1805 - Battle of Trafalgar


 
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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
by
William James
1805 Battle of Trafalgar 64

so severe as that incurred by the generality of the captured ships. None of her masts had, at this time, actually fallen although one or more of them had been badly struck, and her loss could not have well exceeded its reputed amount, 40 in killed and wounded, including among the latter her first lieutenant, and among the former her captain.

We formerly mentioned that Captain Blackwood went on board the Téméraire with the commander-in-chiefs instructions to Captain Harvey. * After quitting the latter, Captain Blackwood proceeded to the Leviathan, and informed Captain Bayntun that Lord Nelson had consented that his ship should precede the Victory in going into action. From her station astern of the Conqueror, the Leviathan immediately crowded all sail to, reach the enviable post assigned her : but, owing to the late hour (about 11 h. 30 m.) at which the message was delivered, the Leviathan did not get further ahead than just abreast of the Conqueror, before the Victory was beginning to suffer from the enemy's fire.

The necessity of shortening sail for awhile, to facilitate the endeavours of the Leviathan to pass ahead to her newly-allotted station, and the almost calm state of the weather after the firing had lasted a short time, made it 1 h. 45 m. P.M. before the English Neptune became closely engaged. At this time, having with all her endeavours been unable to go ahead, the Leviathan had resumed her station in the line, and was close in the wake of the Neptune, and a short distance ahead of the Conqueror. Hauling up towards the nearest ship, the English Neptune soon found herself close under the stern of the Bucentaure. The broadside of the Neptune, as she passed on in this direction, shot away the Bucentaure's main and mizen masts nearly by the board, and doubtless killed or wounded a great many of her crew. The Leviathan poured in her fire within 30 yards of the French ship's stern, and the Conqueror soon afterwards did the same.

The Conqueror then hauled up on the lee quarter and beam of the Bucentaure, and shot away her foremast. In a few minute afterwards the ship of the commander-in-chief of the combined fleet, whose fate had been previously sealed by the Victory's tremendous broadside, hauled down her colours, and was taken possession of by the Conqueror. The officer in charge of the boat was Captain James Atcherley, of the marines, who had with him but five hands, a corporal and two privates of his corps, and two seamen. On the captain's stepping upon the Bucentaure's quarterdeck, M. Villeneuve and his two captains presented their swords; but, conceiving that it more properly belonged to Captain Pellew to disarm officers of their rank, Captain Atcherley declined the honour of receiving them. Having secured the

*  See P. 33.

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