This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations . (February 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Battle of Cape St Vincent (14 February 1797) was one of the opening battles of the Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808), as part of the French Revolutionary Wars, where a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a larger Spanish fleet under Admiral Don José de Córdoba y Ramos near Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.
The Anglo-Spanish War was a conflict fought between 1796 and 1802, and again from 1804 to 1808, as part of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The war ended when an alliance was signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain, which was now under French invasion.
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
After the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796 allying Spanish and French forces against Great Britain, the British navy blockaded Spain in 1797, impairing communications with its Spanish Empire.
The Second Treaty of San Ildefonso was signed on 19 August 1796 between Spain and the First French Republic. Based on the terms of the agreement, France and Spain would become allies and combine their forces against the British Empire.
The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World, the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies" and territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It has been described as the world's most powerful empire of the 16th and 17th centuries, a description also given to other empires of the period, becoming known as "the empire on which the sun never sets" and reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century.
The Spanish declaration of war on Britain and Portugal in October 1796 made the British position in the Mediterranean untenable. The combined Franco-Spanish fleet of 38 ships of the line heavily outnumbered the British Mediterranean Fleet of fifteen ships of the line, forcing the British to evacuate their positions in first Corsica and then Elba.
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century. The ship of the line was designed for the naval tactic known as the line of battle, which depended on the two columns of opposing warships maneuvering to fire with the cannons along their broadsides. In conflicts where opposing ships were both able to fire from their broadsides, the side with more cannons—and therefore more firepower—typically had an advantage. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island.
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the coastal town of Piombino, and the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is also part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park, and the third largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia. It is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of the French island of Corsica.
Early in 1797, the Spanish fleet of 27 ships of the line, which were supposed to join the French fleet at Brest lay at Cartagena, on the Mediterranean Sea, with the intention of sailing to Cádiz as an escort of a 57 merchant convoy, carrying mainly mercury—necessary for gold and silver production—which would eventually enter that Spanish harbour along with warships Neptuno, Terrible and Bahama , prior to running into the British force.
Brest is a port city in the Finistère département in Brittany. Located in a sheltered bay not far from the western tip of the peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon. The city is located on the western edge of continental Europe. With 142,722 inhabitants in a 2007 census, Brest is at the centre of Western Brittany's largest metropolitan area, ranking third behind only Nantes and Rennes in the whole of historic Brittany, and the 19th most populous city in France; moreover, Brest provides services to the one million inhabitants of Western Brittany. Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture of the department is the much smaller Quimper.
Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2018, it has a population of 213,943 inhabitants, being the Region’s second-largest municipality and the country’s sixth-largest non-Province-capital city. The metropolitan area of Cartagena, known as Campo de Cartagena, has a population of 409,586 inhabitants.
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually referred to as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
Don José de Córdoba and the Spanish fleet left Cartagena on 1 February and might have reached Cádiz safely but for a fierce Levanter, the easterly wind, blowing between Gibraltar and Cádiz, which pushed the Spanish fleet further out into the Atlantic than intended. As the winds died down, the fleet began working its way back to Cádiz.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
In the meantime, the British Mediterranean Fleet, under Admiral Sir John Jervis, had sailed from the Tagus with ten ships of the line to try to intercept the Spanish fleet. On 6 February, Jervis was joined off Cape St. Vincent by a reinforcement of five ships of the line from the Channel Fleet under Rear-Admiral William Parker.
Admiral of the Fleet John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent was an admiral in the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Jervis served throughout the latter half of the 18th century and into the 19th, and was an active commander during the Seven Years' War, American War of Independence, French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars. He is best known for his victory at the 1797 Battle of Cape Saint Vincent, from which he earned his titles, and as a patron of Horatio Nelson.
The Tagus is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. It is 1,007 km (626 mi) long, 716 km (445 mi) in Spain, 47 km (29 mi) along the border between Portugal and Spain and 275 km (171 mi) in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon. It drains an area of 80,100 square kilometers (30,927 sq mi). The Tagus is highly utilized for most of its course. Several dams and diversions supply drinking water to places of central Spain and Portugal, while dozens of hydroelectric stations create power. Between dams it follows a very constricted course, but after Almourol it enters a wide alluvial valley, prone to flooding. Its mouth is a large estuary near the port city of Lisbon.
