On 26th January 1793, only days before the formal declaration of war between England and Revolutionary France, Captain Horatio Nelson was appointed to the command of his first ship-of-the-line, the 64-gun 3rd rate H.M.S. Agamemnon. It was late April before she was ready for sea and after a short but fruitless spell in the Channel, Nelson received orders to join Lord Hood's blockading fleet off Toulon. These Mediterranean operations continued late into the year and on 22nd October, whilst cruising east of Cape San Lorenzo, Sardinia, Nelson sighted a French squadron of four frigates and an armed brig led by the 40-gun Melpomene. Despite the combined fire-power ranged against him, Nelson immediately gave chase and eventually engaged one of the leading frigates. The slower Agamemnon could not keep up with the enemy however, and after an indecisive running fight, the French bore away and escaped. Even though no prizes were taken, Nelson's bravado was soon the talk of the fleet and the action laid the foundations of his reputation for boldness.