Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805), also known simply as Admiral Nelson, was a
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
flag officer A flag officer is a Officer (armed forces), commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exercises command. The term is used differently in different countr ...
in the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
. His inspirational leadership, grasp of strategy, and unconventional tactics brought about a number of decisive British naval victories during the
French Revolutionary The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate The Consulate (French: ''Le Consulat'') was the top-level Government of ...
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest naval commanders in history. Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous
Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambe ...

family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling, a high-ranking naval officer. Nelson rose rapidly through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command at the age of 20, in 1778. He developed a reputation for personal valour and firm grasp of tactics, but suffered periods of illness and unemployment after the end of the
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
. The outbreak of the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted French First Republic, France against Gr ...
allowed Nelson to return to service, where he was particularly active in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

. He fought in several minor engagements off
Toulon Toulon (, , ; oc, label=Occitan language, Provençal, Tolon , , ) is a city on the French Riviera and a large port on the Mediterranean coast, with a major naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, and ...

and was important in the capture of
Corsica Corsica (, Upper , Southern , ; french: link=no, Corse ; lij, link=no, Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north ...

, where he was wounded and lost partial sight in one eye, and subsequent diplomatic duties with the Italian states. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. Shortly after that battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where the attack failed and he lost his right arm, forcing him to return to England to recuperate. The following year he won a decisive victory over the French at the
Battle of the Nile The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay; french: Bataille d'Aboukir) was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although war ...

Battle of the Nile
and remained in the Mediterranean to support the
Kingdom of Naples The Kingdom of Naples ( la, Regnum Neapolitanum; it, Regno di Napoli; nap, Regno 'e Napule), also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the south of the between 1282 and 1816. It was established by the (1282–13 ...

Kingdom of Naples
against a French invasion. In 1801, Nelson was dispatched to the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
and defeated neutral
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...
at the
Battle of Copenhagen
Battle of Copenhagen
. He commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and, after their escape, chased them to the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
and back but failed to bring them to battle. After a brief return to England, he took over the
Cádiz Cádiz (, also , ; see more below) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost ...

blockade, in 1805. On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, and Nelson's fleet engaged them at the
Battle of Trafalgar The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval battle, naval engagement between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy, French and Spanish Navy, Spanish Navies during the War of the Third Coalition (August–D ...

Battle of Trafalgar
. The battle became one of Britain's greatest naval victories, but Nelson, aboard , was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter. His body was brought back to England, where he was accorded a state funeral. Nelson's death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain's most heroic figures. His signal just prior to the commencement of the battle, "
England expects that every man will do his duty "England expects that every man will do his duty" was a International maritime signal flags, signal sent by Vice admiral (Royal Navy), Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship as the Battle of Trafal ...
", is regularly quoted and paraphrased. Numerous monuments, including
Nelson's Column Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a d ...

Nelson's Column
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, established in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. The Square's name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, the Royal Navy, ...

Trafalgar Square
, London, and the Nelson Monument in
Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is ...

, have been created in his memory.

Early life

Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758, at a rectory in
Burnham Thorpe Burnham Thorpe is a small village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and c ...
Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambe ...

, England; the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine Suckling.Sugden, 2004, p. 36 He was named " Horatio" after his godfather
Horatio Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford File:Pierre Subleyras - Horace Walpole.jpg, Horatio Walpole (1723–1809) by Pierre Subleyras, circa 1746 Horatio Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (12 June 1723 – 24 February 1809)L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abey ...
(1723–1809),Pettigrew 1849, p. 1 the first cousin of his maternal grandmother Anne Turner (1691–1768). Horatio Walpole was a nephew of
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745), known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British statesman and Whigs (British political party), Whig politician who is generally ...

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford
, the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' first
Prime Minister of Great Britain The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), b ...
.''Britannica'' 11th edition, p. 352 Catherine Suckling lived in the village of
Barsham, Suffolk Barsham is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or t ...
, and married the Reverend Edmund Nelson at
Beccles Beccles ( ) is a market town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in the English county of Suffolk.OS Explorer Map OL40: The Broads: (1:25 000) : . The town is shown on the milestone as from London via the A145 road, A145 and A12 road (Gr ...

Suffolk Suffolk () is a ceremonial county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), W ...
, in 1749. Nelson's aunt, Alice Nelson was the wife of Reverend Robert Rolfe, Rector of Hilborough, Norfolk, and grandmother of Sir Robert Monsey Rolfe.Nicolas, The Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson, Vol, I p. 18 Rolfe twice served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. Nelson attended Paston Grammar School,
North Walsham North Walsham is a market town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in Norfolk, England, within the North Norfolk district. Demography The civil parish has an area of and in the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 census had a population of ...
, until he was 12 years old, and also attended King Edward VI's Grammar School in
Norwich Norwich () is a city and district of Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary ...

. His naval career began on 1 January 1771, when he reported to the
third-rate In the rating system of the Royal Navy The rating system of the Royal Navy and its predecessors was used by the Royal Navy between the beginning of the 17th century and the middle of the 19th century to categorise sailing warships, initia ...
as an
ordinary seaman __NOTOC__ An ordinary seaman (OS) is a member of the deck department The deck department is an organisational team on board naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also know ...
coxswain The coxswain ( , or ) is the person in charge of a boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical sys ...
under his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, who commanded the vessel. Shortly after reporting aboard, Nelson was appointed a
midshipman A midshipman is an officer of the lowest rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such ...
, and began officer training. Early in his service, Nelson discovered that he suffered from
seasickness Motion sickness occurs due to a difference between actual and expected motion. Symptoms commonly include nausea Nausea is a diffuse sensation of unease and discomfort, often perceived as an urge to vomit. While not painful, it can be a debilit ...
, a chronic complaint that dogged him for the rest of his life.Sugden, 2004, p. 56

West Indies, 1771–1780

HMS ''Raisonnable'' had been commissioned during a period of tension with Spain, but when this passed, Suckling was transferred to the
Nore The Nore is a long sandbank, bank of sand and silt running along the south-centre of the final narrowing of the Thames Estuary, England. Its south-west is the very narrow Nore Sand. Just short of the Nore's easternmost point where it fades int ...
guardship A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat A patrol boat (also referred to as a patrol craft, patrol ship or patrol vessel) is a relatively small naval vessel Image: ...
and Nelson was dispatched to serve aboard the West Indiamen ''Mary Ann'' of the merchant shipping firm of Hibbert, Purrier and Horton, in order to gain experience at sea. He sailed from
Medway Medway is a conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolis in the background A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or reg ...
, Kent, on 25 July 1771, heading to Jamaica and Tobago, and returning to Plymouth on 7 July 1772. He twice crossed the Atlantic, before returning to serve under his uncle as the commander of Suckling's longboat, which carried men and dispatches, to and from shore. Nelson then learned of a planned expedition, under the command of Constantine Phipps, intended to survey a passage in the Arctic by which it was hoped that India could be reached: the fabled
North-East Passage The Northern Sea Route (russian: Се́верный морско́й путь, ''Severnyy morskoy put'', shortened to Севморпуть, ''Sevmorput'') is a Sea lane, shipping route officially defined by Russian law, Russian legislation as ly ...
.Pettigrew 1849, p. 4 At his nephew's request, Suckling arranged for Nelson to join the expedition as coxswain to Commander Lutwidge aboard the converted
bomb vessel A bomb vessel, bomb ship, bomb ketch, or simply bomb was a type of wooden sailing naval ship A naval ship is a military (or sometimes , depending on classification) used by a . Naval ships are differentiated from civilian ships by cons ...
, . The expedition reached within ten degrees of the
North Pole The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is the point in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only ast ...
, but, unable to find a way through the dense ice floes, was forced to turn back. By 1800, Lutwidge had begun to circulate a story that, while the ship had been trapped in the ice, Nelson had spotted and pursued a polar bear, before being ordered to return to the ship. Later, in 1809, Lutwidge had it that Nelson, and a companion, gave chase to the bear and upon being questioned as to why, replied: "I wished, Sir, to get the skin for my father." Nelson briefly returned to ''Triumph'', after the expedition's return to Britain, in September 1773. Suckling then arranged for his transfer to ; one of two ships about to sail for the
East Indies The East Indies (or simply the Indies), is a term used in historical narratives of the Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an inf ...
. Nelson sailed for the East Indies on 19 November 1773, and arrived at the British outpost at
Madras Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...
on 25 May 1774. Nelson and ''Seahorse'' spent the rest of the year cruising off the coast and escorting merchantmen. With the outbreak of the
First Anglo-Maratha War First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number 1 (number), one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record, specifically the first instance of a particular achievement Arts and media Music * 1$T, American rapper, singer-songwriter, DJ, ...
, the British fleet operated in support of the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
and in early 1775, ''Seahorse'' was dispatched to carry a cargo of the company's money to
Bombay Mumbai (, ; also known as Bombay — the official name until 1995) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, ...

. On 19 February, two of
Hyder Ali Hyder Ali, ''Haidarālī'' (c. 1720 – 7 December 1782) was the Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a Royal and noble ranks, position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", ...

Hyder Ali
's attacked ''Seahorse'', which drove them off after a brief exchange of fire. This was Nelson's first experience of battle. He spent the rest of the year escorting convoys, during which he continued to develop his navigation and ship handling skills. In early 1776, Nelson contracted malaria and became seriously ill. He was discharged from ''Seahorse'' on 14 March and returned to England aboard . Nelson spent the six-month voyage recuperating and had almost recovered by the time he arrived in Britain, in September 1776. His patron, Suckling, had risen to the post of Comptroller of the Navy in 1775, and used his influence to help Nelson gain further promotion. Nelson was appointed acting lieutenant aboard , which was about to sail to
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = 290px , image_map2 = ...

. ''Worcester'', under the command of Captain Mark Robinson, sailed as a convoy escort on 3 December, and returned with another convoy in April 1777. Nelson then travelled to London to take his lieutenant's examination on 9 April; his examining board consisted of Captains John Campbell, Abraham North, and his uncle, Maurice Suckling. Nelson passed the examination, and the next day received his commission, and an appointment to , which was preparing to sail to
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

, under Captain William Locker. She sailed on 16 May, arrived on 19 July, and after reprovisioning, carried out several cruises in Caribbean waters. After the outbreak of the
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
, ''Lowestoffe'' took several prizes, one of which was taken into Navy service as ''Little Lucy''. Nelson asked for, and was given, command of her, and took her on two cruises of his own. As well as giving him his first taste of command, it gave Nelson the opportunity to explore his fledgling interest in science. During his first cruise in command of ''Little Lucy'', Nelson led an expeditionary party to the
Caicos The Turks and Caicos Islands (abbreviated TCI; and ) are a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all ...
Islands, where he made detailed notes of the wildlife and in particular a bird – now believed to be the . Locker, impressed by Nelson's abilities, recommended him to the new commander-in-chief at Jamaica, Sir Peter Parker. Parker duly took Nelson onto his flagship, . The entry of the French into the war, in support of the Americans, meant further targets for Parker's fleet. It took many prizes towards the end of 1778, which brought Nelson an estimated £400 () in
prize money Prize money refers in particular to naval prize money, usually arising in naval warfare, but also in other circumstances. It was a monetary reward paid in accordance with the prize law of a belligerent state to the crew of a ship belonging to th ...
. Parker appointed him as
Master and Commander ''Master and Commander'' is a nautical fiction, nautical historical novel by the English author Patrick O'Brian, first published in 1969 in the US and 1970 in the UK. The book proved to be the start of the 20-novel Aubrey–Maturin series, set ...

