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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 57. Chapter 57

I figured it wasn't fair to leave you hanging in mid-battle, so here's the rest.

August 1, 1798

Aboukir Bay, Egypt

             

Granger arrived back on deck to find that the action had all moved east, as the British ships engaged the massive L’Orient and the two 80-gun consorts that flanked her. The Peuple Souverain had cut her cable and floated out of the battle, but she was badly knocked about, and would not be a threat. Granger was confident that at dawn they would find her and finish her off. Five ships of the line and a frigate had already been captured or put out of action, and now the British fleet sank its teeth into the strong core of the French fleet: the center.

Berry had directed his considerable energies at repairing his ship, much as Granger had hoped, but he took a break to observe the battle and comment to Granger. “I am trying to make out which ship has engaged L’Orient, my lord.”

“I believe that honor goes to the Bellerophon,” Granger said, as he tried to see the ships as they were lit up by gun flashes. A broadside from L’Orient momentarily illuminated Bellerophon, enough to see that she was in a very bad way. “Bellerophon will need assistance.”

Berry turned to work even harder at getting his ship ready for battle again, but Vanguard had been so knocked about, Granger knew it was unlikely she’d be ready to fight again tonight, or even tomorrow. Her hull had taken substantial damage and her rigging was all but shot up. Granger saw more flashes of gunfire, and saw the Majestic entangled with the Tonnant. Majestic seemed to be in almost as bad of shape as Bellerophon. The ships at the center desperately needed reinforcements.

When L’Orient next fired, the Bellerophon was no longer next to her. Darby must have cut his cable and drifted out of the action. Instead, the L’Orient had fired on her own consort, on the Peuple Souverain, which was also drifting out of action. The darkness of the night was maddening, as Granger tried to determine which ships were fighting, and whom they were fighting. He placated himself by remembering that Nelson had created this weapon that had already achieved a major victory, and that these captains knew their duty without supplemental instructions from the flagship.

Two more sets of lanterns approached, and those two ships engaged the French center. As their broadsides lit up the evening, Granger was able to identify them as the Alexander and the Swiftsure. The only other ship that was not engaged was the Culloden. Granger wondered if Leander and Mutine had succeeded in freeing her, and if she would soon be able to help them finish off the French center and the rear.

Granger saw another set of lanterns in a ship’s mizzen, and saw the illuminated white ensign, as a new ship approached the center. At first, he’d hoped she was Culloden, but from the size of the vessel, he figured out that she was the Leander. Granger caught glimpses of that vessel as Thompson maneuvered Leander deftly in between the 120-gun L’Orient and the 80-gun Franklin, putting herself in a position where she could rake both of those behemoths repeatedly and receive very little fire in return.

“My lord!” Capel exclaimed. “L’Orient is on fire!”

Granger and Berry directed their attention to the French flagship, and saw flames coming from her stern. “I will go and inform the admiral,” Berry said.

“Captain, I will inform the admiral,” Granger said firmly. “Your job is to get your ship repaired so we may assist the others.”

Granger could feel Berry glowering at him, but he muttered “aye aye, my lord,” nevertheless. This was important, though, as Berry was acting more like Nelson’s flag lieutenant, than as the captain of a ship. Granger headed down to the sick bay to find it overloaded with wounded. The surgeon was too busy to talk to him, and Granger did not need his attention anyway. He headed to the admiral; uttering encouraging words to the men he passed on the way.

“How goes the battle?” Nelson asked.

“Quite well, sir,” Granger said. “The French van has surrendered or has been put out of action, while the center looks to be contained as well. We just discerned that the L’Orient is afire, so I came to inform you.”

“The L’Orient is on fire?” he asked. “Here, lend me a hand. I’m going back up on deck.”

“Sir Horatio,” the chaplain intervened. “You must stay here and heal your wounds.”

“I will see this battle unfold, and rely on you to intercede with the good Lord on my behalf to heal my wounds,” Nelson said severely, to brook no further objections from the chaplain, or anyone else. Granger smiled knowingly. There was no use in trying to stop Nelson. Granger lent him his hand, and Nelson walked gingerly through the sick bay and up the ladder to the deck, an effort which seemed to exhaust him. Granger gently led him to the railing, which he could use to prop himself up. Granger passed the word for someone to bring Nelson a chair, but Nelson was focused now, with the scene of the battle reinvigorating him.

“It is good to see you back on deck, Sir Horatio,” Berry said warmly. “The L’Orient appears to be in a bad way.”