Cape St. Vincent is a headland in the municipality of Vila do Bispo, in the Algarve, southern Portugal. It is the southwesternmost point of Portugal and of mainland Europe.
On 11 February, the British frigate HMS Minerve, under the command of Commodore Horatio Nelson, passed through the Spanish fleet unseen thanks to heavy fog. Nelson reached the British fleet of fifteen ships off Spain on 13 February, and passed the location of the Spanish fleet to Jervis, commanding the fleet from his flagship Victory. Unaware of the size of his opponent's fleet—in the fog, Nelson had not been able to count them—Jervis's squadron immediately sailed to intercept.
Unaware of the British presence, the Spanish continued toward Cádiz. Early on the 14th, Jervis learnt that the Spanish fleet was 35 miles to windward.
During the night came the sounds that the British fleet had been waiting to hear – the signal guns of the Spanish ships in the fog. At 2:50 a.m. came the report that the Spanish fleet was some fifteen miles distant. By early morning, at 5:30 a.m., Niger reported them to be closer still. As the dawn came, it brought a cold and foggy February morning. In the increasing light, Jervis saw his fleet around him, formed into two lines of battle. He turned to his officers on the quarter-deck of Victory and said, "A victory to England is very essential at this moment." Jervis gave orders for the fleet to prepare for the coming action.
Captain Thomas Troubridge in Culloden was in the lead. At 6:30 a.m., Culloden signalled that she could see five enemy sail to the south east, and then with Blenheim and Prince George turned toward the Spanish ships. Jervis had no idea of the size of the fleet he was up against. As they loomed up out of the fog, a signal lieutenant in Barfleur described them as "thumpers, looming like Beachy Head in a fog."
As dawn broke, Jervis's ships were in position to engage the Spanish. On the quarter-deck of Victory, Jervis, Captain Robert Calder and Captain Benjamin Hallowell counted the ships. It was at this point Jervis discovered that he was outnumbered nearly two-to-one:
"There are eight sail of the line, Sir John"
"Very well, sir"
"There are twenty sail of the line, Sir John"
"Very well, sir"
"There are twenty five sail of the line, Sir John"
"Very well, sir"
"There are twenty seven sail of the line, Sir John"
"Enough, sir, no more of that; the die is cast, and if there are fifty sail I will go through them"
Seeing that it would be difficult to disengage, Jervis decided to continue because the situation would only get worse were the Spanish fleet to join up with the French. Meanwhile, the Canadian Captain Hallowell became so excited that he thumped the Admiral on the back, "That's right Sir John, and, by God, we'll give them a damn good licking!"
As the light grew, it became obvious that the Spanish ships were formed in two loose columns, one of about 18 ships to windward and the other, of about nine ships, somewhat closer to the British. At about 10:30 a.m., the Spanish ships in the weather column were seen to wear ship and turn to port. This gave the impression that they might form a line and pass along the weather column of the British fleet, exposing the smaller British column to the fire of the larger Spanish division.
At 11:00 a.m., Jervis gave his order:
Form in a line of battle ahead and astern of Victory as most convenient.
When this order was completed the British fleet had formed a single line of battle, sailing in a southerly direction on a course to pass between the two Spanish columns.
At 11:12 a.m., Jervis made his next signal:
Engage the enemy
and then at 11:30 a.m.,
Admiral intends to pass through enemy lines
The Battle of Cape St. Vincent had begun.
To the British advantage, the Spanish fleet was formed into two groups and was unprepared for battle, while the British were already in line. Jervis ordered the British fleet to pass between the two groups, minimising the fire they could put into him, while letting him fire in both directions
Culloden tacked to reverse her course and take after the Spanish column. Blenheim and then Prince George did the same in succession. The Spanish lee division now put about to the port tack with the intention of breaking the British line at the point where the ships were tacking in succession. Orion came round but Colossus was in the course of going about when her foreyard and foretop yard were shot away. She was forced to wear ship instead of tack and the leading Spanish vessel came close enough to threaten her with a broadside. Saumarez in Orion saw the danger to his friends and backed his sails to give covering fire.
As Victory came to the tacking point, another attempt was made to break the British line. Victory, however, was too fast and Principe de Asturias had to tack close to Victory and received two raking broadsides as she did so."We gave them their Valentine in style," later wrote a gunner in Goliath.
