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Title: A Short History of H.M.S. Victory
Author: Wharton, William James Lloyd
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Short History of H.M.S. Victory" ***

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

           A SHORT HISTORY
          H.M.S. 'VICTORY.'

           AND COMPILED BY

  "Whose life was England's Glory."

  Sold for the benefit of the Seamen
      and Marines' Orphan School
       and Female Orphan Home.

     GRIFFIN & CO., 2, The Hard,
    (_Publishers by Appointment to
      H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh_).

      [_All rights reserved._]


[Illustration: {THE "VICTORY" IN BATTLE.}]

History of H.M.S. "Victory."

  [Illustration: _The "Salvador del Mundo" striking to the
    "Victory" at St. Vincent._]

Every Englishman, we imagine, knows that the "VICTORY" was the ship
which bore Lord Nelson's flag, and on board of which he received his
death wound in the moment of triumph over the combined fleets of
France and Spain, off Cape Trafalgar; but as very few are aware of her
numerous and distinguished services, extending over many years, and
preceding that sad yet glorious climax, this memoir of her career has
been drawn up, with the hope of making her history from her launch to
the present time better known; and that the hundreds who yearly visit
her may carry away a record of their visit, to remind them of the
classic ground they have been treading, and recall to their
recollections some of the splendid deeds of the past, which gained for
England the proud title of "Mistress of the Seas."

There have been "VICTORY'S" in the English navy ever since the year
1570, and as each successive ship, from old age or misfortune, has
disappeared from the list, another has soon after appeared to take her

The ship immediately preceding the existing "VICTORY," was, like
her, a first-rate three-decker, carrying 110 guns, and was accounted
the finest ship in the service. In 1744 she was the flagship of
Admiral Sir J. Balchen, a venerable officer of 75 years of age, who
had been called from the honourable retirement of Greenwich Hospital
to command a fleet destined to relieve Sir Charles Hardy, then
blockaded in Lisbon by a superior French force, under the Count de
Rochambault. On returning from the successful performance of this
service, the fleet was dispersed in the chops of the Channel by a
tremendous gale, on October 4th. The rest of the ships, though much
shattered, gained the anchorage of Spithead in safety, but the
"VICTORY" was never more heard of, though from the evidence of
fishermen of the island of Alderney, she was believed to have run on
to the Caskets, some dangerous rocks lying off that island, where her
gallant crew of about a thousand perished to a man.

In 1765, on the 7th May, was launched from Chatham Dockyard the
present "VICTORY" which had been built from designs of Sir Thomas
Slade, then surveyor of the navy.

Her principal dimensions are as follows:--

                                            feet.    ins.
    Length from figure head to taffrail      226      6
    Length of keel                           151      3
    Length of gun-deck                       186      0
    Extreme beam                              52      0
    Depth of hold                             21      6
    Tonnage                                 2162 tons.

Her armament was in 1778--

    Lower deck   30 long  32-pounders.
    Middle deck  30 long  24-pounders.
    Main deck    32 long  12-pounders.
    Upper deck   12 short 12-pounders.
                104 Guns.

In 1793 she had four 32-pr. carronades substituted on upper deck, and
six 18-pr. carronades added on the poop, making her total number of
guns at this time 110. The six last were subsequently removed, as at
Trafalgar she had no guns on the poop. In 1803, two 68-pr. carronades
were placed on the forecastle, instead of two 32-pr., when the weight
of her broadside fired from 52 guns was 1160 pounds. It may here be
mentioned, for the sake of comparison, that the weight of the
broadside of the _Monarch_, a modern ironclad, carrying but six
guns,[A] is 2515 lbs., or more than twice that of the "VICTORY."

    [A] Not including one that only fires aft.

As it happened, in 1765 England was at peace with all the world, so
the "VICTORY" lay quietly at her moorings at Chatham for 13 years,
but in 1778, when war with France became imminent, she was
commissioned by Captain Sir J. Lindsey on 15th March, and on Admiral
Hon. Augustus Keppel being appointed to the command of the Channel
Fleet he selected her as his flagship, and she was sent round to
Portsmouth, where, on May 16th, she hoisted his flag. On the 7th June
Keppel sailed from St. Helen's, with 21 sail of the line, 3 frigates,
and 3 sloops, having Sir Robert Harland and Sir Hugh Palliser as his
Vice-Admirals. His position was a peculiar and delicate one, as war
was not yet declared, though all chance of peace being maintained was
at an end, but it was known that large and rich fleets of merchantmen
from our East and West Indian possessions were on their way home, and
it was unadvisable to allow any French frigates to cruise at large and
carry intelligence of their whereabouts to Brest; besides this,
Admiral Byron with a small squadron was on the point of sailing to
reinforce our fleet on the American coast, and Keppel was expected to
cover his path. Under these circumstances, when two French frigates
hove in sight on the 17th June, Keppel determined to detain them; one,
the _Licorne_, submitted after firing one broadside, but the other,
the _Belle-Poule_, attempted to escape, was pursued, and after a long
chase, brought to action by the _Arethusa_, Captain Marshall. The two
frigates were nearly equal in force, and after one of the most
desperate contests on record, the fight terminated by the
_Belle-Poule_ drifting amongst the rocks of her own coast, leaving the
_Arethusa_ a dismantled hulk, to be found by the _Valiant_, and towed
home. This action is perpetuated in the well-known sea song, the
"Saucy Arethusa."

From the _Licorne_, Keppel learnt the unexpected and unpleasant
intelligence that the French fleet in Brest amounted to 32 sail of the
line and 12 frigates; as his own only numbered 21, prudence dictated a
return for reinforcement, and he very unwillingly turned his back on
France, anchoring at St. Helen's on the 27th of June, and detaining
another French frigate, the _Pallas_, on his way.

On the 10th of July, war being now declared, he again sailed, with 25
sail of the line, and was joined off Plymouth by 5 more, making his
total force 30 of the line and 4 frigates; with these he now proceeded
in search of the French Admiral D'Orvilliers, who, with 32 ships of
the line and many frigates, had left Brest a few days before, hearing
that the expected British merchant fleets were at hand. The object of
the French was, of course, the capture of these rich prizes, and they
naturally wished to avoid a meeting with the British men-of-war before
this was accomplished. On the other hand, the English longed for the
battle, as the shortest and safest mode of saving their convoys. So
when the two fleets sighted one another on the 23rd, the French, being
to windward, did their best to avoid an engagement, and held their
wind; on which Keppel finding he had no chance of overtaking them if
he kept his line of battle, hoisted the signal for a general chase,
and kept it flying.

Thus for four days were both fleets working to windward, during which,
two French line of battle ships were cut off, but from their superior
sailing escaped capture. Keppel hoped that D'Orvilliers would bear up
to their rescue, but the wily Frenchman knew that if he did, he would
have to give up all hopes of his prize, and preferred that his stray
vessels should trust to their heels, which as we have seen, bore them
in good stead on this occasion. However, this made the two fleets
numerically equal, and, on the forenoon of July 27th, being then some
100 miles west of Ushant, the joy in the British fleet was excessive,
when they found that a shift of wind brought them into such a position
that an engagement was inevitable. The French still tried to evade the
fight, and put about on the other tack, bringing the heads of the two
lines pointed in nearly opposite directions, and in this way the
British van, commanded by Sir R. Harland, came in action with the
French centre, and standing on until close to their line, ran along it
to leeward. The rest of the fleet followed, taking their positions in
the line as quickly as they could, the "VICTORY" being in about the

It will be seen by this, that the fleets, after once meeting, were
parting each moment, and at the end of about two hours, their
respective rears were clear of one another. Keppel then did his best
to renew the battle, but from the French practice of aiming at the
spars, his ships were so crippled that the "VICTORY," and some four
others, were alone able to wear after the enemy. Under these
circumstances, and hoping to bring the enemy to action again next day,
as they also were much scattered and disabled, the English Admiral got
his ships together and repaired damages. Unfortunately, the wind came
fair for Brest in the night, and the French, having succeeded in
concealing their movements, by stationing their frigates to show
misleading lights, ran for, and gained that port. Their mast heads
only were visible in the morning, and Keppel, after chasing for two
hours, found it hopeless and gave up the pursuit.

Thus, for want of the manoeuvre of "breaking the line," which Rodney,
under precisely similar circumstances, so successfully practised four
years later, this engagement had no results beyond that of saving the
convoys, one of which passed the scene of action the very next day.
The "VICTORY" had, at one time, six enemy's ships on her, and was
much cut up in hull and rigging; her loss was 11 killed and 24
wounded, being the largest number rendered _hors de combat_ in any one
ship of the British fleet, save one, the _Formidable_. The total loss
was 113 killed and 373 wounded. The French loss was never correctly
ascertained, but, as it was the English custom to fire at the hulls,
it was probably much more severe. Keppel returned to port, and after
refitting, again sailed from Plymouth on the 23rd August, but never
again met the enemy, and eventually arrived at Portsmouth on the 28th
of October.

This is the history of a ship, and not of the times, so we have
strictly nothing to do with subsequent events that arose out of this
engagement; but, as they created great excitement, perhaps a short
account of the sequel may not be altogether out of place. At this
period of our history, the British public expected some tangible
proofs of our naval superiority whenever our fleets met an equal
enemy, in the shape of ships captured or destroyed; and the indecisive
results of the action of the 27th July, gave rise to a multitude of
paragraphs in the newspapers, commenting on the conduct of the
different Admirals, especially that of the Commander-in-Chief, and Sir
Hugh Palliser, and attributing blame to one or the other, as their
fancy, or rather their politics dictated: the principals themselves
(who were both members of the House of Commons, but of opposite
parties), in exculpating themselves, became involved in mutual
recriminations, and finally Sir Hugh Palliser preferred charges
against Admiral Keppel, for, in a few words not doing his best to
"burn, sink, and destroy." Suffice it to say, that a Court Martial to
try Admiral Keppel met at Portsmouth on January 7th, 1779, and sat at
the Governor's house, by special Act of Parliament, on account of the
bad health of the accused, until February 11th, when it honourably
acquitted him, and declared the charges "malicious and ill-founded."
Keppel, by his former victories and frank condescending manners, had
long rendered himself the idol of the navy and people, and the first
disappointment felt at the meagre results of his engagement had been
succeeded by a strong popular reaction in his favour, when it was
understood that he would be placed on his trial. The news of his
acquittal was received throughout the country with an extraordinary
burst of joy. On the sentence being made known, a signal gun was fired
at Portsmouth, upon which the ships at Spithead immediately cheered
and saluted, and a fleet of Indiamen, lying at the Mother Bank, fired
19 vollies. Nor were they behind hand on shore in manifesting their
delight; the bells of Portsmouth church rang for the day, the late
prisoner was escorted from the court by a vast crowd, attended by some
of the most illustrious in the land; and such was his popularity, that
not only Portsmouth, but other towns were illuminated, and the
inhabitants rejoiced in the most frantic way, as if for a great
national deliverance.

