41 ships The very light wind rendered manoeuvring virtually impossible for all but the most expert seamen. Around the base are the names of his major victories: Aboukir (1798), Copenhagen (1801) and Trafalgar (1805). [12], Battle of Trafalgar (1805) French and Spanish Casualties, Towards the end of the battle, and with the combined fleet being overwhelmed, the still relatively un-engaged portion of the van under Rear-Admiral Dumanoir Le Pelley tried to come to the assistance of the collapsing centre. "[13] It has been suggested by Nelson historian Craig Cabell that Nelson was actually reciting his own prayer as he fell into his death coma, as the words 'God' and 'my country' are closely linked therein. [34] In previous times, fleets had usually engaged in a mixed mêlée of chaotic one-on-one battles. [39] Second, it would quickly bring on a mêlée and frantic battle by breaking the Franco-Spanish line and inducing a series of individual ship-to-ship actions, in which the British knew they were likely to prevail. Villeneuve was uncertain about engaging the British, and the Franco-Spanish fleet failed to organise fully. This article does not contain any citations or references. Five of Nelson's 27 captains of the Fleet were Scottish as were almost 30% of the crew (. [72] At this point the 74-gun HMS Donegal, en route from Gibraltar under Captain Pulteney Malcolm, was seen approaching from the south on the larboard tack with a moderate breeze from northwest-by-north and steered directly for the Spanish three-decker. After his parole in 1806, he returned to France, where he was found dead in his inn room during a stop on the way to Paris, with six stab wounds in the chest from a dining knife. The order of sailing, in which the fleet was arranged when the enemy was first sighted, was to be the order of the ensuing action so that no time would be wasted in forming two lines. Trafalgar. The French and Spanish fleet now formed an uneven, angular crescent, with the slower ships generally to leeward and closer to the shore. In 1808, Nelson's Pillar was erected by leading members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy in Dublin to commemorate Nelson and his achievements (between 10% and 20% of the sailors at Trafalgar had been from Ireland[32][33]), and remained until it was destroyed in a bombing by "Old IRA" members in 1966. However, Villeneuve had shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm for facing Nelson and the Royal Navy after the French defeat at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Only eleven ships escaped to Cádiz, and of those, only five were considered seaworthy. In short, circumstances would dictate the execution, subject to the guiding rule that the enemy's rear was to be cut off and superior force concentrated on that part of the enemy's line. Villeneuve's supply situation began to improve in October, but news of Nelson's arrival made Villeneuve reluctant to leave port. On 16 September 1805 Villeneuve received orders from Napoleon to sail the Combined Fleet from Cádiz to Naples. Leviathan chased Monarca, but on 24 October she came across Rayo, dismasted but still flying Spanish colours, at anchor off the shoals of Sanlúcar. But his long game of cat and mouse with Nelson had worn him down, and he was suffering from a loss of nerve. [9], The British possessed an experienced and well-trained corps of naval officers. In Black, Jeremy. HMS Victory made her way to Gibraltar for repairs, carrying Nelson's body. These were not the only problems faced by the Franco-Spanish fleet. In summer this coincides with the one o'clock gun being fired. However, Villeneuve's fleet had just spent months at sea crossing the Atlantic twice, which supports the proposition that the main difference between the two fleets' combat effectiveness was the morale of the leaders. Those 18 winning British ships from the second battle fight the 16 winning Armada ships from the first battle. The British took 22 vessels of the Franco-Spanish fleet and lost none. It was officially recorded that he had committed suicide. The Combined Fleet was sailing across a heavy swell, causing the ships to roll heavily and exacerbating these problems. As the two fleets drew closer, anxiety began to build among officers and sailors; one British sailor described the time before thus: "During this momentous preparation, the human mind had ample time for meditation, for it was evident that the fate of England rested on this battle". On 16 September 1805 Villeneuve received orders from Napoleon to sail the Combined Fleet from Cádiz to Naples. It was finished in 1843. Saturday March 30, the Barque Trafalgar, 717 tons, Richardson Master, from Gravesend and Plymouth 26 December 1849—3rd ship from England to S.A. with government passengers for 1850; Mr. Wyld, surgeon-superintendent, with 290 emigrants; two … Fearing their loss, the British burnt or sank the Santisima Trinidad, Argonauta, San Antonio and Intrepide. Nelson could not immediately make out the French flagship as the French and Spanish were not flying command pennants. As planned, the British fleet was approaching the Franco-Spanish line in two columns. Unlike William Cornwallis, who maintained a close blockade off Brest with the Channel Fleet, Nelson adopted a loose blockade in the hope of luring the French out for a major battle. Auguste Mayer, 19th century. There, she lost her masts, already damaged in the battle. A gala was held on 21 October at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of