As the last ship in the British line passed the Spanish, the British line had formed a U shape with Culloden in the lead and on the reverse course but chasing the rear of the Spanish. At this point the Spanish lee division bore up to make an effort to join their compatriots to windward. Had they managed to do this, the battle would have ended indecisively and with the Spanish fleet running for Cádiz. The British ships would have been left harrying their sterns in much the manner of the Armada, 1588.
At 1:05 p.m., Jervis hoisted a signal:
Take suitable stations for mutual support and engage the enemy as coming up in succession
Nelson had returned to his own ship Captain (a seventy-four) and was now towards the rear of the British line, much closer to the larger group. He came to the conclusion that the manoeuvre could not be completed so as to allow the British to catch them. Unless the movements of the Spanish ships could be thwarted, everything so far gained would be lost. Interpreting Jervis' signal loosely, and disobeying previous orders, Nelson gave orders to Captain Ralph Miller to wear ship and to take Captain out of line while engaging the smaller group.
As soon as the seventy-four was around, Nelson directed her to pass between Diadem and Excellent and ran across the bows of the Spanish ships forming the central group of the weather division. This group included the Santísima Trinidad, the largest ship afloat at the time and mounting 130 guns, the San José, 112, Salvador del Mundo, 112, San Nicolás, 84, San Ysidro 74 and the Mexicano 112.
Nelson's decision to wear ship was significant. As a junior commander, he was subject to the orders of his Commander in Chief (Admiral Jervis); in taking this action he was acting against the "form line ahead and astern of Victory" order and using his own wide interpretation of "take suitable stations" in the later signal. Had the action failed, he would have been subject to court-martial for disobeying orders in the face of the enemy, with subsequent loss of command and disgrace.
At about 1:30 p.m., Culloden was gradually overhauling the Spanish rear and began a renewed but not very close engagement of the same group of ships. Jervis signalled his rearmost ship, Excellent to come to the wind on the larboard tack and following this order, Collingwood brought his ship round to a position ahead of Culloden. After a few more minutes, Blenheim and Prince George came up behind and the group of British ships prevented the Spanish from grouping together.
The Captain was now under fire from as many as six Spanish ships, of which three were 112-gun three-deckers and a fourth Córdoba's 130-gun flagship Santísima Trinidad. At about 2:00 p.m., Culloden had stretched so far ahead as to cover the Captain from the heavy fire poured into her by the Spanish four-decker and her companions, as they hauled up and brought their broadsides to bear. Of the respite thus afforded to her, the Captain took immediate advantage, replenishing her lockers with shot and splicing and repairing her running rigging.
At about 2:30, Excellent having been directed by signal to bear up, edged away and at 2:35, arriving abreast of the disabled Spanish three-decker Salvator del Mundo, engaged the latter on her weather bow for a few minutes; then passing on to the next Spanish ship in succession, the San Ysidro, whose three topmasts had already been shot away. This ship Captain Collingwood engaged closely until 2:50 when, after a gallant defence in her crippled state, the San Ysidro hauled down the Spanish flag.
Moments later, Excellent and Diadem commenced an attack on the Salvator del Mundo, with Excellent stationing herself on the weather bow and Diadem on the lee quarter of the Spanish three-decker. Observing that the Victory was about to pass close astern, the Salvator del Mundo, which had more or less been disabled, judiciously hauled down her flag as soon as some of Victory's bow guns came to bear.
By about 3:00, Excellent was already in close action with San Nicolás which, with foretop mast shot away, had been in action against Captain. Excellent fired broadsides into San Nicolás and then made sail to clear ahead. To avoid Excellent, San Nicolás luffed up and ran foul of San José, which had suffered the loss of mizzen mast and other damage. Captain was by now almost uncontrollable with her wheel shot away. At this point, her foretop mast fell over the side leaving her in a completely unmanageable state and with little option but to board the Spanish vessels. Captain opened fire on the Spanish vessels with her larboard (port) side broadside and then put the helm over and hooked her larboard cat-head with the starboard quarter of San Nicolás.