Admiral Keppel was requested to retain the command of the fleet, but
refused, and was succeeded by Sir Charles Hardy, who hoisted his flag
in the "VICTORY," on the 19th March, 1779. Sir Charles found himself
with 37 ships of the line, which seems a large force, but the accounts
of the day state that a number of them were very badly manned; however
that may be, after sailing on June 16th, he was cruising off Ushant on
August 20th, when intelligence reached him that the French and Spanish
fleets had effected a junction at Cadiz, and were then off Plymouth;
he learnt also that they consisted of 67 sail of the line, besides
more than 30 frigates, and smaller vessels. Sir Charles made sail
after them, and sighted them on 1st September, off Scilly, when
finding that his information as to their force was correct, and
reflecting that the safety of the country would in a great measure
depend on him should the enemy attempt a landing, he retired to
Spithead. This is, we believe, the only time that the "VICTORY" was
ever forced to show her stern to an enemy.

The combined fleets, after making a great show, and indulging in a
parade off Plymouth, quitted the Channel without attempting any
enterprise. The British Admiral cruised till the end of the year, when
the "VICTORY" returned to Portsmouth with her division, and, being
placed in dock, was coppered for the first time. In the spring, whilst
preparing to take the sea again, Sir C. Hardy was seized with an
apoplectic fit, and died on 14th May, 1780.

Admiral Geary then hoisted his flag in the "VICTORY," on 24th May,
on succeeding to the command of the Channel fleet, and sailed early in
June, with 29 line-of-battle ships, 14 of them three-deckers. He
stationed himself off Brest, which he watched for three months, his
object being to prevent the French from getting out, and joining the
Spaniards fitting in Cadiz; when, having over 2500 sick on board his
fleet, he returned to Spithead on the 18th August. He captured a
valuable convoy of merchantmen during his cruise, but did not have a
chance of measuring his strength with the enemy. Feeling his health
failing, Admiral Geary resigned his command, and the "VICTORY"
struck his flag on the 28th August.

Vice-Admiral Darby, who was on board the _Britannia_, then took
command of the Channel fleet, and the "VICTORY" flew the flag of
Rear-Admiral Drake, the 3rd in seniority, but only for one cruise, as
being afflicted with severe attacks of gout, this officer resigned his
post on 29th December.

The "VICTORY" was next destined to be the flagship of a squadron
fitting for service in the North Sea, under Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker,
who hoisted his flag in her on March 20th, 1781, at Portsmouth. On May
20th, she sailed for the Downs, with five other ships; but a few days
after her arrival at that anchorage, Admiral Parker shifted his flag
to the _Fortitude_, a 74, as being better adapted for cruising in the
narrow seas to which he was bound, and the "VICTORY," returning to
Spithead, hoisted the broad pendant of Commodore Elliott, and bore it
for one cruise with the fleet, in which nothing of importance took

In September of the same year, Rear-Admiral Kempenfelt, hoisted his
flag as fourth Admiral of Channel fleet and cruised with it for two
months; but in December he was detached in command of a squadron of 12
sail of the line and 5 frigates, to attempt to intercept M. de
Guichen, who had sailed from Brest, with a convoy, carrying troops and
laden with warlike stores intended for the Count de Grasse in the West

Early on the 12th December, when 40 leagues west of Ushant, the look
out frigate, _Tisiphone_, Captain James Saumarez, made the signal for
an enemy's fleet, and boldly crowded all sail to close them. In a
short time, when the day was fully broke, Kempenfelt found to his
disgust, that the enemy was much stronger than he had been led to
expect, as he could count 19 line of battle ships amongst the crowd of
ships to leeward of him; he therefore decided to watch his opportunity
before attacking; and, after sailing along with, and to windward of
the French fleet for a few hours, his patience was rewarded by
perceiving that the van and centre, with most of the men-of-war, were
separated by a slight gap from the rear. He at once made a dash for
the opening, and, while with the "VICTORY" and some others, he
engaged the rear of the French centre, and prevented their returning
to the rescue, his other vessels passed to leeward and captured the
whole of that division of the convoy--15 ships--sinking four frigates
that rashly, but most gallantly, endeavoured to protect them.

As the wind was now fair for England, he formed his fleet round the
prizes, and keeping up a running fire, carried the whole of the
captured ships into Plymouth in the face of the enemy, and despite
their utmost endeavours to prevent him.

Kempenfelt then returned to Spithead with his squadron, of which he
retained command till the month of March next year, when he struck his
flag in the "VICTORY," and hoisted it on board the _Royal George_.
In this ship he was unhappily drowned on the 29th August, on her
capsizing at Spithead, when over 900 persons perished in a few
minutes. The "VICTORY" was a witness of the melancholy catastrophe,
and her boats saved many of the survivors.

Lord Howe next hoisted his flag in the "VICTORY" on assuming command
of the Channel Fleet, and cruised in the course of the summer of 1782,
but without any meetings with the enemy or incidents worth recording.

At this time, the attention of England, and indeed her enemies, was
almost entirely fixed on the defence of Gibraltar by General Elliot,
and the probable fate of that fortress, which though it had been
besieged by both sea and land for more than three years, had never
been so hardly pressed as now. Admiral Darby with a powerful fleet had
relieved the garrison from the greatest possible distress the year
before, but the supplies he then landed were now nearly exhausted, the
garrison were again commencing to feel the pangs of hunger, and it was
well known that the Spaniards had been for months making preparations
for an attack of a new kind, and on a grand scale, which they trusted
would compel the proud stronghold to lower its colours. The new
feature in the attack was the construction of ten large floating
batteries, so covered and protected as to be considered practically
invulnerable; these were armed with 154 pieces of the heaviest
ordnance, and backed up as they were by 48 French and Spanish sail of
the line, and 40,000 troops, the expected assault was enough to make
England tremble for the result. It was accordingly resolved to make a
great effort to relieve Gibraltar, and in such a manner that it
should be not only a temporary but a permanent relief and to this end
a fleet of 36 sail of the line was got together, which was to convoy a
large number of merchantmen, laden with every description of supplies,
and carrying troops to reinforce the garrison.

This fleet sailed on September 11th, with Lord Howe in the
"VICTORY," as Commander-in-Chief, and as Juniors, Vice-Admirals
Barrington and Millbank; and Rear-Admirals Alexander Hood and Hughes.

Before this succour could arrive, the grand attack on Gibraltar had
taken place. On September 9th the enemy's batteries, after a temporary
silence while preparing for the struggle, re-opened, and continued a
rain of shot and shell, with scarcely any intermission, to the 13th,
when the fleet and floating batteries being brought into their
assigned positions, joined in the bombardment.

It is not our province to relate the details of that memorable
day--enough to state that the arrangements which General Elliot's
energy had made were equal to the occasion; the invulnerable floating
batteries were set on fire, the fleet repulsed, the land attack took
no effect, and the baffled enemy, with enormous losses, withdrew from
active attack, to wait the results of the famine with which they well
knew the besieged were threatened, and which they hoped would effect
the capitulation their arms had failed to force.

But Howe was approaching, not rapidly, for foul winds detained him,
but surely, and the combined fleets lying off Algeciras were on the
_qui vive_ to prevent his landing any supplies, when on October 10th,
a terrific gale assailed them, which dismasted one, and drove five of
their number from their anchors; two of these got away into the
Mediterranean, but the other three went on shore in the bay, one of
them under our forts, where the crew were made prisoners.

The very next day, while the enemy was thus thrown into disorder, the
British fleet made its appearance in the Straits; and in the evening,
four of the transports succeeded in getting safe under the guns of
Gibraltar, without any attempt on the part of the combined fleets to
hinder them, much to the astonishment of Howe, who on learning some
days before of the failure of the grand attack, had also learnt the
avowed intention of the enemy to give him battle, and had called all
the Admirals on board the "VICTORY," and made known to them his
determination to force his way through at all hazards. The rest of the
convoy from light winds and bad management were swept past the Rock by
the current, and lost this favourable opportunity of accomplishing
their errand, a most fatal mischance, as ships once driven to the
eastward of Gibraltar, are sometimes weeks before they can gain their
anchorage on the western side. The men-of-war followed, and spent next
day in endeavouring to work up with the transport against the strong
easterly current, in hopes of getting them in, before the enemy, whose
misfortunes they had now heard of were enabled to interfere; but on
the morning of the 13th the combined fleets, having completed their
refitting, weighed, and sailed out of the bay, apparently intending to
engage the English ships, which were then but a few miles to the
eastward of Europa point, and in full sight of the garrison. Although
the gale of the 10th had reduced the enemy's force by six, yet they
still far out-numbered Howe's, as they mustered 80 sail of men-of-war,
forty-four of which were of the line, while Howe had but thirty-six
with which to protect his charge; nevertheless, he waited the advance
with impatience and confidence, having sent the merchant ships to the
Zaffarin Islands, as a rendezvous, until they should hear of the
result of the battle. But the enemy suddenly altered his course and
running past the British ships, disappeared in the dusk of evening.
Next day, neither of the fleets were to be seen from the Rock, but
some of the transports that had slipped back, arrived, filling the
garrison with joy. Thus several days passed, when on the 18th, the
remainder of the convoy, who had heard of no engagement and ventured
to leave their retreat at Zaffarin, arrived in safety, completing the
primary object of their mission. Next morning both fleets were again
in sight from Gibraltar, with an easterly wind, the British nearest.
Howe had been following the enemy, who was searching in vain for the
missing convoy; but now, hearing that his charge were all safely at
anchor, and not wishing to fight in the narrow space of the Straits,
the British Admiral, after landing a further supply of powder,
collected from his ships as he passed, under sail for the open sea,
and having gained it, awaited a second time the enemy's attack.

