Page images




Although the work of scarcely two minutes, and Oct. although not a mast or yard of the Bucentaure was

seen to come down, the effects of the british threetructive decker's broadside upon the personnel of the french of Vic- ship, as acknowledged a day or two afterwards by tory's vice-admiral Villeneuve, and long subsequently by

his flag-captain, M. Magendie, was of the same destructive character as the broadside poured by the Royal-Sovereign into the stern of the Santa-Ana. The amount which the Bucentaure's officers

gave, as the extent of their loss in killed and wounded by the Victory's fire, was “ nearly 400 men.” They represented also, that 20 of their guns were dismounted by it, and that the Bucentaure was reduced to a comparatively defenceless state.

Prevented by position, even had she not been incapacitated by loss, from returning the Victory's tremendous salute, the Bucentaure found an able second in the Neptune. This fine french 80, the moment the Victory's bows opened clear of the Bucentaure's stern, poured into them a most de

structive fire. Among other damages occasioned magic by it, the flying jib-boom and sprit and sprit topsailtory by yards were cut away; also, smooth off, the starboard Neper cat-head, notwithstanding its immense stoutness.

The bower anchor, and a sheet anchor stowed near it, were also completely disabled; and a third anchor on that side was much injured. Several shot also entered the Victory's bows between wind and water, and the foremast and bowsprit were badly

wounded. Victory Fearing, as the Victory advanced, that she infor Re- tended to run on board of her, the Neptune set her jib, table. and, keeping away a little, ranged ahead ; but,

captain Hardy having decided to run on board the ship on his starboard hand, and into which a broadside had been poured the instant it would bear with effect, the Victory put her helm hard a-port. This quickly brought her head in the direction of the Redoutable; who, with her foremost guns continued



to aid the Neptune in raking the Victory, and with 1805. heraftermostones fired occasionally at the Téméraire, Oct. as the latter drew out from the wake of her leader. Just, however, as the Victory was coming in contact with her, the Redoutable shut most of her lowerdeck ports, and fired from them no more. In about a Victory minute after she had shifted her helm, the Victory Redouran foul of the Redoutable; the sheet anchor of table. the one striking the spare anchor of the other.

Very soon afterwards, or at about 1 h. 10 m. P. M., the two ships dropped alongside of each other. This account corresponds with that given by the French. “Nelson,” says M. Parisot, “ voyant qu'il (the Redoutable's captain) n'était pas disposé à plier, fit venir le Victory au vent tout d'un coup, et le laissant tomber en travers, il aborda de long en long le Redoutable."* Owing to the slight impetus in the Victory, caused by the want of wind, the concussion of the firing would probably have separated her from the Redoutable, had not the Victory's starboard fore lower-studding-sail boomiron, as the ships were in the act of rebounding off, hooked into the leech of the Redoubtable’s fore topsail. This held the ships together; and, with the lowerdeck guns of the Victory touching the side of the Redoutable, and the latter's mainmast in a line about midway between the former's fore and main masts, the two ships fell off a few points from the wind.

Almost immediately after the Victory had got Victory hooked alongside the Redoutable, Mr. William aouWillmet, the boatswain of the former, found a ready table means of clearing the french ship's gangways by firing the starboard 68-pounder carronade, loaded as the larboard one had been, right upon the Redoutable's decks. The guns of the middle and lower decks were also occasionally fired into the Redoutable, but very few of the 12-pounders, on account chiefly of the


* Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xvi. p. 171.

Oct. them.


taure and Sta.Trinidad.

1805, heavy loss among those who had been stationed at

The Redoutable, on her part, fired her maindeck guns into the Victory, and used musketry, as well through her ports into those of the Victory, as from her three tops down upon the latter's deck. In her fore and main tops, also, the Redoutable had some brass cohorns, which, loaded with langridge, were frequently fired with destructive effect

upon the Victory's forecastle. The larboard guns of the fires at Victory were fired occasionally at the Bucentaure; Bucen- but it was with little or no effect, the latter ship con

tinuing to move to the northward, while the Victory and Redoutable kept inclining their heads to the eastward. The Santisima Trinidad also received into her starboard or lee quarter and stern a portion of the Victory's fire.

