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Report on the bombardment of Alexandria

Page 2 of 3

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3. At 7 a.m. on the 11th, I signalled from the "Invincible" to the "Alexandra" to fire a shell into the recently armed earthworks, termed the "Hospital Battery," and followed this by a general signal to the fleet, "Attack the enemy's batteries," when immediate action ensued between all the ships in the positions assigned to them and the whole of the forts commanding the entrance to the harbour of Alexandria. A steady fire was maintained on all sides until 10.30 a.m., when the "Sultan," "Superb," and "Alexandra," which had been hitherto under weigh, anchored off the Lighthouse Fort, and, by their well directed fire, assisted by that of the "Inflexible," which weighed and joined them at 12.30 p.m., succeeded in silencing most of the guns in the forts on Ras-el-Teen; still some heavy guns in Fort Ada kept up a desultory fire. About 1.30 p.m. a shell from the "Superb," whose practice in the afterno on was very good, blew up the magazine, and caused the immediate retreat of the remaining garrison. These ships then directed their attention to Fort Pharos, which was silenced with the assistance of the "Temeraire," which joined them at 2.30, when a shot from the "Inflexible" dismounted one of the heavy guns. The Hospital Battery was well fought throughout, and although silenced for a time by a shell from the "Inflexible," it was not until 5 p.m., that the artillerymen were compelled to retire from their guns by the fire of the "Inflexible" and offshore squadron. The "Invincible" with my flag, supported by the "Penelope," both ships being at anchor, the latter on one occasion shifting berth, and assisted by the "Monarch," underweigh inside the reefs, as well as by the "Inflexible" and "Temeraire" in the Boghaz and Corvette Channels, succeeded, after an engagement of some hours, in silencing and partially destroying the batteries and lines of Meix. Fort Marsa-el-Kanat was destroyed by the explosion of the magazine after half an hour's action with the "Monarch." About 2 p.m., seeing that the gunners in the western lower battery of Meix had abandoned their guns, and that the supports had probably retired to the citadel, I called in the gun vessels and gunboats, and, under cover of their fire, landed a party of twelve volunteers under the command of Lieutenant B.R. Bradford, of the "Invincible," accompanied by Lieutenant Richard Poore, of that ship, Lieutenant the Honourable Hedworth Lambton (my Flag Lieutenant), Major Tulloch, Welsh Regiment, attached to my staff, and Mr. Hardy, Midshipman, in charge of the boat, who got on shore through the surf and destroyed, with charges of gun cotton, two 10-inch muzzle loading rifled guns, and spiked six smooth bore guns in the right hand water battery at Meix, and re-embarked without a casualty beyond the loss of one of their boats ("Bittern's" dingy) on the rocks. This was a hazardous operation very well carried out. Previous to this, after the action had become general, Commander Lord Charles Beresford, of the "Condor," stationed as repeating ship, seeing the accuracy with which two 10-inch rifled guns in Fort Marabout were playing upon the ships engaged off Fort Meix, steamed up to within range of his 7-inch 90 cwt. gun, and by his excellent practice soon drew off the fire. I then ordered him to be supported by the "Beacon," "Bittern," "Cygnet," and "Decoy," the "Cygnet" having been engaged with the Ras-el-Teen Forts during the early part of the day. I am happy to say, during the action, no casualties happened to these vessels, owing in a great measure to the able manner in which they were manoeuvred, and their light draft enabling them to take up their position on the weakest point of the batteries. The action generally terminated successfully at 5.30 p.m., when the ships anchored for the night.

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