Sketch of the principal maritime expeditions.
I have thought that there would be found here with pleasure a notice of the principal maritime expeditions in support of the maxims upon descents.
The naval forces of the Egyptians, of the Phoenicians, and of the Rhodians, are the most ancient, the memory of which, history confusedly recalls.
, having subjected those nations, as well as Asia Minor
, became then the most formidable power on land, as well as upon the sea.
Meanwhile, about the same time, the Carthagenians, masters of the coasts of Mauritania, invited by the inhabitants of Cadiz
, passed the strait, colonized Baetica, seized the Balearic Islands
, and finally descended into Sicily
struggled, as is known against the Persians with a success not to have been hoped for, although never was a country more favored
by nature for having a respectable marine than Greece
with its fifty islands and its numerous coasts.
The prosperity of Athens
, the fruit of its merchant marine, made of it a maritime power to which Greece
owed its independence.
Its fleets, then united to those of the islanders, were under Themistocles
the terror of the Persians and the arbiters of the East
But they never executed great descents, because the land forces were not proportionate to those of the sea. If Greece
had been a united empire in place of a republican confederation, and if the fleets of Athens
had been joined to those of Syracuse
, of Corinth
and of Sparta
, instead of fighting incessantly against them, the Greeks would perhaps have acquired the empire of the world in advance of the Romans.
If the exaggerated traditions of the ancient Greek
historians are to be believed, the famous army of Xerxes
had not less than four thousand vessels, and this number is less astonishing when we read the nomenclature which Herodotus
gives of them.
But, what is more difficult to believe, is that at the same instant, and by a concerted effort, five thousand other vessels should have debarked three hundred thousand Carthagenians in Sicily
, where they should have been destroyed by Gelon
the same day on which Themistocles
destroyed the fleet of Xerxes
Three other expeditions, under Hannibal
, and Hamilcar
, were to carry there at one time one hundred thousand men, and at another one hundred and fifty thousand; Agrigentum
were taken, Lilybaeum
twice vainly besieged.
The third time Androcles
, escaped with fifteen thousand men, descended upon Africa
and made Carthage
, even, tremble!
This struggle lasted a century and a half.
Alexander the Great
crossed the Hellespont with only fifty thousand men, and his military marine being but one hundred and sixty sail, whilst that that of the Persians numbered four hundred vessels of war, he sent it to Greece
in order not to expose it.
Alexander's generals, who disputed his empire for half a century, made no notable maritime expedition.
, invited by the Tarentines, descended upon Italy
by means of their fleet, bringing twenty-six thousand infantry, three thousand horse, and the first elephants which appeared in the Peninsulas
, (280 years B. C.) Conqueror of the Romans at Heraclea
and Ascolia, it is not well known why he went into Sicily
to drive away the Carthagenians at the solicitation of the Syracusans.
Recalled after some successes by the Tarentines, he repassed the strait harrassed by the Carthagenian marine; then reinforced by the Samnites or Calabrians, he took it into his head a little
later to march upon Rome
Beaten in his turn, and repulsed upon Beneventum
, he repassed into Epirus
with the nine thousand men which reremained to him.
, which had prospered for a long time, profited by the ruin of Tyre
and of the Persian Empire
The Punic wars between this African
republic and that of Rome
, which became preponderant in Italy
, were the most celebrated in the maritime annals of antiquity.
The armaments made by the Romans and the Carthagenians were especially worthy of remark for the rapidity with which the first perfected and augmented their navy.
In the year 488, (264 B. C.,) they had scarcely canoes for passing into Sicily
, and eight years afterwards we see them under Regulus
, conqueror at Ecnona, with three hundred and forty large vessels, carrying each three hundred oarsmen and one hundred and twenty combattants, forming a total of one hundred and forty thousand men. The Carthagenians
were, it is said, still stronger by twelve or fifteen thousand men and fifty vessels.
This great victory of Ecnona, more extraordinary perhaps than that of Actium, was the first step of the Romans towards the empire of the world.
The descent which followed into Africa
, was composed of forty thousand men; but the conquerors, having committed the fault of recalling the greater part of those forces to Sicily
, the remnant was overwhelmed, and Regulus
, made prisoner, became as celebrated by his death as by his famous victory.
The great fleet armed for avenging him, and victorious at Clypea, was destroyed on its return by a tempest; that which succeeded it had the same fate at Cape Palinurus.
Beaten at Drepana
, (year 249,) the Romans lost twenty-eight thousand men and more than a hundred vessels.
Another fleet is entirely swallowed up the same year at Cape Pactyrus, in going to besiege Lilybaeum
Disgusted with so many disasters, the Senate renounced at first holding the sea; but seeing that the empire of Sicily
and of Spain
would depend on its maritime superiority, it armed anew, and in the year 242, (B. C.) Lutatius
was seen to depart with three hundred galleys and seven hundred transport vessels for Drepana
, and to gain the battle of the Aegates islands
, where the Carthagenians lost one hundred and twenty vessels; this event put an end to the first Punic war.
The second having been signalized by the expedition of Hannibal
, gave a less maritime turn to the operations.
carried meanwhile the Roman
eagles before Carthage
, and by the conquest of that place, ruined forever the empire of the Carthagenians in Spain
he carried the war into Africa
with an armament that did not even equal that of Regulus
, which did not prevent him from triumphing at Zama
, from imposing upon Carthage
a shameful peace, and from burning five hundred of its vessels.
