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The First Battle of Algeciras was a naval battle fought on 6 July 1801 (17 messidor an IX of the French Republican Calendar) between a squadron of British Royal Navy ships of the line and a smaller French Navy squadron at anchor in the fortified Spanish port of Algeciras in the Strait of Gibraltar. The British outnumbered their opponents, but the French position was protected by Spanish gun batteries and the complicated shoals that obscured the entrance to Algeciras Bay. The French squadron, under Contre-Admiral Charles Linois, had stopped at Algeciras en route to the major Spanish naval base at Cadiz, where they were to form a combined French and Spanish fleet for operations against Britain and its allies in the French Revolutionary Wars. The British, under Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez, sought to eliminate the French squadron before it could reach Cadiz and form a force powerful enough to overwhelm Saumarez and launch attacks against British forces in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Second Battle of Algeciras (also known as the Battle of the Gut of Gibraltar) was a naval battle fought on the night of 12 July 1801 (23 messidor an IX of the French Republican Calendar) between a squadron of British Royal Navy ships of the line and a larger squadron of ships from the Spanish Navy and French Navy in the Gut of Gibraltar. The battle followed closely the First Battle of Algeciras on 6 July, in which a French squadron anchored at the Spanish port of Algeciras was attacked by a larger British squadron based at nearby Gibraltar. In a heavy engagement fought in calm weather in the close confines of Algeciras Bay, the British force was becalmed and battered, suffering heavy casualties and losing the ship HMS Hannibal. Retiring for repairs, both sides called up reinforcements, the French receiving support first, from the Spanish fleet based at Cadiz, which sent six ships of the line to escort the French squadron to safety.