On this day - October

1st October 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes to Viscount Castlereagh: 'The far greater part of the Combined Fleets is in harbour [Cadiz]. . .They lie in such position abreast of the town, and many entirely open, over a narrow strip of land, that Congreave's rockets, if they will go one mile and a half, must do execution'. 

2nd October 1805:  Captains Brown and Lechemere are recalled to England to attend at court martial, and Admirals Louise and Austen are sent to Gibraltar.  Louis says: 'You are sending us away my Lord - the Enemy will come out, and we shall have no share in the battle'.  Nelson replies: 'I have no other way of keeping my Fleet complete in provisions and water, but by sending them in detachments to Gibraltar'.

3rd October 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes, 'The reception I met with on joining the Fleet caused the sweetest sensation of my life. The officers who came on board to welcome my return, forgot my rank as Commander-in-Chief in the enthusiasm with which they greeted me. I laid before them the Plan I had previously arranged for attacking the enemy; and it was not only my pleasure to find it generally approved, but clearly perceived and understood'.

4th October 1805:  Nelson orders the frigates to their observations positions, to Captains Duff, Mars: 'As the Enemy's Fleets may be hourly expected to put to sea from Cadiz, I have to desire that you will keep, with the Mars, Defence and Colossus,

5th October 1805:  To Admiral Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty, Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes, "The French and Spanish ships have taken troops on board, which had been landed on their arrival, and it is said they mean to sail the first fresh Levant wind".

6th October 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes to the Right Honourable Secretary of the Treasury, George Rose , "It is, as Mr Pitt knows, annihilation that the country wants, and not merely a splendid victory of twenty three to thirty-six, - honourable to the parties concerned, but absolutely useless in the extended scale to bring Bonaparte to his marrow-bones".

8th October 1805:  To the Honourable Brigadier-General Stewart Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes, " I have thirty-six Sail of the Line looking me in the face; unfortunately there is a strip of land between us, but it is believed they will come to sea in a few days. The sooner the better, I don't like to have these things upon my mind. . . . Good Captain Hardy is still with me".

9th October 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson to Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood: " My dear Coll., I send you my Plan of Attack, as far as any man may dare to venture to guess at the very uncertain position the Enemy may be found in. But , my dear friend, it is to place you perfectly at ease respecting my intentions, and to give full scope to your judgement for carrying them into effect".

11th October 1805:  To Sir Alexander John Ball at Malta Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes, "I have five Frigates, a Brig and a Schooner watching them closely, an Advanced Squadron of fast-sailing Ships between me and the Frigates, and the body of the Fleet from fifteen to eighteen leagues West of Cadiz".

13th October 1805: Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes to his prize agent Alexander Davison, " My dear Lady Hamilton has told me of your kindness. You will do the needful about my accounts, and settle with Mr Chawner for what is going on at Merton. I have not a moment more . . . ".

15th October 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes to Sir Alexander Ball, "The Combined Fleets are all at the Harbour's Mouth, and must either move up again or move off, before the winter sets in. I trust we shall be able to get hold of them".

16th October 1805:  Dr William Beatty, the surgeon in Victory, noted: "All the forenoon employed in forming the Fleet into the Order of Sailing. At Noon fresh breezes W.S.W. and squally; in the evening fresh gales. Enemy as before".

18th October 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes in his private diary: Fine weather, wind Easterly; combined fleets cannot have finer weather to put to sea".

19th October 1805:  To Lady Emma Hamilton Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson writes, "May the Great God of battles crown my endeavours with success! At all events I will take care that my name shall evermore be most dear to you and Horatia, both of whom I love as much as my own life. And as my last writing before the battle will be to you, so I hope in God that I shall live to finish my letter after the battle".

20thOctober 1805:  Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson adds to his letter to Lady Emma Hamilton started on 19 October, "In the morning we were close to the Mouth of the Straits, but the wind had not come far enough to the Westward to allow the Combined Fleets to weather the Shoals of Trafalgar".


'Thank God I have done my duty'.

Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson: "May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my Country, and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious Victory; and may no misconduct in an one tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may his blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.

22nd October 1805:  Vice Admiral Lord Collingwood from Euralyus: 'The ever to be lamented death of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, the Commander-in-Chief, who fell in the action of the 21st, in the arms of Victory, Covered with Glory, whose memory will be ever dear to the British Navy. . . leaves me to return my thanks [to the officers and men of the Fleet]'. 

25rd October 1796:  Commodore Horatio Nelson writes to HRH The Duke of Clarence (the future William IV) from Captain, "I am happy to say that not only Bastia but every other place in the Island [of Corsica} is completely evacuated'.

27th October 1795:  Captain Horatio Nelson writes to Sir William Suckling Esq. from Agamemnon off Marseilles, 'To me, I own, all Frenchmen are alike; I despise them all . . even Louis XVIII receives our money, and will not follow our advice'. 

28th October 1799:  Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson writes to Captain Alexander Ball at Malta, 'My Dear Ball, The King of Naples sends 4000 ounces to assist the poor islanders who bear arms; this will do for the present; the large sum required must come from the three Allied courts'.

29th October 1800:  Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson's daughter is born and christened Horatia Nelson Thompson, according to the register of baptism.

31st October 1801:  To Captain Sutton, Amazon, off Deal, Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson writes from Merton, 'You will see my Maiden Speech -bad enough, but well meant. I may be a coward, and good for nothing, but never ungrateful for favours done to me'.