Later, the brother of this great man crossed the Hellespont with twenty-five thousand men, and went to gain at Magnesia the celebrated victory which gave up the kingdom of Antiochus
to the mercy of the Romans.
This expedition was favored by a naval victory, gained at Myonnesus in Ionia
by the Romans, united to the Rhodians against the fleet of Antiochus
From that time the Romans, having no more rivals, augmented their power with all the influence which the empire of the sea assures.
made a descent upon Samothrace at the head of twenty-five thousand men, (168 years B. C.,) conquered Persia
and subjected Macedonia.
Twenty years later, the third Punic War decided the fate of Carthage
; the important port of Utica
having given itself up unreservedly to the Romans, an immense armament, departed from Lilybaeum
, and immediately transported there eighty thousand infantry and four thousand horse; siege was laid to Carthage
, and the son of Paulus Aemilius
, adopted by the great Scipio
, had the glory of finishing the victory of his fathers, by destroying that bitter rival of the Romans.
After this triumph, Rome
ruled in Africa
as well as in Europe
; but its empire was momentarily shaken in Asia
by Mithradates; this great king, after having successively seized small neighboring States, commanded not less than two hundred and fifty thousand men, and had a fleet of four hundred vessels, three hundred of which were decked.
He fought the three Roman generals who commanded in Cappadocia, invaded all Asia Minor
, caused eighty thousand Roman subjects to be massacred, and even sent a powerful army to Greece
descended with a reinforcement of twenty-five thousand Romans
, and retook Athens
; but Mithradates sent successively two great armies by the Bosphorus or by the Dardanelles; the first, of a hundred thousand men, was destroyed at Chaeronea; the second, of eighty thousand, had the same fate at Oorchomenus.
At the same time, Lucullus
assembled all the maritime forces of the cities of Asia Minor
, those of the isles, and especially of the Rhodians, and came to take the army of Sylla
at Cestas, for conducting it into Asia
; Mithradates frightened, made peace.
In the second war, made by Muraena, and in the third conducted by Lucullus
, there were no more descents operated.
Mithradates, pushed by degrees as far as Colchis
, and no longer holding the sea, conceived
the project of turning the Black Sea
by the Caucasus, in order to return by Thrace against Rome
, a project difficult to conceive on the part of a man who could not defend his States against fifty thousand Romans
made a descent upon England
for the second time, with six hundred vessels, carrying nearly forty thousand men. In the civil wars he transported thirty-five thousand men into Greece
, departing from Brindes
, in order to join him with twenty thousand men, in pasing through the naval forces of Pompey, was as much favored by the fortune of Caesar
as by the dispositions of his lieutenants.
transported sixty thousand men into Africa
, but these latter only arrived there successively, and at several different times.
The greatest armament which signalized the latter days of the Roman
republic, was that of Augustus, which transported eighty thousand men and twelve thousand horses destined to fight Anthony
; for, independently of the number of transport vessels for a like army, he had two hundred and sixty vessels of war for protecting them.
had superior forces upon land, and committed the fate of the world to that of a naval battle; he had a hundred and seventy vessels of war, besides sixty Egyptian
galleys from Cleopatra
, the whole carrying twenty-two thousand choice infantry besides the complement of oarsmen.
conducted to the mouths of the Ems a grand expedition, composed of a thousand vessels departing from the mouths of the Rhine
, and carrying at least sixty thousand men. The half of this fleet was destroyed on its return by a tempest, and it is not conceived why Germanicus
, master of the two banks of the Rhine
, exposed himself to the hazards of the sea for so short a journey, which he could have executed by land in a few days.
When the Roman
empire had extended its limits from the Rhine
to the Euphrates
, maritime expeditions were rare, and the great struggle which followed with the people of the North
after the division of the empire, caused to be directed all the forces of the State
to the side of Germany
and of Thrace.
The Eastern empire, preserved, nevertheless, a great marine, for which the islands of the Archipelago created the necessity and furnished the means.
The first five centuries of the Christian era offer then little interest under the maritime aspect.
The Vandals were the only people who, masters of Spain
, made a descent on Africa
, to the numof eighty thousand; they were afterwards conquered by Belisarius
; but their marine, mistress of the Balearic islands
and of Sicily
, commanded for a moment the Mediterranean.
At the same time at which the people of the East
were overruning Europe
, those of Scandinavia
began to visit the coast of England
Their operations are scarcely better known than those of the barbarians; they were lost in the mysteries of Odin
Bards of Scandinavia
accord two thousand five hundred ships to Sweden
; less poetical calculations give nine hundred and seventy to the Danes, and three hundred to the Norwegians, who often acted in concert.
naturally turned their incursions towards the northern extremity of the Baltic
, and pushed the Varangians upon Russia
, situated more in reach of the North Sea
, directed themselves towards the coasts of England
and of France
If the enumeration cited by Depping is exact, it is certain at least that the better part of those ships were but fishermens' barks carrying a score of men. There were also snekars
with twenty benches of rowers, which would make forty oars for the two sides.
The chiefs moved in dragons
with thirty-four benches of rowers.
The incursions of the Danes, who ascended far up the Seine and Loire
, incline us to believe that the major part of those vessels were very small.
However, Hengist, invited in 449, by the Breton Wortiger
, conducted five thousand Saxons into England
, with eighteen vessels only, which would prove that there were also large ones, or that the marine of the borders of the Elbe
was superior to that of the Scandinavians.
