Inligting

Slag van Kopenhagen, 2 April 1801


Slag van Kopenhagen 1801

Gratis skepe vs verstoppingGewapende neutraliteitEkspedisie beplan en doelwitteReis na KopenhagenSlagplanneDie VloteDie veldslagDie Blinde OogNadraai in KopenhagenDie wyer resultate

Gratis skepe vs verstopping

Een van die groot twispunte oor vlootoorlog was nog altyd oor die reg van neutrale handelslande tydens oorlogstyd. Die Britse standpunt was nog altyd dat die ontkenning van hul vyande 'n wettige deel van oorlogvoering was. As vlootmag was blokkade 'n belangrike deel van die Britse beplanning vir enige oorlog.

Daarteenoor moet die meeste neutrale magte die teorie van vrye skepe en vrye handel hou - neutrale skepe moet toegelaat word om soos normaal te bly, beskerm deur hul vlag, of indien nodig, deur hul vloot.

Die situasie word ingewikkelder gemaak deur die aanvaarde handelspatrone van die tydperk - werklik vrye handel was skaars in vredestyd. Regsmening het die neiging gehad om handel tydens oorlogvoering in twee kategorieë te verdeel - handel wat gedurende vredestyd toegelaat is en handel wat nie. Die meeste lande beperk die handel met hul kolonies tot hul eie skepe - Franse kolonies, Franse skepe - maar was tydens oorlogstyd bereid om neutrale skepe 'n deel van die handelsrisiko te aanvaar. Brittanje, as die mag wat die handel waarskynlik blokkeer, was nie bereid om hierdie handel toe te laat nie.

'N Ander probleem was die definisie van smokkelaars. Teen die tyd van die rewolusionêre en Napoleontiese oorloë het Brittanje 'n wye definisie van smokkelgoed gebruik, wat omtrent alles bevat wat die vyand kan help. Neutrale handelslande, insluitend die Baltiese lande wat binnekort by die gewapende neutraliteit betrokke sou wees, was geneig tot 'n smaller definisie, wat die meerderheid vlootwinkels uitgesluit het.

Sommige lande was geneig om aan te pas watter gesindheid hulle destyds by hul alliansies pas. Die Verenigde State was veral geneig om haar standpunt oor hierdie aangeleentheid te verander, afhangende van haar betrokkenheid by die betrokke oorlog, die ondersteuning van vryhandel terwyl dit neutraal was, en die reg op blokkade wat eers by enige oorlog betrokke was. Op hierdie tydstip was die Amerikaanse posisie sterk pro-vrye handel, 'n belangrike bydrae tot die uitbreek van die oorlog in 1812.

Brittanje het aangedring op die reg om skepe op see te 'besoek en te deursoek'. Hierdie reg was 'n absoluut noodsaaklike deel van enige beleid van vlootblokkades, maar dit was ook die belangrikste oorsaak van wrywing tussen Brittanje en die neutrale moondhede. Daar was 'n wydverspreide wettige konsensus rondom Europa ten gunste van hierdie reg, onder meer ondersteun deur Franse, Spaanse, Switserse en Sweedse regsmening (onder andere).

Dit beteken nie dat dit onbestrede was nie. 'N Algemene teenargument was dat as skepe in 'n konvooi was, 'n verklaring deur die bevelvoerder van die vlootbegeleier dat die konvooi geen smokkelgoedere bevat nie, genoeg sou wees. Hierdie beginsel was onaanvaarbaar vir die Britte, wat daarop kon wys dat geen konvooi -bevelvoerder heeltemal seker kan wees wat die skepe vervoer nie, maar wat ook van mening was dat dit 'n onaanvaarbare beginsel was. Selfs as die konvooi -bevelvoerder eerlik was, was daar geen konsensus oor die aard van smokkelaars nie.

'N Rits voorvalle waarby Sweedse en Deense skepe betrokke was, het hierdie kwessie na vore gebring. In Januarie 1798 is 'n Sweedse konvooi, begelei deur 'n enkele fregat, in die Kanaal deursoek. Volgens die bevelvoerder van die fregat het die fregat 'n mate van weerstand gebied - teken en uit eerbetoon. Toe die konvooi deursoek word, is 'n verskeidenheid vlootwinkels gevind (insluitend teer, pik en hennep). Dit was duidelik teen Britse standaarde verbied, maar ondanks dit het die Swede steeds volgehou dat die konvooi nie deursoek moes gewees het nie.

Die volgende twee groot voorvalle was Deense skepe. Einde Desember 1799 is 'n Deense handelaar in beslag geneem uit Gibraltar, ondanks die teenkanting van 'n Deense fregat. Die mees dramatiese voorval was in Julie 1800. Daar is gepoog om 'n Deense konvooi langs Oostende te deursoek. Die bevelvoerder van die begeleide fregat weier om toestemming te gee, en skiet toe op die Britse skepe toe hulle met die soektogte voortgaan. Dit was meer as 'n tekenweerstand - daar was ongevalle aan beide kante - en die hele konvooi is in beslag geneem. In die nadraai het die Britse regering probeer om haar deurslaggewende regseise te handhaaf, terwyl sy ook goeie verhouding met Denemarke behou het. Die Britte het seevoorrade uit die Oossee nodig gehad en verkies om op vriendskaplike voet met Denemarke en Swede te bly (Noorweë was tans deel van Denemarke). Hierdie poging eindig gou in mislukking.

Gewapende neutraliteit

In Desember 1800 vorm Rusland, Denemarke, Pruise en Swede die 'gewapende neutraliteit'. Dit was in werklikheid 'n alliansie wat daarop gemik was om hul reg om handel te dryf met die Franse te verdedig, hoewel dit in breër terme opgestel is. Die belangrikste motor van die gewapende neutraliteit was tsaar Paul van Rusland. Na die slag van die Nyl het hy hom aangesluit by die koalisie wat teen Frankryk gevorm is. Een van sy hoofdoelwitte was om beheer oor Malta te verkry, om Rusland 'n basis in die Middellandse See te gee. Malta is egter deur Napoleon gevang op pad na Egipte. 'N Britse mag het gevestig om Malta te beleër, en na 'n lang beleg het die Franse oorgegee in September 1800. Dit was reeds duidelik dat Brittanje nie van plan was om Malta aan die Russe oor te gee nie, en tsaar Paul het reeds teen Britse belange begin optree. .

Op 27 Augustus het hy 'n oproep gedoen om 'n gewapende neutraliteit te vorm. Kort daarna het hy getoon hoe neutraal dit sou wees deur 'n embargo op alle Britse skepe te bestel. Die koning van Swede, Gustavus IV Adolphus, het onlangs volwasse geword. Hy was sterk pro-Russies, en een van sy eerste bewegings was om Sint Petersburg te besoek. Terwyl hy daar was, is die 'gewapende neutraliteit' gevorm.

Dit het vyf doelwitte gehad.

  1. Elke neutrale om vry te wees om van hawe na hawe en aan die kus van nasies in oorlog te navigeer.
  2. Goedere wat deel uitmaak van onderdane van strydlustige magte, met die uitsondering van smokkel, moet vry wees op neutrale vaartuie.
  3. Blokkering, om erken te word, moet deur 'n noukeurige waaksaamheid uitgeoefen word.
  4. Neutrales moet slegs gearresteer word 'vir 'n regverdige rede en met die oog op duidelike feite'
  5. Die verklaring van amptenare wat bevel gee oor gewapende vaartuie wat 'n konvooi vergesel, dat die vragte nie smokkel bevat nie, is voldoende om enige inspeksie te voorkom.

Dit was heeltemal onaanvaarbaar vir Brittanje, waar dit as 'n vyandige stap beskou is, wat die Baltiese vloot in werklikheid by die Franse saak kon voeg. Rusland het min of geen maritieme handel gehad nie, en haar bewerings dat sy neutrale handel verdedig, was veral onoortuigend.

Napoleon het dit beslis op 'n soortgelyke manier gesien. Hy het aangekondig dat hy Frankryk en Rusland as in vrede beskou, en beveel dat alle aanvalle op Russiese skepe beëindig moet word. Hy het moontlik die vorige 'Gewapende Neutraliteit', wat in 1780 gevorm is, tydens die Amerikaanse Onafhanklikheidsoorlog in gedagte gehad. Op daardie tydstip was die Royal Navy te gespanne om enige aksie te onderneem, en die gewapende neutraliteit het sy doelwitte bereik, wat Brittanje se posisie in die oorlog ernstig verswak het. Hierdie tyd moes anders wees.

