1805 - Battle of Trafalgar


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1805 Battle of Trafalgar 50

of the Algésiras getting entangled with the main rigging of the Tonnant, the two ships were held fast together, greatly, on account of their relative positions, to the advantage of the Tonnant. It was, doubtless, while the Tonnant's attention was thus occupied, that the Monarca, being left to herself, and having suffered comparatively little in the action, rehoisted her colours.

While thus fast to the Algésiras on her starboard side, the Tonnant fired her larboard aftermost guns athwart the hawse of the Mars at the Pluton lying upon the latter's larboard bow, and her larboard foremost guns at the San-Juan-Nepomuceno lying upon her own bow. Meanwhile the Mars, until she and the Pluton dropped astern, fired several well-directed shot into the larboard quarter of the Algésiras. The position of the Tonnant and ships around her at this time, which was about 1 h. 35 m. P.M., we have endeavoured to illustrate by the following diagram:

At about 1 h. 40 m. P.M. Captain Tyler received a severe wound, and was obliged to be taken below. The command of the Tonnant thereupon devolved upon Lieutenant John Bedford. In the mean time an animated cannonade was kept up between the two ships ; by which the Algésiras soon lost her foremast and the Tonnant her main and mizen topmasts. The Algésiras made a serious attempt to board ; but the marines of the Tonnant maintained so steady and well-directed a fire, that French crew did not succeed, except in the case of one man, who contrived to enter one of the Tonnant's maindeck ports, and whose life, to the credit of those who took him, was spared. At about 2 h. 15 m. P.M., just as her main and mizen masts were about to share the fate of her foremast, the Algésiras, after a very gallant defence, struck her colours ; and Lieutenant Charles Bennett, with Lieutenant of marines Arthur Ball, and about 48 men, stepped on board and took possession of her. In another quarter of an hour the San-Juan hailed that she surrendered ; and Lieutenant Benjamin Clement was sent in the jollyboat, with two hands, to take possession. The boat being damaged by shot, swamped, before she reached a quarter of the way. The two men could swim, but not the lieutenant. While the latter was clinging to the boat, a shot struck her and

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