una invasión en un futuro próximo.[5]​ Con las operaciones al norte imposible, Bonaparte dirigió su atención hacia el sur a Toulon, el principal puerto marítimo francés en el Mediterráneo. Allí un ejército y una flota franceses habían comenzado a reunirse para un lugar secreto, especulado por comentaristas franceses para dirigirse a una amplia variedad de lugares, entre ellos Gran Bretaña, Sicilia, Malta y Crimea.[6][7]​ El objetivo previsto de la expedición era realmente Egipto, que formó un vínculo importante en la cadena de comunicaciones entre Gran Bretaña y la colonia económicamente vital de la India británica..[8]​ Bonaparte consideraba que la captura de Egipto era el paso más importante para neutralizar los enormes beneficios económicos que Gran Bretaña obtuvo del comercio con la India y poner a Britania en condiciones: en agosto de 1797 escribió: "El tiempo no está lejos de que creamos que, para destruir realmente Inglaterra, debemos tomar Egipto."[9]​ La posesión de Egipto podría otorgar el control francés del Mediterráneo Oriental y el Mar Rojo, lo que obligó a retrasos graves a los despachos enviados entre Gran Bretaña e India y la obstrucción del comercio por valor de £ 2,7 millones (the equivalent of £NaN as of 2017) to the British economy.Plantilla:Inflation-fn[10]​ Además, una invasión exitosa de Egipto podría ser seguida por un ataque directo al territorio británico en la India, posiblemente en conjunción con el anglófobo sultán Tippoo de Seringapatam.[11]​ La flota francesa del Mediterráneo no se enfrentó a principios de 1798 - siguiendo el Tratado de San Ildefonso en 1796, en el que España formó una alianza con Francia y declaró la guerra a Gran Bretaña, la Marina Real había retirado desde las bases mediterráneas de Córcega y Elba,.[12]​ A principios de 1798, su flota mediterránea estaba situada en el río Tajo, en Portugal, su único aliado continental.[13]​ Sin una flota británica permanente en el Mediterráneo y la rebelión irlandesa de 1798, un levantamiento inminente, Bonaparte creía firmemente que la Marina Real sería incapaz de intervenir en sus planes, aunque los descubriera.[14]

With passage to Egypt seemingly unopposed Bonaparte gave orders for a fleet of thirteen ships of the line, led by the 120-gun Orient under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers and numerous smaller warships, including the entire Venetian Navy, captured the previous year, to prepare for sea.[15]​ The fleet was to be accompanied by up to 400 transport ships, which were to carry the 35,000 men detailed for the invasion.[16]​ On 3 May, Bonaparte departed Paris, arriving at Toulon five days later to oversee the final preparations. On 9 May he reviewed the assembled army and gave a speech announcing that the expedition was bound for an unspecified foreign land. The speech was met with an enthusiastic response from his soldiers and a revised version subsequently appeared in Le Moniteur Universel and was widely distributed throughout France as a poster.[17]​ Despite Bonaparte's pronouncement the French departure was delayed: a strong headwind prevented the fleet from sailing for another nine days, conditions finally lifting on 18 May that permitted the 22 warships and 120 transports that made up the French fleet to sail the following day.[18]

St. Vincent's response[editar]

Retrato de un hombre en un uniforme naval adornado con medallas y premios.
Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, Lemuel Francis Abbott, 1800, National Maritime Museum

Gran Bretaña no desconocía los preparativos franceses en Toulon y a lo largo de la costa mediterránea, pero a pesar de los esfuerzos sostenidos de agentes británicos en Francia, el destino de la flota francesa era desconocido.[19]​ Egypt was not seriously considered by the British government: when Secretary of State for War Henry Dundas suggested it, he was urged by Foreign Secretary Lord Grenville to think "with a map in your hand, and with a calculation of distances."[20]​ Las cartas alcanzaron Londres y St Vincent en el Tajo describiendo extensas preparaciones a lo largo de las costas mediterráneas francesas e italianas, pero las distancias entre la base en el Tajo y Toulon impidieron cualquier observación sostenida de los movimientos franceses.[21]​ Urgent orders were sent from Lord Spencer at the Admiralty to Vice-Admiral Earl St. Vincent, comandante de la Flota del Mediterráneo en el Tajo, para enviar un escuadrón a investigar bajo el mando del Contraalmirante Horatio Nelson. Nelson había regresado a la flota tres días antes a la orden de Lord Spencer,[22]​ following recovery in Britain from the loss of an arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in July 1797.[23]

St. Vincent had already been preparing for an expedition to Toulon with Nelson in mind, and the rear-admiral departed the Tagus in his flagship HMS Vanguard on 2 May. St Vincent was overjoyed to be able to place Nelson in command of the mission, writing that "the arrival of Admiral Nelson has given me new life ... his presence in the Mediterranean is so very essential".[24]​ However, his preference for Nelson over the more senior admirals Sir William Parker and Sir John Orde provoked a storm of protest, which eventually culminated in Orde challenging St Vincent to a duel,[25]​ and being subsequently ordered to return to Britain.[26]​ On 9 May Nelson collected the ships of the line HMS Alexander and HMS Orion under Captains Alexander Ball and Sir James Saumarez the frigates HMS Emerald and HMS Terpsichore under Captains Thomas Moutray Waller and William Hall Gage and the sloop HMS Bonne Citoyenne under Captain Robert Retalick at Gibraltar, and passed into the Mediterranean.[27]​ Despite leaving under cover of darkness,[28]​ Nelson's departure was observed by Spanish forces at Cadiz, and the fort at Cape Carnero fired several shot, striking Alexander but inflicting negligible damage.[29]