the fund, which included a specially commissioned film by Alfred John West entitled Our Navy. If her husband was on the ship I would say there is a strong possibility she was too. This fleet, under the command of Vice-Admiral Calder, reached Cádiz on 15 September. Nelson also lost Calder's flagship, the 98-gun Prince of Wales, which he sent home as Calder had been recalled by the Admiralty to face a court martial for his apparent lack of aggression during the engagement off Cape Finisterre on 22 July. The fourth first-rate carried 100 guns. With a storm gathering in strength off the Spanish coast, he sailed westwards to clear Cape St Vincent, prior to heading north-west, swinging eastwards across the Bay of Biscay, and aiming to reach the French port at Rochefort. The fleet also included five 40-gun frigates and two 18-gun brigs, all French. & Quebec, 1817 The (brig) Trafalgar, 267 tons, Captain Welburn, was engaged to carry emigrants from Hull, England to St. John, New Brunswick and Quebec in 1817.Following, is correspondence from the owner of the Trafalgar Hugh Cochran, to the Earl Bathurst.Each letter has an annexed list of persons about to embark aboard the ship… He headed at first for the Straits of Gibraltar, intending to carry out Villeneuve's original orders and make for Toulon. As more and more British ships entered the battle, the ships of the allied centre and rear were gradually overwhelmed. They lose, with the Armada having 16 ships left. Following the battle, the Royal Navy was never again seriously challenged by the French fleet in a large-scale engagement. He had formed a defensive line of ten ships by three o'clock in the afternoon and approached the Franco-Spanish squadron, covering the remainder of their prizes which stood out to sea. I replied, "If your Lordship will permit me to substitute 'expects' for 'confides' the signal will soon be completed, because the word 'expects' is in the vocabulary, and 'confides' must be spelt," His Lordship replied, in haste, and with seeming satisfaction, "That will do, Pasco, make it directly."[54]. The blockade maintained by the British fleet had made it difficult for the Franco-Spanish allies to obtain stores, and their ships were ill-equipped. The first monument to be erected in Britain to commemorate Nelson may be that raised on Glasgow Green in 1806, albeit possibly preceded by a monument at Taynuilt, near Oban in Scotland dated 1805, both also commemorating the many Scots crew and captains at the battle. Aigle escaped from the British ship HMS Defiance, but was wrecked off the Port of Santa María on 23 October; while the French prisoners on Berwick cut the tow cables, but caused her to founder off Sanlúcar on 22 October. On 15 August, Cornwallis decided to detach 20 ships-of-the-line from the fleet guarding the English Channel and to have them sail southward to engage the enemy forces in Spain. These ships were later diverted for convoy duty in the Mediterranean, although Nelson had expected them to return. [83], Nelson's body was preserved in a barrel of brandy for the trip home to a hero's funeral.[52]. [67] Collingwood also chose not to seek action, and in the confusion of the powerful storm, the French frigates managed to retake two Spanish ships of the line which had been cast off by their British captors, the 112-gun Santa Ana and 80-gun Neptuno, taking them in tow and making for Cádiz. The Napoleonic Wars continued for another ten years after Trafalgar. Nelson was outnumbered and outgunned, the enemy totalling nearly 30,000 men and 2,568 guns to his 17,000 men and 2,148 guns. The battle did not mean, however, that the French naval challenge to Britain was over. There, she lost her masts; they had been damaged by shot earlier. A wooden ship is a living organism so between 1765 and 1805 it is not suprisinfg that much timber was replaced. The hasty voyage across the Atlantic and back used up vital supplies. Victory could not yet respond. There he received orders from Napoleon to return to Brest according to the main plan. ; Prothero, G.W. The remainder of the British fleet (23 ships) fights a battle against the remaining 17 in the Armada. First, as the French control over the continent expanded, Britain had to take active steps with the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807 and elsewhere in 1808 to prevent the ships of smaller European navies from falling into French hands. Stung by the prospect of being disgraced before the fleet, Villeneuve resolved to go to sea before his successor could reach Cádiz. The Battle of Trafalgar, situation at 1700h, As Nelson lay dying, he ordered the fleet to anchor, as a storm was predicted. The gunners were forced back below decks by French grenades. The results vindicated his naval judgement. [21] He remained ashore for 25 days and was warmly received by his countrymen. One Royal Marine officer was killed on board Victory; Captain Charles Adair. To lessen the time the fleet was exposed to this danger, Nelson had his ships make all available sail (including stunsails), yet another departure from the norm. Instead, he worried that the British were observing his manoeuvres, so on 11 August, he sailed southward towards Cádiz on the southwestern coast of Spain. Many descendants of people present at the battle, including members of Nelson's family, were at the ceremony. Nelson also lost Calder's flagship, the 98-gun Prince of Wales, which he sent home as Calder had been recalled by the Admiralty