At 3:20, with a cry of "Westminster Abbey or Glorious Victory!", Nelson ordered his boarders to cross the first Spanish ship onto the second. He later wrote,
The soldiers of the 69th, with an alacrity which will ever do them credit, and Lieutenant Pearson of the same regiment, were almost the foremost on this service – the first man who jumped into the enemy's mizen chains was Commander Berry, late my First Lieutenant (Captain Miller was in the very act of going also, but I directed him to remain); he was supported from our sprit sail yard, which hooked in the mizen rigging. A soldier of the 69th Regiment having broken the upper quarter-gallery window, I jumped in myself, and was followed by others as fast as possible. I found the cabin doors fastened, and some Spanish officers fired their pistols: but having broke open the doors the soldiers fired, and the Spanish Brigadier fell, as retreating to the quarter-deck. I pushed immediately onwards for the quarter-deck, where I found Commander Berry in possession of the poop, and the Spanish ensign hauling down. I passed with my people, and Lieutenant Pearson, on the larboard gangway, to the forecastle, where I met two or three Spanish officers, prisoners to my seamen: they delivered me their swords. A fire of pistols, or muskets, opening from the stern gallery of the San Josef, I directed the soldiers to fire into her stern; and calling to Captain Miller, ordered him to send more men into the San Nicolas; and directed my people to board the first-rate, which was done in an instant, Commander Berry assisting me into the main chains. At this moment a Spanish officer looked over the quarter deck rail, and said they surrendered. From this most welcome intelligence, it was not long before I was on the quarter deck, where the captain, with a bow, presented me his sword, and said the admiral was dying of his wounds. I asked him on his honour if the ship was surrendered. He declared she was: on which I gave him my hand, and desired him to call on his officers and ship's company and tell them of it: which he did – and on the quarter deck of a Spanish first-rate, extravagant as the story may seem, did I receive the swords of vanquished Spaniards: which as I received, I gave to William Fearney, one of my bargemen, who put them, with the greatest sang-froid, under his arm.
Both Spanish vessels were successfully captured. This manoeuvre was so unusual and so widely admired in the Royal Navy that using one enemy ship to cross to another became known facetiously as "Nelson's patent bridge for boarding enemy vessels."
By the time Santísima Trinidad had struck her colours to surrender, Pelayo and San Pablo, separated from de Córdoba's group during action, having been dispatched by the commander the day before, sailed in and bore down on Diadem and Excellent. Pelayo´s captain Cayetano Valdés warned Santísima Trinidad to fly her flag again under threat she would be deemed an enemy ship and raked. The Spanish four-decker raised her flag. She was saved from being captured by the British.
By 4:00, the Spanish ship Santísima Trinidad was relieved by two of her escorts and made away from the scene. Admiral Moreno's squad put together the survivors of Córdoba's group and turned to assist the harassed Spanish sails. Jervis signalled his fleet to cover the prizes and disabled vessels and at 4:15 the frigates were directed to take the prizes in tow. At 4:39 the fleet was ordered to take station in line astern of Victory. The battle was by now almost over with only some remaining skirmishing between Britannia, Orion and the departing Spanish covering Santísima Trinidad (which was to later serve as the Spanish flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar).
Nelson remained on board the captured Spanish ships while they were made secure – and was cheered by the British ships as they passed. He returned to the Captain to thank Captain Miller and presented him with the sword of the captain of the San Nicolás.
At 5:00, Nelson shifted his pennant from the disabled Captain to Irresistible. The Battle of Cape St. Vincent had cost the lives of 73 men of the Royal Navy and wounded a further 227 (this figure only includes serious injuries). Casualties amongst the Spanish ships were far higher – aboard San Nicolás alone 144 were killed. Then, still black with smoke and with his uniform in shreds, Nelson went on board Victory where he was received on the quarter-deck by Admiral Jervis – "the Admiral embraced me, said he could not sufficiently thank me, and used every kind expression which could not fail to make me happy."
It was a great and welcome victory for the Royal Navy – fifteen British ships had defeated a Spanish fleet of 27, and the Spanish ships had a greater number of guns and men. But, Admiral Jervis had trained a highly disciplined force and this was pitted against an inexperienced Spanish navy under Don José Córdoba. The Spanish men fought fiercely but without direction. After the San José was captured it was found that some of her guns still had their tampions in the muzzles. The confusion amongst the Spanish fleet was so great that they were unable to use their guns without causing more damage to their own ships than to the British.
Jervis had given orders to destroy the four prizes had the action restarted. Several days later, the frigate HMS Terpsichore (32) spotted the damaged Santísima Trinidad making her way back to Spain. The captain, Orozco, now commissioned by de Cordoba, had flown his flag in frigate Diana. Terpsichore engaged but kept always out of range from the stern guns of the ship anytime Santísima Trinidad bore down on the English frigate. Terpsichore nonetheless was hit twice with those cannons in a sudden move, resulting in damage in her rigging, masts and sails as well as some impacts on her hull. Captain Richard Bowen then ordered to keep the pursuit but from a longer distance until the frigate vanished away.