On 17 May Terpsichore captured the privateer La Pierre off Cape Sicié, and from the crew Nelson learned that Bonaparte's departure was imminent, although the destination was still unknown.[30]​ On 21 May, as his squadron reached the Îles d'Hyères near Toulon, they were struck by strong winds that snapped Vanguard's topmasts and brought the wreckage down onto the deck, killing two men.[29]Vanguard was left struggling in heavy seas, blown 75 millas náuticas (138,9 km) southwards in one night.[31]​ So severe was the damage that Vanguard was almost wrecked on the Corsican coast on the following day and Nelson even ordered Captain Ball, who had managed to attach a towline to the flagship, to abandon him.[32]​ Ball refused the order and the British ships of the line rode out the storm together.[33]​ Although Alexander was able to tow Vanguard to San Pietro Island off Sardinia for repairs, the gale had forced the squadron's frigates to separate from the larger ships.[34]

Thomas Waller on Emerald was divided from the other frigates, and his lookouts had observed Vanguard in its dismasted state at the height of the storm. The other two frigates had reefed their sails and ridden out the storm together, Captain Gage turning towards the Spanish coast when the storm abated and on 29 May encountered HMS Alcmene under Captain George Johnstone Hope, which had been sent by St. Vincent to augment Nelson's force. Two days later Hope's squadron encountered Emerald, which had captured two merchant ships, and together they sailed for the prearranged rendezvous point 60 millas (96,56064 km) off Cape St. Sebastian near Barcelona.[35]​ Hope ordered Terpsichore and Bonne Citoyenne to cruise off Sardinia and on 3 June encountered the brig HMS Mutine under Captain Thomas Hardy, the scout of a fleet sent by Earl St. Vincent that was approaching the rendezvous. Knowing of the damaged suffered by Vanguard and aware that the French had left Toulon, Hope then took the unilateral decision to search for the French himself, dispersing the frigates across the Western Mediterranean.[36]​ Hope's ships failed to find either the British or French fleets and none of the frigates returned to Nelson's command until after the Battle of the Nile.[37]

Malta[editar]

Llegada de Napoleón a Malta

Partiendo de Tolón el 19 de mayo, la flota de Bonaparte pasó a lo largo de la costa de Provenza a Génova, donde se recogieron 72 barcos de transporte adicionales.[38]​ Navegando hacia el sur, la flota llegó a Córcega el 23 de mayo y recogió una flota de 22 transportes desde Ajaccio el 28 de mayo.[39]​ El convoy permaneció a la vista de la costa oriental hasta el 30 de mayo, cruzando el Estrecho de Bonifacio y siguiendo la línea de costa de Cerdeña, anticipándose a combinar con flotas de transportes que navegan desde Civitavecchia.[16]​ El 3 de junio, un mensaje llegó a Bonaparte informando de la presencia de la escuadra de Nelson en San Pietro y el general francés envió una escuadra francesa para investigar, aunque por ese tiempo Nelson había navegado y el puerto estaba vacío.[18]​ Abandonando la espera de la fuerza de Civitavecchia, que aún no había llegado, Bonaparte ordenó a su flota que volviera al sudeste, pasando por Mazara en Sicilia y la isla de Pantelleria el 7 de junio. Allí, un informe de un mercante británico capturado advirtió a Bonaparte que Nelson estaba a poca distancia de su fuerza con una poderosa flota de la Marina Real y, preocupado por sus transportes, Bonaparte dio órdenes urgentes a la flota francesa de dirigirse a Malta, Valletta a las 05:30 del 9 de junio, poco después de unirse con los 56 barcos del convoy de Civitavecchia, que había perdido la cita y continuó a Malta solo.[18][40]

The report on Nelson's activity submitted to Bonaparte on 7 June was inaccurate: Repairs to Vanguard in San Pietro took six days, the squadron sailing on 27 May for Toulon, arriving off the harbour on 31 May.[41]Plantilla:Cref2 Nelson had already learned of the departure of the French fleet from a captured Marseilles merchant ship, but without reinforcements or knowledge of the French direction he could not begin a pursuit.[42]​ On 5 June, the brig HMS Mutine arrived off Toulon and reported that a British fleet was only a few days away, consisting of ten ships of the line and a fourth rate sent by Earl St Vincent from the Tagus on 24 May under Captain Thomas Troubridge in HMS Culloden.[43]​ St Vincent, actuando bajo órdenes urgentes de Londres para enviar una flota al Mediterráneo había optado por dividir sus fuerzas, en vez de arriesgarse a tomar todas sus naves en el Mediterráneo y dejando desatendidos a los españoles en Cádiz. Troubridge fue considerado por St Vincent como el mejor oficial de la flota, y Nelson, que también tenía una alta opinión de Troubridge, navegó inmediatamente su escuadrón al punto de encuentro programado.[44]​ El 6 de junio, su escuadrón interceptó brevemente un convoy mercante español y capturó dos barcos antes de que el almirante suspendiera la persecución para asegurarse de que llegara a la hora convenida. El 7 de junio a las 12:00 horas, las flotas combinadas, Nelson ahora comandando 13 buques de 74 cañones de la línea, un barco de 50 armas y un bergantín.[45]​ Se notaban por su ausencia fragatas, vitales para las operaciones de exploración en una campaña de esta naturaleza; Después de su encuentro con Hope, Hardy informó a Nelson que las fragatas estaban navegando de forma independiente, a lo que el almirante respondió amargamente: "Pensé que Hope me habría conocido mejor".[46]

Búsqueda de Nelson[editar]

Retrasado hasta el 10 de junio por una calma y aún no consciente de las intenciones francesas, Nelson inicialmente navegó a lo largo de la costa de Córcega, antes de anclar en Elba el 12 de junio y el envío al Mutine en Civitavecchia para obtener información. Hardy fue incapaz de descubrir el destino francés y, después de un desvío a Elba con toda su flota, Nelson continuó hacia el sur.[47]​ Dos días más tarde, el almirante habló con un barco tunecino en Giannutri, que pasó la información inexacta de que los franceses habían sido vistos fuera de Trapani,[48]​ y podría estar anclado en Siracusa.[49]​ El 17 de junio, Nelson fondeó en las Islas Pontinas de Nápoles y envió a Troubridge a tierra para apelar al embajador británico Sir William Hamilton para obtener información y la ayuda de la marina de guerra napolitana en scouting para los franceses. Aunque el primer ministro napolitano Sir John Acton ya había pasado informes de que los franceses estaban navegando por Egipto, Hamilton no le dio el informe a Nelson, posiblemente sospechoso de la desinformación..[50]​Hamilton, sin embargo, transmitió la información de que la flota de Bonaparte había pasado Cerdeña y probablemente navegaba en dirección a Malta. A pesar de la animosidad privada hacia Francia,[51]​ el gobierno napolitano se negó a unirse abiertamente a los británicos en la guerra y negó a Nelson el uso de sus fragatas,[52]​ aunque en silencio acordaron reaprovisionar la flota de Nelson.[48]​ Con una dirección áspera establecida y creyendo que el destino final francés era Sicilia,[53]​ Nelson navegó en persecución, pero los vientos ligeros obstaculizaron sus avances y él no pasó el estrecho de Messina hasta el 20 de junio. Allí recibió un informe del embajador en Messina que los franceses estaban en Malta.[54]​ Entonces el 22 de junio cerca de Cabo Passaro, Hardy detuvo a un barco genovés de Ragusa que informó haber visto la flota francesa navegar hacia el sur lejos de Malta, y que habían dejado La Valetta el 16 de junio.[55]​ Esta información era errónea (o mal traducida) en un aspecto importante: si bien los preparativos habían comenzado el 16 de junio, los franceses no habían partido hasta el 19 de junio,[56]​ y la flota de Nelson estaba a solo 60 millas náuticas (111,12 km) lejos de la flota de Brueys.[57]​ Nelson decidió que el objetivo francés debía ser Egipto o Constantinopla y llamó a sus principales capitanes: Saumarez, Ball, Troubridge y Henry Darby on board Vanguard para una conferencia.[54]​ Juntos, estos oficiales determinaron a Egipto como la opción más probable, deduciendo que era la mejor ubicación en el Mediterráneo desde la cual Bonaparte podía amenazar a la India.[58]​ En consecuencia, Nelson se dirigió al sureste hacia Alejandría, ejerciendo diariamente la artillería de sus hombres para asegurarse de que estaban listos para la batalla que planeaba.[59]​ Su plan de su encuentro con la fuerza francesa era claro: dividiéndose en tres escuadrones, su flota golpearía a los franceses en tres puntos. Dos escuadrones de cinco naves cada uno de ellos se dedicarían directamente a la flota francesa, mientras que el tercero se separaría y atacaría los transportes, hundiéndose o capturando el mayor número posible.[60]​ Nelson también forjó deliberadamente lazos cercanos con sus capitanes en cenas regulares a bordo de su buque insignia para asegurar la facilidad de la comunicación y para construir confianza entre ellos. Más tarde dijo de este tiempo que "tuve la felicidad de comandar una Band of Brothers."[61]

Bonaparte at Malta[editar]

Fort Rohan, one of the few forts whose garrison fought against the French invasion of Malta[62]

While Nelson was gathering his fleet and searching for the French, Bonaparte had secured the first stage of his plan for the invasion of Egypt. Arriving off Malta on 9 June, he demanded that the island's ruler, Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller (or Knights of St. John of Jerusalem) to allow his fleet to enter the harbour and purchase provisions.[63]​ Hompesch refused, insisting that only two ships at a time could enter the port. Bonaparte responded by opening fire on the harbour defences and on 11 June landed soldiers at seven sites around Malta under General Louis Baraguey d'Hilliers. Coming under fire from the 2,000 native Maltese soldiers that mustered against the invasion, skirmishing continued in the western part of the island for 24 hours, until General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois entered Mdina and the defenders withdrew to the fortress of Valletta.[64]​ The Maltese troops refused to continue the fight without support from their government,[65]​ and negotiations followed in which Hompesch and the knights agreed to abandon Malta on condition of financial compensation amounting to 3 million Francs.[66]​ In exchange, Bonaparte gained the entire Maltese archipelago, including fortresses, military stores and cannon, the small Maltese Navy and Army and the entire property of the Roman Catholic Church in Malta.[67]

