1805 - Lord Nelson at Spithead


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1805 British and Franco-Spanish Fleets 342

hurry. ' " The compilers of the anecdote, unfortunately, have omitted the dates, both of the last entry in the log-book, and of the day of which the wreck was fallen in with. We might otherwise have been able to show, that it was the late Liverpool privateer Mars herself, which had given rise to Lord Nelson's speculations. If so, the jackets had probably belonged to some of the Matilda's crew, and the scrap of paper been written upon by a Spaniard. Whichever way it was, the inference remained just as the vice-admiral had drawn it, that the capturing fleet had steered to the northward.

A northerly course thus appearing to have been taken by M. Villeneuve, a northerly course was taken by his ardent pursuer, but, to the latter's regret, against northerly winds and hazy weather. On the 8th of August the wind became more favourable. On the 12th the Niobe frigate joined from the Channel fleet, but, strange to say, still without intelligence. On the 15th Lord Nelson himself joined Admiral Cornwallis off Ushant, from whom he heard all that had happened, and, on the same evening, proceeded with the Victory and Superb to Portsmouth ; leaving the remainder of his fleet (except the Belleisle, who steered for Plymouth) as a reinforcement to the Channel fleet. * On the 18th the Victory and Superb anchored at Spithead ; and Lord Nelson shortly afterwards struck his flag and went on shore.

* See p. 302

Finis - Vol iii

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