Who won the Battle of Copenhagen 1801? More Royal Navy 19th Century Dominance

Who won the Battle of Copenhagen 1801? More Royal Navy 19th Century Dominance

The picture is viewed from the south end of the King’s Deep. In addition, shows the British fleet flying the blue ensign. In the right foreground the ‘Russell’ and ‘Bellona’. Are shown in port-quarter view, their sharply pitched position indicating that they have gone aground
Sketch of the battle

2 April 1801 marks the Battle of Copenhagen in the 2nd Coalition War when Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s 12 British ships-of-the-line, 5 frigates, 6 sloops & 7 bomb vessels defeated Vice Admiral Johan Olfert Fischer’s 9 Danish ships-of-the-line & 11 sloops. Denmark joined Russia’s League of Armed Neutrality.

Horatio Nelson

Nelson wished to seize Denmark’s fleet. As a result, prevent it from being used against Britain. On 30 March, he reached Copenhagen.

Nelson Forcing the Passage of the Sound, 30 March 1801 : Where the Battle of Copenhagen harbour occurred in 1801. And where Roskildefjord is located. It could have been hazardous for the Royal Navy to sail into the fjord, which is very narrow

Fischer deployed in line of battle, blockading the harbor.

The Tre Kroner forts anchored on the harbor’s north end. The harbor was shallow.

Nelson’s superior, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, gave him ships with the shallowest draughts.

Nelson formed line of battle. Each ship-of-the-line anchored opposite a Danish one.

Nelson believed his more numerous, more heavily armed ships & veteran crews would give him an edge. Most of the Danish crewmen consisted of untrained volunteers.

Period map of the battle

His frigates and sloops would rake both ends of Fischer’s line, in addition, his bomb vessels would fire over his line ships.

Action began at 10:05, 2 April. Some British ships ran aground entering the harbor. Parker, observing this, signaled Nelson to retreat at 13:30.

He said, “I will make the signal of recall for Nelson’s sake. If he is in condition to continue the action, he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat & no blame can be imputed to him.”

Nelson famously held the telescope to his blind eye, claiming he couldn’t see the signal.

He said: “I only have one eye — I have the right to be blind sometimes.”

By now, superior British gunnery was rolling up the south part of Fischer’s line.

Each ship surrendered in succession. As the Danish garrisons moved to man the ships, the batteries fell silent.

Furthermore, 2 Danish ships 20-gun defense ship Aggershuus & 20-gun pram Nyborg, sank trying to flee. Fischer changed ships twice, then moved to the fort. At 16:00, a ceasefire was signed. At 16:30, 64-gun Dannebrog exploded, killing 250 men.

Moreover, the 3 British ships that ran aground were badly damaged.

Nelson retrieved them.

Nelson lost 264 dead, 689 wounded. Fischer lost 1,600-1,800 dead/wounded, 1 ship-of-the-line & 2 ships sunk, 6 ships-of-the-line & 6 other ships captive. Lacking prize crews, Nelson burned all but 64-gun Holsteen.

In conclusion, on 3 April, he landed at Copenhagen and secured an indefinite armistice. Soon after, news arrived of Tsar Pavel I’s assassination. Lastly, Denmark was free of its treaty obligations to Russia in the League of Armed Neutrality.

Written by Garrett Anderson

Written by Garrett Anderson

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The Death of Nelson by Daniel Maclise (Houses of Parliament, London)

Who won the Battle of Copenhagen 1801? More Royal Navy 19th Century Dominance