The Maltese position had already been severely weakened by the large number of Frenchmen who were part of the Order, who refused en masse to take up arms against Bonaparte. The French Revolution had already significantly reduced the Knights' income and their ability to put up serious resistance to Bonaparte was seriously compromised by a lack of resources.[66]​ El 12 de junio, Bonaparte finalmente anunció a sus tropas el destino de la expedición y el 19 de junio navegó hacia Alejandría, dirigiéndose inicialmente hacia el este hacia Crete. Dejó atrás a Vaubois y a 4.000 hombres para mantener a Malta como base para controlar el Mediterráneo Central.[68]​ Para asegurarse de que las noticias del ataque inminente contra Egipto no se extendieran por delante de la flota, Brueys ordenó que todos los barcos mercantes que avistaron el convoy durante el pasaje fueran detenidos y retenidos hasta que su fuerza llegara a Alejandría.[69]​ On 26 June, the British gained the first firm intelligence of French intentions, when the frigate HMS Seahorse under Captain Edward Foote encountered and captured the French frigate Sensible, que volvía a Toulon desde Malta con un cargamento de tesoros y soldados heridos, entre ellos el general d'Hilliers.[70]​ From these prisoners the destination of the French fleet was discovered and Seahorse, joined shortly afterwards by Terpsichore, sailed in pursuit, hoping to encounter Nelson.[71]

Arrivals at Alexandria[editar]

El paso de Nelson desde Sicilia a Alejandría fue sin incidentes, el viaje duró seis días. Debido a su falta de fragatas, Nelson fue incapaz de explorar los flancos de su avance y como resultado sólo habló con tres buques mercantes, ninguno de los cuales tenía información útil sobre la flota francesa.[59]​ The lack of frigates had already had a decisive effect on 22 June, when the British fleet sighted four sails to the southeast.[54]​ Although Captain Thomas Thompson of HMS Leander requested permission to investigate the strangers, Nelson refused and ordered his fleet to continue on their current heading, believing the French to be five days ahead and wishing to reach Alexandria as rapidly as possible.[72]​ Had British frigates been available to approach and investigate the distant squadron, they might have discovered that they were scouts for the main French fleet, which was only a short distance away.[73]​ The French frigate had sighted the British fleet and reported its presence to Bonaparte, who adjusted his convoy's direction slightly to a more northerly trajectory.[74]​ As a result, Nelson's fleet passed north of the French to the east of Malta during the night in a heavy mist. Although Nelson was so close that his signal guns could be heard aboard Orient, his lookouts did not observe the French ships and the British fleet continued ahead without deviating.[75]​ When dawn broke the following day, Bonaparte's diversion to the northeast had taken his convoy out of sight of the British fleet, which continued to the southeast undisturbed.[76]​ On 28 June, Mutine arrived at Alexandria ahead of Nelson's fleet, and discovered that the French fleet was not in the harbour.[77]​ Once the main fleet had arrived, attempts were made to contact the British Consul George Baldwin, but these failed as he had been dismissed by the British government shortly before and had left the city.[78]​ As a result, official diplomatic channels were closed to Nelson.[79]​ Un mensaje de advertencia del acercamiento francés fue llevado al gobernador otomano Sayyid Muhammad Kurayyim por Hardy en Mutine. Kurayyim respondió que no había visto a la flota francesa, y que impondría la neutralidad del Imperio Otomano y prohibiría tanto a los británicos como a los franceses entrar al puerto o desembarcar en la costa.[59]​ Se deshizo de las advertencias británicas: "Es imposible que los franceses vengan a nuestro país, no tienen ningún asunto aquí y no estamos en guerra con ellos."[80]​ Sin Baldwin no se pudieron hacer más inscripciones, y cuando aún no había señales de los franceses en la mañana del 29 de junio, Nelson decidió volverse hacia el noreste y tomar otro paso a través del Mediterráneo central hacia Corfú, siguiendo un camino más al norte de su primer viaje.[61]

Invasion of Egypt[editar]

Small figure on a horse looks towards a giant statue in the desert, with a blue sky
Bonaparte Before the Sphinx, Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1868, Hearst Castle, California

Bonaparte's fleet, delayed by its many transport ships, passed Cape Durazzo on the island of Crete during the 30 June and reached Alexandria the following morning, driven by the fresh meltemi winds.[81]​ Bonaparte's first action was to send a small brig into the harbour to collect the French consul, Charles Magallon, who relayed the news of Nelson's stay off the port and of Kurayyim's refusal to allow the French to land.[82]​ Seriously concerned that Nelson might return while his men were still in their transports, Bonaparte gave orders for the landing to go ahead immediately. Soldiers were landed in the region of the Mirabou Creek, although the appearance of a sail to the east was mistaken for a scout from the British fleet and caused momentary panic, Bonaparte reportedly exclaiming: "Fortune, m'abandonnerais-tu? Quoi! Seulement cinq jours!" (Fortune, wilt thou abandon me? What! Only five days!). The newcomer was eventually revealed to be the French frigate Justice sent from Malta, and the invasion continued unopposed.[83]​ By evening the landing had been completed, although several boats had been wrecked in the surf and Bonaparte himself estimated that at least 20 men had drowned.[84]

