François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers

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François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers
Francois-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers.jpg
Born(1753-02-12)February 12, 1753
Uzès, Gard, France
Died August 1, 1798(1798-08-01) (aged 45)
Abu Qir Bay, Egypt Eyalet
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Flag of France (1790-1794).svg  Kingdom of the French
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  French First Republic
Service/branchFlag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg  French Navy
Years of service 1766–1798
Rank Vice Admiral
Battles/wars Battle of the Nile

Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers, Comte de Brueys (February 12, 1753 – August 1, 1798) was the French commander in the Battle of the Nile, in which the French Revolutionary Navy was defeated by Royal Navy forces under Admiral Horatio Nelson. The British victory helped to ensure their naval supremacy throughout the Napoleonic Wars. He was also a Freemason in the La Bonne Foi lodge at Montauban. [1]

Battle of the Nile Naval battle between Britain and France

The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the Navy of the French Republic at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast off the Nile Delta of Egypt from the 1st to the 3rd of August 1798. The battle was the climax of a naval campaign that had raged across the Mediterranean during the previous three months, as a large French convoy sailed from Toulon to Alexandria carrying an expeditionary force under General Napoleon Bonaparte. The British fleet was led in the battle by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson; they decisively defeated the French under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers.

French Navy Maritime arm of the French Armed Forces

The French Navy, informally "La Royale", is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. Dating back to 1624, the French Navy is one of the world's oldest naval forces. It has participated in conflicts around the globe and played a key part in establishing the French colonial empire.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.




Brueys was born to an aristocratic family in Rue Boucairie, Uzès, Gard, southern France in a house which now bears a plaque with his name. Joining the navy at 13, he was a volunteer on the ship-of-the-line Protecteur in 1766, he served in several campaigns in the Levant. Becoming a Garde de la marine in 1768, he fought in the Tunis expedition on the frigate Atalante and the Saint Domingue campaign on the ship-of-the-line Actionnaire, though he was forced to leave the latter due to sickness and return to France, where he served at shore establishments, mostly on France's Mediterranean coast.

Uzès Commune in Occitanie, France

Uzès is a small town and a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

Gard Department of France in Occitanie

Gard is a department in Southern France, located in the Occitanie region. It had a population of 742,006 as of 2016; its prefeture is Nîmes. The department is named after the Gardon River; the Occitan name of the river, Gard, has been replacing the French name in recent decades, both administratively and among French speakers.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

He rose to enseigne de vaisseau in 1777 and lieutenant de vaisseau in April 1780, before serving on the ship-of-the-line Terrible then the Zélé in Guichen's squadron. He fought in three battles against Admiral Rodney in April and May 1780, then in the battle against Hood's fleet before Fort-de-France in April 1781. He was present at all the battles involving Grasse's squadron, including the Chesapeake (September 1781) and the capture of Saint Kitts in February 1782. He then moved to the frigate Vestale, by chance he was not present at the battle of Les Saintes. He was made a chevalier de Saint-Louis at the end of the war.

Fort-de-France Place in Martinique, France

Fort-de-France is the capital of France's Caribbean overseas department of Martinique. It is also one of the major cities in the Caribbean. Exports include sugar, rum, tinned fruit, and cacao.

Battle of the Chesapeake battle

The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War that took place near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781. The combatants were a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear Admiral Francois Joseph Paul, the Comte de Grasse. The battle was strategically decisive, in that it prevented the Royal Navy from reinforcing or evacuating the besieged forces of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. The French were able to achieve control of the sea lanes against the British and provided the Franco-American army with siege artillery and French reinforcements. These proved decisive in the Siege of Yorktown, effectively securing independence for the Thirteen Colonies.

Battle of the Saintes

The Battle of the Saintes, or Battle of Dominica, was an important naval battle in the Caribbean between the British and the French that took place 9 April 1782 – 12 April 1782, during the American Revolutionary War. The British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeated a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse, forcing the French and Spanish to abandon a planned invasion of Jamaica.

On the peace he was put in command of the aviso Chien de Chasse, with which he spent four years in the Antilles and off the American coast. In 1787 he moved to command another aviso, the Coureur, which cruised along the coasts of Latin America. He then returned to France to command the fluyt Barbeau before taking one year's leave (1788–89). In 1790 he commanded the corvette Poulette. He sailed her from Toulon to Algiers with M. Vallière, France's consul general in Algeria. She also carried dispatches for the naval station and French consuls in the Levant.