They looked at the massive French flagship, and saw the fires expanding in her stern. The Swiftsure focused her cannon on the blaze, expanding it, and more importantly, ensuring that no one on board the French ship could get close enough to the fire to put it out. The fire grew larger still, enveloping the stern, and then the flames reached the rigging. The masts burned brightly now, like huge pyres. The men on Vanguard watched their foe burn with interest and awe, knowing that they were a safe distance from the L’Orient. The ships closer to her were not able to be so relaxed about it. “If she explodes, she may take Swiftsure, Alexander, and Leander with her,” Nelson noted with concern. The logical course of action was for L’Orient to flood her magazine, but that was not easily done with most of the lower decks on fire, and it was probably not even contemplated before that because L’Orient had been fighting for her life, and would certainly need powder to fire her cannon. Granger decided that it was highly likely that her magazines were intact, and that she would indeed explode.

As if reading Nelson’s mind, the Alexander and Leander began to maneuver away from the burning French flagship, fearful of the explosion that would happen if the fire reached her magazine and the fire that could feasibly spread to their ships if they were close to her. Swiftsure was upwind of L’Orient, and felt safer in her position, so she did not move away, but she did stop firing and closed her gunports to shield herself from the L’Orient.

The burning French flagship lit up the bay like a huge torch, providing visibility to the battlefield where before there had been none. The ships that had engaged the French seaward side were all badly knocked about. Bellerophon was dismasted and drifting eastward, while Peuple Souverain, also dismasted, had managed to stop her own drifting by lowering her anchor. Majestic, which had so gallantly engaged the Tonnant, had lost her main and mizzen masts, and was a virtual wreck. The Vanguard was still attempting to repair her damage, but she was in no condition to continue the battle. The ships on the landward side were in better shape, but they were unable to achieve anything at this point, what with the burning French flagship blocking their way east to the French rear.

The French ships of the van were in the possession of the British, while in the center, the Franklin and Tonnant tried desperately to escape from the conflagration that was their flagship. Heureux, which had been engaged with the Alexander, cut her cable and drifted toward the shoals, as did the Mercure. The only French ships not yet engaged, Guillaume Tell, Généreux, and Timoléon, found themselves to the east of their burning flagship. They seemed unwilling to intervene to save the ships of the center that still struggled against the British fleet. To do so, they would have had to sail toward the burning L’Orient, and they would have had to sail into the wind, but that they made no effort at all was surprising to Granger.

The sound of the roaring fire eclipsed the noise of the cannon fire, which had now largely abated, as ships tried to save themselves. “Captain, there are bound to be survivors,” Nelson said. “Send out boats to save them.”

“Aye aye, sir,” Berry said. Granger thought it was quite humane of Nelson to worry about saving enemy sailors in the middle of this terrible scene.

And then, at approximately 10:00, the L’Orient exploded. Granger first saw the flash of light as a fireball seemed to blast the French ship wide open, and then rose up into the sky. He flinched as the bright light all but blinded him, but before he could recover, that sensation was followed by the loud roar of the explosion, which temporarily deafened him. Everyone in both fleets must have stopped what they were doing and stared in shock at the spot where L’Orient had been, even as they watched her flaming remnants fall down upon the ships that were around her. Granger saw a chunk of burning debris land on the Alexander, and another on the Swiftsure, and feared they would become engulfed in flames as well, but their captains were ready with fire parties and the blazes were soon extinguished. Granger saw fires break out on the Franklin, but her crew was prepared as well, and those blazes were also extinguished.

For ten minutes, the fighting ceased, as men either fought the fires or just stood there, stunned by the massive explosion. A ship like L’Orient probably had a crew of close to a thousand men. Most of those men would be dead. Nelson turned to his chaplain. “Say a prayer for Admiral de Brueys and his gallant men.”

“Aye aye, Sir Horatio,” the chaplain said.

The horrific explosion had given way to the silence of shock, but that silence was broken ten minutes later, when the Franklin fired on the Swiftsure, and the fight resumed. But Franklin had already been badly damaged in the battle, so now with the combined might of Swiftsure and Defense turned upon her, she struck her colors.

The only fighting left was the exchange of fire between Tonnant and the badly battered Majestic. Tonnant soon re-directed her fire at the Swiftsure, as she came up to assist, but by midnight, the fighting between those ships had ceased, as the Tonnant drifted down to join the rear division of the French fleet.

“A stunning victory, Sir Horatio,” Granger said to his chief with a smile. “We have captured five 74-gun ships and one 80-gun ship. We have destroyed a 120-gun ship and a frigate. Two other French 74s are aground, waiting for dawn when we will destroy them. Of the thirteen French ships of the line, we have destroyed or captured seven of them, and will most likely capture or destroy two more in the morning.”

