Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Overview
 
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

  (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was a flag officer
Flag Officer
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark where the officer exercises command. The term usually refers to the senior officers in an English-speaking nation's navy, specifically those who hold any of the admiral ranks; in...

 famous for his service in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of decisive naval victories. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm and the sight in one eye.
Encyclopedia
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

  (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was a flag officer
Flag Officer
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark where the officer exercises command. The term usually refers to the senior officers in an English-speaking nation's navy, specifically those who hold any of the admiral ranks; in...

 famous for his service in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of decisive naval victories. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm and the sight in one eye. Of his several victories, the best known and most notable was the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

 in 1805, during which he was shot and killed.

Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

 family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling
Maurice Suckling
Captain Maurice Suckling was a Royal Navy officer who was instrumental in the training of his nephew, Horatio Nelson.-Seven Years War:...

. He rose rapidly through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command in 1778. He developed a reputation in the service through his personal valour and firm grasp of tactics but suffered periods of illness and unemployment after the end of the American War of Independence. The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

 allowed Nelson to return to service, where he was particularly active in the Mediterranean. He fought in several minor engagements off Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 and was important in the capture of Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 and subsequent diplomatic duties with the Italian states. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of at the Battle of Cape St Vincent.

Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1797)
The Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was an amphibious assault by the Royal Navy on the Spanish port city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Launched by Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson on 22 July 1797, the assault was heavily defeated, and on 25 July the remains of the landing party ...

, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, and was forced to return to England to recuperate. The following year, he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile
Battle of the Nile
The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798...

 and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 against a French invasion. In 1801, he was dispatched to the Baltic and won another victory, this time over the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen
Battle of Copenhagen (1801)
The Battle of Copenhagen was an engagement which saw a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fight and strategically defeat a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He famously disobeyed Parker's...

. He subsequently commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and, after their escape, chased them to the West Indies and back but failed to bring them to battle. After a brief return to England, he took over the Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

 blockade in 1805. On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, and Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

. The battle was Britain's greatest naval victory, but during the action Nelson was fatally wounded by a French sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

. His body was brought back to England where he was accorded a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

.

Nelson's death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain's most heroic figures; numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000. It is a column of the Corinthian...

 in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

, London, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains highly influential.

Early life

Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758 in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe
Burnham Thorpe
Burnham Thorpe is a small village and civil parish on the River Burn and near the coast of Norfolk in the United Kingdom. It is famous for being the birthplace of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, victor at the Battle of Trafalgar and one of Britain's greatest heroes...

, Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, England, the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson
Edmund Nelson (clergyman)
Reverend Edmund Nelson was an Anglican clergyman during the eighteenth century, most famous as the father of Horatio Nelson.-Early life and family:...

 and his wife Catherine
Catherine Suckling
Catherine Suckling was the mother of Horatio Nelson. Catherine had 11 children of which Nelson was the third surviving son.-Family and marriage:...

. His mother, who died on 26 December 1767 when he was nine years old, was a grandniece of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

, the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 first Prime Minister of Great Britain. She lived in the village of Barsham, Suffolk
Barsham, Suffolk
Barsham is a village and civil parish in the Waveney district of Suffolk, England. It is about two miles west of Beccles in the district of Waveney, and is on the edge of The Broads...

, and married the Reverend Edmund Nelson at Beccles
Beccles
Beccles is a market town and civil parish in the Waveney District of the English county of Suffolk. The town is shown on the milestone as from London via the A145 Blythburgh and A12 road, northeast of London as the crow flies, southeast of Norwich, and north northeast of the county town of...

 church, Suffolk
Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

, in 1749.

Nelson attended Paston Grammar School, North Walsham
North Walsham
North Walsham is a market town and civil parish in Norfolk, England in the North Norfolk district.-Demographics:The civil parish has an area of and in the 2001 census had a population of 11,998. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North...

, until he was 12 years old, and also attended King Edward VI’s Grammar School
Norwich School (educational institution)
Norwich School is an independent school located in Norwich, United Kingdom. It is one of the oldest schools in the world, with a traceable history to 1096, and is a member of The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.It is a fee-paying, co-educational day school and has one of the best...

 in Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

. His naval career began on 1 January 1771, when he reported to the third-rate
Third-rate
In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks . Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability , firepower, and cost...

  as an Ordinary Seaman and coxswain
Coxswain
The coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. The etymology of the word gives us a literal meaning of "boat servant" since it comes from cox, a coxboat or other small vessel kept aboard a ship, and swain, which can be rendered as boy, in authority. ...

 under his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling
Maurice Suckling
Captain Maurice Suckling was a Royal Navy officer who was instrumental in the training of his nephew, Horatio Nelson.-Seven Years War:...

, who commanded the vessel. Shortly after reporting aboard, Nelson was appointed a midshipman
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

 and began officer training. Early in his service, Nelson discovered that he suffered from seasickness, a chronic complaint that dogged him for the rest of his life.

Early naval career

HMS Raisonnable had been commissioned during a period of tension with Spain, but when this passed Suckling was transferred to the Nore
Nore
The Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, England. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea, roughly halfway between Havengore Creek in Essex and Warden Point in Kent....

 guardship  and Nelson was despatched to serve aboard the West Indiamen of the merchant shipping firm of Hibbert, Purrier and Horton, in order to gain experience at sea. In this capacity he twice crossed the Atlantic, before returning to serve under his uncle as the commander of Suckling's longboat, which carried men and despatches to and from the shore. Nelson then learned of a planned expedition under the command of Constantine Phipps
Constantine Phipps, 2nd Baron Mulgrave
Constantine John Phipps, 2nd Baron Mulgrave, PC was an English explorer and officer in the Royal Navy. He served during the Seven Years War and the American War of Independence, seeing action in a number of battles and engagements...

, intended to survey a passage in the Arctic by which it was hoped that India could be reached: the fabled Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

. At his nephew's request, Suckling arranged for Nelson to join the expedition as coxswain
Coxswain
The coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. The etymology of the word gives us a literal meaning of "boat servant" since it comes from cox, a coxboat or other small vessel kept aboard a ship, and swain, which can be rendered as boy, in authority. ...

 to Commander Lutwidge
Skeffington Lutwidge
Skeffington Lutwidge was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars...

 aboard the converted bomb vessel
Bomb vessel
A bomb vessel, bomb ship, bomb ketch, or simply bomb was a type of wooden sailing naval ship. Its primary armament was not cannon —although bomb vessels carried a few cannon for self-defence—but rather mortars mounted forward near the bow and elevated to a high angle, and projecting their fire in a...

 . The expedition reached within ten degrees of the North Pole
North Pole
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface...

, but, unable to find a way through the dense ice floes, was forced to turn back. By 1800 Lutwidge began to circulate a story that while the ship had been trapped in the ice, Nelson had seen and pursued a polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

, before being ordered to return to the ship. Lutwidge's later version, in 1809, reported that Nelson and a companion had given chase to the bear, but on being questioned why, replied that "I wished, Sir, to get the skin for my father."

Nelson briefly returned to the Triumph after the expedition's return to Britain in September 1773. Suckling then arranged for his transfer to , one of two ships about to sail for the East Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

.

Nelson sailed for the East Indies on 19 November 1773 and arrived at the British outpost at Madras on 25 May 1774. Nelson and the Seahorse spent the rest of the year cruising off the coast and escorting merchantmen. With the outbreak of the First Anglo-Maratha War
First Anglo-Maratha War
The First Anglo-Maratha War was the first of three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the British East India Company and Maratha Empire in India. The war began with the Treaty of Surat and ended with the Treaty of Salbai.-Background:...

, the British fleet operated in support of the East India Company and in early 1775 the Seahorse was despatched to carry a cargo of the company's money to Bombay. On 19 February two of Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

's ketch
Ketch
A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: a main mast, and a shorter mizzen mast abaft of the main mast, but forward of the rudder post. Both masts are rigged mainly fore-and-aft. From one to three jibs may be carried forward of the main mast when going to windward...

es attacked the Seahorse, which drove them off after a brief exchange of fire. This was Nelson's first experience of battle. The rest of the year he spent escorting convoys, during which he continued to develop his navigation and ship handling skills. In early 1776 Nelson contracted malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 and became seriously ill. He was discharged from the Seahorse on 14 March and returned to England aboard . Nelson spent the six-month voyage recuperating and had almost recovered by the time he arrived in Britain in September 1776. His patron, Suckling, had risen to the post of Comptroller of the Navy
Third Sea Lord
The Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy was formerly the Naval Lord and member of the Board of Admiralty responsible for procurement and matériel in the British Royal Navy...

 in 1775, and used his influence to help Nelson gain further promotion. Nelson was appointed acting lieutenant aboard , which was about to sail to Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

.

The Worcester, under the command of Captain Mark Robinson
Mark Robinson (Royal Navy officer)
Admiral Mark Robinson was an officer of the Royal Navy, one of several members of the Robinson family to serve at sea....

, sailed as a convoy escort on 3 December and returned with another convoy in April 1777. Nelson then travelled to London to take his lieutenant's examination on 9 April; his examining board consisted of Captains John Campbell, Abraham North, and his uncle, Maurice Suckling. Nelson passed, and the next day received his commission and an appointment to , which was preparing to sail to Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 under Captain William Locker
William Locker (Royal Navy)
William Locker was an officer in the Royal Navy, who served with distinction during the eighteenth century. He rose to the rank of captain and held the posts of flag captain and commodore.-Family and early years:...

. She sailed on 16 May, arrived on 19 July, and after reprovisioning, carried out several cruises in Caribbean waters. After the outbreak of the American War of Independence
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 the Lowestoffe took several prizes, one of which was taken into Navy service as the tender Little Lucy. Nelson asked for and was given command of her, and took her on two cruises of his own. As well as giving him his first taste of command, it gave Nelson the opportunity to explore his fledgling interest in science. During his first cruise, Nelson led an expeditionary party to the Caicos Islands, where he made detailed notes of the wildlife and in particular a bird—now believed to be the White-necked Jacobin
White-necked Jacobin
The White-necked Jacobin is a large and attractive hummingbird that ranges from Mexico south to Peru, Bolivia and south Brazil...

. Locker, impressed by Nelson's abilities, recommended him to the new commander-in-chief at Jamaica, Sir Peter Parker
Sir Peter Parker, 1st Baronet
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Parker, 1st Baronet was a British naval officer.-Naval career:Peter Parker was born probably in Ireland. He became a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1743 and captain in 1747. In 1761, he took command of HMS Buckingham and helped cover operations on Belle Île...

. Parker duly took Nelson onto his flagship, . The entry of the French into the war, in support of the Americans, meant further targets for Parker's fleet and it took a large number of prizes towards the end of 1778, which brought Nelson an estimated £400 in prize money
Prize money
Prize money has a distinct meaning in warfare, especially naval warfare, where it was a monetary reward paid out to the crew of a ship for capturing an enemy vessel...

. Parker subsequently appointed him as Master and Commander
Commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

 of the brig
Brig
A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and manoeuvrable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. They were especially popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

  on 8 December.

