ON THIS DAY - August

1st August 1798:  THE BATTLE OF THE NILE

"The action commenced at sunset which was at thirty-one minutes past six PM, with an ardour and vigour which is impossible to describe."  The British fleet under Nelson's command  annihilates the French fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay. -  "Victory is not a name strong enough".

2nd August 1796:  To Fanny: 'I will relate an anecdote, all vanity to myself, but you will partake of it:  A person sent me a letter, and directed as follows, "Horatio Nelson, Genoa".  On being asked how he could direct in such a manner, his answer, in a large party, was, "Sir, there is but one Horatio Nelson in the world."  The letter certainly came immediately...I am known throughout Italy; not a kingdom or a state where my name will be forgotten. This is my Gazette".

3rd August 1798:  Writing in his journal on the Battle of the Nile: 'The enemy was moored in a strong line of battle for defending the Bay, flanked by numerous gunboats, four frigates, and a battery of guns and mortars on an island in their van: but nothing could withstand the squadron your Lordship did me the honour to place under my command'.

4th August 1794:  On hearing of Lord Howe's action in the Bay of Biscay: 'Laurels grow in the Bay of Biscay - I hope a bed of them may be found in the Mediterranean'.

5th August 1799: Nelson in Foudroyant sailing from Naples which is writes to Sir Evan Nepean, "I am proceeding with his Sicilian Majesty on board for Palermo, for the good of His Majesty's service".

6th August 1794: Following the siege of Calvi, "We have lost many men from the season, very few from the enemy. I am here the reed amongst the oaks; all prevailing disorders have attacked me, but I have not strength for them to fasten upon…One plan I pursue, never to employ a doctor; nature does all for me, and Providence protects me".

7th August 1794:   Following the siege of Calvi: 'We have lost many men from the season, very few from the enemy.  I am here the reed amongst the oaks; all the prevailing disorders have attacked me, but I have not strength for them to fasten upon; I bow before the storm, whilst the sturdy oak is laid low.  One plan I pursue, never to employ a doctor;  nature does all for me, and Providence protects me'.

8th August 1804:  Writing to his brother William at sea aboard Victory: "I have been expecting Monsieur La Touche to give me the meeting every day, this year past, and only hope he will come out before I go hence _ You will have seen Monsieur La Touche's letter of how he chased me and how I ran. Keep it; and by God, if I take him, he shall eat it". 

9th August 1783:  To Hercules Ross (a leading planter and businessman) after the American War:  'I have closed the war without a fortune; but I trust, and from the attention that has been paid to me, believe that there is not a speck in my character.  True honour, I hope, predominates in my mind far above riches'.

10th August 1794:  Siege of Calvi ends in capitulation to Lieutenant-General Stuart and Captain Nelson.  To Sir Gilbert Elliott:  'The Garrison will lay down their arms at the water side, and before night I hope to have them all embarked.  The business is certainly doe, and high time it is.  We are all sick, the Enemy are said to have lost eighty killed or wounded, - the Town and Works much damaged'.

11th August 1801:  To Captain Hamilton at Margate: 'Four River-Barges I have directed to be sent to Whitstable Flats, and as they will only have the Master and two men, I fancy, on board with them, it is necessary that they should be laid in a place of safety - It is expected that the Fencibles of Whitstable will frequently go on board, and exercise the cannon'.

12th August 1804:  Nelson writes to William Marsden, Secretary to the Navy, 'The Diligent Transport has bought out frocks and trousers but instead of their being made of good Russian duck those sent are made of coarse wrapper-stuff, and the price increased. Therefore think it necessary to send you one of each in order that their Lordships may judge of the quality and price.' 

13th August 1801:  In the Downs, supporting the strategy of fighting the enemy in his own arena: 'To crush the enemy at home was the favourite plan of Lord Chatham, and I am sure you think it the wisest measure to carry the war from our own doors'.

14th  August 1782:   A year after first getting under way in Albermarle, Nelson writes in her log records, 'At 3 P.M. five sail in sight coming from Boston - gave chase. At 4 discovered the above vessels to be four Line-of-Battle Ships and one Frigate. Half past, one of the Line-of-Battleships made a signal with a gun, upon which the three Ships made sail after us. We wore and made sail from them, knowing them to be part of the French squadron which got into Boston last Friday'.

15th August 1801:  Some notes on the attacks on the Boulogne flotilla: "Two boats from each division to be particularly allotted and prepared for the purpose of cutting the Enemy's cable and sternfast.  When any Boats have taken one Vessel, the business is not to be considered as finished, but a sufficient number being left to guard the Prize, the others are immediately to pursue the object, by proceeding to the next, and so on'.

