Battle of Trafalgar

21st October 1805
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Phoenix vs Didon 10.8.1805
Next action : Battle of Cape Ortegal 4.11.1805


Allied (Spain & Empire Français) - Pierre Charles Jean Baptiste Silvestre de Villeneuve (1763-1806)

Allied Rear, Pierre Etienne René Marie Le Pelley du Manoir (1770-1829)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Neptuno (80) Don Cayetano Valdes y Flores (1767-1834)37 Killed, 47 Wounded Captured
Le Scipion (74) Charles Berrenger (1757-1814)5 Killed
Rayo (84) Don Enrique Macdonel4 Killed, 14 Wounded Captured
Formidable (84) Jean-Marie Letellier (1767-1830)Squadron Flagship 11 Killed, 30 Wounded
Le Duguay Trouin (74) Claude Touffet (1767-1805)13 Killed, 23 Wounded
San Francisco de Asis (74) Luis de Flores5 Killed, 12 Wounded
Mont Blanc (74) Guillaume Jean Noel La Villegris (1752-1807)2 Killed
Allied Center, Pierre Charles Jean Baptiste Silvestre de Villeneuve (1763-1806)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
San Agustín (74) Felipe Antonio Jado y Cagigal, Felipe Antonio Jado y Cagigal180 Killed, 200 Wounded Captured
Le Héros (74) Jean Baptiste Joseph Rene Poulain (d.1805)11 Killed, 23 Wounded CO Killed
Nuestra Señora de la Santisima Trinidad (136) Francisco Javier de Uriarte y Borja205 Killed, 108 Wounded Captured
Le Bucentaure (86) Jean-Jacques Magendie (1766-1835)Fleet Flagship 192 Killed, 46 wounded Captured
Le Neptune (86) Esprit-Tranquille Maistral (1763-1815)30 Killed, 40 wounded
San Leandro (64) Jose Quevedo8 Killed, 22 wounded
Redoutable (74) Jean-Jacques Lucas (1764-1819)580 Killed Captured
Allied Van, Ignacio Maria de Alava y Saenz de Navarrete (1750-1817)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Intrépide (74) Louis-Antoine-Cyprien Infernet (1756-1815)100 killed, 200 wounded Captured
San Justo (74) Miguel Gaston de Iriarte7 wounded
L'Indomptable (84) Jean Joseph Hubert (1765-1805)800 Killed
Santa Ana (112) Jose de GardoquiSquadron Flagship 103 killed, 136 wounded Captured
Le Fougueux (74) Louis Alexis Baudouin (1766-1805)600 killed, 10 wounded Captured
Monarca (74) Teodoro de Argumosa y Bourke100 Killed, 150 wounded Captured
Le Pluton (74) Julien Marie Cosmao-Kerjulien (1761-1825)67 killed, 130 wounded
Squadron of Observation, Federico Carlos Gravina y Napoli (1756-1806)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Algeciras (74) Laurent Tourneur (1762-1820)85 killed, 142 wounded Captured
Bahama (74) Dionisio Alcala Galiano (d.1805)75 killed, 67 wounded Captured
L'Aigle (74) Pierre Paulin Gourrege (1749-1805)100 killed, 200 wounded Captured
Swiftsure (74) Charles Eusebe L'Hospitalier de Villemandrin (1756-1812)70 killed, 122 wounded Captured
L'Argonaute (74) Jacques Épron Desjardins (1767-1837)53 Killed, 127 wounded
Montanes (74) Francisco de Alcedo y Bustamante20 Killed, 29 wounded
Argonauta (80) Antonio Pareja y Serrano de Leon100 Killed, 200 wounded Captured
Le Berwick (74) Jean Giles Filhol de Camas (1758-1805)300 Killed, 15 wounded Captured
San Juan Nepomuceno (74) Cosme Damian Churruca y de Elorza (1761-1805)128 Killed, 147 wounded Captured
San Ildefonso (74) Jose Ramon de Vargas y Varaez34 Killed, 136 wounded Captured
L'Achille (74) Louis Gabriel Deniéport (1765-1805)480 Killed, 30 wounded Exploded
Principe de Asturias (112) Rafael de HoreSquadron Flagship 52 Killed, 110 wounded
Vessels not in the Line
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Rhin (40) Michel Chesneau
Hortense (40) Louis Charles Auguste La Marre la Meillerie
Cornelie (40) André Jules François de Martinenq de la Farge (1776-1860)
La Thémis (40) Nicolas Joseph Pierre Jugan (1774-1810)
Hermione (40) Jean Michel Mahé (1776-1833)
Le Furet (18) Pierre Antoine Toussaint Demai
L'Argus (16) Yves Francois Taillard

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland - Lord Horatio Nelson (1st Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough) (1758-1805)