The combined fleet, which had been reinforced by the junction of the
two ships that had been driven from Algeciras were thus to windward,
and had the entire option of time and distance in their hands; they
chose to advance very leisurely, and to keep at a great distance,
firing apparently at the spars of the British ships, and never giving
them the opportunity of getting into close action. After continuing
this distant cannonade for some hours, the enemy again hauled off,
having inflicted a loss of 68 killed, and 280 wounded on the English.
The "VICTORY" herself did not lose a man, or fire a single shot, and
the other ships only returned the fire very occasionally. Howe was
much blamed for not making greater exertions to engage the enemy, but
it is easier to talk of getting a fleet to windward than to do it, and
he does not seem to have had it in his power to do more than he did.
The morning after this skirmish, the enemy being nowhere to be seen,
Howe, according to orders, broke up his fleet in detachments to
reinforce various stations, and returned home himself in the
"VICTORY" to Portsmouth, which he reached on November 10th.
Preliminaries of peace were already at this time being discussed, and
were signed on 20th January following, and "VICTORY" was paid off at
Portsmouth on February 27th, after a commission of nearly five years,
during which she had established the character of being the best
sailing three-decker ever launched. This character she ever after
maintained, and it led to her being almost invariably chosen as
flagship, by every officer who had the chance of so doing.

On preparations being made in June 1790, in expectation of war with
Spain, the "VICTORY" was again commissioned. Lord Howe at first had
his flag in her, but when the _Queen Charlotte_ was ready, he went to
that ship, and Lord Hood succeeded him in the "VICTORY." She
remained at the North ready for service throughout that year, and part
of the next, when Hood was appointed to command the Northern Fleet,
fitting out in case our friendly relations with Russia, then trembling
in the balance, could not be maintained; but the difficulty passed
away, and in the summer of 1791 she was paid off and returned into

But in February, 1793, when the French Republic had sealed its former
acts of lawlessness by the execution of the King, Louis XVI, and had
further cut itself off from civilization by declaring war against the
world, or against such parts of the world as it was not already
fighting with, that war which is known in our annals as the "War with
the Republic," commenced in earnest.

England's fleets were at once brought forward, and the "VICTORY" was
again manned as the flagship of Lord Hood, who was now appointed
Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. He hoisted his flag at
Portsmouth on the evening of the 6th of May, and his Lordship sailed
on the 22nd of the same month, accompanied by 6 two-deckers and 5
frigates, which composed the last detachment of the fleet he was to
command; 14 other line-of-battle ships and some frigates having
preceded him, under Vice-Admirals Hotham and Cosby, and Rear-Admirals
Goodall and Gell.

On the 24th a junction was effected with Admiral Hotham's divisions,
and after waiting off Scilly a fortnight for the passing of a convoy,
Hood bore away for Gibraltar with 11 sail of the line.

The first object of importance in the Mediterranean was the reduction
of Toulon if possible. In that port, the great Southern French
Arsenal, were known to be upwards of 30 sail of the line, 17 of them
ready for sea, under the orders of Admiral Trogoff, but as that
officer was a staunch monarchist, he was not expected to do anything
that would further the cause of republicanism, and the existence of a
strong royalist party in the south of France, favoured the supposition
that instead of resisting the British, the Toulonese would receive
them with open arms, as their only chance of protection from that
republic they so thoroughly hated and feared.

Such being the posture of affairs, Hood hurried out to his station,
watering his ships at Cadiz, (for Spain was now our ally against the
common enemy) and Gibraltar. From the latter place the fleet sailed,
on June 27th, and on the 7th July fell in with a Spanish fleet of 24
sail whose Admiral sent a message to Lord Hood, to say that he had
1900 men sick and was going into Carthagena, and, said the Captain of
the frigate "no wonder, for we have been 60 days at sea." This speech
did not raise their new allies in the estimation of the British, who
laughed at such a notion, and left the Spaniards to follow to Toulon,
which was sighted on the 19th July, and a flag of truce was sent in to
propose an exchange of prisoners. To this the enemy would not accede,
but they were now acquainted with the presence of Lord Hood's fleet
off the port, and those causes of dissension we have mentioned began
to operate, with the most important final results.

Lord Hood cruised for a fortnight in sight of Toulon, then sailed for
Nice to show himself there, and on his return on 20th August, heard
that proposals were being made in Toulon to put themselves under his
protection. On the 23rd, Commissioners came on board the "VICTORY"
from Marseilles with full powers to treat for peace, offering a
conditional surrender of Toulon and all the shipping, declaring a
monarchical government the leading object of their negotiation, and
praying for speedy help against the armies of the convention that were
at that moment approaching.

Our space will not permit a full account of the proceedings at this
time, and we must satisfy ourselves by stating that Toulon was taken
possession of on the 27th August, without a blow, despite the
threatened opposition of Admiral St. Julien, the second in command,
who was thorough republican; the Spanish fleet hove in sight the same
day, and Toulon was soon occupied by the combined forces, and vigorous
steps taken to keep possession of our "extraordinary acquisition," as
Nelson in one of his letters calls it. But the enemy were at hand,
mustering stronger and stronger every day, and by November, General
Dugommier was besieging the town with 40,000 men, while the defenders,
who only mustered 16,000, were of different nationalities and had to
man a line 15 miles in length. On December 16th a position on the
heights commanding Toulon was carried by the besiegers, and a council
of war, hastily summoned, determined to evacuate the town, carry off
as many ships as possible, and burn the rest. The evacuation was
carried out successfully, the troops and seamen were all embarked, and
15,000 of the inhabitants took refuge from the rage of their
countrymen on board the fleets. But the rest of the programme was not
so completely performed; the Spaniards had charged themselves with the
destruction of the ships in the inner harbour, but either by
carelessness or treachery, they very imperfectly performed their task.
They did _not_ fire the ships of war but _did_ set alight to the
powder vessels which it was arranged should be scuttled; these blew
up, nearly destroying Captain Sidney Smith, who was burning the ships
in the outer mole; he gallantly attempted to repair the omission, but
was repulsed by the fire of the republicans who were already in the
town, and had to retire, leaving the work but half done. Of 58 ships
in the port when Lord Hood arrived, 14 were destroyed, 19 carried off,
and 25 left to the French.

In all these operations the men of the "VICTORY," if not the ship
herself, bore an active part, as they were landed, and helped to man
the batteries with the other ship's companies, and suffered great
losses in the continual bombardment to which they were exposed. On one
occasion, indeed, the ship was like to have become the heroine of an
adventure which might have ended her days, for, on October 23rd, in
one of the disputes, which, as might be expected, were not unfrequent
between our quondam enemies the Spaniards and ourselves, Don Juan de
Langara, the Spanish Admiral, placed three of his three-deckers round
the "VICTORY," as she lay in the outer road of Toulon, as a "gentle
moral persuasion" on behalf of his demands. As the English fleet at
that time was reduced by the absence of detachments to 10 sails, and
their crews were weakened by the landing parties, the Spanish Admiral
with his 17 sail, could have destroyed our ships, had he dared to
carry matters so far; but Lord Hood was firm, and the Spanish ships
resumed their former positions without any further demonstrations.

The British fleet now withdrew to Hyères, where they lay and
revictualled; and on the 24th of January, 1794, thinking that
something might yet be done to assist the royalist faction in Corsica,
Lord Hood proceeded with a fleet of 60 sail, including transports, for
the Bay of Fiorenzo. While on the passage, a furious gale arose which
dispersed them, and the "VICTORY," amongst others, was nearly
disabled, losing her mainyard and many of her sails, and was at one
time in danger of being lost. The scattered fleet put into Porto
Ferrajo on the 29th. Detachments of ships were sent from here, with
the troops, to attack San Fiorenzo, the principal port of Corsica; and
on the 19th February, after standing a bombardment of eleven days,
this town capitulated. By this time the "VICTORY" herself had

Lord Hood then tried to persuade General Dundas, who commanded the
troops, of the practicability of taking Bastia, the capital of the
island; but that officer differed, and not only refused to take any
part in the attempt, but would not even lend a mortar or gun, or any
stores for the service, so that Hood had actually to send to Naples
for these most necessary articles for a siege; for, probably believing
that the energy of Nelson, then Captain of the _Agamemnon_, who had
borne a most prominent part in these previous undertakings, was
sufficient to carry anything through with success, the Admiral
determined to attempt it alone with his sailors, and 1000 men of
different regiments who were embarked in the ship as marines. He
cruised in the "VICTORY" for some days, before Bastia, and then
returned to San Fiorenzo, leaving everything to the direction of
Nelson, who worked as he always did, untiringly. On April 4th Hood
again went round and assisted with his men, etc., in raising the shore
batteries; and on the 11th, when all was ready, a boat from the
"VICTORY" went in to demand the capitulation of the town. This was
refused with scorn, by the brave Frenchman, St. Michel, who replied,
that he "had red-hot shot for our ships, and bayonets for our men;"
the "VICTORY," on receiving this reply, hoisted a red flag, the
preconcerted signal, and immediately the batteries opened. The town
replied, and for some weeks the siege went on with varying success.

During this period General D'Aubant, who had succeeded General Dundas,
would ride over with his staff from San Fiorenzo, a distance of only
twelve miles, and watch the operations, his own men remaining inactive
the while, and it was his extraordinary conduct that urged the seamen
to exertions of which they might otherwise have been incapable. The
fire of the besiegers grew hotter and hotter; new batteries were
erected, and guns mounted on heights deemed insurmountable, and on
19th May, their efforts were rewarded by a boat from the town coming
on board the "VICTORY," with a proposal of surrender.

The preliminaries were speedily arranged, and on the 22nd the town
and two frigates were given up. "When I reflect on what we have
achieved," says Nelson in a letter to his wife, "I am all
astonishment. I always was of opinion, have ever acted up to it, and
never have had any reason to repent it, that one Englishman was equal
to three Frenchmen."

Calvi, the other principal town in Corsica, was now looked upon as a
desirable acquisition, but before anything could be done, Hood
received intelligence that the French fleet had left Toulon, and
immediately sailed in pursuit. He met Admiral Hotham's squadron next
day, and with 13 sail of the line, sighted the Frenchmen on June 10th.
The enemy were chased for two days, but before they could be overtaken
they escaped into Gourjean Bay, where it was found impossible to
attack them, and Lord Hood returned with the "VICTORY" and three
other ships to Martello Bay, leaving Vice-Admiral Hotham, with the
remainder, to watch the French, which we may remark, he did for five
months without success.

