On the 19th two Turkish corvettes joined the British squadron off Alexandria, and on the 20th two Russian frigates, and 16 Turkish vessels, chiefly gun-boats. On the next day, or the day after, Captain Hallowell was detached, with these gunboats, to the bay of Aboukir, for the purpose of making an attack upon the castle of that name, as well as upon the entrenched camp of the French a little to the southward of it, near lake Maadie.
On the 25th the Swiftsure's launch, pinnace, and yawl, in company with the Turkish gun-boats, on board of each of which were six British seamen, commenced an attack upon the castle ; and in the evening they returned to the ship with one wounded Turk. On the next morning, the 25th, finding that his Turkish allies were very careful of their persons and would not, in consequence, approach near enough to the enemy to produce any effect, Captain Hallowell sent 15 of the Swiftsure's men on board each boat. Thus reinforced, the gun-boats continued daily, until the 28th, to cannonade both the castle and the French camp, but with little effect, and with no greater loss to the allies than one marine killed and one seaman wounded.
The principal part of the mischief done to the French camp arose from its having been set on fire by some shells thrown from the gun-boats. Owing to this, a complaint was made by one or more French officers, admitted to a conference on board the Swiftsure, that the British had "unfairly" used such missiles in the battle in Aboukir bay. "Captain Hallowell," proceeds Mr. Williams, "instantly ordered the gunner to bring up some of those balls, and asked him from whence he had them. To the confusion of the accusers, he related that they were found on board the Spartiate, one of the ships captured on the 1st of August. As these balls were distinguishable by particular marks, though in other respects alike, the captain ordered an experiment to be made, in order to ascertain the nature of them. The next morning I accompanied Mr. Parr, the gunner, to the island of Aboukir : the first we tried proved to be a fire-ball, but of what materials composed, we could not ascertain. As it did not explode, which at first we apprehended, we rolled it into the sea, where it continued to burn under water ; a black pitchy substance exuding from it till only an iron skeleton of a shell remained. The whole had been crusted over with a substance that gave it the appearance of a perfect shell. On setting fire to the fusee of the other, which was differently marked, it burst into many pieces : though somewhat alarmed, fortunately none of us were hurt." *
No further use seems to have been made of the Turkish gunboats ; and in the month of December the whole Turkish squadron took its departure from the coast of Egypt. The two
* Williams's Voyage up the Mediterranean, p. 145.
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