From 527 to 584, three new expeditions, under Ida
and Cridda, placed England
in the power of the Saxons, who formed of it seven kingdoms.
It is only at the end of three centuries (833) that this Heptarchy is united into a single State under Egbert
By a movement the reverse of that of the Vandals, the African populations, visited in their turn the South
crossed in 712 the Straits of Gibraltar
, under the conduct of Tarik.
Invited by Count Julian
, they came at first only to the number of five thousand, and far from experiencing a strong resistance, they were favored by the numerous enemies of the Visigoths.
Then was the fine time of Califs, and the Arabs could indeed pass for liberators in comparison with the oppressors of the North
The army of Tarik, soon increased to twenty thousand men, conquered king Rodrigo at Xeres de la Frontera
, and subjected the kingdom.
By degrees, several millions of inhabitants from Mauritania, passed the sea to establish themselves in Spain
, and if their numerous migrations cannot figure precisely in the number of descents, they nevertheless form one of the most imposing pictures as well as the most curious of history, placed between the invasions of the Vandals in Africa
, and the Crusades in the East
A revolution not less important, and which left more durable traces, signalized in the North
the establishment of the vast empire which bears at this day the name of Russia
The Varangian princes, invited by the Novogorodians, and of which Ruric was the first, soon signalized themselves by great expeditions.
In 902 Olig embarked, it is said, upon the Deieper, with two thousand barks carrying eighty thousand men, who crossed the cataracts of the river, debouched into the Black Sea
, whilst their cavalry moved along the coast, presented themselves before Constantinople
, and forced Leo
, the philosopher, to pay them tribute.
Forty years afterwards Igor took the same route with an armament which the chronicles fix at ten thousand barks.
Arrived near Constantinople
, his fleet, frightened by the terrible effects of the Greek fire, is driven upon the coast of Asia
, lands troops there which are repulsed, and the expedition returns home.
Far from being discouraged, Igor re-establishes his fleet and his army, descends to the mouth of the Danube
, where the Roman Emperor
, Lapucenus, sends to demand of him peace, and renews the tributes (943).
Scarcely a quarter of a century has passed, when Swatoslaus, favored by the disputes of Nicephorus
with the king of the Bulgarians, embarks sixty thousand men (967), debouches into the Black Sea
, ascends the Danube
, and seizes Bulgaria.
Recalled by the Patzinacites, who menaced Kiew, he allies himself with them, returns to Bulgaria, breaks his alliance with the Greeks, then, reinforced by Hungarians, crossed the Balkan and goes to attack Adrianople
The throne of Constantine
was then occupied by Zimisces
, who was worthy of it; instead of ransoming himself like his predecessors, he raises a hundred thousand men, arms a respectable fleet, repulses Swatoslans from Adrianople
, obliges him to retire upon Silistria, and causes the capitol
of the Bulgarians to be re-taken by assault.
prince marches to meet the enemy, gives him battle not far from Silistria, but is forced to re-enter into the place, where he sustained one of the most memorable seiges of which history makes mention.
In a second battle, still more bloody, the Russians perform prodigies, and are forced anew to yield to numbers.
knowing how to honor courage, finally makes with them an advantageous treaty.
About the same time the Danes are attracted to England
, by the hope of pillage; we are assured that Lothaire also invited their king Ogier, into France
, to avenge himself upon his brothers.
The first success of those
pirates augmented their taste for adventures: every five or six years they vomit upon the coasts of France
, bands which devastate every thing.
, Regner, Sigefroi, conduct them sometimes to the mouths of the Seine, sometimes to those of the Loire, finally to those of the Garonne
It is pretended even that Hastings
entered the Mediterranean, and ascended the Rhone as far as Avignon
, which is at least doubtful.
The strength of their armaments is not known, the largest appears to have been three hundred sail.
At the commencement of the tenth century, Rollo, descending at first upon England
, finds in Alfred a rival who leaves him little hope of success, he allies himself with him, makes a descent upon Nuestria, in 911, and marches by Rouen
; others corps advance from Nantes
Repulsed from this city, Rollo extends himself into the neighboring provinces and ravages every thing.
Charles the Simple, sees no better means of delivering his kingdom from this continual scourge, than of offering to cede to Rollo
his beautiful province of Nuestria, on condition of marrying his daughter and becoming a christian, which was eagerly accepted.
Thirty years later, the grand son of Rollo
, disturbed by the successors of Charles, calls the king of Denmark
to his assistance.
The latter makes a descent with considerable forces, defeats the French
, makes their king prisoner, and secures Normandy
for ever to the son of Rollo
In the same interval, from 838 to 950, the Danes showed the same bitterness against England
, and treated her still worse than France
, although the conformity of language and of manners being then nearer the Saxons than the French
Iwar established his race in Northumberland
, after having sacked the kingdom; Alfred the Great
, at first conquered by the successors of that chief, succeeded in reconquering his throne, and constrains the Danes tosubmit to his laws.
Affairs change their face; Swenon, more fortunate still than Iwar, after having overrun England
, as much her devastator as her conqueror, twice sells her peace for gold, and returns to Denmark
, leaving a part of his army in the country.
