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Lot #354
Horatio Nelson

“ACQUAINTING ANY OF HIS MAJESTY’S SHIPS ... IN SEARCH OF ME”: As tensions ramp up to the Battle of Trafalgar, NELSON sends orders from the fabled HMS Victory

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“ACQUAINTING ANY OF HIS MAJESTY’S SHIPS ... IN SEARCH OF ME”: As tensions ramp up to the Battle of Trafalgar, NELSON sends orders from the fabled HMS Victory

Highly esteemed British admiral (1758–1805) best known for his participation in the Napoleonic Wars, during which, in the Battle of Trafalgar, he lost his life. Manuscript DS, signed with his left-handed, post-amputation “Nelson & Bronte,” one page both sides, 7.75 x 12.5, March 30, 1805. An order directing Richard Thomas, commander of the bomb vessel Etna, to inform other vessels of Nelson’s whereabouts. In part: “Whereas I am about to proceed with the fleet under my command to Pula Bay [in the Gulf of Cagliari, Sardinia], for the purpose of completing its water which will require about two or three days—You are hereby required and directed to repair immediately with His Majesty’s bomb vessel Etna under your command, and cruize between the Island of Toro and St. Pierres, for the purpose of acquainting any of His Majesty’s ships or vessels in search of me, where the squadron is to be found and you will be particularly attentive to join me on the fleet’s passing that way on its return from Pula, from whence it will proceed to Rendezvous Number 102 and afterwards to Rendezvous No. 97....” Nelson, then commander-in-chief of Britain’s Mediterranean fleet, was en route to engage in hostilities with the Franco-Spanish alliance when storms forced him to anchor his vessel, the Victory, in Puta Bay on February 27. In October, after months of pursuit—which had prevented the seizure of crucial British ports in the Caribbean—Nelson finally engaged the enemy fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar, during which he was struck by the bullet that claimed his life. Light intersecting folds (one vertical fold to each name), mild handling wear, and binding traces and small tear to left edge, otherwise fine, bright condition. Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #330 - Ended February 13, 2008