Napolean and The Siege of Acre 1799
The Siege of Acre of 1799 was an unsuccessful French siege of the Ottoman-defended, city of Acre.
It was Napoleon’s first strategic defeat as three years previously he had been defeated at the Second Battle of Bassano.
Acre was a site of significant strategic importance due to its position on the route between Egypt and Syria.
After the loss of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile (1798), Napoleon decided to continue his war with the Ottomans.
His aim was to gain control of the port, which would have well positioned him to challenge Britain’s influence in the East.
On 18 March, his forces encountered the city of Acre, whose 5,000-strong Ottoman Garrison was backed by two British Ships.
The British had captured a flotilla containing half of Napoleon’s guns and strengthened fortifications.
A series of French infantry assaults were repulsed, forcing Napoleon to instigate formal siege operations.
Although the French inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ottomans at the Battle of Mount Tabor, the Ottomans raised the siege.
By the end of April, the French had secured sufficient artillery to make a breach in Acre’s walls.
Five desperate assaults were launched by the French for 10 days, and the attackers had fought their way onto the walls.
They discovered that the defenders had built a series of equally formidableinternal fortifications.
While Acre continued to be resupplied by sea, the demoralized French were suffering shortages and the spread of disease.
Reluctantly, Napoleon accepted defeat and began the long retreat back to Egypt.
The hill, southeast of Acre, where Napoleon established his camp is still known as “Napoleon’s Hill.”
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