“A stunning victory, Sir Horatio,” Berry agreed.

“And as I recall,” Granger added. “You said you would be happy with the capture of half the fleet. You should be very happy.”

“I am happy,” Nelson said. He had a gleam in his eye, no doubt considering what this would mean for him and his reputation, and for England and her control of this sea. With the French vanquished, the Mediterranean would, in short order, once again become a British lake. “Now let us attend to our ships, so we are ready to finish off the rest of the French vessels in the morning.”

There was to be no rest for them, as they toiled to deal with prizes, and with their own vessels, to make sure they could secure what they had by morning.

 

August 2, 1798

Aboukir Bay, Egypt

 

Granger stood on the deck of HMS Vanguard, his legs aching from carrying his weight, since he’d been on his feet, exerting himself, for almost 24 hours. He pondered this victory that they’d won, and thought about what the reaction to it would be in England. The nation would truly lose itself in the ecstasy of celebration. Two years ago, when Spain had entered the war on the French side, the pessimists had argued that the invasion of England was probable, and had almost instilled a sense of panic in the populace that such a thing was imminent. To their way of thinking, the combined French and Spanish fleets would arrive in the English Channel, clear away the significantly smaller British fleet, and the transports would sail, packed full of French troops, to conquer the brave island nation. The Battle of Cape St. Vincent had helped allay those fears, but then the mutinies at Spithead and the Nore had made that awful event, the invasion of Britain, seem like a real possibility again. Even after the resolution of those mutinies, Granger suspected that the public had remained apprehensive, convinced that the still powerful Spanish fleet could recover itself, and unite with the French fleets in Brest and Toulon. They would still think, as unlikely as that train of events were, that it was still possible. Granger knew that this battle did not remove the threat of invasion, but he also knew that it seriously diminished it. Now those who preached that a French invasion was nigh would be viewed with skepticism, not with fear.

Thinking on a broader scale, Granger wondered what impact it would have on the geo-political situation. Britain had been fighting France with only the Portuguese as allies, but now that the French had been defeated, maybe other powers could be tempted to rejoin the effort to stop this French juggernaut. Could they persuade Austria, Prussia, or even Russia to fight against France? Could Spain be persuaded to change sides again? Would the Ottomans become allies, emboldened by this British victory and irritated by French incursions in Egypt, which was part of their domain? Such a battle, such a huge victory that changed the balance of power, could have far-reaching effects.

“Dawn in half an hour, my lord,” Perkins prompted, jarring Granger from his thoughts. Granger smelled the smoke from the galley fire as the cook prepared a warm breakfast for them. No one had gotten much sleep, and it had taken a concerted effort by Berry and Granger to get Nelson to go below and rest, lest his wound become fatal after all. The surgeon had stitched his wound, but it was substantial, at over three inches long, and quite deep. The admiral was obviously in a lot of pain.

“I’ve brought your breakfast, my lord,” Donegal said. He had been another pleasant surprise aboard Vanguard, although the most pleasant surprise had been finding Perkins. Donegal had clearly had experience in taking care of gentlemen before, although Granger had not pressed him as to his actual background. He was almost as good as Winkler at making sure that Granger was well turned out. “I was thinking that if there’s time, we should change your shirt, and perhaps your coat.”

“Thank you, Donegal,” Granger said pleasantly. “Let us see how quickly I can eat.” The ship was still cleared for action, so he had no cabin to retreat to. He ate his breakfast standing on the quarterdeck, holding his plate, a most ungentlemanly way to dine. He finished quickly, and then retired to the gun deck below, where he allowed Donegal to help him change into a clean uniform. Granger desperately craved a bath, but expending the effort to rig the wash deck pump for such a luxury was unthinkable. In any event, with Donegal’s help, he managed to make himself look quite presentable.

Granger arrived back on deck just as dawn was breaking. Nelson was there, of course, despite urgings from Berry and Granger that he remain below. “I will see this finished, gentlemen,” Nelson observed coldly, a sign of both his determination, and the pain he was enduring from his wound. As the morning light illuminated the Bay of Aboukir, it was punctuated by the sound of gunfire, as fighting renewed again. Granger climbed up the shrouds, such as there were any left on Vanguard, to get a decent view, and quickly surveyed the Bay with his glass, and discerned the action was taking place in the eastern part of the bay. There, the French rear division, consisting of Guillaume Tell, Généreux, and Timoléon, as well as the disabled Tonnant, had attacked the Alexander and the Majestic, both of which had drifted down to the east.

“Sir, we must send assistance to the Alexander and Majestic,” Granger said.

“General signal, assist Alexander and Majestic,” Nelson said. Casualties had been heavy on Vanguard, with some 30 men killed and 76 wounded, but Granger was lucky in that Capel and Perkins were not among them.

He told Capel to make the signal, which Capel managed to send; no mean feat what with the extensive damage to Vanguard’s masts. He noticed that Capel had made sure there was rigging in place to hoist the signals; he must have handled that last night, even as the ship around him was frantically trying to heal herself. “Mr. Capel, I am very pleased to see that you made sure you were ready to send signals this morning,” Granger said, acknowledging his good work.

“Thank you, my lord,” Capel said, beaming at praise from Granger. “Theseus, Zealous, and Goliath have acknowledged, sir.” Granger bit back his irritation at the other ships that did not move to help. Goliath and Theseus had both been knocked around badly, suffering damage to their hulls, while Goliath had rigging that was only marginally better than Vanguard’s. Meanwhile, Audacious rode peacefully to her anchor, looking to all appearances like a ship that had not fought a battle at all.

They watched Theseus approach the frigate Artémise, and once again, a French frigate fired at a British battleship, discharging her broadside at Theseus. Granger waited for Theseus to turn this frigate into a floating wreck, but was surprised to see the Artémise lower her colors and surrender. No sooner had Theseus lowered a boat to take possession of the ship than they saw boats put off from Artémise, carrying the remainder of her crew. Their purpose was made clear when smoke was spotted rising from the frigate, and soon flames engulfed the pretty vessel. “They surrender, and then burn their own ship,” Nelson noted sadly. “Cowards.”

“Yes, sir,” Granger agreed sadly. Theseus and Goliath caught up to the French rear division, while Zealous sailed to assist them. Granger smiled as Berry stood there, the irritation visible on his face, irritation at not being able to rejoin the action. He truly was brave, and ever-ready for a fight.

The Bellerophon had barely managed to anchor before she reached the shoals, and was in the process of making hasty repairs when the French frigate Justice attempted to board her. While the Theseus and Goliath were busy assisting Majestic and Alexander, Zealous focused on saving Bellerophon, and arrived in time to chase the Justice off, thus saving Darby’s ship from capture.

The four ships of the line of the French rear division formed up and were attempting to leave when Timoléon ran aground, lodging so firmly on the shoal that she was all but dismasted. Tonnant, which had been dismasted and could now only conjure up a jury rig, was unable to keep up with the other ships, so instead, her crew ran her aground as well. And so only two French ships of the line, the Guillaume Tell and the Généreux, along with the frigates Diane and Justice, sailed out of the bay, pursued by the Zealous. “Granger, make Zealous’ number and hang out the recall,” Nelson ordered. “We will let the French save two of their battleships.” It wasn’t clear that Zealous could catch up with the French squadron, and even if she did, she would be heavily outnumbered. Capel sent up the signal, which Zealous acknowledged, and then turned her nose back toward the bay and the rest of the fleet.

There were two ships quite close to them still flying French colors, the Heureux and Mercure. When they’d cut their cables to escape from the L’Orient, they had been unable to stop themselves before they ran aground. Now, trapped on the shoals, they were easy prey for the Alexander, Goliath, Theseus and Leander. Both ships surrendered within minutes of being attacked.

Timoléon and Tonnant aren’t going anywhere,” Nelson noted, looking through his glass at the only two French ships left in the bay. “We will deal with them later.” And with that, the battle was over.

“Sir Horatio, once we grapple with the Tonnant and Timoléon, we will have captured or destroyed eleven of the thirteen French ships of the line, and two of the four frigates,” Granger said. “I cannot remember a victory that was more complete.”

“Victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene,” Nelson said. “Let us consolidate our prizes and repair our damage as best we can.”

“Aye aye, sir,” Granger said. “Captain Berry, I will need the admiral’s barge brought around if you please.”

“Certainly, my lord,” Berry said. Granger boarded the barge and prepared to visit each ship, including the French prizes, to survey the damage, and talk to her captain.

He boarded Goliath and looked around at the carnage that was still evident on her deck. That she had fought again this morning, after her considerable efforts yesterday, was a testament to the dogged determination of her captain. Foley met him and shook his hand warmly. “How is the admiral, my lord?” Foley asked.

“He was wounded, but he appears to be recovering,” Granger said. “I must commend you, Captain, on the way you fought your ship. Choosing to cross in front of Guerrier was inspired and brilliant, and contributed in no small part to our victory.” Granger said that loudly, so his officers and men would hear.

