Monday, 9 July 2012

Nelson's Private Diary, August 1st - 14th 1803

August 1st 1803
Had the pleasure of rewarding merit to the person of Mr Hindmans Gunners son of the Bellerophon for his conduct this day five years.  The Carmelion joined from Barcelona.

Wednesday Aug 3rd 1803
Standing in for the Bay of Roses, sent the Renown & Maidstone to try & get water and some refreshments.  Sent the Termagant to collect the English Merchant Ships along the Coast of Spain & carry them to Gibraltar for the convoy.  All night light airs.

Thursday Aug 4th
Fine weather all day.  Close in shore all day.  In the evening the French fired alarm guns & made large fires on the coasts.

Friday Aug 5th
Fine weather, beating up for the Bay of Roses.

Saturday Aug 6th 1803
Fine weather standing off from the Bay of Roses waiting for the Renown & Maidstone standing to the SE and laying too all night.  The Active joined at 8.  All night laying too.

Sunday Aug 7th
The Renown & Maidstone joined from Roses, the Phoebe also with an account that at the night of the 4th 4 French frigates and some corvettes, came out of Toulon and on the morning of the 5th captured the Redbridge schooner and a transport with water from Malta.  On Saturday morning they returned into Toulon.

Monday Aug 8th
At daylight the [?] join'd on the rendezvous.  Sent the Active & Maidstone off Toulon and Bellisle to the Bay of Roses to water.

Tuesday Aug 9th
Fine weather.

Wednesday Aug 10th
The Kent join'd from [?] the Donnegal to [?] outside the [?] & command all [?] to land [?] account at Barcelona join'd 2 transports with water.
[Nelson's scrawl was particularly messy that day!]

Thursday Aug 11th
Fresh gales.  Close refit the topsails and topgallant masts Standing for Cape St Sebastians to get shelter all night. 

Friday Aug 12th
Fresh gales.  Sighted land not [?] at Cape St Sebastians [?] water much smoother.  in the afternoon fine weather sent the Maidstone to join the Active.  The French Admiral refused to receive a letter from ME.

Saturday Aug 13th
Got 88 tons of water out of the transports.  Calm all night head to the Eastward.

Sunday Aug 14th
All the morning calm Scott performed divine service.

From the British Library Additional Manuscript 34,966

Notes: (some repeated from part 1)
[?] or [...]: indicates parts where I couldn't read Nelson's writing!
Active: 38-gun 5th rate, Capt. Richard Mowbray.
Bay of Roses: A bay not far to the north-east of Barcelona in Spain. 
'beating up': to 'beat' means to sail close to the wind.
Bellerophon: 74-gun 3rd rate ship-of-the-line, Capt. John Loring.
Bellisle: Nelson slightly misspelt Belleisle, a 74-gun 3rd rate, Capt. John Whitby.
Cape St Sebastians: In Spanish, Cabo de San Sebastian - it is south of the Bay of Roses, and north-east of Barcelona. [this took a LOT of round-the-houses googling, so I could be wrong, please tell me if I am!]
Carmelion: Nelson misspelt Cameleon, a 16-gun brig.
Donnegal: Probably a slight misspelling of Donegal, an 80-gun 2nd rate.
Kent: 74-gun 3rd rate, Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton, Capt. Edward O'Bryen.
'laying too':  to 'lay to' means to remain stationery while heading into the wind.
Maidstone: 32-gun 5th rate, Capt. George Elliot. 
Phoebe: 36-gun 5 rate frigate.
Redbridge: 12-gun schooner.
Renown: 74-gun 3rd rate, Capt. John Chambers White.
Scott: probably Alexander Scott, Nelson's chaplain.  As well as performing religious services (probably referred to here), he acted as translator for Nelson (who never was very good with languages) and read newspapers and letters captured from foreign ships to him.
Termagant: 18-gun sloop, Capt. George Elliot until 1st August 1803.
topgallant: the mast or sail above the main mast and mainsail.
topsailsAny loose-footed sail hoisted above all the other sails on a mast.