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Battle of Vellinghausen, 15-16 July 1761

Battle of Vellinghausen, 15-16 July 1761


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Battle of Vellinghausen, 15-16 July 1761

Battle of the Seven Years War. A 60,000 strong allied army led by Ferdinand of Brunswick, defending western Germany, faced two French armies, with a combined strength of 100,000 men led by the Duc de Broglie and the Prince de Soubise. The French, who were attempting to capture Lippstadt, were forced to attack Ferdinand, who was defending the line of the Lippe. The French attack fell mostly on the allied left wing, and in particular the mostly British corps commanded by the Marquis of Granby, where the French were held, partly because the two French commanders did not cooperate well, and Soubise failed to support de Broglie's attack. After their defeat at Vellinghausen, the two French generals once again split their forces, and Ferdinand was able to frustrate them for the rest of that years campaigning.

Books on the Seven Years's War |Subject Index: Seven Years' War


My Tin Soldier Collection - SYW French


Unit History
Originally the regiment was formed in 1744 from Scottish refugees in France by the 3rd Duke of Drummond. He was also one of the founders at the revival of the Order of the Thistle in 1687. The Duke joined Bonnie Prince Charlie on his arrival at Perth in 1745. At the Battle of Culloden the Duke commanded the left flank, and after the defeat was forced to flee. He died on the way to France in 1746.
As mentioned, the first battalion of the unit fought in Scotland taking part at Culloden in April 1746. The regiment initially stood in the second line at Culloden, and later some fought a desperate rearguard action against the British cavalry before being forced to surrender. Others, however, led by Major Hale, succeeded in escaping to Ruthven Barracks and did not surrender until April 19, 1746.
While many of the officers would have worn a tricorne, it is likely that some would have worn the short coat and even a kilt especially during their service in Scotland.
With the outbreak of the Seven Years War in 1756, nine battalions of Scottish and Irish Jacobite were massed on the Channel, in view of participating in a large-scale military operation in Munster. However, the naval defeat at the Bay of Quiberon in 1757 dashed such hope. These troops were then used in military campaigns in Germany and in the campaigns of 1760 and 1761 in Germany were present at Marbourg and Vellinghausen.
Helping secure Marbourg in the winter of 1760, the unit was part of a French force that was defeated there by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in a small but smartly fought engagement.
At Vellinghausen, July 1761, the unit, along with the Scottish, d’Ogilvy, regiment and other Irish regiments, was all part of the command under Soubise on the left flank which was refused against the British. The anchor point or center of the French was the village of Nateln near Soest.
Disbanded and merged into the Irish regiment, Bulkeley, in 1762.

The Regimental and Colonel’s colour

Comments
Unpainted. While the British have their Scottish regiment, the French felt left out. So as part of the general EU clause of equality for all, the French were granted an extra Scottish unit complete with kilts so that they would feel at home when vacationing in Scotland. Actually, the unique force has always appealed to me because of the possibilities to create unique characters like Comte Drummond.


The First Battle of Bull Run

In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard.

Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the Confederacy could be crushed quickly and with little loss of life. In July, this overconfidence led to a premature offensive into northern Virginia by General McDowell. Searching out the Confederate forces, McDowell led 34,000 troops—mostly inexperienced and poorly trained militiamen—toward the railroad junction of Manassas, located just 30 miles from Washington, D.C. Alerted to the Union advance, General Beauregard massed some 20,000 troops there and was soon joined by General Joseph Johnston, who brought some 9,000 more troops by railroad.

On the morning of July 21, hearing of the proximity of the two opposing forces, hundreds of civilians–men, women, and children–turned out to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream, and the Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. However, at this strategic location, Beauregard had fashioned a strong defensive line anchored by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas J. Jackson. Firing from a concealed slope, Jackson’s men repulsed a series of Federal charges, winning Jackson his famous nickname “Stonewall.”


11/18/2016 - American History: Live Salesroom Auction

van der Schley, Jacob (Dutch, 1715-1779). Plan de la Bataille de Vellinghausen Gagnie le 16 Juillet 1761. par l'Armee de la Majeste Brittannique, Sous les Ordres de S.A. Ser.me Mon Seigneur le Prince Ferdinand Duc de Brunswick et de Lunebourg, Sur celles de la France, Commandees par Messieurs les Marechaux Prince de Soubise et Duc de Broglie. Published at The Hague by Pierre Gosse, Jr. & Daniel Pinet, 1762 (MDCCLXII). Plate 25 x 24.25 in. (25.75 s 25.75 overall) large flap approx. 5.25 x 17.25 in.

This encounter pitted approximately 65,000 Allies (British, Hanoverians, Prussians, Brunswickers, Hessians) against nearly half again as many French (92,000) on the banks of the Lippe River. Throughout the Seven Years' War, France threatened the North West German region, including Hanover. The armies of Prince Soubise and the Duc de Broglie united with the aim of driving Ferdinand back across the Lippe River. The French intended to begin on 16 July, but in the process of moving troops the evening before, surprised the allies, and skirmishing began. At nightfall, the fighting paused, and the commanders moved troops around overnight, beginning again at first light the next day. The battle ended by midday, the French having lost and in retreat, although some think that Ferdinand did not realize his victory until several days later.


