Napoleon & Empire

Battle of Trafalgar

Date and place

  • October 21st, 1805 off the south-west coast of Spain, west of Cape Trafalgar.

Involved forces

  • French and Spanish fleet (33 ships) under Admiral Pierre Charles Silvestre de Villeneuve. 
  • British fleet (27 ships) under Admiral Horatio Nelson. 
Battle of Trafalgar (detail)
"The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805" (detail). Painted 1836 by William Clarkson Stanfield.
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The naval battle of Trafalgar enshrined the tactical genius of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, whose fleet was on that day outnumbered, but composed of better ships and better trained seafarers.

List of ships

French and Spanish fleet, from North to South:

- Neptuno (Spain, two-decker, 80 guns, 800 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don Cayetano Valdés y Flores Bazán)
- Scipion (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Charles Berrenger)
- Intrépide (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 745 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Louis-Antoine-Cyprien Infernet)
- Formidable (France, two-decker, 80 guns, 840 men under the command of Contre-amiral Pierre-Etienne-René-Marie Dumanoir Le Pelley and of Capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Marie Letellier)
- Duguay-Trouin (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Claude Touffet)
- Mont-Blanc (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Guillaume-Jean-Noël de Lavillegris)
- Rayo (Spain, three-decker, 100 guns, 830 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don Enrique MacDonnell)
- San Francisco de Asís (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 657 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don Luis de Florès)
- Héros (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 690 men under the command of Capitaine de corvette Jean-Baptiste-Joseph-René Poulain then of Lieutenant de vaisseau Jean-Louis Conor)
- San Agustín (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 711 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don Felipe Jado Cajigal)
- Santísima Trinidad (Spain, four-decker, 136 guns, 1048 men under the command of Contraalmirante Báltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros y de la Torre and of Capitán de navío Francisco Javier de Uriarte y Borja)
- Bucentaure (France, flagship, two-decker, 80 guns, 888 men under the command of Vice-amiral Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve and of Capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Jacques Magendie)
- Redoutable (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 643 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Jean Jacques Étienne Lucas)
- San Justo (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 694 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don Francisco Javier Garstón)
- Neptune (France, two-decker, 80 guns, 888 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau de 1ère classe Esprit-Tranquille Maistral)
- San Leandro (Spain, two-decker, 64 guns, 606 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don José Quevedo)
- Santa Ana (Spain, three-decker, 112 guns, 1189 men under the command of Vicealmirante Ignacio María de Álava y Navarrete anf of Capitán de navío Don José Ramón de Gardoqui y Jaraveitia)
- L'Indomptable (France, two-decker, 80 guns, 887 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Joseph Hubert)
- Le Fougueux (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Louis Alexis Baudoin)
- Pluton (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau de 1ère classe Julien Marie Cosmao-Kerjulien)
- Monarca (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 667 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don Teodoro de Argumosa Bourke)
- Algésiras (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Contre-amiral Charles René Magon de Médine then of Capitaine de frégate Laurent Tourneur)
- Bahama (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 690 men under the command of Commodore Dionisio Alcalá Galiano y Pinedo)
- L'Aigle (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Pierre-Paulin Gourrège)
- Montañés (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 715 men under the command of Capitán de navío Francisco Alcedo y Bustamante)
- Swiftsure (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Charles-Eusèbe Lhospitalier de la Villemadrin)
- Argonaute (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Jacques Épron-Desjardins)
- Argonauta (Spain, two-decker, 80 guns, 798 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don José Antonio de Pareja y Mariscal)
- San Ildefonso (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 716 men under the command of Capitán de navío Don José Ramón de Vargas y Varáez)
- Achille (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Louis Gabriel Deniéport)
- Príncipe de Asturias (Spain, three-decker, 112 guns, 1113 men under the command of Almirante Don Federico Carlos Gravina then of Contraalmirante Don Antonio de Escaño y García de Cáceres and of Commodore Rafael de Hore)
- Berwick (France, two-decker, 74 guns, 755 men under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Gilles Filhol de Camas)
- San Juan Nepomuceno (Spain, two-decker, 74 guns, 693 men under the command of Commodore Don Cosme Damián Churruca y Elorza).

Attached French ships:
- Cornélie (frigate, 40 guns, under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau André-Jules-François de Martineng)
- Hermione (frigate, 40 guns, under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Michel Mahé)
- Hortense (frigate, 40 guns, under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Louis-Charles-Auguste Delamarre de Lamellerie)
- Rhin (frigate, 40 guns, under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Michel Chesneau)
- Thémis (frigate, 40 guns, under the command of Capitaine de vaisseau Nicolas-Joseph-Pierre Jugan)
- Furet (brig, 18 guns, 130 men under the command of Lieutenant de vaisseau Pierre-Antoine-Toussaint Dumay)
- Argus (brig, 16 guns, 110 men under the command of Lieutenant de vaisseau Yves-Francois Taillard).

Model of HMS Victory
Model of HMS Victory
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English fleet: two parallel colums:

Upwind, with the following 12 ships:
- HMS Africa (two-decker, 64 guns, 498 men under the command of Captain Henry Digby), attacking the head of the Franco-Spanish fleet
and weather column as follows:
- HMS Victory (flagship, three-decker, 104 guns, 821 men under the command of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson then of Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy)
- HMS Temeraire (three-decker, 98 guns, 718 men under the command of Captain Eliab Harvey)
- HMS Neptune (three-decker, 98 guns, 741 men under the command of Captain Thomas Francis Fremantle)
- HMS Leviathan (two-decker, 74 guns, 623 men under the command of Captain Henry William Bayntun)
- HMS Conqueror (two-decker, 74 guns, 573 men under the command of Captain Israel Pellew)
- HMS Britannia (three-decker, 100 guns, 854 men under the command of Rear-Admiral The Right Honourable Earl of Northesk)
- HMS Spartiate (two-decker, 74 guns, 620 men under the command of Captain Sir Francis Laforey)
- HMS Minotaur (two-decker, 74 guns, 625 men under the command of Captain Charles John Moore Mansfield)
- HMS Ajax (two-decker, 74 guns, 702 men under the command of Lieutenant John Pilford)
- HMS Agamemnon (two-decker, 64 guns, 498 men under the command of Captain Sir Edward Berry)
- HMS Orion (two-decker, 74 guns, 541 men under the command of Captain Edward Codrington)

Downwind, lee column (division of Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood) with the following 15 sailing vessels:
- HMS Royal Sovereign (three-decker, 100 guns, 826 men under the command of Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood)
- HMS Belleisle (two-decker, 74 guns, 728 men under the command of Captain William Hargood)
- HMS Mars (two-decker, 74 guns, 615 men under the command of Captain George Duff then of Lieutenant William Hennah)
- HMS Tonnant (two-decker, 80 guns, 688 men under the command of Captain Charles Tyler)
- HMS Bellerophon (two-decker, 74 guns, 522 men under the command of Captain John Cooke then of Lieutenant William Pryce Cumby)
- HMS Colossus (two-decker, 74 guns, 571 men under the command of Captain James Nicoll Morris)
- HMS Achille (two-decker, 74 guns, 619 men under the command of Captain Richard King)
- HMS Defence (two-decker, 74 guns, 599 men under the command of Captain George Hope)
- HMS Defiance (two-decker, 74 guns, 577 men under the command of Captain Philip Charles Durham)
- HMS Prince (three-decker, 98 guns, 735 men under the command of Captain Richard Grindall)
- HMS Dreadnought (three-decker, 98 guns, 725 men under the command of Captain John Conn)
- HMS Revenge (two-decker, 74 guns, 598 men under the command of Captain Robert Moorsom)
- HMS Swiftsure (two-decker, 74 guns, 570 men under the command of Captain William Gordon Rutherfurd)
- HMS Thunderer (two-decker, 74 guns, 611 men under the command of Lieutenant John Stockham )
- HMS Polyphemus (two-decker, 64 guns, 484 men under the command of Captain Robert Redmill).

Attached ships:
- HMS Euryalus (frigate, 36 guns, 262 men under the command of Captain The Honourable Henry Blackwood)
- HMS Naiad (frigate, 36 guns, 333 men under the command of Captain Thomas Dundas)
- HMS Phoebe (frigate, 36 guns, 256 men under the command of Captain The Honourable Thomas Bladen Capel)
- HMS Sirius (frigate, 36 guns, 273 men under the command of Captain William Prowse)
- HMS Pickle (schooner, 8 guns, 42 men under the command of Lieutenant John Richards La Penotière)
- HMS Entreprenante (cutter, 10 guns, 41 men under the command of Lieutenant Robert Benjamin Young).

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Detail of the map of the battle of Trafalgar
Map of the battle
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