Talk:Battle of the Nile

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Battle of the Nile is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on October 21, 2013.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 14, 2009 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
January 25, 2010 Featured article candidate Promoted
On this day... Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on August 1, 2004, and August 1, 2005.
Current status: Featured article
WikiProject Egypt (Rated FA-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Egypt, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Egypt on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Military history (Rated FA-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions. Featured
Featured article FA This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality assessment scale.


Some related current events from a BBC news article which could be incorporated into Battle of the Nile if someone was so inclined...

How could Brueys study Nelson´s tactic at copenhagen since this battle took place three years later? Greetings, -- 09:07, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

And how could he study Nelson's tactics at the battle of the saints when Nelson was in england at the time the battle was fought?

Quite true, the author probably confused the battle of the saints with the battle of Cape St Vincent - the first in 1782 the latter in 1797. I have amended this in the article. I'm dubious about the entry to Commodore James Russell - his 'rank' was Master and Commander. Unless anyone has a source for this I shall amend this as wellAlci12 15:10, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Try for GA?[edit]

I think this article could probably make a GA if it got some touch up. Shows promise! -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 08:22, 9 May 2006 (UTC)


Thouars is linked only in a diagram underneath; his unusual story, which is described in an article on Wiki, merits a line in the article for certain. Thouars is not one of the many interchangeable officers, but a singularly heroic one. By the way, the article has a certain British POV, with for instance the scratch at Nelson's brow treated at large (speaking of peacocks). Soczyczi (talk) 01:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

First of all you might want to read WP:PEACOCK and WP:POV. Both mean that referring to Thouars as 'spectacularly heroic' is not appropriate. Secondly this article is about the battle. Slipping in an aside about the officer because you believe his actions are particularly heroic is also not appropriate. British captains who served in the battle and are not mentioned explicitly but in the same table as Thouars, include Edward Berry, Alexander Ball, Henry D'Esterre Darby, James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez, Sir Samuel Hood, 1st Baronet and Sir Thomas Hardy, 1st Baronet. I will reiterate, the article is about the battle, it describes what happened and that by the end a number of the French ships had been captured or burnt. That Tonnant was one of them, and who her captain was are described in the table. This is the same for Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet of Culloden, or James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez of Orion, who were perhaps also singularly remarkable officers and performed heroically in the battle. Your addition adds nothing that is not already covered in the article and only serves to unbalance it and introduce POV in violation of our policies. Benea (talk) 02:09, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't agree with you, but I leave you to it. It's an informative article, quite good, but balanced it's not, written from a British point of view. And what about Nelson's scratch, and Hemans' poem, whereas Thouars' appalling story merits no mention? Soczyczi (talk) 11:31, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I am quite sympathetic to Thouars' story, but at this moment, adding it would unbalance the article. Rather than say it's written from a British point of view, how about it's written from a more Nelsonian point of view? (many significant British captains' actions also merit no specific mention, so it doesn't just discriminate against the French, it seems to discriminate equally). I personally had no knowledge of Hemans' poem before this article. I think it's more of an American thing. Benea (talk) 20:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
You might be right, but in that case you could edit the information instead of remove it. I'm not an English native speaker, so you might make the wording more subtle, put it somewhere else in the article, and add stories about Hood, Saumarez and others to Thouars' bucket of wheat. As for the 'American thing', the Battle of the Nile is not less American than British, French, European or Egyptian. Important or interesting information should be added to the article until it is so large it may be split up. Soczyczi (talk) 09:49, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll have a go at that, give me some time to hunt down some sources. I meant the popularity of the poem is more of an American thing it seems to me, though I didn't really understand that bit of your post. Benea (talk) 09:53, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I meant the story of the Battle of the Nile is not just a 'British thing' or a 'Nelson thing', but it means something for Americans, French, other Europeans, Wikipedians in general, who just might be interested in the 'Napoleon thing' or in the absurdities and other intriguing aspects of heroism, and if I were an Egyptian, I think I would be intrigued by this grand battle, too. Soczyczi (talk) 01:40, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Fighting on one side only?[edit]

For many years, I have understood that the French, confident that they had drawn up sufficiently close to the shoals, only cleared their guns for action on the starboard (seaward) side, and that the British, sailing between the French line and the land, were able to shoot without the French being able to shoot back at them (a big advantage in anyone's book). No mention of this appears in the article. Is it true? Did the French only prepare for battle on one side?

I'm also concerned about the overall lack of footnotes, and hope to find some sources.

--Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 18:19, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


This is just a notice to any one interested in this article that I will be developing a fully explained and sourced version of this article in my userpace over the next month or so, to be uploaded here once complete. It will be loosely based on the current text, but will be extensively sourced, expanded and rewritten. I note that there has been no serious activity on this page for over a year, but should any one have any comments, requests or questions then please notify me at my talk page and I will do my best to respond and incorporated the results into the finished article. Regards--Jackyd101 (talk) 11:49, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

The new version has now been pasted onto the article. In addition to improving coverage, sourcing and prose, I have sorted out better quality images, done a huge amount of formatting and corrected the co-ordinates. The sequence of edits I used in the construction of the new version can be found at the redirect User:Jackyd101/Battle of the Nile. If anyone has any comments, queries or questions please let me know and I will do my best to address them. Regards--Jackyd101 (talk) 20:28, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Firsthand account[edit]

In preparation for uploading a new version of this article, I am transferring information here from the old version that will not be used in the new one, but may be of interest to somebody.--Jackyd101 (talk) 15:07, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

John Nicol, a sailor aboard HMS Goliath, writes this account:

The Goliath led the van. There was a French frigate right in our way. Captain Foley cried, "Sink that brute, what does he there?" In a moment she went to the bottom and her crew were seen running into her rigging. The sun was just setting as we went into the bay, and a red and fiery sun it was. I would, if had I had my choice, been on the deck. There I would have seen what was passing and the time would not have hung so heavy, but every man does his duty with spirit, whether his station be in the slaughterhouse or the magazine.

I saw as little of this action as I did of the one on 14 February off Cape St Vincent. My station was in the powder magazine with the gunner. As we entered the bay we stripped to our trousers, opened our ports, cleared, and every ship we passed gave them a broadside and three cheers. Any information we got was from the boys and women who carried the powder. The women behaved as well as the men, and got a present for their bravery from the grand signior.

When the French Admiral's ship blew up, the Goliath got such a shake we thought the after-part of her had blown up until the boys told us what it was. They brought us every now and then the cheering news of another French ship having struck [surrendered], and we answered the cheers on deck with heartfelt joy. In the heat of the action a shot came right into the magazine but did no harm as the carpenters plugged it up and stopped the water that was rushing in.

I was much indebted to the gunner's wife who gave her husband and me a drink of wine every now and then, which lessened our fatigue much. There were some of the women wounded, and one woman belonging to Leith died of her wounds and was buried on a small island in the bay. One woman bore a son in the heat of the action. She belonged to Edinburgh.

When we ceased firing I went on deck to view the state of the fleets, and an awful sight it was. The whole bay was covered with dead bodies, mangled, wounded, and scorched, not a bit of clothes on them except their trousers. There were a number of French, belonging to the French Admiral's ship, the L'Orient, who had swam to the Goliath, and were cowering under her forecastle. Poor fellows! they were brought on board, and Captain Foley ordered them down to the steward's room, to get provisions and clothing. One thing I observed in these Frenchmen quite different from anything I had before observed. In the American War, when we took a French ship, the Duke de Chartres, the prisoners were as merry as if they had taken us, only saying, `Fortune de guerre - you take me today, I take you tomorrow.' Those we now had on board were thankful for our kindness, but were sullen and as downcast as if each had lost a ship of his own.

The only incidents I heard of are two. One lad who was stationed by a salt-box, on which he sat to give out cartridges, and keep the lids closed - it is a trying berth - when asked for a cartridge, he gave none, yet he sat upright; his eyes were open. One of the men gave him a push; he fell all his length on the deck. There was not a blemish on his body, yet he was quite dead, and was thrown overboard. The other, a lad who had the match in his hand to fire his gun. In the act of applying it, a shot took off his arm; it hung by a small piece of skin. The match fell to the deck. He looked to his arm, and seeing what had happened, seized the match in his left hand, and fired off the gun before he went to the cockpit to have it dressed. They were in our mess, or I might never have heard of it. Two of the mess were killed, and I knew not of it until the day after. Thus terminated the glorious first of August, the busiest night in my life.

Soon after the action the whole fleet set sail with the prizes, and left the Goliath as guard ship. We remained here until we were relieved by the Tigre, seventy-four, when we sailed for Naples to refit. After refitting we sailed for Malta to join the blockade, where we remained eight months without any occurrence worthy of notice.

Maffeo quote[edit]

I have moved this comment here from my talk page as I think wider input would be helpful.

Hi, looks like a great job on this article, nice one. But you've added a quotation that pinged my radar. The text states Although Nelson had previously been castigated in the press for failing to intercept the French fleet, firm rumours of the battle had begun to arrive in Britain from the continent in late September, and the news Capel brought was greeted with celebrations right across the British Isles." and you use a reference of page 277 of "Most secret and confidential: intelligence in the Age of Nelson By Steven E. Maffeo". Can you double check the page and reference for this, as the edition with the ISBN 1557505454 (9781557505453) doesn't state "celebrations across the British Isles". Thank you. --HighKing (talk) 18:03, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I've double checked my copy of Maffeo (its a hardback version), as its always possible I have made an error. The relevant text runs across pages 277 and 278 as follows: "from this point on, information came streaming into London . . . The rejoicing that burst forth as a result is hard to imagine now, even though slight hints of the incredible enthusiasm in England can still be detected today." Do people think that this is an adequate paraphrasing of the text or are changes necessary? One potential problem I can see is that Maffeo has used "England" when I suspect he means Britain: Mostert on page 316 describes "the huge celebration that raced across Britain". Ireland is not mentioned in any source as either celebrating or lamenting the victory (I'd imagine that those in support of the British government celebrated, those that weren't didn't). Given that Ireland was at this time (October 1798) in the aftermath of a major rebellion, it might be better to simply leave the wording at Britain rather than British Isles until a source can be provided that clarifies this either way.--Jackyd101 (talk) 20:53, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for checking. In these cases it's nearly always better to stick with the reference that is in use. In this case I recommend that since the reference uses "England", the article should follow suit. If other references refer to celebration across Britain, or the United Kingdom or wherever, we can always change the article. --HighKing (talk) 10:15, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I think that given the way that England, Britain and British Isles are used fairly interchangably in these types of source (especially contemporary ones, although both the ones here happen to be modern), and that celebrations were clearly not confined to England alone (the Irish government did vote Nelson a large pension as a reward) Britain is the best opintion here. None of the sources are discussing political entities - they are referring to the largely spontaneous reaction of the British people in the British Isles to news of the victory.--Jackyd101 (talk) 18:27, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I accept that terms may appear fairly interchangable, but in reality they have different meanings. The safest option is to stick with the sources unless there is a reason to deviate. Given that Mostert uses the term "Britain", I've no problem with that at all. --HighKing (talk) 18:34, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Glad we agree. By the way, I wasn't saying that I didn't see the difference, I was pointing out that many historians didn't (and apparently don't) and so it can be misleading to take their use of the terms "England", "Britain" and the "British Isles" too literally. --Jackyd101 (talk) 21:02, 27 October 2009 (UTC)