Ekspedisie beplan en doelwitte

'N Klein vloot is in 1800 na Kopenhagen gestuur nadat die konvooi van Oostende beslag gelê het. Na die vorming van die gewapende neutraliteit is 'n sterker vloot saamgestel. Hierdie vloot sou na die Oossee gaan en die gewapende neutraliteit met geweld ontwrig. Dit het genoeg skepe van die lyn om 'n volledige vlootaksie met enige van die Baltiese vloot te beveg, en genoeg kleiner skepe om 'n stad aan te val. Dit het ook 'n volledige infanterieregiment (die 49ste), twee geweerkompagnies van die 95ste regiment en 'n paar artillerie.

Beheer oor die vloot is aan admiraal sir Hyde Parker gegee, meestal op grond van senioriteit. Derde in bevel was admiraal Thomas Graves. Die ster van die ekspedisie, en die hoofrede vir sy blywende roem, was egter die tweede in bevel. Viseadmiraal Lord Horatio Nelson, die held van die Nyl en van Kaap St. Vincent, en die mees briljante taktikus van die vloot, was in Engeland en was ten gunste daarvan. Hy het teruggekeer uit Napels met Lady Emma Hamilton agterna (of moontlik andersom!). Hulle verhouding was reeds bekend voordat hulle na Engeland teruggekeer het, en Nelson se optrede was heeltemal onvanpas. Die Admiraliteit was van mening dat Nelson so vinnig as moontlik na die see moes terugstuur, en die Baltiese ekspedisie was op hande. Aan die begin van 1801 het Nelson hom as tweede in bevel by Sir Hyde Parker se vloot aangesluit.

Die ekspedisie het drie vyande gehad. Bloot vanweë hul posisie by die ingang van die Baltiese gebied, sou die Danes eers behandel moes word, waarskynlik in Kopenhagen. Nadat die Dene geneutraliseer is, sou die vloot die Baltiese gebied binnegaan, waar die hoofdoel dit sou wees om die Russe te verslaan, gesien as die belangrikste bewegers van die gewapende neutraliteit. Die Sweedse vloot sal hanteer word as dit probeer om in te gryp, maar dit was nie 'n uitstekende teiken nie.

Reis na Kopenhagen

Toe Nelson hom vroeg in 1801 by die vloot aansluit, vind hy baie minder optrede as wat hy sou verwag of wou hê. Admiraal Parker het min onlangse aksie -ervaring gehad en het die grootste deel van sy loopbaan in warmer tye deurgebring. Hy was nie haastig om in die winter na die Baltiese See te gaan nie. Daar word gesê dat hy wag tot na 'n bal wat sy nuwe jong vrou gretig was om by te woon, en dit het al die moeite van Nelson geverg om Parker te verlaat.

Aanvanklike betrekkinge tussen Nelson en Parker was ver. Hulle het al voorheen saam gedien, so ook nie vreemdelinge nie. Parker het hom egter in 'n ongemaklike situasie bevind. Hy was twintig jaar ouer as Nelson en sy senior offisier, maar dit moes vir hom duidelik gewees het dat Nelson waarskynlik die ekspedisie sou oorheers.

Die vloot het op 12 Maart gevaar. Nelson het nog steeds geen idee gehad wat Parker se planne was nie. Dit lyk asof die gaping tussen hulle deur 'n tarbot gesluit is! Parker was bekend vir sy liefde vir goeie kos, en toe een van Nelson se beamptes die vis vang, is dit onmiddellik aangevra en na Parker gestuur. Dit lyk asof die vieslike geskenk sy werk gedoen het. Op 14 Maart het Nelson 'n nota ontvang waarin Parker se planne uiteengesit is. Tien dae later was hy bereid om 'n memorandum aan Parker te stuur waarin hy sy siening uitspreek oor hoe die veldtog uitgevoer moet word. Dit was nie verbasend dat hy dapper optrede was nie.

Vier dae later bereik die vloot die Naze (aan die suidpunt van Noorweë). Die volgende twee dae het erge stormwinde plaasgevind, en op 21 Maart anker Parker buite die Sound (die stuk water tussen Swede en die Deense eiland Seeland, deels sodat sy vloot weer bymekaar kan kom, en deels om te besluit wat hy verder gaan doen.

Kaart van die benaderings tot Kopenhagen

Parker moes kies tussen seil deur die klank of die gordel (die see wat die eiland Seeland van die Deense vasteland skei). Die Sound was die vinnigste en veiligste water, maar is bewaak deur 'n Deense vesting in Helsingor (Hamlet's Ellsinore) en 'n Sweedse vesting in Helsingborg. As die vloot eers verby was, sou die vloot binne 20 kilometer van Kopenhagen wees. Daarteenoor was die gordel relatief onbewaak, maar was dit gevaarliker water, veral vir groter skepe. Dit was ook die langer roete, met 'n reis van minstens 200 myl.

Parker se eerste keuse was die gordel, maar nadat hy 'n ent langs die kus van Seeland gevaar het, het hy besluit om een ​​van sy kapteins te raadpleeg, wat vertroud was met die Baltiese See en met Nelson. Kaptein Murrey het die klank aanbeveel, terwyl Nelson se antwoord was: 'Dit gee my nie om deur watter gang ons gaan nie, sodat ons teen hulle kan veg!'.

Nelson se denke op hierdie punt kan gesien word in sy besluit om sy vlag van die 98 -geweer oor te plaas St. George na die 74 geweer Olifant op 29 Maart. Terwyl Parker nog steeds bekommerd was oor hoe om Kopenhagen te bereik, was Nelson reeds besig om sy aanval te beplan.

Parker het nou besluit om die klank te gebruik, maar eers het hy die goewerneur van Kronborg -kasteel (Helsingor) genader om te sien of hy oortuig kon word om nie te vuur nie. Die goewerneur se reaksie was dat hy bevel gehad het om op die Britse vloot te skiet as dit sou probeer om in die Sound te kom. Desondanks weeg die vloot om 06:00 op 30 Maart anker en vaar die Sound in.

'N Uur later het hulle onder skoot gekom van die Kronborg -kasteel. Die Sweedse gewere aan die oorkantste oewer het egter stilgebly, wat die Britse skepe toegelaat het om buite die Deense gewere te vaar. Die enigste Britse slagoffers het gekom toe 'n geweer ontplof het terwyl dit afgevuur is.

Vier uur nadat die anker geweeg het, anker die Britse vloot in twee lyne tussen die eilande Van (Hveen) en Amager, in die hartjie van die Sound. Toe hy daar was, het Parker besluit om die verdediging van Kopenhagen te heroorweeg. In die fregat Amazon, Parker, Nelson, agter-admiraalgrafte (die derde in bevel) en die kaptein van die vloot (kaptein Domett, effektief Parker se adjunk), kyk na die Deense verdediging.

Daardie aand het Parker 'n oorlogsraad gehou oor sy vlagskip. Nelson was nooit 'n aanhanger van oorlogsrade nie, omdat dit onvermydelik tot daadloosheid gelei het. Soos hy verwag het, het verskeie ander beamptes gesuggereer, wat allerhande moontlike probleme aandui, van die sterkte van die Deense verdediging tot die moontlike bedreiging van die Russiese vloot.

Dit het al die entoesiasme van Nelson geverg om hierdie stemming te oorkom, maar dit het hy wel oorkom. Uiteindelik het hy aangebied om Kopenhagen aan te val met tien skepe van die lyn en die kleiner skepe. Tot sy eer, het Parker hierdie aanbod aanvaar en aan Nelson twaalf skepe van die lyn gegee en volledige beheer oor die aanval gegee.

Slagplanne

Die Deense plan was eenvoudig. Hul vloot was vasgemeer langs die kus by Kopenhagen, wat hul skepe van die lyn in geweerbatterye verander het. Daar word algemeen aanvaar dat die verhoogde stabiliteit van 'n landgebaseerde geweerbattery 'n groot voordeel bied teen vlootgewere. Die Deense vloot is ondersteun deur die Trekroner -geweerbattery (The Three Crowns, so vernoem na die unie van Denemarke, Noorweë en Swede). Dit was 'n geweerbattery wat op hope op die voorkant ingedryf is. Laastens is daar 'n reeks vaste geweerbatterye op die land gebou. Die Dene veg uit 'n baie sterk posisie. Britse vloot wat op die verdediging geveg het, het sterk aanvalle van swakker posisies weerstaan.

Die Britse plan was baie meer riskant. Die swaarder skepe in die Britse vloot was te groot om aan enige aanval op die Deense posisie deel te neem. Nelson het 'n eskader aangevra wat uit 74-geweerskepe en daaronder bestaan. Hierdie skepe kon in vlakker water as die drie-dekke werk, belangrik in die onbekende vlak wat die Deense posisie verdedig het.

Kaart van die gebied rondom Kopenhagen in 1801

Om 7 uur die oggend op 1 April het Nelson die Buitekanaal vir 'n tweede keer verken. Nadat hy dit gedoen het, het hy Parker 'n laaste besoek gebring, en om half drie, met behulp van 'n kortstondige noordelike bries, seil die eskader van Nelson die Buitekanaal af en anker suid van Kopenhagen, twee kilometer van die Deense vloot.

