THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WAR
France declared war against England on Feb. 2, 1793. The French navy was to a great extent disorganized by the Revolution, many of the best officers being Royalists. The English army, on the other hand, besides being inefficient from the usual reductions in the time of peace, had been demoralized by the desultory operations and ill-success of the American war. It was only by degrees that the efforts of Abercrombie and Moore above all others restored discipline and morale.
In 1793 an English army, under the Duke of York, cooperated with the Emperor's forces against the French in Flanders. They assisted at the capture of Valenciennes, and on Aug. 18th, 1793, fought a successful action at Lincelles, and formed the siege of Dunkirk. The siege was raised owing to the defeat of the covering army. On May 18th, 1794, the English shared in the defeat at Turcoign, and subsequently the Austrian troops retired into Germany, the English to Holland, and thence to Hanover. On Dec. 18th, 1793, Toulon, which had been defended by a mixed force of allies, including English, supported by an English fleet was evacuated, the arsenal and French ships in the harbour being destroyed.
On June 1st, 1794, Lord Howe won the victory of the First of June over the French fleet off Ushant St. Lucia and Guadaloupe were taken. Tobago had been taken in 1793. Martinique and Corsica were reduced in the course of the year. 1795. From August to December the Cape Colony, Cochin, and Malacca were conquered by us. 1796. Ceylon was taken. St. Lucia, which the French had recovered in 1795, Grenada, Demerara, and Essequibo, were taken. 1797. Feb. Trinidad surrendered. Spain had joined France against England, the Family Compact in fact outlasting the Bourbon family in France. The common interest against the overwhelming naval and colonial power of England continued to unite her rivals Republican France, Republican Holland, and Bourbon Spain. Feb. 14th the Spanish fleet defeated off Cape St. Vincent by Sir John Jervis and Commodore Nelson. July 22nd and 24th unsuccessful attack by Nelson on Santa Cruz. Oct 11th Duncan defeated the Dutch fleet off Camperdown
In 1798 Irish discontent broke out in armed rebellion, and communications were opened with France. The French, however, failed to send adequate help, and the main body of the insurgents were defeated at New Ross May 25th, and Vinegar Hill June 21st. The small French force which landed was compelled to surrender Sept. 8th, and a French squadron with further aid was defeated off the Irish coast by Admiral Warren, Oct 12th. 1798. August 1st and 2nd Nelson destroyed the French fleet at Aboukir, the battle of the Nile. In November Minorca was taken.
1799. In April and May the defence of Acre by Sir Sydney Smith frustrated Napoleon's Eastern schemes, August 27th an English force landed in Holland, at the Helder, and the Dutch fleet of 8ships of the line and 17 other vessels was captured at the Texel, a success fully justifying the expedition. A force of Russians cooperated with the English, the Duke of York was in supreme command, but Sir Ralph Abercrombie was the directing genius of the army. On Sept. 19th the French were defeated at Bergen, and on Oct 2nd at Egmont-op-Zee, but on Oct 6th the allies tailed to force a passage to Haarlem, and large reinforcements arriving for the French, they evacuated the country. 1800. Sept 5th, Malta surrendered to the English.
1801. In March, St. Thomas, St. Bartholomew, and St. Cruz in the West Indies were taken. March 21st Sir Ralph Abercrombie defeated the French near Alexandria, but was killed in the action. Aug. 31st Alexandria surrendered to Abercrombie's army and to the force from India under Sir David Baird. April 2nd Nelson defeated the Danish ships and batteries at Copenhagen. The number of minor naval actions during the war, resulting in almost universal success for the English, was about 250 .
THE NAPOLONIC WAR
After the rupture of the Peace of Amiens the war assumed the character of a death struggle between England and Napoleon, in which the actions of Napoleon towards Continental powers were regulated by his plans for the destruction of English commerce. The Emperor took up the old quarrel of the House of Bourbon against our position at sea and in the colonies, his annexation of Spain being merely an attempt to utilise the Peninsula as a means for carrying out the old principles of the "Family Compact" still recognised as expressing the true policy of France and Spain, even in the absence of the Bourbon dynasties. Our war with the United States in 1812, and Napoleon's fatal quarrel with Russia, were consequences of the policy adopted by the two chief combatants. The results of the war, our complete maritime supremacy, the removal of all chance of French interference in India, the undisputed English occupation of Australia, New Zealand, and other places in the South Seas, and the separation of South America from Spain consequent on the destruction of the Spanish marine, marked the final failure of the aims of the "Family Compact," till their revival in a different form by different powers in the colonial arrangements of the last thirty years.
In 1803 the war was renewed. In June Tobago was taken; in September Demerara and Essequibo. 1804. In March Goree was taken; in May Surinam. 1805. July 22nd Sir Robert Calder engaged the French off Ferrol and frustrated the intended combination of their fleets. Oct 21st Nelson destroyed the French and Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar. Nov. 4th Sir Richard Strachan defeated the French off Cape Ortegal
|In 1806, Feb. 6th, Sir John Duckworth destroyed the
French squadron off St. Domingo.
