The battle of the Nile was fought in Aboukir Bay, about 15 miles west of Alexandria, on 1st August 1798, Nelson having spent most of the summer cruising the western Mediterranean looking for Admiral Brueys' Toulon fleet, finally came upon it as it lay at anchor in Aboukir Bay following the disembarkation of the army with which Napoleon was to conquer Egypt. Brueys had chosen a strong position in a well-protected anchorage although Nelson had the advantage of surprise. More significantly, it was already six o'clock in the evening when Nelson sighted the French and, with only two hours of daylight remaining, Brueys was confident that any attack would have to be postponed until the next day, by which time his own fleet would be ready. Nelson, with typical daring, amazed both his own captains as well as the French by ordering his ships into the Bay where they engaged the enemy in a spirited action which lasted most of the night. The decisive moment came just after 10 o'clock when the French flagship, the huge 120-gun L'Orient, blew up with a tremendous explosion and, when dawn broke, the French annihilation became apparent with nine of their badly damaged ships captured and another four completely destroyed. It was a glorious victory for Nelson, one of the greatest in British naval history, and the one which brought him to the pinnacle of his career.
The battle of Trafalgar was arguably the most decisive victory in the history of war at sea. Undaunted by the fact that he had only twenty-seven ships-of-the-line compared to the thirty-three in the combined French and Spanish fleets, Nelson brought the enemy to action on 21st October 1805 in a ferocious battle lasting less than three hours. Using a brilliant strategy to split the enemy line-of-battle in two places, their fleet was shattered by the loss or capture eighteen of its capital ships and over 6,000 men were killed or wounded. The magnitude of the victory was overshadowed by the death of Nelson himself but French and Spanish seapower was totally destroyed, the former taking many years to reassert latter never recovering.