Sea Captain

Nelson was given the command of the Agamemnon (64 guns) which sailed for the Mediterranean with the fleet of Admiral Lord Hood in 1793, the action was mainly convoy protection and intercepting privateers with minor clashes with enemy frigates. On 12th July 1794 Nelson lost the sight in his right eye when he was hit by a splinter. Later in the month Admiral Hood who was very sick was replaced by Admiral Hotham. Nelson now saw his first major engagement, while the British fleet of fourteen was standing off Toulon,  the French decided to run for it but Nelson caught them up at Genoa and attacked the Ca Ira who had already lost a mast, when the French frigate surrendered she had  400 men dead or wounded on board. Nelson was upset that he was the only captain to show aggression and said openly that the opportunity to destroy the French Fleet was missed.

Admiral Sir John Jarvis then took over and with it came a more direct approach at confrontation. Jervis won his title at a battle off Cape St Vincent between the Spanish and British on 14th February 1797 and Nelson was a contributing factor. Later that month when the British fleet where outnumbered by the Spanish, Nelson did the unthinkable, he took his ship the Captain out of line and changed his orders. He attacked the San Josef  and then led the boarding party, when the San Nicolas came to assist the San Josef,  Nelson's men fought so hard that the two Spanish captains soon handed over their swords to him. Nelson was then knighted and made the Rear-Admiral of the Blue.

San Josef
 Nelson accepting the swords from the Spanish

Five months later Nelson was nearly captured in a  skirmish with a Spanish treasure ship at Teneriffe, he was badly wounded and had his right arm amputed.. As soon as he recovered he took command of the Vanguard (74 guns) and rejoined Jarvis off the Spanish coast.

Nelson orders were to destroy the French fleet assembled at Toulin, but they escaped. Nelson. caught them up at Aboukir Bay where their troops had already landed, ina night he destryed fifteen out of the seventeen French ships, the French commander Brueys was on the L'Orient when she blew up. This ended Napoleons chances and made Nelson a Baron, the following year the King of Naples made him Duke of Bronte.

The British Minister Hamilton in the court of Naples had an attractive wife and Nelson became infactuated by her, this was the start of a relationship which resulted in their having a daughter Horatia. Nelson health was again under stress and he returned to Britain in November 1800 and landed at Great Yarmouth with his fleet.

 Great Yarmouth with Nelsons fleet 6th November 1800

On 1st January 1801 he was promoted to Vise-Admiral and appointed second in command to Admiral Sir Hyde Parker whose fleet was sailing for the Baltic, his flag ship was the St George, later before the battle at Copenhagen he transferred to the Elephant  were he commanded the battle bringing a victory over a large Danish fleet. It was during this battle that Parker signalled for Nelson to brake off the engagement but Nelson put the telescope to his blind eye and said he saw no signal. For this action he was made a Viscount and after the recall of Parker became Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic fleet.

Nelson retired on the 10th April 1802 to Merton, near Wimbledon and lived there with the Hamiltons untill the death of Sir William in 1803.

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