ON THIS DAY - August
1 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".
5 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".
6 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".
8 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".
12 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."
14 August 1782: Nelson in Albermarle, writes, 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". Nelson managed to escape from this superior French squadron!
16 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."
19 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".
21 August 1786: Nelson writes to his wife Francis Nesbit, "Have you t 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".
23 August 1796: In a letter to his wife, Fanny, Nelson says he intends to visit the Pope: "I 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".
25 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".
28 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.
31 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".