Nelson had been sent back to Bastia with his ship, as soon as the
inferiority of the enemy's fleet had been ascertained, and as General
Stuart, who had arrived with a reinforcement, and was now in command
of the troops, was a very different man to either of his successors,
and as anxious as Nelson himself to lose no time in attacking Calvi,
the _Agamemnon_ and transports went at once from Bastia to a small bay
about 3 miles from Calvi, where they arrived on June 19th, and
proceeded to land. On the same day the "VICTORY" and _Britannia_
anchored in Martello Bay, and after sending parties of men by land to
join Stuart and Nelson, they came round to Calvi on the 27th, with all
the munitions of war they could muster, and lay off and on during the

The "VICTORY" landed 7 of her own lower deck guns for the batteries,
as well as some guns she had from the _Commerce de Marseilles_, and
sent a strong party of seamen to assist, but was not able to get into
action herself from the strength of the sea defences of the town. The
seamen from _Agamemnon_, "VICTORY," and transports, guided and
incited by Nelson's indomitable energy, again performed prodigies in
the way of work; they once more dragged guns up to positions
considered by the troops unattainable, made the batteries, and fought
them, and gained the warm praise and thanks of General Stuart, for the
valuable assistance they afforded.

The town surrendered on August 10th, after enduring a siege of 51
days. In these operations, several officers and men of the "VICTORY"
were killed and wounded.

Nelson himself was nearly slain, but got off with the loss of an eye.
His wound was never reported, and he only casually mentioned that he
had received a slight hurt which laid him up one day. All this time,
Lord Hood, on whose health the anxious work at Toulon had told
considerably, remained on board the "VICTORY" and sent supplies to
the shore parties when required. The ship was once blown off by a
gale, but resumed her position after an absence of a week.

The "VICTORY" next proceeded to Genoa, and in the first week of
November, she left for England, taking Lord Hood with her, his health
not being able to stand the fatigues of the command any longer. She
arrived at Portsmouth in December, and Lord Hood went on leave, but
rehoisted his flag on the 14th April following, after the ship had had
a thorough refit.

On May 1st, 1795, the "VICTORY" was again a spectator of the
destruction of a sister first rate, the _Boyne_ of 98 guns, which
caught fire and blew up at Spithead, where remnants of her remain to
this day off Southsea Castle, marked by a green buoy.

On 2nd of May, as Lord Hood was on the point of leaving to resume his
command, he was ordered to strike his flag, and "VICTORY" sailed out
on 24th May, as a private ship,[B] with Rear-Admiral Man, who was
taking a reinforcement out to Admiral Hotham, then confirmed
Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean. Man joined Hotham's fleet off
Minorca on June 14th, and on 8th July, on the fleet weighing from San
Fiorenzo Bay, to pursue the enemy, he shifted his flag to the

    [B] "A private ship" is a man-of-war that does not have an
    Admiral on board.

The French fleet of 17 sail, under Admiral Martin, were sighted off
Hyères at daylight on July 13th, and the signal for a general chase
was thrown out by the _Britannia_, Admiral Hotham's flagship.

The "VICTORY" was always celebrated for her good sailing qualities,
and on this occasion they shone out particularly conspicuous, for, at
half-past noon, she, with the _Culloden_ and _Cumberland_, came within
range of the rearmost of the enemy, while the rest of their companions
were astern at distances ranging from 1 to 9 miles, the
Commander-in-Chief being one of the farthest, for the _Britannia_ was
as bad a sailer as the "VICTORY" was a good one. They opened fire,
but at this moment the wind unfortunately failed, and they were unable
to get into close action, though at the end of an hour the _Alcide_, a
seventy-four, struck. They still hoped to make more prizes, but had by
four o'clock drifted so near the shore, that the signal to discontinue
the action was made, and the French escaped through the shoals, the
passages between which they were familiar with, into Fréjus Bay.

The _Alcide_, which had made a most gallant defence, unluckily took
fire shortly after striking, and blew up with the loss of all her
crew, save 200. In the skirmish, the "VICTORY" was the greatest
sufferer, having her rigging much cut, and all her lower masts badly
wounded. She lost 5 killed (2 officers), and 16 wounded.

Man retained his flag in her until October, when he shifted to the
_Windsor Castle_, and was succeeded by Vice-Admiral Robert Linzee, who
flew his flag in the "VICTORY" for a month only. During this period
she was cruising with a fleet, watching Toulon, and going from port to
port in that vicinity, until the 3rd of December, 1795, when being at
San Fiorenzo in Corsica, Sir John Jervis, who had arrived from England
a few days before, hoisted his flag in her as Commander-in-Chief, and
at once proceeded off Toulon. He remained cruising between that port
and Minorca, with a fleet of about 13 sail, until the autumn of 1796,
but up to this time no incidents took place that are worth recording.

Spain had made a peace with France in 1794; and now in August 1796, an
alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded between the two
powers. This put Sir John Jervis in a very critical position, as the
united French and Spanish fleets amounted to 38 ships of the line,
while Sir John, who was at Martello Bay, had but 15. It was determined
accordingly, to evacuate Corsica, as the power of the French republic,
and the deeds of their countryman, Buonaparte, were awaking feelings
in the inhabitants that were not amicable to England. This was
completed on the 2nd November, and Sir John and all his fleet sailed
from Corsica, and escorted the transports to Gibraltar, which was
reached on December 11th. On the 16th he went on to Lisbon to meet
some expected reinforcements from home.

Here he remained until the 18th January, when he sailed with 10 ships
only; but on February 6th 5 more joined from England, when his force
consisted of the following line-of-battle ships, with which he
cruised, awaiting news of the enemy.

                             { Admiral Sir John Jervis, K.B.
    110   "VICTORY"          { Captain Robert Calder.
                             { Captain George Grey.

    100   _Britannia_        { Vice-Admiral Charles Thompson.
                             { Captain Thomas Foley.

        { _Barfleur_         { Vice-Admiral Hon. W. Waldegrave.
        {                    { Captain James R. Dacres.
     98 { _Prince George_    { Rear-Admiral William Parker.
        {                    { Captain John Irwin.
        { _Blenheim_           Captain Thomas L. Frederick.

     80   _Namur_              Captain James H. Whitshed.

        { _Captain_          { Commodore Horatio Nelson.
        {                    { Captain Ralph W. Miller.
        { _Goliath_            Captain Sir Charles Knowles, Bart.
     74 { _Excellent_          Captain Cuthbert Collingwood.
        { _Orion_              Captain Sir James Saumarez.
        { _Colossus_           Captain George Murray.
        { _Egmont_             Captain John Sutton.
        { _Culloden_           Captain Thomas Troubridge.
        { _Irresistible_       Captain George Martin.

     64   _Diadem_             Captain George H. Towry.

On the 13th, when off Cape St. Vincent, Commodore Nelson in the
_Minerve_ frigate, joined, and reported having been chased by the
Spaniards. This was a fleet of 27 sail of the line, which had passed
the Straits on the 5th, and was then working up for Cadiz, with the
intention of picking up more ships there, and then proceeding for
Brest to join the French.

The morning of the 14th, the 'glorious St. Valentine's day,' 1791,
broke thick and misty, but as soon as daylight made its appearance,
the Spaniards were sighted to the S.W.; one by one they were made out
through the fog, and reported to the Admiral, who received the report
of their increasing numbers with imperturbability, and when the whole
27 sail were fully in sight, and Captain Calder expressed some
hesitation about the wisdom of coping with such odds, he exclaimed,
"Enough Sir, were there _fifty_ I will go through them."

The Spanish fleet were much scattered and in no particular order, but
some eight ships were considerably to leeward of the rest, leaving a
distinct gap, which was, however, rapidly narrowing, by the nineteen
ships to windward running down to join their companions. For this gap
the British ships pushed with all sail in a compact line, "VICTORY"
in the centre. A few minutes hesitation might have been fatal, for had
the enemy got all his ships together, the 15 English vessels would
have fought against great odds; but Jervis was a bold Commander, to
whom indecision was unknown, and who was well aware of the value of
the presence of a man like Nelson, and, indeed, it was mainly by the
latter's daring manoeuvre at a later period of the action, that the
Spaniards were prevented from effecting their junction.

As it was, they were just in time, and as soon as the weather division
of Spaniards saw the head of the English line between them and their
friends, they hauled to the wind on the opposite tack, hoping to get
round the rear of the British line, and so effect their purpose. Their
lee division still stood determinedly on, and attempted to cut the
British line ahead of the "VICTORY" herself, but she, by her rapid
advance, frustrated this, and forced the _Principe de Asturias_, of
112 guns, to put about to avoid a collision. The Spanish ship, which
bore the flag of one of their Rear Admirals, let fly her broadside as
she shot up in the wind, but either from the obscurity caused by
smoke, or by mistaken orders this was done at the wrong time, and
extraordinary to relate, not a shot struck the "VICTORY." With a
ringing cheer of derision from her crew, the British flagship re-paid
the compliment, but with interest, for as the Spanish three-decker
slowly turned round and presented her stern to her, the whole of the
"VICTORY'S" guns were discharged into it with destructive effect.
The Spaniard ran straight away to leeward, followed by his whole
division, and until the close of the day, never appeared again in the

In the mean time, the weather division, as has been said, were
intending to round the rear of our line, and so join their ships to
leeward, but Nelson, in the _Captain_, the third ship of the line from
the rear, saw their object the instant their van bore up together
astern, and immediately wearing round, plunged fearlessly into their
midst. He was followed by the _Culloden_ and _Excellent_, and the
Spanish Admiral, daunted by this spirited conduct, hauled to the wind,
and gave up the attempt.

The annexed plan may help to the comprehension of the position of
affairs at this period of the action.

  [Illustration: BATTLE OF CAPE ST. VINCENT ABOUT 1.45, P.M.]

The other British ships in the meantime were tacking in succession,
and one after another came into action to the support of their

The "VICTORY" engaged the _Salvador del Mundo_, a 112 gun ship,
which had already been mauled by the _Excellent_, and forced her to
strike her colours. This was at 3, p.m., and shortly afterwards, Sir
John, who was discreet as he was bold, observing that about 24
Spaniards (composed of the 8 lee ships, and odd ships of the weather
division, who were all fresh) were bearing down on them, made the
signal to close up to cover the prizes; this was immediately done, and
the Spaniards, not liking the look of the compact line of the British,
hauled off, and made no effort to continue the action.

