1805 - Sir Richard Strachan's Action


 
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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
by
William James
1805 Battle of Trafalgar 107

his powers, to attempt such a picture, the following remarks, is addition to those he will find a few pages back, * may not be unuseful. Let his point of view be the small cross in the diagram at p. 40. He will then have, for his two principal figures, the Victory on the right, and the Bucentaure on the left. Behind these will be the Neptune and Redoutable; both firing, the latter her foremost guns, the former her whole broadside, right into the bows of the Victory. On the extreme right of the picture will be the bows of the Téméraire , and on the extreme left, the stern and quarter-galleries of the Santisima-Trinidad. Quite in the foreground may be represented the boat, which a shot had cut adrift a few minutes before. With this hint to the painter, we end our long, but, we hope, not uninteresting account of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Vice-admiral Lord Collingwood, now the commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet, continued throughout the greater part of the remainder of the year at his station off Cadiz, watching the 10 or 11 shattered enemy's ships that lay at anchor within it. Four days after the action Vice-admiral François-Etienne Rosily arrived at the port direct from Paris, to supersede Vice-admiral Villeneuve in the command. Instead of 18 fine fresh ships, the new admiral found five disabled ones, or rather four, the Héros having considerately kept herself in so efficient a state, that she was able at once to hoist the flag of Admiral Rosily, and even to carry him to sea, had such been his intention, and no blockading force been cruising off the harbour. There were still four ships of the combined fleet present at the Battle of Trafalgar, whose movements require to be traced. These, it will be recollected, were the four French ships that escaped to the southward, under the command of Rear-admiral Dumanoir, in the 80-gun ship Formidable.

Having by dark on the day of the battle gained a safe offing, M, Dumanoir commenced repairing the few damages which his squadron had sustained ; few, indeed, for his ships, in making off, carried royals upon a wind, and to the British, who were attentively observing them, exhibited no signs of injury. One or two of the ships, however, were certainly struck in the hull by some of the British ships, most probably by the Minotaur and Spartiate ; for the Formidable made a good deal of water, and had three of her guns dismounted, and the Duguay-Trouin had one petty officer mortally and four others slightly wounded. Upon looking into the rôles d'équipage of the four ships, we cannot discover that they sustained any other loss in the Battle of Trafalgar.

With the wind as it blew, the French admiral would have steered towards Toulon, had he not received intelligence that Rear-admiral Louis, with a squadron of four or five sail of the line was cruising in the neighbourhood of the Straits. Nothing

*  See pp. 35,  36,  40,  41,  and 60.

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