Ethelred, who disputed with him without talents, the remnants of the Saxon
power, believes he cannot better disem barrass himself of his importunate guests than by ordering the simultaneous massacre of all the Danes left in the island, (1002.) But Swenon reappears in the following year with an imposing force; three fleets operated successively, from 1003 to 1007, as many debarkations, which ravage anew unhappy England
In 1012, Swenon made a descent upon the mouths of the Humber,
overruns the country a second time like a torrent, and the English
, tired of obeying princes who are not able to defend them, recognize him as king of the North
His son, Canute
, had to dispute the throne with a rival more worthy of it, (Edmund Ironsides.) Returning from Denmark
with considerable forces, and seconded by the perfidious Edric
ravaged the southern part and menaced London
A new division took place, but Edmund having been assassinated by Edric, Canute
was finally recognized king of all England
, departed afterwards to subject Norway
, returned to attack Scotland
, and died, dividing his kingdoms between his three children, according to the usage of the times.
Five years after his death, the English
restored the crown to their Anglo-Saxon
princes; but Edward, on whom it devolved, was better calculated for a monk than for saving a country the prey of such intestine broils.
He died in 1066, leaving Harold
a crown which the chief of the Normans established in France
contested with him, to whom Edward had, it is said, ceded it; and unfortunately for Harold
, this competitor was an ambitious and a great man.
This year, 1066 was signalized by an extraordinary double expedition.
Whilst that William the Conqueror made ready in Normandy
a formidable armament against Harold
, the brother of the latter, driven from Northumberland
for his crimes, seeks support in Norway
, departs with the king of this country and more than thirty thousand men, borne by five hundred vessels, which made a descent upon the mouths of the Humber.
destroys them almost entirely in one bloody battle, delivered near York
; but at the same instant a more furious storm is about to fall upon him. William profited by the moment when the Anglo-Saxon
king was fighting the Norwegians, to set sail from St. Valery with one of the most considerable armaments of the age; (Hume
affirms that it contained three thousand transport vessels, others reduce its numbers to twelve hundred, carrying sixty or seventy thousand combattants.) Harold
, hastened from York
, delivering him near Hastings
a decisive battle, in which the king of England
finds an honorable death, and his happy rival soon subjects the whole country to his dominion.
At the same instant at which this passed, another William, surnamed Iron-arm, Robert Guiseard
and his brother Roger, go to the conquest of Calabria and of Sicily
, with a handful of brave men, (1058 to 1070.)
Thirty years have scarcely passed since those memorable events, when an enthusiastic priest animates all Europe
with a fanatical infatuation, and precipitates it upon Asia
to conquer the Holy Land
Followed at first by a hundred thousand men, then by two hundred thousand badly armed vagabonds, who perished in part by the sword of the Hungarians, Bulgarians, and of the Greeks, Peter the Hermit succeeded at last in crossing the Bosphorus, and arrived before Nice with fifty or sixty thousand men, who were entirely destroyed or taken by the Saracens.
A more military expedition succeeded this campaign of Pilgrims; a hundred thousand French
, Lorrains, Burgundians and Germans, conducted by Godfrey
of Bouillen, directed themselves by Austria
; a like number, under the Count
, marched by Lyons
, With Normans, Sicilians and Italians, embarked, in order to follow the route by Greece
This grand migration recalls the fabulous expeditions of Xerxes
; the Genoese, Venitian and Greek
fleets are freighted for transporting those swarms of crusaders into Asia
, by passing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles; more than four hundred thousand men were united in the plains of Nice, and avenged there the fate of their predecessors; Godfrey
, conqueror, conducted them then across Asia
, where he founded a kingdom.
All the maritime means of Greece
, and of the flourishing republic of Italy
were employed, either in transporting those masses beyond the Bosphorus, or in supplying them during the seige of Nice; and the grand movement which this impressed upon the maritime powers of Italy
, was perhaps the most happy result of the crusades.
This momentary success became the cause of great disasters; the Mussulmans, divided between themselves, rallied always when it was the question to fight the infidels; and division passed in its turn into the camp of the crusaders.
A new expedition was necessary to secure the kingdom, which the valiant Noureddin
Louis VII, and the Emperor Conrad, departed at the head, each, of a hundred thousand crusaders, and took, like their predecessors, the route of Constantinople
, (1142.) But the Greeks, frightened by the reiterated visits of those menacing hosts, conspired their ruin.
, who had wished to take the advance, fell into the snares of the Trurks, warned by Manuel Comnenus
, and was defeated in detail by the Sultan of Iconium.
Louis, more fortunate, conquered the Turks upon the borders of the Maeander; but his army, deprived of the support of Conrad
, harrassed by the enemy, partially defeated in the passage of the defiles, and lacking every thing, saw itself confined at Attalia upon the
coast of the Pamphilia, where it sought the means of embarking; the Greeks furnished their wants insufficiently, and scarcely fifteen or twenty. thousand men succeeded in reaching Antioch
with their king; the rest perished, or fell into the hands of the Saracens.
These feeble succors, soon devoured by the climate and daily combats, although reinforced by the small successive bodies of troops which the Italian
marine brought from Europe
, were ready to succumb anew under the blows of Saladin, when the Court of Rome
succeeded in uniting the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa
with the kings of France
and of England
, for saving the Holy Land
, departed the first at the head of a hundred thousand Germans, clears a passage by Thrace, in spite of the formal resistance of the Greeks, then governed by Isaac Angelus
, victorious, marches to Gallipoli
, crosses the Dardanelles, seizes Iconium, and dies for having imprudently bathed in a river that has been pretended to be the Cydnus.
