Saumarez took command of the advanced squadron blockading Cadiz. In 1798 Saumarez played a key part in the events leading up to, and including, the Battle of the Nile. Nelson commanded the fleet and Saumarez was his second in command

Battle of the Nile

The French fleet was comprehensively beaten. French ambitions in Egypt and India were thwarted.

During the battle Saumarez had another close shave. He was struck by a large wooden splinter which had killed the clerk, mortally wounded a midshipman and then struck Saumarez. Fortunately he was not seriously hurt.

Later in 1798 he supplied 1,200 muskets and ammunition to the people of Malta in order to overcome the French garrison which at that time held Valetta. He carried on to Gibraltar where he and his crew were fêted for their success at the Nile. Early in 1799 the Orion returned to Plymouth and was paid off. In 1800 he was back at sea, this time in command of the Caesar. He again took up blockading duties, this time off Brest. Showing great seamanship, he remained on station in the most severe weather by finding safe anchorage in a bay close to Brest sufficiently large to be out of range of the coastal batteries. In 1801 Saumarez was promoted to Rear-Admiral and carried on in command of the advanced squadron off Brest. He was also made a Baronet.