Master and Commander
of the
brig A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged Square rig is a generic type of Sail-plan, sail and rigging arrangement in which the primary driving sails are carried on horizontal spar (sailing), spars which are perpendicular, or wikt:sq ...

on 8 December. Nelson and ''Badger'' spent most of 1779 cruising off of the Central American coast, ranging as far as the British settlements at
British Honduras British Honduras was a British Crown colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by The Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor#United Kingdom overseas territories, Governor, appointed by the monarch ...

British Honduras
(now Belize), and
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and th ...

, but without much success at interception of enemy prizes. On his return to
Port Royal Port Royal is a village located at the end of the Palisadoes, at the mouth of Kingston Harbour, in southeastern Jamaica. Founded in 1494 by the Spanish Empire, Spanish, it was once the largest city in the Caribbean, functioning as the centre of ...

Port Royal
, he learned that Parker had promoted him to
post-captain Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police ...
on 11 June, and intended to give him another command. Nelson handed over the ''Badger'' to
Cuthbert Collingwood Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (26 September 1748 – 7 March 1810) was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, Lord Nelson in several of the United Kingdom of Great B ...
, while he awaited the arrival of his new ship: the 28-gun
frigate A frigate () is a type of warship A warship or combatant ship is a that is built and primarily intended for . Usually they belong to the of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faste ...

, newly captured from the French. While Nelson waited, news reached Parker that a French fleet under the command of
Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing (24 November 1729 – 28 April 1794) was a French general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marine ...
, was approaching Jamaica. Parker hastily organized his defences and placed Nelson in command of Fort Charles, which covered the approaches to
Kingston Kingston may refer to: Places * List of places called Kingston, including the four most populated: ** Kingston, Jamaica ** City of Kingston, Victoria, Australia ** Kingston, Ontario, Canada ** Kingston upon Thames, England Animals * Kingston (ho ...
. D'Estaing instead headed north, and the anticipated invasion never materialised. Nelson duly took command of the ''Hinchinbrook'' on 1 September. ''Hinchinbrook'' sailed from Port Royal on 5 October 1779, and, in company with other British ships, proceeded to capture a number of American prizes. On his return to Jamaica in December, Nelson began to be troubled by a recurrent attack of malaria. Nelson remained in the West Indies in order to take part in Major-General John Dalling's attempt to capture the Spanish colonies in Central America, including an assault on the
Fortress of the Immaculate Conception The Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, (Spanish language, Spanish: ''El Castillo de la Inmaculada Concepción'') is a fortification located on the southern bank of the San Juan River (Nicaragua), San Juan River (''Río San Juan''), in the villa ...
, also called Castillo Viejo, on the San Juan River in Nicaragua.Oman 1987, p. 30 ''Hinchinbrook'' sailed from Jamaica in February 1780, as an escort for Dalling's invasion force. After sailing up the mouth of the San Juan River, Nelson, with some one thousand men and four small four-pounder cannons, obtained the surrender of Castillo Viejo and its 160 Spanish defenders after a two-week siege. The British blew up the fort when they evacuated six months later, after suffering many deaths due to disease. Nelson was praised for his efforts.Report from Colonel Polson on the capture of the fort at San Juan. Parker recalled Nelson and gave him command of the 44-gun frigate, . In 1780, Nelson fell seriously ill with what seemed to be dysentery and possibly
yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral disease of typically short duration. In most cases, symptoms include fever Fever, also referred to as pyrexia, is defined as having a above the due to an increase in the body's temperature . There is not a singl ...
, in the jungles of
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Amer ...

Costa Rica
, and was unable to take command. He was taken to Kingston, Jamaica, to be nursed by "doctoress"
Cubah Cornwallis Cubah Cornwallis (died 1848) (often spelled Coubah, Couba, Cooba or Cuba) was a nurse Nursing is a profession within the health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive hea ...
, a rumored mistress of fellow captain
William Cornwallis Admiral of the Red Sir William Cornwallis, (10 February 17445 July 1819) was a Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medi ...
; she ran a combination lodging-house and convalescence home for sailors. He was discharged in August and returned to Britain aboard , arriving in late November. Nelson gradually recovered over several months, and soon began agitating for a command. He was appointed to the frigate on 15 August 1781.

Command, 1781–1796

Captain of ''Albemarle''

Nelson received orders on 23 October 1781, to take the newly refitted ''Albemarle'' to sea. He was instructed to collect an inbound convoy of the
Russia Company The Muscovy Company (also called the Russia Company or the Muscovy Trading Company russian: Московская компания, Moskovskaya kompaniya) was an English trading company chartered in 1555. It was the first major chartered company, c ...
at Elsinore, and escort them back to Britain. For this operation, the Admiralty placed the frigates and under his command.Sugden 2004, p. 190 Nelson successfully organised the convoy and escorted it into British waters. He then left the convoy to return to port, but severe storms hampered him.Sugden 2004, p. 195 Gales almost wrecked ''Albemarle'', as she was a poorly designed ship and an earlier accident had left her damaged, but Nelson eventually brought her into
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and island city status in the United Kingdom, city with Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority status in the ceremonial county of Hampshire, southern England. It is the most densely populated city in the Unit ...

, in February 1782.Sugden 2004, p. 197 There, the Admiralty ordered him to fit ''Albemarle'' for sea and join the escort for a convoy collecting at
Cork Cork or CORK may refer to: Materials * Cork (material), an impermeable buoyant plant product ** Cork (plug), a cylindrical or conical object used to seal a container ***Wine cork Places Ireland * Cork (city) ** Metropolitan Cork, also known as G ...
, Ireland, to sail for
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

, Canada.Sugden 2004, p. 202 Nelson arrived off
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
with the convoy in late May, then detached on a cruise to hunt American
privateer A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. Since robbery under arms was a common aspect of seaborne trade, until the early 19th century all merchant ships carried arms. A sovereign or deleg ...
s. Nelson was generally unsuccessful; he succeeded only in retaking several captured British merchant ships, and capturing a number of small fishing boats and assorted craft.Sugden 2004, pp. 204–05 In August 1782, Nelson had a narrow escape from a far superior French force under Louis-Philippe de Vaudreuil, only evading them after a prolonged chase.Sugden 2004, p. 206 Nelson arrived at Quebec on 18 September.Sugden 2004, p. 209 He sailed again as part of the escort for a convoy to New York. He arrived in mid-November and reported to Admiral Samuel Hood, commander of the New York station.Sugden 2004, p. 215 At Nelson's request, Hood transferred him to his fleet and ''Albemarle'' sailed in company with Hood, bound for the West Indies.Sugden 2004, p. 219 On their arrival, the British fleet took up position off Jamaica to await the arrival of de Vaudreuil's force. Nelson and the ''Albemarle'' were ordered to scout the numerous passages for signs of the enemy, but it became clear by early 1783 that the French had eluded Hood.Sugden 2004, p. 220 During his scouting operations, Nelson had developed a plan to attack the French garrison of the
Turks Islands The Turks and Caicos Islands (abbreviated TCI; and ) are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and nor ...

Turks Islands
. Commanding a small flotilla of frigates, and smaller vessels, he Battle of Grand Turk, landed a force of 167 seamen and marines early on the morning of 8 March, under a supporting bombardment.Sugden 2004, pp. 222–23 The French were found to be heavily entrenched and, after several hours, Nelson called off the assault. Several of the officers involved criticised Nelson, but Hood does not appear to have reprimanded him.Sugden 2004, p. 224 Nelson spent the rest of the war cruising in the West Indies, where he captured a number of French and Spanish prizes.Sugden 2004, p. 225 After news of the peace reached Hood, Nelson returned to Britain in late June 1783.Sugden 2004, p. 227

Island of Nevis, Marriage and Peace

Nelson visited France in late 1783 and stayed with acquaintances at Saint-Omer; briefly attempting to learn French (language), French during his stay. He returned to England in January 1784, and attended court as part of Lord Hood's entourage.Sugden 2004, pp. 241–43 Influenced by 1784 British general election, the factional politics of the time, he contemplated standing for Parliament of the United Kingdom, Parliament as a supporter of William Pitt the Younger, William Pitt, but was unable to find a Constituency, seat.Sugden 2004, p. 243 In 1784, Nelson received command of the frigate , with the assignment to enforce the 1651 Navigation Act, Navigation Acts in the vicinity of Antigua.Sugden 2004 The Acts were unpopular with both the Americans and the colonies.Sugden 2004, p. 265 Nelson served on the station under Admiral Sir Richard Hughes, 2nd Baronet, Sir Richard Hughes, and often came into conflict with his superior officer over their differing interpretation of the Acts.Sugden 2004, p. 292 The captains of the American vessels Nelson had seized sued him for illegal seizure. Because the merchants of the nearby island of Nevis supported the American claim, Nelson was in peril of imprisonment; he remained sequestered on ''Boreas'' for eight months, until the courts ruled in his favour.Coleman 2001, p. 67 In the interim, Nelson met Frances Nisbet, Frances "Fanny" Nisbet, a young widow from a Nevis plantation family.Sugden 2004, p. 307 Nelson developed an affection for her. In response, her uncle, John Herbert, offered him a massive dowry. Both Herbert and Nisbet concealed the fact that their famed riches were a fiction, and Fanny did not disclose the fact that she was infertile due to a womb infection. Once they were engaged, Herbert offered Nelson nowhere near the dowry he had promised. During the Georgian era, breaking a marital engagement was seen as quite dishonourable, and so Nelson and Nisbet were married at Montpelier Estate, on the island of Nevis, on 11 March 1787, shortly before the end of his tour of duty in the Caribbean.Sugden 2004, p. 351 The marriage was registered at Fig Tree Church in Saint John Figtree Parish, St John's Parish on Nevis. Nelson returned to England in July, with Fanny following later.Sugden 2004, p. 366 While Nelson was in the Caribbean, he developed friendships with various plantation owners and grew to believe that the islands' economies relied heavily on the Atlantic slave trade. According to Grindal, Nelson is said to have attempted to use his influence to then thwart the Abolitionism in the United Kingdom, abolitionist movement in Britain. One of these Caribbean friends was Simon Taylor (sugar planter), Simon Taylor, the wealthy owner of a sugar plantation in Jamaica, which utilized slave labor. In response to Taylor's request for intervention in the public debate, Nelson wrote, in 1805, that "while [he had] ... a tongue", he would "launch [his] voice against the damnable and cursed ''(sic)'' doctrine of William Wilberforce, Wilberforce and his hypocritical allies". This letter was published in 1807, by the anti-abolitionist faction; some eighteen months after Nelson's death, and completely out of context, in an apparent attempt to bolster their cause prior to the parliamentary vote on the Abolition Bill. The wording of the letter as published in 1807—not in Nelson's handwriting, and with a poor facsimile of his signature—appears quite out of character for Nelson whose many other surviving letters never expressed racist or pro-slavery sentiments. Comparison with the "pressed copy" of the original letter—now part of the Bridport papers held in the British Library—shows that the published copy had 25 alterations, distorting it to give it a more anti-Abolitionist slant. Many of Nelson's actions indicate his position on the matter of slavery, most notably: * Any West Indian slave escaping to a navy ship, including Nelson's, were signed on, paid, and treated the same as other crew members. At the end of their service they were discharged as free men. In fact, the bronze relief at the base of Nelson's column clearly shows the black George Ryan, aged 23, with musket shooting the French alongside the dying Admiral. * In 1799, Nelson intervened to secure the release of 24 slaves being held in Portuguese galleys off Palermo.Downer, Martyn, 2017, Nelson's Lost Jewel: The Extraordinary Story of the Lost Diamond Chelengk, p.77Nicolas, The Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson, Vol, 3 p. 231 * In 1802, when it was proposed that West Indian plantation slaves should be replaced by free, paid industrious Chinese workers—Nelson supported the idea.Sugden 2013, p. 684 * In 1805, Nelson rescued the black Haitian General Joseph Chretien, and his servant, from the French. They asked if they could serve with Nelson, and Nelson recommended to the Admiralty that they be paid until they could be discharged and granted passage to Jamaica. The General's mission was to end slavery, a fact of which Nelson was well aware. The general and his servant were well treated and paid. * The Nelson family used to have a free black servant called Price. Nelson said of him he was "as good a man as ever lived" and he suggested to Emma that she invite the elderly Price to live with them. In the event, Price declined.Pettigrew 1849, vol 2, p. 81 Nelson remained with ''Boreas'' until she was paid off in November 1787.Sugden 2004, p. 371 He and Fanny then divided their time between Bath, Somerset, Bath and London, occasionally visiting Nelson's relations in Norfolk. In 1788, they settled at Nelson's childhood home at Burnham Thorpe.Sugden 2004, pp. 378–80 Now in reserve and on half-pay, he attempted to persuade the Admiralty—and other senior figures he was acquainted with, such as Hood—to provide him with a command. He was unsuccessful as there were too few ships in the peacetime navy, and Hood did not intercede on his behalf.Sugden 2004, p. 397 Nelson spent his time trying to find employment for former crew members, attending to family affairs, and cajoling contacts in the navy for a posting. In 1792, the French Revolution, French revolutionary government annexed the Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium), which were traditionally preserved as a buffer state. The Admiralty recalled Nelson to service and gave him command of the 64-gun , in January 1793. On 1 February, France declared war.Sugden 2004, p. 412