Nelson and the Badger spent most of 1779 cruising off the Central American coast, ranging as far as the British settlements at British Honduras
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

 and Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, but without much success at interception of enemy prizes. On his return to Port Royal
Port Royal
Port Royal was a city located at the end of the Palisadoes at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour, in southeastern Jamaica. Founded in 1518, it was the centre of shipping commerce in the Caribbean Sea during the latter half of the 17th century...

 he learned that Parker had promoted him to post-captain
Post-Captain
Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain in the Royal Navy.The term served to distinguish those who were captains by rank from:...

 on 11 June, and intended to give him another command. Nelson handed over the Badger to Cuthbert Collingwood
Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood
Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Lord Nelson in several of the British victories of the Napoleonic Wars, and frequently as Nelson's successor in commands.-Early years:Collingwood was born in Newcastle upon Tyne...

 while he awaited the arrival of his new ship, the 28-gun frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

 , newly captured from the French. While Nelson waited, news reached Parker that a French fleet under the command of Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing
Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing
Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing was a French general, and admiral. He began his service as a soldier in the War of the Austrian Succession, briefly spending time as a prisoner of war of the British during the Seven Years' War...

, was approaching Jamaica. Parker hastily organized his defences and placed Nelson in command of Fort Charles, which covered the approaches to Kingston
Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island...

. D'Estaing instead headed north, and the anticipated invasion never materialised. Nelson duly took command of the Hinchinbrook on 1 September.

The Hinchinbrook sailed from Port Royal on 5 October 1779 and, in company with other British ships, proceeded to capture a number of American prizes. On his return to Jamaica in December, Nelson began to be troubled by a recurrent attack of malaria, but remained in the West Indies in order to take part in Major-General John Dalling's
Sir John Dalling, 1st Baronet
General Sir John Dalling, 1st Baronet was a British soldier and colonial administrator.Dalling was the son of John Dalling, of Bungay, Suffolk, by his wife Anne, a daughter of Colonel William Windham of Earsham, Norfolk, who was the second son of William Windham I, of Felbrigg Hall...

 attempt to capture the Spanish colonies in Central America, including an assault on the fortress of San Juan in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. The Hinchinbrook sailed from Jamaica in February 1780, as an escort for Dalling's invasion force. After sailing up the mouth of the Colorado River
Colorado River (Costa Rica)
The Colorado River, or the Rio Colorado, in Costa Rica is a tributary of the San Juan River which flows 96 km towards the Caribbean in the northern parts of Heredia and Limón Provinces...

, Nelson led a successful assault on a Spanish look-out post. Despite this quick success, the main force's attack on Fort San Juan was long and drawn out, though Nelson was praised for his efforts. Parker recalled Nelson and gave him command of the 44-gun frigate . Nelson had however fallen seriously ill in the jungles of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

, probably from a recurrence of malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, and was unable to take command. During his time of convalescence he was nursed by a black "doctoress" named Cubah Cornwallis
Cubah Cornwallis
Cubah Cornwallis was a nurse or "doctoress" and Obeah woman who lived in Jamaica during the late 18th and 19th Century.-Early life:...

, the mistress of a fellow captain, William Cornwallis
William Cornwallis
Admiral the Honourable Sir William Cornwallis GCB was a Royal Navy officer who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. He was the brother of Charles Cornwallis, the 1st Marquess Cornwallis, governor-general of India...

. He was discharged in August and returned to Britain aboard , arriving in late November. Nelson gradually recovered over several months, and soon began agitating for a command. He was appointed to the frigate on 15 August 1781.

Captain of the Albemarle

Nelson received orders on 23 October to take the newly refitted Albemarle to sea. He was instructed to collect an inbound convoy of the Russia Company at Elsinore
Elsinore
Helsingør is a city and the municipal seat of Helsingør municipality on the northeast coast of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark. Helsingør has a population of 46,279 including the southern suburbs of Snekkersten and Espergærde...

, and escort them back to Britain. For this operation, the Admiralty placed the frigates and under his command. Nelson successfully organised the convoy and escorted it into British waters. He then left the convoy to return to port, but severe storms hampered him. Gales almost wrecked Albemarle as she was a poorly designed ship and an earlier accident had left her damaged, but Nelson eventually brought her into Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 in February 1782. There the Admiralty ordered him to fit the Albemarle for sea and join the escort for a convoy collecting at Cork
Cork (city)
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

 to sail for Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. Nelson arrived off Newfoundland with the convoy in late May, then detached on a cruise to hunt American privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s. Nelson was generally unsuccessful; he succeeded only in retaking several captured British merchant ships and capturing a number of small fishing boats and assorted craft. In August he had a narrow escape from a far superior French force under Louis-Philippe de Vaudreuil
Louis-Philippe de Vaudreuil
Louis-Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil was second in command of the French Navy during the American Revolutionary War.-Early life:...

, only evading them after a prolonged chase. Nelson arrived at Quebec on 18 September. He sailed again as part of the escort for a convoy to New York. He arrived in mid-November and reported to Admiral Samuel Hood
Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood
Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood was a British Admiral known particularly for his service in the American War of Independence and French Revolutionary Wars...

, commander of the New York station. At Nelson's request, Hood transferred him to his fleet and Albemarle sailed in company with Hood, bound for the West Indies. On their arrival, the British fleet took up position off Jamaica to await the arrival of de Vaudreuil's force. Nelson and the Albemarle were ordered to scout the numerous passages for signs of the enemy, but it became clear by early 1783 that the French had eluded Hood. During his scouting operations, Nelson had developed a plan to assault the French garrison of the Turks Islands. Commanding a small flotilla of frigates and smaller vessels, he landed a force of 167 seamen and marines early on the morning of 8 March under a supporting bombardment. The French were found to be heavily entrenched and after several hours Nelson called off the assault. Several of the officers involved criticised Nelson, but Hood does not appear to have reprimanded him. Nelson spent the rest of the war cruising in the West Indies, where he captured a number of French and Spanish prizes. After news of the peace reached Hood, Nelson returned to Britain in late June 1783.

Nevis and marriage

Nelson visited France in late 1783, stayed with acquaintances at Saint-Omer
Saint-Omer
Saint-Omer , a commune and sub-prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais department west-northwest of Lille on the railway to Calais. The town is named after Saint Audomar, who brought Christianity to the area....

, and briefly attempted to learn French. He returned to England in January 1784, and attended court as part of Lord Hood's entourage. Influenced by the factional politics of the time, he contemplated standing for Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 as a supporter of William Pitt
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

, but was unable to find a seat.

In 1784 he received command of the frigate with the assignment to enforce the Navigation Acts in the vicinity of Antigua
Antigua
Antigua , also known as Waladli, is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la...

. The Acts were unpopular with both the Americans and the colonies. Nelson served on the station under Admiral Sir Richard Hughes, and often came into conflict with his superior officer over their differing interpretation of the Acts. The captains of the American vessels Nelson had seized sued him for illegal seizure. As the merchants of Nevis
Nevis
Nevis is an island in the Caribbean Sea, located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 km east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua. The 93 km² island is part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies...

 supported the American claim, Nelson was in peril of imprisonment; he remained sequestered on Boreas for eight months until the courts ruled in his favour.

In the interim, Nelson met Frances "Fanny" Nisbet, a young widow from a Nevis plantation family. Nelson and Nisbet were married at Montpelier Estate on the island of Nevis on 11 March 1787, shortly before the end of his tour of duty in the Caribbean. The marriage was registered at Fig Tree Church, St John's Parish, Nevis. Nelson returned to England in July, with Fanny following later.

During the peace

Nelson remained with Boreas until she was paid off in November that year. He and Fanny then divided their time between Bath and London, occasionally visiting Nelson's relations in Norfolk. In 1788, they settled at Nelson's childhood home at Burnham Thorpe. Now in reserve on half pay, he attempted to persuade the Admiralty and other senior figures he was acquainted with, such as Hood, to provide him with a command. He was unsuccessful as there were too few ships in the peacetime navy and Hood did not intercede on his behalf. Nelson spent his time trying to find employment for former crew members, attending to family affairs, and cajoling contacts in the navy for a posting. In 1792 the French revolutionary
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 government annexed the Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium), which were traditionally preserved as a buffer state. The Admiralty recalled Nelson to service and gave him command of the 64-gun in January 1793. On 1 February France declared war.

Mediterranean service

In May, 1793, Nelson sailed as part of a division under the command of Vice-Admiral William Hotham
William Hotham, 1st Baron Hotham
Admiral William Hotham, 1st Baron Hotham was an officer in the Royal Navy. He was the son of Sir Beaumont Hotham , a lineal descendant of Sir John Hotham....

, joined later in the month by the rest of Lord Hood's fleet. The force initially sailed to Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 and, with the intention of establishing naval superiority in the Mediterranean, made their way to Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

, anchoring off the port in July. Toulon was largely under the control of moderate republicans and royalists
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

, but was threatened by the forces of the National Convention
National Convention
During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

, which were marching on the city. Short of supplies and doubting their ability to defend themselves, the city authorities requested that Hood take the city under his protection. Hood readily acquiesced and sent Nelson to carry despatches to Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

 and Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 requesting reinforcements. After delivering the despatches to Sardinia, Agamemnon arrived at Naples in early September. There Nelson met Ferdinand VI, King of Naples
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...

, followed by the British ambassador to the kingdom, William Hamilton
William Hamilton (diplomat)
Sir William Hamilton KB, PC, FRS was a Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist. After a short period as a Member of Parliament, he served as British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples from 1764 to 1800...

. At some point during the negotiations for reinforcements, Nelson was introduced to Hamilton's new wife, Emma Hamilton. The negotiations were successful, and 2,000 men and several ships were mustered by mid-September. Nelson put to sea in pursuit of a French frigate, but on failing to catch her, sailed for Leghorn
Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

, and then to Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

. He arrived at Toulon on 5 October, where he found that a large French army had occupied the hills surrounding the city and was bombarding it. Hood still hoped the city could be held if more reinforcements arrived, and sent Nelson to join a squadron operating off Cagliari
Cagliari
Cagliari is the capital of the island of Sardinia, a region of Italy. Cagliari's Sardinian name Casteddu literally means castle. It has about 156,000 inhabitants, or about 480,000 including the outlying townships : Elmas, Assemini, Capoterra, Selargius, Sestu, Monserrato, Quartucciu, Quartu...

.

Corsica

Early on the morning of 22 October 1793, the Agamemnon sighted five sails. Nelson closed with them, and discovered they were a French squadron. Nelson promptly gave chase, firing on the 40-gun Melpomene. He inflicted considerable damage but the remaining French ships turned to join the battle and, realising he was outnumbered, Nelson withdrew and continued to Cagliari
Cagliari
Cagliari is the capital of the island of Sardinia, a region of Italy. Cagliari's Sardinian name Casteddu literally means castle. It has about 156,000 inhabitants, or about 480,000 including the outlying townships : Elmas, Assemini, Capoterra, Selargius, Sestu, Monserrato, Quartucciu, Quartu...

, arriving on 24 October. After making repairs Nelson and the Agamemnon sailed again on 26 October, bound for Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 with a squadron under Commodore Robert Linzee
Robert Linzee
Robert Linzee was an officer of the Royal Navy who served during the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary War, and the Napoleonic War....

. On arrival, Nelson was given command of a small squadron consisting of the Agamemnon, three frigates and a sloop, and ordered to blockade the French garrison on Corsica. The fall of Toulon at the end of December 1793 severely damaged British fortunes in the Mediterranean. Hood had failed to make adequate provision for a withdrawal and 18 French ships-of-the-line fell into republican hands. Nelson's mission to Corsica took on added significance, as it could provide the British a naval base close to the French coast. Hood therefore reinforced Nelson with extra ships during January 1794.

A British assault force landed on the island on 7 February, after which Nelson moved to intensify the blockade off Bastia
Bastia
Bastia is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France located in the northeast of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse. It is also the second-largest city in Corsica after Ajaccio and the capital of the department....

. For the rest of the month he carried out raids along the coast and intercepted enemy shipping. By late February St Fiorenzo had fallen and British troops under Lieutenant-General David Dundas
Sir David Dundas, 1st Baronet
General Sir David Dundas, 1st Baronet, GCB was a British general who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces from 1809 to 1811.-Military service:...

 entered the outskirts of Bastia. However Dundas merely assessed the enemy positions and then withdrew, arguing the French were too well entrenched to risk an assault. Nelson convinced Hood otherwise, but a protracted debate between the army and naval commanders meant that Nelson did not receive permission to proceed until late March. Nelson began to land guns from his ships and emplace them in the hills surrounding the town. On 11 April the British squadron entered the harbour and opened fire, whilst Nelson took command of the land forces and commenced bombardment. After 45 days, the town surrendered. Nelson subsequently prepared for an assault on Calvi
Siege of Calvi
The Siege of Calvi was a siege of French Revolutionary forces in Calvi, Haute-Corse in July and August 1794 by British forces, ending in a British victory.- Context :...

, working in company with Lieutenant-General Charles Stuart.

British forces landed at Calvi on 19 June, and immediately began moving guns ashore to occupy the heights surrounding the town. While Nelson directed a continuous bombardment of the enemy positions, Stuart's men began to advance . On 12 July Nelson was at one of the forward batteries early in the morning when a shot struck one of the sandbags protecting the position, spraying stones and sand. Nelson was struck by debris in his right eye and was forced to retire from the position, although his wound was soon bandaged and he returned to action. By 18 July most of the enemy positions had been disabled, and that night Stuart, supported by Nelson, stormed the main defensive position and captured it. Repositioning their guns, the British brought Calvi under constant bombardment, and the town surrendered on 10 August. However, Nelson's right eye had been irreparably damaged and he eventually lost sight in it.

Genoa and the fight of the Ça Ira

After the occupation of Corsica, Hood ordered Nelson to open diplomatic relations with the city-state of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, a strategically important potential ally. Soon afterwards, Hood returned to England and was succeeded by Admiral William Hotham
William Hotham, 1st Baron Hotham
Admiral William Hotham, 1st Baron Hotham was an officer in the Royal Navy. He was the son of Sir Beaumont Hotham , a lineal descendant of Sir John Hotham....

 as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. Nelson put into Leghorn
Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

, and while the Agamemnon underwent repairs, met with other naval officers at the port and entertained a brief affair with a local woman, Adelaide Correglia. Hotham arrived with the rest of the fleet in December; Nelson and the Agamemnon sailed on a number of cruises with them in late 1794 and early 1795.

On 8 March, news reached Hotham that the French fleet was at sea and heading for Corsica. He immediately set out to intercept them, and Nelson eagerly anticipated his first fleet action. The French were reluctant to engage and the two fleets shadowed each other throughout 12 March. The following day two of the French ships collided, allowing Nelson to engage the much larger 84-gun Ça Ira for two and a half hours until the arrival of two French ships forced Nelson to veer away, having inflicted heavy casualties and considerable damage. The fleets continued to shadow each other before making contact again, on 14 March, in the Battle of Genoa
Naval Battle of Genoa (1795)
The Naval Battle of Genoa was fought on 14 March 1795 off the coast of Genoa, a port city in north-western Italy, between French warships under Rear-Admiral Pierre Martin and British and Neapolitan warships under Vice Admiral William Hotham...

. Nelson joined the other British ships in attacking the battered Ça Ira, now under tow from the Censeur
French ship Censeur (1782)
Censeur was a 74-gun Pégase-class ship of the line of the French Navy, launched in 1782. She served during the last months of the American War of Independence, and survived to see action in the French Revolutionary Wars. She was briefly captured by the British, but was retaken after a few months...

. Heavily damaged, the two French ships were forced to surrender and Nelson took possession of the Censeur. Defeated at sea, the French abandoned their plan to invade Corsica and returned to port.

Skirmishes and the retreat from Italy

Nelson and the fleet remained in the Mediterranean throughout the summer. On 4 July the Agamemnon sailed from St Fiorenzo with a small force of frigates and sloops, bound for Genoa. On 6 July he ran into the French fleet and found himself pursued by several much larger ships-of-the-line. He retreated to St Fiorenzo, arriving just ahead of the pursuing French, who broke off as Nelson's signal guns alerted the British fleet in the harbour. Hotham pursued the French to the Hyères Islands
Îles d'Hyères
The Îles d'Hyères is a group of three islands off Hyères in the Var département, in the south-east of France. The three mediterranean islands are named Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Île du Levant. Together, they make up an area of .-See also:...

, but failed to bring them to a decisive action. A number of small engagements were fought
Naval Battle of Hyères Islands
The Naval Battle of Hyères Islands was fought on 13 July 1795 off the Hyères Islands, a group of islands off the French Mediterranean coast, about 25 km east of Toulon. The battle was fought between the van of a British fleet chasing the French squadron, and the French rear...

 but to Nelson's dismay, he saw little action.

Nelson returned to operate out of Genoa, intercepting and inspecting merchants and cutting-out suspicious vessels in both enemy and neutral harbours. He formulated ambitious plans for amphibious landings and naval assaults to frustrate the progress of the French Army of Italy
Army of Italy (France)
The Army of Italy was a Field army of the French Army stationed on the Italian border and used for operations in Italy itself. Though it existed in some form in the 16th century through to the present, it is best known for its role during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic...

 that was now advancing on Genoa, but could excite little interest in Hotham. In November Hotham was replaced by Sir Hyde Parker but the situation in Italy was rapidly deteriorating: the French were raiding around Genoa and strong Jacobin
Jacobin (politics)
A Jacobin , in the context of the French Revolution, was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary far-left political movement. The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican convent where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques ,...

 sentiment was rife within the city itself. A large French assault at the end of November broke the allied lines, forcing a general retreat towards Genoa. Nelson's forces were able to cover the withdrawing army and prevent them being surrounded, but he had too few ships and men to materially alter the strategic situation, and the British were forced to withdraw from the Italian ports. Nelson returned to Corsica on 30 November, angry and depressed at the British failure and questioning his future in the navy.

Jervis and the evacuation of the Mediterranean

In January 1796 the position of commander-in-chief of the fleet in the Mediterranean passed to Sir John Jervis
John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent
Admiral of the Fleet John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent GCB, PC was an admiral in the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom...

, who appointed Nelson to exercise independent command over the ships blockading the French coast as a commodore
Commodore (Royal Navy)
Commodore is a rank of the Royal Navy above Captain and below Rear Admiral. It has a NATO ranking code of OF-6. The rank is equivalent to Brigadier in the British Army and Royal Marines and to Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force.-Insignia:...

. Nelson spent the first half of the year conducting operations to frustrate French advances and bolster Britain's Italian allies. Despite some minor successes in intercepting small French warships, Nelson began to feel the British presence on the Italian peninsula was rapidly becoming useless. In June the Agamemnon was sent back to Britain for repairs, and Nelson was appointed to the 74-gun . In the same month, the French thrust towards Leghorn and were certain to capture the city. Nelson hurried there to oversee the evacuation of British nationals and transported them to Corsica, after which Jervis ordered him to blockade the newly captured French port. In July he oversaw the occupation of Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

, but by September the Genoese had broken their neutrality to declare in favour of the French. By October, the Genoese position and the continued French advances led the British to decide that the Mediterranean fleet could no longer be supplied; they ordered it to be evacuated to Gibraltar. Nelson helped oversee the withdrawal from Corsica, and by December 1796 was aboard the frigate HMS Minerve
French frigate Minerve (1794)
The Minerve was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy. She was captured twice by the British and recaptured once by the French. She therefore served under four names:*Minerve, 1794–1795*HMS Minerve, 1795–1803*Canonnière, 1803–1810...

, covering the evacuation of the garrison at Elba. He then sailed for Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

.

During the passage, Nelson captured the Spanish frigate
Action of 19 December 1796
-External links:*, Revista de Historia Naval...

 Santa Sabina and placed Lieutenants Jonathan Culverhouse and Thomas Hardy in charge of the captured vessel, taking the Spanish captain on board Minerve. Santa Sabina was part of a larger Spanish force, and the following morning two Spanish ships-of-the-line and a frigate were sighted closing fast. Unable to outrun them Nelson initially determined to fight but Culverhouse and Hardy raised the British colours and sailed northeast, drawing the Spanish ships after them until being captured, giving Nelson the opportunity to escape. Nelson went on to rendezvous with the British fleet at Elba, where he spent Christmas. He sailed for Gibraltar in late January, and after learning that the Spanish fleet had sailed from Cartagena
Cartagena, Spain
Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2011, it has a population of 218,210 inhabitants being the Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital...

, stopped just long enough to collect Hardy, Culverhouse, and the rest of the prize crew captured with Santa Sabina, before pressing on through the straits to join Sir John Jervis off Cadiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

.

Battle of Cape St Vincent

Nelson joined Jervis's fleet off Cape St Vincent, and reported the Spanish movements. Jervis decided to give battle and the two fleets met on 14 February. Nelson found himself towards the rear of the British line and realised that it would be a long time before he could bring Captain into action. Instead of continuing to follow the line, Nelson disobeyed orders and wore ship
Jibe
A jibe or gybe is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other...

, breaking from the line and heading to engage the Spanish van, which consisted of the 112-gun San Josef, the 80-gun San Nicolas and the 130-gun Santísima Trinidad. Captain engaged all three, assisted by which had come to Nelson's aid. After an hour of exchanging broadsides which left both Captain and Culloden heavily damaged, Nelson found himself alongside the San Nicolas. He led a boarding party across, crying "Westminster Abbey! or, glorious victory!" and forced her surrender. San Josef attempted to come to the San Nicolas’s aid, but became entangled with her compatriot and was left immobile. Nelson led his party from the deck of the San Nicolas onto the San Josef and captured her as well. As night fell, the Spanish fleet broke off and sailed for Cadiz. Four ships had surrendered to the British and two of them were Nelson's captures.