In the battle as a whole, the British casualties were 73 killed, 227 badly wounded, and about 100 lightly wounded. The Spanish casualties were about 1,000 men killed or wounded. While the British fleet lay at Lagos Bay, in Portugal, the Spanish prisoners received from the four prizes, numbering about 3000, were landed.
Jervis was made Baron Jervis of Meaford and Earl St Vincent.Nelson was knighted as a member of the Order of the Bath. Nelson's promotion to Rear-Admiral was not a reward for his services, but simply a happy coincidence: promotion to flag rank in the Navy of the time was based on seniority on the Captain's list and not on achievement. The now Earl St Vincent was granted a pension for life of £3,000 per year. The City of London presented him with the Freedom of the City in a gold box valued at 100 guineas and awarded both him and Nelson a ceremonial sword. The presentation box and sword are both currently held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The two swords awarded Jervis and Nelson were the first of their kind to be issued by the City of London. St Vincent was awarded the thanks of both Houses of Parliament and given a gold medal by the King. The London Gazette published an advertisement in 1798 regarding the prize money that was due to the officers and men who had fought at the battle. The sum quoted was £140,000 of which, as admiral, Jervis was entitled to a sizable share. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issuance of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "St. Vincent" to all surviving claimants from the battle.
Cordóba was dismissed from the Spanish navy and forbidden from appearing at court.
Jervis resumed his blockade of the Spanish fleet in Cadiz.The continuation of the blockade for most of the following three years, largely curtailed the operations of the Spanish fleet until the Peace of Amiens in 1802.
The containment of the Spanish threat, and the further reinforcement of his command, enabled Jervis to send a squadron under Nelson back into the Mediterranean the following year. That squadron, including Saumarez's Orion, Troubridge's Culloden, and the Goliath, now under Foley, re-established British command of the Mediterranean at the Battle of the Nile.
Admiral Sir John Jervis was on his flagship Victory. The British ships are listed in order from van to rear. Many of the British wounded later died.
|Admiral Sir John Jervis’ Fleet|
|Culloden||Third rate||74||Captain Thomas Troubridge|
|Blenheim||Second rate||90||Captain Thomas L. Frederick|
|Prince George||Second rate||98||Rear-Admiral William Parker; |
Captain John Irwin
|Orion||Third rate||74||Captain James Saumarez|
|Colossus||Third rate||74||Captain George Murray|
|Irresistible||Third rate||74||Captain George Martin|
|Victory||First rate||100||Admiral Sir John Jervis;|
Captain of the Fleet Robert Calder;
Flag Captain George Grey
|Egmont||Third rate||74||Captain John Sutton|
|Goliath||Third rate||74||Charles Henry Knowles|
|Barfleur||Second rate||98||Vice-Admiral William Waldegrave; |
Captain James Richard Dacres
|Britannia||First rate||100||Vice-Admiral Charles Thompson; |
Captain Thomas Foley
|Namur||Second rate||90||James Hawkins Whitshed|
|Captain||Third rate||74||Commodore Horatio Nelson;|
Captain Ralph Willett Miller
|Nelson was wounded during the action.|
|Diadem||Third rate||64||Captain George Henry Towry|
|Excellent||Third rate||74||Captain Cuthbert Collingwood|
|Total recorded casualties: 73 killed, 227 wounded|
|Minerve||38||Captain George Cockburn||Fifth-rate frigate|
|Lively||32||Captain Lord Garlies||Fifth-rate frigate|
|Niger||32||Captain Edward James Foote||Fifth-rate frigate|
|Southampton||32||Captain James Macnamara||Fifth-rate frigate|
|Bonne-Citoyenne||20||Commander Charles Lindsay||Unrated Sloop-of-war|