Mediterranean service

In May 1793, Nelson sailed as part of a division under the command of Vice Admiral William Hotham, 1st Baron Hotham, William Hotham, joined later in the month by the rest of Lord Hood's fleet.Sugden 2004, p. 422 The force initially sailed to Gibraltar and—with the intention of establishing naval superiority in the Mediterranean—made their way to
Toulon Toulon (, , ; oc, label=Occitan language, Provençal, Tolon , , ) is a city on the French Riviera and a large port on the Mediterranean coast, with a major naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, and ...

, anchoring off the port in July.Sugden 2004, p. 427 Toulon was largely under the control of moderate republicans and House of Bourbon, royalists, but was threatened by the forces of the National Convention, which were marching on the city. Short of supplies and doubting their ability to defend themselves, the city authorities requested that Hood take it under his protection. Hood readily acquiesced, and sent Nelson to carry dispatches to Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinia and Kingdom of Naples, Naples, requesting reinforcements.Sugden 2004, p. 429 After delivering the dispatches to Sardinia, ''Agamemnon'' arrived at Naples in early September. There, Nelson met King Ferdinand IV of Naples,Sugden 2004, p. 431 followed by the British ambassador to the kingdom, William Hamilton (diplomat), William Hamilton.Sugden 2004, p. 434 At some point during the negotiations for reinforcements, Nelson was introduced to Hamilton's new wife, Emma, Lady Hamilton, Emma Hamilton, the former mistress of Hamilton's nephew, Charles Francis Greville, Charles Greville.Sugden 2004, p. 437 The negotiations were successful, and 2,000 men and several ships were mustered by mid-September. Nelson put to sea in pursuit of a French frigate, but on failing to catch her, sailed for Livorno, Leghorn, and then to Corsica.Sugden 2004, p. 444 He arrived at Toulon on 5 October, where he found that a large French army had occupied the hills surrounding the city and was bombarding it. Hood still hoped the city could be held if more reinforcements arrived, and sent Nelson to join a squadron operating off Cagliari.Sugden 2004, pp. 445–46


Early on the morning of 22 October 1793, ''Agamemnon'' sighted five sails. Nelson closed with them, and discovered they were a French squadron. He promptly gave chase, firing on the 40-gun ''Melpomene''.Sugden 2004, pp. 446–447 During the action of 22 October 1793, he inflicted considerable damage, but the remaining French ships turned to join the battle. Realising he was outnumbered, Nelson withdrew and continued to Cagliari, arriving on 24 October. After making repairs, Nelson and ''Agamemnon'' sailed again on 26 October, bound for Tunis, with a squadron under Commodore Robert Linzee.Sugden 2004, pp. 452–53 On his arrival, Nelson was given command of a small squadron consisting of ''Agamemnon'', three frigates, and a sloop, and ordered to blockade the French garrison on Corsica. The fall of Toulon, at the end of December 1793, severely damaged British fortunes in the Mediterranean. Hood had failed to make adequate provisions for a withdrawal and 18 French Ship of the line, ships-of-the-line fell into republican hands.Sugden 2004, p. 455 Nelson's mission to Corsica took on an added significance, as it could provide the British with a naval base close to the French coast. Hood therefore reinforced Nelson with extra ships during January 1794.Sugden 2004, p. 461 A British assault force landed on the island on 7 February, after which, Nelson moved to intensify the blockade off Bastia. For the rest of the month, he carried out raids along the coast, and intercepted enemy shipping. By late February, St Fiorenzo had fallen and British troops, under Lieutenant-General David Dundas (British Army officer), David Dundas, entered the outskirts of Bastia.Sugden 2004, p. 471 However, Dundas merely assessed the enemy positions and then withdrew, arguing that the French were too well entrenched to risk an assault. Nelson convinced Hood otherwise, but a protracted debate between the army and naval commanders meant that Nelson did not receive permission to proceed until late March. Nelson began to land guns from his ships and emplace them in the hills surrounding the town. On 11 April, the British squadron entered the harbour and opened fire, whilst Nelson took command of the land forces and commenced bombardment.Sugden 2004, p. 487 After 45 days, the town surrendered.Sugden 2004, p. 493 Nelson then prepared for an assault on Siege of Calvi, Calvi, working in company with Lieutenant-General Charles Stuart (1753–1801), Charles Stuart.Oman 1987, p. 127 British forces landed at Calvi on 19 June, and immediately began moving guns ashore to occupy the heights surrounding the town. While Nelson directed a continuous bombardment of the enemy positions, Stuart's men began to advance. On the morning of 12 July, Nelson was at one of the forward batteries, when a shot struck one of the nearby sandbags protecting the position, spraying stones and sand. Nelson was struck in the right eye by the debris and forced to retire the position. However, his wound was soon bandaged and he then returned to action.Sugden 2004, pp. 509–10 By 18 July, most of the enemy positions had been disabled and, that night, Stuart—supported by Nelson—stormed the main defensive position and captured it. Repositioning their guns, the British brought Calvi under constant bombardment, and the town surrendered on 10 August.Sugden 2004, pp. 513–14 Nelson did regain partial sight in his damaged eye after the siege, but by his own account could only "...distinguish light from dark but no object.”

Genoa and the fight of the ''Ça Ira''

After the occupation of Corsica, Hood ordered Nelson to open diplomatic relations with the city-state of Republic of Genoa, Genoa—a strategically important potential ally.Sugden 2004, p. 522 Soon afterwards, Hood returned to England and was succeeded by Admiral William Hotham, 1st Baron Hotham, William Hotham, as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. Nelson put into Leghorn and, while ''Agamemnon'' underwent repairs, met with other naval officers at the port and entertained a brief affair with a local woman, Adelaide Correglia.Sugden 2004, p. 533 Hotham arrived, with the rest of the fleet, in December and Nelson, and ''Agamemnon'', sailed on a number of cruises with them, in late 1794 and early 1795.Sugden 2004, p. 537 On 8 March, news reached Hotham that the French fleet was at sea and heading for Corsica. He immediately set out to intercept them, and Nelson eagerly anticipated his first fleet action. The French were reluctant to engage, and the two fleets shadowed each other on 12 March. The following day, two of the French ships collided, allowing Nelson to engage the much larger, 84-gun French ship Ça Ira (1781), ''Ça Ira''. This engagement went on for two and a half hours, until the arrival of two French ships forced Nelson to veer away, having inflicted heavy casualties and considerable damage.Sugden 2004, p. 546 The fleets continued to shadow each other before making contact again, on 14 March, in the Naval Battle of Genoa (1795), Battle of Genoa. Nelson joined the other British ships in attacking the battered ''Ça Ira'', now under tow from French ship Censeur (1782), ''Censeur''. Heavily damaged, the two French ships were forced to surrender, and Nelson took possession of ''Censeur''. Defeated at sea, the French abandoned their plan to invade Corsica and returned to port.Sugden 2004, p. 550

Skirmishes and the retreat from Italy

Nelson and the fleet remained in the Mediterranean throughout the summer of 1795. On 4 July, ''Agamemnon'' sailed from St Fiorenzo, with a small force of frigates and sloops, bound for Genoa. On 6 July, Nelson ran into the French fleet and found himself pursued by several, much larger ships-of-the-line. He retreated to St Fiorenzo, arriving just ahead of the pursuing French, who broke off as Nelson's signal guns alerted the British fleet in the harbour.Sugden 2004, p. 556 Hotham pursued the French to the Îles d'Hyères, Hyères Islands, but failed to bring them to a decisive action. A Naval Battle of Hyères Islands, number of small engagements were fought, but to Nelson's dismay, he saw little action. Nelson returned to operate out of Genoa, intercepting and inspecting merchantmen and cutting-out suspicious vessels, in both enemy and neutral harbours.Sugden 2004, p. 574 Nelson formulated ambitious plans for amphibious landings and naval assaults to frustrate the progress of the French Army of Italy, which was now advancing on Genoa, but could excite little interest in Hotham.Sugden 2004, p. 579 In November, Hotham was replaced by Hyde Parker (admiral), Sir Hyde Parker, but the situation in Italy was rapidly deteriorating: the French were raiding around Genoa and strong Jacobin (politics), Jacobin sentiment was rife within the city itself.Sugden 2004, p. 584 A large French assault at the end of November, broke the allied lines, forcing a general retreat towards Genoa. Nelson's forces were able to cover the withdrawing army and prevent them from being surrounded, but he had too few ships and men to materially alter the strategic situation. The British were forced to withdraw from the Italian ports. Nelson returned to Corsica on 30 November, angry and depressed with the British failure, and questioning his future in the navy.Sugden 2004, p. 588