Nelson was victorious, but had disobeyed direct orders. Jervis liked Nelson and so did not officially reprimand him, but did not mention Nelson's actions in his official report of the battle. He did write a private letter to George Spencer
George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer
George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer KG PC FRS FSA , styled Viscount Althorp from 1765 to 1783, was a British Whig politician...

 in which he said that Nelson "contributed very much to the fortune of the day". Nelson also wrote several letters about his victory, reporting that his action was being referred to amongst the fleet as "Nelson's Patent Bridge for boarding first rates". Nelson's account was later challenged by Rear-Admiral William Parker, who had been aboard . Parker claimed that Nelson had been supported by several more ships than he acknowledged, and that the San Josef had already struck her colours
Striking the colors
Striking the colors is the universally recognized indication of surrender, particularly for ships at sea. Surrender is dated from the time the ensign is struck.-In international law:# "Colors. A national flag . The colors . ....

 by the time Nelson boarded her. Nelson's account of his role prevailed, and the victory was well received in Britain: Jervis was made Earl St Vincent and Nelson was made a Knight of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

. On 20 February, in a standard promotion according to his seniority and unrelated to the battle, he was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Blue
Admiral (United Kingdom)
Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

.

Action off Cadiz

Nelson was given command of in the aftermath of the battle, and on 27 May 1797 was ordered to lie off Cadiz, monitoring the Spanish fleet and awaiting the arrival of Spanish treasure ships from the American colonies. He carried out a bombardment and personally led an amphibious assault on 3 July. During the action Nelson's barge collided with that of the Spanish commander, and a hand to hand struggle ensued between the two crews. Twice Nelson was nearly cut down and both times his life was saved by a seaman named John Sykes who took the blows and was badly wounded. The British raiding force captured the Spanish boat and towed it back to the Theseus. During this period Nelson developed a scheme to capture Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital , second-most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 in 2009...

, aiming to seize a large quantity of specie from the treasure ship Principe de Asturias, which was reported to have recently arrived.

Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The battle plan called for a combination of naval bombardments and an amphibious landing. The initial attempt was called off after adverse currents hampered the assault and the element of surprise was lost. Nelson immediately ordered another assault but this was beaten back. He prepared for a third attempt, to take place during the night. Although he personally led one of the battalions, the operation ended in failure: the Spanish were better prepared than had been expected and had secured strong defensive positions. Several of the boats failed to land at the correct positions in the confusion, while those that did were swept by gunfire and grapeshot. Nelson's boat reached its intended landing point but as he stepped ashore he was hit in the right arm by a musketball, which fractured his humerus
Humerus
The humerus is a long bone in the arm or forelimb that runs from the shoulder to the elbow....

 bone in multiple places. He was rowed back to the Theseus to be attended to by the surgeon. On arriving on his ship he refused to be helped aboard, declaring "Let me alone! I have got my legs left and one arm." He was taken to the surgeon, instructing him to prepare his instruments and "the sooner it was off the better". Most of the right arm was amputated and within half an hour Nelson had returned to issuing orders to his captains. Years later he would excuse himself to Commodore John Thomas Duckworth
John Thomas Duckworth
Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, 1st Baronet, GCB was a British naval officer, serving during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, as the Governor of Newfoundland during the War of 1812, and a member of the British House of Commons during his...

 for not writing longer letters due to not being naturally left-handed.

Meanwhile a force under Sir Thomas Troubridge
Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet
Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet was a British naval commander and politician.Troubridge was educated at St Paul's School, London. He entered the Royal Navy in 1773 and, together with Nelson, served in the East Indies in the frigate Seahorse. In 1785 he returned to England in the Sultan as...

 had fought their way to the main square but could go no further. Unable to return to the fleet because their boats had been sunk, Troubridge was forced to enter into negotiations with the Spanish commander, and the British were subsequently allowed to withdraw. The expedition had failed to achieve any of its objectives and had left a quarter of the landing force dead or wounded. The squadron remained off Tenerife for a further three days and by 16 August had rejoined Jervis's fleet off Cadiz. Despondently Nelson wrote to Jervis: "A left-handed Admiral will never again be considered as useful, therefore the sooner I get to a very humble cottage the better, and make room for a better man to serve the state". He returned to England aboard HMS Seahorse, arriving at Spithead
Spithead
Spithead is an area of the Solent and a roadstead off Gilkicker Point in Hampshire, England. It is protected from all winds, except those from the southeast...

 on 1 September. He was met with a hero's welcome: the British public had lionised Nelson after Cape St Vincent and his wound earned him sympathy. They refused to attribute the defeat at Tenerife to him, preferring instead to blame poor planning on the part of St Vincent, the Secretary at War
Secretary at War
The Secretary at War was a political position in the English and later British government, with some responsibility over the administration and organization of the Army, but not over military policy. The Secretary at War ran the War Office. It was occasionally a cabinet level position, although...

 or even William Pitt
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

.

Return to England

Nelson returned to Bath with Fanny, before moving to London in October to seek expert medical attention concerning his amputated arm. Whilst in London news reached him that Admiral Duncan
Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan of Camperdown
Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan was a British admiral who defeated the Dutch fleet off Camperdown on 11 October 1797. This victory was considered one of the most significant actions in naval history.-Life:...

 had defeated the Dutch
Batavian Republic
The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on January 19, 1795, and ended on June 5, 1806, with the accession of Louis Bonaparte to the throne of the Kingdom of Holland....

 fleet at the Battle of Camperdown
Battle of Camperdown
The Battle of Camperdown was a major naval action fought on 11 October 1797 between a Royal Navy fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan and a Dutch Navy fleet under Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter...

. Nelson exclaimed that he would have given his other arm to have been present. He spent the last months of 1797 recuperating in London, during which he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and an annual pension of £1,000 a year. He used the money to buy Round Wood Farm near Ipswich
Ipswich
Ipswich is a large town and a non-metropolitan district. It is the county town of Suffolk, England. Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell...

, and intended to retire there with Fanny. Despite his plans, Nelson was never to live there.

Although surgeons had been unable to remove the central ligature
Ligature (medicine)
In surgery or medical procedure, a ligature consists of a piece of thread tied around an anatomical structure, usually a blood vessel or another hollow structure to shut it off. With a blood vessel the surgeon will clamp the vessel perpendicular to the axis of the artery or vein with a hemostat,...

 in his amputated arm, which had caused considerable inflammation and poisoning, in early December it came out of its own accord and Nelson rapidly began to recover. Eager to return to sea, he began agitating for a command and was promised the 80-gun . As she was not yet ready for sea, Nelson was instead given command of the 74-gun , to which he appointed Edward Berry as his flag captain
Flag captain
In the Royal Navy, a flag captain was the captain of an admiral's flagship. During the 18th and 19th centuries, this ship might also have a "captain of the fleet", who would be ranked between the admiral and the "flag captain" as the ship's "First Captain", with the "flag captain" as the ship's...

. French activities in the Mediterranean theatre were raising concern among the Admiralty: Napoleon was gathering forces in Southern France but the destination of his army was unknown. Nelson and the Vanguard were to be despatched to Cadiz to reinforce the fleet. On 28 March 1798, Nelson hoisted his flag and sailed to join Earl St Vincent. St Vincent sent him on to Gibraltar with a small force to reconnoitre French activities.

Hunting the French

While Nelson was sailing to Gibraltar through a fierce storm, Napoleon had sailed with his invasion fleet under the command of Vice-admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers
François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers
Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers, Comte de Brueys was the French commander in the Battle of the Nile, in which the French Revolutionary Navy was defeated by Royal Navy forces under Admiral Horatio Nelson. The British victory helped to ensure their naval supremacy throughout the...

. When news of the French departure reached St Vincent, Nelson was reinforced with a number of ships and ordered to intercept the French. Nelson immediately began searching the Italian coast for Napoleon's fleet, but was hampered by a lack of frigates that could operate as fast scouts. Napoleon had already arrived at Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and, after a show of force, secured the island's surrender. Nelson followed him there, but the French had already left. After a conference with his captains, he decided Egypt was Napoleon's most likely destination and headed for Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. On his arrival on 28 June, though, he found no sign of the French; dismayed, he withdrew and began searching to the east of the port. While he was absent, Napoleon's fleet arrived on 1 July and landed their forces unopposed.

Brueys then anchored his fleet in Aboukir Bay
Abu Qir Bay
The Abū Qīr Bay is a spacious bay on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, lying between Abu Qir and the Rosetta mouth of the Nile. It contains a natural gas field, discovered in the 1970s.On August 1, 1798, Horatio Nelson fought the Battle of the Nile, often referred to as the "Battle of Aboukir Bay"...

, ready to support Napoleon if required. Nelson meanwhile had crossed the Mediterranean again in a fruitless attempt to locate the French and had returned to Naples to re-provision. He sailed again, intending to search the seas off Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, but decided to pass Alexandria again for a final check. In doing so his force captured a French merchant, which provided the first news of the French fleet: they had passed south-east of Crete a month before, heading to Alexandria. Nelson hurried to the port but again found it empty of the French. Searching along the coast, he finally discovered the French fleet in Aboukir Bay on 1 August 1798.

The Battle of the Nile

Nelson immediately prepared for battle, repeating a sentiment he had expressed at the battle of Cape St Vincent that "Before this time tomorrow, I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey." It was late by the time the British arrived and the French, anchored in a strong position with a combined fire power greater than that of Nelson's fleet, did not expect them to attack. Nelson however immediately ordered his ships to advance. The French line was anchored close to a line of shoals, in the belief that this would secure their port side from attack; Brueys had assumed the British would follow convention and attack his centre from the starboard side. However, Captain Thomas Foley aboard discovered a gap between the shoals and the French ships, and took Goliath into the channel. The unprepared French found themselves attacked on both sides, the British fleet splitting, with some following Foley and others passing down the starboard side of the French line.
The British fleet was soon heavily engaged, passing down the French line and engaging their ships one by one. Nelson on Vanguard personally engaged Spartiate, also coming under fire from Aquilon
French ship Aquilon (1789)
The Aquilon was a Téméraire class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.She served off Italy under Brueys, and took part in the Battle of the Nile, where she fought HMS Vanguard, HMS Minotaur and HMS Theseus. She was captured and recommissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Aboukir.- External links...

. At about eight o'clock, he was with Berry on the quarter-deck when a piece of French shot struck him in his forehead. He fell to the deck, a flap of torn skin obscuring his good eye. Blinded and half stunned, he felt sure he would die and cried out "I am killed. Remember me to my wife." He was taken below to be seen by the surgeon. After examining Nelson, the surgeon pronounced the wound non-threatening and applied a temporary bandage.

The French van, pounded by British fire from both sides, had begun to surrender, and the victorious British ships continued to move down the line, bringing Brueys's 118-gun flagship Orient
French ship Orient (1791)
The Dauphin-Royal was an Océan class 118-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.During the French Revolution, she was renamed Sans-Culotte in September 1792, and eventually Orient in May 1795....

 under constant heavy fire. Orient caught fire under this bombardment, and later exploded. Nelson briefly came on deck to direct the battle, but returned to the surgeon after watching the destruction of Orient.

The Battle of the Nile was a major blow to Napoleon's ambitions in the east. The fleet had been destroyed: Orient, another ship and two frigates had been burnt, seven 74-gun ships and two 80-gun ships had been captured, and only two ships-of-the-line and two frigates escaped, while the forces Napoleon had brought to Egypt were stranded. Napoleon attacked north along the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 coast, but Turkish defenders supported by Captain Sir Sidney Smith
Sidney Smith (admiral)
Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, KCB, GCTE was a British naval officer. Serving in the American and French revolutionary wars, he later rose to the rank of admiral....

 defeated his army at the Siege of Acre
Siege of Acre (1799)
The Siege of Acre of 1799 was an unsuccessful French siege of the Ottoman-defended, walled city of Acre and was the turning point of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and Syria.-Background:...

. Napoleon then left his army and sailed back to France, evading detection by British ships. Given its strategic importance, some historians regard Nelson's achievement at the Nile as the most significant of his career, even greater than that at Trafalgar seven years later.

Rewards

Nelson wrote despatches to the Admiralty and oversaw temporary repairs to the Vanguard, before sailing to Naples where he was met with enthusiastic celebrations. The King of Naples, in company with the Hamiltons, greeted him in person when he arrived at the port and William Hamilton invited Nelson to stay at their house. Celebrations were held in honour of Nelson's birthday that September, and he attended a banquet at the Hamilton's, where other officers had begun to notice his attention to Emma. Jervis himself had begun to grow concerned about reports of Nelson's behaviour, but in early October word of Nelson's victory had reached London. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl Spencer
George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer
George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer KG PC FRS FSA , styled Viscount Althorp from 1765 to 1783, was a British Whig politician...

, fainted on hearing the news. Scenes of celebration erupted across the country, balls and victory feasts were held and church bells were rung. The City of London awarded Nelson and his captains with swords, whilst the King ordered them to be presented with special medals. The Tsar of Russia
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

 sent him a gift, and Selim III
Selim III
Selim III was the reform-minded Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1789 to 1807. The Janissaries eventually deposed and imprisoned him, and placed his cousin Mustafa on the throne as Mustafa IV...

, the Sultan of Turkey, awarded Nelson the Order of the Turkish Crescent for his role in restoring Ottoman rule in Egypt. Lord Hood, after a conversation with the Prime Minister
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

, told Fanny that Nelson would likely be given a Viscount
Viscount
A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

cy, similar to Jervis's earldom after Cape St Vincent and Duncan's viscountcy after Camperdown. Earl Spencer however demurred, arguing that as Nelson had only been detached in command of a squadron, rather than being the commander in chief of the fleet, such an award would create an unwelcome precedent. Instead, Nelson received the title Baron Nelson of the Nile.

Neapolitan campaign

Nelson was dismayed by Spencer's decision, and declared that he would rather have received no title than that of a mere barony. He was however cheered by the attention showered on him by the citizens of Naples, the prestige accorded him by the kingdom's elite, and the comforts he received at the Hamiltons' residence. He made frequent visits to attend functions in his honour, or to tour nearby attractions with Emma, with whom he had by now fallen deeply in love, almost constantly at his side. Orders arrived from the Admiralty to blockade the French forces in Alexandria and Malta, a task Nelson delegated to his captains, Samuel Hood and Alexander Ball
Alexander Ball
Sir Alexander John Ball, 1st Baronet was a British Admiral and the first British governor of Malta. He was born in Ebworth Park, Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire. He was the fourth son of Robert and Mary Ball....

. Despite enjoying his lifestyle in Naples Nelson began to think of returning to England, but King Ferdinand of Naples, after a long period of pressure from his wife Maria Carolina of Austria
Maria Carolina of Austria
Maria Carolina of Austria was Queen of Naples and Sicily as the wife of King Ferdinand IV & III. As de facto ruler of her husband's kingdoms, Maria Carolina oversaw the promulgation of many reforms, including the revocation of the ban on Freemasonry, the enlargement of the navy under her...

 and Sir William Hamilton, finally agreed to declare war on France. The Neapolitan army, led by the Austrian General Mack
Karl Mack von Leiberich
Karl Mack von Leiberich, Freiherr was an Austrian soldier. He is best remembered as the commander of the Austrian forces that capitulated to Napoleon's Grande Armée in the Battle of Ulm in 1805. Historians of the late 20th century widely agree that he was among the poorest of the commanders of the...

 and supported by Nelson's fleet, retook Rome from the French in late November, but the French regrouped outside the city and, after being reinforced, routed the Neapolitans. In disarray, the Neapolitan army fled back to Naples, with the pursuing French close behind. Nelson hastily organised the evacuation of the Royal Family, several nobles and the British nationals, including the Hamiltons. The evacuation got underway on 23 December and sailed through heavy gales before reaching the safety of Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 on 26 December.

With the departure of the Royal Family, Naples descended into anarchy and news reached Palermo in January that the French had entered the city under General Championnet
Jean Étienne Championnet
Jean Étienne Vachier, called Championnet , French general, enlisted in the army at an early age and served in the Great Siege of Gibraltar....

 and proclaimed the Parthenopaean Republic
Parthenopaean Republic
The Parthenopean Republic was a French-supported republic in the territory of the Kingdom of Naples, formed during the French Revolutionary Wars after King Ferdinand IV fled before advancing French troops...

. Nelson was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red
Admiral (United Kingdom)
Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

 on 14 February 1799, and was occupied for several months in blockading Naples, while a popular counter-revolutionary force under Cardinal Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo was an Italian cardinal and politician, who led the popular anti-republican Sanfedismo movement .-Biography:...

 known as the Sanfedisti
Sanfedismo
Sanfedismo was a popular anti-Republican movement, organized by Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, which mobilized peasants of the Papal States against the Parthenopaean Republic in 1799, its aims culminating in the restoration of the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies...

 marched to retake the city. In late June Ruffo's army entered Naples, forcing the French and their supporters to withdraw to the city's fortifications as rioting and looting broke out amongst the ill-disciplined Neapolitan troops. Dismayed by the bloodshed, Ruffo agreed to a general amnesty with the Jacobin forces that allowed them safe conduct to France. Nelson, now aboard the Foudroyant, was outraged, and backed by King Ferdinand he insisted that the rebels must surrender unconditionally. He took those who had surrendered under the amnesty under armed guard, including the former Admiral Francesco Caracciolo
Francesco Caracciolo
Prince Francesco Caracciolo was a Neapolitan admiral and revolutionist.-Early life and British service:Caracciolo was born in Naples to a noble family. He entered the navy and learned his seamanship under Rodney...

, who had commanded the Neapolitan navy under King Ferdinand but had changed sides during the brief Jacobin rule. Nelson ordered his trial by court-martial and refused Caracciolo's request that it be held by British officers, nor was Caracciolo allowed to summon witnesses in his defence. Caracciolo was tried by royalist Neapolitan officers and sentenced to death. He asked to be shot rather than hanged, but Nelson, following the wishes of Queen Maria Carolina (a close friend of his mistress, Lady Hamilton) also refused this request and even ignored the court's request to allow 24 hours for Caracciolo to prepare himself. Caracciolo was hanged aboard the Neapolitan frigate Minerva at 5 o'clock the same afternoon. Nelson kept the Jacobins imprisoned and approved of a wave of further executions, refusing to intervene despite pleas for clemency from the Hamiltons and the Queen of Naples. When transports were finally allowed to carry the Jacobins to France, less than a third were still alive. On 13 August 1799, King Ferdinand gave Nelson the newly created Dukedom of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

, in perpetual property, enclosing the Maniace Castle
Castello Maniace
The Castello Maniace is a citadel and castle in Syracuse, Sicily. It stands on a large promontory, where it was constructed between 1232 and 1240 by the Emperor Frederick II. It bears the name of George Maniakes, the Byzantine general who besieged and took the city in 1038.The castle could be...

, the accompanying Abbey, and the land and the city of Bronte, this as a reward for his support of the monarchy.

Nelson returned to Palermo in August and in September became the senior officer in the Mediterranean after Jervis' successor Lord Keith left to chase the French and Spanish fleets into the Atlantic. Nelson spent the rest of 1799 at the Neapolitan court but put to sea again in February 1800 after Lord Keith's return. On 18 February Généreux
French ship Généreux (1785)
The Généreux was a French Téméraire class ship of the line.She was launched in 1785 at Rochefort. With the Guillaume Tell, she was one of only two ships to escape the British attack at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798....

, a survivor of the Nile, was sighted and Nelson gave chase, capturing her after a short battle
Battle of the Malta Convoy (1800)
The Battle of the Malta Convoy was a naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars fought on 18 February 1800 during the Siege of Malta. The French garrison at the city of Valletta in Malta had been under siege for eighteen months, blockaded on the landward side by a combined force of British,...

 and winning Keith's approval. Nelson had a difficult relationship with his superior officer: he was gaining a reputation for insubordination, having initially refused to send ships when Keith requested them and on occasion returning to Palermo without orders, pleading poor health. Keith's reports, and rumours of Nelson's close relationship with Emma Hamilton, were also circulating in London, and Earl Spencer wrote a pointed letter suggesting that he return home:
You will be more likely to recover your health and strength in England than in any inactive situation at a foreign Court, however pleasing the respect and gratitude shown to you for your services may be.

Return to England

The recall of Sir William Hamilton to Britain was a further incentive for Nelson to return, although he and the Hamiltons initially sailed from Naples on a brief cruise around Malta aboard the Foudroyant in April 1800. It was on this voyage that Horatio and Emma's illegitimate daughter Horatia
Horatia Nelson
Horatia Nelson, christened as Horatia Nelson Thompson was the illegitimate daughter of Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson.-Early life:...

 was probably conceived. After the cruise, Nelson conveyed the Queen of Naples and her suite to Leghorn
Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

. On his arrival, Nelson shifted his flag to , but again disobeyed Keith's orders by refusing to join the main fleet. Keith came to Leghorn in person to demand an explanation, and refused to be moved by the Queen's pleas to allow her to be conveyed in a British ship. In the face of Keith's demands, Nelson reluctantly struck his flag and bowed to Emma Hamilton's request to return to England by land.

Nelson, the Hamiltons and several other British travellers left Leghorn for Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 on 13 July. They made stops at Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 and Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, spending three weeks in the latter where they were entertained by the local nobility and heard the Missa in Angustiis
Missa in angustiis
The Missa in Angustiis or "Nelson Mass" , is one of fourteen masses written by Joseph Haydn. It is one of the six masses written near the end of his life which are now seen as a culmination of Haydn's liturgical composition.- Background :Haydn's chief biographer, H. C...

by Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 that now bears Nelson's name. By September they were in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, and later called at Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Dessau
Dessau
Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 .-Geography:...

 and Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, from where they caught a packet ship to Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth, is a coastal town in Norfolk, England. It is at the mouth of the River Yare, east of Norwich.It has been a seaside resort since 1760, and is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the sea...

, arriving on 6 November. Nelson was given a hero's welcome and after being sworn in as a freeman of the borough and received the massed crowd's applause. He subsequently made his way to London, arriving on 9 November. He attended court and was guest of honour at a number of banquets and balls. It was during this period that Fanny Nelson and Emma Hamilton met for the first time. During this period, Nelson was reported as being cold and distant to his wife and his attention to Emma became the subject of gossip. With the marriage breaking down, Nelson began to hate even being in the same room as Fanny. Events came to a head around Christmas, when according to Nelson's solicitor, Fanny issued an ultimatum on whether he was to choose her or Emma. Nelson replied:
I love you sincerely but I cannot forget my obligations to Lady Hamilton or speak of her otherwise than with affection and admiration.
The two never lived together again after this.

Parker and the Baltic

Shortly after his arrival in England Nelson was appointed to be second-in-command of the Channel Fleet
Channel Fleet
The Channel Fleet was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1690 to 1909.-History:The Channel Fleet dates back at least to 1690 when its role was to defend England against the French threat under the leadership of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of...

 under Lord St Vincent. He was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue
Admiral (United Kingdom)
Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

 on 1 January 1801, and travelled to Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, where on 22 January he was granted the freedom of the city, and on 29 January Emma gave birth to their daughter, Horatia. Nelson was delighted, but subsequently disappointed when he was instructed to move his flag from to in preparation for a planned expedition to the Baltic. Tired of British ships imposing a blockade against French trade and stopping and searching their merchants, the Russian, Prussian, Danish and Swedish governments had formed an alliance to break the blockade. Nelson joined Admiral Sir Hyde Parker's fleet at Yarmouth, from where they sailed for the Danish coast in March. On their arrival Parker was inclined to blockade the Danish and control the entrance to the Baltic, but Nelson urged a pre-emptive attack on the Danish fleet at harbour in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

. He convinced Parker to allow him to make an assault, and was given significant reinforcements. Parker himself would wait in the Kattegat
Kattegat
The Kattegat , or Kattegatt is a sea area bounded by the Jutland peninsula and the Straits islands of Denmark on the west and south, and the provinces of Västergötland, Scania, Halland and Bohuslän in Sweden on the east. The Baltic Sea drains into the Kattegat through the Øresund and the Danish...

, covering Nelson's fleet in case of the arrival of the Swedish or Russian fleets.

Battle of Copenhagen


On the morning of 2 April 1801, Nelson began to advance into Copenhagen harbour. The battle began badly for the British, with HMS Agamemnon, and running aground, and the rest of the fleet encountering heavier fire from the Danish shore batteries than had been anticipated. Parker sent the signal for Nelson to withdraw, reasoning:
I will make the signal for recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in a condition to continue the action he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be attached to him.
Nelson, directing action aboard , was informed of the signal by the signal lieutenant, Frederick Langford, but angrily responded: 'I told you to look out on the Danish commodore and let me know when he surrendered. Keep your eyes fixed on him.' He then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley and said 'You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.' He raised the telescope to his blind eye, and said 'I really do not see the signal.' The battle lasted three hours, leaving both Danish and British fleets heavily damaged. At length Nelson despatched a letter to the Danish commander, Crown Prince Frederick
Frederick VI of Denmark
Frederick VI reigned as King of Denmark , and as king of Norway .-Regent of Denmark:Frederick's parents were King Christian VII and Caroline Matilda of Wales...

 calling for a truce, which the Prince accepted. Parker approved of Nelson's actions in retrospect, and Nelson was given the honour of going into Copenhagen the next day to open formal negotiations. At a banquet that evening he told Prince Frederick that the battle had been the most severe he had ever been in. The outcome of the battle and several weeks of ensuing negotiations was a 14 week armistice, and on Parker's recall in May, Nelson became commander-in-chief in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. As a reward for the victory, he was created Viscount Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, on 19 May 1801. In addition, on 4 August 1801, he was created Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Hilborough in the County of Norfolk, this time with a special remainder to his father and sisters. Nelson subsequently sailed to the Russian naval base at Reval
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 in May, and there learned that the pact of armed neutrality was to be disbanded. Satisfied with the outcome of the expedition, he returned to England, arriving on 1 July.

Leave in England

In France, Napoleon was massing forces to invade Great Britain
Napoleon's invasion of England
Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom at the start of the War of the Third Coalition, although never carried out, was a major influence on British naval strategy and the fortification of the coast of south-east England. French attempts to invade Ireland in order to destabilise the...

. After a brief spell in London, where he again visited the Hamiltons, Nelson was placed in charge of defending the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 to prevent the invasion. He spent the summer reconnoitring the French coast, but apart from a failed attack
Raid on Boulogne (1801)
The raid on Boulogne in 1801 was a failed attempt by elements of the Royal Navy led by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson to destroy a French vessels flotilla anchored in the port of Boulogne supposed to be used for the invasion of England, during the French Revolutionary Wars. At dawn on August 4, Nelson...

 on Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 in August, saw little action. On 22 October 1801 the Peace of Amiens was signed between the British and the French, and Nelson – in poor health again – retired to Britain where he stayed with Sir William and Lady Hamilton. On 30 October Nelson spoke in support of the Addington
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, PC was a British statesman, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1804....

 government in the House of Lords, and afterwards made regular visits to attend sessions. The three embarked on a tour of England and Wales, visiting Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, Warwick
Warwick
Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

, Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

, Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

 and numerous other towns and villages. Nelson often found himself received as a hero and was the centre of celebrations and events held in his honour. In 1802, Nelson bought Merton Place, a country estate in Merton
Merton (historic parish)
Merton was an ancient parish in the Brixton hundred of Surrey, England. It was bounded by Wimbledon to the north, Mitcham to the east, Morden to the south and Kingston upon Thames to the west. The 1871 Ordnance Survey map records its area as . The parish was centred around the 12th century parish...

, Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

 (now south-west London) where he lived briefly with the Hamiltons until William's death in April 1803. The following month, war broke out again and Nelson prepared to return to sea.

Return to sea

Nelson was appointed commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet
Mediterranean Fleet
Several countries have or have had a Mediterranean Fleet in their navy. See:* Mediterranean Fleet * French Mediterranean Fleet* Mediterranean Squadron * United States Sixth Fleet...

 and given the first-rate as his flagship. He joined her at Portsmouth, where he received orders to sail to Malta and take command of a squadron there before joining the blockade of Toulon. Nelson arrived off Toulon in July 1803 and spent the next year and a half enforcing the blockade. He was promoted to Vice Admiral of the White
Admiral (United Kingdom)
Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

 while still at sea, on 23 April 1804. In January 1805 the French fleet, under Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve
Pierre-Charles Villeneuve
Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve was a French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He was in command of the French and Spanish fleets defeated by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar....

, escaped Toulon and eluded the blockading British. Nelson set off in pursuit but after searching the eastern Mediterranean he learned that the French had been blown back into Toulon. Villeneuve managed to break out a second time in April, and this time succeeded in passing through the Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq , albeit the Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat or...

 and into the Atlantic, bound for the West Indies.

Nelson gave chase, but after arriving in the Caribbean spent June in a fruitless search for the fleet. Villeneuve had briefly cruised around the islands before heading back to Europe, in contravention of Napoleon's orders. The returning French fleet was intercepted by a British fleet under Sir Robert Calder
Robert Calder
Admiral Sir Robert Calder, 1st Baronet, KCB was a British naval officer who served in the Seven Years' War, the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.-Early life:...

 and engaged in the Battle of Cape Finisterre
Battle of Cape Finisterre (1805)
In the Battle of Cape Finisterre off Galicia, Spain, the British fleet under Admiral Robert Calder fought an indecisive naval battle against the Combined Franco-Spanish fleet which was returning from the West Indies...

, but managed to reach Ferrol with only minor losses. Nelson returned to Gibraltar at the end of July, and travelled from there to England, dismayed at his failure to bring the French to battle and expecting to be censured. To his surprise he was given a rapturous reception from crowds who had gathered to view his arrival, while senior British officials congratulated him for sustaining the close pursuit and credited him for saving the West Indies from a French invasion. Nelson briefly stayed in London, where he was cheered wherever he went, before visiting Merton to see Emma, arriving in late August. He entertained a number of his friends and relations there over the coming month, and began plans for a grand engagement with the enemy fleet, one that would surprise his foes by forcing a pell-mell battle on them. Captain Henry Blackwood
Henry Blackwood
Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Blackwood, 1st Baronet, GCH, KCB , whose memorial is in the St. John's Church, Killyleagh, was a British sailor....

 arrived at Merton early on 2 September, bringing news that the French and Spanish fleets had combined and were currently at anchor in Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

. Nelson hurried to London where he met with cabinet ministers and was given command of the fleet blockading Cádiz. It was at one of these meetings on the 12th September, with Lord Castlereagh the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, that the famous meeting between Nelson and the future Duke of Wellington took place. In a waiting room Wellington waited to be debriefed on his Indian operations and Nelson on his chase and future plans. Wellington later recalled, 'He (Nelson) entered at once into conversation with me, if I can call it conversation, for it was almost all on his side and all about himself and, in reality, a style so vain and so silly as to surprise and almost disgust me.' However, after a few minutes Nelson left the room and having been told who his companion was returned in a very different fashion and entered into an earnest and intelligent discussion with the young Wellesley, for a quarter of an hour, on the war, the state of the colonies and the geopolitical situation, that left a marked impression upon each. This was the only meeting between the two men who achieved the greatest victories on land and sea of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and came to be recognised as, perhaps, the United Kingdom's foremost military heroes.

Nelson returned briefly to Merton to set his affairs in order and bid farewell to Emma, before travelling back to London and then on to Portsmouth, arriving there early in the morning of 14 September. He breakfasted at the George Inn with his friends George Rose
George Rose
The Right Honourable George Rose was a British politician.Born at Woodside near Brechin, Scotland, Rose was the son of the Reverend David Rose of Lethnot, by Margaret, daughter of Donald Rose of Wester Clune...

, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
The office of Vice-President of the Board of Trade was a junior ministerial position in the government of the United Kingdom. The office was created in 1786 and abolished in 1867. From 1848 onwards the office was held concurrently with that of Paymaster-General...

, and George Canning
George Canning
George Canning PC, FRS was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and briefly Prime Minister.-Early life: 1770–1793:...

, the Treasurer of the Navy
Treasurer of the Navy
The Treasurer of the Navy was an office in the British government between the mid-16th and early 19th century. The office-holder was responsible for the financial maintenance of the Royal Navy. The office was a political appointment, and frequently was held by up-and-coming young politicians who...

. During the breakfast word spread of Nelson's presence at the inn and a large crowd of well wishers gathered. They accompanied Nelson to his barge and cheered him off, which Nelson acknowledged by raising his hat. Nelson was recorded as having turned to his colleague and stated, "I had their huzzas before: I have their hearts now". Robert Southey
Robert Southey
Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843...

 reported that of the onlookers for Nelson's walk to the dock, "Many were in tears and many knelt down before him and blessed him as he passed".

