|Naval history of Great Britain
||Advance of the French on Naples
the treaty of neutrality which he had concluded with the French emperor, on the 8th of October, 1805, had suffered an Anglo-Russian squadron to land a body of troops in the bay of Naples. This took place so shortly after the ratification of the treaty of Portici as on the 20th of November. The Russian troops were about 14,000 in number, and commanded by General Lasey. These were quartered in Naples and its environs. The British troops, amounting to about 10,000 men, were commanded by General Sir James Craig, and were cantoned at Castel-à-mare, Torre-del-Greco, and the vicinity. Nor was this all. The king of Naples began levying an army, and providing horses and waggons for its conveyance, and magazines of stores and ammunition for its use.
With his accustomed promptitude in carrying his measures into execution, Napoléon, on the 28th of December, the very day after the treaty of Presburg had been signed, issued from his head-quarters at Vienna a proclamation, declaring that the Neapolitan dynasty had ceased to reign. The denouncement of this threat was the signal for the two allies of Naples to consult their own safety. The Russian troops re-embarked and retired to Corfu ; and the English troops, being far too few for so extensive a line of defence as it would have been necessary to maintain, re-embarked also, and posted themselves at Messina in Sicily.
Hearing of the advance of a French army, the King of Naples quitted his capital on the 23d of January and, embarking on board the British 74-gun ship Excellent, Captain Frank Sotheron, took refuge, a second time, at Palermo. * The queen and a part of the court accompanied or quickly followed the king in his retreat ; but the Duke of Calabria, the king's eldest son and the heir apparent to the throne, remained as regent of the kingdom until the 7th of February, when he also quitted Naples and retired to his dukedom. The French army, in the mean time, with Joseph Buonaparte for its nominal head, but really under the command of General Massena, assisted by General Reignier and other officers of reputation, had reached the frontiers, and on the 9th took post at Ferentino. From this place Joseph Buonaparte issued a proclamation, vowing vengeance upon the court of Naples, but promising protection to the people. Shortly afterwards the French army advanced in three divisions. The right division, under General Reignier, marched to Gaeta, a strong port situated upon a rocky promontory, three sides of which are washed by the sea, and the fourth connected with the continent by a narrow and well-fortified Isthmus. The governor of this fortress, the Prince of Hesse-Philipsthadt, was summoned to surrender on favourable terms, but refused. An immediate attack by the French gave them,
* See vol. ii., p. 190.
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