16th  August 1797: A few weeks after  the disaster at Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the loss of his right arm, Nelson famously writes to Sir John Jervis, " A left-handed Admiral will never again be considered as useful, therefore the sooner I get to a very humble cottage the better, and make room for a better man to serve the State."   

17th August 1801:  Following an unsuccessful attack on La Touche-Tréville's ships in  Boulogne, Nelson directed but did not lead the attack:  'I own I shall never bring myself again to allow any attack to go forward, where I am not personally concerned;  my mind suffers much more than if I had a leg shot off in the late business'.

18th August 1805:  Ever mindful of the health of his people Nelson writes to Marsden from Victory at Spithead:  'The companies of the Victory and Superb are in most perfect health, and only require some vegetables and other refreshments to remove the scurvy'.

19th  August 1805: After two years at sea Nelson strikes his flag and returns immediately to Merton Place, arriving early the following morning to be reunited with Lady Emma Hamilton and his daughter, Horatia. Victory's log records, "At 9 P.M., hauled down Lord Nelson's flag".  

20th August 1797:  Nelson shifts his flag from Theseus to Seahorse after Tenerife and returns to England.  From the Admiralty:  'Whereas we think fit that you shall strike your Flag, and come on shore.  You are hereby required and directed to strike your Flag and come on shore accordingly.  Given under our hands, the 2nd September, 1797'.  

21st August 1805:  Nelson often gave his patronage to others, here he describes approaching Lord Barham, the First Lord of the Admiralty, on behalf of Captain Edward Berry, "I will certainly, with much pleasure, mention you for a ship. But Lord Barham is an almost entire stranger to me. However I can speak of you, as one of who's abilities I am well acquainted".  

22nd August 1786: Nelson writes to his wife Francis Nesbit, "Have you too often heard, that salt water and absence always wash away love? Now I am such a heretic as not to believe that Faith; for behold, every morning since my arrival, I have had six pails of salt water at daylight poured upon my head, and instead of finding what Seamen say is true I perceive the contrary effect".

23rd August 1796:  In a letter to his wife, Fanny, Nelson says he intends to visit the Pope: ' do not think he will oppose the thunder of the Vatican against my thunder; and you will, I dare say, hear that I am at Rome in my barge. If I succeed, I am determined to row up the Tiber, and into Rome'

24th August 1805:  From Victory, responding to Marsden's letter regarding prize money, having left a prize crew on board: 'I have been honoured with your letter inclosing Mr. Gosling's report upon Maria Theresa, taken by the Ambuscade, when she was Prize to the Victory...the vessels manned by Officers and Men belonging to His Majesty's Ships taking Prizes, they have in every instance been condemned as Prizes taken by the Ship, to which such Officer and Men belonged'.

25th  August 1793: Nelson in Agamemnon, quits the Toulon blockade for Naples. He writes, 'The perseverance of our Fleet has been great, and to that can only be attributed to our unexampled success. Not even a boat could get into Marseilles or Toulon, or on the coast, with provisions and the old saying, that 'hunger will tame a Lion' was never more strongly exemplified'.

26th August 1803:  Of General Dumourier: 'Advise him not to make enemies, by showing he knows more than some of us.  Envy knows no bounds to its persecution'.

27th August 1801:  On the purchase of Merton, and against the advice of his solicitor:  'I wish very much to have the place at Merton and agree that £9,000 with the furniture should be given for it'.

28th August 1804:  Nelson writes to Captain Parker, Amazon,: 'I hope you are making haste to join me, for the day of Battle cannot be far off, when I shall want every Frigate; for the French have nearly one for every ship, and we may as well have a Battle Royal -Line of Battle Ship opposed to Ships of the Line, and Frigates to Frigates'.

29th August 1787:  To Philip Stephen, at the Admiralty, defending the appointment of a boatswain: '[Joseph King] was quite fit for the employment.  I know not of remonstrations - I never allow inferiors to dictate.  As to his being insane, and in consequence thereof, deprived of his employment as Boatswain, I beg to acquaint the Board that as he was squaring the yards he was struck with the sun, which renders a man for some length of time wholly unfit for employment'.

30th August 1780:  To Sir Peter Parker: 'Having been in a very bad state health for these several months past, so bad as to be unable to attend my duty on board the Janus, and the faculty having informed me that I cannot recover in this climate;  I am therefore to request that you will be pleased to permit me to go to England for the re-establishment of my health'.

31st August 1805: Nelson often gave his patronage to others, here he describes approaching Lord Barham, the First Lord of the Admiralty, on behalf of Captain Edward Berry, "I will certainly, with much pleasure, mention you for a ship. But Lord Barham is an almost entire stranger to me. However I can speak of you, as one of who's abilities I am well acquainted".