Daar gekom, het die gedetailleerde beplanning begin. Kaptein Hardy is in 'n klein bootjie gestuur om klanke in die King's Channel te neem. Onder die dekmantel van duisternis kon hy merkwaardig naby die Deense lyn kom en akkurate lees van die benaderings wat die Britte gaan moet gebruik. Sy klanke dui daarop dat die water die diepste nader aan die kus was. Ongelukkig blyk dit dat hierdie inligting nie op sommige van die skepe gebruik is nie, soos hieronder gesien sal word.

Intussen het Nelson 'n gedetailleerde plan van aksie voorgeskryf. Sy optrede voor die slag van Kopenhagen weerlê die idee dat Nelson altyd roekeloos in die stryd beland het. Kopenhagen het hom die kans gegee om 'n vyandelike posisie in detail te bestudeer en 'n gedetailleerde plan op te stel om hulle te verslaan. Hy het voortgegaan om hierdie plan tot in die vroeë oggendure te dikteer, en nie eers eenuur in die oggend opgehou nie, en dan het sy klerke die bevele begin kopieer.

Nelson se plan behels al die skepe onder sy bevel. Sewe van die fregatte, onder bevel van kaptein Riou van die Amazon sou die skepe aan die noordelike punt van die Deense lyn en in die hawe bek aanval. Kaptein Rose van die Jamaika, met ses vuurwapens, sou aan die suidpunt van die Deense lyn posisioneer en dit hark (vuur langs die lyn). Die bomskepe sou hulself buite die Britse hooflyn posisioneer en hul skulpe bo -oor die Britse skepe gooi. Die Britse troepe sou die Trekroner -batterye vang nadat hulle stilgemaak is.

Die Britse skepe van die lyn sou 'n komplekse plan volg. Elkeen van die Britse skip het presiese instruksies gehad. Die bedoeling was om eers die suidelike punt van die Deense lyn aan te val, aangesien dit die moeilikste deel van die lyn was om te versterk. Die res van die vloot sou na die stuurboord van die eerste skepe gaan en die noordelike punt van die lyn aanval. Dit was om twee van die Britse skepe te naby aan die Middelgrondse stelle te neem en hulle uit die geveg te haal.

Die Vlote

Die Deense weermag kan nie 'n vloot genoem word nie. Die lyn skepe wat langs die strand vasgemeer was, het sewe skepe van die lyn bevat, elk met die maste en tuigstukke verwyder om hulle minder kwesbaar te maak. Hulle is ondersteun deur elf drywende geweerbatterye. Dit het 'n paar 'hulks' ingesluit - verouderde skepe van die lyn wat nog 'n sterk battery gewere, vervoerskepe en ou Oos -Indiamen kon vervoer. Sommige van die elf was klein - die Elf was 'n 6-skut Sloop, en nie een het meer as 24 gewere gedra nie.

'N Ander magdom skepe van die lyn en fregatte was vasgemeer in die ingang van die Kopenhagen -hawe, om enige Britse beweging teen die hawe te blokkeer. In die ewe het die wind beteken dat hoewel Parker se afdeling van die vloot nie aan die geveg kon deelneem nie, hierdie Deense reservaat ook nie kon ingryp nie (klik hier vir 'n volledige lys van die Deense skepe).

Die Britse vloot was sterk (klik hier vir 'n volledige lys van die Britse skepe). Die skepe van die lyn bevat twee drieskappe (Parker se vlagskip HMS Londen en Nelson se HMS St. George). Daar was elf 74-geweerskepe, vyf 64's een 54 en 'n 50, asook sewe fregatte. Die vloot was bewus van die moontlike behoefte om in vlak water te werk of landdoelwitte te bestook, en bevat 'n buitengewoon groot aantal kleiner skepe - sloepe, snyers en skoeners, sowel as 'n mag bomskepe, as daar 'n stad sou moes bombardeer . Dit was 'n baie bekwame vloot, sterker as Nelson se vloot by die Nyl, hoewel sy plan by Kopenhagen nie die drie dekkers betrek het nie. Alhoewel dit slegs twee skepe uit die vloot uitgeskakel het, was een daarvan sy eie vlagskip, die St. George.

Nelson se eskader, wat in die aanval op die Deense lyn gebruik is, het uit twaalf skepe van die lyn bestaan ​​(sewe 74's, drie 64's, een 54 en 'n 50). Hy het ook die vloot se fregatte, geweerbote en bomskepe gehad. Die res van die vloot het by admiraal Parker gebly. Sy rol was om te blokkeer in die Deense skepe wat nog in die hawe van Kopenhagen was, en indien moontlik om die Trekroner -batterye aan die noordelike punt van die Deense verdediging aan te val. Op die dag het die wind hom verhinder om dit te doen.

Die veldslag

Die oggend van 2 April was die wind uit die regte rigting om Nelson se plan uit te voer. Teen agtuur die oggend het die kapteins van die Britse skepe hul bevele gekry. Om half nege is die vloot beveel om anker te weeg.

Gedetailleerde kaart met die posisie van die skepe.

Aan die hoof van die Britse lyn was die Edgar. Sy vaar verby die eerste vier Deense skepe en ruil vuur, voordat sy haar posisie inneem teen die vyfde Deense skip, die Jylland, 'n tweedekskip van die lyn. Tweedens was die Vurig, wat verby die Edgar en neem posisie in teen die sesde en sewende Deense skepe ('n fregat en 'n drywende battery). Die Glatton, onder bevel van die berugte kaptein Bligh, het stelling ingeneem teen die Deense vlagskip Dannebrog (later vervang deur Nelson se vlagskip the Olifant. Die res van die Britse vloot was bedoel om op 'n soortgelyke manier stasie in te neem.

Drie van die Britse skepe het dit nie bereik nie. Die Agamemnon het te ver in die ooste geanker, kon sy nie om die seil vaar nie en het nie aan die geveg deelgeneem nie. Beide die Bellona en die Russell op die Middelgrond gestrand, hoewel die betrokke afstande so kort was dat hulle albei 'n beperkte rol in die geveg kon speel.

Nelson kon sy lyn aanpas om dit te vergoed, maar die verlies van drie skepe van die lyn het beteken dat die lynhoof, in teenstelling met die Trekroner Fort, baie swakker was as wat bedoel was. Die Britse lyn was teen 11:30 ten volle in plek toe die Uittart teen die Trekroner ingeneem. Kaptein Riou se fregatte het ook uiteindelik teen die Trekroner geveg.

Die gevegte in Kopenhagen was baie intens. Baie van die Dene was onervare, maar hulle het naby die land geveg, om hul hoofstad te verdedig, en terwyl die kroonprins (die effektiewe heerser van Denemarke) van die strand af kyk. Die Dene kon die skepe maklik versterk, selfs die kaptein van een skip in die middel van die geveg vervang.

Die Blinde Oog

Na drie ure se intense bakleiery, begin Parker bekommerd wees. Sy eskader was steeds stadig op pad na die geveg, maar was nog 'n entjie weg van 'n aktiewe rol in die geveg. Van sy afstand af lyk die Deense vuur ongedemp. Drie Britse skepe van die lyn is gegrond en die fregatte was onder skoot van die Trekroner. Parker het begin oorweeg om die sein te gee om die aksie te staak. Kaptein Otway, Parker se vlagkaptein, kon Parker oorreed om hom na die te laat roei Olifant om Nelson mondelinge bevele te gee en hom toestemming te gee om terug te trek as hy die behoefte voel, maar voordat Otway Nelson kon bereik, het Parker in elk geval die bevel gegee.

Parker het nie verwag dat Nelson outomaties die bevel sou gehoorsaam nie. Ooggetuies meld dat hy gesê het 'As hy in 'n toestand is om die aksie suksesvol voort te sit, sal hy dit verontagsaam; as hy dit nie is nie, is dit 'n verskoning vir sy terugtog en kan hom geen skuld gegee word nie '. Dit toon 'n goeie begrip van Nelson se karakter, maar nie die bestendige senuwee wat nodig is om in die geveg te beveel nie. Hoewel daar op Nelson staatgemaak kon word om op te tree soos Parker bedoel het, was daar altyd die risiko dat sy kapteins die bevel sou sien en dit gehoorsaam. Dit is wat met kaptein Riou en sy fregatte gebeur het.

Aan die noordelike punt van die lyn kon hulle Parker se sein makliker sien as enige seine wat op Nelson se skip vlieg. Riou het weinig ander keuse as om te gehoorsaam, maar toe sy skip omdraai om die geveg te verlaat, is hy deur vyandelike vuur in twee gesny.