“Thank you, my lord,” Foley said. “I am glad we were able to help.”

“How badly were you hurt?” Granger asked.

“We had 20 killed and over 40 wounded,” Foley said somberly. Granger understood how hard it was, as a captain, to lose men in battle, even when one was victorious. “Our hull and rigging both have substantial damage. It will take us at least a week before we are ready to sail.”

“I will convey that to Sir Horatio,” Granger said, and took his leave. He managed to control himself when he boarded Audacious, and not explain to her captain what he thought of a man who would not help his fellow captains. He opted to go to Theseus after that, where he knew he would have a much more pleasant experience.

“My lord, what a pleasure to see you!” Miller said, and had glasses of wine brought up for them to drink as they discussed the battle. “How is the admiral?” Granger got that question on every ship, and answered it as he’d answered Foley. But Granger knew that Miller was very fond of Nelson, so he described the wound in more detail, as well as Nelson’s brave effort to drag himself up on deck despite his pain.

“You fought your ship brilliantly,” Granger said, again making sure he spoke loud enough for the others to hear. “And even though you incurred substantial damage, you still hurried to assist the other ships this morning.”

“Thank you, my lord. Please convey to Admiral Nelson that he inspired me,” Miller said.

“I will do that,” Granger said. Theseus had her rigging largely intact, but her hull had been badly damaged, and she’d lost 5 men, and over 30 more wounded.

He next went to Orion, to call on Saumarez, and found him in his sick bay, still recovering from his wound. He tended to be a bit gruff, and that was exacerbated by his wound, but Granger was fulsome with his praise anyway. Orion had lost 13 men, and had another 30 wounded. Despite the human losses, the ship itself was not too heavily damaged.

After visiting Defense, which was largely unscathed, Granger next went to Majestic, and entered a scene from hell. 50 of her crew had been killed, including her captain, and almost 150 men had been wounded. Over a third of her total complement of men was out of action. She had lost all but one of her masts, and her hull was badly scarred. Yet despite that, they piped him over the side with the appropriate honors.

“Welcome aboard, my lord. I am Lieutenant Robert Cuthbert. Captain Westcott was killed in the battle, and as the senior, I have assumed command,” the man said, trying to look as if he were calm and unruffled, even as he stood on the quarterdeck of a shattered vessel.

Captain Westcott

“The admiral has asked me to tell you how gallantly you and your men fought your ship,” Granger said, putting words in Nelson’s mouth. “I would like to add my own praise as well. Majestic fought as well as any ship has, or could.”

“Thank you, my lord,” Cuthbert said, somewhat stunned by such praise.

“I can see that you are making every effort to repair your ship,” Granger said. “I will see if I can find some assistance for you from the other vessels.” Cuthbert wanted to ask Granger if he would be replaced, but that was somewhat impolite. Granger pulled him aside, speaking softly to him. “I do not know if the Admiral plans to appoint someone to take over as captain, but I will do my best to dissuade him.”

“Thank you, my lord,” Cuthbert said, giving Granger a slight smile.

Granger went from there to the other ship from hell: the Bellerophon. Her casualties were similar to Majestic’s, and her condition was worse, in that she had no masts left standing at all. He found Darby wounded, but his officers had things well enough in hand, despite the challenge they faced. There were several upended guns, and the cries of the wounded seemed to permeate the entire ship.

Granger boarded Zealous next, and found that despite Captain Hood’s exertions in the battle, both yesterday and this morning, he had only lost one man and had seven wounded, and his ship was, like Orion, in remarkably good condition. Hood was quite pleasant and very cooperative when he asked him to send assistance to the Majestic. Granger took it upon himself to row back by Audacious and ask Gould to do the same thing for Bellerophon. It was no surprise that Zealous was much quicker to respond and send a boat. He visited the other British ships, evaluating their condition and their casualties, taking careful notes on the condition of the fleet.

Granger took a break and returned to the Vanguard in time for dinner, and gave Nelson an update on what he had found. “Sir, the fleet has incurred casualties of approximately 200 men killed and 700 wounded,” Granger said. “The dead include Captain Westcott of the Majestic, who fought his ship most bravely, while Captains Saumarez, Darby, and Ball were wounded. I am happy to note that their wounds do not appear to be fatal.”

“Westcott was a brave captain, and fought as well as anyone could have,” Nelson said. “There is a price for victories like this one, and it is a high price indeed.”

“Yes, sir,” Granger agreed. “The Majestic’s first lieutenant, Robert Cuthbert, seems to have repairs well in hand. I would submit that unless you feel it important to replace him as her acting captain, he appears to be up to the task.”

“He impressed you?” Nelson asked.

“He did, sir. It is not easy to take over a ship that has been all but shattered and to restore order. He appears to be doing that.”

“Very well, Granger. Draft orders appointing him as her acting captain. He can remain in command of her on our voyage to rejoin the fleet.”

“Aye aye, sir,” Granger said. He then went on to delineate the condition of the British ships. “I fear, sir, that the only ships that will be battle-ready within the next few days are the Audacious, Zealous, Orion, Minotaur, and Leander. The others will all require more extensive repairs.” Nelson nodded grimly, although such a result was not unexpected when total victory had been achieved. When dinner was finished, Granger resumed his task, and this time went aboard the French prizes. There, the chaos was much more apparent. Granger made it a priority to persuade Nelson to parole the French prisoners as soon as possible. He returned to the flagship, all but exhausted, and made his report to Nelson.

“You have been busy today, Granger,” Nelson said with a smile, even though he cringed in pain as he spoke. Nelson was a smart admiral, and he knew the value of a good subordinate, and Granger was most definitely a good subordinate. Energetic yet refined, and determined to tackle a task thoroughly and see it through to completion, Granger was doing all that Nelson could have asked for in a captain of the fleet.

“I have not been the only one,” Granger said, as he looked around and noticed that Berry had gotten the ship restored such that her cabins were back in place.

“What of our prizes?”

“Sir, the Guerrier, Heureux, and Mercure are all but unsalvageable. I recommend that we strip them of what material we can, and burn them.”

“You do not think they are worth saving even as hulks?” Nelson asked, surprised.

“No, sir, I do not. Heureux and Mercure have extensive underwater damage. In the case of the Guerrier, she was pummeled too badly by our broadsides, and is an old ship to begin with.”

Nelson nodded. “There is no benefit to expending our limited resources on ships that will not be useful in the future. What of the others?”

Spartiate and Franklin, while quite knocked about, are new ships, and still seem quite sound. I would envision that they could be taken into the Navy, and could serve with the fleet, sir,” Granger said. His time exploring the ships at Toulon, combined with his experience at sea, had given him a good idea of when a ship could be salvaged for front-line service, and when she could not be. He was confident in his judgment, and Nelson picked up on that.

“That is excellent. What of the others?”

“I think that it will be difficult to fit out the Aquilon, Conquérant, and Peuple Souverain for duty with the fleet, sir. They are simply too damaged, and they are too old to be worth the effort to repair them. But I think they will ultimately make good fleet auxiliaries, or hulks.”

Nelson nodded. “Tomorrow we will capture the Timoléon and the Tonnant, and you can evaluate them as well.”

“Yes, sir. One suggestion, if I may, sir. If we can release the French crews on parole, that would make things considerably easier. The French ships were under-crewed because many of their men were ashore, trying to find provisions. There are not a lot of stores aboard those ships. If we do not release those men, we will have to feed them, and we will soon have to tap into our own ships’ stores to do so.” Nelson pondered his words as he nodded.

“Your orders, Granger, are to go directly to bed and to not return on deck until dawn tomorrow,” Nelson said with false severity. “After we have dealt with Timoléon and Tonnant, your job will be to arrange a parole for the French sailors.”

“Aye aye sir,” Granger said. And then George Granger was able to return to his restored cabin and collapse into his cot for some desperately needed sleep.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Another masterful chapter. Thanks. After the last Chapter, I did some research on the actual battle. It is difficult to appreciate fully the hardships that had to have been experienced by sailors of that era. It was interesting to see the amount of prize money that was dividied up. Quite nice when it was converted to todays currency. Again, thanks Mark for a great story. Keep the chapters coming.

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Wonderful depiction of the battle. Leaves one even more in awe of the officers and men who fought them. The dedication to detail, along with the skill and bravery required to fight these historic battles is amazing; and retelling them in a compelling way is an equally difficult fete that you have accomplished. Now one is left wondering how the ingenious Mr. Arbour will manage the next 87 or so months of Grangers life. And of course how will he manage to "drop" him in to the middle of the Battle of Trafalgar! Hopefully the story will not end there. :2thumbs:

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Mark, Thank you for the quick posting of the battle's conclusion. I suppose you also could use a good night's sleep.

We all appreciate the incredible work you put into this story.

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The extraordinarily vivid last two chapters took us closer to the actual battle 215

years ago than has likely been done since the battle was new. I've always liked a

rousing story about battle in the great age of sail, but this one is among the best

I've ever read.