Aftermath

News of the battle provoked euphoria in Britain, and led William Pitt to take a much tougher line in the ongoing peace negotiations with France. [ 3 ] Despite the defeat the French still had a significant superiority in numbers and continued their offensive, although the two armies split again and operated independently. Despite further attempts to push an offensive strategy in Germany, the French were pushed back and finished the war in 1762 having lost the strategic post of Cassel. The Treaty of Paris led France to evacuate the remaining German territory it had occupied during the war.


British 51st Regiment of Foot, Seven Years’ War, 1757–1763

When Fort Oswego surrendered to French forces under Montcalm on August 14 1756, two british-american line infantry regiments, the "50th (Shirley’s) Regiment of Foot" and "51st (Pepperrel’s) Regiment of Foot", marched into captivity and were subsequently disbanded on December 22 1756. With two of its more senior regiments gone, in January 1757, the "53rd (Napier’s) Regiment of Foot", raised in Leeds in March 1755, was re-numbered "51st Regiment of Foot". In 1758, colonel Brudenell was given command of the regiment now designated "51st (Brudenell’s) Regiment of Foot". During the Seven Years’ War, the 51st Foot fought at Minden, Korbach, Kloster Kamp, and Vellinghausen.

The 54 mm Tradition toy soldiers pictured above are wearing the red coat with gosling green facings and breeches. The tricorne, cuffs, lapels, and waistcoat are laced white, and the hat sports a black cockade.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dragoons No. 2 - Mestre Camp de Géneral

Inhaber
1754 Count of Coigny, 1761 Marquis de Ville

Unit History
The regiment originally raised by the Count of Tessé in 1674 as a gentlemen regiment. It became the Mestre Camp Géneral of dragoons in 1684 when Mr. de Tessé obtained this office by purchasing that of Mestre de Camp of the Carabins which at that time belonged to the count of Quincy, Marie François Henri Franquetot. Count de Coigny possessed this regiment from January 24, 1754 to October 16, 1761. The unit ranked second in seniority and was one of the three 'General Staff' regiments with the others being the Colonel General and the Commissaire-General.
Saw distinguished service at the battle of Hastenbeck. Later the unit occupied Minden, Hanover and Celle. It participated in the 1758 campaign in Germany and was present at Krefeld. In 1759, the regiment returned to France to duty along the French coast. The unit performed as a regular unit.

Comments
Originally this unit had three squadrons as I used to group my cavalry into 24 man units but with my switch to Piquet, I decided to split the unit into squadrons of 8 men rather than a single regiment. The best part of the switch is that there are many more uniform variations and lots more colour in my cavalry formations. Unit painted in 1991.

Dragoons No. 4 - Du Roi

Inhaber
1748 Count de Scey, 1761 Marquis de Créquy

Unit History
The unit was raised in July 1743 from six companies. Each company came from a different Dragoon regiment: Royal, Mestre de Camp General, Bauffremont, Orleans, Nicolai, and Mailly.
In 1757 it was brigaded with the Flammarens Dragoons and participated at the sieges of the fortresses at Gueldres and Juliers then the conquest of the Haute Frise and later occupied Meppen, Venner, Leer and Emben. In December 1757, it joined the French army at Celle. In 1758, the regiment fought at Krefeld subsequently seizing the town of Schwartzhausen and the castle of Calze. Later the unit skirmished at Lutzelberg.
At Bergen, 1759, the regiment was in the 3rd line along with the La Ferronnays Dragoons and both saw little action. That fall the regiment participated at Minden. In 1760, the unit was engaged at Warburg. Distinguished itself at Radern chasing away enemy cavalry established on the heights. It helped withstand the siege of Ziegenheim.
In 1761 engaged at Kindelbruck. In February 1761, attacked an artillery convoy and took seven cannons at Kreimberg. Later the unit quartered in Eimbeck. Later that August, the Hanoverian Freicorps, Luckner, attacked the infantry regiment, Belzunce (No.10), on the heights of Alsar. After the French infantry flags were taken, an officer and two dragoons from the regiment, Du Roi, rode after the enemy and after a brief skirmish re-took the flags that were restored to their colonels. The regiment performed as a regular unit.

Comments
This is one of my ‘Bergen’ units. Given the choices of dragoon units are limited by the OB, I have ended up painting all dragoon units present at the battle. One minor side effect of the switch from 24 man units to 8 man units was that I ended up with a lot of French Dragoons. The result is that I have a lopsided weighting of French Dragoons to Cuirassiers. Unit repainted in 2003.

Dragoons No. 8 - Flammarens

Inhaber
1756 Beuvron, 1758 de Flammarens, 1762 Count de Coigny

Unit History
The regiment was at Lille in 1757. It joined the army of Germany at Stockheim where it formed a brigade with the Du Roi dragoons. Distinguished at Hastenbeck, Minden, Hanover, Klosterseven, Celle and Krefeld in 1758 where it suffered heavily.
Returned to France in 1759 and remained on the Norman coast until 1761 when it returned in Germany. The unit distinguished itself at Johannisberg in 1762. It performed as a regular unit during the period.


Comments
When switching to 8 man units from 24 for cavalry, I needed yet another Dragoon squadron. The flag for this unit is so colourful and different from each side that I had no choice but to raise a squadron. Unit repainted in 2003.

