French campaign in Egypt and Syria
1801 Mar 8
Battle of Abukir (1801)Abu Qir, Egypt
The landing of the British expeditionary force under Sir Ralph Abercromby was intended to defeat or drive out an estimated 21,000 remaining troops of Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Egypt. The fleet commanded by Baron Keith included seven ships of the line, five frigates and a dozen armed corvettes. With the troop transports, it was delayed in the bay for several days by strong gales and heavy seas before disembarkation could proceed. Under General Friant, some 2000 French troops and ten field guns in high positions took a heavy toll of a large British force disembarking from a task-force fleet in boats, each carrying 50 men to be landed on the beach. The British then rushed and overwhelmed the defenders with fixed bayonets and secured the position, enabling an orderly landing of the remainder of their 17,500-strong army and its equipment. The skirmish was a prelude to the Battle of Alexandria and resulted in British losses of 730 killed and wounded or missing. The French withdrew, losing at least 300 dead or wounded and eight pieces of cannon.