While leading a sortie Cleland was shot dead, and was buried in the churchyard.
Calling a council of war on the heights of Fort St Julien, he asked the opinion of his subordinates, who were unanimously against the proposed sortie, principally because the artillery "had only ammunition enough for a single battle!"
But a sortie of the garrison of Astrakhan drove back the besiegers; 15,000 Russians, under Knes Serebianov, attacked and scattered the workmen and the Tatar force sent for their protection; and, finally, the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by a storm.
Under their direction steady advance was made on the side which Bonaparte saw to be all important; a sortie of part of the British, Spanish and Neapolitan forces on the 30th of November was beaten back with loss, General O'Hara, their commander, being severely wounded and taken prisoner.
This sortie raised the spirits of the Russians to the highest pitch.