The Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798, beginning of the action
On 19 May 1798, Napoleon sailed from Toulon on his hazardous adventure to Egypt, capturing Malta on the way. On 1 August, Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson sighted Alexandria, with its harbour full of shipping and saw French flags, although none belonged to ships of the line. The French battle fleet was subsequently sighted anchored in Aboukir Bay, 15 miles east of Alexandria, by the British ship 'Zealous', 74 guns. Nelson, in his flagship 'Vanguard', 74 guns, immediately headed there and launched an immediate, late-afternoon attack on the anchored enemy in what subsequently became a devastating night action. The painting shows the scene at 18.30 with the French fleet in starboard-quarter view, anchored and visible across the left half of the picture.
- Image reference: BHC0515
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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