June 21, 2007

Gratuitous Royal Navy Geekery Posting

Sidney Smith.jpg

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Sir William Sidney Smith in 1764. A brave and daring Royal Navy commander, Smith is remembered now primarily for his defense (in conjunction with the Turk) of the city of Acre in 1799 against a siege by Napoleon who, with a French expeditionary force, had landed in Egypt and was making his way up what is now the Israeli coast. After multiple attempts to storm the fortifications, Napoleon was forced to give up the attack. More than that, he turned his army back around for Egypt, eventually abandoning it there as he himself slunk back off to France. Napoleon is supposed to have said of Smith, "That man made me miss my destiny."

UPDATE: Speaking of which, here is one of my favorite political caricatures of the period -

Pompeys Pillar.jpg

by James Gillray, March 6, 1799.

In this scene, Gillray (claiming to base his drawing on intercepted dispatches), lampoons the corp of scientists, artists and architects that travelled to Egypt as part of Napoleon's force, all of whom are here pictured trapped atop Pompey's Pillar and being set upon by various natives. This is one of several plates Gillray did during and after the French expedition. The man never tired of goosing Boney with his pen and brush.

Posted by Robert at June 21, 2007 10:15 AM | TrackBack

Excellent! I love the RN Geekery. RN Geekery fun is exceded only by RN Geekery with cool illustrations and political cartoons, you know.

Posted by: R P at June 21, 2007 03:33 PM