Elephant, off Copenhagen, 3rd April 1801.
In obedience to your directions to report the proceedings of the Squadron which you did em the honour to place under my command, I beg leave to inform you that having, by the assistance of that able Officer Captain Riou and the unremitting exertions of Captain Brisbane and the Masters of the Amazon and Cruizer in particular, buoyed the Channel of the Outer Deep and the position of the Middle Ground, the Squadron passed in safety and anchored off Draco the evening of the 1st.
Yesterday morning I made the signal for the Squadron to weigh and to engage the Danish line, consisting of six sail of the Line, eleven floating batteries, mounting from twenty-six twenty-four pounders to eighteen eighteen pounders and one Bomb-ship, besides Schooner Gun-Vessels. These were supported by the Crown Islands mounting eight-eight cannon and four Sail of the Line moored in the Harbour’s mouth and some batteries on the Island of Amak.
The Bomb-ship and Schooner Gun-Vessels made their escape. The other seventeen sail are sunk, burnt, or taken, being the whole of the Danish line to the southward of the Crown Islands, after a battle of four hours.
From the very intricate navigation the Bellona and Russell unfortunately grounded but although not in the situation assigned them yet so placed to be of great service. The Agamemnon could not weather the shoal of the Middle Ground and was obliged to anchor but not the smallest blame can be attached to Captain Fancourt: it was an event to which all the Ships were liable.
The Action began at five minutes past ten – the Van led by Captain George Murray of the Edgar who set a noble example of intrepidity which was well followed up by every Captain, Officer and Man of the Squadron. I beg leave to express how much I feel indebted to every Captain, Officer and Man for their zeal and distinguished bravery on this occasion.
The loss in such a battle has naturally been very heavy. Amongst many other brave officers I have with sorrow to place the names of the gallant and good Captain Riou and Captain Moss of the Monarch who has left a wife and six children to lament his loss.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
Nelson & Bronte
Courtesy of The 1805 Club.
Image: Nelson Turns a Blind Eye, artist unknown.