Jervis and the evacuation of the Mediterranean

In January 1796, the position of commander-in-chief of the fleet in the Mediterranean passed to Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, John Jervis, who appointed Nelson to exercise independent command over the ships blockading the French coast as a Commodore (Royal Navy), commodore.Sugden 2004, p. 594 Nelson spent the first half of the year conducting operations to frustrate French advances and bolster Britain's Italian allies. Despite some minor successes in intercepting small French warships—such as in the action of 31 May 1796, when Nelson's squadron captured a convoy of seven small vessels—he began to feel the British presence on the Italian peninsula was rapidly becoming useless.Sugden 2004, p. 603 In June, the ''Agamemnon'' was sent back to Britain for repairs, and Nelson was appointed to the 74-gun . In the same month, the French thrust towards Leghorn and were certain to capture the city. Nelson hurried there to oversee the evacuation of British nationals and transport them to Corsica. After which, Jervis ordered him to blockade the newly captured French port.Sugden 2004, p. 641 In July, he oversaw the occupation of Elba, but by September, the Genoese had broken their neutrality to declare in favour of the French.Sugden 2004, p. 647 By October, the Genoese position and continued French advances, led the British to decide that the Mediterranean fleet could no longer be supplied. They ordered it to be evacuated to Gibraltar. Nelson helped oversee the withdrawal from Corsica and, by December 1796, was aboard the frigate French frigate Minerve (1794), HMS ''Minerve'', covering the evacuation of the garrison at Elba. He then sailed for Gibraltar.Sugden 2004, p. 683 During the passage, Nelson Action of 19 December 1796, captured the Spanish frigate ''Santa Sabina'' and placed Lieutenants Jonathan Culverhouse and Sir Thomas Hardy, 1st Baronet, Thomas Hardy in charge of the captured vessel; taking the frigate's Spanish captain on board ''Minerve''. ''Santa Sabina'' was part of a larger Spanish force and, the following morning, two Spanish ships-of-the-line, and a frigate, were sighted closing fast. Unable to outrun them, Nelson was initially determined to fight, but Culverhouse and Hardy raised the British colours and sailed northeast, drawing the Spanish ships after them until being captured, giving Nelson the opportunity to escape.Sugden 2004, pp. 21–22 Nelson went on to rendezvous with the British fleet at Elba, where he spent Christmas.Sugden 2004, p. 685 He sailed for Gibraltar in late January, and—after learning that the Spanish fleet had sailed from Cartagena, Spain, Cartagena—stopped just long enough to collect Hardy, Culverhouse, and the rest of the prize crew captured with ''Santa Sabina'', before pressing on through the straits to join Sir John Jervis off Cadiz.Oman 1987, p. 174

Admiral, 1797–1801

Battle of Cape St Vincent

Nelson joined Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, John Jervis' fleet off Cape St Vincent, and reported the Spanish movements.Coleman 2001, p. 126 Jervis decided to engage and the two fleets met on 14 February 1797. Nelson found himself towards the rear of the British line and realised that it would be a long time before he could bring ''Captain'' into action. Instead of continuing to follow the line, Nelson disobeyed orders and jibe, wore ship, breaking from the line and heading to engage the Spanish van—consisting of the 112-gun ''San Josef'', the 80-gun ''San Nicolas'', and the 130-gun Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad (1769), ''Santísima Trinidad''. ''Captain'' engaged all three, assisted by , which had come to Nelson's aid. After an hour of exchanging broadsides, which left both ''Captain'' and ''Culloden'' badly damaged, Nelson found himself alongside ''San Nicolas''. He led a boarding party across, crying, "Westminster Abbey or glorious victory!" and forced her to surrender.Coleman 2001, p. 128 ''San Josef'' attempted to come to the ''San Nicolas''' aid, but became entangled with her compatriot and was left immobile. Nelson led his party from the deck of ''San Nicolas'' onto ''San Josef'' and captured her as well. As night fell, the Spanish fleet broke off and sailed for Cadiz. Four ships had surrendered to the British and two of them were Nelson's.Coleman 2001, p. 127 Nelson was victorious, but had disobeyed direct orders. Jervis liked Nelson and so did not officially reprimand him, but did not mention Nelson's actions in his official report of the battle.Report of the battle from Jervis. He did write a private letter to First Lord of the Admiralty, George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, George Spencer, in which he said that Nelson "contributed very much to the fortune of the day". Nelson also wrote several letters about his victory, reporting that his action was being referred to amongst the fleet as "Nelson's Patent Bridge for boarding first rates". Nelson's account was later challenged by Rear Admiral Sir William Parker, 1st Baronet, of Harburn, William Parker, who had been aboard . Parker claimed that Nelson had been supported by several more ships than he acknowledged, and that ''San Josef'' had already Striking the colors, struck her colours by the time Nelson boarded her.Coleman 2001, p. 120 Nelson's account of his role prevailed, and the victory was well received in Britain; Jervis was made Earl St Vincent and Nelson, on 17 May,Edited by H.A. Doubleday and Lord Howard de Walden. was made a Order of the Bath, Knight of the Bath.Coleman 2001, p. 130 On 20 February, in a standard promotion according to his seniority and unrelated to the battle, Nelson was promoted to Admiral (United Kingdom), Rear Admiral of the Blue.Coleman 2001, p. 131

Action off Cadiz

Nelson was given as his flagship, and on 27 May 1797, was ordered to lie off Cadiz; monitoring the Spanish fleet and awaiting the arrival of Spanish treasure ships from the American colonies.Hibbert 1994, p. 118 He carried out a bombardment, and personally led an amphibious assault, on 3 July. During the action, Nelson's barge collided with that of the Spanish commander, and a hand-to-hand struggle ensued between the two crews. Twice, Nelson was nearly cut down and—both times—his life was saved by a seaman named John Sykes, who took the blows himself and was badly wounded. The British raiding force captured the Spanish boat and towed her back to ''Theseus''.Reports of the attack from Jervis and Nelson. During this period, Nelson developed a scheme to capture Santa Cruz de Tenerife, aiming to seize a large quantity of Bullion coin, specie from the treasure ship ''Principe de Asturias'', which was reported to have recently arrived.Coleman 2001, pp. 133–34

Battle of Santa Cruz dé Tenerife

The battle plan called for a combination of naval bombardments and an amphibious landing. The initial attempt was called off after adverse currents hampered the assault and the element of surprise was lost.Hibbert 1994, p. 121 Nelson immediately ordered another assault, but this was beaten back. He prepared for a third attempt, to take place during the night. Although he personally led one of the battalions, the operation ended in failure, as the Spanish were better prepared than had been expected and had secured strong defensive positions.Hibbert 1994, p. 122 Several of the boats failed to land at the correct positions in the confusion, while those that did were swept by gunfire and grapeshot. Nelson's boat reached its intended landing point, but as he stepped ashore, he was hit in the right arm by a musketball, which fractured his humerus bone in multiple places. He was rowed back to ''Theseus'' to be attended to by its surgeon, Thomas Eshelby. Upon arriving at his ship, he refused to be helped aboard, declaring: :"Let me alone! I have yet legs left and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make haste and get his instruments. I know I must lose my right arm and the sooner it is off, the better". Most of the right arm was amputated and, within half an hour, Nelson had returned to issuing orders to his captains.Hibbert 1994, p. 123 Years later, he would excuse himself to Commodore John Thomas Duckworth for not writing longer letters due to not being naturally left-handed. Later on, he developed the sensation of phantom limb in the area of his amputation and declared that he had "found the direct evidence of the existence of soul". Meanwhile, a force under Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet, Sir Thomas Troubridge had fought their way to the main square but could go no further. Unable to return to the fleet because their boats had been sunk, Troubridge was forced to enter into negotiations with the Spanish commander, and the British were allowed to withdraw.Bradford 2005, p. 160 The expedition had failed to achieve any of its objectives and had left a quarter of the landing force dead or wounded.Reports of the battle from Earl St Vincent and Nelson. The squadron remained off Tenerife for a further three days and, by 16 August, had rejoined Lord John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, John Jervis' fleet off Cadiz. Despondently, Nelson wrote to Jervis: :"A left-handed Admiral will never again be considered as useful, therefore the sooner I get to a very humble cottage the better, and make room for a better man to serve the state".Bradford 2005, p. 162 He returned to England, aboard HMS ''Seahorse'', arriving at Spithead on 1 September. He was met with a hero's welcome; the British public had lionised Nelson after Cape St Vincent, and his wound earned him sympathy.Bradford 2005, p. 164 They refused to attribute the defeat at Tenerife to him, preferring instead to blame poor planning on the part of St Vincent, the Secretary at War, William Windham, or even Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, William Pitt.

Return to England

Nelson returned to Bath with Fanny, before moving to London in October 1797, to seek expert medical attention concerning his amputation wound. Whilst in London, news reached him that Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan of Camperdown, Admiral Duncan had defeated the Batavian Republic, Dutch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown.Bradford 2005, p. 166 Nelson exclaimed that he would have given his other arm to have been present. He spent the last months of 1797 recuperating in London, during which time, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and a pension of £1,000 () a year. He used this money to buy Round Wood Farm, near Ipswich, and intended to retire there with Fanny.Bradford 2005, p. 167 Despite his plans, Nelson was never to live there. Although surgeons had been unable to remove the central Ligature (medicine), ligature from his amputation site, which had caused considerable inflammation and infection, it came out of its own accord in early December, and Nelson rapidly began to recover. Eager to return to sea, he began agitating for a command and was promised the 80-gun . As she was not yet ready for sea, Nelson was instead given command of the 74-gun , to which he appointed Sir Edward Berry, 1st Baronet, Edward Berry as his flag captain.Bradford 2005, p. 168 French activities in the Mediterranean theatre were raising concern among the Admiralty as Napoleon was gathering forces in Southern France, but the destination of his army was unknown. Nelson, and the ''Vanguard'', were to be dispatched to Cadiz to reinforce the fleet. On 28 March 1798, Nelson hoisted his flag and sailed to join Earl St Vincent. St Vincent sent him on to Toulon with a small force to reconnoitre French activities.Bradford 2005, p. 172

The Mediterranean

Hunting the French

Nelson passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and took up position off Toulon, by 17 May, but his squadron was dispersed and blown southwards by a strong gale which struck the area, on 20 May.Lavery 2003, pp. 65–66 While the British were battling the storm, Napoleon had sailed with his invasion fleet under the command of Vice Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers. Nelson, having been reinforced with a number of ships from St Vincent, went in pursuit.Lavery 2003, p. 101 Nelson began searching the Italian coast for Napoleon's fleet, but was hampered by a lack of frigates that could operate as fast scouts. Napoleon had already arrived at Malta and, after a show of force, secured the island's surrender.Bradford 2005, pp. 176–77 Nelson followed him there, but by the time he arrived, the French had already left. After a conference with his captains, he decided Napoleon's most likely destination now was Egypt and headed for Alexandria. However, upon Nelson's arrival, on 28 June, he found no sign of the French. Dismayed, he withdrew and began searching to the east of the port. During this time, on July 1, Napoleon's fleet arrived in Alexandria and landed their forces unopposed.Bradford 2005, pp. 188–89 Brueys anchored his fleet in Aboukir Bay, ready to support Napoleon, if required.Bradford 2005, p. 192 Nelson, meanwhile, had crossed the Mediterranean again, in a fruitless attempt to locate the French, and returned to Naples to re-provision.Bradford 2005, pp. 193–94 When he again set sail, his intentions were to search the seas off Cyprus, but he decided to pass Alexandria again for a final check. Along the way, his force found and captured a French merchant ship, which provided the first news of the French fleet: they had passed south-east of Crete a month prior—heading to Alexandria.Bradford 2005, p. 196 Nelson hurried to the port, but again found it empty of the French. Searching along the coast, he finally discovered the French fleet in Aboukir Bay, on 1 August 1798.Oman 1987, p. 252

