Battle at Kongedybet 1801.
soon as the winter had ended, an English navy under Parker and Nelson
was sent to the Sound to conquer Denmark, while the ice still bound the
Russians in their harbors.
The Danisk fleet stayed unprepared in the harbor, and in great hurry
they had to place a number of block ships from Trekroner and southwards
in Kongedybet, from where the city easiest could be shelled.
This defence line was led by Olfert Fischer. Nelson went with 11 greater
ships and a number of smaller boats east of Middelgrunden, and then
Maundy Thursday the 2nd April from south up into Kongedybet.
After 5 to 6 hours fighting, in which Lassen at PrÝvestenen, the young
Willemoes at his fleet battery and many others showed brilliant bravery,
our fighting line in Kongedybet had been overcome by the superior force
and totally destroyed. Nevertheless Nelsons situation was not good. Many
of his ships were badly damaged or shipwrecked, and the solid Trekroner
was yet untouched.
Then he changed by way of trick the only half settled battle to a
victory, as he sent a messenger to the crown prince with a threat that
he would burn the captured Danish vessels together with their crew, if
the shooting from the Danish part did not stop.
The crown prince gave then without consulting Fischer the order to stop
Shortly after came the news, that emperor Povl had been murdered and
followed by his son Alexander 1st. By that the Neutrality
Pact was busted, and after long lasting negotiations Denmark accepted
Englands right to search trading vessels.
The following 6 years Denmark-Norway har peace. Trade and shipping were
thriving again and created prosperity at all places. Only the finances
of the state could not be coured, because the third coalition war broke
out in 1805, and as North Germany the following years became center of
the war, they had to place a large army in Holsten to secure the south
The crown prince together with some of his ministers stayed normaly in
the headquarter in Holsten, so that the government had two centres,
Copenhagen and Kiel.
This soon showed to be very unfortunate, as it prevented firmness and
quickness in governing under critical conditions, and gave the crown
prince opportunity to avoid the Council of State and follow his own
desires or the advice of his military advicers.
It was the intention of the government to stay neutral as long as
possible, but if that was not possible, it would rather join England
than France, as they realized clearly, that even if the Jutlandic
peninsula in case of a break with France was exposed to become flooded
by Napoleonís troops, this was in the long run far from being so
threatening for the existing of the State as a war against England. With
England as an ally they could prevent Napoleon in attacking the islands
and Norway, but if England became our enemy, they controlled the sea and
separated Denmark from Norway.