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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 107 ports were lost. The remainder of the fleet reached the West Indies in safety, and by the month ‘of March 1796 the troops were in B condition for active duty. The General succeeded in driving the French from all their possessions, and, assisted by part of a new convoy from Britain, was enabled to capture the island of Trinidad from the Spaniards. Sir Ralph next made an attack upon the Spanish island of Puerto Rico, which proved unsuccessful, but without by any means tarnishing his previously well-earned laurels. On his return to this country in 1797, he was received with every demonstration of public respect. He was presented by his Majesty with the Colonelcy of the Scots Greys-invested with the honour of the Order of the Bath-rewarded with the lucrative governments of Fort-George and Fort-Augustus, and, on the 26th of January, he was raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General in the Army. Sir Ralph was next appointed to the chief command in Ireland, where the flame of civil war was threatening to burst forth. After visiting a great portion of the kingdom, and restoring in a great degree the discipline of the army, which, in the Commander’s own words, had become, from their irregularities, “more formidable to their friends than their enemies,” the General was removed by the Marquis Cornwallis, who united the offices of Lord- Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief in his own person, much to the satisfaction of Sir Ralph, who was anxious to leave Ireland. He was then appointed Commander of the Forces in Scotland. In 1798, Sir Ralph was selected to take charge of the expedition sent out to Holland for the purpose of restoring the Prince of Orange to the Stadtholdership, from which he had been ejected by the French. In this expedition the British were at the outset successful. The first and well-contested encounter with General Daendell, on the 27th of August, near the Helder Point, in which the Dutch were defeated, led to the immediate evacuation of the Helder, by which thirteen ships of war and three Indiamen, together with the arsenal and naval magazine, fell an easy prey to the British. The Dutch fleet also surrendered to Admiral Mitchell, the sailors refusing to fight against the Prince of Orange. This encouraging event, however, by no means spoke the sentiments of the mass of the Dutch people, or disconcerted the enemy. On the morning of the 11th of September, the Dutch and French forces attacked the position of the British, which extended from Petten on the German Ocean, to Oude-Sluys on the Zuyder-Zee. The onset was made with the utmost bravery, but the enemy were repulsed with the loss of a thousand men. Sir Ralph, from the want of numbers, was unable to follow up this advantage, until the Duke of York arrived as Commander-in-Chief, with a number of Russians, Batavians, and Dutch volunteers, which aupented the allied army to nearly thirty-six thousand. An attempt upon the enemy’s positions on the heights of Camperdown being agreed upon, on the morning of the 19th September the allied forces successfully commenced the attack The Russians made themselves masters of Bergen;
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108 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, but commencing the pillage too soon, the enemy rallied, and attacked the Russians- who were busy plundering-with so much impetuosity, that they were driven from the town in all directions. This untoward circumstance compelled the British to abandon the positions they had stormed, and to fall back upon their former station. Another attack on the stronghold of the enemy was made on the 3d of October. The conflict lasted the whole day, but the enemy abandoned their positions during the night. On this occasion Sir Ralph Abercromby had two horses shot under him. Sir John Moore was twice wounded severely, and reluctantly carried off the field; while the Marquis of Huntly (the late Duke of Gordon), who, at the head of the 92d regiment, was eminently dis. tinguished, received a wound from a ball in the shoulder. The Dutch and French troops having taken up another strong position between Benerwych and the Zuyder-Zee, it was resolved to dislodge them before they could receive reinforcements. A day of sanguinary fighting ensued, which continued without intermission until ten o'clock at night, amid deluges of rain, General Brune having been reinforced with six thousand additional men, and the ground he occupied being nearly impregnable, while the arms and ammunition of the British, who were all night exposed to the elements, were rendered useless, retreat became a measure of necessity. Upon this the Duke of York entered into an armistice with the Republican forces, by which the troops were allowed to embark for England, where they arrived in safety. No. LII. GENERAL SIR RALPH ABERCROMBY, K.B., VIEWING THE ARMY, ENCAMPED ON THE PLAINS OF EGYPT. IN the month of June 1800, General Abercromby was appointed Commanderin- Chief of the troops ultimately destined for Egypt. Owing to casualties unnecessary to mention, the armament did not reach the place of its destination till the 8th of March 1801, on which day the troops disembarked in Aboukir Bay, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of the French to prevent them. On the 13th March, Sir Ralph attacked the French in their position, and succeeded, after a keen contest, in forcing them to retreat to the heights of Nicopolis. An attempt to take these heights, which were found to be comhanded by the guns of the fort, proved unsuccessful. The British took up the position formerly occupied by the enemy, with their right to the sea, and their left to the canal of Alexandria, thus cutting off all communication with the city. On the 18th the garrison of Aboukir surrendered. General Menou, the French commander, having been reinforced, attempted to take the British by surprise, and suddenly attacked their positions with his whole force, The enemy advanced with much impetuosity, shouting as they went,
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