to face a court martial for his apparent lack of aggression during the engagement off Cape Finisterre on 22 July. He was also well aware that French and Spanish gunners were ill-trained, would probably be supplemented with soldiers, and would have difficulty firing accurately from a moving gun platform. This would require Villeneuve's force of 33 ships to join Vice-Admiral Ganteaume's force of 21 ships at Brest, along with a squadron of five ships under Captain Allemand, which would have given him a combined force of 59 ships-of-the-line. Against Nelson, Vice-Admiral Villeneuve fielded 33 ships-of-the-line, including some of the largest in the world at the time. Learn more about the ship on the Historic Dockyard’s website. HMS Victory made her way to Gibraltar for repairs, carrying Nelson's body. Admiral Villeneuve himself expressed his belief that Nelson would use some sort of unorthodox attack, stating specifically that he believed—accurately—that Nelson would drive right at his line. [14] On 22 October he changed his mind, remembering a powerful British squadron under Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis was patrolling the straits, and headed north, hoping to reach one of the French Atlantic ports. "The Battle of Trafalgar" by Clarkson Stanfield. [73] At about ten o'clock, just as Monarca had got within little more than a mile of Rayo, Leviathan fired a warning shot wide of Monarca, to oblige her to drop anchor. Nelson commenced a search of the Mediterranean, supposing that the French intended to make for Egypt, but Villeneuve instead took his fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar, rendezvoused with the Spanish fleet, and sailed as planned for the Caribbean. He was the last survivor of the Battle of Trafalgar which, as any good history student will tell you, was fought on 21 October 1805… think of Nelson and “kiss me, Hardy!” (oh, and ignore all that populist Victorian nonsense about “Kismet [fate] Hardy!” it is total nonsense… anyway, we digress…) In a particularly fierce battle, 27 British ships of the line fought 33 French and Spanish ships of the line. Taking advantage of a favourable northwesterly wind, Pluton, the 80-gun Neptune and Indomptable, the Spanish 100-gun Rayo and 74-gun San Francisco de Asís, together with five French frigates and two brigs, sailed out of the harbour towards the British. The weather, however, suddenly turned calm following a week of gales. The sudden change was prompted by a letter Villeneuve had received on 18 October, informing him that Vice-Admiral François Rosily had arrived in Madrid with orders to take command of the Combined Fleet. The wind became contrary at this point, often shifting direction. [84] For almost 10 years after Trafalgar, the Royal Navy maintained a close blockade of French bases and anxiously observed the growth of the French fleet. [34] Nelson's fleet was made up of ships-of-the-line which had spent a considerable amount of sea time during the months of blockades of French ports, whilst the French fleet had generally been at anchor in port. The Aigle, escaped from the British ship HMS Defiance but was wrecked off the port of Santa María on 23 October, while the French prisoners on the Berwick cut the tow cables, but caused her to founder off Sanlúcar on 22 October. Nothing is sure in a sea battle, so he left his captains free from all hampering rules by telling them that "No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy." The remaining three were 64-gun ships, which were being phased out of the Royal Navy at the time of the battle. However, when the storm blew up, many of the severely damaged ships sank or ran aground on the shoals. This effort was largely successful, but did not end the French threat as Napoleon instituted a large scale shipbuilding programme that produced a fleet of 80 ships of the line at the time of his fall from power in 1814, with more under construction. The main French ships of the line had been kept in harbour for years by the British blockade with only brief sorties. The term 'England' was widely used at the time to refer to the United Kingdom; the British fleet included significant contingents from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Read about French Muster Rolls from the Battle of Trafalgar on The National Archives' website. Villeneuve's supply situation began to improve in October, but news of Nelson's arrival made Villeneuve reluctant to leave port. [86] Nelson's Monument in Edinburgh was built between 1807 and 1815 in the form of an upturned telescope, and in 1853 a time ball was added which still drops at noon GMT to give a time signal to ships in Leith and the Firth of Forth. The inexperienced crews had difficulty with the changing conditions, and it took nearly an hour and a half for Villeneuve's order to be completed. Royal Marine Lieutenant Lewis Buckle Reeve was seriously wounded and lay next to Nelson. [37] Additionally, once the Franco-Spanish line had been broken, their ships would be relatively defenceless against powerful broadsides from the British fleet, and it would take them a long time to reposition to return fire. That same evening, Achille spotted a force of 18 British ships-of-the-line in pursuit. Despite several successful evasions of the blockade by the French navy, it failed to inflict a major defeat upon the British. Degrees of distress, with the one o'clock gun being fired was brought up to strength. 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