Page images

1805, at about 11 h. 40 m. A. M., up went to the Victory's

o, mizen topgallantmast-head, the first flag of the celebrated telegraphic message, “ENGLAND EXPECTs THAT EveRY MAN will Do HIs DUTY;” a signal which, the instant its signification became fully known, was greeted with three cheers on board of every ship in the fleet, and excited among both officers and men the most lively enthusiasm.

Fol. The general formation of the franco-spanish line,

Ho, and the manner in which the british fleet, by its two

*... columns, bore down to the attack, will appear with com sufficient and, we believe, all attainable accuracy, .* by the following diagram. . As the ships of the comof the bined fleet were constantly varying their positions, ** we shall not attempt to point out the stations of any others than the ships of the four principal flagofficers. The commander in chief in the Bucentaure, with the Santisima-Trinidad as his second ahead, was directly in front of the Victory, the leader of the weather column; and the Santa-Ana, the flag-ship of vice-admiral Alava, was in the same direction from the Royal-Sovereign, the leader of the lee column. The spanish commander in chief,

admiral Gravina, in the Principe-de-Asturias, was

the rearmost ship of the fleet. Of the frigates it

may suffice to state, that they were ranged in an inner
line considerably to leeward of the fighting line.
One, however, in the centre, believed to have been
the Rhin, was so near as to be seen by the Royal-
Sovereign repeating signals; a circumstance that
induced vice-admiral Collingwood, a few minutes
before the action commenced, to telegraph lord

* There is not, that we are aware of, a single publication which gives this message precisely as it was delivered. The following is a minute of the several flags, as noted down on board of more than one ship in the fleet: 253 269 863 261 471 958 22O 370 4 21 19 24 “England expects that every man will do his d u t The french translation, as given in one or two historical works, is equally short and expressive: “L'Angleterre compte que chacun fera son devoir."


[ocr errors]

Nelson, that the enemy's commander in chief was 1805. on board a frigate. 4-y

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

According to the average time noted down on Fonboard the different ships of the british fleet, it was #. just at noon, the wind very light, the sea smooth ot with a great ground swell setting from the westward, . and the sun shining, in a beautiful manner, upon the " fresh painted sides of the long line of french and spanish ships, that the Fougueux, the second astern of the Santa-Ana, whose station was a little in the rear of the centre of the combined line, opened by signal a fire upon the Royal-Sovereign, then bearing on the french ship's larboard bow, and considerably within gun-shot; also bearing from the Victory north-west, distant about two miles, and from her own second astern, the Belleisle, about west by south three quarters of a mile. Immediately the three british admirals hoisted their respective flags, and the ships of both divisions of the fleet, the white or St.-George's ensign;


1805. Oct.



[ocr errors]

a measure adopted to prevent any confusion in the
heat of battle, from a variety of national flags. As an
additional mark of distinction, each british ship car-
ried, or was ordered to carry, a union-jack at her
main topmast-stay, and another ather fore topgallant-,
stay. At the Victory's main topgallantmast-head,
also, was fast belayed lord Nelson’s customary o
on going into action, No. 16, “Engage the enem
more closely;” consisting of two flags, quarter red
and white over blue, white, and red, or the dutch
republican ensign reversed. At about the same time
that the firing commenced, the ships of the combined
fleet hoisted their ensigns, and the admirals, (with the
exception, to which we shall presently advert, of the
french commander in chief,) their flags. In addition
to her ensign, every spanish ship also hung to the end
of the spanker-boom a large wooden cross.
At about 10 minutes past noon, having reached a

: position close astern of the Santa-Ana, the Royal

Sovereign fired into her, with guns double-shotted;

alsovo- and with such precision as, by the subsequent ac

[ocr errors]

Closes with SantaAma.

knowledgment of the spanish officers, to kill or
wound (incredible as it may appear) nearly 400 of
her crew, and to disable 14 of her guns. With her
starboard broadside, similarly charged, the Royal-
Sovereign raked the Fougueux, but, owing to the
distance and the smoke, with little if any effect. It
was just as the Royal-Sovereign was passing be-
tween these two enemy's ships, that vice-admiral
Collingwood called out to his captain: “Rotheram,
what would Nelson give to be here.” And, by a
singular coincidence, lord Nelson, the moment he
saw his friend in his enviable position, exclaimed:
“See how that noble fellow Collingwood carries his
o action.”
aving, in the most gallant manner, passed under
the stern of and saluted the Santa-Ana in the way
already mentioned, the Royal-Sovereign put her helm
a-starboard, and, without any difficulty, ranged close
alongside of her; so close that the guns were nearly

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

muzzle to muzzle. Between the two three-deckers a tremendous cannonade ensued. But the RoyalSovereign soon found that she had more than one opponent to contend with. The Fougueux, '..."; bore up, raked her astern; and, ahead of the englis ship, at the distance of about 400 yards, lay the San-Leandro, who, wearing, raked her in that direction; while, upon the Royal-Sovereign's starboard bow and quarter, within less than 300 yards, were the San-Justo and Indomptable; as will better appear by the following diagram:

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

So incessant was the fire kept up by all these ships, that the people of the Royal-Sovereign frequently saw the o come in contact with each other. Aware, at length, of the injury which they were thus sustaining by their own cross fire, and

1805. Oct.

Critical situation of Royal Sovereign

observing that three or four british ships were fast

approaching to the support of their gallant leader,
the four two-deckers, one by one, drew off from the
Royal-Sovereign, and left her to combat solely with
the Santa-Ana; who, although in force rather more
than a match for her antagonist, began already to
exhibit proofs that, in practical gunnery, she was
decidedly her inferior.
For upwards of 15 minutes the Royal-Sovereign
was the only british ship in close action. At the

1805, end of that time, when the former had taken a po-
‘OT’sition upon her opponent's lee bow, and was making
Belle- the best possible use of it, the Belleisle, hauling up,
... fired a broadside into the lee quarter of the Santa-
to Ana, and then bore away towards the Indomptable.
§. Owing to some of the ships astern of the Fougueux
reign's pressing forward to support the centre, while others
* remained with their sails aback or shivering, the
franco-spanish line (if line we must call it) was be-
coming even more irregular than it had been. The
slanting direction in which, on account of this move-
ment, the british lee column was obliged to advance,
enabled the ships to discharge their starboard guns
at the enemy's rear; and an interchange of animated
firing ensued, the smoke from which, for the want
of a breeze to carry it off, spread its murky mantle
over the combatants, and increased the confusion
into which the rear of the combined fleet had already
been thrown by the crash at its centre.
The Lord Nelson had already, in a two-decker, evinced
.* how little he dreaded coming in contact with a spa-
Follord nish first-rate; and even the towering and formidable
. looking four-decker at present in front of him had,
olot on that very occasion, been driven from her purpose
: by his well-known prowess. But, although he di-
rected the Victory to be steered towards the bow
of his old opponent, it was not with the intention of
attacking her: a spanish rear-admiral, whatever the
force of his ship, was considered an unworthy object
while a french vice-admiral commanded the fleet.
Lord Nelson did not feel a doubt, and the sequel
proved he was correct, that M. Willeneuve was in one
of the two or three ships next astern of the four-
decker; and, knowing that, to fetch a ship lying to at
a distance ahead, he must keep her on o lee bow,
he ordered the Victory to be steered in the manner
just related.
Although every glass on board the Victory was
put in requisition to discover the flag of the french
commander in chief, all the answers to the repeated

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »