Sunday, 24 June 2012

Nelson's Private Diary, July 24th - 31st 1803

A snippet from one of Nelson's diaries (running from 27/07 - 22/10/1803) at the British Library.  To my knowledge, this diary has never been published in full.

At this point, Nelson is Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet and is sitting watching the French fleet in Toulon while gathering intelligence about what the French might be up to.  This is basically the beginning of two years of build-up to Trafalgar.
I'm typing out exactly as Nelson wrote it, spelling errors, lack of punctuation, and all.

Sunday July 24th 1803
Fresh breezes & squally nothing in sight.  Carmelion in sight in the evening.

Monday July 25th
Carmelion join'd at daylight sent her with cutter to Barcelona the Termagant join'd from the bay of Roses.  Capt. Elliot was very civilly treated but refused to return his salute of an Equal number of Guns saying they were ordered to return an Equal number only to the French & Batavian Republics.  All night squally.

Tuesday July 26th
Phoebe joined at daylight from Naples with letters of the 5th, 7th & 8th.  That Kingdom in nearly all respects French for can that still be independent which is oblig'd to raise contributions at the will & pleasure of another power and to receive & pay a foreign army.  Sent the Raven to Naples & Malta with letters.  All night light breezes.  Got English papers of 1, 2, 3 June.

Friday July 29th
Light breezes.  What has become of Victory not a word from Malta since June 20th.  The Termagant brought a little French boat laden with Rice & wood for building: sent her to Malta.  All night light breezes.

Saturday July 30th
At daylight saw the Victory at 4 o clock she joined went on board.

Sunday July 31st
Nothing particular.  Capt Hardy and Sutton changing ships.

From the British Library Additional Manuscript 34,966

Termagant - HMS Termagant, an 18-gun sloop.
Carmelion - Nelson mispelt HMS Cameleon, a 16-gun brig.
Phoebe - HMS Phoebe, a 36-gun 5th rate frigate.
Raven - HMS Raven, an 18-gun brig.
Victory - HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship, which he would stay on for more than 2 years without setting foot on land, and would die on.  100-gun 1st rate warship.
Capt. Elliot - Captain George Elliot (1784-1863).  Nelson had promoted him to captain of the Termagant on 10th July 1803.
Capt. Hardy - Captain Thomas Hardy (1769-1839).  Nelson's good friend, and his captain on the Victory.
Sutton - Captain Samuel Sutton (1760-1832).  Was Captain of the Victory and took her to Nelson's fleet.  Once there, he and Hardy swapped, and so Sutton took command of the Amphion.

(ps. If I've made any mistakes, please correct me!)

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