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dressed to the british commanding officer off the Ta- 1805.
and longitude 16° 13' west, from Paris, the combined 3.
fleet, formed in three divisions, and having a light of
At noon, latitude 43°54′ north, longitude (from
- * See vol. iii. p. 493.
1805. Windsor-Castle, Defiance, Prince-of-Wales, ReJos. pulse, Raisonable, Dragon, (then under a press of room sail to-leeward, as soon as she should join,) Glory, ation of Warrior, Thunderer, Malta; most of the ships with }..." their topgallantsails set, and all, except the Dragon, with their courses brailed up, standing, as before, on the starboard tack. * Same At about the same time the ships of the combined *...* fleet formed themselves in line of battle, in the folfleet lowing order: Argonauta,Terrible, America, Espana, San-Rafaél, Firme, Pluton, Mont-Blanc, Atlas, Berwick, Neptune, Bucentaure, Formidable, Intrépide, Scipion, Swiftsure, Indomptable, Aigle, Achille, Algésiras.” At 3 h. 30 m. P. M., after having lain to awhile, the combined fleet filled, and under topsails, with topgallantsails rolled up, stood on upon the larboard tack, rather off the wind, in a close wellformed line; one frigate ahead, another, the Sirène, who had just taken the galleon in tow, astern, and the remaining five frigates, in a second line, towindward of the centre and rear. The british fleet was at this time nearly abeam, and about seven miles distant; but, owing to the fog, neither fleet was more than partially in sight of the other. Since 1 P.M. the Egyptienne and Sirius, then a short distance to-windward of the Defiance, had
been ordered, by signal, to keep sight of the enemy.
The frigates accordingly made sail to get nearer to the latter; and the Sirius, the weathermost frigate, as she passed from van to rear of the combined fleet, made the signal of the exact number of line-of-battle ships and smaller vessels composing it. At 3h. 20 m. P. M. Sir Robert Calder made the signal to engage the enemy; and at 3 h. 22 m., to tack together. At 3h. 26m. the same signal was repeated and annulled. At 3 h. 27 m. a signal was made for the starboard division to make all possible sail, and steer southsouth-west. At 3 h. 30 m. the same signal was made to the Hero, who probably had commenced tacking in lso obedience to the signal at 3h. 22 m. At 3 h. 31 m. Joy. the signal was made to form the line of battle in open order; at 3 h. 53 m., to alter course one point to starboard; and at 4 h. 21 m., to tack in succession. The signal to tack in succession appears to have been made by each commander in chief about the same time; but, in the foggy state of the weather, neither fleet saw the commencement of the other's manoeuvre. The British tacked, to prevent their opponents escaping them on the opposite tack; but the Franco-Spaniards, who had hauled close to the wind on getting within about three miles of the british fleet, wore, in consequence of the Sirène, which had the galleon in tow, making signals, by guns fired in quick succession, that the rear was in danger of being cut off. This was occasioned by the bold approach of the Sirius, who, as soon as she had got sufficiently to-Sirius. windward to fetch into the wake of the combined line, had tacked, with the intention of attempting to carry, by boarding, the great object of the enemy's solicitude. While making the necessary preparation to effect his object, captain Prowse discovered, through the haze on his lee bow, the enemy's vanship, the Argonauta, approaching with the wind nearly abeam. The Sirius herself being now in jeopardy, captain Prowse abandoned his design upon the galleon, and bore W. to pass to-leeward of the franco-spanish line. ith a forbearance highly honourable to admiral Gravina, the Argonauta passed the british frigate without firing; and so did the Terrible and America. By the time, however, that the Sirius had got abreast of the Espana, which was at about 5 h. 15 m. P. M., the Hero, the british van-Hero. ship, then with royals set, hove in stays. Instantly the spanish ships, all of whom had royals and courses Comset, hoisted their colours and commenced the action; ... the Argonauta firing her larboard guns at the Hero, action. and the Espana hers at the Sirius, who, in consequence, had two men killed and three wounded.
* For the names of their several commanders see vol. iii. pp,468, 474, and 479. -
At 4 h. 30m. P. M. the Prince-of-Wales had made the
o, signal to engage the enemy's centre; at 4 h. 45 m.,
to keep in close order; and, at 5h. 9m., to engage the enemy as closely as possible. At 5h. 20m. P.M., which was about five minutes after she had tacked, the Hero opened a fire from her starboard guns. The reason of the Hero's having tacked without a signal was, that her advanced station had enabled her to see, what the fog concealed from the ships in her wake, that the enemy had come round on the starboard tack. Precisely as the Hero tacked to starboard, the Windsor-Castle, the sixth british ship from the van, (the majority of the ships now with royals and courses set,) tacked to port. We have chosen this moment for representing in a diagram the position of the two fleets; or rather, of the van and rear of the combined, and of the ten leading ships of the british fleet,
At 5 h. 45 m. P. M. the Ajax tacked astern of the Hero; but, unfortunately for the success of captain Gardner's gallant manoeuvre, the Ajax put her helm up, and bore away to speak the admiral. On passing 895. within hail of the Prince-of-Wales, captain Brown so, informed sir Robert Calder of the change of position in the two vans. The Ajax then wore, and fell into the line astern of the Glory; thus making herself, instead of the second, the twelfth ship from the van. At 5h.50m. P. M., by which time the five ships in line between the Ajax and Prince-of-Wales had successively tacked, the latter, as she probably would have done, had the Ajax followed her gallant leader into the thick of the enemy's fire, hoisting the signal to tack in succession, tacked also, and, in a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes, joined in the cannonade, now becoming general and furious. By 6 P.M. all the o in the british line, except the Dragon, who was still to-leeward working up, had got round on the starboard tack, and the greater part had found opponents in the opposite line; but, what with the fog and the smoke, no ship could see much beyond her own length. - Owing to the disorder to which this gave rise, some of the ships in both fleets had several opponents upon them at once. On the british side, the Windsor-Castle was a principal sufferer; and the Wind. Ajax, Prince-of-Wales, Thunderer, and Malta, the castle. last especially, participated in this unequal warfare. Malta. On the part of the combined fleet, the San-Rafaél, Firme, and Espana, having dropped to-leeward, became greatly exposed to the fire of the British. Seeing the situation of the Firme, the latter's second astern, the Pluton, gallantly bore up out of the line, Pluton. and, for a while, covered the spanish ship from the destructive effects of the enemy's fire; but the Firme was too powerfully opposed to profit by the aid afforded her, and the Pluton herself with difficulty regained her station. The critical situation of the Espana induced captain Cosmao-Kerjulien, a second time, to interpose himself between one of his spanish allies and the british line. In this instance, being assisted by the