In this battle, Nelson particularly distinguished himself, as in his
little 74, the _Captain_, he boarded in succession, and took, the _San
Nicholas_, of 80, and _San Josef_, of 112 guns; the "VICTORY"
passing just at that time, gave the gallant _Captain_ three cheers.
Nelson went on board the "VICTORY" after the action, and was warmly
embraced by Sir John Jervis, on the very quarter-deck on which he was
to fall, covered with glory, eight years later, and not far from the
place where this battle had been fought.

But for all these details we must refer the reader to _James's_,
_Drinkwater's_, and other accounts.

The "VICTORY," strange to say, had but 1 man killed, and 8 wounded;
the total loss in the English fleet being about 350 killed and

The fruits of the victory were the _San Josef_, _Salvador del Mundo_,
112, _San Nicholas_, 80, and _San Isidro_, 74; a result, that
considering these prizes were wrested from 27 ships by 15, cannot but
be considered as most glorious.

The enemy, next day, had it in their power to renew the action with 21
ships. Who can say what the result might have been, for some of our
vessels were so disabled as to render it necessary to tow them; but
though the Spaniards once made a feint, as if they would attack, they
finally disappeared, allowing our fleet and prizes to arrive safely at
Lagos Bay, in Portugal, where they anchored on the 16th.

On the 19th, they experienced a gale of wind that drove the
"VICTORY" from her anchors, whereby she had a most narrow escape of
being wrecked. On the 23rd they sailed, and arrived at Lisbon on the
28th, without accident or molestation.

The news of the battle of Cape St. Vincent, as it was called, was
received in England with frantic joy; great rejoicings took place
throughout the kingdom, the fleet received the thanks of both Houses
of Parliament, Sir John Jervis was created Earl of St. Vincent,
Admirals Thompson and Parker were made Baronets, and the gallant
Commodore Nelson was invested with the honours of the Bath.

On the 28th March Sir John Jervis was reinforced by a squadron from
England, when he shifted his flag on the 30th from the "VICTORY" to
the _Ville de Paris_, a new three-decked ship.

The fleet sailed next day (the "VICTORY" being now a private ship)
and proceeded off Cadiz, where Nelson had been cruising for some time
watching the Spanish ships, who, ever since the 16th of February had
lain in that port, hooted and jeered at by the populace, and their
Admirals and Captains disgraced.

Jervis blockaded Cadiz during the summer, the "VICTORY" serving in
sometimes the outer, sometimes the in-shore squadron, and sending her
boats to take part in the night attacks, undertaken by Commodore
Nelson, with the hopes of shaming the Spaniards to come out. On one of
these occasions, 5th July, some of her men were wounded. But the Dons
were not to be lured out, and on the approach of winter, Earl St.
Vincent withdrew his vessels to the Tagus, and amongst other ships
sent the "VICTORY" home, with the prizes taken on February 14th. She
arrived at Spithead on October 1st, and thence going to Chatham, paid
off on November 26th, after another long and eventful commission of
nearly five years duration.

Worn out, and unfit for further active service, the poor old
"VICTORY" was here degraded to the office of prison hospital ship,
which she filled for two years, when, unwilling that such a favourite
and fast sailing ship should be lost to the country, the Admiralty
directed her to be thoroughly repaired. This took a year, and in the
spring of 1801 she came out of dock almost a new ship, but she was
not ready for service in the Baltic campaign of that date, and had
rest at Chatham for still two years.

The peace concluded between England and France in 1802 was not of long
duration, for on April 29th, 1803, war was again declared; this had
been foreseen, and early in the month, great preparations were made in
all the dockyards. Lord Nelson was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the
Mediterranean, and selected the "VICTORY" as his flagship. She was
commissioned at Chatham, on April 9th, and on 16th May arrived at
Spithead. Nelson was waiting for her, but could not get away for a few
days; and such was his impatience to sail, that in answer to everyone
who spoke to him on the 19th of his departure, he said, "I cannot sail
till to-morrow, and that's an age."

He went on board on the 20th, and sailed in a violent squall of wind
and rain the same afternoon, having orders to speak Admiral Cornwallis
off Brest, and if necessary to leave the "VICTORY" with him, and go
on a frigate. On the 22nd he was in sight of Brest, but no Cornwallis
was to be seen, and after chafing for a day, his anxiety did not
permit him to wait any longer, so striking his flag in the
"VICTORY," he went on board the _Amphion_, leaving the former ship
to find the Admiral of the Channel Fleet, and if not required, to
follow him with all speed.

Within forty hours after Lord Nelson left him, Captain Sutton met Lord
Cornwallis, and was immediately permitted to resume his voyage. A few
days after, the "VICTORY" fell in with the _Ambuscade_, a French
frigate, formerly an English one, which she re-captured, and on the
12th June, she anchored at Gibraltar. After watering, she left on the
15th, called at Malta on the 9th July, and on the 30th, joined the
squadron of 5 line-of-battle ships, off Cape Sicie, when Lord Nelson
at once shifted into her, bringing Captain T. Masterman Hardy with
him, from the _Amphion_, Captain Sutton of the "VICTORY" exchanging.

For 18 months subsequent to this, there is no fact worth recording in
the history of the "VICTORY." During that time Lord Nelson, with a
fleet that averaged 10 sail of the line, closely watched the road of
Toulon, where a French fleet lay at anchor, going occasionally to
Agincourt Sound, in Sardinia, for water, &c., but the French never
showed any sign of moving, until the beginning of 1805, though every
stratagem was tried to entice them to come out.

Spain had declared war with England on 12th December, 1804, and
Buonaparte had formed a great plan for the invasion of Britain, the
first step to the accomplishment of which, was to gain the command of
the Channel. This could only be done by placing an overwhelming force
of ships there, and by misleading the English as to his design. With
this object in view, Admiral Villeneuve, who was now in command at
Toulon, prepared for sea, and embarked on board his 11 ships, 3,500

His orders, as subsequently ascertained were, to proceed to the West
Indies, effect a junction there with a fleet of 21 sail from Brest,
land his troops, and if opportunity offered, ravage our colonies; then
return with speed to Ferrol, where the Spaniards were to have a fleet
of at least 25 sail ready to join him, and with this overpowering
force, he was expected to keep our ships at bay, while the bold
originator of this scheme, Napoleon, crossed the Channel himself, at
the head of 170,000 men. We shall see how much easier this was to plan
than to carry out.

On January 12th, 1805, well nigh worn out with watching, hoping, and
fearing, his ships and their rigging rotten, Nelson left his station
off Toulon, for the anchorage at Agincourt Sound, which he called his
"home," to water and refit, leaving his two frigates to watch the

The fleet now consisted of the following ships:--"VICTORY," 104,
_Royal Sovereign_, 100, _Canopus_, 80, _Spencer_, 74, _Leviathan_,
74, _Tigre_, 80, _Superb_, 74, _Belleisle_, 74, _Swiftsure_, 74,
_Conqueror_, 74, _Donegal_, 74.

On the 17th Villeneuve put to sea, and on the 19th January, at 2 p.m.,
the fleet in Agincourt Sound was electrified by the appearance of the
frigates, with the welcome signal flying, "enemy is at sea." In two
hours the ships were under weigh, and made sail for the passage
between Biche and Sardinia, a passage so narrow that the ships had to
proceed in single line, directed by the lights of their next ahead,
and led by the "VICTORY," who took them through in safety.

Nelson had nothing to guide him as to where the French were bound, but
he knew they could not be far off, and dispatched the few frigates he
had to scour the coasts in search, but all to no purpose--no tidings
could be obtained. A gale that arose on the 21st, and that lasted a
week, blew in the teeth of the fleet as it attempted to go south, and
Nelson was wild at the thought that they had escaped him. The only
place his reasoning led him to suppose they could have sailed for, was
Egypt, and thither he turned his ships' heads. He arrived off
Alexandria on 7th February, but found no sign of them there either;
immediately he retraced his steps, and called off Malta, and here he
learnt that the French fleet were dispersed and disabled by the gale
on the 21st, and had returned to Toulon, scattered and crippled.

Nelson, in a letter to Admiral Collingwood, thus writes on the
subject. "Buonaparte has often made his brags that our fleet would be
worn out by keeping the sea; that his was kept in order and increasing
by being kept in port; but he now finds I fancy, _if Emperors hear
truth_, that his fleet suffers more in one night, than ours in a

By March 12th, the British fleet, after struggling with a continuation
of gales, succeeded in regaining their station off Toulon, and to
their joy, saw the enemy still at anchor, and after watching them till
the 27th, they proceeded to Palma Bay to get that refit they so much
required, as during all this cruise, every ship had been strained to
her utmost.

Villeneuve took the first opportunity to escape again, after his ships
were repaired, and on 29th March ran out of Toulon roads; on the 31st
he was discovered off Cape Sicie, by the _Phoebe_, which vessel lost
no time in communicating her intelligence to the Admiral, who was
again on his way to Toulon; and once more the exciting chase began.
The frigates, most unfortunately, lost the French ships, and could
give no intelligence of their apparent destination. Again Nelson
thought of Egypt, and proceeded off Sicily, sending ships right and
left to get information, and on the 15th April, when off Palermo, he
first heard of the evident intention of the enemy to go westward. At
once he made sail in pursuit, but the fates were against him, and
while the French in their passage down the Spanish coast had been
favoured with easterly winds, he could get nothing but westerly gales.
"I believe," he says, "this ill luck will go near to kill me."

It was the 4th May, before the "VICTORY" and her consorts anchored
in Tetuan Bay to water and provision. Sailing the next day, they put
into Gibraltar for a few hours, and learnt nothing there, but that the
enemy's fleet had passed the Straits on the 8th April, nearly a month
in advance of them. Nelson at once went to Cape St. Vincent, hoping to
get news, and the next day he received the first reliable information
from an American brig, which was to the effect, that on the 9th April,
the French fleet of 11 sail had appeared off Cadiz, been joined by a
squadron of five Spanish and 2 French line-of-battle ships, and
immediately resumed their voyage. He then heard from an Admiral
Campbell in the Portuguese service, that their destination was the
West Indies; this tallied with his own ideas, and he instantly decided
on following.