The Battle of the Nile

Nelson immediately prepared for battle, repeating a sentiment he had expressed at the battle of Cape St Vincent: "Before this time tomorrow, I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey."Bradford 2005, p. 198 It was late by the time the British arrived, and the French—having anchored in a strong position and possessing a combined firepower greater than that of Nelson's fleet—did not expect them to attack.Bradford 2005, p. 200 Nelson, however, immediately ordered his ships to advance. The French line was anchored close to a line of Shoal, shoals, in the belief that this would secure their port (nautical), port side from attack; Brueys had assumed the British would follow convention and attack his centre from the starboard side. However, Thomas Foley (Royal Navy officer), Captain Thomas Foley, aboard , discovered a gap between the shoals and the French ships, and took ''Goliath'' into this channel. The unprepared French found themselves attacked on both sides; the British fleet splitting, with some following Foley and others passing down the starboard side of the French line.Bradford 2005, p. 203 The British fleet was soon heavily engaged, passing down the French line and engaging their ships one by one. Nelson, on ''Vanguard'', personally engaged HMS Spartiate (1798), ''Spartiate'', while also coming under fire from French ship Aquilon (1789), ''Aquilon''. At about eight o'clock, he was with Edward Berry on the quarter-deck, when a piece of French shot struck him in the forehead. He fell to the deck, with a flap of torn skin obscuring his good eye. Blinded and half-stunned, he felt sure he would die and cried out, "I am killed. Remember me to my wife." He was taken below to be seen by the surgeon.Bradford 2005, p. 205 After examining Nelson, the surgeon pronounced the wound non-threatening and applied a temporary bandage.Hibbert 1994, p. 142 The French van, pounded by British fire from both sides, had begun to surrender, and the victorious British ships continued to move down the line, bringing Brueys' 118-gun flagship French ship Orient (1791), ''Orient'' under constant, heavy fire. ''Orient'' caught fire under this bombardment, and later exploded. Nelson briefly came on deck to direct the battle, but returned to the surgeon after watching the destruction of ''Orient''.Bradford 2005, p. 209 The Battle of the Nile was a major blow to Napoleon's ambitions in the east. The fleet had been destroyed; ''Orient'', another ship and two frigates had been burnt, while seven 74-gun ships and two 80-gun ships had been captured. Only two ships-of-the-line and two frigates escaped.Reports of the battle from Nelson. The forces Napoleon had brought to Egypt were stranded. Napoleon attacked north along the Mediterranean coast, but Turkish defenders supported by Captain Sir Sidney Smith (admiral), Sidney Smith defeated his army at the Siege of Acre (1799), Siege of Acre. Napoleon then left his army and sailed back to France, evading detection by British ships. Given its strategic importance, historians such as Ernle Bradford, regard Nelson's achievement at the Nile as the most significant of his career, even greater than that at Trafalgar, seven years later.


Nelson wrote dispatches to the Admiralty and oversaw temporary repairs to the ''Vanguard'', before sailing to Naples where he was met with enthusiastic celebrations.Hibbert 1994, p. 147 Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, King Ferdinand IV of Naples, in company with the Hamiltons, greeted him in person when he arrived at port, and Sir William Hamilton (diplomat), William Hamilton invited Nelson to stay at his home.Hibbert 1994, p. 153 Celebrations were held in honour of Nelson's birthday that September of 1798, and he attended a banquet at the Hamiltons', where other officers had begun to notice his attentions to Lady Emma Hamilton. Lord John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, John Jervis himself had begun to grow concerned about reports of Nelson's behaviour, but in early October, word of Nelson's victory had reached London and overshadowed the matter. The First Lord of the Admiralty, George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, George Spencer, fainted upon hearing the news.Hibbert 1994, p. 156 Scenes of celebration erupted across the country; balls and victory feasts were held, and church bells were rung. The City of London awarded Nelson, and his captains, swords, whilst the King ordered they be presented with special medals. Emperor Paul I of Russia sent him a gift, and Sultan Selim III of the Ottoman Empire awarded Nelson the Order of the Crescent, Order of the Turkish Crescent, as well as the diamond ''chelengk'' from his own turban, for Nelson's role in restoring Ottoman rule to Egypt. Samuel Hood, after a conversation with the Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister, told Nelson's wife, Fanny, that her husband would likely be given a viscountcy, similarly to Jervis' earldom after Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797), Cape St Vincent, and Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan, Adam Duncan's viscountcy after Battle of Camperdown, Camperdown.Hibbert 1994, p. 159 Lord Spencer, however, demurred, arguing that as Nelson had only been detached in command of a squadron—rather than being the commander in chief of the fleet—such an award would create an unwelcome precedent. Instead, Nelson received the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile.Hibbert 1994, p. 160

Neapolitan campaign

Nelson was dismayed by Lord George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, Spencer's decision, and declared that he would rather have received no title than that of a mere baron, barony. He was, however, cheered by the attention showered on him by the citizens of Naples, the prestige accorded him by the kingdom's elite, and the comforts he received at the Hamiltons' residence. He made frequent visits to their residence to attend functions in his honour, or tour nearby attractions with Emma, who was almost constantly at his side and with whom, by now, he had fallen deeply in love.Hibbert 1994, p. 162 Orders arrived from the Admiralty to blockade the French forces in Alexandria and Malta, a task Nelson delegated to his captains, Sir Samuel Hood, 1st Baronet, Samuel Hood and Alexander Ball. Despite enjoying his lifestyle in Naples—even while judging it to be a "country of fiddlers and poets, whores and scoundrels", which he found less than desirable—Nelson began to think of returning to England. However, King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand IV, had just faced an extended period of pressure from his wife, Maria Carolina of Austria, who was advocating for an aggressive foreign policy towards France; a country which, five years earlier, had beheaded her sister, and its queen, Marie Antoinette. Sir William Hamilton (diplomat), William Hamilton was joined in agreement with Queen Maria Carolina, and the King finally agreed to declare war on France. The Neapolitan Army (Napoleonic), Neapolitan Army, led by the Austrian Karl Mack von Leiberich, General Mack, and supported by Nelson's fleet, retook Rome from the French in late November 1798. The French regrouped outside Rome and after being reinforced, routed the Neapolitans. In disarray, the Neapolitan army fled back to Naples, with the pursuing French close behind.Hibbert 1994, p. 165 Nelson hastily organised the evacuation of the Royal Family, several nobles, and British nationals—including the Hamiltons. The evacuation got underway on 23 December and sailed through heavy gales before reaching the safety of Palermo, on 26 December.Hibbert 1994, p. 170 With the departure of the Royal Family, Naples descended into anarchy, and news reached Palermo, in January, that the French had entered the city under General Jean Étienne Championnet, Championnet and proclaimed the Parthenopaean Republic.Hibbert 1994, p. 178 Nelson was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Red on 14 February 1799, and was occupied for several months in blockading Naples, while a popular counter-revolutionary force, under Fabrizio Ruffo, Cardinal Ruffo, known as the Sanfedismo, ''Sanfedisti'', marched to retake the city. In late June, Ruffo's army entered Naples, forcing the French and their supporters to withdraw to the city's fortifications, as rioting and looting broke out amongst the ill-disciplined Neapolitan troops.Hibbert 1994, p. 181 Dismayed by the bloodshed, Ruffo agreed to a Capitulation (surrender), capitulation with the Jacobin forces, which allowed them safe conduct to France. Nelson arrived off Naples on 24 June, to find the treaty put into effect. His subsequent role is still controversial. Nelson, aboard ''Foudroyant'', was outraged, and backed by King Ferdinand IV, he insisted that the rebels must surrender unconditionally.Hibbert 1994, p. 184 They refused. Nelson appears to have relented and the Jacobin forces marched out to the awaiting transports. Nelson then had the transports seized. He took those who had surrendered under the treaty under armed guard, as well as the former Admiral Francesco Caracciolo, who had commanded the Neapolitan navy, under King Ferdinand IV, but had changed sides during the brief Jacobin rule.Hibbert 1994, p. 186 Nelson ordered his trial by court-martial and refused Caracciolo's request that it be held by British officers. Caracciolo was also not allowed to summon witnesses in his defence and was tried by royalist Neapolitan officers. He was sentenced to death. Caracciolo requested to be shot rather than hanged, but Nelson, following the wishes of Queen Maria Carolina, a close friend of Lady Hamilton, also denied this request, and even ignored the court's request to allow 24 hours for Caracciolo to prepare himself. Caracciolo was hanged aboard the Neapolitan frigate ''Minerva'' at 5 o'clock the same afternoon.Hibbert 1994, p. 187 Nelson kept the bulk of the Jacobins on the transports and began to hand hundreds over for trial and execution, refusing to intervene, despite pleas for clemency from both the Hamiltons and Queen Maria Carolina.Hibbert 1994, p. 190 When the transports were finally allowed to carry the Jacobins to France, less than one-third were still alive.Hibbert 1994, p. 193 On 13 August 1799, in reward for his support of the monarchy,Hibbert 1994, p. 194 King Ferdinand IV gave Nelson the newly created title Duke of Bronté, in the peerage of the Kingdom of Sicily, as his perpetual property, as well as the estate of the former Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria di Maniace—which he later transformed into the ''Castello di Nelson''—situated between the Comune, comunes of Bronte, Sicily, Bronte and Maniace, later known as the ''Duchy of Nelson''. In 1799, Nelson opposed the mistreatment of slaves held in Portuguese galleys off Palermo and intervened to secure their release. Nelson petitioned the Portuguese commander Marquiz de Niza: :"As a friend, as an English admiral – as a favour to me, as a favour to my country – that you will give me the Slaves". The marquis acquiesced to the unusual request, allowing twenty-four slaves to be transferred to HMS Bonne Citoyenne (1796), HMS ''Bonne Citoyenne''; their blessings to Nelson ringing out across the harbour, as their names were added to the sloop's already crowded muster book.

Siege of Malta

Nelson returned to Palermo in August, and in September, became the senior officer in the Mediterranean, after Lord John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, John Jervis' successor, George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith, left to chase the French and Spanish fleets into the Atlantic.Hibbert 1994, p. 197 Nelson spent most of 1799 at the Neapolitan court, but put to sea again in February 1800, after Lord Keith's return. Keith ordered Nelson to assist in the Siege of Malta (1798–1800), siege of Malta - of which the Royal Navy was conducting a tight blockade. On 18 February, French ship Généreux (1785), ''Généreux''—a survivor of the Battle of the Nile—was sighted and Nelson gave chase, capturing her after Battle of the Malta Convoy (1800), a short battle, and winning Keith's approval.Hibbert 1994, p. 203 Nelson and the Hamiltons sailed aboard the ''Foudroyant'' from Naples, on a brief cruise around Malta, in April 1800 and anchored at Marsaxlokk, Marsa Sirocco. Here Nelson and Emma lived together openly, and were hosted by Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet, Thomas Troubridge and Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch, Thomas Graham.Bradford, p. 250 It was during this time that Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton's illegitimate daughter, Horatia Nelson, was likely conceived.Hibbert 1994, p. 207 Nelson had a difficult relationship with his superior officer; he was gaining a reputation for insubordination, having initially refused to send ships when Keith requested them, and on occasion, returning to Palermo without orders, pleading poor health.Hibbert 1994, p. 204 Keith's reports, and rumours of Nelson's close relationship with Emma Hamilton, were now circulating around London, and Lord Spencer wrote a pointed letter suggesting that he return home:
You will be more likely to recover your health and strength in England than in any inactive situation at a foreign Court, however pleasing the respect and gratitude shown to you for your services may be.Hibbert 1994, p. 205

Return to England

The recall of Sir William Hamilton to Britain was a further incentive for Nelson to return. In June Nelson left Malta and conveyed Queen Maria Carolina of Austria, Maria Carolina, and her suite, to Leghorn (city), Leghorn. Upon his arrival, Nelson shifted his flag to , but again disobeyed Lord George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith, Keith's orders by refusing to join the main fleet. Keith travelled to Leghorn to demand, in person, an explanation, and refused to be moved by the Queen's pleas to allow her to be conveyed in a British ship.Hibbert 1994, p. 211 In the face of Keith's demands, Nelson reluctantly struck his flag and bowed to Lady Hamilton's request to return to England over land.Hibbert 1994, p. 212 Nelson, the Hamiltons, and several other British travellers, left Leghorn for Florence, on 13 July. They made stops at Trieste and Vienna, spending three weeks in the latter, where they were entertained by the local nobility and heard the ''Missa in Angustiis'' by Joseph Haydn, Haydn, which now bears Nelson's name.Hibbert 1994, p. 216 By September, they were in Prague, and later called at Dresden, Dessau and Hamburg; from there, they caught a packet ship to Great Yarmouth, arriving on 6 November.Hibbert 1994, p. 224 Nelson was given a hero's welcome, and after being sworn in as a freeman of the borough, received the amassed crowd's applause. He then made his way to London, arriving on 9 November. He attended court and was guest of honour at a number of banquets and balls. During this period, Fanny Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton met for the first time; Nelson was reported as being cold and distant to his wife, while his attentions to Lady Hamilton became the subject of gossip.Hibbert 1994, p. 230 With the marriage breaking down, Nelson began to hate even being in the same room as Fanny. Events came to a head around Christmas, when according to Nelson's solicitor, Fanny issued an ultimatum on whether he was to choose her or Lady Hamilton. Nelson replied:
I love you sincerely but I cannot forget my obligations to Lady Hamilton or speak of her otherwise than with affection and admiration.Hibbert 1994, p. 235
The two never lived together again.