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Brilliantly told Lord Arbour. You had every reader standing on the quarter deck watching the battle in awe. It amazes me that they could make anything seaworthy after such a mix up. The burials alone would take days, let alone the repairs. I'll go now to the forum and expand on my thoughts.

 

Well done sir. And yet, there remain a couple of ships to deal with.

Cheers!

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I say without a doubt that these last two chapters are absolutely grand. As I read these chapters, I can almost feel as if I were an invisible person standing on the quarterdeck of the Vanguard watching the battle unfold. Just bloody brilliant writing. Thank you.

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Excellent chapter, Mark. George is ever-so efficient! I hope Nelson's reports will be glowing. How much would George's share be as the fleet captain (is that his title)

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Great job as usual as your descriptions of naval engagements are simply wonderful. The hard work of restoring the battle damage and getting the fleet ready to sail is ahead. I think George sleeps alone and quite soundly after that two day long day.

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A truly great victory and a grand telling of it... I really felt as if I could hear the cries of the dead and wounded, smell the gunpowder burning, and feel the heat of the fire. It was a majetic telling of one of the great battles in history.

 

Granger really understands what needs to be done and how to get it done. I don't know what Mark has planned for him but I could see him going much farther than most of those around him.

 

Soon we will find out how Granger will return to London and if he will beat Maidstone back or if his sending of Winkler and Jacobs accomplished what he needed them to. I have to wonder if Winkler will find his replacement for his lost love...

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On 08/05/2013 05:49 AM, Exterminator96 said:
Another masterful chapter. Thanks. After the last Chapter, I did some research on the actual battle. It is difficult to appreciate fully the hardships that had to have been experienced by sailors of that era. It was interesting to see the amount of prize money that was dividied up. Quite nice when it was converted to todays currency. Again, thanks Mark for a great story. Keep the chapters coming.
Thanks for the review, and for chiming in! It must have been pretty horrific to have a cannon ball bursting through this wall of wood, sending splinters flying through the air. The only saving grace was that the weapons weren't very accurate, but then, that's why the ships were so close to fight.
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On 08/05/2013 06:05 AM, Pete Bruno said:
Wonderful depiction of the battle. Leaves one even more in awe of the officers and men who fought them. The dedication to detail, along with the skill and bravery required to fight these historic battles is amazing; and retelling them in a compelling way is an equally difficult fete that you have accomplished. Now one is left wondering how the ingenious Mr. Arbour will manage the next 87 or so months of Grangers life. And of course how will he manage to "drop" him in to the middle of the Battle of Trafalgar! Hopefully the story will not end there. :2thumbs:
Why thank you. There's plenty of things Granger will have to deal with before Trafalgar. Maybe I'll let him live through Trafalgar, but then give him a groin wound so his dick doesn't work. No...he'd just turn into a total bottom then. ;-)
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On 08/05/2013 06:40 AM, davewri said:
Mark, Thank you for the quick posting of the battle's conclusion. I suppose you also could use a good night's sleep.

We all appreciate the incredible work you put into this story.

You are welcome, and you are right. I'm up, working on stuff for work (for a change), taking a desperately needed mental break to respond to reviews.
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On 08/05/2013 07:31 AM, Stephen said:
The extraordinarily vivid last two chapters took us closer to the actual battle 215

years ago than has likely been done since the battle was new. I've always liked a

rousing story about battle in the great age of sail, but this one is among the best

I've ever read.

Wow. Thanks. That's really flattering. I sometimes think I should be more descriptive about the sights and the sounds, but I'm an ADD guy, and too much of that distracts me. I'm hoping that your brain paints in the rest, and in your case, it sounds like it worked. I'm so glad!
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On 08/05/2013 07:47 AM, ricky said:
Brilliantly told Lord Arbour. You had every reader standing on the quarter deck watching the battle in awe. It amazes me that they could make anything seaworthy after such a mix up. The burials alone would take days, let alone the repairs. I'll go now to the forum and expand on my thoughts.

 

Well done sir. And yet, there remain a couple of ships to deal with.

Cheers!

