Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Crush is Dead

This is Horatio Nelson. He's my long-time crush, except for the little fact that he is dead. This picture is of him at age nineteen. There's an interesting tale behind it. Captain Horatio Nelson, painted by John Francis Rigaud in 1781, with Fort San Juan—the scene of his most notable achievement to date—in the background. The painting itself was begun and nearly finished prior to the battle, when Nelson held the rank of lieutenant; when Nelson returned, the artist added the new captain's gold-braided sleeves. Another fact to love about him. And he's an actually cute famous person, too. Love this guy. =D

Since I'm so obsessed with him, I'll even that this space on my blog and post all these interesting facts about him beginning with his early life:
Nelson attended Paston Grammar School, North Walsham, until he was 12 years old, and also attended King Edward VI’s Grammar School in Norwich. His naval career began on 1 January 1771, when he reported to the third-rate HMS Raisonnable as an Ordinary Seaman and coxswain under his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, who commanded the vessel. Shortly after reporting aboard, Nelson was appointed a midshipman and began officer training. Early in his service, Nelson discovered that he suffered from seasickness, a chronic complaint that dogged him for the rest of his life. Ahaha. =) He was this great naval commander but got seasick everytime. makes me laugh every time.

This is from the Battle of Cape St Vincent:
Nelson was victorious, but had disobeyed direct orders. Jervis liked Nelson and so did not officially reprimand him, but did not mention Nelson's actions in his official report of the battle. He did write a private letter to George Spencer in which he said that Nelson "contributed very much to the fortune of the day". Nelson also wrote several letters about his victory, reporting that his action was being referred to amongst the fleet as "Nelson's Patent Bridge for boarding first rates". Nelson's account was later challenged by Rear-Admiral William Parker, who had been aboard HMS Prince George. Parker claimed that Nelson had been supported by several more ships than he acknowledged, and that the San Josef had already struck her colours by the time Nelson boarded her. Nelson's account of his role prevailed, and the victory was well received in Britain: Jervis was made Earl St Vincent and Nelson was made a Knight of the Bath. On 20 February, in a standard promotion according to his seniority and unrelated to the battle, he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue.

Battle of Santa Cruz de Tnerife:
The battle plan called for a combination of naval bombardments and an amphibious landing. The initial attempt was called off after adverse currents hampered the assault and the element of surprise was lost. Nelson immediately ordered another assault but this was beaten back. He prepared for a third attempt, to take place during the night. Although he personally led one of the battalions, the operation ended in failure: the Spanish were better prepared than had been expected and had secured strong defensive positions. Several of the boats failed to land at the correct positions in the confusion, while those that did were swept by gunfire and grapeshot. Nelson's boat reached its intended landing point but as he stepped ashore he was hit in the right arm by a musketball, which fractured his humerus bone in multiple places. He was rowed back to the Theseus to be attended to by the surgeon. On arriving on his ship he refused to be helped aboard, declaring "Let me alone! I have got my legs left and one arm." He was taken to the surgeon, instructing him to prepare his instruments and "the sooner it was off the better". Most of the right arm was amputated and within half an hour Nelson had returned to issuing orders to his captains. Years later he would still excuse himself to Commodore John Thomas Duckworth for not writing longer letters due to not being naturally left-handed.

Battle of Copenhagen:
On the morning of 2 April 1801, Nelson began to advance into Copenhagen harbour. The battle began badly for the British, with HMS Agamemnon, HMS Bellona and HMS Russell running aground, and the rest of the fleet encountering heavier fire from the Danish shore batteries than had been anticipated. Parker sent the signal for Nelson to withdraw, reasoning:

I will make the signal for recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in a condition to continue the action he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be attached to him.

Nelson, directing action aboard HMS Elephant, was informed of the signal by the signal lieutenant, Frederick Langford, but angrily responded: 'I told you to look out on the Danish commodore and let me know when he surrendered. Keep your eyes fixed on him. He then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley and said 'You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.' He raised the telescope to his blind eye, and said 'I really do not see the signal. The battle lasted three hours, leaving both Danish and British fleets heavily damaged. At length Nelson despatched a letter to the Danish commander, Crown Prince Frederick calling for a truce, which the Prince accepted. Parker approved of Nelson's actions in retrospect, and Nelson was given the honour of going into Copenhagen the next day to open formal negotiations. At a banquet that evening he told Prince Frederick that the battle had been the most severe he had ever been in. The outcome of the battle and several weeks of ensuing negotiations was a 14 week armistice, and on Parker's recall in May, Nelson became commander-in-chief in the Baltic Sea. As a reward for the victory, he was created Viscount Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, on 19 May 1801. In addition, on 4 August 1801, he was created Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Hilborough in the County of Norfolk, this time with a special remainder to his father and sisters.