The Baltic

Shortly after his arrival in England, Nelson was appointed to be second-in-command of the Channel Fleet, under Lord John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, John Jervis.Hibbert 1994, p. 237 He was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 1 January 1801, and travelled to Plymouth, where on 22 January, he was granted the freedom of the city. On 29 January 1801, Lady Emma Hamilton gave birth to their daughter, Horatia Nelson, Horatia.Hibbert 1994, p. 242 Nelson was delighted, but subsequently disappointed, when he was instructed to move his flag from to , in preparation for a planned expedition to the Baltic.Hibbert 1994, p. 246 Tired of British ships imposing a blockade against French trade and stopping and searching their merchantmen, the Russian, Prussian, Danish and Swedish governments had formed an alliance to break the blockade. Nelson joined Admiral Sir Hyde Parker (Royal Navy officer, born 1739), Hyde Parker's fleet at Yarmouth, from where they sailed for the Danish coast in March. On their arrival, Parker was inclined to blockade Denmark and control the entrance to the Baltic, but Nelson urged a pre-emptive attack on the Danish fleet in the harbour of Copenhagen.Hibbert 1994, p. 254 He convinced Parker to allow him to make an assault and was given significant reinforcements. Parker himself would wait in the Kattegat, covering Nelson's fleet in case of the arrival of the Swedish or Russian fleets.Hibbert 1994, p. 256

Battle of Copenhagen

On the morning of 2 April 1801, Nelson began to advance into Copenhagen harbour. The battle began badly for the British, with HMS ''Agamemnon'', and running aground, and the rest of the fleet encountering heavier fire from the Danish shore batteries than had been anticipated. Sir Hyde Parker (Royal Navy officer, born 1739), Parker sent the signal for Nelson to withdraw, reasoning:
I will make the signal for recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in a condition to continue the action he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be attached to him.Hibbert 1994, p. 260
Nelson, directing action aboard , was informed of the signal by the signal lieutenant, Frederick Langford, but angrily responded: "I told you to look out on the Danish commodore and let me know when he surrendered. Keep your eyes fixed on him."Hibbert 1994, p. 261 He then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley (Royal Navy officer), Thomas Foley, and said "You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes." He raised the telescope to his blind eye, and said "I really do not see the signal." The battle lasted three hours, leaving both Danish and British fleets heavily damaged. At length, Nelson dispatched a letter to the Danish commander, Frederick VI of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederick, calling for a truce, which the Prince accepted.Hibbert 1994, p. 263 Parker approved of Nelson's actions in retrospect, and Nelson was given the honour of going into Copenhagen the next day to open formal negotiations.Hibbert 1994, p. 264Report of the battle from Nelson. At a banquet that evening, he told Prince Frederick that the battle had been the most severe he had ever participated in.Hibbert 1994, p. 265 The outcome of the battle—and several weeks of ensuing negotiations—was a fourteen-week armistice, with Nelson becoming commander-in-chief in the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
, upon Parker's recall in May.Hibbert 1994, p. 268 As a reward for the victory, he was created Viscount Nelson of the Nile and of
Burnham Thorpe Burnham Thorpe is a small village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and c ...
in the County of Norfolk, on 19 May 1801. In addition, on 4 August 1801, he was created Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the County of Norfolk, with a special remainder to his father and sisters. Nelson sailed to the Russian naval base at Tallinn, Reval in May, and there learned that the pact of armed neutrality was to be disbanded. Satisfied with the outcome of the expedition, he returned to England, arriving on 1 July.Hibbert 1994, p. 272

Leave in England, 1801–1803

In France, Napoleon was amassing forces to Napoleon's invasion of England, invade Great Britain. After a brief spell in London, where he again visited the Hamiltons, Nelson was placed in charge of defending the English Channel to prevent the invasion.Hibbert 1994, p. 279 He spent the summer of 1801 Reconnoitering, reconnoitring the French coast, but apart from Raid on Boulogne (1801), a failed attack on Boulogne-sur-Mer, Boulogne in August, saw little action.Hibbert 1994, p. 281 On 1 October, the Peace of amiens, Peace of Amiens was signed between the British and the French, and Nelson—in poor health again—retired once more to Britain, where he stayed with Sir William Hamilton (diplomat), William and Lady Hamilton. On 30 October, Nelson spoke in support of the Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, Addington government in the House of Lords, and afterwards, made regular visits to attend sessions.Hibbert 1994, p. 298 In the summer of 1802, Nelson, and the Hamiltons, embarked on a tour of England and Wales, visiting Birmingham, Warwick, Gloucester, Swansea, Monmouth, and numerous other towns and villages. Nelson often found himself received as a hero, and was the centre of celebrations and events held in his honour. In September, Lady Hamilton purchased Merton Place, a country estate in Merton (historic parish), Merton, Surrey (now within the borders of south-west London) for Nelson, where he lived with the Hamiltons until William's death, on 6 April 1803.Coleman 2001, p. 298 The following month, war broke out once again, and Nelson prepared to return to sea.Hibbert 1994, p. 323

Witness at the treason trial of Edward Despard

In January 1803, Nelson appeared as a character witness in the treason trial of a former comrade in arms, Colonel Edward Despard. Despard, who had been moving in radical circles in London—a member both of the London Corresponding Society and the Society of United Irishmen, United Irishmen—was the alleged ringleader of a conspiracy to assassinate King George III and seize the Tower of London; the so-called Despard Plot. In court, Nelson recollected his service with Despard in the Caribbean, during the American War: :"We went on the Spanish Main together; we slept many nights together in our clothes upon the ground; we have measured the height of the enemies walls together. In all that period of time, no man could have shewn more zealous attachment to his Sovereign and his Country". Under cross-examination, however, Nelson had to concede to having "lost sight of Despard for the last twenty years". Nelson directed a further plea for clemency to Prime Minister Henry Addington, who was later to tell Nelson that "he and his family had sat up after supper, weeping over the letter". Following Despard's execution in February, Lady Fanny Nelson is reported to have taken the Colonel's Jamaican wife, Catherine Despard, under her "protection".

Return to sea, 1803

Nelson was appointed commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet and given the first-rate as his flagship. He joined her at
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and island city status in the United Kingdom, city with Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority status in the ceremonial county of Hampshire, southern England. It is the most densely populated city in the Unit ...

, where he received orders to sail to Malta and take command of a squadron there, before joining the blockade of
Toulon Toulon (, , ; oc, label=Occitan language, Provençal, Tolon , , ) is a city on the French Riviera and a large port on the Mediterranean coast, with a major naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, and ...

.Hibbert 1994, p. 326 Nelson arrived off Toulon in July 1803, and spent the next year and a half enforcing the blockade. He was promoted to Vice-admiral of the White, Vice-Admiral of the White while still at sea, on 23 April 1804. In January 1805, the French fleet, under the command of Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, escaped Toulon and eluded the blockading British. Nelson set off in pursuit, but after searching the eastern Mediterranean, learned the French had been blown back into Toulon.Hibbert 1994, p. 336 Villeneuve managed to break out a second time in April, and this time, succeeded in passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, and into the Atlantic—bound for the West Indies. Nelson gave chase, but after arriving in the Caribbean, spent June in a fruitless search for the fleet. Villeneuve had briefly cruised around the islands, before heading back to Europe, in contravention of Napoleon's orders.Hibbert 1994, p. 337 The returning French fleet was intercepted by a British fleet, under Sir Robert Calder, and engaged in the Battle of Cape Finisterre (1805), Battle of Cape Finisterre, but managed to reach Ferrol, Spain, Ferrol with only minor losses.Hibbert 1994, p. 338 Nelson returned to Gibraltar at the end of July, and travelled from there to England, dismayed at his failure to bring the French to battle and expecting to be censured.Hibbert 1994, p. 339 To his surprise, he was given a rapturous reception from crowds who had gathered to view his arrival. Senior British officials congratulated him for sustaining the close pursuit, crediting him with saving the West Indies from a French invasion. Nelson briefly stayed in London, where he was cheered wherever he went, before visiting Merton Place to see Emma Hamilton, Emma, arriving in late August. He entertained a number of his friends and relations there over the coming month, and began plans for a grand engagement with the enemy fleet, one that would surprise his foes by forcing a pell-mell battle on them.Hibbert 1994, p. 350 Captain Henry Blackwood arrived at Merton early on 2 September, bringing news that the French and Spanish fleets had combined and were currently at anchor in
Cádiz Cádiz (, also , ; see more below) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost ...

. Nelson hurried to London, where he met with cabinet ministers and was given command of the fleet blockading Cádiz. It was while awaiting one of these meetings, on 24 September, with Lord Castlereagh, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, that Nelson and Major General Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley—the future Duke of Wellington (title), Duke of Wellington—met briefly in a waiting area. Wellington was waiting to be debriefed on his Indian operations, and Nelson on his chase and future plans.Hibbert 1994, p. 351 Wellington later recalled, "[Nelson] entered at once into conversation with me, if I can call it conversation, for it was almost all on his side and all about himself and, in reality, a style so vain and so silly as to surprise and almost disgust me". After a few minutes, Nelson left the room, but having then been informed who his companion had been, returned and entered into a more earnest and intelligent discussion with the young Wellesley. This lasted for a quarter of an hour, and encompassed topics such as the war, the state of the colonies, and the geopolitical situation. On this second discussion, Wellesley recalled, "I don't know that I ever had a conversation that interested me more". This was the only meeting between the two men. Nelson returned briefly to Merton to set his affairs in order, and bid farewell to Emma, before travelling back to London and then on to Portsmouth; arriving there early on the morning of 14 September. He breakfasted at the George Inn with his friends George Rose (Treasurer of the Navy), George Rose, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and George Canning, the Treasurer of the Navy. During the breakfast, word spread of Nelson's presence at the inn and a large crowd of well-wishers gathered. They accompanied Nelson to his barge and cheered him off, which Nelson acknowledged by raising his hat. He was recorded as having turned to his colleague and stated: "I had their huzzas before; I have their hearts now."Nicolas, The Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson, Vol, VII p. 35 idem p. 36Tom Pocock, Horatio Nelson p. 316Hibbert 1994, p. 356 Robert Southey reported on the onlookers for Nelson's walk to the dock: "Many were in tears and many knelt down before him and blessed him as he passed."Southey 1922, The Life of Nelson, (1922 edition) p. 296 ''Victory'' joined the British fleet off Cádiz, on 27 September, and Nelson took over from Vice Admiral
Cuthbert Collingwood Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (26 September 1748 – 7 March 1810) was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, Lord Nelson in several of the United Kingdom of Great B ...
.Hibbert 1994, p. 362 Nelson spent the following weeks preparing and refining his tactics for the anticipated battle, and dining with his captains to ensure they understood his intentions.Hibbert 1994, p. 360 He had devised a plan of attack that anticipated the allied fleet would form up in a traditional line of battle. Drawing on his own experience from the Nile and Copenhagen, and the examples of Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan, Duncan at Battle of Camperdown, Camperdown and George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes, Saintes, Nelson decided to split his fleet into squadrons rather than forming it into a similar line parallel to the enemy.Adkin 2007, p. 411 These squadrons would then cut the enemy's line in a number of places, allowing a pell-mell battle to develop. The British ships could overwhelm and destroy parts of their opponents' formation, before unengaged enemy ships could come to their aid.