Victory joined the British fleet off Cádiz on 27 September, Nelson taking over from Rear-Admiral Collingwood. He spent the following weeks preparing and refining his tactics for the anticipated battle and dining with his captains to ensure they understood his intentions. Nelson had devised a plan of attack that anticipated the allied fleet would form up in a traditional line of battle
Line of battle
In naval warfare, the line of battle is a tactic in which the ships of the fleet form a line end to end. A primitive form had been used by the Portuguese under Vasco Da Gama in 1502 near Malabar against a Muslim fleet.,Maarten Tromp used it in the Action of 18 September 1639 while its first use in...

. Drawing on his own experience from the Nile and Copenhagen, and the examples of Duncan at Camperdown and Rodney
George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney
George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, KB was a British naval officer. He is best known for his commands in the American War of Independence, particularly his victory over the French at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782...

 at the Saintes
Battle of the Saintes
The Battle of the Saintes took place over 4 days, 9 April 1782 – 12 April 1782, during the American War of Independence, and was a victory of a British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney over a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse forcing the French and Spanish to abandon a planned...

, Nelson decided to split his fleet into squadrons rather than forming it into a similar line parallel to the enemy. These squadrons would then cut the enemy's line in a number of places, allowing a pell-mell battle to develop in which the British ships could overwhelm and destroy parts of their opponents' formation, before the unengaged enemy ships could come to their aid.

Preparation

The combined French and Spanish fleet under Villeneuve's command numbered 33 ships of the line. Napoleon Bonaparte had intended for Villeneuve to sail into the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 and cover the planned invasion of Britain, but the entry of Austria and Russia into the war forced Napoleon to call off the planned invasion and transfer troops to Germany. Villeneuve had been reluctant to risk an engagement with the British, and this reluctance led Napoleon to order Vice-Admiral François Rosily
François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros
François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros was a French naval commander of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He is notable as being chosen by Napoleon to succeed Villeneuve as commander of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Cádiz fleet, arriving to take up his appointment just after its...

 to go to Cádiz and take command of the fleet, sail it into the Mediterranean to land troops at Naples, before making port at Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

. Villeneuve decided to sail the fleet out before his successor arrived. On 20 October 1805 the fleet was sighted making its way out of harbour by patrolling British frigates, and Nelson was informed that they appeared to be headed to the west.
At four o'clock in the morning of 21 October Nelson ordered the Victory to turn towards the approaching enemy fleet, and signalled the rest of his force to battle stations. He then went below and made his will, before returning to the quarterdeck to carry out an inspection. Despite having 27 ships to Villeneuve's 33, Nelson was confident of success, declaring that he would not be satisfied with taking fewer than 20 prizes. He returned briefly to his cabin to write a final prayer, after which he joined Victory’s signal lieutenant, John Pasco
John Pasco
Rear-Admiral John Pasco served in the Royal Navy between 1784 and 1853, eventually rising to the rank of Rear Admiral. He acted as signal officer on board HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and notably advised on the wording of Nelson's famous signal "England expects that every man will do his...

.
Mr Pasco, I wish to say to the fleet "England confides that every man will do his duty". You must be quick, for I have one more signal to make, which is for close action.
Pasco suggested changing 'confides' to 'expects', which being in the Signal Book, could be signalled by the use of a single flag, whereas 'confides' would have to spelt out letter by letter. Nelson agreed, and the signal was hoisted
England expects that every man will do his duty
"England expects that every man will do his duty" was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on 21 October 1805. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars...

.

As the fleets converged, the Victory’s captain, Thomas Hardy suggested that Nelson remove the decorations on his coat, so that he would not be so easily identified by enemy sharpshooters. Nelson replied that it was too late 'to be shifting a coat', adding that they were 'military orders and he did not fear to show them to the enemy'. Captain Henry Blackwood
Henry Blackwood
Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Blackwood, 1st Baronet, GCH, KCB , whose memorial is in the St. John's Church, Killyleagh, was a British sailor....

, of the frigate , suggested Nelson come aboard his ship to better observe the battle. Nelson refused, and also turned down Hardy's suggestion to let Eliab Harvey
Eliab Harvey
Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, GCB was an eccentric and hot-tempered officer of the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars who was as distinguished for his gambling and dueling as for his military record...

's come ahead of the Victory and lead the line into battle.

Battle is joined

Victory came under fire, initially passing wide, but then with greater accuracy as the distances decreased. A cannon ball struck and killed Nelson's secretary, John Scott, nearly cutting him in two. Hardy's clerk took over, but he too was almost immediately killed. Victory’s wheel was shot away, and another cannon ball cut down eight marines. Hardy, standing next to Nelson on the quarterdeck, had his shoe buckle dented by a splinter. Nelson observed 'this is too warm work to last long'. The Victory had by now reached the enemy line, and Hardy asked Nelson which ship to engage first. Nelson told him to take his pick, and Hardy moved Victory across the stern of the 80-gun French flagship Bucentaure
French ship Bucentaure (1804)
Bucentaure was a 80-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, lead ship of her class. She was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Latouche Tréville, who died on board on 18 August 1804....

. Victory then came under fire from the 74-gun Redoutable
French ship Redoutable (1791)
The Redoutable was a Téméraire class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. She is known for her duel with HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar and for killing Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson during the action.- Early career :...

, lying off the Bucentaure’s stern, and the 130-gun Santísima Trinidad. As snipers from the enemy ships fired onto Victory’s deck from their rigging, Nelson and Hardy continued to walk about, directing and giving orders.

Nelson is hit

Shortly after one o'clock, Hardy realised that Nelson was not by his side. He turned to see Nelson kneeling on the deck, supporting himself with his hand, before falling onto his side. Hardy rushed to him, at which point Nelson smiled
Hardy, I do believe they have done it at last… my backbone is shot through.


He had been hit by a marksman from the Redoutable, firing at a range of 50 feet. The bullet had entered his left shoulder, pierced his lung, and come to rest at the base of his spine.

Nelson was carried below by a sergeant-major of marines and two seamen. As he was being carried down, he asked them to pause while he gave some advice to a midshipman on the handling of the tiller. He then draped a handkerchief over his face to avoid causing alarm amongst the crew. He was taken to the surgeon William Beatty, telling him
You can do nothing for me. I have but a short time to live. My back is shot through.
Nelson was made comfortable, fanned and brought lemonade and watered wine to drink after he complained of feeling hot and thirsty. He asked several times to see Hardy, who was on deck supervising the battle, and asked Beatty to remember him to Emma, his daughter and his friends.

Hardy came below deck to see Nelson just after half-past two, and informed him that a number of enemy ships had surrendered. Nelson told him that he was sure to die, and begged him to pass his possessions to Emma. With Nelson at this point were the chaplain Alexander Scott
Alexander John Scott
Reverend Dr. Alexander John Scott was a chaplain who served in the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He served as Horatio Nelson's personal chaplain at the Battle of Trafalgar, and had previously served as his private secretary...

, the purser Walter Burke, Nelson's steward, Chevalier, and Beatty. Nelson, fearing that a gale was blowing up, instructed Hardy to be sure to anchor. After reminding him to 'take care of poor Lady Hamilton', Nelson said 'Kiss me, Hardy'. Beatty recorded that Hardy knelt and kissed Nelson on the cheek. He then stood for a minute or two and then kissed him again. Nelson asked 'Who is that?', and on hearing that it was Hardy, replied 'God bless you Hardy.' By now very weak, Nelson continued to murmur instructions to Burke and Scott, 'fan, fan ... rub, rub ... drink, drink.' Beatty heard Nelson murmur 'Thank God I have done my duty' and when he returned, Nelson's voice had faded and his pulse was very weak. He looked up as Beatty took his pulse, then closed his eyes. Scott, who remained by Nelson as he died, recorded his last words as 'God and my country'. Nelson died at half-past four, three hours after he was shot.

Return to England

Nelson's body was placed in a cask of brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

 mixed with camphor
Camphor
Camphor is a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in wood of the camphor laurel , a large evergreen tree found in Asia and also of Dryobalanops aromatica, a giant of the Bornean forests...

 and myrrh
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

, which was then lashed to the Victory’s mainmast and placed under guard. Victory was towed to Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 after the battle, and on arrival the body was transferred to a lead-lined coffin filled with spirits of wine. Collingwood's dispatches about the battle were carried to England aboard , and when the news arrived in London, a messenger was sent to Merton Place to bring the news of Nelson's death to Emma Hamilton. She later recalled
They brought me word, Mr Whitby from the Admiralty. 'Show him in directly,' I said. He came in, and with a pale countenance and faint voice, said, 'We have gained a great Victory.' - 'Never mind your Victory,' I said. 'My letters - give me my letters' - Captain Whitby was unable to speak - tears in his eyes and a deathly paleness over his face made me comprehend him. I believe I gave a scream and fell back, and for ten hours I could neither speak nor shed a tear.


King George III, on receiving the news, is alleged to have said, in tears, "We have lost more than we have gained." The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

reported
We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive Victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.


The first tribute to Nelson was fittingly offered at sea by sailors of Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin
Dmitry Senyavin
Dmitry Nikolayevich Senyavin or Seniavin was a Russian admiral who ranks among the greatest seamen of the Napoleonic Wars.- Service under Ushakov :...

's passing Russian squadron, which saluted on learning of the death.

Funeral

Nelson's corpse was unloaded from the Victory at the Nore
Nore
The Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, England. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea, roughly halfway between Havengore Creek in Essex and Warden Point in Kent....

 it was taken to Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

 and placed in a lead coffin, and that in another wooden one, made from the mast of L'Orient
French ship Orient (1791)
The Dauphin-Royal was an Océan class 118-gun ship of the line of the French Navy.During the French Revolution, she was renamed Sans-Culotte in September 1792, and eventually Orient in May 1795....

which had been salvaged after the Battle of the Nile
Battle of the Nile
The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798...

. He lay in state in the Painted Hall
Old Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London, described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as being of “outstanding universal value” and reckoned to be the “finest and most...

 at Greenwich for three days, before being taken up river aboard a barge, accompanied by Lord Hood
Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood
Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood was a British Admiral known particularly for his service in the American War of Independence and French Revolutionary Wars...

, Sir Peter Parker
Sir Peter Parker, 1st Baronet
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Parker, 1st Baronet was a British naval officer.-Naval career:Peter Parker was born probably in Ireland. He became a lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1743 and captain in 1747. In 1761, he took command of HMS Buckingham and helped cover operations on Belle Île...

