ON THIS DAY - April
1st April 1801: The fleet moves to a position within 2 miles of Copenhagen. On a council called by Sir Hyde Parker: 'Now we are sure of fighting, I am sent for. When it was a joke I was kept in the background; tomorrow will, I hope, be a proud day for England.'
2nd April 1801: Remarking on a shot which went throughout the mainmast rigging, 'It is warm work, and this day may be the last of any of us at a moment - but, mark you, I would not be elsewhere for thousands'.
3rd April 1800: Remarking on the capture of the 'escapees' from the Nile: 'I thank God I was not present, for it would finish me could I have taken a sprig of these brave men's laurels: 'They are, and I glory in them, my darling children, served in my school, and all of us caught our professional zeal and fire from the great and good Earl of St Vincent'.
4th April 1800: From Palermo to Sir Thomas Troutbridge when the last four French ships had been captured; 'My task is done, my health is finished, and, probably, my retreat for ever fixed, unless another French fleet is placed for me to look after'.
5th April 1799: To Blackwood, Penelope: ''Is there a sympathy which ties men together in the bonds of friendship without having a personal knowledge of each other? If so, I was your friend and acquaintance before I saw you. Your conduct and character on the late glorious occasion [French attach on Naples] stamp your fame beyond the reach of envy'.
6th April 1797: On hearing that battle honours had been awarded for Cape St Vincent: 'I beg you will thank all our friends for their kind congratulations; and I must be delighted, when from the King to the peasant, all are willing to do me honour. But I will partake of nothing but what shall include Collingwood and Toubridge. We are the only three glorious ships who made great exertions on that glorious day; the others did their duty, and some not exactly to my satisfaction. We ought to have had the Santissima Trinidad and the Soberano seventy-four. They belonged to us by conquest, and only wanted some good fellow to get alongside them, and they were ours'.
7th April 1805: To Captain Sotherton, Excellent, showing frustration at the loss of the French fleet: 'Don't keep Amazon a moment longer than my orders to Captain Parker; and if Termagant is still at Naples, send her to me; for I want all the vessels I have under my command to send information. I am entirely adrift by my Frigates losing sight of the French Fleet so soon after their coming out of Port'.
8th April 1801: To a young lieutenant who had expressed a dim view at Copenhagen on 2nd April: 'At such a moment, the delivery of anything like a desponding opinion unasked was highly reprehensible, and deserved much more censure than Captain Foley gave you'.
9th April 1801: During peace negotiations after Copenhagen one of the Danes hinted at a renewal of hostilities; 'Renew hostilities! Tell them we are ready at a moment - ready to bombard this very night'.
10th April 1797: After St Vincent: 'The Spaniards threaten us they will come out, and take their revenge: the sooner the better, but I will not believe it till I see it; and if they do, what will mines of Mexico or Peru signify, compared with the honour I doubt not we shall gain by fighting an angry Don? They will have thirty sail of the line, we twenty or twenty-two; but fear we shall have peace before they are ready to come out. What a sad thing that will be'.
11th April 1794: Nelson has difficulty in proceeding to sea and runs aground. From Boreas' log : 'At 7 weighed in: canting Ship got stern way: let go the anchor again and the Ship got on shore. PM. at half past 3 weighed and came to sail'.
12th April 1795: Hotham, after a brush with the French on 14 March 1795, which he did on follow up, said to Nelson: 'We must be content we have done very well.' Nelson writes to Fanny: 'Had I been supported I should certainly have brought the Sans Culottes to battle, a most glorious prospect. A brave man runs no more risk than a coward'.
13th April 1794: From his journal on preparations to attack Bastia: 'We began on the 13 of April a battery of three 24 pounders close to Torga Tower, which stands on the sea-side, 1230 yards from the Town battery, and 1600 from the Citadel'.
14th April 1777: To his brother William at Christ College, Cambridge: 'I passed my Degree as Master of Arts on the 9th instant, [passed the Lieutenant's examination] and received my Commission on the following day for a fine Frigate of 32 guns' (Lowestoffe, Captain Locker).
15th April 1805: The Admiralty accuses Nelson of allowing Captain Mouat to impress men from transports but Nelson returns a copy of his general order prohibiting such impressment. To Marsden: I conceive Captain Mouat's application to the Transport Board improper, as it implies doubt of my putting a stop to the evil he complained of, and tending to give much trouble where none was necessary'.
16th April 1796: To Jervis, the French now ready to sail from Toulon: 'I cannot believe the French Squadron will venture out to Toulon to come to this road: but it shows what mischief may ensue, should Admiral Man proceed to the West Indies, and Richery come here. If you should leave the coast with two sixty-fours, it may be unpleasant; but with the addition of a Seventy-four, if we cannot act offensively, I have no fear that six Frenchmen will hurt us'.
17 April 1794: To Pollard, his agent at Leghorn, off Bastia: "We want many good things; some porter, either a cask or bottled. I hope soon to have the pleasure of writing to you from Bastia".
18th April 1793: To his brother: I understand from second-hand that we are to carry out the West India Convoy. To me it is perfectly indifferent to what corner of the world we go: with a good Ship, and Ship's company we can come to no harm'.
19th April 1805: To Ball after the enemy had sailed for the West Indies but contrary winds prevent a chase: 'My good fortune seems flown away I cannot get a fair wind, or even a side wind. Dead foul, dead foul! But my mind is fully made up what to do when I leave the Straits, supposing there is no certain information of the enemy's destination'.
20th April 1805: To Fox: 'Broken-hearted as I am, Sir, at the escape of the Toulon Fleet, yet it cannot prevent me thinking of all points entrusted to my care, amongst which is Gibraltar.
21st April 1794: From Journal C: 'The Torga battery opened at daylight on the Town battery and Camponella, and apparently with good effect. The Enemy kept up a most heavy fire on us the whole day, with shell and shot, from the citadel, Town, Stafforella, Camponella, a square tower, and the two batteries newly raised under Stafforella. Brigadier-General D'Aubant came on the heights from St Fiorenzo, with all the Staff and Field Officers of that Army, and a guard of fifty Corsicans.
22th April 1801: On the Danish armistice and his duty towards his prisoners: 'God forbid I should destroy a non-resisting Dane! When they became my prisoners I became their protector.'
23rd April 1801: To Davidson: 'You will, at a proper time, and before my arrival in England, signify to Lady N. that I expect, and for which I have made such a very liberal allowance to her, to be left to myself, and without any inquires from her; for sooner than live the unhappy life I did when I last came to England, I would stay abroad for ever. My mind is fixed as fate; therefore you will send my determination in any way you may judge proper.'
25 April 1801: On his law suit against St Vincent over prize money; 'This day comes on my trial with the Great Earl. May the 'just' gain it.'
26th April 1796: To Jervis on the French advance towards Sardinia: 'If the King of Sardinia does not make peace, I should hope that such conduct of the French would rouse the whole nation to arms. As to my going to Naples, I need only say, the Neapolitans would not like the interference of a foreigner, especially Mr Forguerra, who fancies himself equal to any Officer in Europe.'
27th April 1794: From Journal C: 'We began the battery on the ridge for two 18-pound carronades, and one 12-pounder on the spot where Captain Clarke was wounded: 250 yards from Camponella, 900 yards from the Citadel, 700 yards from the town. The labour of getting up guns to this battery was a work of the greatest difficulty, and which never, in my opinion, would have been accomplished by any other than British seamen.'
28th April 1803: To Captain Sutton on fitting out Victory: 'A barge I like much better than a Cutter for my ease, and I have wrote to Comptroller about the cabin' (it was done to the San Josef).