Dit was op hierdie punt dat die beroemde insident van die blinde oog plaasgevind het. Nelson het duidelik 'n soort sein van Parker verwag, aangesien hy sy offisiere beveel het om hul aandag op die Deense vlagskip te vestig, nie die Britse nie, maar uiteindelik moes hy erkenning gee aan Parker se bevel om terug te trek.

Ons beste ooggetuie vir die gebeure op die Olifant is kolonel William Stewart, die bevelvoerder van die infanterie. Nadat hy erken het dat hy Parker se sein gesien het, beveel hy dat die sein erken moet word, maar nie herhaal word nie, wat beteken dat daar van sy eie eskader verwag word om Nelson se eie bevel te gehoorsaam om in aksie te bly.

Na 'n paar minute draai hy na Foley, sy vlagkaptein, en sê 'U weet, Foley, ek het net een oog. Ek het die reg om soms blind te wees ’. Hy sit toe sy teleskoop vir sy blinde oog en sê 'Ek sien die sein regtig nie!'

Dit was tipies van Nelson. Slegs 'n bevelvoerder met sy enorme selfvertroue sou bereid gewees het om 'n direkte bevel van sy opperbevelhebber te ignoreer. Sy eienskappe was goed bekend in die vloot, en Parker was deeglik daarvan bewus dat hy sy ondergeskikte kon vertrou om nie die bevel om te staak te gehoorsaam nie.

Wat Parker nie kon sien nie, was dat die Deense vuur reeds begin verslap het. Die manne om die Deense skepe te versterk, moes uit die strandbatterye gehaal word, wat hul vuur verswak het. Die skepe self was toenemend kreupel. Die eerste onderbreking in die Deense lyn kom omstreeks 14:00, toe die Nyborg, 4de in die Deense lyn, het probeer om 'n streep oor die hawe te maak, met die 12de in die ry Aggershuus in sleep. Albei skepe het vinnig gesink. 'N Derde skip, die fregat Hjaelperen daarin geslaag om te ontsnap. Teen half drie was die meeste Deense brand verby.

Dit was nie heeltemal die einde van die geveg nie. Die Trekroner -battery was steeds aan die brand, terwyl die onervare bemannings van verskeie Deense skepe aangehou het om te skiet nadat hul offisiere hulle oorgegee het. As die stryd teen die Franse was, sou Nelson geen twyfel gehad het om voort te gaan totdat die vyand heeltemal vernietig is nie, maar hy het nie so 'n persoonlike wrok teen die Dene gehad nie.

Toe die Deense brand verslap, stuur Nelson 'n brief aan kroonprins Frederik en bied 'n wapenstilstand aan (Nelson se eerste brief aan die kroonprins). Hierdie nota is soms as 'n teken van Nelson se swakheid geneem, maar sy motivering blyk grotendeels humanitêr te wees. Baie van die Deense skepe het eintlik oorgegee, maar daar was steeds sporadiese afvuur, wat dit vir die Britte te riskant maak om hul pryse in te neem. As daar geen wapenstilstand was nie, sou Nelson waarskynlik die vuurskepe ingestuur en die Deense skepe uitgebrand het.

Gelukkig het dit nie daartoe gekom nie. Die kroonprins het 'n brief teruggestuur waarin gevra is wat die bedoeling agter Nelson se brief was. Hierdie brief is omstreeks drieuur die middag onder 'n vlag van wapenstilstand teruggestuur. Toe hierdie vlag die stryd bereik, het alle skietery gestaak. Nelson antwoord met 'n tweede brief (Nelson se tweede brief aan die kroonprins), waar hy aan al die Dene aanbied om hul gewondes te verwyder, terwyl die Britte die afgewikkelde gevangenes sal uittrek en dan die oorgegee skepe gryp of verbrand. In die geval is slegs op een Deense skip beslag gelê (die Holsteen).

Die gebeure van die dag het nie geëindig met die geveg nie. Die Deense vlagskip Dannebrog het in die gevegte tot 'n brandende wrak gelei. Om halfvyf ontplof sy en vermoor meer as 250 mans. In totaal het die Danes 790 vermoor en 910 gewondes gely, vergeleke met 253 dood en 688 gewondes. Kopenhagen was een van die bloedigste vlootgevegte van die hele revolusionêre en Napoleontiese oorloë.

Die meeste van die Britse skepe het tydens die geveg ernstige skade opgedoen. Die gevaar waartoe Parker se bevel om die stryd te beëindig sou blootgestel word, is gedemonstreer toe hulle van die Deense kus wegbeweeg. Die Monarg hardloop op 'n ondiep en moet daardeur deur die Ganges. Beide die Olifant en die Uittart gestrand geloop en kon eers teen die aand loskom. Hoe u die reeds beskadigde Britse skepe sou reggekry het as die Trekroner -gewere nog geskiet het, kan u net dink.

Nadraai in Kopenhagen

Nadat Parker begryplik die stryd aan Nelson oorgelaat het, was Parker nou ewe bereid om hom die diplomasie te laat hanteer. Die oggend na die geveg is Nelson na Kopenhagen gestuur om kroonprins Fredrick te ontmoet. Fredrick was 'n paar jaar lank die regent van sy vader, en sou hom in 1808 as Fredrick VI opvolg.

Daar is teenstrydige weergawes van Nelson se onthaal in Kopenhagen. Almal is dit eens dat menigtes bymekaargekom het om na Nelson te kyk op pad na die paleis. Hy is 'n wa aangebied, maar het besluit om deur die skare te loop. Deense verslae dui daarop dat hy in stille respek dopgehou is. Britse verslae dui daarop dat skares juigend 'Viva Nelson' uitroep. Geen rekening is waarskynlik heeltemal waar nie. Nelson het ná die Nyl 'n held in Europa geword, en daarom was 'n paar gewilde lof. Handelaars wat by die Britse handel betrokke was, het waarskynlik nie die gewapende neutraliteit ondersteun nie. Aan die ander kant het die Britse vloot die vorige dag gedreig om die stad te bombardeer, en die Deense gewondes moes baie gedink het.

Die onderhandelinge met kroonprins het nie goed afgeloop nie. Nelson het nie geglo dat daar baie hoop is op 'n vreedsame oplossing vir die handelsaangeleenthede nie. Die Denene het ontken dat hul optrede teen Brittanje gemik was, en wou nie op hul aanspraak op vryhandel handel nie.

Die onderhandelinge het die hoofkwessie onopgelos gelaat, en het nou oorgegaan tot 'n wapenstilstand. Die Britse doel was om 'n lang genoeg wapenstilstand te kry om hulle tyd te gee om die Russe te hanteer, gesien as die belangrikste vyand. Uiteindelik is op 9 April 'n wapenstilstand van 14 weke ooreengekom.

Die wapenstilstand het die Britte vrye toegang tot Kopenhagen gegee. Die Dene het die gewapende neutraliteit verlaat vir die duur van die wapenstilstand. In ruil daarvoor is Kopenhagen nie aangeval nie en is die Deense gevangenes op parool terugbesorg. Parker was vry om die Baltiese gebied in te trek om die hoofvyand te konfronteer.

Die wyer resultate

Nadat hulle in Kopenhagen herstel het, het die Britse vloot die Baltiese gebied binnegegaan. Daar het hulle ontdek dat gebeure in Russies hulle reeds die resultate gegee het wat hulle gestuur het om te bereik. Op 24 Maart is tsaar Paul vermoor en vervang deur sy seun Alexander. Die nuwe tsaar het sy bewind begin deur terug te trek uit baie van sy vader se beleid, waaronder gewapende neutraliteit (later in die oorloë sou Alexander 'n entoesiastiese bondgenoot en 'n onversoenlike vyand van Napoleon wees).

Die nuus van die nuwe Russiese heerser en sy gesindhede het stadig versprei. Teen 23 April was die Russiese minister in Kopenhagen seker dat die nuwe tsaar geen oorlog met Brittanje sou waag nie, maar Nelson was nie oortuig nie. Die Britse vloot het die grootste deel van die tyd deurgebring sedert die geveg net suid van Kopenhagen geanker het, tot groot ergernis van Nelson. Parker was nie bereid om die reis na Rusland te waag nie, terwyl die Sweedse vloot sy rug bedreig het en onaktief gebly het.

Op 5 Mei het bevele vir sy vervanging die vloot bereik. Parker is teruggeroep en Nelson het die bevel oor die vloot gekry. Onder sy bevele was 'n bevel om nie die Sweedse en Russiese vloot te laat kombineer nie. Die Sweedse vloot het skuiling geneem in Karlskrona, aan die suidkus van Swede. Nelson het die bevelvoerder van die Sweedse vloot gestuur waarin hy verklaar het dat hy 'geen bevel het om van vyandelikhede te onthou nie, sou ek die Sweedse vloot op see ontmoet' - met ander woorde, hy sou op sigself aanval. Die Sweedse vloot het besluit om stewig in die hawe te bly.