Dragoons No. 15 - Apchon Dragoons

Inhaber
1756 d' Apchon, 1761 Nicolaï

Unit History
The regiment of dragoons was raised in 1675. The count of Apchon became colonel by commission on 29 November 1748. On February 20th 1761, Armand Charles François, marquis of Nicolaï of Osny obtained this office and held it until 5 June 1763.
In 1757, the regiment was with the Soubise corps and suffered heavily in the retreat from Rossbach. After the battle, it retired to Hanau. In 1758, the unit served with distinction at the battles of Lutzelberg and Sanderhausen. At Sanderhausen, it was in the second line along with the Royal Nassau Hussars. The unit participated in the battle of Bergen on April 13, 1759. Later that month, on the 19th, combined with the Chasseurs de Fischer to crush the Hanoverian Grenadiers and Prussian Finckenstein dragoons, taking two flags. On June 26th, the unit expelled the enemy from Debrucke. It was present at Minden. During the next campaign seasons they were at Korbach and Warbourg. Later in 1762 the unit served with distinction at Johannisberg but suffered heavy losses. The unit performed as a regular unit.

Comments
Although not the most colourful of flags, the unit itself saw a lot of action in the Western theatre being present at almost all major engagements. No self-respecting French cavalry brigade should be without this unit. This is another one of my ‘Bergen’ units. Unit repainted in 2003.

Cuirassiers No. 36 - Balincourt

Inhaber
1756 Grammont - Fallon, 1759 Balincourt

Unit History
The unit was formed in 1674. Present with two squadrons at Bergen, Minden and Warbourg. Considered a regular cavalry unit until December 1761 when, like many other regiments, it was disbanded and incorporated across the remaining cavalry regiments.
At Minden, August 1st 1759, the unit was part of the French cavalry centre. The unit was attached to Lt. - Gen. Chevalier du Mesnil's cavalry division and participated in the assaults against the advancing British and Hanoverian troops.
At Warbourg, July 31st 1760, the French centre, that again was made up of cavalry including the Balincourt squadrons, wheeled to cover the French infantry withdrawal through Warburg. As they formed up, they were hit by Granby’s British cavalry and thrown back in disorder. British units involved in the cavalry charge included The Blues, 1st Dragoon Guards and 3rd Dragoon Guards.

Comments
The flag of this unit was also used by Conti (No.23), La Rochefoucald (No. 42) and Fitz-James (No. 56). Balincourt is one of my ‘Bergen’ units. The uniform of all the regiments was almost the same - a gray-white coat, red facings, deep buff trousers and vest with tin buttons. Conti had grey-white facings instead of the usual red while Fitz James wore a red coat with sky blue facings and tin buttons.
In the Seven Years War, the regiment La Rochefoucald saw service at the battle of Hastenbeck, Krefeld, and Minden while the regiment Fitz-James was present at Hastenbeck and Rossbach. Unit painted in 2005.


Contents

In December 1758, Pitt the Elder, in his role as head of the British government, placed an order for the building of 12 ships, including a first-rate ship that would become Victory. [2] During the 18th century, Victory was one of ten first-rate ships to be constructed. [3] The outline plans were based on HMS Royal George which had been launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756, and the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the Surveyor of the Navy. [4] She was designed to carry at least 100 guns. The commissioner of Chatham Dockyard was instructed to prepare a dry dock for the construction. [5] The keel was laid on 23 July 1759 in the Old Single Dock (since renamed No. 2 Dock and now Victory Dock), and a name, Victory, was chosen in October 1760. [6] In 1759, the Seven Years' War was going well for Britain land victories had been won at Quebec and Minden and naval battles had been won at Lagos and Quiberon Bay. It was the Annus Mirabilis, or Wonderful Year, and the ship's name may have been chosen to commemorate the victories [7] [8] or it may have been chosen simply because out of the seven names shortlisted, Victory was the only one not in use. [9] [10] There were some doubts whether this was a suitable name since the previous Victory had been lost with all on board in 1744. [10]

A team of 150 workmen were assigned to construct Victory ' s frame. [11] Around 6,000 trees were used in her construction, of which 90% were oak and the remainder elm, pine and fir, together with a small quantity of lignum vitae. [12] The wood of the hull was held in place by six-foot copper bolts, supported by treenails for the smaller fittings. [11] Once the ship's frame had been built, it was normal to cover it up and leave it for several months to allow the wood to dry out or "season". The end of the Seven Years' War meant that Victory remained in this condition for nearly three years, which helped her subsequent longevity. [13] [14] Work restarted in autumn 1763 and she was floated on 7 May 1765, [15] having cost £63,176 and 3 shillings, [16] the equivalent of £8.7 million today. [Note 1]

