Napoleon Series Archive 2015

Re: the silly--and unsupported--claims about Naps

You write, ". . .These sources also are clear that Smith limited his "command privileges" to turning two warships broadside and effectively blowing Bonaparte's siege efforts into the dirt..."

Smith certainly did not limit his "command privileges" to making a couple of broadsides. The cannons on the walls of Acre. so vital to stopping the French assaults, were manned by his sailors. Smith exercised his top authority only rarely -a smart thing to do with somebody named "the butcher"- but when essential he did not hesitate to do so.

Phelippeaux presence was essential and probably a deciding factor but how did this French Royalist engineer find his way there? Sidney Smith had the extraordinary privilege of selecting his entire ship's crew for the expedition and he included Phelippeaux and several other of his French buddies. Having Frenchmen aboard a British ship, I understand, was something extremely exceptional at the time. But, Smith, had the smarts to understand how these Frenchmen could provide essential services... which they did.

Further, the extraordinary success of the 60-day Siege of Acre was to Smith proof that local fighters, strengthened with the support of regular troops could have great success against a even the best of regular armies. Smith has success with this idea during the Calabrian war of 1805 see the Battle of Maida which was a great example of combined arms naval and land and also utilizing local forces. The only reason Smith's success was limited is that the British Army commander was not willing to work with the local guerrilla forces. An aversion that the Brit army finally overcame a few years later in Spain.

Smith showed the way how future wars were to be fought.

It would be impossible to appreciate how Smith truly was the Hero of Acre without reading a book focused directly on Smith. "A Thirst for Glory" "Beware of Heros" are fine. I enjoyed "The life and correspondence of Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith,"
http://books.google.com/books?id=WozFAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

But, as I've already pointed out the article "The British Secret Service and the escape of Sir Sidney Smith from Paris in 1798" makes it clear that Smith was an operative for the British Secret Service. Many, if not all, of the problems that Smith had with other admirals and army officials was because Smith was under secret orders. Some of the rancor of other officers was from his published stories about his extraordinary escape from the Temple prison; what they could not have known is that Smith was compelled to push his "story" in order to mask the real means of his escape and to protect his spy network in Paris.

Once Nelson got the full story, he wrote what looks like a sincere message of congratulations, apology, and insistence that they were friends. Nelson, specifically requested that Smith join him off Trafalgar but the battle was fought prior to his being able to arrive.

Smith loved the French people and spent the rest of his life living in Paris after the end of the war. From all that I can see, the French returned the love and respect. Smith is buried in Paris.

Concerning his attitudes towards the French soldiers in Egypt? All he wanted to do was provide them free transport back to France and take the best care of them possible. Of course, something N. had little interest in. Smith knew that the French soldiers in Egypt hated N. and that getting these soldiers back to France as soon as possible would be the best possible way of stopping N. from seizing power in Paris; see the Convention of El-Arish. Unfortunately, Nelson and others decided that it would be better to try and kill them in place and well... N. seized power and.... we all know how that went.

I'm pretty sure that no British official understood N. anyway near as well as Smith did. That alone, makes Sir Sidney Smith "The Hero of Acre" a worthy subject of study.

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Napoleon and the Kings
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and "le soin de pouvoir ...."?
the silly--and unsupported--claims about Naps bein
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Sidney Smith
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Wow! Another Excellent Post.
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The Failure in Calabria...
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Spot On.
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