Never allowing mere personal comfort to interfere with, what he considered to be, the good of the service, lord Nelson, when the Victory was fitting to receive his flag, ordered the large skylight over his cabin to be removed, and the space planked up, so as to afford him a walk amidships, clear of the guns and ropes. Here, along an extent of deck of about 21 feet in length, bounded abaft by the stancheon of the wheel and forward by the combings of the cabin ladder-way, were the admiral and captain Hardy, during the whole of the operations we have then on his knees with his left hand just touching the 1805. deck. The arm giving way, lord Nelson fell on Oct. his left side, exactly upon the spot where his secretary, Mr. Scott, had breathed his last, and with whose blood his lordship’s clothes were soiled.

just detailed, taking their customary promenade. Lord At about 1 h. 25 m. P. M., just as the two had arrived Nelson within one pace of the regular turning spot at the

cabin ladder-way, lord Nelson, who, regardless of quarterdeck etiquette, was walking on the larboard side,* suddenly faced left about. Captain Hardy, as soon as he had taken the other step, turned also, and saw the admiral in the act of falling. He was


* This may be relied upon as correct, although completely at variance with the account published by the Victory's surgeon, (Beatty, p. 32,) and which, owing to its apparent authenticity, has been made the groundwork of every other published account, including that in the first edition of this work.

On captain Hardy's expressing a hope that he was not severely wounded, lord Nelson replied: “ They have done for me at last, Hardy. “I hope not,” answered captain Hardy. “Yes,” replied his lordship, my backbone is shot through."* The wound was by a musket-ball, which had entered the left shoulder through the fore part of the epaulet, and, descending, had lodged in the spine. That the wound had been given by some one stationed in the Redoutable’s mizen top was rendered certain, not only from the nearness (about 15 yards) and situation of the mizen top in reference to the course of the ball, but from the circumstance that the french ship's main top was screened by a portion of the Victory's mainsail as it hung in the brails. That Doubtthe ball was intended for lord Nelson is doubtful, he was because, when the aim must have been taken, he aimed was walking on the outer side, concealed in a great measure from view by a much taller and stouter man. Admitting, also, (which is very doubtful,) that the french seaman or marine, whose shot had proved so fatal, had selected for his object, as the british commander in chief, the best dressed officer of the two. he would most probably have fixed upon captain Hardy, or, indeed, such, in spite of doctor Beatty's print, was lord Nelson's habitual carelessness, upon any one of the Victory's lieutenants that might have been walking by the side of him. Sergeant Secker of the marines and two seamen, who had come up on seeing the admiral fall, now, by captain Hardy's direction, bore their revered and much lamented Is rechief to the cockpit; where we will for the present to the leave him. The position of the Victory and of the cockpit


* Beatty's Narrative, p. 33.

1805. ships near to her at the time lord Nelson received

his wound, drawn up with as much accuracy as the case admits, will be found in the following diagram.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]




19 Previously to our entering upon the account of of the each ship's proceedings, we will endeavour to battle. sent a general view of the engagement, and of its

immediate result. Soon after the first four ships of the british lee division had cut through between the centre and rear of the franco-spanish line, the remainder successively as they came up, pierced the mass (for it could no longer be called line) of enemy's ships, in various directions, and found opponents as they could. Meanwhile the leading ships of the weather division had begun to engage in a similar manner, a little ahead of the centre. The action, which had commenced, as we have elsewhere shown, at meridian, arrived at its height about 1 h. 30 n At 3 P. M, the firing began to slacken, and, at about 5 P. M., wholly ceased. Of the 14 van-ships of the combined line, reckoning to the Redoutable inclusive, three only were captured in their places. The remaining 11 wore out of the line. Of these 11, three were captured, and eight escaped ; four, by hauling to-windward, and four by running for Cadiz. Of the 19 rear-ships, 12, including one burnt, were taken, and seven escaped

m. P. M.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »