Horatio Nelson: A Case Study in Naval Excellence: Part 4

In this part I will cover Nelson from the Battle of Cape St.Vincent to 13 August 1799. After the Battle of Cape St.Vincent in 1797, Nelson had lost his right arm in raid on Tenerife and had been sent home to recover. This time of recovery turned out to be on of Nelson's and his wife's happiest time spent together. After his return to sea, he was given command of a squadron in the Meditteranian. He followed the French fleet (and 400 transports) out of Toulon...and lost them. He went to Egypt looking for them, with no luck, and he set off for Corfu. Upon reaching Corfu, he discovered that the French fleet had indeed been going to Egypt. They were discovered in Aboukir Bay, and Nelson commenced a night attack that would come to be known as the Battle of the Nile. The French were surrounded on both sides by the British ships. The British pierced the French line, cutting the van off from the rearguard (which escaped). The fighting continued throughout the night, culminating in the explosion of the French 120 gun flagship L'Orient. In the morning, eleven French ships of the line and two frigates had been captured or destroyed. This victory made Nelson even more of a national hero, it also made him a Baron. At this time, Nelson's relationship with Emma Hamilton had been noted. They had fallen madly in love with each other. With the French fleet out of the way the King of Naples (Ferdinand) had decided to capture Rome from the French. This was a really bad idea. Initially it worked fine, but then the French attacked and the Neapolitan army disintegrated, and there was a revolution brewing in Naples. Nelson evacuated the royal family and Emma Hamilton and her husband. The Neapolitan revolutionaries declared themselves a republic. Eventually Nelson and a certain Cardinal Ruffo attacked the Parthenopean Republic (as Naples now called itself). After the inevitable victory of Ruffo's peasant army, Ruffo made a deal to allow all French and Republicans go back to France. Nelson was opposed to this deal, and his opposition led to one of the nastier parts of his story. The commander of the Neapolitan fleet was hung from the yardarm of his flagship. An estimated two-thirds of the rebels were massacred. King Ferdinand was so grateful to Nelson for his part in this that he made him the Duke of Bronte in Naples. END OF PART 4