|Raven||18||Commander William Prowse||Unrated brig-sloop|
|Fox||10||Lieutenant John Gibson||Unrated cutter|
|Fleet Commander - Lieutenant-General José de Córdoba y Ramos|
|2nd Squadron / Vanguard - Lieutenant-General Francisco Javier Morales de los Ríos|
|Killed||Seriously Wounded||Slightly Wounded||Total|
|Infante Don Pelayo||Third rate||74||Captain Cayetano Valdés||4||4||0||8|
|San Pablo||Third rate||74||Captain Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros||-||-||-||-|
|Purísima Concepción||First rate||112||Lieutenant-General Francisco Javier Morales de los Ríos; |
Flag Captain & Brigadier José Escaño
|Perla||Fifth rate||34||Commander Francisco Moyúa||-||-||-||-|
|Santo Domingo||Third rate||64||Captain Manuel María de Torres Valdivia||2||0||0||2|
|Conquistador||Third rate||74||Captain José Butler||6||0||0||6|
|San Juan Nepomuceno||Third rate||74||Captain Antonio Boneo||-||-||-||-|
|Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes||Fifth rate||34||Commander José Varela||-||-||-||-|
|San Genaro||Third rate||74||Captain Agustín Villavicencio||-||-||-||-|
|1st Squadron / Battle Line - Lieutenant-General Don José de Córdoba y Ramos|
|Mejicano||First rate||112||Brigadier Francisco de Herrera (†)||25||46||42||113|
|Nuestra Señora de la Paz||Fifth rate||40||Commander Santiago Irizarri||-||-||-||-|
|Oriente||Third rate||74||Captain Juan Suárez||8||20||0||100|
|Soberano||Third rate||74||Flag Captain & Brigadier Juan Vicente; |
Captain Francisco Ley (†)
|Santísima Trinidad||First rate||130||Lieutenant-General Don José de Córdoba y Ramos; |
Flag Captain & Brigadier Rafael Orozco;
Commander & Major-General Ciriaco Ceballos
|Vigilante||Brig||12||Lieutenant José de Córdoba y Rojas||-||-||-||-|
|San Nicolás de Bari||Third rate||80||Brigadier Tomás Geraldino (†)||144||59||-||203||captured|
|San Isidro||Third rate||74||Captain Teodoro Argumosa||29||63||-||92||captured|
|Salvador del Mundo||First rate||112||Brigadier Antonio Yepes (†)||42||124||-||166||captured|
|San Ildefonso||Third rate||74||Captain Rafael Maestre||-||-||-||-|
|3rd Squadron / Rearguard - Lieutenant-General Don Juan Joaquín Moreno|
|Conde de Regla||First rate||112||Commodore Claude Francois Renard de Fuchsemberg, Conde de Amblimont (†); |
Flag Captain & Brigadier Jerónimo Brav
|Matilde||Fifth rate||34||Captain Manuel Vitoria||-||-||-||-|
|San Fermín||Third rate||74||Captain José de Torres||-||-||-||-|
|Firme||Third rate||74||Captain Bruno Ayala||2||1||0||3|
|Príncipe de Asturias||First rate||112||Lieutenant-General Juan Joaquín Moreno de Mondragón y D'Hontlier; |
Flag Captain & Brigadier Antonio de Escaño
|Diana||Fifth rate||34||Commander Juan José Varela||-||-||-||-|
|San Antonio||Third rate||74||Captain Salvador Medina||-||-||-||-|
|Glorioso||Third rate||74||Captain Juan de Aguirre||-||-||-||-|
|Nuestra Señora de Atocha||Fifth rate||40||Commander Antonio Pareja||-||-||-||-|
|Atlante||Third rate||74||Captain Gonzálo Vallejo||6||4||1||11|
|San Francisco de Paula||Third rate||74||Captain José Ussel de Guimbarda||-||-||-||-|
|San José||First rate||112||Commodore Francisco Javier Winthuysen (†); |
Flag Captain & Brigadier Pedro Pineda
|Ceres||Fifth rate||40||Commander Ignacio Olaeta||-||-||-||-|
|Asunción||Armed Merchantman||28||Lieutenant Manuel Díaz Herrera||-||-||-||-|
|Santa Justa||Armed Merchantman||18||Lieutenant Florencio Scals||-||-||-||-|
|Santa Balbina||Armed Merchantman||18||Lieutenant Diego Ochandía||-||-||-||-|
|Santa Paula||Armed Merchantman||20||Lieutenant José Elexaga||-||-||-||-|
|Total recorded casualties: 430 killed, 661 seriously wounded and 195 slightly wounded|
The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).
Admiral James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez, GCB was an admiral of the British Royal Navy, notable for his victory at the Second Battle of Algeciras.
