1805 - Battle of Trafalgar


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1805 Battle of Trafalgar 25

"The divisions of the British fleet will be brought nearly within gun-shot of the enemy's centre. The signal will most probably then be made, for the lee line (three lines ?) to bear up together ; to set all their sails, even their steering-sails, in order to get as quickly as possible to the enemy's line, and to cut through, beginning at the twelfth ship from the enemy's rear. Some ships may not get through their exact place, but they will always be at hand to assist their friends. If any are thrown round the rear of the enemy, they will effectually complete the business of 12 sail of the enemy. Should the enemy wear together, or bear up and sail large, still the 12 ships, composing, in the first position, the enemy's rear, are to be the object of attack of the lee line, unless otherwise directed by the commander-in-chief : which is scarcely to be expected ; as the entire management of the lee line, after the intentions of the commander-in-chief are signified, is intended to be left to the judgment of the admiral commanding that line. The remainder of the enemy's fleet, 34 sail of the line, are to be left to the management of the commander-in-chief ; who will endeavour to take care that the movements of the second in command are as little interrupted as possible."

With the crews of so many ships to victual, Cadiz had become much straitened for provisions. To remedy the evil in part, especially as regarded his own fleet, the French emperor had ordered shipments to be made at Nantes, Bordeaux, and other ports in the bay of Biscay. The carriers were nominally Danish vessels, that landed their cargoes at Ayamonte, Conil, Algeziras, and at some other little harbours between the latter port and Santa-Maria ; whence they were conveyed in coasting boats to Cadiz without any interruption. As some check to this, a rigorous blockade had been adopted by Vice-admiral Collingwood, and was still maintained by his successor ; who considered it a more likely mode to drive the combined fleet to sea, than a bombardment by Congreve rockets, as had been contemplated by the British admiralty. The arrival of the Naiad, Phoebe, Sirius, Juno, and Niger frigates, with one or two smaller vessels, enabled Lord Nelson to detach part of them ; and the interruption thereby given to the coasting trade was of increased annoyance to Cadiz and the shipping within it.

Between the 9th and 13th of October the Royal-Sovereign, Belleisle, Africa, and Agamemnon, joined the fleet. The British

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