Sharpe’s Prey. Newly promoted Lieutenant Richard Sharpe is offered an assignment in Copenhagen, Denmark, to help the Hon. John Lavisser deliver a bribe in order to prevent a war. Denmark retains a battle fleet potentially replacing French warships lost at Trafalgar (Ref: Sharpe’s Trafalgar). Napoleon’s forces are massing to take the fleet. The British must stop them. Sharpe is recruited to protect Lavisser from French agents in Copenhagen, yet, he is almost sacrificed. The French agents use hatpins to punch secret codes in newspapers under diplomatic immunity. The Danish army attempts to raise the British siege and is routed by Sir Arthur Wellesley’s redcoats. Copenhagen is subjected to a British bombardment. Sharpe hunts a traitor, protects a woman and endeavours to stay alive.
The devastating British attack on Copenhagen, September 1807 is remembered for the killing of 1,600 Danish civilians inside the city and the comprehensive defeat of the Danish army. The 1807 treaty of Tilsit between France and Russia allowed the French to take the Danish fleet. Denmark in 1807 comprised of the North German state of Holstein and all of Norway. Denmark had the second largest merchant fleet in the world and a very large navy to protect it. Britain, aware of the secret clause in this treaty, demanded the Danes send their fleet into protective custody in Britain. The British bombarded the Danes until they surrendered and the Danish fleet was captured.
The Danish army was mostly deployed in Holstein, so, the only action was the battle of Koge between Sir Wellesley (with the 95th Rifles) and the hastily assembled forces of General Castenschiold. The Danes were routed. The Danes could have burned their fleet, the British occupied the city for six weeks and took eighteen ships of the line, four frigates, sixteen other ships and twenty five gunboats back to Britain. The British claimed Heligoland, North Sea until 1890 when it was given to Germany.
The 1807 campaign forced Denmark into an alliance with France, subsequently losing Norway to Sweden and ruining her financially. A horse sired in Denmark called Copenhagen was ridden by Sir Arthur Wellesley during the battle of Waterloo, 1815.