Although he suffered all his life from seasickness, the sea proved to be his element and the Napoleonic Wars gave him his opportunity. The whole nation went into mourning when he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in at the age of forty-seven. Skip to main content. Google Tag Manager. Months Past. Birth of Horatio Nelson. About fifteen minutes past one o'clock, which was in the heat of the engagement, he was walking the middle of the quarter-deck with Captain Hardy, and in the act of turning near the hatchway with his face towards the stern of the Victory, when the fatal ball was fired from the enemy's mizzen-top.
The Victory in battle Click image to see the battle plan The ball struck the epaulette on his left shoulder, and penetrated his chest. He fell with his face on the deck.
20 Facts About Horatio Nelson
Captain Hardy, who was on his right the side furthest from the enemy and advanced some steps before his lordship, on turning round, saw the Sergeant Major of Marines with two seamen raising him from the deck; where he had fallen on the same spot on which, a little before, his secretary had breathed his last, with whose blood his lordship's clothes were much soiled.
Captain Hardy expressed a hope that he was not severely wounded; to which the gallant Chief replied: 'They have done for me at last, Hardy. His lordship was laid upon a bed, stripped of his clothes, and covered with a sheet. While this was effecting, he said to Doctor Scott, "Doctor, I told you so. Doctor, I am gone;" and after a short pause he added in a low voice, "I have to leave Lady Hamilton, and my adopted daughter Horatia, as a legacy to my country.
This being explained to his lordship, he replied, "he was confident his back was shot through. The back was then examined externally, but without any injury being perceived; on which his lordship was requested by the surgeon to make him acquainted with all his sensations.
He replied, that "he felt a gush of blood every minute within his breast: that he had no feeling in the lower part of his body: and that his breathing was difficult, and attended with very severe pain about that part of the spine where he was confident that the ball had struck; for," said he, "I felt it break my back. Burke, and Messrs. Smith and Westemburg the assistant surgeons. The Victory's crew cheered whenever they observed an enemy's ship surrender. On one of these occasions, Lord Nelson anxiously inquired what was the cause of it; when Lieutenant Pasco, who lay wounded at some distance from his lordship, raised himself up, and told him that another ship had struck, which appeared to give him much satisfaction.
He now felt an ardent thirst; and frequently called for drink, and to be fanned with paper, making use of these words: 'Fan, fan,' and 'Drink, drink. He evinced great solicitude for the event of the battle, and fears for the safety of his friend Captain Hardy. Doctor Scott and Mr.
Burke used every argument they could suggest, to relieve his anxiety. This command was not a great success, and Nelson's expedition against Boulogne became an expensive failure because the French were prepared. As soon as the armistice that led to the Peace of Amiens in was signed, Nelson came ashore and settled with the Hamiltons on his new estate at Merton, Surrey, about an hour's drive from the Admiralty. Upon the outbreak of war again in , Nelson was dispatched to command the fleet in the Mediterranean. There he watched the French under adverse circumstances, blockading the French fleet at Toulon for 22 months.
In January Napoleon decided that the way to conquer the whole of Europe was to combine the French and Spanish fleets in the West Indies, lure the English away from the Channel, and seize the British Isles. With this in mind, the French commander, Pierre de Villeneuve, gave Nelson the slip and headed west while Nelson chased east to Egypt in vain. Dogged by poor intelligence reports and foul winds, Nelson pursued the French to Martinique and back to Europe but could not overtake them.
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On Oct. He resumed command off Cadiz and issued his famous order for the fleet to attack in two columns. On October 21 Nelson came upon the combined French and Spanish fleets, under Villeneuve, sailing north in a long crescent column off Cape Trafalgar, Spain. Hoisting a signal that became immortal, "England expects every man to do his duty," Nelson led the northern column to cut off and hold the Allied van while Collingwood annihilated the center and rear.
Nelson, in spite of advice, insisted upon wearing his full uniform into battle, and at the height of the encounter he was badly wounded by a musket shot from the fighting top of the French ship Redoubtable, which his flagship Victory had fouled. He died 3 hours later as the victory, one of the most significant in history, was completed. Twenty enemy ships were captured, and one was blown up.
The English lost no ships. This decisive English victory ended Napoleon's power on the sea.