Nadat hy ses skepe van die lyn losgemaak het om Karlskrona te kyk, het Nelson die oorblywende elf na Reval (moderne Tallinn) geneem, waar hy gehoop het om 'n Russiese vloot te vind. Toe hy op 14 Mei aankom, ontdek hy dat die vloot in die Golf van Finland na die sterk verdedigde Russiese vlootbasis in Kronstad, naby St., ontsnap het. Om die onderhandelinge nie te beskadig nie, het Nelson hom op 17 Mei aan Reval onttrek. Twee dae later is die Russiese en Sweedse handelsembargo teruggetrek. 'N Maand later is Nelson as hoofkommandant vervang, grootliks op grond van werklike swak gesondheid.

Die langtermyn resultate van die Slag van Kopenhagen was onbevredigend. Selfs voordat Nelson vervang is, het die Dene met die Franse handel gedryf. Die Britse beslaglegging op die Deense Wes-Indiese Eilande het gehelp om die anti-Britse gevoel op te wek. Die hoofkwessie van gratis skepe teenoor die reg op blokkade was nog nie beslis nie. 'N Ander Britse ekspedisie moes in 1807 na Kopenhagen gestuur word om te verhoed dat die Franse beheer oor die Deense vloot verkry. Die moeilikste oorwinning van Nelson was waarskynlik ook die minste invloedryk.

Napoleontiese tuisblad | Boeke oor die Napoleontiese oorloë | Onderwerpindeks: Napoleontiese oorloë

Verwante bronne

Nelson se eerste brief aan die kroonprins
Nelson's second letter to the Crown Prince

See AlsoBooks on the Napoleonic WarsOnderwerpindeks: Napoleontiese oorloëNapoleonic Homepage

Boeke


Rickard, J (5 February 2006) Battle of Copenhagen



Denmark-Norway

In late 1800 and early 1801, diplomatic negotiations produced the League of Armed Neutrality. Led by Russia, the League also included Denmark, Sweden, and Prussia all of which called for the ability to trade freely with France. Wishing to maintain their blockade of the French coast and concerned about losing access to Scandinavian timber and naval stores, Britain immediately began preparing to take action. In the spring of 1801, a fleet was formed at Great Yarmouth under Admiral Sir Hyde Parker with the purpose of breaking up the alliance before the Baltic Sea thawed and released the Russian fleet.

Included in Parker's fleet as second-in-command was Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, then out of favor due to his activities with Emma Hamilton. Recently married to a young wife, the 64-year old Parker dithered in port and was only coaxed to sea by a personal note from First Lord of the Admiralty Lord St. Vincent. Departing port on March 12, 1801, the fleet reached the Skaw a week later. Met there by diplomat Nicholas Vansittart, Parker and Nelson learned that the Danes had refused a British ultimatum demanding they leave the League.


Battle of Copenhagen

Date of the Battle of Copenhagen: 2 nd April 1801.

Place of the Battle of Copenhagen: the coast of Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark.

Combatants at the Battle of Copenhagen: A British Fleet against the Danish Fleet.

Commanders at the Battle of Copenhagen: Admiral Sir Hyde Parker and Vice Admiral Lord Nelson against the Danish Crown Prince.

Winner of the Battle of Copenhagen: The British Fleet.

The Fleets at the Battle of Copenhagen:

Danish Crown Prince Frederick: Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

The British Fleet: Nelson’s Division, His Majesty’s Ships Elephant (Nelson’s Flagship: Captain Foley, 74 guns), Russell (Captain Cumming, 74 guns), Bellona (Captain Thompson, 74 guns), Edgar (Captain Murray, 74 guns), Ganges (Captain Freemantle, 74 guns), Monarch (Captain Moss, 74 guns), Defiance (Rear Admiral Graves’ Flagship: Captain Retalick, 74 guns), Polyphemus (Captain Lawford, 64 guns), Ardent (Captain Bertie, 64 guns), Agamemnon (Captain Fancourt, 64 guns), Glatton (Captain William Bligh, 54 guns), Isis (Captain Walker, 50 guns), Frigates, La Desiree (Captain Inman, 40 guns), Amazon (Captain Riou , 38 guns), Blanche (Captain Hammond, 36 guns), Alcimene (Captain Sutton, 32 guns), Sloops: Arrow (Commander Bolton, 30 guns), Dart (Commander Devonshire, 30 guns), Zephyr (Lieutenant Upton, 14 guns), Otter (Lieutenant McKinlay, 14 guns).

Parker’s Division: His Majesty’s Ships London (Flagship, Captain Domett, 98 guns), St George (Captain Hardy, 98 guns), Warrior (Captain Tyler, 74 guns), Defence (Captain Paulet, 74 guns), Saturn (Captain Lambert, 74 guns), Ramillies (Captain Dixon, 74 guns), Raisonable (Captain Dilkes, 64 guns), Veteran (Captain Dickson, 64 guns).

In addition the Trekroner Fortress and numerous batteries along the coast.

Captain Riou’s ship HMS Amazon: Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Ships and Armaments at the Battle of Copenhagen:

Life on a sailing warship of the 18 th and 19 th Century, particularly the large ships of the line, was crowded and hard. Discipline was enforced with extreme violence, small infractions punished with public lashings. The food, far from good, deteriorated as ships spent time at sea. Drinking water was in short supply and usually brackish. Shortage of citrus fruit and fresh vegetables meant that scurvy quickly set in. The great weight of guns and equipment and the necessity to climb rigging in adverse weather conditions frequently caused serious injury.

Warships carried their main armament in broadside batteries along the sides. Ships were classified according to the number of guns carried, or the number of decks carrying batteries. The size of gun on the line of battle ships was up to 24 pounder, firing heavy iron balls or chain and link shot designed to wreck rigging. The first discharge, loaded before action began, was always the most effective.

HMS Elephant Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Ships manoeuvred to deliver broadsides in the most destructive manner the greatest effect being achieved by firing into an enemy’s stern or bow, so that the shot travelled the length of the ship, wreaking havoc and destruction.

The Danish ships at the Battle of Copenhagen were moored to the jetties. The British ships anchored alongside the moored Danish Fleet and the firing was broadside to broadside at a range of a few yards.

Ships carried a variety of smaller weapons on the top deck and in the rigging, from swivel guns firing grape shot or canister (bags of musket balls) to hand held muskets and pistols, each crew seeking to annihilate the enemy officers and sailors on deck.

Wounds in Eighteenth Century naval fighting were terrible. Cannon balls ripped off limbs or, striking wooden decks and bulwarks or guns and metalwork, drove splinter fragments across the ship causing horrific wounds. Falling masts and rigging inflicted severe crush injuries. Sailors stationed aloft fell into the sea from collapsing masts and rigging to be drowned. Heavy losses were caused when a ship finally sank.

Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by C.A. Lorentzen

Ships’ crews of all nations were tough and disciplined. The British, with continual blockade service against France and Spain, were particularly well drilled.

British captains were responsible for recruiting their ship’s crew. Men were taken wherever they could be found, largely by the press gang. All nationalities served on British ships, although several ships permitted Danish crewmen to transfer rather than serve against their own countrymen. Loyalty for a crew lay primarily with their ship. Once the heat of battle subsided there was little animosity against the enemy. Great efforts were made by British crews to rescue the sailors of foundering Danish ships at the end of the Battle of Copenhagen.

Map of the the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: map by John Fawkes

Captain Riou who led the attack on the Trekroner Fortress and was killed at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Account of the Battle of Copenhagen:
In early 1801, Britain faced a coalition of northern European states, masterminded by France, combined in hostile neutrality against Britain, the Northern Confederation. Those states were Russia, Denmark, Sweden and Prussia. The British Admiralty ordered Admiral Sir Hyde Parker with a British fleet to the Baltic, with Admiral Lord Nelson as his second in command, to break up the confederation.

On 18 th March 1801, the British Fleet anchored in the Kattegat, the entrance to the Baltic from the North Sea, and British diplomats set off for Copenhagen.

It was Nelson’s plan that the British Fleet should attack the Russian squadron wintering in the port of Revel, the Russian navy being the strongest and the dominant naval force in the Baltic.

There was a lack of trust between Parker and Nelson Parker keeping Nelson at arm’s length, while the British diplomats negotiated with the Danes to obtain their withdrawal from the coalition.

The negotiations with the Danes exasperated Nelson, a man of action, who wanted to attack the Danes and destroy their fleet, before moving on to Revel and the Russian ships. Nelson’s flagship HMS St George had been cleared for action for a week.

On 23 rd March 1801, Parker called a council of war at which the British diplomats revealed that the Danish Crown Prince and his government, actively hostile to Britain, were not prepared to withdraw Denmark from the coalition and that the defences of Copenhagen were being strengthened.