, and the Prince of Wales
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

. The Prince of Wales at first announced his intention to attend the funeral as chief mourner, but later attended in a private capacity with his brothers when his father George III reminded him that it was against protocol for the Heir to the Throne to attend the funerals of anyone except members of the Royal Family. The coffin was taken into the Admiralty
Admiralty House (London)
Admiralty House in London is a Grade I listedbuilding facing Whitehall, currently used for UK government functions and as ministerial flats. It was opened in 1788 and until 1964 was the official residence of First Lords of the Admiralty.-Description:...

 for the night, attended by Nelson's chaplain, Alexander Scott. The next day, 9 January, a funeral procession consisting of 32 admirals, over a hundred captains, and an escort of 10,000 soldiers took the coffin from the Admiralty to St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

. After a four-hour service he was laid to rest within a sarcophagus
Sarcophagus
A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγειν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarkophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos...

 originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey. The flag draping Nelson's coffin was torn to shreds as sailors vied for partial possession of it.

Assessment

Nelson was regarded as a highly effective leader, and someone who was able to sympathise with the needs of his men. He based his command on love rather than authority, inspiring both his superiors and his subordinates with his considerable courage, commitment and charisma, dubbed 'the Nelson touch
The Nelson Touch
While on shore leave in England, during the summer of 1805; Nelson told his friend, Lord Sidmouth, about his ideas for his next sea battle. This collection of ideas he dubbed The Nelson Touch....

'. Nelson combined this talent with an adept grasp of strategy and politics, making him a highly successful naval commander. However, Nelson's personality was complex, often characterised by a desire to be noticed, both by his superiors, and the general public. He was easily flattered by praise, and dismayed when he felt he was not given sufficient credit for his actions. This led him to take risks, and to enthusiastically publicise his resultant successes. Nelson was also highly confident in his abilities, determined and able to make important decisions. His active career meant that he was considerably experienced in combat, and was a shrewd judge of his opponents, able to identify and exploit his enemies' weaknesses. He was often prone to insecurities however, as well as violent mood swings, and was extremely vain: he loved to receive decorations, tributes and praise. Despite his personality, he remained a highly professional leader and was driven all his life by a strong sense of duty. Nelson's fame reached new heights after his death, and he came to be regarded as one of Britain's greatest military heroes, ranked alongside the Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

 and the Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

. In the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's 100 Greatest Britons
100 Greatest Britons
100 Greatest Britons was broadcast in 2002 by the BBC. The programme was the result of a vote conducted to determine whom the United Kingdom public considers the greatest British people in history. The series, Great Britons, included individual programmes on the top ten, with viewers having further...

programme in 2002, Nelson was voted the ninth greatest Briton of all time.

Aspects of Nelson's life and career were controversial, both during his lifetime and after his death. His affair with Emma Hamilton was widely remarked upon and disapproved of, to the extent that Emma was denied permission to attend Nelson's funeral and was subsequently ignored by the government, which awarded money and titles to Nelson's legitimate family. Nelson's actions during the reoccupation of Naples have also been the subject of debate: his approval of the wave of reprisals against the Jacobins
Jacobin (politics)
A Jacobin , in the context of the French Revolution, was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary far-left political movement. The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican convent where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques ,...

 who had surrendered under the terms agreed by Cardinal Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo
Fabrizio Ruffo was an Italian cardinal and politician, who led the popular anti-republican Sanfedismo movement .-Biography:...

, and his personal intervention in securing the execution of Caracciolo
Francesco Caracciolo
Prince Francesco Caracciolo was a Neapolitan admiral and revolutionist.-Early life and British service:Caracciolo was born in Naples to a noble family. He entered the navy and learned his seamanship under Rodney...

, are considered by some biographers, such as Robert Southey
Robert Southey
Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843...

, to have been a shameful breach of honour. Prominent contemporary politician Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

 was among those who attacked Nelson for his actions at Naples, declaring in the House of Commons
I wish that the atrocities of which we hear so much and which I abhor as much as any man, were indeed unexampled. I fear that they do not belong exclusively to the French ... Naples for instance has been what is called "delivered", and yet, if I am rightly informed, it has been stained and polluted by murders so ferocious, and by cruelties of every kind so abhorrent, that the heart shudders at the recital ... [The besieged rebels] demanded that a British officer should be brought forward, and to him they capitulated. They made terms with him under the sanction of the British name ... Before they sailed their property was confiscated, numbers ... were thrown into dungeons, and some of them, I understand, notwithstanding the British guarantee, were actually executed.
Other pro-republican writers produced books and pamphlets decrying the events in Naples as atrocities. Later assessments, including one by Andrew Lambert
Andrew Lambert
Andrew Lambert BA , MA, PhD, FRHistS is a British naval historian, who is currently Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies at King's College London.-Early life and education:...

, have stressed that the armistice had not been authorised by the King of Naples, and that the retribution meted out by the Neapolitans was not unusual for the time. Lambert also suggests that Nelson in fact acted to put an end to the bloodshed, using his ships and men to restore order in the city.

Legacy

Nelson's influence continued long after his death, and saw periodic revivals of interest, especially during times of crisis in Britain. In the 1860s Poet Laureate
Poet Laureate
A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events...

 Alfred Tennyson
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language....

 appealed to the image and tradition of Nelson, in order to oppose the defence cuts being made by Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

. First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

 Jackie Fisher was a keen exponent of Nelson during the early years of the twentieth century, and often emphasised his legacy during his period of naval reform. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 also found Nelson to be a source of inspiration during the Second World War. Nelson has been frequently depicted in art and literature; he appeared in paintings by Benjamin West
Benjamin West
Benjamin West, RA was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence...

 and Arthur William Devis
Arthur William Devis
Arthur William Devis was an English painter of history paintings and portraits. He was appointed draughtsman in a voyage projected by the East India Company in 1783, under Captain Henry Wilson, in which he was wrecked on the Pelew Islands before proceeding to Canton and thence to Bengal...

, and in books and biographies by John McArthur, James Stanier Clarke and Robert Southey.

A number of monuments and memorials were constructed across the country to honour his memory and achievements, with work beginning on Dublin's monument to Nelson, Nelson's Pillar
Nelson's Pillar
The Nelson Pillar , known locally as Nelson's Pillar or simply The Pillar, was a large granite pillar topped by a statue of Horatio Nelson in the middle of O'Connell Street, Dublin...

, in 1808. In Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, a statue was started in 1808 and completed in 1809. Others followed around the world, with London's Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

 being created in his memory in 1835 and the centrepiece, Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000. It is a column of the Corinthian...

, finished in 1843.

Titles

Nelson's titles, as inscribed on his coffin and read out at the funeral by the Garter King at Arms, Sir Isaac Heard
Isaac Heard
Sir Isaac Heard was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He began his heraldic career as Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary. He would go on to hold the posts of Lancaster Herald of Arms in Ordinary, Norroy King of Arms and Brunswick King of Arms. In 1784, he was...

, were:
The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough
Hilborough
Hilborough is a village and a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. The village is south of Swaffham, west south west of Norwich and north north east of London. The village straddles the A1065 between Swaffham and Brandon...

 in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Order of the Crescent
Order of the Crescent
The Imperial Order of the Crescent was a chivalric order of the Ottoman Empire. It was instituted in 1799 by Sultan Selim III when he wished to reward Horatio Nelson, an Anglican Christian, for his victory at the Battle of the Nile...

, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim
Order of St. Joachim
The Order of Saint Joachim is considered by some historians a Confraternal Order of Chivalry, although other historians consider it a "self-styled" Order of Chivalry. Its most famous member was Admiral Horatio Nelson.-18th century:...

.


He was a Colonel of the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 and voted a Freeman
Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by some municipalities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Rhodesia to esteemed members of its community and to organisations to be honoured, often for service to the community;...

 of Bath, Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England and the only city in the county. It is the second largest settlement in the county...

, Exeter
Exeter
Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

, Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

, Sandwich
Sandwich, Kent
Sandwich is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour in the Non-metropolitan district of Dover, within the ceremonial county of Kent, south-east England. It has a population of 6,800....

, Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, Hereford
Hereford
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester...

, and Worcester
Worcester
The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

. The University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, in full Congregation, bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law
Doctor of Civil Law
Doctor of Civil Law is a degree offered by some universities, such as the University of Oxford, instead of the more common Doctor of Laws degrees....

 upon Nelson in 1802.

In July 1799, Nelson was created Duke of Bronté (Duca di Bronté), of the Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

 (after 1816, existing in the nobility of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

), by the King Ferdinand, and after briefly experimenting with the signature "Brontë Nelson of the Nile" signed himself "Nelson & Brontë" for the rest of his life. Nelson had no legitimate children; his daughter, Horatia
Horatia Nelson
Horatia Nelson, christened as Horatia Nelson Thompson was the illegitimate daughter of Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson.-Early life:...

, subsequently married the Rev. Philip Ward, with whom she had ten children before her death in 1881. Because Lord Nelson died without legitimate issue, his viscountcy and his barony created in 1798, both "of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk", became extinct upon his death. However, the barony created in 1801, "of the Nile and of Hilborough in the County of Norfolk", passed by a special remainder, which included Lord Nelson's father and sisters and their male issue, to Lord Nelson's brother, The Reverend William Nelson
William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson
William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson, 2nd Duke of Bronté was the elder brother of Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson....

. William Nelson was created Earl Nelson
Earl Nelson
Earl Nelson, of Trafalgar and of Merton in the County of Surrey, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 20 November 1805 for William Nelson, 2nd Baron Nelson, older brother of the famous Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson. The Nelson family had been settled in...

 and Viscount Merton
Earl Nelson
Earl Nelson, of Trafalgar and of Merton in the County of Surrey, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 20 November 1805 for William Nelson, 2nd Baron Nelson, older brother of the famous Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson. The Nelson family had been settled in...

 of Trafalgar and Merton in the County of Surrey in recognition of his brother's services, and also inherited the Dukedom of Bronté.

Armorial bearings

Arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 were originally granted and confirmed on 20 October 1797. The original Nelson family arms were altered to accommodate his naval victories. After the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797, Nelson was dubbed a Knight of the Bath and granted heraldic supporters of a sailor
Sailor
A sailor, mariner, or seaman is a person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in their operation, maintenance, or service. The term can apply to professional mariners, military personnel, and recreational sailors as well as a plethora of other uses...

 and a lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

. In honour of the Battle of the Nile of 1798, the Crown granted him an augmentation of arms
Augmentation of Honour
In heraldry, an augmentation is a modification or addition to a coat of arms, typically given by a monarch as either a mere mark of favour, or a reward or recognition for some meritorious act...

 that may be blazon
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

ed "on a chief wavy argent a palm tree between a disabled ship and a ruinous battery all issuant from waves of the sea all proper", the motto, Palmam qui meruit ferat (‘let him who has earned it bear the palm’), and added to his supporters a palm branch in the hand of the sailor and the paw of the lion, and a "tri-colored flag and staff in the mouth of the latter"
After his death, his older brother and heir was granted the augmentation "on a fess wavy overall azure the word TRAFALGAR
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

 Or".

Literature

  • Nelson, Horatio, Lord Viscount, The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson: With Notes by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas G.C.M.G., The Third Volume, January 1798 to August 1799, Henry Colburn, London, 1845 (reissued by Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 2010. ISBN 9781108018425) (reissued by Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 2010. ISBN 9781108018548) (ISBN 1841622680)


External links


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