On 2 July, Bonaparte led his men to victory in the brief Battle of Alexandria and secured the city. He placed General Jean Baptiste Kléber in command with Rear-Admiral Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley in charge of the harbour.[83]​ Finding that entrances to the anchorage were too shallow to accommodate the main body of the French fleet, Bonaparte ordered Brueys to sail his squadron to the wider Aboukir Bay, 20 millas (32,18688 km) northeast of Alexandria. Brueys was instructed that if he considered the anchorage to be unsafe then he was to sail for Corfu, leaving only a small light force that could anchor comfortably in Alexandria.[85]​ There Brueys held a conference with his officers to decide on their response should Nelson discover them in the bay. Although Rear-Admiral Armand Blanquet of Franklin argued that the fleet was safest sailing out to meet the British, he was outvoted and overruled, Brueys ordering that the ships remain anchored in line of battle to receive the British attack.[86]​ On 21 July, the frigates Seahorse and Terpsichore arrived at Alexandria and observed the French dispositions while flying French colours to confuse observers from the shore. With no sign of Nelson, Foote and Hall turned back westwards in search of the admiral.[71]​ When Brueys learned that British frigates had been seen off the Egyptian coast, he decided that the retreat of these vessels signified that there was no danger of imminent attack by a British force and therefore failed to take precautions against attack.[87]

Nelson returns[editar]

Nelson, having sailed northeast on the same day that the first French ships arrived off Alexandria, had reached Anatolia on 4 July and turned westward against the wind, sailing for Sicily again.[88]​ His ships were briefly scattered by a storm on 5 July, before reconstituting the following day and on 18 July the British fleet reached Cape Passaro again and on 19 July Nelson's force anchored in Syracuse to take on fresh provisions supplied in part by Emma, Lady Hamilton, the wife of the ambassador to Naples.[49]​ Frustrated, Nelson wrote in a letter to his wife Fanny; "Every moment I have to regret the frigates having left me, to which must be attributed my ignorance of the movements of the enemy."[89]​ Reports subsequently reached the British fleet at Syracuse that the French had not been seen in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Adriatic or in the Aegean Sea, leaving either Egypt or Syria as the only likely destinations.[90]​ Sailing once more on 25 July, Nelson turned his ships east once again sailing for Morea and sending Troubridge in Culloden into Coron on 28 July for news.[91]​ The Ottoman governor reported that the French had been seen sailing southwards from Crete at the start of the month and presented Troubridge with a French merchant ship that was anchored in the harbour.[92]​ With their first definite sighting of the French, the British fleet turned southwards towards Alexandria.[93]

Battle of the Nile[editar]

Plantilla:Dablink On 1 August, Nelson's fleet reached the Egyptian coast, the ships HMS Swiftsure and HMS Alexander detached as scouts to investigate Alexandria harbour. Although the transport fleet was observed in the harbour, the French battle fleet was not.[49]​ Despite initial disappointment, Nelson ordered his ships to search the coastline, and at 14:00 lookouts on HMS Zealous reported the French anchored in line of battle in Aboukir Bay.[94]​ Brueys believed that his line, protected by shoals to the north and west, was impenetrable and that as a result the British would be forced to attack the rear and centre of his fleet. He consequently placed his strongest ships at these points, planning to stall the British fleet while his van used the prevailing northeasterly wind to counterattack.[95]​ Brueys was also confident that the British fleet, strung out and with nightfall approaching, would not attack that day. He believed that Nelson would anchor off the bay and attack in the morning, giving Brueys time to prepare and leaving open the option of simply sailing away during the night, following Bonaparte's orders to avoid a direct confrontation with the British fleet.[96]

Nelson's attack[editar]

An engraved print showing a tightly packed line of 13 warships flying the French flag. The ships are firing on eight ships flying the British flag that are steadily approaching them from the right of the picture.
Battle of the Nile, Augt 1st 1798, Thomas Whitcombe, 1816. The British fleet bears down on the French line.

Despite Brueys hopes, Nelson was determined to press home his attack at once and ordered his ships to advance, only pausing to fit springs on their anchor cables, which would allow them to easily direct their broadsides in cramped, shallow coastal waters.[97]​ Without an accurate chart of the bay, Nelson was forced to be cautious in his advance, and ordered Captain Samuel Hood in Zealous to take soundings as he advanced to establish the depth of the bay.[98]​ At 18:20, as the British ships HMS Goliath and Zealous rounded the northern shoal, the leading French ships Guerrier and Conquérant opened fire.[99]​ As he approached the French line, Captain Thomas Foley in Goliath noticed that Brueys had made a serious error in the distribution of his forces. Rather than place his lead ship Guerrier close to the northern shoal, the French admiral had left a gap, widened by the order for the French fleet to only anchor by the bow which meant that they drifted significantly, between Guerrier and the shoals.[98]​ Sailing directly through this gap, Foley raked Guerrier and engaged the second ship of the French line, Conquérant.[100]Zealous also passed through the gap and attacked Guerrier, and was followed by HMS Orion, HMS Theseus and HMS Audacious, all of which opened up a fierce fire on the first four French ships against their unprepared port sides.[101]

Nelson followed in Vanguard, bringing the next two ships into action with the starboard side of the French van, catching the French ships in a crossfire that rapidly battered and dismasted the ships, despite determined defence.[102]​ As the French van was destroyed, HMS Bellerophon and HMS Majestic attacked the French centre. Outnumbered and faced with the massed broadsides of Orient and the 80-gun Franklin and Tonnant, both British ships suffered massive damage.[103]Culloden, bringing up the rear of the British line, passed too close to the northern shoal and grounded, Troubridge suffering severe damage to his hull despite efforts by Mutine and Leander to drag the ship off.[104]​ By 19:00 darkness had fallen, and within an hour the French van had been defeated, Guerrier, Conquérant, Spartiate, Aquilon and Peuple Souverain all either in British hands or too badly damaged to continue fighting.[105]​ The British too had suffered damage, with Vanguard and Goliath badly hit while to the south both Bellerophon and Majestic had been forced to cut their anchor cables and pull away from their respective opponents.[106]Bellerophon had been dismasted, Majestic's captain George Blagden Westcott had been killed, and on Vanguard Nelson had suffered a severe head wound.[107]

Destruction of Orient[editar]

A confused naval battle. Two battered ships drift in the foreground while smoke and flame boil from a third. In the background smoke rises from a confused melee of battling ships.
Battle of the Nile, Thomas Luny.