Nelson urged that the Danish Fleet be attacked without delay, saying: “Let it be by the Sound, by the Belt, or anyhow, only lose not an hour.

On 26 th March 1801, the British Fleet moved towards the Sound, the gateway to the Baltic, and the great Danish fortress of Kronenburg. Preparing for the battle, Nelson moved his flag to the smaller ship Elephant, 74 guns, whose captain, Foley, had led the attack at the Battle of the Nile.

On 30 th March 1801, the wind was fair for the British advance on Copenhagen and the British Fleet passed the Sound, keeping to the Swedish side.

Admiral Nelson forcing the Passage of the Sound before the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Robert Dodd

In the event, the Swedes held their fire, while the Danes at Cronenburg fired without effect, the range being too great. The British Fleet anchored five miles below Copenhagen, allowing the senior officers to reconnoitre the city’s defences in the lugger Skylark. During this reconnaissance, key buoys, removed by the Danes, were replaced by pilots and sailing masters in the British service.

Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Under the British plan the commander-in-chief, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, would advance from the north with the largest British ships, thereby forestalling any relieving attack by the Swedish Fleet or a Russian squadron. Nelson would take his division into the channel outside Copenhagen Harbour, and, sailing northwards up the channel, attack the Danish warships moored along the bank, until he reached the largest ships moored by the powerful Danish fortress of Trekroner, at the entrance to Copenhagen Harbour.

Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Adelsteen Normann

Admiral Sir Hyde Parker generously left the planning to Nelson, even offering him two more ships of the line for his squadron than Nelson had requested.

On 1 st April 1801, Nelson carried out his final reconnaissance on the frigate Amazon. The captain of Amazon, Captain Riou, impressed him most favourably and Nelson resolved to give him a leading role in the attack.

On the night of 1 st April 1801, Nelson drafted his final plans and briefed his officers, while Captain Hardy ventured right up to the Danish ships in a long boat and took soundings the pilots placing the last of the buoys.

Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Nicholas Pocock

Nelson’s plan was simple: his ships in line ahead would sail into the inner channel, Royal Passage, each ship anchoring in its appointed place and attacking its assigned Danish rival. Captain Riou in HMS Amazon was to lead a squadron of smaller ships and attack the Trekroner Fortress, which was to be stormed by marines and soldiers at a suitable moment, after it had been reduced by bombardment.

HMS Edgar: Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by W.T. Baldwin

At 8am on 2 nd April 1801, the assault began, with His Majesty’s Ship Edgar (Captain Murray, 74 guns) leading the division from its anchorage and tacking from the Outer Deep into the Royal Passage. Immediately, disaster struck Nelson’s division as HMS Agamemnon (Captain Fancourt, 64 guns), Nelson’s old ship, unable to weather the turn into the channel, ran aground on the shoal known as the Middle Ground. Polyphemus (Captain Lawford, 64 guns), taking over Agamemnon’s lead role, made the U turn into the Royal Passage and came under heavy fire from the Danish ship Provesteen (Captain Lassen, 56 guns).

The following ships, Isis (Captain Walker, 50 guns), Glatton (Captain William Bligh, 54 guns) and Ardent (Captain Bertie, 64 guns), made the turn and, anchoring, engaged the Danish vessels they had been allocated.

Attempting to pass these ships, Bellona (Captain Thompson, 74 guns) grounded on the Middle Ground shoal, as did the following Russell (Captain Cumming, 74 guns). Stuck fast, these ships fired on the Danes as best they could, but several of the guns on Bellona burst, killing their crews, due to the age or the miscasting of the barrels, or overcharging in an effort to achieve greater range.

Nelson’s British Fleet sails up the Royal Channel to attack the Danish Fleet and the Trekroner Citadel (The three British ships aground to the right are Bellona, Russell and Agamemnon): Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by John Thomas Serres

The grounding of Agamemnon, Bellona and Russell caused the Trekroner Fortress to be left unmarked, requiring Riou to carry out the bombardment with his squadron of smaller vessels, the billowing smoke concealing his ships and protecting them initially from excessive damage.

Nelson, in Elephant (Captain Foley, 74 guns), took the anchorage allocated to Bellona, with Ganges (Captain Freemantle, 74 guns) and Monarch (Captain Moss, 74 guns) anchoring immediately in front of Elephant. With the line in place, the battle fell to a slogging gunnery match between the British ships and the Danish ships and batteries, floating and land, which lasted some two hours.

Lieutenant Willemoes of the Royal Danish Navy fights his ship Gerner Radeau during the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Christian Mølsted

To the north, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, the British commander-in-chief, witnessed with increasing anxiety the heavy bombardment, as the large ships of the line in his squadron beat slowly down the channel, the wind fair for Nelson but contrary for them. Seeing the intensity of the battle, Parker concluded that he should give Nelson the opportunity to break off the action, and hoisted the signal to disengage, giving the battle its most famed episode.

Admiral Lord Nelson puts the telescope to his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Nelson’s signal officer, seeing the flagship’s message, queried whether the commander-in-chief’s signal should be repeated to the other ships, to which Nelson directed that only an acknowledgement was to be flown, while signal 16, the order for close action, be maintained.

No ship in Nelson’s division acted on Parker’s signal, except Captain Riou’s squadron, attacking the Trekroner Fortress. Riou, expecting that Nelson would call off the assault, turned his ship to begin the withdrawal. The Danes redoubled their fire, causing significant damage and casualties on Riou’s ships, with one shot cutting down a party of marines and the next killing Riou himself.

Nelson turned to Colonel Stewart, commanding the contingent of soldiers carried in the fleet, and said ‘Do you know what’s shown on board of the commander in chief? Number 39, to leave off action! Leave off action! Now damn me if I do.’ Turning next to his flag captain, Nelson said ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.’ Nelson then raised his telescope to his blind eye and said ‘I really do not see the signal.’

By 2pm on 2 nd April 1801, much of the Danish line ceased firing, with ships adrift and on fire, several having surrendered, their captains now on board Elephant.

Captain Thesiger Royal Navy goes ashore with Nelson’s letter to the Danish Crown Prince Frederick at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by C.A. Lorentzen

Captain Thesiger, a British officer with extensive experience of the Baltic Sea from service in the Russian navy, went ashore with correspondence from Nelson to the Danish Crown Prince, inviting an armistice. During the negotiations, only the batteries on Amag Island, at the southern end of the Danish line, the Trekoner Fortress and a few ships continued to fire.

A senior Danish officer, Adjutant General Lindholm, went on board Elephant to negotiate, directing the Trekoner Fortress to stop firing on his way. The British ships also ceased fire and the battle effectively ended.

Danish floating battery and ship of the line under fire at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Defiance (Rear Admiral Graves’ Flagship: Captain Retalick, 74 guns) and Elephant went aground and the Danish Flagship, Dannebroge (Captains Fischer and Braun, 80 guns), grounded and blew up, with substantial casualties.

The next morning, 3 rd April 1801, Nelson went aboard the Danish ship Syaelland, anchored under the guns of the Trekoner Fortress, and took the surrender of her captain Stein Bille, who refused to strike to any officer other than Nelson himself.

British destroying Danish ships under repair after the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

British gunboats took the Danish vessel in tow to add to the clutch of Danish ships that had been taken in the battle. 19 Danish vessels were sunk, burnt or captured.

Just before the Battle of Copenhagen, on 24 th March 1801, the Tsar of Russia, Paul I, was murdered by members of the St Petersburg court, and replaced by his anti-French son, Alexander I. The effect of the Battle of Copenhagen and the Tsar’s murder was to bring about the collapse of the Northern Confederation.

Casualties at the Battle of Copenhagen:
British casualties were 253 men killed and 688 men wounded. No British ship was lost. The Danes lost 790 men killed, 900 men wounded and 2,000 made prisoner.

Destruction of the Danish Fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Thomas Whitcombe

Admiral Nelson writing the letter to the Danish Crown Prince at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Thomas Davidson

Anecdotes and traditions from the Battle of Copenhagen:

The letter Admiral Lord Nelson sent to the Crown Prince of Denmark at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

  • The letter Nelson sent to the Crown Prince by Captain Thesiger stated: Lord Nelson has directions to spare Denmark when no longer resisting but if the firing is continued on the part of Denmark Lord Nelson will be obliged to set on fire all the floating batteries he has taken, without having the power of sparing the Brave Danes who have defended them. Dated on board his Britannick Majesty’s ship Elephant Copenhagen Roads April 2 nd 1801 Nelson &BrontéVice Admiral under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker. (Nelson’s signature referred to the title of Duke of Bronté (Duca di Bronté), conferred on him by the King of Sicily after the Battle of the Nile).
  • Nelson considered the Battle of Copenhagen to be his hardest fought fleet action. Although hampered by many of their ships being unprepared for service, the Danes fought fiercely and, at times, with desperation in defence of their capital city, relays of army and civilian reinforcements replacing the losses in the batteries.
  • The battle sealed Nelson’s reputation as Britain’s foremost naval leader. Soon afterwards, Sir Hyde Parker was recalled and Nelson left in command of the operations in the Baltic.
  • The incident with the signal became an important part of the Nelson legend.
  • The attack on Copenhagen, considered essential by the British to prevent the Danish Fleet from acting in the French interests, caused great resentment against Britain in Denmark. On Nelson’s return to England and appearance at court, King George III did not mention the battle.