On the day of the launch, shipwright Hartly Larkin, designated "foreman afloat" for the event, suddenly realised that the ship might not fit through the dock gates. Measurements at first light confirmed his fears: the gates were at least 9½ inches too narrow. He told the news to his superior, master shipwright John Allin, who considered abandoning the launch. Larkin asked for the assistance of every available shipwright, and they hewed away enough wood from the gates with their adzes for the ship to pass safely through. [17] However, the launch itself revealed significant problems in the ship's design, including a distinct list to starboard and a tendency to sit heavily in the water such that her lower deck gunports were only 4 ft 6 in (1.4 m) above the waterline. The first of these problems was rectified after launch by increasing the ship's ballast to settle her upright on the keel. The second problem, regarding the siting of the lower gunports, could not be rectified. Instead it was noted in Victory ' s sailing instructions that these gunports would have to remain closed and unusable in rough weather. This had potential to limit Victory ' s firepower, though in practice none of her subsequent actions would be fought in rough seas. [18]

Because there was no immediate use for her, she was placed in ordinary and moored in the River Medway. [19] Internal fitting out continued over the next four years, and sea trials were completed in 1769, after which she was returned to her Medway berth. She remained there until France joined the American War of Independence in 1778. [20] Victory was now placed in active service as part of a general mobilisation against the French threat. This included arming her with a full complement of smooth bore, cast iron cannon. Her weaponry was intended to be thirty 42-pounders (19 kg) on her lower deck, twenty-eight 24-pounder long guns (11 kg) on her middle deck, and thirty 12-pounders (5 kg) on her upper deck, together with twelve 6-pounders on her quarterdeck and forecastle. In May 1778, the 42-pounders were replaced by 32-pounders (15 kg), but the 42-pounders were reinstated in April 1779 however, there were insufficient 42-pounders available and these were replaced with 32-pounder cannon again. [18]

First battle of Ushant Edit

Victory was commissioned (put on active duty) in March 1778 under Captain John Lindsay. He held that position until May 1778, when Admiral Augustus Keppel made her his flagship, and appointed Rear Admiral John Campbell (1st Captain) and Captain Jonathan Faulknor (2nd Captain). [16] Keppel put to sea from Spithead on 9 July 1778 with a force of around twenty-nine ships of the line and, on 23 July, sighted a French fleet of roughly equal force 100 miles (160 km) west of Ushant. [21] [22] The French admiral, Louis Guillouet, comte d'Orvilliers, who had orders to avoid battle, was cut off from Brest, but retained the weather gage. Manoeuvring was made difficult by changing winds and driving rain, but eventually a battle became inevitable, with the British more or less in column and the French in some confusion. However, the French managed to pass along the British line with their most advanced ships. At about a quarter to twelve, Victory opened fire on Bretagne of 110 guns, which was being followed by Ville de Paris of 90 guns. [23] The British van escaped with little loss, but Sir Hugh Palliser's rear division suffered considerably. Keppel made the signal to follow the French, but Palliser did not conform and the action was not resumed. [23] Keppel was court martialled and cleared and Palliser criticised by an inquiry before the affair turned into a political argument. [23]

Second Battle of Ushant Edit

In March 1780, Victory ' s hull was sheathed with 3,923 sheets of copper below the waterline to protect it against shipworm. [12] On 2 December 1781, the ship, now commanded by Captain Henry Cromwell and bearing the flag of Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt, sailed with eleven other ships of the line, a 50-gun fourth-rate, and five frigates, [24] to intercept a French convoy that had sailed from Brest on 10 December. Not knowing that the convoy was protected by twenty-one ships of the line under the command of Luc Urbain de Bouexic, comte de Guichen, Kempenfelt ordered a chase when they were sighted on 12 December and began the battle. [24] When he noted the French superiority, he contented himself with capturing fifteen sail of the convoy. The French were dispersed in a gale and forced to return home. [24]

Siege of Gibraltar Edit

Victory ' s armament was slightly upgraded in 1782 with the replacement of all of her 6-pounders with 12-pounder cannon. Later, she also carried two carronade guns, firing 68-lb (31 kg) round shot. [25]

In October 1782, Victory under Admiral Richard Howe was the fleet flagship of a powerful escort flotilla for a convoy of transports which resupplied Gibraltar in the event of a blockade by the French and Spanish navies. No resistance was encountered on entering the straits and the supplies were successfully unloaded. There was a minor engagement at the time of departure, in which Victory did not fire a shot. The British ships were under orders to return home and did so without major incident. [26] [27]

Battle of Cape St. Vincent Edit

In 1796, Captain Robert Calder (First Captain) and Captain George Grey (Second Captain), commanded Victory under Admiral Sir John Jervis's flag. [16] [28] By the end of 1796, the British position in the Mediterranean had become untenable. Jervis had stationed his fleet off Cape St Vincent to prevent the Spanish from sailing north, whilst Horatio Nelson was to oversee the evacuation of Elba. [29] [30] Once the evacuation had been accomplished, Nelson, in HMS Minerve, sailed for Gibraltar. On learning that the Spanish fleet had passed by some days previous, Nelson left to rendezvous with Jervis on 11 February. [31] The Spanish fleet, which had been blown off course by easterly gales, was that night working its way to Cadiz. [30] The darkness and a dense fog meant Nelson was able to pass through the enemy fleet without being spotted and join Jervis on 13 February. [32] Jervis, whose fleet had been reinforced on 5 February by five ships from Britain under Rear-Admiral William Parker, now had 15 ships of the line. [33] The following morning, having drawn up his fleet into two columns, Jervis impressed upon the officers on Victory ' s quarterdeck how, "A victory to England is very essential at the moment". Jervis was not aware of the size of the fleet he was facing, but at around 0630 hours, received word that five Spanish warships were to the south-east. [28] By 0900 hours the first enemy ships were visible from Victory ' s masthead, and at 1100 hours, Jervis gave the order to form line of battle. [34] As the Spanish ships became visible to him, Calder reported the numbers to Jervis, but when he reached 27, Jervis replied, "Enough, Sir. No more of that. The die is cast and if there are 50 sail, I will go through them". [35] The Spanish were caught by surprise, sailing in two divisions with a gap that Jervis aimed to exploit. [28] The ship's log records how Victory halted the Spanish division, raking ships both ahead and astern, while Jervis' private memoirs recall how Victory ' s broadside so terrified Principe de Asturias that she "squared her yards, ran clear out of the battle and did not return". [36] Jervis, realising that the main bulk of the enemy fleet could now cross astern and reunite, ordered his ships to change course, but Sir Charles Thompson, leading the rear division, failed to comply. The following ships were now in a quandary over whether to obey the Admiral's signal or follow their divisional commander. Nelson, who had transferred to HMS Captain, was the first to break off and attack the main fleet as Jervis had wanted and other ships soon followed his example. [37] [38] The British fleet not only achieved its main objective, that of preventing the Spanish from joining their French and Dutch allies in the channel, but also captured four ships. [38] The dead and wounded from these four ships alone amounted to 261 and 342, respectively more than the total number of British casualties of 73 dead and 327 wounded. [39] There was one fatality aboard Victory a cannonball narrowly missed Jervis and decapitated a nearby sailor. [38]

— Naval architect Sir Robert Seppings, describing defects aboard Victory, September 1796 [40]

On her return to England, Victory was examined for seaworthiness and found to have significant weaknesses in her stern timbers. She was declared unfit for active service and left anchored off Chatham Dockyard. In December 1796 she was ordered to be converted to a hospital ship to hold wounded French and Spanish prisoners of war. [16] [41]

However, on 8 October 1799, HMS Impregnable was lost off Chichester, having run aground on her way back to Portsmouth after escorting a convoy to Lisbon. [41] She could not be refloated and so was stripped and dismantled. Now short of a three-decked ship of the line, the Admiralty decided to recondition Victory. Work started in 1800, but as it proceeded, an increasing number of defects were found and the repairs developed into a very extensive reconstruction. [41] The original estimate was £23,500, but the final cost was £70,933. [9] Extra gun ports were added, taking her from 100 guns to 104, and her magazine lined with copper. The open galleries along her stern were removed [40] her figurehead was replaced along with her masts and the paint scheme changed from red to the black and yellow seen today. Her gun ports were originally yellow to match the hull, but later repainted black, giving a pattern later called the "Nelson chequer", which was adopted by most Royal Navy ships in the decade following the Battle of Trafalgar. [42] [43] The work was completed in April 1803, and the ship left for Portsmouth the following month under her new captain, Samuel Sutton. [16] [44]

Vice-Admiral Nelson hoisted his flag in Victory on 18 May 1803, with Samuel Sutton as his flag captain. [16] The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson (Volume 5, page 68) record that "Friday 20 May a.m. . Nelson . came on board. Saturday 21st (i.e.the afternoon of the 20th) Unmoored ship and weighed. Made sail out of Spithead . when H.M.Ship Amphion joined, and proceeded to sea in company with us" – Victory's Log. Victory was under orders to meet up with Cornwallis off Brest, but after 24 hours of searching failed to find him. Nelson, anxious to reach the Mediterranean without delay, decided to transfer to Amphion off Ushant. The Dispatches and Letters (see above) record on page 71 "Tuesday 24 May (i.e. 23 May p.m.) Hove to at 7.40, Out Boats. The Admiral shifted his flag to the Amphion. At 7.50 Lord Nelson came on board the Amphion and hoisted his flag and made sail – Log."

On 28 May, Captain Sutton captured the French Ambuscade of 32 guns, bound for Rochefort. [45] Victory rejoined Lord Nelson off Toulon, where on 31 July, Captain Sutton exchanged commands with the captain of Amphion, Thomas Masterman Hardy and Nelson raised his flag in Victory once more. [46]

Victory was passing the island of Toro, near Majorca, on 4 April 1805, when HMS Phoebe brought the news that the French fleet under Pierre-Charles Villeneuve had escaped from Toulon. While Nelson made for Sicily to see if the French were heading for Egypt, Villeneuve was entering Cádiz to link up with the Spanish fleet. [47] On 9 May, Nelson received news from HMS Orpheus that Villeneuve had left Cadiz a month earlier. The British fleet completed their stores in Lagos Bay, Portugal and, on 11 May, sailed westward with ten ships and three frigates in pursuit of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet of 17 ships. [48] They arrived in the West Indies to find that the enemy was sailing back to Europe, where Napoleon Bonaparte was waiting for them with his invasion forces at Boulogne. [49]

