Nelson's Fame, and England's Glory
DESCRIPTION: Nelson's 27 ships, led by Victory, faced 33 ships of the combined Franch and Spanish fleet. Individual British victories are described. Finally, the Leviathan and Conqueror "came to our timely aid" and the British take 19 in tow "to show we won the day"
AUTHOR: William Welch? (source: Holloway and Black's broadside is "signed" "William Welch")
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (GreigDuncan1); 19C (broadside, Holloway and Black)
KEYWORDS: battle navy sea ship
Oct 21, 1805 - Battle of Trafalgar
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #70, p. 2, ("It was daylight the next morning"); Greig #158, p. 3, ("The Victory she came bearing down") (2 fragments)
GreigDuncan1 146, "Nelson's Fame, and England's Glory" (1 text)
NOTES [431 words]: Greig and GreigDuncan1 are fragments; Holloway and Black, Later English Broadside Ballads Volume 2 68, pp. 174-175 is the basis for the description.
Compare the verse here [Greig #70]
Three were burned, and three were sunk,
And eight that ran away,
And other nineteen we took and towed,
To show we had gained the day.
with the verse from "The Royal Oak" [Greig #64]
Two we sunk, and two we brunt,
The fifth one she did win away;
And one we brought to Bristol town,
To show we had won the day.
There are no other common lines in more complete texts (for example, comparing Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 91, "The Royal Oak" and Holloway and Black).
As regards "nineteen we took and towed away," Holloway and Black notes "the British captured eighteen of the Franco-Spanish fleet's thirty-three ships."
Holloway and Black, noting that Nelson's death is not mentioned in their text: "This ballad may originally have been issued as a news-ballad immediately after the ballad and before the death of Nelson in it was known." - BS
According to John Keegan, The Price of Admiralty: The Evolution of Naval Warfare, Penguin, 1988, 1990, p. 90, the British did in fact deprive the Combined Fleet of 19 of the 33 French and Spanish ships at Trafalgar. However, Arthur Herman, To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, 2004 (I use the 2005 Harper Perennial edition), p. 393, makes the number 18, presumably deducting the Achille which had exploded (Herman, p. 392). In addition, the largest of the Spanish ships, the Santissima Trinidad, was so battered that she sank -- which, as Keegan notes on p. 91, was an exceptional fate for a wooden ship of the period unless it caught fire.
Thus the British were "in possession" of 18 ships after Trafalgar, soon to be reduced to 17. However, a great storm followed, and in the end, only 18 of the 33 French and Spanish ships survived that, whether in British hands or in the hands of their own crews (Keegan, p. 96). The Combined Fleet suffered an estimated 4400 fatalities (Keegan, p. 96). British casualties were 449 killed and 1214 wounded; no ships were lost though quite a few losts masts and a few suffered damage to their hulls (Keegan, p. 94).
The notion that the publisher knew of the victory at Trafalgar but not of the death of Nelson is hard to sustain. Supposedly the first word to come to the Admiralty came from a lieutenant who arrived at the office and declared "Sir, we have gained a great victory but we have lost Lord Nelson" (Herman, p. 395). The two reports certainly arrived on the same ship. - RBW
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