ON THIS DAY - January

1st January 1771: Horatio Nelson is rated on the books of Raisonnable aged 12 years 3 months. He had earlier written to his brother , "Do, William, write to my father, and tell him that I should like to go to sea with Uncle Morrice". Thirty years later he is this day promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Blue.

2nd January 1805:  To Commissioner Otway in Malta promising a frigate to convey him to Gibraltar on his being relieved.  In the same letter he writes: 'Minorca, I should hope would be immediately take;  for I shall never send another ship to Malta.  They are so far off, and act so very different to my wishes'.

3rd January 1805: Nelson to the Mediterranean fleet after complaints by army and navy transports and victuallers, "You are hereby required and directed, on no account or consideration whatever to impress Mates, Seamen or Boys, unless they shall be found drunk and rioting on shore, in which case I presume it may be proper to impress them for His Majesty's Ships of War".

4th January 1798: Nelson critics Captain Williamson, Agincourt, at his court martial, accused of not doing his duty, "I would have every man believe, I shall only take my chance of being shot by the enemy, but if I do not take that chance, I am certain of being shot by my friends".

5th January 1800:  Troutbridge to Nelson on the deplorable conditions in Malta: "I have this day save 30,000 people from dying but with this day my ability ceases...if the Neapolitan Government will not supply corn, I pray your Lordship to recall us".

6th January 1802:  To Sutton, nine years to the day after being recalled to duty by the Admiralty , on his hopes to be discharged:  "I cannot get my discharge.  I asked yesterday: my answer was..."no person of any rank is to be discharged"".

7th January 1793: Captain Nelson had been on the beach for five years before the Admiralty offered him a ship. He writes to his wife Fanny, "Post nubila phoebus: after clouds comes sunshine, The Admiralty so smile upon me, that really I am as much surprised as when they frowned. Lord Chatham yesterday made many apologies for not having given me a Ship before this time, and I said, that if I chose a 64 to begin with, I should be appointed to one as soon as she was ready."

8th January 1799: Nelson to Earl Howe after the Battle of the Nile, referring to the captains under his command, who Nelson considered the greatest sea officers the world had ever produced, "I had the happiness to command a band of Brothers; therefore, ... Each knew his duty, and I was sure each would feel for  French ship."

1806: Nelson's body is taken in a grand river funeral procession from Greenwich to Whitehall.

9th January 1806: Nelson is given a magnificent State Funeral and is buried at St Paul's Cathedral. Over 20,000 took part in the procession from Whitehall. "The Hero who in the moment of glory fell covered with immortal glory". - Sir Isaac Heard, Garter Knight at Arms.

10th January 1804:  Sir Evan Nepean at the Admiralty saying the French are still in Toulon, but suggesting they are about to sail for the Madelena Isles: 'You will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that the Enemy's Squadron at Toulon is still in port, and that Captain Donnelley's account, who reconnoitred them on the 6th Instant, they are apparently ready for sea'.

11th January  1804:  To St Vincent on the subject of promotion: 'It was absolutely necessary merit should be rewarded on the moment;  and that the officers of the fleet should look up to the Commander-in-Chief for their reward; for that otherwise the good or bad opinion of the C-in-C would be of no consequence'.

12th January 1785:  Nelson on  illegal trade, "Whilst I have the honour to command and Englishman-of-war, I never shall allow myself to be subservient to the will of the Governor, nor co-operate with him in doing illegal acts. Presidents of Council I feel superior to. They shall make proper application to me, for whatever they may want to come by water."

13th January 1801:  Nelson writes during his final separation to Lady Nelson, "I call God to witness there is nothing in you or your conduct that I wish otherwise."

14th January 1810:  Emma's mother, Mrs Cadogan, dies. Mrs Bolton wrote: 'Dear blessed saint, was she not a mother to us all.  Let us remember Mrs Cadogan.  The silent sharer of her daughter's fortune and misfortune'.

15th January 1815:  Emma Lady Hamilton dies and is buried in Calais. Nelson wrote of her, "My own dear wife, in my eyes and in the face of heaven." In 1994 The 1805 Club erected an obelisk memorial in the Parc Richelieu, Calais.

16th January 1804:  To his squadron on the flag system of communications: 'The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having resolved that a change of the Numeral Flags described in page 14, of the Day Signal-Book, shall immediately take place, I have it in command from their Lordships to send you a painted copy of the flags as now altered, and to desire that you will paste the same on the 14th page of the Day Signal-Book in your possession'. 

17th January 1801:  Nelson writes to Earl St Vincent on hoisting his flag in St Joseph, "The St Joseph, as far as relates to Captain Hardy, is ready for sea.. My cabin is not yet finished..not even painted, but that I do not care about ..My wish is to get her to Torbay, and in seven days alongside the Ville de Paris. She will be perfection."

18th January 1799:  Nelson writes to his brother, The Reverend Nelson on his coat of arms: 'I thank you for your congratulations on what the generosity of our Country has done for me.  I have very much your idea about the Arms, and if you will arrange it at the Heralds' Office, I shall feel very much obliged'.

19th January 1799:  Nelson writes to Lord Minto, "The state of this country (Sicily) is this - hate the French, love the English, discontented with their present Government, as Neapolitan councillors take the lead, to the entire exclusion of Sicilians".

20th January 1805: Nelson, having passed through the Biche Channel expecting to find the French, records: "At twenty-five minutes past nine, made the general signal "Prepare for Battle".  At twenty-five minutes past eleven "Form the Established Order of Sailing in two Columns", and the signal "Keep in close Order".  Later he records: "We are taken by a heavy gale at S.S.W. which has arrested or progress".

21st January 1805:  Unknown to Nelson, (but later acknowledged in a letter to Briggs), some French ships are reported off Sardinia but they are not the battlefleet: 'The Seahorse saw a French Frigate off Pula, but it was so thick that he could not see three miles distant.  I cannot, for want of Frigates send off this letter'.

22nd January 1805:  Nelson, struggling against west by southwesterly gales towards Sardinia, believes Villeneuve is bound for Cagliari: 'I sincerely pray for a favourable wind, for we cannot be more than twenty leagues from them, and if Cagliari be their object, and the Sardes will be defend their capital, we shall  be in time to save them: pray God it may be so'.

24th January 1801: The Corporation of Plymouth grant Lord nelson the Freedom of their Borough in a silver box. Nelson replied to the recorder, "Whatever merit may have been attributed to me in the action of the Nile, it was only for having executed orders intrusted to me."

26th January 1782:  Albermarle is in collision with the Brilliant, an East Indian store ship, off the Downes. Nelson records: 'At eight in the morning, it blew a hard gale of wind at N.N.W., a large East India Store Ship drove from her anchors, and came aboard us.  We have lost our foremast, and bowsprit, mainyard, larboard cathead, and quarter gallery, the ship's head, and stove in two places on the larboard side - all done in five minutes'.

27th January 1796:  Nelson writes to Fanny, his wife, that his captains said on his departure from Genoa that, "You did just as you pleased in Lord Hood's time, the same in Hotham's and again in Jervis' it makes no difference to you who is C-in-C."

28th January 1801:  Nelson's daughter, Horatia, is born at the Hamilton's house in Piccadilly.

29th January 1805: Electing to go east, Nelson tells Marsden: 'either the French fleet have put back crippled, or that they are gone to the Eastward, probably to Egypt.  Therefore I find no difficulty pursuing the line of conduct I have adopted'.

30th January 1803:  Nelson writes to Sir John Acton, at Naples, "I am distressed for frigates, which are the eyes of the fleet."