The naval war henceforward became one of blockade on our part, with occasional attacks upon shipping in the enemies' ports and upon sea coast towns and forts, and actions between single ships.
With the cooperation of the fleet The Cape of Good Hope was' taken, Jan. 1806; Alexandria was taken, March 21st, 1807, but evacuated in Sept.; St. Thomas, St. Cruz, and Madeira were taken, Dec., 1807; Cayenne, Jan., 1809; Senegal, July, 1809; the Ionian Islands, except Corfu, Oct., 1809; Guadaloupe, Feb., 1810; Amboyna, Feb., 1810; St. Eustatia and St. Martin, Feb., 1810; Mauritius, Dec., 1810; Java, in Aug., 1811; and some 500 minor naval actions were fought On shore in 1806, on July 6th, Sir John Stuart, who had crossed with a small army from Sicily to support the Calabrian insurrection, defeated the French at Maida after crossing bayonets.
A success the moral effect of which on the English army was out of proportion to the material results, which were merely temporary.
1806 - 07. Expeditions were sent against Monte Video and Buenos Ayres, which after partial success were defeated at Buenos Ayres July 5th, 1807. In 1807, August and September, the expedition to Copenhagen under General Cathcart resulted in the surrender of that capital and of the Danish fleet. Sir Arthur Wellesley served as Major-General.
Lord Horatio Nelson
In 1808 the revolt of the Spaniards against Napoleon's attempt to place a Buonaparte on the Spanish throne, and the French attempt to conquer Portugal, gave us a basis for action on the continent against Napoleon. Aug. 16th. Sir Arthur Wellesley defeated Laborde at Rolica Aug. 21st. Sir Arthur Wellesley defeated Junot at Vimiera, but as he was superseded on the field of battle by Sir Harry Burrard, who was superseded in twelve hours by Sir Hew Dalrymple, the French were allowed to retreat to Lisbon, where they concluded the Convention of Cintra and evacuated Portugal. Sir John Moore took command of the English army and advanced into Spain, but the Spaniards being defeated at Tudela and elsewhere by Napoleon in person, he was obliged to retreat to the fleet at Corunns. 1809, Jan. 16. Moore defeated Soult and Ney before Corunna, but was killed in the action, and the army embarked during the night and next day. Sir Arthur Wellesley was re-appointed to the command in Portugal in April, on May 12th he forced the passage of the Douro, and drove Soult first out of Oporto and finally out of Portugal. The English marched towards Madrid on the line of the Tagus, cooperating with a Spanish army. On July 27th and 28th Sir Arthur Wellesley defeated Jourdan, Victor, and Sebastiani at Talavera, but the concentration of Soult's, Ney's, and Mortier's corps compelled his retreat into Portugal. The effect of Talavera was to demonstrate the superiority of the English infantry, and the impossibility of counting upon the serious cooperation of Spanish regular troops. Their Guerifleros, however, continually paralysed French communications, and did therein excellent service
In July 1809 a powerful expedition left England under Lord Chatham to attack the mouth of the Scheldt, and if possible Antwerp. On Aug. 16th Flushing surrendered, but nothing further could be accomplished, and in December the remainder of the army, wasted by sickness, returned.
1810. The cessation of the war with Austria enabled
Napoleon to send Massena with reinforcements to the Peninsula ,with orders to invade Portugal. Cuidad Rodrigo and
Almeida were quickly surrendered by the Spaniards and Portuguese, and Lord Wellington retired towards the lines
which he had fortified at Torres Vedras covering Lisbon.
May 5th, Wellington defeated Massena at Fuentes d'Onoro, and Almeida was evacuated by the French. May 16th Beresford defeated Soult at Albuera near Badajos, but the attempt to recover Badajos from the French was unsuccessful. The failures of the Spaniards, and the presence of 300,000 French in Spain, prevented any further success this year.1812. Jan. 4th. The French forced to raise the siege of Tarifa
Jan..19th. Wellington stormed Ciudad Rodrigo. April 6th. He stormed Badajos. May 19th. Hill stormed the French works at Almaraz on the Tagus, and broke the bridge, cutting the easiest communication between the French armies in the north and south of Spain. July 22nd. Wellington defeated Marmont at Salamanca., and entered Madrid in August Sept 21st. Wellington was obliged to raise the siege of Burgos, and retire to Portugal. The effect of the campaign, however, had been to free Southern Spain from the French, and Napoleon's needs in Russia and Germany threw the French upon the defensive in Spain. 1813.
The Duke of Wellington 1769 - 1852
THE WAR IN FLANDERS
1815. June 15th. The French attacked the Prussian
outposts on the Sombre.
June 16th. Napoleon defeated Blueher at Ligny. Wellington checked Ney at Quatre Bras but was unable to give aid to Blucher owing to the attack
June 17th. Blucher retired to Wavre, Wellington to Mt. St. Jean. Skirmish at Genappe on the retreat.
June 18th. Wellington, with the cooperation of Blucher in the latter part of the day, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Grouchy fought Thielmann at Wavre, but hearing of the defeat at Waterloo retired to France.