CUTHBERT, 1ST BARON COLLINGWOOD (1750-1810)
Document signed, 'General order' after the battle of Trafalgar, Euryalus, 22 October 1805, the copy addressed to Captain James Morris of the Colossus, 2 pages, folio, integral address leaf (integral address leaf detached, split through at lower horizontal fold, repaired with tape, short splits at upper horizontal folds).
'The ever to be lamented death of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, the Commander in Chief, who fell in the Action of the 21st, in the Arms of Victory, covered with Glory, whose memory will be ever dear to the British Navy, and the British Nation, whose Zeal for the honour of his King, and the interests of his country, will be ever held up, as a shining example for a British Seaman -- leaves to me a duty to return my thanks to the Right Honourable Rear Admiral [Lord Northesk], the Captains, Officers, Seamen, and detachments of Royal Marines serving on board His Majesty's Squadron now under my Command, for their Conduct on that day'.
COLLINGWOOD'S 'GENERAL ORDER' OF THANKS TO THE BRITISH FLEET AFTER TRAFALGAR, PAYING TRIBUTE TO THEIR 'VALOUR, AND SKILL': 'every individual appeared an Hero ... and the issue of [the battle] adds to the page of Naval Annals, a brilliant [instance] of what Britons can do, when their King, and Country needs their Service'. Collingwood notes in particular the achievement of the fleet in retrieving the prizes from the aftermath of the battle, 'among the Shoals of Trafalgar, in boisterous weather'.
Collingwood's message of thanks to the fleet, like his famous Trafalgar dispatch, is remarkable for the way in which the extraordinary victory over the French fleet is subordinated to the 'ever to be lamented death' of Nelson. Captain Morris in the brand-new, 76-gun Colossus was sixth in line in Collingwood's division; entering the enemy line behind the Mars and Tonnant, Colossus engaged simultaneously three 74-gun ships, the French Swiftsure and the Spanish Argonauto and Bahamas. Both Swiftsure and Bahamas were taken as prizes, suffering 650 casualties between them; the Colossus, with 200 dead and wounded, sustained the heaviest casualties of the entire British fleet.