|Naval history of Great Britain
||Battle of Trafalgar
at Captain Hardy, replied, " Oh! yes, let her go ahead; " meaning, if she could. At about 9 h. 40 m. A.M. the Temeraire was accordingly hailed, * to take her station ahead of the Victory. At about the same time Lieutenant John Yule, who then commanded upon the forecastle, observing ; that the lee or starboard lower studding-sail was improperly set, caused it to be taken in for the purpose of setting it afresh. The instant this was done, Lord Nelson ran forward, and rated the lieutenant severely for having, as he supposed, begun to shorten sail without the captain's orders. The studding-sail was quickly replaced ; and the Victory, as the gallant chief intended, continued to lead the column. †
Shortly after this fruitless attempt to induce Lord Nelson to yield the post of danger, the captains of frigates were ordered back to their ships; and Captain Blackwood, in his way to the Euryalus, called on board the Temeraire, and explained, what appears to have been but indistinctly heard, the object of the previous hail. Sometime after quitting the Temeraire, Captain Blackwood boarded the Leviathan, then the fifth ship of the weather column, and acquainted her captain, that it was the commander-in-chief's wish, that the Leviathan, as a previous signal had signified, should fall into the line between the Temeraire and Victory. From the known zeal of Captains Harvey and Bayntun, no doubt can exist as to the earnestness of their endeavours to reach the honourable stations assigned them ; but the Temeraire was unable to do so from the causes already assigned, and the Leviathan did not receive the message by Captain Blackwood until the head of the column was too near the enemy to render any change proper or even practicable.
The direction in which the combined fleet now lay, with a home-port scarcely seven leagues off on the lee bow, and the evident forging ahead of the ships, whereby that distance was every minute diminishing, induced Lord Nelson to steer a trifle more to the northward, and to telegraph his second in command, " I intend to pass through the van of the enemy's line, to prevent him from getting into Cadiz. " The reversed order of that line, in the prevailing state of the wind, had produced another danger to be guarded against : it had brought the shoals of San-Pedro and Trafalgar under the lee of both fleets. Accordingly, at 11 h. 30 m. A.M., the Victory made the signal (No. 63, with the preparative), for the British fleet to prepare to anchor at the close of day.
This done, no other signal seemed wanting, when Lord
* But not it is believed, as stated in a popular little work, "by his lordship" See Authentic Narrative of the death of Lord Nelson, by William Beatty, M.D. &c., p. 89.
† When the Temeraire ranged up on the Victory's quarter in order to pass her and lead, Lord Nelson hailed her ; and speaking, as he always did, with a slight nasal intonation, said, "I'll thank you Captain Harvey to keep in your proper station, which is astern of the Victory.-ED.
^ back to top ^