Fort Julien
Fort Julien was a fort in Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, originally built by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and occupied by the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 during Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in Egypt and Syria between 1798-1801. It stood on the left bank of the Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 a couple of miles north-east of Rashid
Rashid or Rachid may refer to:*Rashid , people with the name*Rosetta, anglicized name of the city and port of Rashid in Egypt*Rashid, Yemen*Rachid, Mauritania, a town at the foot of the Tagant Plateau-See also:*Rashad...

 (Rosetta) on the north coast of Egypt. In mid-July 1799 French troops under Lieutenant Pierre-François Bouchard
Pierre-François Bouchard
Pierre-François Bouchard was an officer in the French Army engineers.-Early life:He was born in 1771 to Pierre Bouchard and his wife Pierrette Janet de Cressia, the youngest of their four daughters and 3 sons, all born in Orgelet...

 uncovered the famous Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek...

 at the fort while repairing its defences. Two years later, the fort was captured by a combined British and Turkish force after a short siege and bombardment.

The fort was a low, squat fortification with a central blockhouse that overlooked the final few miles of the Nile before it joins the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. It had been built in the 15th century by the Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 Sultan Qait Bey
Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa'it Bay was the eighteenth Burji Mamluk Sultan of Egypt from 872-901 A.H. . He was Circassian by birth, and was purchased by the ninth sultan Barsbay before being freed by the eleventh sultan Jaqmaq...

, who also built the eponymous Citadel of Qaitbay
Citadel of Qaitbay
The Citadel of Qaitbay is a 15th century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean sea coast, built upon/from the ruins of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt...

 in Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. The French took possession of it on 19 July 1798, only a few days before the Battle of Abukir
Battle of Abukir (1799)
The Battle of Abukir was Napoleon Bonaparte's decisive victory over Seid Mustafa Pasha's Ottoman army on 25 July 1799 during the French invasion of Egypt...

, and embarked on a hasty rebuilding of the dilapidated fort. It was subsequently reconstructed in a more thoroughgoing fashion and was renamed Fort Julien after Thomas Prosper Jullien
Thomas Prosper Jullien
Thomas Prosper Jullien was a French army officer of the French Revolutionary Wars. Aide de camp to Bonaparte, he rose to the rank of captain and was brother of the famous general Louis Joseph Victor Jullien de Bidon....

, one of Napoleon's aides-de-camp. It was during this reconstruction that the Rosetta Stone was found. Qait Bey's engineers had apparently brought it to the site from elsewhere, possibly a temple at nearby Sais
SAIS can refer to:* Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, part of The Johns Hopkins University.* Sharjah American International School* Southern Association of Independent Schools...

, to use as fill.

Fort Julien was an important link in the French defensive line on the route to Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 and barred access from the sea to the lower reaches of the river. French gunboats operated along the river nearby, blocking access to the mouth of the Nile. When the British landed at Abukir Bay
Abu Qir Bay
The Abū Qīr Bay is a spacious bay on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, lying between Abu Qir and the Rosetta mouth of the Nile. It contains a natural gas field, discovered in the 1970s.On August 1, 1798, Horatio Nelson fought the Battle of the Nile, often referred to as the "Battle of Aboukir Bay"...

 on 1 March 1801, the fort was garrisoned by a total of around 300 men, comprising a unit of veterans or invalides supported by artillery and infantry from the 61st demi-brigade. The British marched on Rosetta on 8 April, accompanied by a sizeable Ottoman force, and pushed on to besiege the fort with the 2nd (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot
2nd (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot
The Queen's Royal Regiment was a regiment of the English and later British Army from 1661 to 1959. It was the senior English line infantry regiment of the British Army, behind only the Royal Scots in the British Army line infantry order of precedence...

 under Lord Dalhousie
George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie
General George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie GCB , styled Lord Ramsay until 1787, was a Scottish soldier and colonial administrator...

 and a force of 1,000 Turks.

The siege was complicated by the difficulties of bringing artillery to bear on the fort, a task which took eight days. Seven gunboats had to be dragged for 3 miles (4.8 km) across sand and mud before they could be relaunched on the Nile, while 24-pound naval carronade
The carronade was a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, developed for the Royal Navy by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland, UK. It was used from the 1770s to the 1850s. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range anti-ship and anti-crew weapon...

s were landed on the sea shore and dragged 4 miles (6.4 km) overland to reach their firing positions. General Robert Lawson of the Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

took the decision to use naval carronades rather than heavier standard 24-pounders in the assumption – which proved correct – that the cement used by the French in their hasty improvement work would not yet have hardened.

The French gunboats were driven back by their British opponents, enabling other British and Turkish gunboats to enter the river. On 16 April the artillery preparations were completed and the bombardment commenced, focusing on the south-west angle of the fort. A section of the wall collapsed on 18 April, exposing the French defenders to Turkish sharpshooters. At 11:00 on 19 April, the 264 surviving members of the French garrison surrendered, opening the Nile to the British and Turkish fleet. The French suffered 41 casualties, killed and wounded, while the British side suffered the loss of one lieutenant and two privates.
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