2 April 1801
Denmark refused to leave the Armed
Neutrality of the North Coalition, the Royal Navy moved
to deprive the enemy of the Danish fleet.
Danes had 18 ships in Copenhagen harbour, protected by a
66-gun battery and a wide area of shoals that made navigation
British forces had 26 line of battle ships, seven frigates
and a number of smaller craft.
talks between the nations failed, the British commander
Sir Hyde Parker moved by sending his deputy, Vice-Admiral
Horatio Nelson, into battle with a dozen major warships.
took his ships around the shoals and prepared to make his
attack. But several key vessels ran aground, including a
floating battery meant to fire on the Danish gun emplacements,
and a nervous Parker ordered a withdrawal.
of the order, Nelson placed his telescope to his blind eye
and said: "I have only one eye - I have a right to
be blind sometimes. I really do not see the signal."
then proceeded with the attack, pounding the Danish ships
in a bloody action. Within two hours Nelson had just under
1000 men killed or wounded, while the Danes suffered almost
2000 casualties and a similar number of men captured.
return for handing over the wounded, the British took 12
ships as prizes.