The Franco-Spanish fleet was involved in the indecisive Battle of Cape Finisterre in fog off Ferrol with Admiral Sir Robert Calder's squadron on 22 July, before taking refuge in Vigo and Ferrol. [50] Calder on 14 August and Nelson on 15 August joined Admiral Cornwallis's Channel Fleet off Ushant. [51] Nelson continued on to England in Victory, leaving his Mediterranean fleet with Cornwallis [52] who detached twenty of his thirty-three ships of the line and sent them under Calder to find the combined fleet at Ferrol. On 19 August came the worrying news that the enemy had sailed from there, followed by relief when they arrived in Cádiz two days later. On the evening of Saturday, 28 September, Lord Nelson joined Lord Collingwood's fleet off Cádiz, quietly, so that his presence would not be known. [53]

Battle of Trafalgar Edit

After learning he was to be removed from command, Villeneuve put to sea on the morning of 19 October and when the last ship had left port, around noon the following day, he set sail for the Mediterranean. [54] The British frigates, which had been sent to keep track of the enemy fleet throughout the night, were spotted at around 1900 hours and the order was given to form line of battle. [55] On the morning of 21 October, the main British fleet, which was out of sight and sailing parallel some 10 miles away, turned to intercept. [56] Nelson had already made his plans: to break the enemy line some two or three ships ahead of their commander-in-chief in the centre and achieve victory before the van could come to their aid. [57] At 0600 hours, Nelson ordered his fleet into two columns. Fitful winds made it a slow business, and for more than six hours, the two columns of British ships slowly approached the French line before Royal Sovereign, leading the lee column, was able to open fire on Fougueux. Around 30 minutes later, Victory broke the line between Bucentaure and Redoutable firing a treble shotted broadside into the stern of the former from a range of a few yards. [58] At a quarter past one, Nelson was shot, the fatal musket ball entering his left shoulder and lodging in his spine. [59] He died at half past four. [60] Such killing had taken place on Victory ' s quarter deck that Redoutable attempted to board her, but they were thwarted by the arrival of Eliab Harvey in the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, whose broadside devastated the French ship. [61] Nelson's last order was for the fleet to anchor, but this was countermanded by Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood. [62] Victory suffered 57 killed and 102 wounded. [63]

Victory had been badly damaged in the battle and was not able to move under her own sail. HMS Neptune therefore towed her to Gibraltar for repairs. [64] Victory then carried Nelson's body to England, where, after lying in state at Greenwich, he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral on 9 January 1806. [65]

Final years afloat Edit

The Admiralty Board considered Victory too old, and in too great a disrepair, to be restored as a first-rate ship of the line. In November 1807 she was relegated to second-rate, with the removal of two 32-pounder cannon and replacement of her middle deck 24-pounders with 18-pounders obtained from other laid-up ships. She was recommissioned as a troopship between December 1810 and April 1811. [66] In 1812 she was relocated to the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour off Gosport, for service as a floating depot and, from 1813 to 1817, as a prison ship. [67] [66]

Major repairs were undertaken in 1814, including the fitting of 3 ft 10 in (1.2 m) metal braces along the inside of her hull, to strengthen the timbers. This was the first use of iron in the vessel structure, other than small bolts and nails. [68] Active service was resumed from February 1817 when she was relisted as a first-rate carrying 104 guns. However, her condition remained poor, and in January 1822 she was towed into dry dock at Portsmouth for repairs to her hull. Refloated in January 1824, she was designated as the Port admiral's flagship for Portsmouth Harbour, remaining in this role until April 1830. [66]

Victorian era Edit

In 1831 the Admiralty issued orders for Victory to be broken up and her timbers reused in other vessels. [66] A public outcry against the destruction of so famous a ship led to the order being held in abeyance and Victory was left, largely forgotten, at a Portsmouth mooring. [66] The Admiralty officially designated the ageing vessel as a tender for the port admiral ' s flagship HMS Wellington, and permitted civilian visitors to come aboard for tours. [69] The ship briefly returned to the public gaze on 18 July 1833 when the queen in waiting, Princess Victoria, and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, made a visit to her quarterdeck to meet with veterans of the Trafalgar campaign. [67] This generated a surge of interest in the vessel, and an increase in civilian visitor numbers to between 10,000 and 12,000 a year. Victoria returned for a second visit on 21 October 1844, creating a further burst of interest that lifted annual visitors to more than 22,000. [69] In late April 1854, Victory sprang a leak and sank. All on board were rescued [70] and the boat was subsequently raised. [71] In 1887 she sprang a catastrophic leak and it was only with some difficulty that she was prevented from sinking at her mooring. [69] The Admiralty thereafter provided a small annual subsidy for maintenance, and in 1889 Victory became the home of a signal school in addition to being a tender.

The impact of so much human traffic also left her increasingly decrepit, particularly in the absence of Admiralty funding for repairs. Sir Edward Seymour visited the vessel in 1886 as Flag Captain to the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth and recalled in 1911 "a more rotten ship than she had become probably never flew the pennant. I could literally run my walking stick through her sides in many places." [72]

The school remained on Victory until 1904, when training was transferred temporarily to HMS Hercules. [73]

