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Nelson's Account of the Battle of St. Vincent. in it, addressed to the Duke of Clarence, will not be deemed superfluous. He has entitled it,
"A FEW REMARKS RELATIVE TO MYSELF IN THE CAPTAIN, IN WHICH SHIP MY PENDANT WAS FLYING ON THE
MOST GLORIOUS VALENTINE'S DAY, 1797. " At one, P.M. 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 on the larboard, we on the starboard tack, the admiral made the signal to tack in succession ; but, perceiving all the Spanish ships to bear up before the wind, evidently with an intention of forming their line, going large, joining their separated divisions, at that 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 the Excellent, at a quarter past one o'clock, was engaged with the headmost, and, of course, leewardmost, of the Spanish division. The ships which I knew were the Santissima Trinidada, 136; San Josef, 112; Salvador del Mundo, 112; San Nicolas, 80; another first-rate, and a 74, names unknown.
“I was immediately joined and most nobly supported by the Culloden, Captain Troubridge; the Spanish fleet not wishing, I suppose, to have a deci. sive battle, hauled to the wind on the larboard tack, which brought the ships above-mentioned to be the leewardmost and sternmost ships in their fleet. For near an hour, I believe, (but do not pretend to be correct as to time), did the Culloden and Captain support this apparently, but not really, unequal contest: when the Blenheim, passing between us and the enemy, gave us a respite, and sickened the Dons.
" At this time the Salvador del Mundo and San Isidro dropped astern, and were fired into in a masNelson's Account of the Battle of St. Vincent. terly style by the Excellent, Captain Collingwood,* who compelled the San Isidro to hoist English colours; and I thought the large ship, Salvador del Mundo, had also struck; but Captain Collingwood, disdaining the parade of taking possession of a vanquished enemy, most gallantly pushed up, with every sail set, to save his old friend and messmate, who was, to appearance, in a critical state ; the Blenheim being ahead, the Culloden crippled and astern. The Excellent ranged up within two feet of the San Nicolas, giving a most tremendous fire. The San Nicolas luffing up, the San Josef fell on board her; and the Excellent passing on for the Santissima Trinidada, the Captain resumed her station abreast of them, and close alongside; at this time the Captain having lost her fore-top mast, not a sail, shroud, nor rope left, her wheel shot away, and incapable of farther service in the line, or in the chase, I directed Captain Miller to put the helm a-starboard, and, calling for the boarders, ordered them to board.
"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 in this service; the first man who jumped into the mizen chains was Captain Berry, late my first lieutenant, (Captain Miller was in the very act of going also, but I ordered 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 office:s fired their pistols; but, having broken open the doors, the soldiers fired; and the Spanish brigadier (commodore with a distinguishing pendant), fell, as retreating to the quarter-deck. I pushed imme
* Portrait in the Painted Hall, Greenwich,
Nelson's Account of the Battle of St. Vincent. diately onwards for the quarter-deck, where I found Captain Berry in possession of the poop, and the Spanish ensign hauling down. I passed with my people, and Lieutenant Pearson, on the larboard gang-way, 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 admiral's 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, Captain Berry assisting me in the mainchains.* At this moment a Spanish officer looked over the quarter-deck rail, and said they had surrendered. From this most welcome intelligence it was not long before I was on the quarter-deck, where the Spanish captain, with a bow, presented me with his sword, and said the admiral was dying of his wounds. I asked him, on his honour, if the ship was surren. dered; he declared she was : on which I gave hin my hand, and desired him to call his officers ani ship’s company, and tell them of it; which he did — and on the quarter-deck of a Spanish first-rate, er travagant as the story may seem, did I receive the
* A well-executed painting of the boarding of the San Josef from the San Nicolas is in the Painted Hall, Greenwich the likeness of Nelson is spirited and excellent, but there is nore of imagination than reality in the picture. There apjears also to be some confusion in the above account. Cdonel Drinkwater says : “ The stern of the three-decker was placed directly amidship of the weather-beam of the prize, San Nicolas,” &c. Nelson also speaks of “the fire of pistos and musketry from the stern gallery of the San Josef ;" hut immediately afterwards adde that . Captain Berry assisted him in the main-chains.' From what follows it would apper that the main-chains of the San Josef is meant, and consequently the ships must have dropped alongside of each otha at the time of boarding.–The OLD SAILOR.