On May 10th he put into Lagos Bay to get more provisions, and on the
11th, having sent the _Royal Sovereign_ back to the Mediterranean, as
a slow sailer who was likely to hinder him, he started in pursuit of
the 18 ships of the enemy, with but 10 of his own. His anxiety at this
time was extreme; he was very ill, and had been told by his physicians
that he ought to go home, but "salt beef and the French fleet is far
preferable to roast beef and champagne without them;" he writes, "my
health or my life even must not come into consideration at this
important crisis." Captain Hardy is reported to have said to him, "I
suppose, my Lord, that by crowding all this sail you mean to attack
those 18 ships?" "By God, Hardy," said he, "that I do;" and on the
passage over, he took every opportunity of making his plans known to
his captains, that a success might be ensured if possible. Barbadoes
was reached on June 4th, and here he received information that led him
to suppose that either Tobago or Trinidad was the object of the
combined fleet, who had been seen on the 28th May, and, embarking 2000
men, he hurried on for the latter island. Off Tobago he received
corroborative news from an American schooner, who must have deceived
him on purpose and all was preparation in the English fleet.

Early on the morning of the 7th June, the ships stood along the north
shore of Trinidad; and had anything been wanting to confirm the
intelligence they had received, it was supplied in the conflagration
of a battery, that protected a little cove in the steep coast, and the
flight of its garrison, who were seen speeding away in the direction
of the town. The remembrance of Aboukir Bay rose in their minds, every
man expected that the deeds of that glorious day would be repeated in
the Gulf of Paria, and as the ships sailed, prepared for battle,
through the Bocas of Trinidad, expectation was strained to the utmost,
to catch the first glimpse of the enemy they fully relied on seeing on
rounding the point.

What was their astonishment then on coming in view of the town, to
find the Union Jack still waving over the forts, and no French
men-of-war to be seen.

Nelson at once anchored for the night without communication, and early
next morning sailed for Grenada.

In the meantime, the town of Puerto d'Espana, the capital of Trinidad,
was the scene of the wildest excitement. The lieutenant of artillery
in command of the above-mentioned out-post, finding a fleet close to
him in the morning, and making no doubt it was that of the enemy (for
no one knew of Nelson's arrival in the West Indies), had burnt his
barracks, thrown his guns over the cliff, and hastened back to the
town, spreading dismay with the intelligence that the French were upon
them. The inhabitants at once fled to the interior, the troops were
drawn into the forts, and the town was left at the mercy of the French
Republicans, of whom there were many in the island, and who now came
forward and proclaimed themselves, believing their friends were at

The movements of the fleet were inexplicable to the governor, and he
was at once puzzled and relieved, when daylight revealed the strange
ships underweigh, and leaving their shores. It was some days before
the mystery was explained, and they learnt that Nelson had paid them a

He, in the meanwhile, was hurrying along the chain of islands to the
north, getting information, true or false, every day. On the 11th he
heard that the enemy, now consisting of 20 sail, had passed Antigua,
steering northward; and at once concluding that they were bound for
Europe, he landed the troops at Antigua on the 12th, and left next day
for Gibraltar, not without hopes of still catching them up.

This promptitude on the part of Nelson in following Villeneuve to the
West Indies, doubtless saved some of our possessions there, as there
was no force to withstand the combined fleets; but such was the terror
of his name, that no sooner did the enemy hear of his approach,
although he had but half their number of ships, than they immediately
started again on their return, without attempting to carry out that
part of their programme, which directed them to ravage our colonies.

Nelson's squadron, after a most tedious voyage, arrived at Gibraltar
on July 20th, when he went on shore; this was the first time for two
years that he had put his foot out of the "VICTORY," for such had
been his anxiety during his long blockade of Toulon to be ready at any
moment, that it had never suffered him to leave his ship for an
instant. Nothing up to this time had been heard of the enemy, and the
indefatigable Nelson, after watering and provisioning at Tetuan,
sailed again on the 23rd July.

He spoke Admiral Collingwood's squadron on 26th, and receiving
information that the enemy had gone to the northward, he proceeded for
Ushant, off which, on August 15th, he met Admiral Cornwallis with the
Channel fleet of 24 sail of the line, and from him received an order
to leave eight of the ships with him, and repair with "VICTORY" and
_Superb_ to Portsmouth.

The two ships arrived at Spithead on the 18th, when they were put in
quarantine for a day, to Nelson's great indignation; they were then
released, and Nelson went to his home at Merton, to get that rest he
so badly needed. The "VICTORY" remained at Spithead, and did what
repairs she could at that anchorage during her brief stay.

A short account of the proceedings of the combined fleets up to this
time, may tend to the elucidation of the state of affairs.

When Villeneuve made his escape from the Mediterranean, the Brest
squadron attempted to put to sea to join him at Martinique, but the
determined front put on by Lord Gardner, who commanded the Channel
fleet, then blockading Brest, daunted the enemy, who put back again
into port. This was failure number one, in Buonaparte's scheme.

We have followed Villeneuve with his 20 sail of French and Spanish
line-of-battle ships to Antigua; thence he proceeded for Brest,
intending to effect a junction with the fleet awaiting him there; but
on July 22nd, Sir Robert Calder, who was watching Ferrol and had been
warned by a frigate from Lord Nelson of the probable approach of the
enemy, met and engaged him, and though he numbered but 15 to 20, he
took two ships of the line, and forced the French admiral from his
design. This was the second breakdown in the programme; however,
Villeneuve got into Ferrol and joined the ships there, which made his
force 29 sail of the line, and with these he sailed on August 9th,
but, for some unexplained cause, instead of now making his way to
Brest, he turned south and entered Cadiz on the 21st, driving off
Admiral Collingwood's small squadron.

On September 2nd, Captain Blackwood, on his way to London with the
news of the combined fleets having left Ferrol, called at 5 a.m. at
Merton, where he found Lord Nelson up and dressed; the latter
immediately said, "you bring me news of the French and Spanish fleets,
I shall have to give them a drubbing yet;" and going up to town with
him, offered his services to the Admiralty. These were gladly
accepted, and the "VICTORY" again hoisted his flag on September
15th, and sailed the same day in company with the _Euryalus_, Captain
Blackwood, which frigate he afterwards despatched ahead to direct that
the "VICTORY" should not be saluted on her arrival, in order that
the enemy should be unaware of the reinforcement. On the 28th of the
same month he joined, and took command of, the fleet off Cadiz,
which, by the junction of Sir Robert Calder's ships to Admiral
Collingwood's now consisted of 29 sail.

On October 4th, Nelson dispatched Rear-Admiral Louis with 5 sail of
the line to Gibraltar, but a small squadron from England joined a few
days afterwards, making up his fleet to the following 27 sail of the

    104 { "VICTORY"            { Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B.
        {                      { Capt. Thos. Masterman Hardy.

        { _Royal Sovereign_    { Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood.
    100 {                      { Captain Edward Rotheram.
        { _Britannia_          { Rear-Admiral Earl of Northesk.
        {                      { Captain Charles Bullen.

        { _Temeraire_            Captain Eliab Harvey.
        { _Prince_               Captain Richard Grindall.
     98 { _Neptune_              Captain Thos. Francis Freemantle.
        { _Dreadnought_          Captain John Conn.

     80   _Tonnant_              Captain Charles Tyler.

        { _Belleisle_            Captain William Hargood.
        { _Revenge_              Captain Robert Moorsom.
        { _Mars_                 Captain George Duff.
        { _Spartiate_            Captain Sir Francis Laforey, Bart.
        { _Defiance_             Captain Philip Charles Durham.
        { _Conqueror_            Captain Israel Pellew.
        { _Defence_              Captain George Hope.
     74 { _Colossus_             Captain James N. Morris.
        { _Leviathan_            Captain Henry W. Bayntun.
        { _Achille_              Captain Richard King.
        { _Bellerophon_          Captain John Cooke.
        { _Minotaur_             Captain Charles J. M. Mansfield.
        { _Orion_                Captain William Codrington.
        { _Swiftsure_            Captain William G. Rutherford.
        { _Ajax_                 Lieut. John Pilfold.
        { _Thunderer_            Lieut. John Stockham.

        { _Polyphemus_           Captain Robert Redmill.
     64 { _Africa_               Captain Henry Digby.
        { _Agamemnon_            Captain Sir Edward Berry.

Before continuing our narrative, we must again remind our readers that
this is but the history of one ship, and that in our account of
Trafalgar, only a sufficient general description of the movements of
the fleet will be given, to render the "VICTORY'S" part
intelligible; for details, we must again refer to _James's Naval
History_, where the most complete account of the action that has been
published, will be found.

On 19th October, the Franco-Spanish fleet, of 33 sail of the line,
under Admiral Villeneuve, as Commander-in-Chief, and Admiral Gravina,
(Spanish), as second, came out of Cadiz, and, after some manoeuvring,
at daylight on the 21st, the two fleets were in sight of one another,
being then about 20 miles west of Cape Trafalgar. The wind was light,
from the W.N.W., and the enemy were in a straggling line on the
starboard tack, under easy sail; the British fleet were in two columns
on the port tack, and some ten miles dead to windward. At 6.50, the
"VICTORY" made the signal to bear up, on which the enemy wore
together, thus presenting his port broadside to the English fleet,
which bore down with a very light wind right aft, and with all
studding sails set; the "VICTORY" leading the port line, and the
_Royal Sovereign_ the starboard, the latter being somewhat in advance.

Thus the British very slowly closed with the enemy, Lord Nelson
refusing to allow the _Temeraire_, his next astern, to take the lead,
and thereby bear the brunt of the battle. His Lordship visited the
decks of his ship, exhorted his men not to throw away a shot, and was
received with cheers as he again went on deck. Having made every
other signal to his fleet he thought necessary, he finished with that
most celebrated one--"England expects that every man will do his
duty,"--which, at 11.40, was hoisted at the "VICTORY'S"
mizen-topgallant-masthead, and was received by most of the ships with

This made, Lord Nelson's customary signal on going into
action--"Engage the enemy more closely"--was hoisted at the main, and
there remained until the mast was shot away.

At noon, the action commenced by the _Fougoeux_ opening fire on the
_Royal Sovereign_, on which the British Admirals hoisted their flags,
and all their ships the white ensign, having also, each, two Union
Jacks in the rigging. Twenty minutes later the enemy's ships ahead of
the "VICTORY" began a furious cannonade on her, which killed in a
short time amongst many others, Mr. Scott, Lord Nelson's secretary.
Seeing Nelson's intention to break the line, the enemy closed up ahead
of him, making an almost impenetrable line; but the "VICTORY" still
held her course, and steered straight for the mass of ships grouped
round the _Bucentaure_, a French 80, on board of which was Villeneuve,
the French Commander-in-Chief, though he never showed his flag during
the action.

