Battle of the Nile 1798 – complements of the French and British ships

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    Malcolm Lewis

      Researching the battle [of the Nile 1798] I have been guided to a document in The US Navy Department Library, Washington D.C. entitled Authentic Narrative… of the Glorious Battle of Nile drawn up from minutes of an officer of Rank in the Squadron; dated 1798, price one shilling.1
      [this can be seen at:]

      Pages 45 and 46 list the British and French ships in the battle; it is interesting to note that of the 13 English 74s, eleven had a complement of 590, Minotaur had 640 and Bellerophon, which sustained most damage, had only 520.
      Of the nine French 74s, eight had complements of 700; only the Guerrier had 600. Assuming the 74s on both sides were similar in size, the 100 or so additional men in the French ships must have stretched their accommodation.
      Is it known why the French carried larger crews or were many of the extras soldiers or marines?
      As it happened I understand many of the French seamen were still ashore at the time of the engagement setting up gun batteries and obtaining supplies of water.
      Malcolm Lewis

      Editor’s note:
      1. Authentic narrative of the proceedings of His Majesty’s squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, from its sailing to Gibraltar, to the conclusion of the glorious Battle of the Nile; drawn up from the minutes of an officer of rank in the squadron, Sir Edward Berry (1768-1831), 2 editions London 1798. Electronic version of 1st and 2nd editions also available online at Eighteenth Century Collections Online :

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