Aviso ship type

An aviso was originally a kind of dispatch boat or "advice boat". The term was later adopted by the French and Portuguese navies to classify their medium-sized warships designed for colonial service. The term continued to be used in the French Navy to classify the D'Estienne d'Orves–class patrol frigates until 2012, when the remaining ships of the class were reclassified as offshore patrol ships. It is similar to the modern use of "sloop" in other countries.

The Antilles is an archipelago bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the south and west, the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and east.

Latin America Region of the Americas where Romance languages are primarily spoken

Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America. The term "Latin America" was first used in an 1856 conference with the title "Initiative of the America. Idea for a Federal Congress of the Republics", by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was used also by Napoleon III's French government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas, along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed, including the Spanish-speaking portions of the United States Today, areas of Canada and the United States where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.


He saw aristocratic family and friends killed during the Reign of Terror but managed to avoid such a fate himself. He did not emigrate and even found himself promoted to capitaine de vaisseau on 1 January 1792, before being put in command of the ship-of-the-line Le Lys at Toulon (renamed le Tricolore on the fall of the monarchy). He fought in the campaigns undertaken by Admiral Truguet's fleet - the bombardment of Oneglia, the Naples operation led by Latouche-Tréville, and finally the attack on Cagliari on Sardinia.

Reign of Terror period during the french revolution

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Toulon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Toulon is a city in southern France and a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department.

Oneglia human settlement in Italy

Oneglia was a town in northern Italy on the Ligurian coast that was joined to Porto Maurizio to form the Comune of Imperia in 1923.

In the Toulon affair the town authorities arrested him. A decree of the National Convention in September 1793 stripped him of his rank as a noble. Truguet's ministry in 1795 restored his rank and he received promotion to contre-amiral the following year. He commanded French naval forces in the Adriatic from 1796 to 1798, flying his flag in the ship-of-the-line Guillaume Tell. He transported troops to the Ionian Islands and supported Bonaparte's campaign in Italy by blockading the coasts but keeping supply lines open to Bonaparte's troops.

National Convention single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

Ionian Islands Traditional region of Greece

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Bonaparte noted Brueys's conduct in Italy and made him commander-in-chief of the fleet that would transport his army for the Egyptian campaign, with the rank of vice-admiral and flying his flag on the Orient. The fleet set sail from Toulon on 19 May 1798.

He succeeded in evading British attempts to prevent the French fleet reaching Egypt, reaching Malta and then (on 1 July 1798) Alexandria without incident. As soon as the land troops were disembarked, he was reputedly ordered by Bonaparte to either anchor in the port of Alexandria or return quickly to France, Malta or Corfu. Citing concern that the Alexandria harbor was too shallow and difficult to enter for his large warships, and unwilling to leave Egypt until the situation of the French army was secured, he instead opted to anchor in Aboukir Bay to await the British. [2]

Knowing the poor quality of his ships and crews, he preferred to guard a defensive position than take the offensive and refused to weigh anchor when Horatio Nelson attacked his fleet on the evening of 1 August 1798. In the ensuing Battle of the Nile, the Orient fought HMS Bellerophon, causing her major damage but receiving little support, especially from the rearguard under Denis Decrès and Villeneuve. Already wounded twice during the day, and almost cut in half by a cannon shot, Brueys died at his command post around 9 PM. [3] His ship exploded one hour later after a fire on board reached the gunpowder stores. The resulting blast was seen from miles away and killed approximately 800 of the ship's crew. [4]

Brueys was criticised in France for remaining at anchor right up until the moment of the attack, but Bonaparte replied to such criticism by saying "If, in this disastrous event, he made mistakes, he expiated them by his glorious end". His name appears on the southern pillar (23rd column) of the Arc de triomphe in Paris.


  1. (in French) Jean Marc Van Hille (ed.), Dictionnaire des marins francs-maçons, Gens de mer et professions connexes, Le Phare de Misaine, Nantes 2008
  2. Battesti, Michèle (1998). La bataille d'Aboukir, 1798: Nelson contrarie la stratégie de Bonaparte. Paris: Economica. pp. 67–74. ISBN   2-7178-3740-X.
  3. "Document sans titre". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  4. Battesti, Michèle. La bataille d'Aboukir, 1798: Nelson contrarie la stratégie de Bonaparte, op. cit. pp. 109–110.


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