Captain Sir William Hoste, 1st Baronet KCB RN, Royal Navy captain. He was best known as one of Lord Nelson's protégés, Hoste was one of the great frigate captains of the Napoleonic wars, taking part in six major actions including the capture of a heavily fortified port. He was however absent from Trafalgar having been sent with gifts to the Dey of Algiers.
Richard Bowen was an officer of the Royal Navy who served during the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars. Bowen saw service with Horatio Nelson, and was killed fighting alongside him at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Santísima Trinidad was a Spanish first-rate ship of the line with 112 guns. This was increased in 1795–96 to 130 guns by closing in the spar deck between the quarterdeck and forecastle, and around 1802 to 140 guns, thus creating what was in effect a continuous fourth gundeck although the extra guns added were actually relatively small. She was the heaviest-armed ship in the world when rebuilt, and bore the most guns of any ship of the line outfitted in the Age of Sail.
HMS Captain was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 26 November 1787 at Limehouse. She served during the French revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars before being placed in harbour service in 1799. An accident caused her to burn and founder in 1813. Later that year she was raised and broken up.
The Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was an amphibious assault by the Royal Navy on the Spanish port city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Launched by Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson on 22 July 1797, the assault was defeated, and on 25 July the remains of the landing party withdrew under a truce, having lost several hundred men. Nelson himself had been wounded in the arm, which was subsequently partially amputated: a stigma that he carried to his grave as a constant reminder of his failure.
Sir Charles Henry Knowles, 2nd Baronet, GCB was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, eventually rising to the rank of Admiral. He was an extraordinary figure and a great tactical innovator. Highly intellectual, he authored a number of signal books and had the chance to put his ideas into practice during his naval career. Knowles was at times beset by problems with discipline aboard his ships, often due to large proportions of raw recruits and untrained seamen. This may have been a factor in his rocky relationship with his superior, Sir John Jervis, which eventually led to Knowles's retirement from active service after the Battle of Cape St Vincent, and his concentration on scholarly studies of the issues affecting the naval service.
William Prowse CB was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Rising from humble origins and joining the navy as an able seaman, he had a highly active career, serving under some of the most famous naval commanders of the age of sail, and participating in some of their greatest victories. He was at Grenada and Martinique under Byron and Rodney, the Glorious First of June under Howe; and commanded ships at Cape St Vincent under Jervis, Cape Finisterre under Calder and Trafalgar under Nelson. He finished his career by serving with distinction in the Mediterranean, and died with the rank of Rear-Admiral.
Vice-Admiral Sir George Murray KCB was an officer in the Royal Navy who saw service in a wide range of theatres and campaigns. His active naval career spanned the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Murray served under many of the most notable commanders of his age and participated in several of their greatest victories. He was with Parker and Howe in the West Indies and North America, Johnstone and Hughes in the East Indies, Jervis at Cape St Vincent, Nelson at Copenhagen, and took part in a host of other actions and engagements. Temporarily a captive of the French he was a keen scholar and spent time learning the French language and their naval customs, as well as being a competent surveyor, experience that was to help him in later life. He had a particularly enduring friendship with Nelson, who personally requested his services as his captain of the fleet. It was only chance that prevented Murray from serving as such at Trafalgar. With Murray absent, Nelson declined to appoint a replacement, one biographer reasoning that "none but Murray would do".
The Action of 15 July 1798 was a minor naval battle of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought off the Spanish Mediterranean coast by the Royal Navy ship of the line HMS Lion under Captain Manley Dixon and a squadron of four Spanish Navy frigates under Commodore Don Felix O'Neil. Lion was one of several ships sent into the Western Mediterranean by Vice-Admiral Earl St Vincent, commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet based at the Tagus in Portugal during the late spring of 1798. The Spanish squadron was a raiding force that had sailed from Cartagena in Murcia seven days earlier, and was intercepted while returning to its base after an unsuccessful cruise. Although together the Spanish vessels outweighed the British ship, individually they were weaker and Commodore O'Neil failed to ensure that his manoeuvrees were co-ordinated. As a result, one of the frigates, Santa Dorotea, fell out of the line of battle and was attacked by Lion.