The Weather Column, Lord Horatio Nelson (1st Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough) (1758-1805)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Victory (100) Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839)Fleet Flagship 57 Killed, 102 Wounded
Temeraire (98) Eliab Harvey (1758-1830)47 Killed, 76 Wounded
Neptune (98) Isaac Shaw, Thomas Francis Fremantle (1765-1819)10 Killed, 34 Wounded
Leviathan (74) Henry William Bayntun (1766-1840)4 Killed, 22 Wounded
Conqueror (74) Israel Pellew3 Killed, 9 Wounded
Agamemnon (64) Sir Edward Berry (1768-1831)2 Killed, 8 Wounded
Britannia (100) Charles Bullen (1768-1853)10 Killed, 42 Wounded
Ajax (74) William Brown, John Pilfold (1769-1834)2 Killed, 9 Wounded
Orion (74) Edward Codrington (1770-1851)1 Killed, 23 Wounded
Minotaur (74) Charles John Moore Mansfield (1760-1813)3 Killed, 22 Wounded
Spartiate (74) Sir Francis Laforey (2nd Baronet Laforey) (1767-1835)3 Killed, 20 Wounded
The Lee Column, Cuthbert Collingwood (1750-1810)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Royal Sovereign (100) Edward Rotherham (1753-1830)Squadron Flagship 47 Killed, 94 Wounded
Belleisle (74) William Hargood (1762-1839)33 Killed, 93 Wounded
Colossus (74) James Nicoll Morris (1763-1830)40 Killed, 160 Wounded
Mars (74) George Duff (1764-1805)29 Killed, 69 Wounded CO Killed
Tonnant (80) Charles Tyler (1760-1835)26 Killed, 50 Wounded
Bellerophon (74) John Cooke (1762-1805)27 Killed, 123 Wounded CO Killed
Achille (74) Richard King (1774-1834)13 Killed, 59 Wounded
Polyphemus (64) Robert Redmill (1758-1819)2 Killed, 4 Wounded
Revenge (74) Robert Moorsom (1760-1835)28 Killed, 51 Wounded
Swiftsure (74) William Gordon Rutherford (1765-1818)9 Killed, 8 Wounded
Defence (74) George Johnstone Hope (1767-1818)7 Killed, 29 Wounded
Thunderer (74) William Lechmere, John Stockham, Thomas Searle (1777-1849)4 Killed, 12 Wounded
Defiance (74)  17 Killed, 53 Wounded
Prince (98) Richard GrindallNo Casualties
Dreadnought (98) Edward Rotherham (1753-1830), John Conn7 Killed, 26 Wounded
Vessels not in the Line
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Africa (64) Henry Digby (1770-1842) 18 Killed, 44 Wounded
Naiad (38) Thomas Dundas
Phoebe (36) Thomas Bladen Capel (1776-1853)
Euryalus (36) Henry Blackwood (1770-1832)
Sirius (36) William Prowse
Entreprenante (10) Robert Benjamin Young (1773-1846)
Pickle (8) John Richards Lapenotiere (1770-1834)

Notes on Action

Allied Casualty FiguresB006
The casualty figures given for the allied fleet include those incured when ships foundered or were wrecked after the battle had finished.
Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's DispatchBG

To William Marsden Esq., Admiralty, London

Euryalus, off Cape Trafalgar, Oct. 22.


The ever to be lamented death of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, who, in the late conflict with the enemy, fell in the hour of victory, leaves to me the duty of informing my Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 19th inst. it was communicated to the Commander in Chief from the ships watching the motions of the enemy in Cadiz, that the combined fleet had put to sea; as they sailed with light winds westerly, his Lordship concluded their destination was the Mediterranean, and immediately made all sail for the Streights' entrance, with the British squadron, consisting of twenty-seven ships, three of them sixty-fours, where his Lordship was informed by Captain Blackwood (whose vigilance in watching, and giving notice of the enemy's movements, has been highly meritorious) that they had not yet passed the Streights.

On Monday, the 21st instant, at day light, when Cape Trafalgar bore E. by S. about seven leagues, the enemy was discovered six or seven miles to the eastward, the wind about west, and very light, the Commander in Chief immediately made the signal for the fleet to bear up in two columns, as they are formed in order of sailing; a mode of attack his Lordship had previously directed, to avoid the inconvenience and delay in forming a line of battle in the usual manner. The enemy's line consisted of thirty-three ships (of which 18 were French and 15 Spanish) commanded in chief by Admiral Villeneuve; the Spaniards under the direction of Gravina, wore, with their heads to the northward, and formed the line of battle with great closeness and correctness;-but as the mode of attack was unusual, so the structure of their line was new; it formed a crescent convexing to leeward-so that, in leading down to their centre, I had both their van and rear, abaft the beam; before the fire opened, every alternate ship was about a cable's length to windward of her second a-head, and a-stern, forming a kind of double line, and appeared, when on their beam, to leave a very littler interval between them; and this without crowding their ships. Admiral Villeneuve was in the Bucentaure in the centre, and the Prince of Asturias bore Gravina's flag in the rear; but the French and Spanish ships were mixed without any apparent regard to order of national squadron.

