Victory on the Atlantic Chase, 1805


Nelson’s Victory is vividly shown on her only voyage across the Atlantic (it was almost unknown for first-rate ships to do so) in this Geoff Hunt print. Nelson is in pursuit of Admiral Villeneuve’s fleet recently escaped from an English blockade of French ports. Victory is seen carrying a very full set of sails, including stun sails, for maximum speed on the westward run. Behind her stretches a column of ships from the Mediterranean Fleet, with an accompanying frigate to starboard.

Nelson completed his westward crossing of the Atlantic ten days faster than Villeneuve, and, but for some mistaken intelligence, might well have brought the French and Spanish fleet to battle. But Villeneuve had already fled the West Indies when Nelson arrived. When Villeneuve finally arrived at Cadiz on August 20, 1805, both his ships and the morale of his men were at a low ebb. He had little heart for the final test that he knew would come.

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