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Nelson in the News

Who Was Nelson?


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Copyright Vicki Hassona 2013




74-gun 3rd rate ship-of-the-line

  • Launched in 1787.
  • Burnt in 1813.
  • Nelson served on her as a Commodore from June - September 1796 with Edward Berry as captain, and from October - December 1796 with Ralph Miller.  She was his ship for the Battle of Cape St Vincent on the 14th February 1797. 

Presence at Nelson's battles:

  • Cape St. Vincent: Nelson's ship, with Captain Edward Berry.


  • In the Mediterranean from 1793
  • 14th March 1795: Fought at the Action off Genoa (when Nelson in the Agamemnon captured the Ça Ira).  (Capt. Samuel Reeve)
  • 13th July 1795: fought in the Battle of Hyères Islands.  See the Agamemnon for more details of the battle.  (Capt. Thomas Seccombe)
  • June 1796: Nelson asked to be transferred to her rather than go home with the Agamemnon, which needed to be refit.  He assisted with the evacuation of Leghorn when the French invaded the town.
  • July 1796: Took possession of the neutral fortress of Porto-Ferrajo in Elba, to prevent the French using it to take Corsica after taking Leghorn.  Gilbert Elliot (viceroy of Corsica) had negotiated with the governor of the town.
  • October 1796: Evacuated troops from Bastia after the French took it.  Corsica began to negotiate with France, and intended to take British property and seize the viceroy.  But Nelson threatened to shoot at the town if they did that, and so they backed down.
  • 14th Feb 1797: Fought at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent against the Spanish.  Nelson wore out of the line of battle and attacked the Santisima Trinidad, but the Captain took a battering as he had taken her right into the thick of the action, alone for a time.  The Spanish San Nicolas and San Josef collided, and Nelson seized the opportunity by moving alongside the San Nicolas and personally leading the boarding party - highly unusual for an officer.  He then leapt across to the San Josef and took that ship, too.  So, the Captain was part of what became known as 'Nelson's Patent Bridge for capturing first rates'.  But she was so badly damaged that she had to be towed to Lisbon for repairs, and Nelson transferred to the Theseus
  • May 1799: Returned to the Mediterranean station with Captain Richard Strachan.
  • June 1799: Part of a squadron which took 5 French ships off Cape Sicie; she personally took the brig Alerte.  (Capt. Richard Strachan)
  • 25th August 1800: Part of a squadron which assisted an attack on Ferrol by the army; the attack was unsuccessful.  (Capt. Richard Strachan)
  • 15th Aug - 20th Oct 1807: Fought at the 2nd Battle of Copenhagen.  (Capt. Isaac Wolley)
  • 24th Dec 1807: Present at the occupation of Madeira, during which the British took the island from Portugal with no opposition.  (Capt. Isaac Wolley)
  • 30th Jan - 24th Feb 1809: Assisted with taking Martinique.  (Capt. James Athol Wood)
  • Dec 1809: Became a receiving ship at Plymouth.  She was accidentally burnt and sank on the 22nd March 1813.  In July that year, the wreck was raised and broken up. 


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