Shortly after 20:00, the trailing Swiftsure and Alexander, joined by Leander, attacked the French centre, causing severe damage to Franklin and killing Admiral Brueys on his quarterdeck with a cannon shot.[108]​ At 21:00, a fire broke out in Orient's stern, the blaze spread further by volleys from Swiftsure that also defeated efforts to extinguish it.[109]​ The flames spread rapidly, racing up the masts and across the decks until the entire flagship was a blazing wreck. At 22:00, the vast magazines detonated, tearing the ship apart and hurling burning wreckage onto the neighbouring vessels.[110]​ For ten minutes not a shot was fired, as the nearest ships battled to extinguish fires and the further ones paused in shock.[111]​ The first ship to recommence hostilities was Franklin, but Admiral Blanquet's heavily outnumbered flagship was forced to surrender by 24:00.[112]Tonnant, the only French ship still engaged, fought on against Majestic until 03:00, when the mortally wounded Captain Aristide Aubert Du Petit Thouars succeeded in dragging his ship to the temporary safety of the rear division under Rear-Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve.[113]

At 04:00 on 2 August, firing began again between Villeneuve's ships and a scratch British squadron formed from the less damaged ships.[114]​ By 11:00, Villeneuve had conducted a successful fighting withdrawal to the mouth of the bay, and was able to escape to open water.[115]​ However, Villeneuve had been forced to abandon the battered Tonnant and the grounded Timoléon, retaining just two ships of the line and two frigates.[116]​ While Villeneuve escaped, British ships received the surrender of Heureux and Mercure, which had grounded shortly after the explosion of Orient, and forced the captain of the frigate Artémise to scuttle his vessel.[114]​ On 3 August, Theseus and Leander were sent to complete the destruction of the French fleet; Tonnant surrendered and Timoléon was set on fire by its crew and destroyed.[117]

Subsequent operations[editar]

A line drawing depicting a badly damaged ship lying stern on to an even more badly damaged ship. The second ship is firing on the first through a thick bank of smoke.
Action between H.M.S. Leander and the French National Ship Le Généreux, 18 August 1798, C. H. Seaforth

With the exception of Villeneuve's fugitives, the French Mediterranean Fleet had been annihilated. Nine of eleven ships of the line had been captured or destroyed, as well as two frigates.[116]​ French casualties totalled more than 3,000 and possibly as many as 5,000, compared to British losses of 218 killed and 677 wounded.[118]​ However, many of Nelson's ships were seriously damaged, and urgent repairs were required for both his own ships and the captured prizes before they could begin the long voyage back to Britain. For more than two weeks Nelson remained in Aboukir Bay, effecting repairs, writing despatches and assessing the strategic situation in Egypt.[119]​ The first ship detached from his squadron was Leander, sent on 5 August to the fleet under Earl St. Vincent off Cadiz with reports of the battle.[120]​ On 8 August Aboukir Island was stormed and captured, and on 12 August Emerald, Alcmene and Bonne Citoyenne finally caught up with the fleet, followed on 17 August by Seahorse and Terpsichore.[121]Mutine was detached on 13 August with despatches for the Admiralty and on 14 August Nelson sent seven ships with the six seaworthy prizes to the mouth of Aboukir Bay under the command of Saumarez.[122]​ This convoy sailed for Gibraltar on 15 August and the following day Nelson burnt Heureux, followed on 18 August by Mercure and Guerrier, none of which were fit for continued service. On 19 August Nelson separated his remaining ships, leading three vessels northwards towards Naples and leaving a blockade squadron off Alexandria of Zealous, Goliath, Swiftsure and the frigates, under Captain Samuel Hood.[121]

By the time Nelson departed Alexandria, his first set of dispatches were already in French hands. Leander had been discovered off the western coast of Crete on 18 August 1798 by the French ship of the line Généreux, one of Villeneuve's escapees.[123]​ After separating from Villeneuve's squadron on 17 August, Généreux was sailing to Corfu when it encountered the British fourth rate. The larger French ship soon overtook the British vessel and a heated exchange followed: French efforts to board Leander were driven back with heavy casualties, and Captain Thompson at one stage successfully raked his opponent, but gradually the heavier weight of Généreux inflicted severe damage to the British ship and after six and a half hours Thompson was forced to surrender.[124]​ French captain Lejoille then authorised widespread looting of the personal effects of the British crew, whom he also forced to conduct repairs on both ships, an act against the established conventions of naval warfare.[125]​ The prize was towed to Corfu for repairs, the two battered vessels briefly encountering Mutine, which escaped to the westwards before Généreux could give chase. In captivity Lejoille continued to refuse to allow the British officers medical attention or return their stolen property.[126]​ Eventually returned to Britain, Thompson and Berry were knighted and heavily praised for their defence of their ship against heavy odds, while Lejoille was also commended for his success, assisted by his incorrect account of the battle published in French newspapers.[127]