Battle of Trafalgar, 1805


The combined French and Spanish fleet under Villeneuve's command numbered thirty-three ships of the line. Napoleon had intended for Villeneuve to sail into the English Channel and cover a planned invasion of Britain. However, the entry of Austria and Russia into the war forced Napoleon to call off this invasion, and transfer troops to Germany. Villeneuve had been reluctant to risk engagement with the British and this reluctance led Napoleon to send Vice-Admiral François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros, François Rosily to
Cádiz Cádiz (, also , ; see more below) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost ...

, in order to take command of the fleet. Rosily was then to sail it into the Mediterranean and land troops at Naples, before making port at
Toulon Toulon (, , ; oc, label=Occitan language, Provençal, Tolon , , ) is a city on the French Riviera and a large port on the Mediterranean coast, with a major naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, and ...

. Villeneuve decided to sail the fleet out before his successor could arrive. On 20 October 1805, the fleet was sighted making its way out of harbour, by patrolling British frigates, and Nelson was informed that they appeared to be heading to the west.Hibbert 1994, p. 363 At four o'clock in the morning of 21 October, Nelson ordered the ''Victory'' to turn towards the approaching enemy fleet, and signalled the rest of his force to battle stations. He then went below and made out his will, before returning to the quarterdeck to carry out an inspection.Hibbert 1994, p. 365 Despite having twenty-seven ships to Villeneuve's thirty-three, Nelson was confident of success, declaring that he would not be satisfied with taking fewer than twenty prizes. He returned briefly to his cabin to write a final prayer, after which he joined ''Victorys signal lieutenant, John Pasco.
Mr Pasco, I wish to say to the fleet "England confides that every man will do his duty". You must be quick, for I have one more signal to make, which is for close action.Hibbert 1994, p. 366
Pasco suggested changing ''confides'' to ''expects'' which, being in the Naval flag signalling#History, Signal Book, could be signalled by the use of a single code (three flags), whereas ''confides'' would have to be spelt out letter by letter. Nelson agreed, and England expects that every man will do his duty, the signal was hoisted. As the fleets converged, ''Victorys Captain Sir Thomas Hardy, 1st Baronet, Thomas Hardy, suggested that Nelson remove the decorations on his coat, so that he would not be so easily identified by enemy sharpshooters. Nelson replied that it was too late "to be shifting a coat", adding that they were "military orders and he did not fear to show them to the enemy".Hibbert 1994, p. 368 Captain Henry Blackwood, of the frigate , suggested Nelson come aboard his ship to better observe the battle. Nelson refused, and also turned down Hardy's suggestion to let Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey's come ahead of ''Victory'' and lead the line into battle.

Battle is joined

''Victory'' came under fire, initially passing wide, but then with greater accuracy as the distances decreased. A cannonball struck and killed Nelson's secretary, John Scott (Royal Navy officer), John Scott, nearly cutting him in two. Sir Thomas Hardy, 1st Baronet, Hardy's clerk then took over, but he too, was almost immediately killed. ''Victory''s wheel was shot away; another cannonball cut down eight marines. Standing next to Nelson on the quarterdeck, Hardy's shoe buckle was suddenly dented by a splinter. Nelson observed, "This is too warm work to last long."Hibbert 1994, p. 370 ''Victory'' had, by now, reached the enemy line and Hardy asked Nelson which ship to engage first. Nelson told him to take his pick, whereupon Hardy moved ''Victory'' across the stern of the 80-gun French flagship, ''French ship Bucentaure (1804), Bucentaure''. ''Victory'' then came under fire from the 74-gun ''French ship Redoutable (1791), Redoutable'', which was lying off ''Bucentaure''s stern, as well as the 130-gun ''Santísima Trinidad''. As sharpshooters from the enemy ships fired onto ''Victory''s deck from their rigging, Nelson and Hardy continued directing and giving orders.

Wounding and death

At a quarter-past one in the afternoon, Hardy realised that Nelson was not by his side. He turned to see Nelson kneeling on the deck, supporting himself with his hand, before falling onto his side. Hardy rushed to him, at which point, Nelson smiled:
Hardy, I do believe they have done it at last .... my backbone is shot through.
He had been hit by a musket ball, fired from the Mizzen topgallant mast, mizzen-top of ''Redoutable'', at a range of 50 feet (15 m). The ball entered his left shoulder, passed through a lung, then his spine at the sixth and seventh thoracic vertebrae, and lodged two inches (5 cm) below his right shoulder blade, in the muscles of his back. Nelson was carried below to the cockpit, by sergeant major of marines Robert Adair, and two seamen. As he was being carried down, he asked them to pause while he gave advice to a midshipman on the handling of the tiller.Hibbert 1994, p. 371 He then draped a handkerchief over his face to avoid causing alarm amongst the crew. He was taken to ship surgeon William Beatty (surgeon), William Beatty, telling him:
You can do nothing for me. I have but a short time to live. My back is shot through.Hibbert 1994, p. 372
Nelson was made comfortable, fanned, and brought lemonade and watered wine to drink, after he complained of feeling hot and thirsty. He asked several times to see Hardy, who was on deck supervising the battle, and asked Beatty to remember him to Emma, his daughter and his friends. Hardy came belowdecks to see Nelson, just after half-past two, and informed him that a number of enemy ships had surrendered. Nelson told him that he was sure to die, and begged him to pass his possessions on to Emma.Hibbert 1994, p. 376 Those with Nelson, at this point, were the chaplain Alexander John Scott, Alexander Scott, the purser Walter Burke (Purser), Walter Burke, Nelson's steward, Chevalier, and Beatty. Nelson, fearing that a gale was blowing up, instructed Hardy to be sure to anchor. After reminding him to "take care of poor Lady Hamilton", Nelson said: "Kiss me, Hardy". Beatty recorded that Hardy knelt and kissed Nelson on the cheek. He then stood for a minute or two, before kissing Nelson on the forehead. Nelson asked, "Who is that?" On hearing that it was Hardy, he replied, "God bless you, Hardy." By now very weak, Nelson continued to murmur instructions to Burke and Scott, "fan, fan ... rub, rub ... drink, drink." Beatty had heard Nelson murmur, "Thank God I have done my duty", and when he returned, Nelson's voice had faded and his pulse was very weak. Nelson looked up, as Beatty took his pulse, then closed his eyes. Scott, who remained by Nelson as he died, recorded his last words as, "God and my country".Hayward 2003, p. 63 Nelson died at half-past four in the afternoon, three hours after he had been shot.

Return to England

Nelson's body was placed in a cask of brandy mixed with camphor and myrrh, which was then lashed to the ''Victory''s mainmast and placed under guard.Hibbert 1994, p. 378 ''Victory'' was towed to Gibraltar after the battle, and on arrival the body was transferred to a lead-lined coffin filled with spirits of wine. Collingwood's dispatches about the battle were carried to England aboard , and when the news arrived in London, a messenger was sent to Merton Place to bring the news of Nelson's death to Emma Hamilton. She later recalled,
They brought me word, Mr Whitby from the Admiralty. "Show him in directly", I said. He came in, and with a pale countenance and faint voice, said, "We have gained a great Victory." – "Never mind your Victory", I said. "My letters – give me my letters" – Captain Whitby was unable to speak – tears in his eyes and a deathly paleness over his face made me comprehend him. I believe I gave a scream and fell back, and for ten hours I could neither speak nor shed a tear.Hibbert 1994, p. 379
King George III, on receiving the news, is alleged to have said, in tears, "We have lost more than we have gained."Hibbert 1994, p. 381 ''The Times'' reported:
We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive Victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.


Nelson's body was unloaded from the ''Victory'' at the
Nore The Nore is a long sandbank, bank of sand and silt running along the south-centre of the final narrowing of the Thames Estuary, England. Its south-west is the very narrow Nore Sand. Just short of the Nore's easternmost point where it fades int ...
. It was conveyed upriver, in Commander Sir Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet, George Grey's yacht ''Chatham'', to Greenwich and placed inside a lead coffin. The lead coffin was then placed inside a wooden one, made from the mast of ''L'Orient'', which had been salvaged after the
Battle of the Nile The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay; french: Bataille d'Aboukir) was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although war ...

Battle of the Nile
. He lay in state for three days in the Greenwich Hospital, London#History, Painted Hall of Greenwich Hospital, London, Greenwich Hospital, where the surrounding arrangements all but disintegrated, under the crush of crowds far greater than authorities had anticipated. His body was then taken upriver, aboard a barge originally used as King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland, Charles II's State Barge of Charles II, state barge; accompanied by Lord Samuel Hood, chief mourner Sir Sir Peter Parker, 1st Baronet, Peter Parker, and the George IV of the United Kingdom, Prince of Wales.Hibbert 1994, p. 382 The Prince of Wales, at first, announced his intention of attending the funeral as chief mourner. However, he ultimately attended in a private capacity, along with his brothers, when his father, King George III, reminded him that it was against protocol for the heir to the throne to attend the funerals of anyone except members of the royal family. On 8 January 1806, the coffin was taken into the Admiralty House (London), Admiralty for the night, attended by Nelson's chaplain, Alexander Scott. The following day, 9 January, a funeral procession consisting of 32 admirals, over a hundred captains, and an escort of 10,000 soldiers took the coffin from the Admiralty to St Paul's Cathedral. After a four-hour service, he was interred within a crypt, in a sarcophagus originally carved for Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal Wolsey;Hibbert 1994, p. 394 the sarcophagus and its base had been previously taken over for the tomb of Henry VIII, which was never completed. The sailors charged with folding the flag, which they were to then place on Nelson's coffin after it had been lowered through the floor of the nave, instead tore it into fragments, each taking a piece as a memorial of their fallen commander.Lambert 2005, p. 316


