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NAPOLEON IN

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 194 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NAPOLEON IN EGYPT Within the scope of this article, yet far more important from its political and personal than from its general military interest, comes the expedition of Napoleon to Egypt and its sequel (see also EGYPT: History; NAPOLEON, &c.). A very brief summary must here suffice. Napoleon left Toulon on the 19th of May 1798, at the same time as his army (40,000 strong in 400 transports) embarked secretly at various ports. Nelson's fleet was completely evaded, and, capturing Malta en route, the armada reached the coast of Egypt on the 1st of July. The republicans stormed Alexandria on the 2nd. Between Embabeh and Gizeh, on the left bank of the Nile, 6o,000 Mamelukes were defeated and scattered on the 21st (battle of the Pyramids), the French for the most part marching and fighting in the chequer of infantry squares that afterwards became the classical formation for desert warfare. While his lieutenants pursued the more important groups of the enemy, Napoleon entered Cairo in triumph, and proceeded to organize Egypt as a French protectorate. Meantime Nelson, though too late to head off the expedition, had annihilated the squadron of Admiral Brueys. This blow severed the army from the home country, and destroyed all hope of reinforcements. But to eject the French already in Egypt, military invasion of that country was necessary. The first attempts at this were made in September by the Turks as overlords of Egypt. Napoleon—after suppressing a revolt in Cairo—marched into Syria to meet them, and captured El Arish and Jaffa (at the latter place the prisoners, whom he could afford neither to feed, to release, nor to guard, were shot by his order). But he was brought to a standstill (March 17-May 20) before the half-defensible fortifications of Acre, held by a Turkish garrison and animated by the leadership of Sir W. Sidney Smith (q.v.). In May, though meantime a Turkish relieving army had been severely beaten in the battle of Mount Tabor (April 16, 1799), Napoleon gave up his enterprise, and returned to Egypt, where he won a last victory in annihilating at Aboukir, with 6000 of his own men, a Turkish army 18;000 strong that had landed there (July 25, 1799). With this crowning tactical success to set against the Syrian reverses, he handed over the command to Kleber and returned to France (August 22) to ride the storm in a new coup d'etat, the " 18th Brumaire." Kleber, attacked by the English and Turks, concluded the convention of El Arish (January 27, 1800), whereby he secured free transport for the army back to France. But this convention was disavowed by the British government, and Kleber prepared to hold his ground. On the loth of March 1800 he thoroughly defeated the Turkish army at Heliopoiis and recovered Cairo, and French influence was once more in the ascendant in Egypt, when its director was murdered by a fanatic on the 14th of June, the day of Marengo. Kleber's successor, the incompetent Menou, fell an easy victim to the British expeditionary force under Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1801. The British forced their way ashore at Aboukir on the 8th of March. On the 21st, Abercromby won a decisive battle, and himself fell in the hour of victory (see ALEXANDRIA: Battle of I8o7). His successor, General Hely Hutchinson, slowly followed up this advantage, and received the surrender of Cairo in July and of Alexandria in August, the debris of the French army being given free passage back to France. Meantime a mixed force of British and native troops from India, under Sir David Baird, had landed at Kosseir and marched across the desert to Cairo.
End of Article: NAPOLEON IN
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