Alexandria[editar]

With the French naval presence in the Mediterranean reduced to a few scattered vessels, the allies of the Second Coalition were able to exert their dominance in the region. Off Alexandria, the squadron under Captain Hood successfully prevented communications between France and the French army in Egypt.[128]​ On 22 August, just three days after Nelson sailed north, Alcmene intercepted the 6-gun dispatch vessel Légère off Alexandria harbour and forced the captain to surrender. As his flag was struck, the captain hurled the dispatches into the sea. This action was witnessed by sailors John Taylor and John Harding aboard Alcmene and both men dived into the water, successfully retrieving the messages.[129]​ For their bravery in diving from a rapidly moving ship into unknown waters, both men were granted annual pensions of £20 (the equivalent of £NaN as of 2017).Plantilla:Inflation-fn Three days after the capture of Légère, Captain Foley of Goliath sent a boat into the sheltered anchorage under Aboukir Castle, where his men boarded and captured the armed ketch Torride, typical of the gun-vessels that had fired on the British advance during the Battle of the Nile.[130]​ On 2 September, another dispatch vessel reached the Egyptian coast, the 4-gun cutter Anémone carrying General Camin and 60 men from Malta.[129]Swiftsure and Emerald managed to cut off the vessel from Alexandria harbour and drive it ashore near the town of Marabou. Although the cutter swiftly broke up in the surf, most of the men aboard managed to scramble ashore. There, while the British ships lay off shore unable to intervene, Bedouin partisans discovered the survivors and massacred them, dragging the few survivors inland before French cavalry could rescue them.[131]​ The only survivors were rescued by Lieutenant Francis William Fane, who swam to shore with an empty barrel attached to a rope. Despite coming under fire from the French on the beach, he was able to save five men from the Bedouin attack.[129]

In October the small British squadron at Alexandria was briefly reinforced by a Portuguese squadron of four ships of the line and the 64-gun HMS Lion under Captain Manley Dixon, although the Portuguese sailed for Malta after only a few days.[131]​ On 19 October the squadron was joined by two Turkish corvettes, two Russian frigates and 16 small Turkish gunboats, arranged by Hood on a visit to Rhodes in Swiftsure the week before.[132]​ The gunboats were subsequently used to bombard Aboukir Castle and a French encampment at Lake Maadie on 25 October, although results were negligible. After the first day the Turkish crews were replaced with British sailors, but except for a complaint from the French that "unfair" incendiary weapons were used in the attack, nothing was achieved. The incendiary shells subsequently proved to have been taken from the captured Spartiate following the battle on 1 August and were found to be made of a substance that burned even under water.[132]​ After three days the bombardment was abandoned and no further activity took place on the Egyptian coast during the remainder of the year. The Turkish and Russian vessels were eventually withdrawn in December, while Lion was detached to join the blockade of Malta.[133]

Ionian Sea[editar]

The main Mediterranean fleets of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire were deployed in the Ionian Sea. At the Treaty of Campo Formio, France had been awarded the Ionian Islands and the four fortresses of Butrinto, Parga, Preveza and Vonizza on the Albanian and Greek coasts.[134]​ In early October 1798, following the declaration of war between France and the Ottomans, a large Turkish army had advanced across the Balkans and rapidly forced the fortresses to surrender. At the same time, the Ionian Islands were attacked by a joint Russian and Turkish expeditionary force, which included ten Russian ships of the line, numerous smaller Russian vessels and approximately 30 assorted Turkish ships. On board were 8,000 Turkish soldiers, which rapidly invaded and seized the islands of Paxi, Santa Maura, Theaki, Cephalonia, Zante and Cerigo, capturing 1,500 French prisoners by 10 October.[135]​ Only the large fortified island of Corfu held out, and there the defenders were forced back into the main town. Although the town was besieged, operations were slow and the blockade was only loosely enforced, allowing Généreux to successfully break out and reach Ancona. By the end of the year little had changed, the French garrison remaining besieged in Corfu.[136]

Malta and Naples[editar]

Further westwards, the newly captured French island of Malta was under a much more diligent blockade. The returning convoy from Aboukir Bay under Saumarez reached Malta in September. There he encountered a squadron of four Portuguese ships of the line and the British ship Lion under the command of Tomás Xavier Teles de Castro da Gama, Marquess de Niza, initially sending them on to Alexandria.[137]​ While anchored off Malta awaiting favourable winds, a delegation of native Maltese citizens was brought on board Saumarez's ship Orion on 25 September. They announced that the Maltese people, infuriated with French disestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church on Malta, had risen up against the French garrison and were forcing them back towards the fortress of Valletta.[138]​ Saumarez attempted to negotiate the surrender of the island with Vaubois, but was rebuffed. Unable to delay his passage to Gibraltar any longer, Saumarez gave the Maltese 1,200 muskets and promised to send assistance as soon as he was able.[139]​ By 12 October, the French were besieged in Valletta by 10,000 Maltese irregulars. Vaubois had only 3,000 healthy troops, although the arrival of Villeneuve with the ship of the line Guillaume Tell and two frigates did bolster his defences.[140]

