Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign (3)
1798 to 1801
Map of Campaign
a pressure cooker situation, Bonaparte and his officers
debated for almost a week over the fate of those who broke
their bond and finally decided they would be executed. Some
4500 men were killed.
again broke out in the army and again Bonaparte showed great
bravery in attending the sick and dying.
to Acre, he then discovered
that his army's large-calibre siege guns had been captured
by a British naval officer, Sir William
Sidney Smith, and the delays at El Arish and Jaffa had
allowed his enemies to fully prepare the strong fortress
before him to withstand an assault.
28 March, Bonaparte launched an assault that succeeded in
getting inside the walls, but a counterattack by Djezzar
Pasha threw them out again.
man with no mercy, Djezzar - "the Butcher" as he was known
- then proceeded to slaughter hundreds of Christian prisoners
inside the city.
Bonaparte now found himself tied to a difficult siege and
with enemy forces encircling his small army.
out strong detachments under generals Junot,
Murat and Kleber,
Bonaparte knew he was in some trouble.
5 April, Junot beat off an attack near Nazareth and when
Kleber was sent to reinforce him, he found his own 1500
troops facing 35,000 men under the Pasha of Damascus.
The resulting battle of Mt Tabor
was one of the great episodes in the annals of the French
army, with Kleber holding the enemy off for 10 hours. The
arrival of Bonaparte with a division of reinforcements threw
the Turks into chaos and they fled.
victory at Mt Tabor did not help with the siege at Acre,
which dragged on into May.
nearest Bonaparte came to capturing the city was on 8 May
when General Jean Lannes
led a heroic assault that penetrated the walls, only to
discover that a second line of defences made going any further
impossible. Lannes was almost killed in the day-long attack,
the eighth unsuccessful one launched, and it forced Bonaparte
to finally accept that his visions of capturing Syria would
to Cairo in early June, Bonaparte then made secret plans
to return to France.
still had one more battle to be fought in Egypt, however,
and at Aboukir where Mustapha
Pasha's 15,000 men faced Bonaparte's 10,000. The battle
was decided when General Joachim
Murat led the French cavalry against the enemy commander
and captured him.
22 August, Bonaparte sailed for France with his closest
friends and supporters. Behind him he left his French army,
under Kleber, he sailed for his home.