LS, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 8.25 x 12, no date but circa August 1795. Lengthy report in which Nelson, anchored near Genoa in support of the Austrian advance against Napoleon's forces on the mainland, discusses his immediate plans. He has had a conversation with the Baron de Malcamp, nephew and aide-de-camp to the Austrian general, Beaulieu: "I begged he would assure the General that my squadron had no object whatever but the co-operation with his army, and that wherever he came down on the sea coast…he would he sure to find me…Vado was the only place where our fleet could lay in safety, but as for my squadron all places would suit it…I had understood St. Giacomo was strongly fortified, and if 6 or 7000 men were to be lost in getting it merely for the immediate possession of Vado Bay it was no object for us if the General chose to leave them to the eastward."
The Baron assured Nelson that "the General would send me a tableaux of his plan of operations, that the General desired…[that] the most perfect harmony would be kept up with me, and that from my character as well as from my exactness…he was assured all would go well for the common cause…[and] that our enemies should be convinced of the most perfect harmony subsisting between the Allies."
For his part, Nelson assured the Baron "that he might depend on my openness of conduct, that what I promised should, if possible, be performed, and that I would promise nothing that I had not a moral certainty of being able to perform…I desired he would assure his General that…nothing would be omitted on the part of my admiral [Sir John Jervis] to convince him and all our Allies, as well as our enemies and neutral powers, how much he had the good of the common cause at heart…I also desired he would acquaint the General that I would undertake to provide proper convoys for their provisions being carried coastways from Genoa…The Baron asked me…if there was not a risk that my squadron might be lost on the coast…I replied that if these were lost my admiral would find another [and] that we should risk the squadron at all times to assist the General." Neatly and boldly signed at the conclusion by Nelson. In fine condition, with intersecting folds and light creasing. In August 1795, Nelson was selected to command a squadron ordered to Vado Bay, near Genoa, where the Austrians had their headquarters. From there he was to stop all enemy vessels, and all neutrals trading with the Genoese coast, so as to cut off the main French supply route, and facilitate an Austrian advance against Napoleon.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.