Nelson directed Captain Hardy to run on board any ship he chose, as it
was evident they could not pass through the line without a collision,
and at 12.30, not having as yet fired a single shot, the "VICTORY"
passed slowly under the stern of the _Bucentaure_, so close as almost
to be able to catch hold of her ensign, and discharge the port guns in
succession right into her cabin windows, placing about 400 men _hors
de combat_, by that one broadside, and almost disabling her from
further resistance. The position of the ships at this moment is shown
in the accompanying plan.

  [Illustration: BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR AT 0.25, P.M.]

At the same time the "VICTORY" fired her starboard guns at two
vessels on that side of her, and five minutes later ran on board the
_Redoutable_, a French 74, hooking her boom iron into the Frenchman's
topsails, and so dropped alongside, the "VICTORY" being on the
_Redoutable's_ port side, and the latter closing her lower deck ports
to prevent boarding. A tremendous cannonade ensued, the "VICTORY"
firing her port guns at the _Bucentaure_ and _Santissima Trinidada_,
her starboard ones being very fully employed by the _Redoutable_ which
was so close alongside, that the men on the "VICTORY'S" lower deck
on each discharge dashed a bucket of water into the hole made in the
enemy's side by the shot, to prevent the spread of the fire that might
have destroyed both ships indiscriminately.

During this time the British ships were coming into action one after
another, but very slowly, as the wind, light all the morning, had now
fallen to a mere air, barely sufficient to bring all our vessels up;
thus the first ships engaged had dreadful odds against them, and the
loss of life in them was great.

After bringing the _Redoutable_ to close action as before described,
Lord Nelson and Captain Hardy, side by side, calmly walked the centre
of the quarter deck, from the poop to the hatchway. At about 1.25, in
their walk forward his Lordship turned a little short of the hatchway,
Captain Hardy took the other step, and turned also, and beheld the
Admiral in the act of falling. He had been wounded by a musket ball
fired from the mizen-top of the _Redoutable_, which struck him in the
left shoulder as he turned, and thence descending, lodged in the
spine. He sank on to the very spot that was still red with his
secretary's blood, and was raised by Sergeant Secker, of the Marines,
and two seamen, who under Captain Hardy's directions, bore him to the
cockpit. "They have done for me at last, Hardy," said the hero as he
fell. "I hope not," said Hardy. "Yes," was the reply, "they have shot
my backbone through." But his presence of mind was still strong, and
he gave directions for the tautening of the tiller ropes as he was
carried below, and covered his face and decorations with a
handkerchief, that he might not be recognised.

The cockpit was crowded with wounded, and with difficulty he was borne
to a place on the port side, at the foremost end of it, and placed on
a purser's bed with his back resting against one of the wooden knees
of the ship. Here the surgeon examined his wound, and at once
pronounced it mortal.

In the meantime the battle raged furiously, the men stationed in the
_Redoutable's_ tops (Nelson would allow none in the "VICTORY," for
fear of setting fire to the sails), had nearly cleared the
"VICTORY'S" upper deck, 40 men being killed or wounded on the deck
alone. The French, seeing this, attempted to board, but were driven
back with great gallantry by the few men that remained, headed by
Captain Adair, of the Marines.

At about 1.50 the _Redoutable_ ceased firing, and two midshipmen and a
few men were sent from the "VICTORY" to assist in putting out a fire
that had burst out on board of her, and the "VICTORY" then proceeded
to get herself clear, leaving her prize lashed to the _Temeraire_,
that had just fouled her on the other side. The "VICTORY" was by
this time so crippled in her spars and sails that all efforts on her
part to get into _close_ action (Lord Nelson's favourite position),
with another enemy were ineffectual; but she still continued engaged
on the port side with the _Santissima Trinidada_ and other ships; and
later, with a fresh batch of the enemy's ships that passed along the
line and eventually escaped.

By 4.30 p.m. the action was over, and a victory was reported to Lord
Nelson just before his death. We left him in the cockpit, where he was
attended by Dr. Scott, the chaplain, and Mr. Burke, the purser. He
had sent the doctor away to attend to the other wounded, and lay in
great agony, fanned with paper by those two officers, and giving his
last directions as to those he loved; but ever and anon interrupted by
the cheers of the "VICTORY'S" crew, he would ask the cause, and
being told it was a fresh enemy's ship that had struck her flag, his
eye would flash as he expressed his satisfaction. He frequently asked
for Captain Hardy, and that officer not being able to leave the deck,
his anxiety for his safety became excessive, and he repeated, "he must
be killed;" "he is surely destroyed." An hour had elapsed before Hardy
was able to come to him, when they shook hands, and the Admiral
asked--"How goes the day with us." "Very well, my Lord," was the
reply; "we have about 12 of the enemy in our possession."

After a few minutes of conversation, Hardy had again to return on
deck, and shortly after the "VICTORY'S" port guns redoubled their
fire on some fresh ships coming down on her, and the concussion so
affected Lord Nelson that he cried in agony, "Oh! 'VICTORY!'
'VICTORY!' how you distract my poor brain;" but, weak and in pain as
he was, he indignantly rebuked a man, who in passing through the
crowded cockpit struck against and hurt one of the wounded.

Captain Hardy again visited him in about another hour, and, holding
his Lordship's hand, congratulated him on a brilliant victory, saying,
he was certain that 14 ships had surrendered. "That is well," he
answered, "but I bargained for 20." Then, Hardy having again to go on
deck, Nelson after emphatically telling him to anchor, and declaring
his intention to direct the fleet as long as life remained, said,
"kiss me Hardy," the Captain knelt down and kissed him, when he said,
"Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty." Twenty minutes
later he quietly passed away, having again and again repeated to his
last breath, the words above mentioned. They were, it has been well
remarked, the whole history of his life.

On the firing ceasing, the "VICTORY" had lost 57 killed and 103
wounded, and found herself all but a wreck. The tremendous fire to
which she was exposed, when leading her line into action, had caused
great damage, at a very early period of the battle, and before she
herself fired a gun, many of her spars were shot away, and great
injury was done to the hull, especially the fore part of it.

At the conclusion of the action, she had lost her mizen-mast, the
fore-topmast had to be struck to save the foremast; the mainmast was
not much better, and it took all the exertions of her crew to refit
the rigging sufficiently to stand the bad weather that followed.

The actual number of prizes taken by 5 p.m., on October 21st, were 19;
so that Nelson's desired number was nearly made up; but from their
disabled condition, they were nearly all wrested from us by the gales
that succeeded the battle. Lord Nelson had doubtless foreseen this,
and thence his wish to anchor, and as a matter of fact, most of those
few ships and prizes that did anchor, rode the gale out in safety and
were saved; but the majority of the vessels were either anchorless, or
in such deep water that they could not with convenience anchor.

The "VICTORY'S" trophy, the _Redoutable_, was one of those that sunk
after the action in deep water, and in her, as in many of the other
vessels lost, went down her prize crew of British seamen. The English
fleet were in nearly as disabled a state as their prizes, as might be
expected after such a battle, and it is a matter of wonder that some
of them were not lost on the treacherous shoal that swallowed up so
many of the captured ships.

The enemy's fleet of 33 sail was disposed of as follows:

    Taken into Gibraltar                     4 }
    Burnt by the English                     3 }  19 lost to
    Sunk by the English                      3 }    the enemy.
    Wrecked during the gale                  9 }

    Struck, but afterwards got into Cadiz
        crippled                             2 }
    Escaped into Cadiz damaged               4 }
    Escaped into Cadiz perfect               4 }  14 saved to
    Escaped to the South, but captured by      }    the enemy.
        Sir R. Strachan on the 4th Nov.,       }
        and taken into Plymouth              4 }

On the 22nd, the day after the battle, the breeze was fresh from the
S.S.W., and it was all the ships could do to increase their distance
from the shore, such as were manageable towing those that were totally
dismasted. On the 23rd it blew a gale, and then the misfortunes of the
victors commenced; the hawsers of many of the ships towing parted, and
the English vessels had too much to do to save themselves and one
another, to attempt to get hold of the prizes again, so they drifted
helplessly away, two to be blown safe into Cadiz, but seven to meet an
awful end amongst the breakers of that shallow coast. Five others were
burnt and sunk to ensure their not falling into the enemy's hands

On the morning of this day, the remnant of the enemy's ships put to
sea to attempt to recapture some of their friends, but the gale coming
on, the only result was the loss of two more of themselves, one of
which fell into our hands before going ashore. The "VICTORY," with
the small amount of sail she could show to the gale, laboured deeply
in the heavy sea, and on the 24th, when the wind moderated a little,
she was taken in tow by the _Polyphemus_. In the afternoon, managing
to rig up some jury topmasts and a mizen-mast, she was more
comfortable, but at 5 p.m. next day, on the storm increasing, the
towing hawser parted, the mainyard carried away, and her sails split
to ribbons. With nothing now to steady her, the "VICTORY" rolled
dangerously and unmanageably, and an anxious night was passed, but
happily for her as well as other of our ships, the violence of the
wind abated in the morning, and the _Neptune_ taking her in tow, after
two days brought her safely into Gibraltar.

In the meantime Lord Nelson's remains had been placed in a cask of
brandy, as the best means at hand of preserving them, and on the 3rd
of November, having refitted, the "VICTORY," accompanied by the
_Belleisle_, sailed on the melancholy duty of conveying the body of
her hero to England, and, after a most boisterous passage, reached
Spithead, on December 4th.

Here she was the object of a most intense and reverential attention,
her battered sides, with, in many places, the shot yet sticking in
them; her still bloody decks; her jury masts and knotted rigging;--all
attested the severity of the ordeal she had gone through; while the
flag that still waved, but at half-mast, reminded the spectator that
the great Admiral who had such a short time before sailed from that
very anchorage to victory, had now, also, returned to his grave.
Amongst other injuries, the "VICTORY'S" figure-head, a coat of arms
supported by a sailor on one side and a marine on the other, was
struck by shot, which carried away the legs of the soldier and the arm
of the sailor, and the story goes (but we cannot vouch for its truth),
that all the men who lost legs in the action were marines, and those
who lost arms sailors. The figure-head is still the same, but the
wounded supporters have been replaced by two little boys, who, leaning
affectionately on the shield, seem certainly more fitted for the
peaceful life of Portsmouth Harbour than for the hard times their more
warlike predecessors lived in.