Captain Bligh being cast adrift after the Mutiny on the Bounty in 1789: Bligh commanded HMS Gratton at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

Dinner in the wardroom of HMS Elephant the night before the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars: picture by Thomas Davidson

Naval General Service medal 1793-1840 with Copenhagen clasp and badge of the 95th Rifles: Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 in the Napoleonic Wars

References for the Battle of Copenhagen:

Life of Nelson by Robert Southey

British Battles on Land and Sea edited by Sir Evelyn Wood

The previous battle of the Napoleonic Wars is the Battle of Alexandria

The next battle of the Napoleonic Wars is the Battle of Trafalgar

Soek BritishBattles.com

Volg / Like ons

Ander bladsye

Die BritishBattles Podcast

As u te besig is om die webwerf te lees, laai dan 'n podcast van 'n individuele geveg af en luister onderweg! Besoek ons ​​toegewyde Podcast -bladsy of besoek Podbean hieronder.


By the time the news of Nelson's great victory at the Nile had reached England, his reputation as a strategist had already been made. An even greater triumph would follow at Trafalgar whilst in between was another, somewhat overshadowed, victory know to history as the battle of Copenhagen.

With Nelson as second-in-command to Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, a fleet was sent to the Baltic early in 1801 following Denmark's decision to join the 'Armed Neutrality' against British interests. Parker's orders were to capture or destroy the Danish fleet lying off Copenhagen and he conveyed his outline strategy to Nelson well in advance. Nelson, however, had his own more radical ideas for the assault and, on the evening of 1 s t April 1801, entertained his officers to discuss the plan he had formulated with his flag-captain Thomas Foley. Nelson had christened Foley and those other veterans of the Nile his 'Band of Brothers' and their personal loyalty to him was unflinching. Together they agreed what had to be done to secure victory and battle was joined the next morning shortly before 10 o'clock.


Product images of The Battle of Copenhagen, 2 April 1801


For larger view, click on the picture

This naval battle was oneof a series that was fought during the wars against France between 1793 and 1805, culminating in the Battle of Trafalgar. Britain did not have a presence in the Baltic Sea under normal circumstances but in 1800, Czar Paul resurrected the League of Armed Neutrality. This comprised Russia, Sweden, Denmark and Prussia joining against Britain because of her "stop and search" tactics, intended to prevent trade with France. Czar Paul detained British merchant ships in Russian ports the British decided that an attack on Denmark would break up the League. Denmark was closer to Britain and therefore the most vulnerable to attack. It was decided that a fleet should sail for the Baltic under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, with Lord Nelson as second-in-command.

The expedition sailed from Yarmouth on 12 March, having embarked the 49th Regiment, two companies of riflemen and a detachment of artillery under Colonel Stewart. The Hon Nicholas Vansittart went ahead of the fleet in an attempt to persuade the Danes to adopt a friendlier policy towards Britain. The fleet approached the Cattegat dropping anchor to see what diplomacy could achieve. It is possible that the Danes would have seen reason if the envoy had appeared with the fleet behind him. Instead, the fleet was out of sight. If Copenhagen was to be attacked the approach could be made in more than one way. A Council of War was held which Nelson ended by saying 'I don't care a damn which passage we go, so that we fight them.' He was anxious to end the affair before the Russians could arrive. At a further Council of War on the 31 March he offered to annihilate the Danes with ten sail of the line. After some further hesitation Sir Hyde accepted Nelson's offer but gave him two 50-gun ships as well together with some frigates and other vessels, including bomb ketches and fireships, numbering twenty-four vessels in all. Sir Hyde Parker retained eight ships as a reserve, apparently to guard against the possible appearance of the Russians or Swedes.

The harbour, arsenal and docks of Copenhagen lay in the city of Copenhagen itself, the entrance being guarded by the formidable Trekroner Battery. There were other batteries lining the shore to the southward and the Danish fleet was drawn up in shoal water covering the city front. It comprised a number of two-decked men-of-war interspersed with rafts and other improvised batteries. While they remained intact the bomb-vessels were effectively kept out of range. As at the Nile, Nelson was faced with an enemy fleet at anchor but this time he was outnumbered. Also, the Danes would stand their ground they could be reinforced from the shore, more men rowing off to replace the casualties. However, the enemy fleet was at anchor, which made it possible for the attacking fleet to concentrate on a part of the enemy's line, leaving some of his ships without an opponent. Nelson decided to sail past Copenhagen by the Holland Deep and then attack from the south, engaging the weaker end of the Danish line. His squadron was in position by 1 April and the battle took place on the following day. Ironically, Tsar Paul had been assassinated on 25 March his successor Alexander I adopted a different foreign policy and the Northern Alliance began to disintegrate before the battle took place.

On 2 April the British squadron moved into the attack. There was immediate disaster, the Bellona en Russell running aground and the Agamemnon failing to gain her proper position in the line. Nelson took the remaining ships into battle and was soon engaged with the Danish ships and floating batteries. After three hours of cannonade on either side the battle was still undecided. Seeing this and finding that ships he sent to reinforce Nelson were making slow progress against the wind, Sir Hyde Parker signalled "discontinue the action" to the fleet as a whole. Each ship was obliged to obey the signal without waiting for the signal to be repeated from Nelson's flagship, the Olifant. For the ships to have obeyed the signal would have been virtual suicide: placed opposite their opponents, they could not withdraw until the enemy's fire had been silenced. Withdrawal would have meant ceasing fire and sending the men to make sail, presenting each ship's stern to the enemy's guns and to a raking fire which would have redoubled when the Danes saw the British retreat. It would have involved appalling casualties and damage and would have allowed the Danes to claim a victory. It would have destroyed British prestige in northern Europe. It is said that at this point of the battle, Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye, saying 'I really do not see the signal!' He kept his own signal flying for closer action and the ships of the line all obeyed him and ignored the Commander-in-Chief. It was 12.30 p.m. when Nelson decided to ignore the signal, and the cannonade continued for another hour or so. By then it was apparent that the British had won the battle as more and more of the Danish ships ceased fire or surrendered. By about 2 pm, the bombardment slackened and Nelson sent in a flag of truce, suggesting that hostilities should cease. In no other way could be save the lives of many Danes on board the floating batteries. Firing died away and at 3.15 pm, Nelson's flagship hoisted a flag of truce. The battle was over.

There is no known account of how Sir Hyde Parker received Lord Nelson after the battle. He could have demanded a court-martial on Nelson for having disobeyed an order. Parker may have been aware that his own contribution to the victory had been negative and potentially disastrous. His authority, such as it was, was weakened from the moment he began to lead from the rear. However, the example made of the Danes, who had suffered very heavy casualties, was not lost on other potential antagonists.

Negotiations proceeded at Copenhagen and the truce turned into an armistice. News of the Tsar's death was officially confirmed and it was rumoured that the new Tsar would be willing to release all British ships that had been detained. Soon afterwards orders arrived from the Board of Admiralty ordering Sir Hyde Parker to hand over his command to Lord Nelson and return to England. Once ashore, he was to stay there. Sir Hyde Parker was never employed again. Nelson was now Commander-in-Chief in the Baltic. Once contact had been made with Alexander I, Nelson was assured that the embargo on British merchantmen would be lifted and that friendly relations would be resumed between Russia and Britain.

Hierdie materiaal mag vrylik vir nie-kommersiële doeleindes gebruik word in ooreenstemming met die toepaslike statutêre toelaes en verspreiding aan studente.
Herpublikasie in enige vorm is onderhewig aan skriftelike toestemming.


Product images of The Battle of Copenhagen, 2 April 1801


The battle

A disagreement between Parker and Nelson saw Nelson's proposal for a pre-emptive show of force overruled and the demands made by a single frigate. The Danish-Norwegians refused to negotiate. The Danish-Norwegians had prepared for the attack and placed a line of defensive blocking ships along the western side of the harbour.

The Copenhagen roads were both treacherous and well-defended. With 12 ships with the shallowest draft, Nelson picked a way through the shoals and commenced action the morning immediately after negotiations had broken down.

For over four hours, the battle was a close run affair with 4 British vessels (Olifant, Defiance, Russel en Bellona) stuck on sandbars. At one point three hours into the battle, Parker signalled to Nelson to disengage, but Nelson was determined to win and ignored the signal. It was on this occasion that Nelson is said to have put his telescope to his blind eye, and maintained he could not read the signal.

