1805 - Battle of Trafalgar


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1805 Battle of Trafalgar 44

with as much accuracy as the case admits, will be found in the following diagram.

Previously to our entering upon the account of each ship's proceedings, we will endeavour to present a general view of the engagement, and of its immediate result. Soon after the first four ships of the British lee division had cut through between the centre and rear of the Franco-Spanish line, the remainder successively as they came up, pierced the mass (for it could no longer be called line) of enemy's ships, in various directions, and found opponents as they could. Meanwhile the leading ships of the weather division had begun to engage in a similar manner, a little ahead of the centre. The action, which had commenced, as we have elsewhere shown, at noon, arrived at its height about 1 h. 30 m. P.M. At 3 P.M. the firing began to slacken, and, at about 5 P.M., wholly ceased. Of the 14 vanships of the combined line, reckoning to the Redoutable inclusive, three only were captured in their places. The remaining 11 wore out of the line. Of these 11, three were captured, and eight escaped ; four, by hauling to windward and four by running for Cadiz. Of the 19 rear-ships, 12, including one burnt, were taken, and seven escaped into Cadiz ; making, as the result of the first day's proceedings ; nine French (including one burnt), and nine Spanish, sail of the line captured, total 18, and nine French, and six Spanish, sail of the line escaped, total 15 : of which latter number four French ships got away to the southward, and 11, five of them French and six Spanish, and most of the ships much shattered, with all the frigates and brigs, reached the bay of Cadiz.

So far as to the collective operations of the two fleets in the Trafalgar battle. Our attention is now due to the individual exertions of the ships on each side ; and we shall proceed to give the most accurate account that our researches, far and near,

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