ON THIS DAY - February

1st February 1800:  Nelson writes to Earl St Vincent, "You taught us to keep the seamen healthy without going into port, and to stay at sea for years without a refit. We know not the meaning of the word. The Audacious, Alexander, and others have never seen an arsenal since they have been under my command... Our friend Troubridge is as full of resource as his Culloden is full of incidents; but I am now satisfied that if his ship's bottom were entirely out, he would find means to make her swim."

2nd February 1801:  San Joseph, Torbay.  To Davison on a meeting with St. Vincent and alluding to their prize money suit: "I hope he say true, but I will not spare him an inch in the point of law, and only hope he will never open the subject.  If he does, I am prepared with a broadside, as strong (and backed with justice) as any he can send".

3rd February 1800:  Nelson arrives at Palermo in Foudroyant but cannot go ashore to the Hamiltons until he has paid his respects to Lord Keith.  He write to Emma: "I cannot come ashore until I have made my manners to him. Times are changed; but if he does not come ashore directly, I will not wait".

4th February 1805:  Trèville, having sailed on 18 January, is still at large.  To Briggs, the British pro-consul at Alexander, "The governor is now put upon his guard, I hope he will take every means in his power for the defence of Alexander; and in particular, to have vessels ready to sink, to prevent the entrance of the French Fleet into the old Port, until the obstructions are removed, which would give me time to get at them".

5th February 1785:  Nelson sails into English HarbourAntigua, and reproaches the captain of Latona for flying his broad pendant.  He is later ensured by the Admiralty for taking it upon himself, "To control the exercise of the functions of his appointment".   In practice Nelson was right, for at that time, Moutray was on half pay as the commissioner of the navy in Antigua.

6th February 1802: To Captain Sutton, Amazon, on a variety of matters.  He was particularly bitter about the lack of a Copenhagen medal:  "Thank Captain Cochrane for his advice on the thrashing machine… I saw Lord St Vincent yesterday: he looks very unwell.  The History of Medals for Copenhagen he has promised me shall be brought before the cabinet council".

7th February 1793:  Nelson assumes command of Agamemnon at Chatham.  Three days later he tells his brother: "my ship is without exception, the finest 64 in the service, and has the character of sailing most remarkably well".

14 February 1797:  The Battle of  Cape St Vincent

"A few remarks relative to myself in the Captain, in which my pendant was flying on the most glorious Valentine's day 1797.  At one PM, the Captain having passed the stern most of the enemy's ships which formed their van and part of their centre, consisting of seventeen Sail of the Line, they were on larboard, we on the starboard tack, the Admiral made the signal to 'tack in succession,' but I, perceiving the Spanish Ships all to bear up before the wind, or nearly so, evidently with the intention of forming their line going large, joining their separated Divisions, at the time engaged with some of our centre ships, or flying from us - to prevent either of their schemes from taking effect, I ordered the ship to be wore, and passing between the Diadem and Excellent, at a quarter past one o'clock was engaged with the headmost, and of course leeward most of the Spanish Division."

15th February 1781:  To William Locker regarding his portrait, painted by John François Rigaud, RA. "If Mr Rigaud has done the picture send word in the next letter you write me, and I will enclose you an order upon Mr Paynter".

16th February 1801:  To St Vincent:  "My sole object, and to which all my exertions and abilities tend, is to bring this long war to an honourable termination; to accomplish which, we must all pull in the collar, and, as we have got such a driver who will make the lazy ones pull as much as the willing, I doubt not but we shall get safely, speedily and honourably to our journey's end."

20 February 1797:  Nelson is promoted Rear Admiral of the Blue with seniority of 1 April and hoists his admiral's flag for the first time.  Fanny writes: "Yesterday's Gazette authorises our good Father and myself to congratulate you on your being a Flag Officer.  May it please God your fame and success continue and increase under this promotion."

21 February 1805:  To William Marsden at the Admiralty informing him that the sloops Arrow and Acheron have been captured by two French frigates:  "The circumstances of this misfortune can only be attributed to the very long and tedious passage of the convoy which sailed from Malta on the 4th January, and the Enemy having no doubt gained intelligence of them and knowing I was in pursuit of their Fleet had sent two Frigates to the westward to intercept them".

22nd February 1805:  To Marsden on the good state of his ships:  "The Fleet under my command is in excellent good health and the Ships, although we have experienced a great deal of bad weather; have received no damage and not a yard or mast sprung or crippled".  Villeneuve, on the same day, to the Minister of Marine on the deplorable state of his ships:  "I declare to you, that Ships of the Line thus equipped, short handed, vessels which lose their masts or sails at every puff of wind".

23rd February 1802:  To Addington following receipt of a decoration for Copenhagen from the Sultan:  "If I can judge the feelings of others by myself, there can be no honours bestowed upon me by foreigners, that do not reflect ten times on our Sovereign and country".

24th February 1796:  To His Excellency John Trevor, Minister at Turin, after inspecting the enemy at Toulon:  "I had good opportunities of examining with a seaman's eye, the state of their ships...and I have no doubt in my mind they are fitting for sea... But I think it will be near a month before they are out...Thirteen Sail of the Line and five frigates, except having their sails bent, are perfectly ready...I believe we shall have a battle before the convoy sails".

25th February 1800:  Nelson gives a letter from the Emperor of Russia to Ball and presents him with the Grand Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and an Honorary Commanderie. 

26th February 1800:  To Lord Minto: "You my dear friend [will] rejoice to hear that it has been my extraordinary good fortune to capture the Généreux, 74, bearing the flat of Rear-Admiral Perréé."

27th February 1800:  Nelson, Foudroyant, attempts to recover an anchor previously cut away, but only manages to attach a stream cable on it.  He writes to Ball "I wish to know precisely whether I may depend on information by guns, signals, etc if the French ships make any movements, for instance, this night.  I only wish to have an opportunity of getting our lost anchor."

28th February 1797:  To Fanny: "The Spanish War will give us a cottage ad a piece of ground, which is all I want."