Thank you! You know, one of the more intriguing things about these ships and this era is that many of the repairs could be handled by the ships themselves. Granted, it takes a lot of time, and there are some that can't be fixed without a dockyard, but much of the destruction could be fixed if the supplies were there. If they cannibalize those soon-to-be-burnt French ships, they may have enough spare hardwood to make things work. And personally, I think there's nothing quite as good as some hard wood. ;-)
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On 08/05/2013 08:47 AM, FitzH1943 said:
I say without a doubt that these last two chapters are absolutely grand. As I read these chapters, I can almost feel as if I were an invisible person standing on the quarterdeck of the Vanguard watching the battle unfold. Just bloody brilliant writing. Thank you.
I'm so glad you felt that way, especially the visible part. Those cannon balls can be deadly. ;-)
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Thank you for another well executed chapter. This is the kind of story one could read over and over (and I have :*) ). You belong in the GA Hall of Fame.

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On 08/05/2013 09:11 AM, Rosicky said:
Excellent chapter, Mark. George is ever-so efficient! I hope Nelson's reports will be glowing. How much would George's share be as the fleet captain (is that his title)
We've actually had some discussions about George's share of the prize money. As near as I can tell, he'd get a smaller portion of the flag officer's pool, which is significantly smaller than what the captains of the ships received. In fact, Nelson got less than them as well, which is rather ironic.
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On 08/05/2013 09:54 AM, Daddydavek said:
Great job as usual as your descriptions of naval engagements are simply wonderful. The hard work of restoring the battle damage and getting the fleet ready to sail is ahead. I think George sleeps alone and quite soundly after that two day long day.
If you think about it, George really has a lot of experience and training in these administrative issues. First there was his work with Hood at Toulon, which must have been a wonderful proving ground for what he's dealing with now. Then there was commanding his own ship, which has it's own scads of requirements. And then he helped with the mutiny, and worked with Pitt and Howe to resolve it.
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On 08/05/2013 01:34 PM, centexhairysub said:
A truly great victory and a grand telling of it... I really felt as if I could hear the cries of the dead and wounded, smell the gunpowder burning, and feel the heat of the fire. It was a majetic telling of one of the great battles in history.

 

Granger really understands what needs to be done and how to get it done. I don't know what Mark has planned for him but I could see him going much farther than most of those around him.

 

Soon we will find out how Granger will return to London and if he will beat Maidstone back or if his sending of Winkler and Jacobs accomplished what he needed them to. I have to wonder if Winkler will find his replacement for his lost love...

I'm glad you liked the chapter (s). Thanks!

 

You make it sound as if the story is almost over, and that now all George has to do is hop on a ship and head back to England. Muhahahaha.

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On 08/05/2013 04:15 PM, Miles Long said:
Thank you for another well executed chapter. This is the kind of story one could read over and over (and I have :*) ). You belong in the GA Hall of Fame.
Does GA have a Hall of Fame? Probably not. They do have the Reader's Choice awards, though, and that's pretty damn close. I've won a few of those, thanks to you guys. :-)
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A very pleasant surprise, I wasn't expecting this chapter until the 6th. Another wonderful job and a very exciting chapter.

 

I guess not expecting the chapter and getting to read it late has one advantage. I get to read everyone's reviews. I can't think of a thing to add that hasn't already been said, so I will just say THANKS. Hip hip hurray, 3 cheers for our author.

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Thanks Mark, much appreciation for us not to be left hanging too long! The maps and images are a great supplement to the description of the battle. Now I just can't wait to see what you have in store for Granger as he continues his circumnavigation. ;-)

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A spectacular Climax. Though victory was all but assured, when L'Orient blew up, literally vapourizing hundreds of her crew, the Frenchs' back was broken and all knew what the final outcome would be. Had Villenneuve's Division come to their aid, history might have changed (at least to the degree of the victory), as he did not, history stands. George did everything a(any) Captain of the Fleet should/could have done. When you factor in that he was all but dropped into the position, on the eve of the battle, his performance becomes all the more noteworthy. An extraordinary chapter, thank you mark

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On 08/06/2013 01:31 AM, JimCarter said:
A very pleasant surprise, I wasn't expecting this chapter until the 6th. Another wonderful job and a very exciting chapter.

 

I guess not expecting the chapter and getting to read it late has one advantage. I get to read everyone's reviews. I can't think of a thing to add that hasn't already been said, so I will just say THANKS. Hip hip hurray, 3 cheers for our author.

Well thank you very much! I'm getting ready to post 58, and I like to make sure I respond to reviews before then. I'm a little behind. :-(
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On 08/06/2013 02:17 AM, nevius said:
Thanks Mark, much appreciation for us not to be left hanging too long! The maps and images are a great supplement to the description of the battle. Now I just can't wait to see what you have in store for Granger as he continues his circumnavigation. ;-)
Thanks! I used to worry that they would make loading the chapters slow, but with bandwidth now, it seems to work just fine.
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