Eventually, following extensive shelling of the harbour and nearby buildings, Nelson offered surrender terms to which the Danish-Norwegians agreed. British casualties were about 350 killed, 850 wounded.


Battle of Copenhagen 1801: Danish Medals

Bataillen d.2 April 1801, paa Kiobenhavns Reed [Battle of 2nd April 1801 in Copenhagen Roads]. © National Maritime Museum Collections (PAH7975).

On 31 July 1801, The King of Denmark, Christian 7th, approved a proposal from the Danish Admiralty for the issue of a decoration to be awarded to deserving participants in the Battle [3] . The Admiralty’s recommendations stipulated that all officers who had been present at the battle – and for whom no criticism of conduct was received, would be awarded a gold medal. Furthermore, a silver medal was to be awarded to only those who had particularly distinguished themselves, these being other-ranks and volunteers. In addition the silver medal recipients would receive an annual pension of 15 Rigsdaler. The award criteria were not particularly democratic by today’s standards, but even within the officer’s ranks the awards were selective. Only regular officers were awarded a medal with “Right to Wear”, the reserve officers were not given that privilege. The medals were awarded at a ceremony, on the anniversary of the battle in April 1802.


This example awarded to a volunteer (No Right to Wear):
(MELCHIOR HEYMANN FRA DEN JÖDISKE MENIGHED AF KIÖBENHAVN: NO. 10.)
(Touch image to toggle obverse/reverse)

1800), Capt. Lorenz Fjelderup Lassen (1756-1839) of Prøvesteen, the southern most vessel of the Danish defense line, first ship in action. The gold medal has been added to the painting at a later date, which was a common practice for the period. Fredriksborgmuseet, Denmark.

The gold medal with suspension (Right to Wear) to Lieut. Hoppe who was part of the regular Danish Navy. Image courtesy of Spink, London.

This silver medal with suspension (Right to Wear) was issued to the Norwegian Able Seaman, Dan Andersen. The medal is impressed: (MATR: DAN: ANDERSEN AF CHRISTIANS: DIST: N-82). Image courtesy of Morton & Eden, London.


Over the years, there seems to have been some confusion about the number of medals issued. This has been researched and corrected by Lars Stevnsborg, a Danish authority on the subject. The final distribution of medals is summarized in the table below (

anno 1828), with permission from reference [3] . Between 1802-1828, several medals were forfeited and reissued to deserving candidates who would have been overlooked, likewise several medals were downgraded from “Right to Wear” to “No Right to Wear”. One Naval Cadet (Midshipman), who did not pass his examination for Lieutenant, had the misfortune of seeing his gold medal with “Right to Wear” removed of suspension and ribbon. Other examples are late claims, and a case of a reserve officer, who had not returned from a journey to the West Indies, his gold medal was converted to a “Right to Wear” medal and reissued as a replacement to a naval officer who’s medal was stolen.

Navy Weermag Ander Totaal Righ to wear
Beamptes 52 27 - 79 Ja
Reserve Officers340-34Geen
NCO and Ratings7536-111Ja
Volunteers--2323Geen
Totaal1616323247-

The losses on both sides were heavy, the Danes lost 367 killed and 635 wounded, out of which

100 died of their wounds. The British lost 254 killed and 689 wounded. In a future blog, I will write about the British medal (the NGS medal with clasp Copenhagen 1801 ) issued for the battle.


The Battle of Copenhagen

Richard Cavendish marks the anniversary of an important Scandinavian battle, which took place on April 2nd, 1801.

The most famous act of insubordination in the annals of the Royal Navy occurred when Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, second-in-command of the British fleet at Copenhagen in the 74-gun battleship Elephant, put his spyglass to his blind eye and said to Elephant’s captain, the future Admiral Sir Thomas Foley, ‘I really do not see the signal.’ The signal was from his commanding admiral, Sir Hyde Parker, ordering him to disengage and Nelson, who thought Parker out of touch, had no intention whatever of obeying it.

Britain and Denmark were not formally at war, but the British fleet had sailed to deter the Danes and Swedes from allying themselves with the French. The ships reached the northern point of Jutland in whirling snow on March 18th and moved on down the Kattegat. Several days passed while an ultimatum was sent to Copenhagen and rejected. Then Nelson’s bold plan of attack was accepted and with a fair wind on the 30th the whole fleet of fifty-two ships, their towering white sails gleaming in the sun, passed through the narrow gap between Sweden and Denmark, to a harmless cannonade from batteries at Elsinore on the Danish bank. They anchored some five miles from Copenhagen and Parker, Nelson and other senior officers took a schooner to survey the city’s defences. The harbour was protected by shoals, by seventy or more heavy guns in the Trekroner fort and by the cannon of nineteen dismasted warships moored in a line a mile-and-a-half long. Nelson decided to attack from the weakest, south-eastern end of the Danish defences and spent hours in small boats planning exactly how buoys should be placed to guide his squadron through a narrow and dificult channel for the attack. After a conference in Parker’s flagship, the London, on the 31st, the buoying work was completed and on April 1st Nelson in infectiously high spirits entertained his captains to dinner in Elephant.

Next morning the wind was fair, but several ships’ pilots – ‘with no other thought than to keep the ship clear of danger and their own silly heads clear of shot’, Nelson commented – flatly refused to lead the way along the channel because it was too dangerous. Eventually a veteran of the Nile, the master of the Bellona, volunteered for the task and at 9.30 the squadron set off – twelve ships of the line plus frigates and bomb-ketches. They were roughly handled by the Danish guns and three grounded on the shoals, but after a masterly display of cool seamanship the rest anchored in line and brought their broadsides to bear. They blazed away at the moored Danish ships with clinical precision, each firing a broadside every forty seconds at a range of 200 yards. The Danes replied with vigour and tenacity. Smoke billowed round the two lines of ships while the guns thundered and crowds of Copenhagen citizens watched from rooftops and church towers

About 1.30 in the afternoon, when a cannon ball struck splinters off Elephant’s mainmast, Nelson remarked that it was warm work, but he would not be elsewhere for thousands of pounds. It was at this point that he declined to see Parker’s signal, saying, ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes’, and archly putting his glass up to his right eye. Parker, in fact, had expected Nelson to ignore the order if he judged it right to continue the action.

By about 3pm the Danes were almost overwhelmed. The carnage in their ships was dreadful, with many of them on fire, and the Danish flagship blew up. Some struck their colours and the arrival on the scene of the two leading ships of Parker’s division caused more to surrender. Nelson offered a truce, which the Danish commander accepted, and the action was over by 4pm. The British losses in killed and wounded were about 1,000 and the Danish casualties were thought to be twice as heavy. Next day, which was Good Friday, Nelson went ashore to be received at a state dinner by Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark. There was some apprehension about how the people of Copenhagen would treat him, but he was greeted with what one of his party described as ‘an admixture of admiration, curiosity and displeasure’. At the dinner he told his hosts that the French would not have lasted for one hour at the most, where the Danes had resisted bravely for four. He made an excellent impression and an armistice was signed on the 9th.


Copenhagen, battle of

Copenhagen, battle of, 1801. This encounter with the Danish fleet was fought on 2 April in the narrow 3-mile-long King's Channel, of varying depth, which bounded the eastern defences of the Danish capital. These consisted of the formidable Trekronor fort, flanked to the north by 5 moored warships and to the south by a redoubtable line of 7 unmasted warships and 10 floating batteries, all moored, heavily gunned and manned. The British under Sir Hyde Parker with Nelson as his second had 15 ships supported by a variety of assault craft and 600 soldiers. Following a daring navigation aided by a southerly wind the British attacked in line and broke the Danish defence, Danes and British each sustaining over 1,000 men killed. Nelson ‘turned his blind eye’ to Parker's premature signal to withdraw. The victory was as much a blow at Russia, leading the offensive ‘Northern League’, Nelson showing all his chivalry in subsequent armistice negotiations with the Danes.

Haal hierdie artikel aan
Kies 'n styl hieronder en kopieer die teks vir u bibliografie.

JOHN CANNON "Copenhagen, battle of ." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Junie 2021 & lt https://www.encyclopedia.com & gt.

JOHN CANNON "Copenhagen, battle of ." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (17 Junie 2021). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/copenhagen-battle

JOHN CANNON "Copenhagen, battle of ." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved June 17, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/copenhagen-battle

Aanhalingsstyle

Met Encyclopedia.com kan u verwysings en artikels na algemene style van die Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style en die American Psychological Association (APA) noem.

Kies 'n styl in die 'Gee hierdie artikel' -instrument om te sien hoe alle beskikbare inligting lyk as dit volgens die styl geformateer is. Kopieer en plak dan die teks in u bibliografie of lys van werke.


Kyk die video: Battle of the Nile 1798 Animation (Januarie 2022).