There are many pictoral images of the Battle of the Nile that I could not use in this article, and I have collected many of them at User:Jackyd101/Images of the Battle of the Nile, which I had hoped to turn into an article in its own right before I was defeated by lack of sources. If anyone knows of any other images available that are out of copyright (and have good provenance information) then please let me know and I'd be happy to incorporate them. Regards--Jackyd101 (talk) 22:39, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

See Stephen George Comyn Regards Motmit (talk) 22:57, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I had forgotten that one, although at the moment I am focusing on maritime paintings that illustrate the battle itself. I might start an annex to the list however as there are a few like this around.--Jackyd101 (talk) 23:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Note on casualties[edit]

I made some changes to Note A, on sources for casualties; these were reverted, with the message .."can we take this to the talk page?". So, what was wrong with them?
The note as it stood was a pretty confusing jumble of text and numbers; my aim was to tabulate them to make them easier to read. I also wanted to standardize the arrangement of the information (ie killed, wounded, missing, British then French); most were already like that, so I did the couple that weren't to follow suit. Was that not achieved? Or is it un-necessary? Xyl 54 (talk) 15:15, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Really it was beacause I felt the way these changes were laid out were at odds with the style of the page - I appreciated the effort, but wasn't very enamoured with the effect. I think it boils down to a concern that this information is very hard to tabulate effectively (I have tried before) and that when presented in the way you did it lost any sense of flow or fluency. Having said that, it is clear that my original option wasn't successful at that either. Do you think another approach would be to list the estimates in the prose style but organised either by date of estimate or scale instead of alphabetically by author which I think it is now and is not a particularly helpful division? I can supply some more text to accompany it to turn it into a proper paragraph rather than a reel of statistics. I'd be interested in your opinion. I have restored your standardising of the text as I think that is a useful addition that I did not mean to revert last time. For anyone else viewing this discussion, the issue relates to these edits: [1] and [2]. Regards --Jackyd101 (talk) 17:16, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Well OK, if you are preferring a prose format, fair enough. As far as that goes, the present arrangement does the trick; I don’t know that changing the order of things will make a difference. Is there an aspect of the figures that needs illustrating? If there was a development over time in the figures, listing by date would show it, or if you are wanting to expose the range of estimates then smallest to largest, (or largest to smallest) would do that; otherwise alphabetical is good enough.
As for extra text, again it depends on what you are wanting to achieve; the Aftermath section already has a piece on casualties which is clear enough. all the note needs to do is provide the numbers to back the assertions.
Also, the British figures seem fairly consistent, but the French figures are all over the place; are there no French sources for them? ( I’m asking; I’ve no idea). I found a French account of the event here (p1-12); it's not brilliant, or particularly informative, but it's interesting to get another perspective. Xyl 54 (talk) 18:10, 28 January 2010 (UTC)


As I understand it from other sources, Villeneuve was in command of the rear of the French fleet. He did not receive communication from his superiors and chose to watch and stand by, rather than joining the fray on his own initiative. In the current article, Villeneuve and his inactivity are mentioned only in passing, and it remains obscure to the reader why he "came under scathing attack on his return to France". Could anybody more knowledgable provide more details for the article? -- Syzygy (talk) 18:45, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

One of the best? Really?[edit]

The article has an enormous lead section, all of which seems to be duplicated in the detailed sections following. Verbosity and repetition should not be criteria of excellence, even in an encyclopedia! Chrismorey (talk) 01:38, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

If it wasn't duplicated in the body of the article, I'd be worried. The idea of the lead section is to summarise the rest of the article, not to state facts that aren't mentioned again. The lead's length should be in proportion to the size of the rest of the article - given the length of the article, the length of the lead is not surprising. See WP:LEAD. BencherliteTalk 05:37, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Battle of the Nile. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 23:24, 28 October 2016 (UTC)