As the mode of our attack had been previously determined on, and communicated to the Flag Officers and Captains, few signals were necessary, and none were made, except to direct close order as the lines bore down. The Commander in Chief in the Victory led the weather column, and the Royal Sovereign, which bore my flag, the lee.

The action began at twelve o'clock, by the leading ships of the columns breaking through the enemy's line, the Commander in Chief about the tenth ship from the van, the Second in Command about the twelfth from the rear, leaving the van of the enemy unoccupied; the succeeding ships breaking through, in all parts, astern of their leaders, and engaging the enemy at the muzzles of their guns: the conflict was severe; the enemy's ships were fought with a gallantry highly honourable to their officers, but the attack on them was irresistible, and it pleased the Almighty Disposer of all Events, to grant his Majesty's arms a complete and glorious victory.

About three P.M. many of the enemy's ships having struck their colours, their line gave way: Admiral Gravina, with ten ships, joining their frigates to leeward, stood towards Cadiz. The five headmost ships in their van tacked, and standing to the southward, to windward, of the British line, were engaged, and the sternmost of them taken:-the others went off, leaving to his Majesty's squadron, nineteen ships of the line, (of which two are first-rates, the Santissima Trinidad and the Santa Anna) with three Flag Officers, viz. Admiral Villeneuve, the Commander in Chief, Don Ignatio Maria D'Aliva, Vice Admiral, and the Spanish Rear Admiral Don Baltazar Hidalgo Cisneros.

After such a victory it may appear unnecessary to enter into encomiums on the particular parts taken by the several Commanders; the conclusion says more on the subject than I have language to express; the spirit which animated all was the same; when all exerted themselves zealously in their country's service, all deserve that their high merits should stand recorded; and never was high merit more conspicuous than in the battle I have described.

The Achille (a French 74), after having surrendered, by some mismanagement of the Frenchmen took fire and blew up; two hundred of her men were saved by the tenders.

A circumstance occurred during the action, which so strongly marks the invincible spirit of British seamen, when engaging the enemies of their country, that I cannot resist the pleasure I have in making it known to their Lordships; the Temeraire was boarded by accident, or design, by a French ship on one side, and a Spaniard on the other; the contest was vigorous, but, in the end, the combined ensigns were torn from the poop, and the British hoisted in their places.

Such a battle could not be fought without sustaining a great loss of men. I have not only to lament in common with the British Navy, and the British Nation, in the fall of the Commander in Chief, the loss of a Hero, whose name will be immortal, and his memory ever dear to his country; but my heart is rent with the most poignant grief for the death of a friend, to whom, by many years intimacy, and a perfect knowledge of the virtues of his mind, which inspired ideas superior to the common race of men, I was bound by the strongest ties of affection; a grief to which even the glorious occasion in which he fell, does not bring the consolation which perhaps it ought; his Lordship received a musket ball in his left breast, about the middle of the action, and sent an officer to me immediately with his last farewell; and soon after expired.

I have also to lament the loss of those excellent officers, Captains Duff, of the Mars, and Cooke, of the Bellerophon; I have yet heard of no others.

I fear the numbers that have fallen will be found very great, when the returns come to me; but it having blown a gale of wind ever since the action, I have not yet had it in my power to collect any reports from the ships.

The Royal Sovereign having lost her masts, except the tottering foremast, I called the Euryalus to me, which the action continued, which ship lying within hail, made my signals, a service Captain Blackwood performed with great attention; after the action, I shifted my flag to her, that I might more easily communicate my orders to, and collect the ships, and towed the Royal Sovereign out to seaward. The whole fleet were now in a very perilous situation, many dismasted, all shattered, in thirteen fathom water, off the Shoals of Trafalgar, and when I made the signal to prepare to anchor, few of the ships had an anchor to let go, their cables being shot; but the same good Providence which aided us through such a day, preserved us in the night, by the wind shifting a few points, and drifting the ships off the land.

Having thus detailed the proceedings of the fleet on this occasion, I beg to congratulate their Lordships on a victory, which, I hope will add a ray to the glory of his Majesty's Crown, and be attended with public benefit to our country.

I am, &c.

C. Collingwood

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Cy on Sunday 26th of April 2020 16:38

Neptuno was indeed missing, who knows. It's there again now.

Posted by steve lockhart on Saturday 25th of April 2020 12:28

Where is the spanish ship of the line Neptuno ?

Posted by Colin Stone on Sunday 7th of October 2012 23:55

A mistake is noticed above under "Lee column at Trafalgar"
Polyphemus was in the command at this battle by Captain Robert Redmill not John Lawford.
This can be easily verified for internet sources.
Regards Colin

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