following order : Guerrier, Conquérant, Spartiate, Aquilon, Peuple-Souverain, Franklin, Orient, Tonnant, Heureux, Mercure, Guillaume-Tell, Généreux, Timoléon ; with, in an inner, line, about 350 yards from the first, and about midway between that and the shoal, the Sérieuse frigate, nearly abreast of the opening between the Conquérant and Spartiate, the Artémise abreast of the Heureux, and the Diane, of the Guillaume-Tell.
The van-ship bore from Aboukir island south-east, distant about 2420 yards, or a mile and seven-eighths ; which is rather more than double the extent of the shoal in the same direction. Between the Guerrier and her second astern, and between all the other line-of-battle ships successively, the distance was about 160 yards : so that, reckoning each of the 13 ships to occupy upon an average, a space of 70 yards, the length of the line was rather under a mile and five-eighths. But this line was not a straight one. From the centre ship, the Orient, the van-ship bore north-west, the rear-ship south-east by south, and the Guerrier and Timoléon, from each other, about north-west half-north and south-east half-south. Hence the line was a curve, or, rather, a very obtuse angle, having its projecting centre towards the sea. The edge of the shoal at the back of the line, on the contrary, was concave ; so much so, that the Orient was nearly twice the distance from it that either the van or the rear ship was, particularly the latter. To protect his flanks, the French admiral, besides giving suitable stations to his bomb-vessels and gun-boats, erected a battery on Aboukir island, and mounted with two brass and two iron 12-pounders, a few pieces of a lighter caliber, and two 13-inch brass mortars
Having thus moored his fleet in, what he considered, a strong position, the French admiral awaited the issue of General Buonaparte's plans on shore. In the mean while vessels frequently arrived at Alexandria, with information that the British were on their return to the Egyptian coast ; and, on the 21st of July the two British frigates Seahorse and Terpsichore brought to, for a few minutes, off the bay, as if they had been sent to reconnoitre. Besides hoisting French colours, Captain Foot made some of the private signals, obtained out of the French frigate Sensible, which the Seahorse had recently captured ; and Captain Gage hoisted French colours over English, to make it appear that his frigate had been captured by the one in company. It is probable that this had the effect of masking the national character of the two British frigates, otherwise, doubtless, two or three of the fine French frigates (including the Junon) then at anchor would have slipped and given chase.
The short interval that had elapsed between the departure of one fleet and the arrival of the other had encouraged the belief, that the British were aware of the proximity of the French fleet,
* The French accounts say, only two 12s and two mortars ; but the guns stated in the text were subsequently brought off by the British.
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