His son, the Duke
of Suabia, harrassed by the Musselmans, prostrated by disease, brings scarcely six thousand men to Ptolemais.
At the same time, Richard Coeur-de-Lion, and Philip-Augustus, better inspired,1
took the way by sea, departing from Marseilles
with two large fleets, (1190.) The first took Cyprus
, and both made a descent afterwards on Syria
, where they would have probably triumphed but for the rivalry which arose between them and brought Philip back to France
Twelve years afterwards, a new crusade was decided upon, (1203;) a part of the crusaders embarked from Provence
; others, under the Count
and the Marquis
of Montferrat, take the route of Venice
, with the intention of doing the same.
But these last, seduced by the skillful Dandolo
, unite themselves with him, in order to attack Constantinople
, under the pretext of sustaining the rights of Alexius Angelus
, son of that Isaac Angelus
, who had combatted the Emperor Frederick, and successor of those Comnenian princes, who favored the destruction of the armies of Conrad
, and of Louis VII.
Twenty thousand men dare to attack the ancient capital of the world, which numbers at least two hundred thousand defenders.
They made a double assault upon it by sea and by land, and carried it. The usurper
fled; Alexius Angelus
, replaced upon his throne, cannot maintain himself; the Greeks rise in favor of Mourzoufle, but the Latins make a more bloody assault than the first, seize Constantinople
, and place on the throne their chief, the Count Baldwin
, of Fianders.
This empire lasts half a century; the remnant of that of the Greeks took refuge at Nice and Trebizond.
A sixth expedition was directed upon Egypt
, by John of Brienne, and spite of the success of the horrible siege of Damietta, he was obliged to yield before the ever increasing efforts of the Musselman population; the remnant of his brilliant army, near being submerged in the waters of the Nile
, were too happy in buying permission to ro-embark for Europe
The Court oft Rome
, which found it to its interest to keep up the ardor of the christians for these expeditions, from which it alone drew the fruit, stimulated the German princes to sustain the tottering kingdoms of Jerusalem
The Emperor Frederick, and the Landgrave of Hesse
, embark at Brindes, 1127,
at the head of forty thousand choice soldiers.
But this Landgrave, and afterwards Frederick himself, having fallen ill, the fleet put into Tarentum
, whence the Emperor
, irritated by the pride of Gregory IX, who dared to excommunicate him, because he did not obey promptly enough his behests, departed again later with ten thousand men, thus yielding to the terror which the pontifical thunders inspired.
Louis IX, animated by the same spirit, or guided, if Ancelot
is to be believed, by motives of a more elevated policy, departed from Aigues.
Mortes in 1248, with one hundred and twenty large vessels, and fifteen hundred small boats, hired from the Genoese, Venitians and Catalans, for France
, although washed by two seas, had yet no marine.
This king made a descent upon Cyprus
, rallied there still some forces, and departed, says Joinville
, with more than eighteen hundred vessels, to descend upon Egypt
His army must have had about eighty thousand men, for, although the half was dispersed and thrown upon the coast of Syria
, it marched some months after upon Cairo
, with sixty thousand combatants, of which twenty thousand were horse.
It is true that the Count
had operated a second debarkation of troops coming from France
It is sufficiently well known what a sad fate this brilliant army experienced, which did not prevent, twenty years afterwards, the same king from attemping the hazards of another crusade, (1270.) He made a descent this time upon the ruins of Carthage
, and besieged Tunis
; but the plague destroyed the half of his army in a few weeks, and lie himself was the victim of it. The king of Sicily
debarked with powerful reinforcements at tie moment of the death of Louis, wishing to bring back the remnant of the army to his island, experienced a tempest which swallowed up four
thousand men and twenty large vessels.
This prince did not less meditate the conquest of the Greek empire and of Constantinople
, as a prey more useful and more sure.
But Philip, son and successor of Saint Louis
, pressed to return to France
, rejected this proposition.
This effort was the last; the christians, abandoned in Syria
, were there destroyed in the memorable attacks of Tripoli
and Ptolemais; some remnants of the religious orders took refuge at Cyprus
, and established themselves at Rhodes
The Musselmans passed in their turn the Dardanelles at Gallipoli
, 1355, and seized successively the European Provinces
of the Eastern Empire
, against which the Latins themselves had struck the last blow.
Mahomet II, besieging Constantinople
, (1453,) caused, it is said, his fleet to pass by land, in order to introduce it into the canal, and to close the port; it is even said that it was considerable enough to carry twenty thousand choice infantry.
Reinforced after the taking of this capital, by all the means of the Greek navy, Mahomet placed, in a little time, his empire in the first rank of maritime powers.
He ordered attacks against Rhodes
, and even against Otranto
, whilst he goes to Hungary
in search of a rival more worthy of him, (Huniades.) Repulsed and wounded at Belgrade
, the Sultan throws himself on Trebisond with a numerous fleet, subjects that city, and goes with four hundred sail to debark at the island of Negropont, which he takes by assault.
A second attempt upon Rhodes
, executed, it is said, with a hundred thousand men, by one of his best lieutenants, is repulsed with loss.
Mahomet got ready to go there in person, at the head of an immense army, assembled upon all the coasts of Ionia
, and which Vertot fixes at three hundred thousand men, when death surprises him in this project.
About the same epoch, England
commenced also, to show herself formidable to her neighbors upon land as well as upon sea; and the Hollanders, rescuing their country from the waves of the ocean, formed the germ of a still more extraordinary power than that of Venice
Edward III, debarked in France
, and besieged Calais
with eight hundred vessels and forty thousand men.
V made two descents, in 1414 and 1417; he had, it is said, one thousand five hundred vessels, and only thirty thousand men, six thousand of whom were cavalry.
But, up to this epoch, and the taking of Constantinople
, all the events that we have just related had had place before the invention of gunpowder; for, if Henry V had a few cannon at Agincourt
, as is pretended, it is certain that they were not yet used in the marine.
From that time all
the combinations of armaments changed, and this revolution had place, thus to speak, at the same instant when the discovery of the mariner's compass, of the Cape of Good Hope
and of America
, were about to change also all the combinations of maritime commerce, and create an absolutely new colonial system.
We shall not speak here of the Spanish
expeditions to America
, nor of those of the Portuguese, of the Hollanders and of the English
, by doubling the Cape of Good Hope
In spite of their great influence upon the commerce of the world, in spite of the genius of the Gamas, of the Albuquerques, of the Cortez, those expeditions undertaken by little corps of two or three thousand men, against tribes bordering on the sea, who were not acquainted with fire-arms, offer no interest as operations of war.
The Spanish marine, carried to a high degree of splendor, in consequence of this discovery of the new world, flourished under Charles V; meanwhile the glory of the expedition to Tunis
, which this Prince
conquered at the head of thirty thousand choice men, carried by five hundred Genoese and Spanish vessels, was balanced by the disaster which an expedition of the same strength sustained, undertaken against Algiers
(1541) in a too advanced season, and in spite of the wise advice of Admiral Doria
Scarcely debarked, the Emperor
saw one hundred and sixty of his vessels, and eight thousand men swallowed up by the waves, and the rest saved by the skill of Doria
, reunited at Cape Metafuz, where Charles V rejoined him not without danger or trouble.
During these transactions the successors of Mahomet had not misapprehended all the advantages which the dominion of so many fine maritime provinces promised them, which, at the same time causing them to appreciate the importance of the empire of the seas, furnished immense means for arriving at it. At this epoch, artillery and the military art were not less advanced among the Turks than the Europeans.
Their grandeur was carried to its height under Solyman I, who besieged and took Rhodes
, (1522,) with an armament which has been estimated at a hundred and forty thousand land troops, and which would still be considerable in reducing it by a half.
In 1565, Mustapha and the celebrated Dragut
made a descent at Malta
, where the knights of Rhodes
had made a new establishment; they conducted thirty-two thousand Janizaries, with a hundred and forty vessels.
It is known how John of Vallette immortalized himself by repulsing him.
A more formidable armament, which is estimated at two hundred galleys and fifty-five thousand men, was directed in 1527 against the island of Cyprus
, where it took Nicosia, and laid siege to Famagousta.
The horrible cruelties committed by Mustapha augmented the alarm which his progress inspired.
, united their naval forces for succoring Cyprus
But Famagousta had already succumbed spite of the heroic defense of Barberiego, whom Mustapha had the baseness to have flayed alive, to avenge the death of forty thousand Turks who had perished during two years in the island.
In the meantime, the combined fleet, conducted by two heroes, Don Juan
, brother of Philip II, and Andrew Doria
, attained that of the Turks at the entrance of the Gulf of Lepanto, near the same promonitory of Actium, where was in former times decided the empire of the world between Anthony
They destroyed it almost entirely; more than two hundred boats and thirty thousand Turks were captured or sunk, (1571.) This victory did not put an end to the supremacy of the Ottomans, but it arrested their progress; however, they made such great preparations that a fleet as considerable as the other retook the sea — peace placed a limit to so many ravages.
The bad success of Charles V against Algiers
, did not prevent Sebastian
from wishing to attempt the conquest of Morocco, where a Moorish Prince
, despoiled of his estates, called him. Making a descent upon the coasts of this kingdom, at the head of twenty thousand men, this young Prince
was killed and his army cut in nieces at the battle of Alcazar, by Muley Abdelmeleck, in 1578
Philip II, whose pride had been increased since the naval battle of Lepanto
, by the success which his machiavelism and the blindness of the leaguers procured him in France
, did not believe that anything could resist his arms.
He thought to subject England
The invincible Armada destined for that object, and which made so much noise in the world, was composed of an expedition departing from Cadiz
to the number of a hundred and thirty-seven ships of war, according to Hume
, of two thousand six hundred and thirty pieces of bronze ordnance, and carrying twenty thousand soldiers, besides eleven thousand sailors.
To those forces were to be joined an army of twenty-five thousand men, which the Duke
should bring from the Low
countries by Ostend
A tempest and the English
did justice to this armament, a considerable one for the epoch, but which, far from meriting the pompous epithet which had been given it, lost thirteen thousand men and the half of its vessels, without having approached the coasts of England
After this expedition, that of Gustavus Adolphus
first presents itself, (1630.) The army was composed only of fifteen or eighteen
thousand men; the fleet numbered nine thousand sailors; but it is without doubt through error that M. Ancillon
affirms that it carried eight thousand cannon.
The debarkation in Pomerania
met with little opposition from the imperialists, and the King
found a great point of support in the people of Germany
His successor made an expedition of quite an extraordinary nature, and of which there is found in history but a single other example; we allude to the march of the King
, Charles X, crossing the Belt upon the ice in order to repair to Schleswig by the island of Fionie
, (1658.) He had twenty-five thousand men,of which nine thousand were cavalry, and a proportionate artillery.
