Admiral Saumarez Versus Napoleon - The Baltic, 1807-12

November 2008
15 black and white, 5 line illustrations
292 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843834311
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Admiral Saumarez Versus Napoleon - The Baltic, 1807-12

Tim Voelcker

Detailed investigation of the key role played by Admiral Saumarez in the continuing naval warfare against Napoleon.
The maritime war against Napoleon did not end with the Battle of Trafalgar, but continued right up to 1815, with even more British ships and sailors deployed after 1805 than before. One key theatre was the Baltic, where the British commander was Admiral Saumarez. He had had a highly successful career as a post-Captain, notably at the two battles of Algeciras as a newly-promoted Rear-Admiral. For five years from 1808 as Commander-in-Chief of a large Baltic fleet, he played a very skilful diplomatic role, combining firmness and restraint, and working with Sweden contrary to the instincts of his superiors in London, even when she declared war. Despite the determined efforts of Denmark's gunboats and privateers, he successfully kept British trade flowing in and out of the Baltic, undermining Napoleon's 'Continental System' - the economic blockade of Britain - and leading to Napoleon's fateful decision to invade Russia in 1812.
This book, based on extensive original research in both British and Scandinavian archives and making considerable use of Saumarez' unpublished correspondence, charts the maritime and political history of the war in the Baltic. It illustrates the highly successful, highly esteemed role the Admiral played and looks at the nature and motivation of the man himself revealed in his letters and in the private letters of Count von Rosen, Governor of Gothenburg and chief link between Saumarez and former French Marshal Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, later to be crowned King Karl XIV Johan.

TIM VOELCKER gained his PhD in maritime history at the University of Exeter.

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Table of Contents

The Baltic in Autumn 1807
Sir James Saumarez' Early Career
Saumarez Takes up his Baltic Command
The Crisis of Rogervik
The Conversion to Peacemaker
The Pea Islands
Marshal 'Belle-Jambe' Declares War
The Affair of the Carlshamn Cargoes
The Von Rosen Letters
Diplomatic Intrigues: Napoleon's Fateful Decision
The Final Year
The Man or the Situation


An admirably researched, painstaking account of that officer's activities in a key theatre of Napoleonic war. JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY
A valuable book for anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars and particularly naval warfare in the age of fighting sail. The author has a knack for presenting clear treatments of often very complex issues, such as victual ling the fleet. THE NYMAS REVIEW
A well-researched book that deservedly restores the reputation of a fine admiral. NAUTICAL RESEARCH JOURNAL
A very thorough and scholarly study. [...] The research impressive and the conclusions sound. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY
A model of careful scholarship. NAVY NEWS
An excellent, well researched work that adds to the understanding of the Napoleonic Wars. ARMCHAIR AUCTIONS