On the same day that the French retreated to Valletta, Nelson despatched the ships Alexander, Culloden, and Colossus from his squadron at Naples to blockade the port, under the command of Captain Alexander Ball. Although the Neapolitans refused to deploy forces to Malta, which was technically their territory, the squadron was joined within a few days by Niza's Portuguese ships and then by Nelson, now Lord Nelson, in Vanguard on 24 October.[138]​ Four days later, Nelson authorised Ball to negotiate the surrender of the nearby island of Gozo. The French abandoned the island's fortifications and the British captured 24 cannon and 3,200 urgently required sacks of grain, which were distributed among the Maltese populace. With the French garrison trapped in Valletta, no further actions took place off Malta during the year, both sides settling in for a long siege.[140]

While his captains enforced the blockade of Malta and Alexandria during September and October, Nelson was anchored in the Bay of Naples, enjoying the hospitality of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria Carolina of the Kingdom of Naples. Arriving on 22 September, Vanguard was greeted with over 500 small vessels organised by the royal family and led by a barge carrying Sir William and Lady Emma Hamilton.[141]​ Over the next weeks, Nelson was taken into the court as an honoured guest, and has subsequently been accused of neglecting his naval responsibilities.[141]​ It was at this time that his mutual attraction to Lady Emma Hamilton developed into a romantic affair. He also began to dabble in Neapolitan politics, successfully combining with Maria Carolina, the francophobe Queen, to encourage Ferdinand to go to war with France. Ferdinand ordered the Neapolitan army under General Mack to drive the French out of Rome.[142]​ The resulting campaign was a disaster for the Neapolitans; the French counterattacked and forced Ferdinand and his court to flee to Palermo in Sicily. The French established the Parthenopean Republic in Naples to replace the monarchy.[136]

España y Menorca[editar]

Un barco de dos cubiertas dispara desde ambos lados, ya que está rodeado por cuatro barcos más pequeños, tres de un lado y uno del otro
Capture of the Dorothea, 15 July 1798, Thomas Whitcombe, 1816

Mientras Nelson estaba comprometido en el Mediterráneo central y oriental, la principal flota del Mediterráneo bajo el mando de St Vincent había asegurado que la Armada española no podía intervenir. El 24 de mayo, San Vicente se unió al Tajo con un refuerzo de ocho barcos bajo el contralmirante Sir Roger Curtis, y el almirante ordenó a sus barcos que establecieran bloqueos en los puertos del sur de España, especialmente en Cádiz, donde la principal flota española estaba anclada.[143]​ Allí pasaba la correspondencia regular entre St Vincent y el Almirante Don José Massaredo, el comandante español.[143]​ La flota española no hizo grandes despliegues durante el año, salvo un solo convoy del buque de la línea Monarca, dos fragatas y varios buques mercantes que navegaron en abril.[133]​ Aunque los corsarios y los buques de guerra menores lucharon varios pequeños combates a lo largo de la costa mediterránea española, el único despliegue español significativo del resto del año fue por una escuadrilla de la fragata basada en Cartagena,que fue interceptada por el buque británico de la línea Lion.[144]​ At the ensuing Action of 15 July 1798, los barcos españoles formaron una línea para enfrentarse al ataque de la nave del capitán Dixon pero la fragata dañada Santa Dorotea cayó detrás de las tres fragatas principales. Cuando los principales barcos volvieron a Cartagena después de un interminable intercambio de tiros de largo alcance, el Santa Dorotea fue derrotado y capturado.[145]

Una vez que la flota francesa del Mediterráneo había sido destruida en la Bahía de Aboukir, St Vincent estaba decidido a restablecer la hegemonía británica en el Mediterráneo. Para asegurar esto, su flota necesitaba una base con un puerto de aguas profundas bien protegido que no pudiera ser asaltado por tierra.[146]​ El mejor puerto de la isla en el Mediterráneo occidental fue en Port Mahon en Menorca,donde un gran astillero moderno incluyó un embarcadero careening, almacenes extensos y un hospital naval diseñado y construido. Estas instalaciones eran todas de fabricación británica, construidas durante los períodos de ocupación por las fuerzas británicas entre 1708 - 1756 y 1763 - 1781.[146]​ St Vincent por lo tanto separó dos naves de la línea, tres fragatas y varios buques más pequeños y transportes a la isla bajo Comodoro John Thomas Duckworth, carrying a small army under Colonel Charles Stuart.[147]​ La fuerza expedicionaria llegó de Menorca el 7 de noviembre y las tropas fueron desembarcadas en Addaya Creek. Allí un ataque español fue expulsado y durante los dos días siguientes el ejército continuó hacia el interior, un destacamento bajo el Coronel Henry Paget tomando Port Mahón mientras que el ejército principal recibió la rendición de ciudad tras ciudad, incluyendo Fornella, que pasó por alto el ancladero protegido principal de la isla.[146]​ El 11 de noviembre una escuadra española de cuatro fragatas intentó interrumpir las operaciones, pero un rápido contraataque de los barcos de Duckworth los obligó a abandonarlos. El 16 de noviembre la ciudad de Ciudadela capituló y el control de la isla fue cedido a las fuerzas británicas.[148]

Notes[editar]

Plantilla:Cnote2 Begin Plantilla:Cnote2 Plantilla:Cnote2 End

References[editar]

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  143. a b James, p. 195
  144. You must specify issue= and startpage= when using {{LondonGazette}}. Available parameters: Plantilla:LondonGazette/doc/parameterlist

    . Por favor, reemplaza esta plantilla por {{Cita publicación}}.
  145. Gardiner, p. 54
  146. a b c Gardiner, p. 45
  147. James, p. 196
  148. Clowes, p. 378

Bibliography[editar]

Plantilla:Good article Plantilla:French occupation of Malta