The "VICTORY" left Spithead on December 11th for Sheerness, which
was reached on the 22nd, when the hero's remains, having been
deposited in the coffin made from the mainmast of the _L'Orient_ (the
French flagship at the Nile), were transferred to Commissioner Grey's
yacht for conveyance to Greenwich, and thence to St. Paul's. As this
was done, Lord Nelson's flag, which had flown half-mast ever since the
action, was lowered for the last time. The "VICTORY" then went to
Chatham, paid off on the 16th of January, 1806, and underwent another
thorough repair.

It was agreed on all sides that the enemy fought harder and more
desperately at Trafalgar than they had ever done before, and at the
same time it was undeniable that the victory was the most complete
ever gained. The exultation that arose in the breasts of all who heard
how the pride of the enemy had been humbled, was embittered by the
thought that their hero and idol was dead; that he, whose very name
ensured victory, would never again lead his ships to the thickest of
the fight, and men doubted whether even the triumph of Trafalgar was
not too dearly bought. But Nelson had done his work. Never after did
the enemy show a large fleet at sea; and he himself fell, as he had
often wished, in the moment of victory; leaving behind him an undying
fame, and such an example of entire devotion to his country's service
as had never before been equalled in the world's history.

Mr. Devis, the painter of the picture of the "Death of Nelson," now on
board the "VICTORY," went round in her from Spithead to Sheerness.
On the voyage he took portraits of all the characters depicted, and
sketched the locality, so that this picture may be considered as a
truly historical and faithful one.

In the commencement of 1808, our ally, Sweden, being threatened by an
invasion by Russia, a fleet was sent to the Baltic to assist them, of
which Sir James Saumarez was appointed Commander-in-Chief, and the
"VICTORY" was once more called into active service as his flagship.
She was commissioned on 18th March, by Captain Dumaresq, and sailed
for the Baltic shortly after, arriving at Gottenburg at the end of
April. To this place the fleet was followed by a force of 10,000 men
under Sir John Moore, who, however, in consequence of disagreements,
were withdrawn in June and returned to England, leaving Sir James with
the "VICTORY" and ten 74-gun ships, to protect Sweden against
Russians, Danes, French, and Prussians. In August, the advanced
division of the Anglo-Swedish fleet met the Russians, and chasing
them into Rogerwick, destroyed one 74 and blockaded the remainder in
that port. Sir James, who was on his way north, received this
intelligence a few days afterwards, and hastened to join.

On arriving on August 30th, off Rogerwick, he found the enemy safe
inside, and at once made preparations for an attack. On the 1st
September, in company with the _Goliath_, the "VICTORY" stood in to
reconnoitre, and having silenced a battery that engaged them, a good
view of the enemy's position was obtained, and the next day fixed for
the assault. Unfortunately, the next day broke with a gale of wind,
the ships were unable to move, and the storm lasting eight days, gave
the enemy time to bring troops from Revel, and to erect batteries on
all sides, making any attempt at attack hopeless. Sir James therefore,
after watching the port till September 30th, sailed for Carlscrona,
where he remained till winter warned him to depart for England. He
arrived in the Downs on 9th December, and at once struck his flag.

The operations in the Baltic in this, and the other four years in
which the "VICTORY" was flagship of Sir James Saumarez, were, as far
as she herself was concerned, mainly confined to political schemes and
transactions; the active work, such as it was, being done by the
frigates and gun-boats, many of which latter, however, were manned by
the "VICTORY'S" officers and men; the Russian fleet never came out
again, but remained shut up in Cronstadt, which was much too strong to
be attacked; thus the proceedings are of very little interest, and
beyond the fact of her being employed, we have little to record.

She went out almost immediately after the striking of Saumarez's flag
in 1808, as a private ship in the squadron which was dispatched to
Corunna to bring home the army of the unfortunate Sir John Moore, and
returned to Portsmouth on January 23rd. During this cruise she was
commanded by Captain Searle, but on her going round to Chatham for a
refit, Captain Dumaresq again returned to her, and Sir James Saumarez
re-hoisting his flag on April 8th, 1809, she once more sailed for the
Baltic, on the navigation being reported open. The best part of this
year was spent by the "VICTORY" and fleet of 10 sail, in blockading
the Russian ships in Cronstadt. One successful boat attack was made,
when 8 of the enemy's gun-boats were destroyed, but otherwise there
was no fighting. In the autumn, Sweden was forced to make peace with
Russia, on terms dictated by the latter, that would have doubtless
been harder, had not the presence of the British fleet prevented any
active employment of the Russian ships. The "VICTORY" returned to
the Downs by Christmas, and the Admiral struck his flag.

On the 11th March, 1810, Saumarez resumed his command, and proceeded
to Hawke Roads, in Sweden, and thence to Hano Bay, near Carlscrona,
where he laid most of the year, having a ship or two watching the
Russians; but as they never ventured out, nothing was done, and
"VICTORY" sailed on 10th October, with 1000 sail of merchantmen
under her convoy. These were seen safely through the Belt, and Sir
James then remained with all his ships at Hawke Bay, as late as the
ice permitted him, to prevent the possibility of the Russian fleet
from the White Sea entering the Baltic. The Swedes about this time
were compelled by Napoleon to declare war with England, but the
feelings between the two countries were privately as friendly as
before. Hearing that the Archangel ships were laid up, Saumarez sailed
for England, and arriving on 3rd December, hauled down his flag.

The "VICTORY" then again made a trip to the coast of Portugal, this
time with the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Joseph S. Yorke, who took a
squadron of 7 line-of-battle ships to Lisbon, with a reinforcement of
6500 men for Sir Arthur Wellesley, then blockaded in his intrenchments
at Torres Vedras by Massena; but she returned to the Nore in time to
hoist Sir James Saumarez's flag for the fourth year, on the 2nd April,

He proceeded to Wingo Sound, and there remained nearly the whole
year. The anomalous state of affairs between Sweden and ourselves
continued, and as public enemies and private friends we remained until
the end of the year, when Sweden concluded an alliance with England.
The "VICTORY'S" boats made various expeditions against the Danes,
and captured several gun-boats.

On December 18th, the fleet left Wingo for England; and on the 23rd a
gale arose, by which they were dispersed, and H.M.S. _St. George_ and
_Defence_ were wrecked on the western coast of Jutland, and the _Hero_
off the Texel; but the "VICTORY" and other ships weathered it in
safety, and anchored at St. Helen's on Christmas Day, when Sir James
struck his flag.

On April 14th, 1812, it was again hoisted, and on the 28th,
"VICTORY" sailed with a squadron of 10 sail of the line, and took
her station as usual at Wingo. The naval operations this year were
more active than before; the Danes had equipped a good many frigates
and small craft for attacks on the Swedish coast, and frequent
engagements took place between them and our smaller vessels; but
"VICTORY" was not herself in action. In October, orders were
received from England to send his flagship home, and on the 15th of
that month, Sir James shifted his flag to the _Pyramus_, and
"VICTORY" sailed for England, and arriving at Portsmouth, was paid
off in November.

This was the last active service of this glorious old ship, though she
was on the point of being sent to sea again in 1815, when no less than
six Admirals, on applying for commands, named the "VICTORY" as the
ship they would wish to have, although there were many new ships,
larger, and carrying much heavier ordnance; but the prestige attached
to the "VICTORY," besides her well known sailing qualities,
outweighed every other consideration. Waterloo, however, soon put an
end to that war, and the "VICTORY" was never re-commissioned.


In 1825 she was made flagship in Portsmouth harbour, and ever since
that date, with but few intervals, she has continued to bear the flags
of Admirals, who, having like her, spent their lives in the service of
their country, terminate their active careers by holding the highest
post in the British Navy,--the command at Portsmouth. Every year, as
the 21st October, the anniversary of Trafalgar, comes round, daylight
discovers the "VICTORY" with a wreath of laurel at each mast-head, a
continual memorial of the deeds of that ever-to-be-remembered day,
when at one blow the naval power of two great nations was crippled,
and the superiority of England established without dispute.

In 1844, Queen Victoria happened to be passing through the harbour on
this day, and learning the cause of the decoration of the "VICTORY,"
at once pulled on board, and went round the ship. Her Majesty evinced
much emotion, when shown the almost sacred spots where the hero fell
and died; and plucking some leaves from the wreath that enshrined the
words on the poop, "England expects that every man will do his duty,"
kept them as a memento.

The "VICTORY" now no longer bears the Admiral's flag; the increasing
numbers of seamen in our depôts, rendered in 1869 a larger ship more
convenient, and she is retained in her position in the harbour solely
as a reminiscence of the past; and it almost seems a pity that she
cannot be now fitted up internally, as nearly as possible as she was
at Trafalgar, that the thousands of annual visitors might form a
better idea of the state of the decks of a man-of-war of the olden
time when going into action; and that in these days of rapid and
enormous changes in both shipbuilding and ordnance, a type of the
man-of-war that won England her pre-eminence, might be preserved to
all time.

Griffin & Co., Publishers, 2, The Hard, and Wickham Street, Portsea

Transcriber's Note

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired. Hyphenation and accent
usage have been made consistent. Archaic and variant spelling, grammar
and punctuation usage is preserved as printed.

Ditto marks within tables have been replaced with words.

Page 18 references Admiral St. Julien, "who was thorough republican."
It's possible that the word 'a' may have been omitted following 'was,'
but as it may be correct as printed, no change has been made.

The following printer errors have been fixed:

    Page 10--apopletic amended to apoplectic--... Sir C. Hardy
    was seized with an apoplectic fit, ...

    Page 14--Island amended to Islands--... having sent the
    merchant ships to the Zaffarin Islands, ...

    Page 24--countrymen amended to countryman--... and the deeds
    of their countryman, Buonaparte, ...

    Page 34--Eary amended to Early--Early on the morning of the
    7th June, ...

    Page 37--go amended to got--... however, Villeneuve got into
    Ferrol ...

    Page 40--Admiral amended to Admirals--... on which the British
    Admirals hoisted their flags, ...

    Page 40--amonst amended to amongst--... which killed in a
    short time amongst many others, Mr. Scott, ...

    Page 48--dipatched amended to dispatched--... as a private
    ship in the squadron which was dispatched ...

The illustration caption in {braces} has been provided by the
transcriber for the convenience of the reader.

The frontispiece illustration has been moved to follow the title page.
Other illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they do
not fall in the middle of a paragraph.

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