Nelson was regarded as a highly effective leader, and someone who was able to sympathise with the needs of his men. He based his command on love, rather than authority, inspiring both his superiors and his subordinates with his considerable courage, commitment and charisma—dubbed "The Nelson Touch, the Nelson touch".Lambert 2004, xvii Nelson combined this talent with an adept grasp of strategy and politics, making him a highly successful naval commander. Tōgō Heihachirō, Admiral Togo, himself often called "the Nelson of the East", placed Nelson as among the greatest naval commanders in history—second only to Yi Sun-sin, Admiral Yi Sun-sin. The memorandum Nelson wrote before Trafalgar expresses his attitude well: "No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy." Nelson's personality was complex, often characterised by a desire to be noticed—both by his superiors and the public. He was easily flattered by praise, and dismayed when he felt he was not given sufficient credit for his actions.Lambert 2004, p. 44 This led him to take risks, and to enthusiastically publicise his resultant successes,Lambert 2004, p. 64 which was not always considered acceptable at the time. Nelson was also highly confident in his abilities, determined and able to make important decisions.Lambert 2004, pp. 52–53 His active career meant that he was considerably experienced in combat and was a shrewd judge of his opponents, able to identify and exploit his enemies' weaknesses.Lambert 2004, pp. 107–08 He was often prone to insecurities, however, as well as violent mood swings,Lambert 2004, p. 4 and was extremely vain: he loved to receive decorations and tributes.Lambert 2004, p. 151 Despite his personality, he remained a highly professional leader and was driven all his life by a strong sense of duty. Nelson's fame reached new heights after his death, and he came to be regarded as one of Britain's greatest military heroes, ranked alongside the John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Duke of Marlborough and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Duke of Wellington. In the BBC's ''100 Greatest Britons'' programme in 2002, Nelson was voted the ninth greatest Briton of all time. Aspects of Nelson's life and career were controversial, both during his lifetime and after his death. His affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton, Emma Hamilton was widely remarked upon, and disapproved of, to the extent that Emma was denied permission to attend his funeral. She and their daughter, Horatia Nelson, Horatia, were also subsequently ignored by the government, which awarded Nelson's money and titles only to legitimate family.Oman 1987, pp. 571–72 Nelson's actions during the reoccupation of Naples have also been the subject of debate. His approval of the wave of reprisals against the Jacobins, who had surrendered under the terms agreed by Cardinal Ruffo, as well as his personal intervention in securing the execution of Francesco Caracciolo, are considered by some biographers, such as Robert Southey, to have been a shameful breach of honour. Prominent contemporary, politician Charles James Fox, was among those who attacked Nelson for his actions at Naples, declaring in the House of Commons:
I wish that the atrocities of which we hear so much and which I abhor as much as any man, were indeed unexampled. I fear that they do not belong exclusively to the French – Naples for instance has been what is called "delivered", and yet, if I am rightly informed, it has been stained and polluted by murders so ferocious, and by cruelties of every kind so abhorrent, that the heart shudders at the recital ... [The besieged rebels] demanded that a British officer should be brought forward, and to him they capitulated. They made terms with him under the sanction of the British name. Before they sailed their property was confiscated, numbers were thrown into dungeons, and some of them, I understand, notwithstanding the British guarantee, were actually executed.Coleman 2001, p. 228
Other pro-republican writers produced books and pamphlets decrying the events in Naples as atrocities.Lambert 2004, pp. 365–66 Later assessments, including one by Andrew Lambert, have stressed that the armistice had not been authorised by the King Ferdinand IV of Naples, King of Naples, and that the retribution meted out by the Neapolitans was not unusual for the time. Lambert also suggests that Nelson, in fact, acted to put an end to the bloodshed; using his ships and men to restore order in the city.


Nelson's influence continued long after his death, and saw periodic revivals of interest, especially during times of crisis in Britain. In the 1860s, Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson appealed to the image and tradition of Nelson, in order to oppose the defence cuts being made by Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.Lambert 2004, p. 340 First Sea Lord John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, Jackie Fisher was a keen exponent of Nelson during the early years of the twentieth century, and often emphasised his legacy during his period of naval reform.Lambert 2004, p. 346 Winston Churchill also found Nelson to be a source of inspiration during the Second World War.Lambert 2004, p. 354 Nelson has been frequently depicted in art and literature; appearing in paintings by Benjamin West and Arthur William Devis, and in books and biographies by John McArthur (Royal Navy officer), John McArthur, James Stanier Clarke and Robert Southey.Lambert 2004, p. 323 Nelson is also celebrated and commemorated in numerous songs, written both during his life and following his death. Nelson's victory in the
Battle of the Nile The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay; french: Bataille d'Aboukir) was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although war ...

Battle of the Nile
is commemorated in "The Battle of the Nile: a favourite patriotic song". Thomas Attwood (composer), Thomas Attwood's "Nelson's Tomb: A Favourite Song" commemorates Nelson's death in the Battle of Trafalgar. A number of monuments and memorials were constructed across the country, and abroad, to honour his memory and achievements. Dublin's monument to Nelson, Nelson's Pillar, completed in 1809, was destroyed by Irish republicans in 1966.Lambert 2004, p. 327 In Montreal, a statue was started in 1808 and completed in 1809. Others followed around the world, with London's
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, established in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. The Square's name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, the Royal Navy, ...

Trafalgar Square
being created in his memory in 1835 and the centrepiece,
Nelson's Column Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a d ...

Nelson's Column
, finished in 1843.Lambert 2004, p. 328 A Royal Society of Arts blue plaque was unveiled in 1876, to commemorate Nelson, at 147 New Bond Street. The architect of the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon, Dartmouth, Sir Aston Webb placed a window high in the chapel such that annually, on 21 October at the time of Nelson's death, the light from it falls on the statue of Christ behind the altar.


Nelson's titles, as inscribed on his coffin and read out at the funeral by the Garter King at Arms, Isaac Heard, Sir Isaac Heard, were:
The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily, Order of Saint Ferdinand and of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Order of St. Joachim, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim.
He received large Naval Gold Medals for the battles of St. Vincent, the Nile and, posthumously, Trafalgar, the only recipient of three such medals. He was a Colonel of Marines from 1795 to 1797Edited by H.A. Doubleday and Lord Howard de Walden. and voted a Freedom of the City, Freeman of the cities and boroughs of Bath, Salisbury, Exeter, Plymouth, Monmouth, Sandwich, Kent, Sandwich, Oxford, Hereford, and Worcester, England, Worcester.Pettigrew 1849, p. 96 The University of Oxford, in full Congregation, bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law upon Nelson on 30 July 1802.Lambert 2004, p. 237 In July 1799, Nelson was created Duke of Bronté (Italian: ''Duca di Bronte''), of the Kingdom of Sicily (after 1816, existing in the nobility of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies), by Ferdinand III of Sicily, King Ferdinand, and after briefly experimenting with the signature "Brontë Nelson of the Nile", he signed himself "Nelson & Brontë" for the rest of his life.Coleman 2001, p. 353 Nelson had no legitimate children; his daughter, Horatia, married the Reverend Philip Ward, with whom she had ten children before her death in 1881.Oman 1987, p. 571 Since Nelson died without legitimate issue, his viscountcy and his barony created in 1798, both "of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk", became extinct upon his death.Haydn 1851, p. 550 However, the barony created in 1801, "of the Nile and of Hilborough in the County of Norfolk", passed by a special remainder, which included Nelson's father and sisters and their male issue, to the Reverend William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson, William Nelson, who was Nelson's older brother. In November 1805, William Nelson was created Earl Nelson and Viscount Merton, of Trafalgar and of Merton in the County of Surrey, in recognition of his late brother's services, and he also inherited the dukedom of Bronté.Lambert 2004, p. 312

Armorial bearings

Coat of arms, Arms were granted and confirmed on 20 October 1797. The Admiral's paternal arms (''Or, a cross flory sable over all a bendlet gules'') were Augmentation of honour, augmented to honour his naval victories. After the Battle of Cape St Vincent (14 February 1797), Nelson was created a Knight of the Bath and was granted Supporters (heraldry), heraldic supporters (appropriate for peers) of a sailor and a lion.Adkin 2007, p. 550 In honour of the Battle of the Nile in 1798, the Crown granted him an augmentation of honour blazoned ''On a chief wavy argent a palm tree between a disabled ship and a ruinous battery all issuant from waves of the sea all proper'' (deemed a notorious example of debased heraldry), the Latin motto ''Palmam qui meruit ferat'' ("let him who has earned it bear the palm"), and added to his supporters a palm branch in the hand of the sailor and in the paw of the lion, and a "tri-colored flag and staff in the mouth of the latter". After Nelson's death, his elder brother and heir William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson, was granted a further augmentation: ''On a fess wavy overall azure the word Battle of Trafalgar, TRAFALGAR or''. This additional augmentation was not used by those who succeeded him in the earldom, including the present Earl Nelson. The Garter King of Arms wrote the following explanation of the arms to Nelson's wife: :''In the Chief of the Arms a Palm Tree (emblematic of Victory) between a disabled Ship and a ruinous Battery, form striking memorials of the glorious event of the 1st of August (1798), in the Bay of Aboukir, near the Mouth of the Nile. In the Crest, the Chelengk (a more minute description of which I had the pleasure of delivering to your Ladyship) is an indication of the distinctions rendered to his Lordship's merits by the Grand Signior; and the Naval Crown may bear a striking allusion to his Lordship's victory in those Seas, where the Corona Navalis was first conferred by the Romans on persons who had eminently distinguished themselves in Naval combats. The Palm Branch in the hand of the Sailor, and in the paw of the Lion, is a continuation of the emblem in the Chief of the Arms, as well as allusive to the Motto, "Palmam qui meruit ferat" ("let he who earns the palm bear it"). The tri-coloured Flag of the subdued Enemy was added to, and involved with, the Colours in the mouth of the Lion, which had been granted to his Lordship in commemoration of his distinguished gallantry and services, on the 14th of February, 1797. With regard to your Ladyship's question—whether Lord Nelson is, in consequence of the Royal Warrant, precluded from the use of his Crest of the San Josef (a ship he won in battle from the Spaniards), I have no hesitation in giving my decided opinion, that he may bear it, with his new Crest, at his own pleasure''. The herald Wilfrid Scott-Giles (d.1982) wrote a jocular verse describing the successive augmentations to the Nelson arms, ending with the line "But where, alas! is Nelson's ancient cross?"Full text see file description in :File:AugmentedArms Admiral HoratioNelson.svg

See also

* Bibliography of 18th–19th century Royal Naval history * Honor Harrington, a fictional character partially based on Nelson in later novels * Nelson hold * Turning a blind eye




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * Nelson, Horatio, Lord Viscount, ''The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson: With Notes by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas G.C.M.G., The First Volume, 1777 to August 1794,'' Henry Colburn, London, 1844 * Nelson, Horatio, Lord Viscount, ''The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson: With Notes by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas G.C.M.G., The Third Volume, January 1798 to August 1799,'' Henry Colburn, London, 1845 * * * * * * * * (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2010. ) * (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2010. )

Further reading

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External links

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* [http://www.nelson-society.com/ The Nelson Society]
Norfolk Nelson Museum

Original Letters Written by Horatio Nelson
Shapell Manuscript Foundation

Nelson, history

Review of A. T. Mahan's biography
, - {{DEFAULTSORT:Nelson, Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Horatio Nelson, 1758 births 1805 deaths British military personnel killed in action in the Napoleonic Wars British naval commanders of the Napoleonic Wars Royal Navy personnel of the French Revolutionary Wars Burials at St Paul's Cathedral Deaths by firearm in Spain English amputees Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath Knights of the Order of the Crescent People educated at Norwich School People educated at Paston College People from Norfolk People from King's Lynn and West Norfolk (district) Royal Navy admirals Royalty and nobility with disabilities Peers of Great Britain created by George III Viscounts in the Peerage of the United Kingdom People who died at sea Royal Navy personnel of the American Revolutionary War