1805 - Battle of Trafalgar


Next Page

Previous Page
Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1805 Battle of Trafalgar 97

that on the 9th of January, 1806, this first of naval captains was buried at St.-Paul's cathedral, with all the pomp and solemnity befitting the occasion. *

The honours paid by a grateful country to the memory of Lord Nelson were commensurate with his worth, and with the importance of the achievement which he had died in consummating. His brother William was made an earl, with a grant of 6000l. per annum; 10,000l. were voted for each of his sisters, and 100,000l. for the purchase of an estate. Two ships, a first and a second rate, were ordered to be built, one of 120 guns, named Nelson, the other of 98 (afterwards increased to 120) guns, named Trafalgar.

The living participators in the great and glorious victory received also their share of the national honours and rewards. A unanimous vote of thanks of both houses of parliament was a matter of course. Vice-admiral Collingwood was made a baron of the united kingdom, under the title of Baron Collingwood, of Caldburne and Hethpoole, in the county of Northumberland, with a grant of 20001. per annum. Rear-admiral the Earl of Northesk was honoured with the insignia of the order of the Bath, and Captain Hardy was made a baronet. It was probably owing to a paucity of vacant ribands of the Bath, and the intention of the British government to institute a new military order of merit, that the remaining captains of the Trafalgar fleet received no honorary distinctions. Medals were of course granted in the customary way. The first lieutenant of the Victory, the lieutenants acting as captains of the Ajax and Thunderer, and the first lieutenants of the Mars and Bellerophon, whose captains had been killed in the action, were promoted to post-captains ; and the first, second, third, and fourth lieutenants of the Victory, the first and second lieutenants of the Royal-Sovereign, and the first lieutenants of all the other ships engaged, were made commanders. Four midshipmen of the Victory, three of the Royal-Sovereign, two of the Britannia, and one belonging to every other ship of the line and frigate present in the action, were also promoted to lieutenants.

Passing over as unworthy of notice a ludicrous account of the state of the British fleet after the action, inserted by some wag in the Journal de Paris of the 7th of December, we shall bestow a few words upon the accounts of the battle published in England. The letter of Vice-admiral Collingwood to the secretary of the admiralty claims our first attention. This letter has been praised for its style : we wish we could say as much of its accuracy. The accidental irregularity of the enemy's line is represented as the result of design. " They formed their line of battle," says the admiral, " with great closeness and correctness."

*  See Clarke and McArthur, vol. ii., p. 460, et seq. See also the Annual Register for the year 1806, the January Number of the Gentleman's Magazine and the Naval Chronicle, vol. xv., p. 45,

^ back to top ^