English Lamp Posts Top Victorian Blog Award Winner 2011

Brought to you by English Lamp Posts

Saturday, June 12, 2010


The Battle of Trafalgar took place October 21, 1805.  In the months leading up the battle, the English navy blockaded the French in Cadiz, Spain to prevent the French navy from receiving supplies and to stop the fleet from assisting Napoleon, who was planning an invasion of England.  French Vice-Admiral Villeneuve disobeyed orders to head north to France from fear of an English attack, so Napoleon abandoned plans to invade England and, instead, headed east to battle the Austrians and Russians, now giving the order to the French navy to go to Naples to assist the French army.  At Villeneuve's hesistation, Napoleon appointed Vice-Admiral Rosily to replace Villeneuve, who learned of Napoleon's plan and decided to sail east through the Strait of Gibraltar to avoid being disgraced.

The British navy, under Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, hid the majority of his ships behind the blockade near Cape Trafalgar.  Nelson employed the same strategy he had used to defeat Villeneuve in the Battle of the Nile:  He placed his ships in two lines and had them to sail between the combined French/Spanish fleet and fire on the enemy.  The Combined Fleet was characterized by mass confusion and took six hours to get lined up, while the British remained in attacking position.  The first shot were fired around noon and the battle lasted about five hours.  Nelson was mortally wounded around one o'clock and died around 4:30pm.  Nelson body was preserved in a cask of brandy and he was given a state funeral in January 1806, the first non-royal to receive such an honor.  The victory over the French solidified the English navy as the most powerful in the world.

Source:  Nelson's Trafalgar by Roy Adkins

The paintings above are Battle of Trafalgar by George Chambers (1803-1840) and Captain Horatio Nelson (1781) by John Francis Rigaud.

1 comment:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.



Related Posts with Thumbnails