Battle of Trafalgar:
At four o'clock in the morning of 21 October Nelson ordered the Victory to turn towards the approaching enemy fleet, and signalled the rest of his force to battle stations. He then went below and made his will, before returning to the quarterdeck to carry out an inspection. Despite having 27 ships to Villeneuve's 33, Nelson was confident of success, declaring that he would not be satisfied with taking less than 20 prizes. He returned briefly to his cabin to write a final prayer, after which he joined Victory’s signal lieutenant, John Pasco.

Mr Pasco, I wish to say to the fleet "England confides that every man will do his duty". You must be quick, for I have one more signal to make, which is for close action.

Pasco suggested changing 'confides' to 'expects', which being in the Signal Book, could be signalled by the use of a single flag, whereas 'confides' would have to spelt out letter by letter. Nelson agreed, and the signal was hoisted.

As the fleets converged, the Victory’s captain, Thomas Hardy suggested that Nelson remove the decorations on his coat, so that he would not be so easily identified by enemy sharpshooters. Nelson replied that it was too late 'to be shifting a coat', adding that they were 'military orders and he did not fear to show them to the enemy'. Captain Henry Blackwood, of the frigate HMS Euryalus, suggested Nelson come aboard his ship to better observe the battle. Nelson refused, and also turned down Hardy's suggestion to let Eliab Harvey's HMS Temeraire come ahead of the Victory and lead the line into battle.

Victory came under fire, initially passing wide, but then with greater accuracy as the distances decreased. A cannon ball struck and killed Nelson's secretary, John Scott, nearly cutting him in two. Hardy's clerk took over, but he too was almost immediately killed. Victory’s wheel was shot away, and another cannon ball cut down eight marines. Hardy, standing next to Nelson on the quarterdeck, had his shoe buckle dented by a splinter. Nelson observed 'this is too warm work to last long'. The Victory had by now reached the enemy line, and Hardy asked Nelson which ship to engage first. Nelson told him to take his pick, and Hardy moved Victory across the stern of the 80-gun French flagship Bucentaure. Victory then came under fire from the 74-gun Redoutable, lying off the Bucentaure’s stern, and the 130-gun Santísima Trinidad. As snipers from the enemy ships fired onto Victory’s deck from their rigging, Nelson and Hardy continued to walk about, directing and giving orders.

Shortly after one o'clock, Hardy realised that Nelson was not by his side. He turned to see Nelson kneeling on the deck, supporting himself with his hand, before falling onto his side. Hardy rushed to him, at which point Nelson smiled

Hardy, I do believe they have done it at last... my backbone is shot through.

He had been hit by a marksman from the Redoutable, firing at a range of 50 feet. The bullet had entered his left shoulder, pierced his lung, and come to rest at the base of his spine.

Nelson was carried below by a sergeant-major of marines and two seamen. As he was being carried down, he asked them to pause while he gave some advice to a midshipman on the handling of the tiller. He then draped a handkerchief over his face to avoid causing alarm amongst the crew. He was taken to the surgeon William Beatty, telling him

You can do nothing for me. I have but a short time to live. My back is shot through.

Nelson was made comfortable, fanned and brought lemonade and watered wine to drink after he complained of feeling hot and thirsty. He asked several times to see Hardy, who was on deck supervising the battle, and asked Beatty to remember him to Emma, his daughter and his friends.)

Hardy came below deck to see Nelson just after half-past two, and informed him that a number of enemy ships had surrendered. Nelson told him that he was sure to die, and begged him to pass his possessions to Emma. With Nelson at this point were the chaplain Alexander Scott, the purser Walter Burke, Nelson's steward, Chevalier, and Beatty. Nelson, fearing that a gale was blowing up, instructed Hardy to be sure to anchor. After reminding him to 'take care of poor Lady Hamilton', Nelson said 'Kiss me, Hardy'. Beatty recorded that Hardy knelt and kissed Nelson on the cheek. He then stood for a minute or two and then kissed him again. Nelson asked 'Who is that?', and on hearing that it was Hardy, replied 'God bless you Hardy.' By now very weak, Nelson continued to murmur instructions to Burke and Scott, 'fan, fan ... rub, rub ... drink, drink.' Beatty heard Nelson murmur 'Thank God I have done my duty' and when he returned, Nelson's voice had faded and his pulse was very weak. He looked up as Beatty took his pulse, then closed his eyes. Scott, who remained by Nelson as he died, recorded his last words as 'God and my country'. Nelson died at half-past four, three hours after he was shot.

This is but a severely shortened version of the grand deeds of Horatio Nelson. Many battles he was also involved were not recorded here. He was a true hero who died a hero's death. He left this world with many accomplishments, much more than the average man can claim or his/herself.

Nelson was just about the bravest person ever to walk this earth. His quotes are the very essence of strength, ideals, and humor all combined in a perfect combination. Hey Nelson...



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