This Day in History: 1801-08-17

Egypt. Siege of Alexandria. 30th Foot (later 1st East Lancashires), only 200 strong, make a silent night bayonet attack on Green Hill, a vital outpost of the French defences. They take the hill but and scatter to take cover from the hail of round and grape-shot which is then poured onto them. To re-capture the hill before British reinforcements can arrive, the French launch an immediate counter-attack with over 500 picked volunteers, which almost reaches the summit. But Lt Col William Lockhart, commanding the 30th, gathers together 170 of his men from their scrapes and ditches and, although outnumbered more than 2 to 1, charges down with fixed bayonets to meet and utterly rout the attackers. In less than 5 minutes, as the French survivors flee, Lockhart is leading his men back to the summit, with their ears ringing to the cheers of the rest of the Army, which had witnessed the whole affair