"I have 23 Sail with Me and Should they come out I shall immediately bring them to battle...that as an Enemys fleet they may be annihilated"
Autograph letter signed ("Nelson & Bronte"), to Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty, setting out the position before the Battle of Trafalgar: "On Monday the french and spanish Ships took their Troops on board which had been landed on their arrival and it is said that they mean to sail the first fresh Levant Wind and as the Carthegena Ships are ready and when seen a few days ago had their Topsail Yards hoisted up this looks like a Junction, the position I have taken for this Month is from 16 to 18 Leagues West of Cadiz for although it is most desirable that the fleet should be well up in Easterly Winds, Yet I must guard against being caught with a Westerly Wind near Cadiz for a fleet of Ships with so many three deckers would inevitably be forced into the Streights and then Cadiz would be perfectly free for them to come out with a Westerly Wind as they served Lord Keith in the Late War. I am most anxious for the arrival of frigates less than eight with the Brigs &c: as we settled I find are absolutely inadequate for this Service and to be with the fleet, and Spartel, Cape Cantin or Blanco, & the Salvages must be watched by fast Sailing Vessels in case any Squadron should escape. I have been Obliged to send Six Sail of the Line to Water & get Stores &c: at Tetuan & Gib.r for if I did not begin I should very soon be Obliged to take the whole fleet into the Streights. I have 23 Sail with Me and Should they come out I shall immediately bring them to battle but although I should not doubt of Spoiling any Voyage they may attempt Yet I hope for the arrival of the Ships from England that as an Enemys fleet they may be annihilated..."; and assuring the First Lord that he may "rely" upon his "every exertion"; with a postscript referring to Calder's return and his desire to retain his niece's husband, Captain Sir William Bolton, 4 pages, 4to, minor dust-staining and weakness at folds, modern archival restoration but overall in fine and attractive condition, Victory, 5 October 1805