Nelson's body was placed in a cask of brandy and carried home for burial in St. Paul 's Cathedral, London. No one, perhaps, better symbolized the British hero than Nelson—dashing naval commander, viscount, and lover. More than this, Nelson ranks high as a leader of men not only for the bravery and dash he displayed at Cape Saint Vincent, but also for his coolness under fire, his joy in battle, and the humanity he displayed at Copenhagen. Nelson was a beloved leader because he knew his officers and men.
His captains knew what he wanted to do and how he thought it should be done.
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The whole combination was called the Nelson touch. The best accounts of Nelson are by English naval historian Oliver Warner, A Portrait of Lord Nelson ; American title, Victory and Nelson's Battles , which updates the previous work and includes many portraits and illustrations of the battles. A worthwhile book is Sir William M.
James, The Durable Monument An excellent account of the Battle of Trafalgar is by a distinguished chronicler of the Napoleonic Wars , David Howarth, Trafalgar: The Nelson Touch , which makes good use of the most recent studies by naval historians and is interspersed with first-rate illustrations. See also Jack Russell, Nelson and the Hamiltons For more on Nelson and his navy in general see Robin Higham, ed. Marcus, The Age of Nelson Bradford, Ernle Dusgate Selby.
Grenfell, Russell. Hattersley, Roy. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. July 4, Retrieved July 04, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Lord Nelson: Hero and…Cad!
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Nelson, Horatio — Emphasis should always be placed on Nelson's East Anglian background. All his life Nelson was profoundly aware of the drudgery of toil, whether on the furrow or the lower deck, and humanely responsive to the concerns of the least privileged. The influence of his strong-minded mother, who died when he was only 9, always remained with him.
By only two of her six sons survived, and this year, probably the most testing of his life, when he parted from a blameless wife, became the father of two daughters by Emma Hamilton , and, after Copenhagen , assumed against his will a most challenging anti-invasion command reaching from Harwich down to Dover, stretched his highly strung temperament to its limits. But within eighteen months, by the time Nelson assumed the Mediterranean command in May , he had found composure, and for this Emma Hamilton then widowed may claim some credit. His entry to the navy in was through patronage, that of his uncle Maurice Suckling, comptroller of the navy —8.
For all his natural intolerance of regulation, Nelson was unfeignedly sincere in sustaining lifelong friendships with his seniors: Captains Lutwidge, no discourager of initiative, and Locker, a profoundly educative influence; Sir Peter Parker, who in June eased Nelson's promotion to a post-captaincy and so placed his feet on the ladder to becoming an admiral; Sir Samuel Lord Hood , and Sir John Jervis earl of St Vincent.
Examined for lieutenant in April , Nelson immediately returned to the West Indies , and his years there, to July when he was within four months of being placed on half-pay back in England, formed him as a naval officer. A ten-month break at home and in France , June to the following spring, caused him briefly to consider standing for Parliament. Before Maurice Suckling died he had predicted admiralship for his nephew attained February , while Hood, a friend of Suckling's, noted the young captain's exceptional dedication.
His grasp of the essentials in commanding men was allied to administrative exactitude; and the latter quality prompted him to take issue with illicit American trade in the West Indies which, though a justifiable policy, placed his professional future at risk. The attraction he felt towards women suggests strong emotional cravings.
The match involved a serious misjudgement of Frances's likely capacities as a naval officer's wife: dutifully loyal to the navy, the maintenance of the same quality towards his spouse became a burden for Nelson, before ever he met Emma Hamilton. If Frances Nelson could not comprehend her husband's professional zeal, neither could she share in his attachment to north Norfolk during his years of unemployment until, in January , he was at length appointed to the gun Agamemnon at Chatham.
The seven years which ensued in the Mediterranean, broken only by sick leave September to March , under the commands of Hood, Hotham, Jervis, and, least happily, Keith, saw Nelson become a surpassing commander for those who served under him, and a hero to his countrymen and -women. This may be a charitable explanation, but it is a not unconvincing one, for the intensity of his passion for Emma Hamilton, his intoxication with the honours which fell to him from George III, Naples , Constantinople, Malta , his maladroit and insensate involvement in Neapolitan politics —, and his flagrant disregard of a superior's orders at Copenhagen.
A national hero, yet a flawed one, the last three years —5, which included a further spell in the Mediterranean and the untiring, frustrating chase after Villeneuve to the West Indies and back in the summer before Trafalgar , confirmed Nelson's renown as a leader of men with an almost spiritual power to articulate the national will to resist Napoleon.
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