Despite her reuse as a school, Victory continued to deteriorate at her mooring. In 1903 she was accidentally rammed by HMS Neptune, a successor to the vessel that had towed her to Gibraltar. Emergency repairs prevented her from sinking, but Admiralty again proposed that she be scrapped and it was only the personal intervention of Edward VII that prevented this from occurring. [74] Interest in the ship revived in 1905 when, as part of the centenary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar, she was decorated with electric lights powered by a submarine moored alongside. [74] In 1910, the Society for Nautical Research was created to try to preserve her for future generations, but Admiralty was unable to help, having become embroiled in an escalating arms race thus by the time Frank H. Mason published The Book of British Ships in 1911, Victory ' s condition was described as "..nothing short of an insult". [75] [76] A few glimpses of the ship in 1918 are to be seen towards the end of Maurice Elvey's biopic of Nelson created in that year. [77]

In dry dock Edit

By 1921 the ship was in a very poor state, and a public Save the Victory campaign was started, with shipping magnate Sir James Caird as a major contributor. [78] On 12 January 1922, her condition was so poor that she would no longer stay afloat, and had to be moved into No. 2 dock at Portsmouth, the oldest dry dock in the world still in use. [79] [78] A naval survey revealed that between a third and a half of her internal fittings required replacement. Her steering equipment had also been removed or destroyed, along with most of her furnishings. [69]

The relocation to No. 2 dock sparked public discussion about Victory ' s future location. Suggestions in contemporary newspapers included the creation of a floating plinth atop which she could be preserved as a monument, either in Portsmouth or adjacent to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Others proposed a berth beside Cleopatra's Needle on the Thames, or as land-based structure in Trafalgar Square. Despite popular support, these options were not seriously entertained by Admiralty. The naval architects who had surveyed the ship reported that she was too damaged to be moved Admiralty formally adopted their advice and No. 2 dock thereafter became Victory ' s permanent home. [69]

During the initial restoration period from 1922 to 1929, a considerable amount of structural repair work was carried out above the waterline and mainly above the middle deck. On 8 April 1925, Victory was temporarily refloated within Portsmouth's No.2 dock, to adjust the supporting cradle and so that Victory's waterline would be at the a same level with the top of the dry dock. [80] This last refloating of HMS Victory was recorded by Pathé news cameras. [81] [82] In 1928, King George V was able to unveil a tablet celebrating the completion of the work, although restoration and maintenance still continued under the supervision of the Society for Nautical Research. [78] Restoration was suspended during the Second World War, and in 1941, Victory sustained further damage when a 500 lb. bomb [83] dropped by the Luftwaffe broke her keel, as can be seen in Plate 1 in The Anatomy of Nelsons Ships by C Nepean Longridge (1955), destroyed one of the steel cradles and part of the foremast. On one occasion, German radio propaganda claimed that the ship had been destroyed by a bomb, and the Admiralty had to issue a denial. [84]

In the 1950s, a number of preventive measures were instigated, including the removal of bulkheads to increase airflow and the fumigating of the ship against the deathwatch beetle. The following decade saw the replacement of much of the decayed oak with oily hardwoods such as teak and Iroko, which were believed to be more resistant to fungus and pests. [85] The decision to restore Victory to her Battle of Trafalgar configuration was taken in 1920, but the need to undertake these important repairs meant this was not achieved until 2005, in time for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations. [86] Victory ' s fore topsail was severely damaged during the Battle of Trafalgar, perforated by upwards of 90 cannonballs and other projectiles. It was replaced after the battle, but was preserved and eventually displayed in the Royal Naval Museum. [87]

21st century Edit

In November 2007, Victory ' s then commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander John Scivier, paid a visit to USS Constitution of the US Navy, which is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat. He met Constitution ' s commanding officer, Commander William A. Bullard III, and discussed the possibility of arranging an exchange programme between the two ships. [88]

Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Victory has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012. Prior to this, she was the flagship of the Second Sea Lord. [89] [90] She is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and attracts around 350,000 visitors per year in her role as a museum ship. [91] The current and 101st commanding officer is Lieutenant Commander Brian Smith, who assumed command in May 2015. [92]

In December 2011, Defence Equipment and Support awarded an initial five-year project management contract to BAE Systems, with an option to extend to ten years. The restoration is worth £16 million over the life of the contract and will include work to the masts and rigging, replacement side planking, and the addition of fire control measures. It is expected to be the most extensive refit since the ship returned from Trafalgar. In her current state she has no upper masts and minimum rigging. It is expected that it will be over 12 years before these are replaced. [93] [94]

Since this contract was placed, the most significant change has been on 5 March 2012, when ownership of the ship was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to a dedicated HMS Victory Preservation Trust, established as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. [95] According to the Royal Navy website, the move was "heralded by the announcement of a £25 million capital grant to support the new Trust by the Gosling Foundation—a donation which has been matched by a further £25 million from the MOD". [96]

Victory has also undergone emergency repair works to prevent the hull decaying and sagging. The hull is moving at a rate of half a centimetre each year, about 20 cm over the last 40 years although there are plans to create new hydraulic supports that will better fit the ship. [97] The ship will benefit from a £35 million restoration project, utilising Scottish elm and oak trees as wood for the restoration project. [98] [99]

Over the two centuries since Victory ' s launch, numerous admirals have hoisted their flag in her:


Lee Resolution presented to Continental Congress

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduces a resolution for independence to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia John Adams seconds the motion.

Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

During the ensuing debates, it became clear that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were as yet unwilling to declare independence, but would likely be ready to vote in favor of a break with England in due course. Thus, Congress agreed to delay the vote on the Lee Resolution until July 1. In the intervening period, Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. Its members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson, well-known to be the best writer of the group, was selected to be the primary author of the document, which was presented to Congress for review on June 28, 1776.

On July 1, 1776, debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as planned, with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution. Congress thought it of the utmost importance that independence be unanimously proclaimed. To ensure this, they delayed the final vote until July 2, when 12 colonial delegations voted in favor of it, with the New York delegates abstaining, unsure of how their constituents would wish them to vote.

John Adams wrote that July 2 would be celebrated as “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted.


Timeline of the French & Indian War

March 15, 1744 – October 1748 – King George’s War: Conflict over domination in North America ends with no clear victor with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

1752 – 1753 – Agitation grows: Tension grows between France and England over land and trading claims. Minor skirmishes break out.

Nov – December 1753: George Washington carries Virginia’s ultimatum over French encroachment to Captain Legardeau de Saint-Pierre at Riviere aux Boeufs. He rejects it.

May 1754: Washington defeats French in a surprise attack (the first battle) and builds Fort Necessity.

July 1754: The French take Fort Necessity

July 1754: Washington blamed for the loss of Fort Necessity, resigns. He will later return as a volunteer under British authority.

June 1755: The British seize Acadia (Nova Scotia).

July 1755: The Battle of the Wilderness – British General Braddock’s forces are defeated near Fort Duquesne in Pennsylvania, leaving the backwoods of British Territory undefended.

July 1755: British Col. William Johnson arrives at the Great Carrying Place to build a fortified storehouse. Work was already underway led by Capt. Robert Rogers. Col. Phineas Lyman takes over to complete construction of Fort Lyman which would later become Fort Edward.

Aug. 1755: William Johnson arrives at Lac du Saint Sacrament and renames it Lake George. Begins work on a fortification to later be named Fort William Henry.

Sept 9, 1755: William Johnson’s forces are engaged in several battles that would collectively be named the Battle of Lake George. This would include the Bloody Morning Scout, an ambush that resulted in the death of British Col. Ephraim Williams and Mohawk King Hendrick. A later engagement would be called the Battle of Bloody Pond. Johnson’s forces win the day making him the first British hero of the war.

May 8 – 9, 1756 – Declarations of War: War is officially declared between Great Britain and France.

August 14, 1756 – Fort Oswego: The French capture this fort on the banks of the Great Lakes.

March 1757: St. Patrick’s Day attack on Fort William Henry ends with French defeat.

August 3 – 9, 1757 – Fort William Henry: The commander-in-chief of the French forces, Louis-Joseph de Montcalm lays siege to Fort William Henry which Col. Monro finally surrenders. The infamous massacre occurs, later dramatized in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans.

July 1758: General James Abercrombie and Lord Howe assemble a force of 16,000 men on the south shore of Lake George. On July 6 th the force arrived at the north end of the Lake and proceeded to head towards Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga). They attacked the fort on July 8 th taking a great number of casualties. The day ended in defeat for the British and a victory for Montcalm defending Carillon. Lord Howe was killed.

July 25, 1758 – Louisbourg: The British seize Louisbourg opening the route to Canada.

August 27, 1758: The French surrender Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario, destroying their ability to communicate with their troops in the Ohio Valley.

October 21, 1758: British make peace with the Iroquois, Shawnee and Delaware Indians.

November 25, 1758: The British recapture Fort Duquesne, rename it Pittsburg.

May 1, 1759: The British capture the French Island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

June 25, 1759: British take Fort Ticonderoga

July 25, 1759: British take Fort Niagara French abandon Crown Point. British now control entire western frontier.

Sept 13, 1759 – Quebec: British win Battle of Quebec. Montcalm and Wolfe, the commanding generals of both armies, die in battle.

May 16, 1760: French siege of Quebec fails.

Sept 8, 1760: Montreal falls to the British letters are signed finishing the surrender of Canada.

Sept 15, 1760: Functional end of the war. British flag is raised over Detroit, effectively ending the war.

1761: British make peace with the Cherokee Indians.

Sept. 18, 1762: French attempt to retake Newfoundland fails.

Feb 10, 1763 – Treaty of Paris: All French possessions east of the Mississippi, except New Orleans, are given to the British. All French possessions west of the Mississippi are given to the Spanish. France regains Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.

The French & Indian War marked a turning point in history. The expense of the War caused Britain to raise taxes in the colonies leading to unrest and a resentment of the monarchy. Just 13 years after the Treaty of Paris, the colonies rose up against the King in the War for Independence, leading to the freedom of the colonies and the formation of the United States of America.


Death and Legacy

Resigning from the army in 1801, Cornwallis was again sent to India four years later. His second term proved short, though, as he grew ill and died in Ghazipur, capital of the Varanasi kingdom, on October 5, 1805, only two months after arriving. He is buried there, with his monument overlooking the Ganges River.

Cornwallis was a British aristocrat and a member of England's House of Lords, seemed sympathetic at times toward the American colonists, and opposed many of the Tory government's policies that offended them. But as a supporter of the status quo and a man of strong character and inflexible principles, he was trusted to aid in suppressing the rebellion in his post in America. Despite his losses there, he was sent to do the same in India and Ireland.


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