The Assault on Cadiz was a part of a protracted naval blockade of the Spanish port of Cadiz by the Royal Navy, which comprised the siege and the shelling of the city as well as an amphibious assault on the port itself from June to July 1797. After the battle of Cape Saint Vincent the British fleet led by Lord Jervis and Sir Horatio Nelson had appeared in the Gulf of Cadiz. During the first days of June the city was bombarded, but causing slight damage to the Spanish batteries, navy and city. Nelson's objective was to force the Spanish admiral Jose Mazarredo to leave the harbour with the Spanish fleet. Mazarredo prepared an intelligent response and the Spaniards began to build gunboats and small ships to protect the entrance of the harbour from the British. By the first days of July, after a series of failed attacks led by Rear-Admiral Nelson, and with the British ships taking huge fire from the Spanish forts and batteries, the British withdraw and the siege was lifted. The naval blockade, however, lasted until 1802.
The Action of 19 December 1796 was a minor naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought in the last stages of the Mediterranean campaign between two British Royal Navy frigates and two Spanish Navy frigates off the coast of Murcia. The British squadron was the last remaining British naval force in the Mediterranean, sent to transport the British garrison of Elba to safety under the command of Commodore Horatio Nelson. The Spanish under Commodore Don Jacobo Stuart were the vanguard of a much larger squadron. One Spanish frigate was captured and another damaged before Spanish reinforcements drove the British off and recaptured the lost ship.
Neptuno was an 80-gun Montañes-class ship of the line of the Spanish Navy. She was built in 1795 and took part in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She fought with the Franco-Spanish fleet in the battle of Trafalgar, and was wrecked in its aftermath.
The Action of 25 January 1797 was a minor naval battle of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought in the Gulf of Cádiz. The Spanish third-rate ship of the line San Francisco de Asís was attacked and pursued for several hours by a British squadron of three fifth-rates frigates and a sixth-rate corvette under George Stewart, 8th Earl of Galloway. After an intermittent but fierce exchange of fire, the British warships, badly damaged, were eventually forced to withdraw. The San Francisco de Asís, which suffered only minor damage, was able to return to Cádiz without difficulties. The commander of the ship, Captain Alonso de Torres y Guerra, was promoted for his success.
The Action of 13 October 1796 was a minor naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought off the Mediterranean coast of Spain near Cartagena between the British Royal Navy 32-gun frigate HMS Terpsichore under Captain Richard Bowen and the Spanish Navy 34-gun frigate Mahonesa under Captain Tomás de Ayalde. The action was the first battle of the Anglo-Spanish War, coming just eight days after the Spanish declaration of war. In a battle lasting an hour and forty minutes, Mahonesa was captured.
The Croisière de Bruix was the principal naval campaign of the year 1799 during the French Revolutionary Wars. The expedition began in April 1799 when the bulk of the French Atlantic Fleet under Vice-Admiral Étienne Eustache Bruix departed the base at Brest, evading the British Channel Fleet which was blockading the port and tricking the commander Admiral Lord Bridport into believing their true destination was Ireland. Passing southwards, the French fleet narrowly missed joining with an allied Spanish Navy squadron at Ferrol and was prevented by an easterly gale from uniting with the main Spanish fleet at Cádiz before entering the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean was under British control following the destruction of the French Mediterranean Fleet at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798, and a British fleet nominally under Admiral Earl St Vincent was stationed there. Due however to St. Vincent's ill-health, operational control rested with Vice-Admiral Lord Keith. As Keith sought to chase down the French, the Spanish fleet followed Bruix into the Mediterranean before being badly damaged in a gale and sheltering in Cartagena.
HMSEmerald was a 36-gun Amazon-class frigate that Sir William Rule designed in 1794 for the Royal Navy. The Admiralty ordered her construction towards the end of May 1794 and work began the following month at Northfleet dockyard. She was completed on 12 October 1795 and joined Admiral John Jervis's fleet in the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean campaign of 1793–1796 was a major theater of conflict in the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars. Fought during the War of the First Coalition, the campaign was primarily contested in the Western Mediterranean between the French Navy's Mediterranean Fleet, based at Toulon in Southern France, and the British Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet, supported by the Spanish Navy and the smaller navies of several Italian states. Major fighting was concentrated in the Ligurian Sea, and focused on British maintenance of and French resistance to a British close blockade of the French Mediterranean coast. Additional conflict spread along Mediterranean trade routes, contested by individual warships and small squadrons.
Velters Cornewall Berkeley (1754–1804) was an officer in the Royal Navy. He served in both the American and French Revolutionary Wars but never rose above the rank of Captain. He died at his home in Oxford in 1804, aged 50.