This enterprise was so much more audacious, as the ice was not safe, since many pieces of ordnance, and the carriage even of the King
, broke through.
After seventy-five years of peace, the war between Venice
and the Turks had recommenced (1645). The latter carried an army of fifty-five thousand men with three hundred and fifty galleys or vessels to Candia, and seized the important post of Cannae
, before the republic dreamed of succoring it. Although Venice
had commenced to lose the qualities which had made its grandeur, it still possessed some brave men. Morosini, Gremani, and Mocenigo struggled several years against the Turks, to whom their numerical superiority and the possession of Cannae
gave great advantages.
The Venitian fleet had acquired nevertheless under Gremani a marked ascendency, when a horrible tempest destroyed two-thirds of it, with the admiral himself.
In 1648 commenced the siege of Candia, Jussuf attacks it with fury at the head of thirty thousand men, two assaults are repulsed, an immense breach permits a third to be attempted; the Turks penetrate into the place, Mocinigo throws himself upon them to seek death; a brilliant victory crowns his heroism, he repulses them and fills the ditches with their bodies.
would have been able to drive away the Turks by sending twenty thousand men to Candia; but Europe
sustained her feebly, and the republic had put forth all the true warriors she had remaining.
The siege recommenced sometime after, lasted longer than that of Troy
: each campaign was signalized by new attempts of the Turks to carry succors to their army, and by naval victories of the Venitians who, keeping up with the progress which naval tactics made in Europe
, had over the stationary musselmans a marked superiority, and made them pay dearly for
every attempt they made to come out of the Dardanelles.
Three Morosinis and several Mocinigos distinguished themselves in this long quarrel.
Finally the celebrated Kionperti
, placed by his merit at the head of the Ottoman ministry, resolved to conduct, himself, a war which had dragged on for so long a time; he repaired to the island where his successive transports brought fifty thousand men, at the head of which he actively pushed the attacks (1667).
displayed in this memorable siege more art than they had shown until that time; their artillery, of an enormous calibre, was well saved, and they made use for the first time of trenches, invented by an Italian engineer.
, on their side, perfected their defense by mines; never was seen more bitterness in destroying one another by combats, mines, assaults.
This heroic resistance gave the garrison the means of gaining the winter; in the Spring
sent it re-inforcements, and the Duke de la Feuillad
brought some hundreds of French volunteers.
having equally received powerful re-inforcements, redoubled their energy, and the siege drew to its close when six thousand French
, conducted by the Duke de Beaufort
, arrived to their succor (1669). However a sortie badly conducted discouraged that presumptuous youth, and Navailles at the end of two months, disgusted with the sufferings of the siege, took upon him to bring back the remnant of his troops to France
Morosini having then no more than three thousand exhausted men, for defending a place open on all sides, consented at last to evacuate it by a convention which became a formal treaty of peace.
Candia had cost the Turks twenty-five years of efforts, more than a hundred thousand men killed in eighteen assaults and several hundred sorties; it is estimated that thirty-five thousand christians of all nations perished in that honorable defense.
The struggle between Louis XIV, Holland
, offers great maritime operations, but no notable descent.
That of James II to Ireland
(1660) was composed only of six thousand French
, although the fleet of Tourville numbered seventy-three ships of the line, carrying five thousand eight hundred pieces of artillery and twenty-nine thousand sailors.
It was a grave fault not to have thrown at least twenty thousand men into Ireland
with such means.
Two years afterwards Tourville having been conquered at the famous battle of the Hogue
, the remnant of disem barked troops were compelled to return in consequence of a treaty of evacuation.
At the commencement of the eighteenth century, the Swedes and Russians made two very different expeditions.
Charles XII, wishing to succor the Duke
, made a descent upon Denmark
at the head of twenty thousand men, carried by two hundred transports and protected by a strong squadron; in truth he was seconded by the English
marine; but the expedition was not less remarkable for the details of debarkation.
The same prince made a descent upon Livonia
to succor Narva, but he landed in a Swedish port.
Peter the Great
having reason to complain of the Persians and wishing to profit by their discords, embarked in 1722 upon the Volga
; he debouched into the Caspian Sea
with two hundred and seventy ships, carrying twenty thousand foot, and goes to make a descent upon Agrakan at the mouths of the Koissou
where he awaits his cavalry which, nine thousand dragoons and five thousand cossacks strong, comes to join him by land, crossing the Caucasus.
The czar then goes to seize Derbent, he besieges Backou, then he treats finally with one of the parties which rent the empire of the Sophis, causing to be ceded to himself Astrabad, the key of the Caspian Sea
, and in some sort, that of the Persian monarchy.
The age of Louis XV was signalized only by secondary expeditions, not excepting that of Richelieu
against Minorca, very glorious as an escalade, but less extraordinary as a descent.
The Armerican War (1779) was the epoch of the greatest maritime efforts of France
did not see, without astonishment, that power send at the same time Count D'Estaing
with twenty-five ves sels of the line, whilst that M. Orvilliers
, with sixty-five Franco-Spanish vessels of the line, was to protect a descent operated by three hundred transport vessels and forty thousand men united at Havre
and St. Malo.
This new Armada cruised for two months without undertaking anything; the winds drove it at last into its ports.
