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questions of lord Nelson on the subject ended in 1805. disappointment. The four-decker's flag at the Go." mizen could be made out, and some signals were vain occasionally seen at the main of two or three of the . ships, but no french flag at the fore.” Often did fig. the little man himself, with his remaining eye, cast an anxious glance towards the franco-spanish line in search of the ship which he meant the Victory first to grapple with ; and so lightly did lord Nelson value personal risk, that, although urged more than once on the subject, he would not suffer those barriers from the enemy’s grape and musketry, the hammocks, to be placed one inch higher than, to facilitate his view of objects around him, they were accustomed to be stowed. The Victory, meanwhile, was slowly advancing to a gun-shot distance from the enemy's line. At 20 minutes past noon, which was about 20 minutes after the Fougueux had opened her fire upon the Royal-Sovereign, and about 10 after the latter had passed under the stern of the Santa-Ana, the Bucentaure fired a shot at the Victory, then, with studding-sails set on both sides, steering about vieeast, and going scarcely a knot and a half through tory the water. The shot fell short. Two or three mi- " nutes elapsed, and a second shot was fired; which, the Victory then about a mile and a quarter distant, fell alongside. A third shot almost immediately followed, and that went over the ship. One or two others did the same, until, at length, a shot went through the Victory's main topgallantsail; affording to the enemy the first visible proof that his shot would reach. A minute or two of awful silence ensued; and then, as if by signal from the french admiral, the whole van, or at least seven or eight of the weathermost ships, opened a fire upon the
* It was probably signals, made when the Victory was much closer, that gave rise to the following entry in the log of the Spartiate: “Observed her bearing down between a spanish fourdecker and a french two-decker, with admiral's flags at the main.”
**, Victory, such a fire as had scarcely before been oët, directed at a single ship. In a few minutes a round shot killed Mr. John Scott, lord Nelson's public
... secretary, while he was conversing with captain
Scott. Hardy. Since the commencement of the firing the wind had gradually died away to a mere breath. Still the Victory, driven onward by the swell and the remains of her previous impetus, was going slowly ahead, in the direction, now, of the interval between the Santisima-Trinidad and Bucentaure; both of which ships, aided occasionally by the Redoutable astern of the latter, continued upon her a very heavy and destructive fire. To this heavy and unremitting cannonade the Victory neither did, nor from her Vic: position could, bestow any return. In a very few §an minutes, however, after the firing had opened upon i. her, one of the foremost guns on the starboard side o went off by accident. In a private ship this would scarcely have been noticed; but, as happening on board the ship of the commander in chief, it excited * the attention of the fleet, and was minuted down in to the log of one ship, the Polyphemus, as a real comjo" mencement of the action, by the Victory; thus: “About 20 m. past 12 Victory fired upon by the enemy's van, which was returned with a few of her foremost guns on the starboard side.” Divi. Seeing, by the direction of her course, that the ...'" Victory was about to follow the example of the centre Royal-Sovereign, the french and spanish ships ahead ... of the british weather column closed like a forest. * This movement, aided by the stoppage in the head" way of the Santa-Ana, and by the bearing up of the two spanish ships ahead of her in the manner already related, divided the combined line nearly in the centre, leaving, including the Redoutable from her station astern of the San-Leandro, 14 ships in the van, and 19 in the rear, with an interval between them of at least three quarters of a mile. Just as she had got within about 500 yards of the
larboard beam of the Bucentaure the Victory's mizen topmast was shot away about two thirds up. A shot also struck and knocked to pieces the wheel; and the ship was obliged to be steered in the gunroom, the first lieutenant (John Quilliam) and master (Thomas Atkinson) relieving each other at this duty. Scarcely had two minutes elapsed before a double-headed shot killed eight marines on the poop, and wounded several others: on which the admiral ordered captain Adair to disperse his men round the ship, that they might not suffer so much from being together. Presently a shot, that had come through a thickness of four hammocks near the larboard chess-tree, and had carried away a part of the larboard quarter of the launch as she lay on the booms, struck the fore-brace bits on the quarterdeck, and passed between lord Nelson and captain Hardy; a splinter from the bits bruising the left foot of the latter, and tearing the buckle from his shoe. “They both,” says doctor Beatty, “ instantly stopped, and were observed by the officers on deck to survey each other with inquiring looks, each supposing the other to be wounded. His lordship then smiled and said, ‘This is too warm work, Hardy, to last long ;’ and declared that, through all the
Oct. Victory OSes her mizen t
Capt. Hardy wounded.
battles he had been in, he had never witnessed more
cool courage than was displayed by the Victory's
* Beatty's Narrative, p. 27.
1805, which you please: take your choice.” At this
* Beatty's Narrative, p. 30.
f Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xvi. p. 170.
f According to the Victory's log, at four minutes past noon; but that would allow 14 minutes only for the Victory, with scarcely a breath of wind, to go a distance of at least a mile and a half. We know also that, owing to the death early in the action of the two persons whose places (in succession) it was to take minutes, the log entries were written the next day. Moreover the log of the Spartiate, one of the best kept in the fleet, says: “At 12 h. 59 m. Victory commenced firing.”
posed, the loss on board the Victory amounted to
decker, as she rolled, touched the vangs of her op-505. ponent's gaff: so close indeed, that, had there been ‘...." wind enough to blow it out, the large french ensign trailing at the Bucentaure's peak might, even at this early period of the action, have been a trophy in the hands of the Victory's crew. While listening, Its i with characteristic avidity, to the deafening crash so. made by their shot in the french ship's hull, the bri- to: tish crew were nearly suffocated with the clouds of ove. black smoke that entered the Victory's portholes; . and lord Nelson, captain Hardy, and others that " were walking the quarterdeck, had their clothes covered with the dust which issued from the crumbled wood-work of the Bucentaure's stern. The osition of the Victory just as, while receiving into her bows the foremost guns of a french 74 and the whole broadside of a french 80, she is about to pour her broadside into the stern of a second french 80, we have endeavoured to illustrate by the first set of figures in the following diagram.