More fortunate D'Estaing
gained the ascendancy in the Antilles and debarked in the United States
six thousand French under Rochambeau
, who, followed later by another division, contributed in investing the small army of Cornwallis in New York (1781) and in fixing thus the independence of America
would have triumphed perhaps forever over her implacable rival, if, by the aid of those parades in La Mariche, she had sent ten vessels and seven or eight thousand men more with Governor Suffren
The attempt of Hoche
, with twenty-five thousand men, was dispersed by the winds, and had no other consequences, (1796.)
Later, the expedition of Bonaparte
, carrying twenty-three thousand men to Egypt
, with thirteen ships, seventeen frigates, and four hundred
transports, obtained at first successes, soon followed by cruel reverses.
It is known that, in the hope of driving him from thence, the Turks debarked at Aborikir to the number of fifteen thousand, and that in spite of the advantage of that peninsular for intrenching themselves and awaiting reinforcements, they were all driven into these a or taken: a memorable example of the defensive to imitate in like cases.
The considerable expedition directed in 1802 against St. Domingo, was remarkable as a descent; it failed afterwards by the ravages of the yellow fever.
After their successes against Louis XIV, the English
attached themselves rather to destroying rival fleets and to conquering colonies, than to making great descents.
Those which they attempted in the eighteenth century against Brest
, with corps of ten and twelve thousand men, could do nothing in the heart of a State as powerful as France
The astonishing conquests which gained them the empire of Hindostan, were successive.
Possessors of Calcutta
, and afterwards of Bengal, they were reinforced there by degrees by partial detachments, and by the Sepoys whom they disciplined to the number of a hundred and fifty thousand.
expedition against Holland
, in 1799, was executed by forty thousand men, but by several successive debarkations; it is, nevertheless, interesting from its details.
In 1801, Abercrombie
, after having disquieted Ferrol
, made a descent with twenty thousand English upon Egypt
; every one knows the result.
The expedition of General Stuart
to Calabria, (in 1806,) after some successes at Maida
, had to regain Sicily
That against Buenos-Ayres
, more unfortunate, was terminated by a capitulation.
In 1807, Lord Cathcart made a descent with twenty-five thousand men at Copenhagen
, besieged and bombarded it; he took possession of the Danish
fleet, the object of his enterprise.
In 1808 Wellington
made a descent on Portugal
with fifteen thousand men. It is known how, victorious at Vimiero, and supported by the insurrection of all Portugal
, he forced Junot
to evacuate that kingdom.
The same army increased to twenty-five thousand men under the orders of Moore
, wishing to penetrate into Spain
for succoring Madrid
, was driven back upon Corunna
, and forced to re-embark with great loss.
debarked anew in Portugal
with some reinforcements, having united thirty thousand English and as many Portuguese, avenged that
defeat by surprising Soult
, (May, 1809,) and by going afterwards as far as the gates of Madrid
to fight Joseph at Talavera
The expedition to Antwerp
, made the same year, was the most considerable which England
had undertaken since Henry V. It numbered not less than seventy thousand men, forty thousand of which were land troops, and thirty thousand sailors; it failed to attain its end because of the little genius of him who commanded it. A descent of altogether a similar nature to that of the King
, Charles X, was one of thirty Russian
battalions crossing, in five columns, the Gulf of Bothnia
upon the ice, with their artillery, in order to go to the conquest of the islands of Aland, and to spread terror even to the gates of Stockholm
, whilst another division passed the gulf at Umeo, (March, 1809.)
made, in 1813, a well combined descent near Tarragona
to cut off Suchet from Valencia
; however; after some successes, he was obliged to re-embark.
The armament which England
made in 1815 against Napoleon
, returned from the island of Elba
, was remarkable for the immense materiel
which it debarked at Ostend
The troops amounted also to sixty thousand Anglo-Hanoverians; but the one came by land, and the others landed on the soil of a powerful ally, so that it was a successive and pacific descent rather than a military expedition.
Finally, the English
made, in the same year, 1815, an enterprise which may be ranked among the most extraordinary; we allude to that against the capital of the United States of America
There was seen, to the astonishment of the world, ahandful of seven or eight thousand English
, descend in the midst of a State of ten millions of souls, to penetrate sufficiently far to seize the capitol
, and to destroy thereat all the public establishments — results for which one seeks in vain another example in history.
One would be tempted to reproach for it the republican and anti-military spirit of the inhabitants of those provinces, if we had not seen the militia of Greece
, of Rome
and of Switzerland
, defend their firesides better against aggressions much more powerful; and if in that same year an English expedition, more numerous than the other, had not been totally defeated by the militia of Louisiana
, under the orders of General Jackson
The perhaps rather fabulous armaments of Xerxes
and of the Crusades excepted, nothing of all that has been done, particularly since war fleets carried a formidable artillery, can sustain the least comparison with the colossal project and the proportionate preparations which Napoleon
had made for throwing a hundred and fifty thousand disciplined veterans
, by means of three thousand pinnaces, or large gun boats, protected by sixty ships-of-the-line.
We see also how different it is to attempt such descents when only an arm of the sea of some leagues is to be crossed, or when one is to direct himself in open sea to great distances.
The number of operations made by the Bosphorus is explained by this difference, which is decisive in these kinds of enterprises.
* Six months after the first publication of this work, thirty thousand French embarked at Toulon
, made a descent upon Algiers
, and, more fortunate than Charles V, took possession of that place in a few days, and of all the regency.
This expedition, as well conducted by the marine troops as by those of the land, did honor to the army as well as to its chiefs.