There is perhaps no greater expression of the glory and grandeur of the British Royal Navy during its heyday than Admiral Lord
Nelson's exhortation to the fleet moments before the Battle of Trafalgar: "England expects every man will do his duty." The best and perhaps only way for the modern reader to truly grasp the impact of this brilliant rallying cry on those present is to read their own words, to feel what they felt, on that momentous occasion. The stories in this fine anthology dramatically chronicle this and other significant events from the period.
Every Man Will Do His Duty presents the voices of the officers and seamen who fought and lived at sea during the French Revolutionary War (1793-1802), the Napoleonic War (1803-1815), and the War of 1812 (1812-1815). Here are the true-life stories that inspired the work of such great historical novelists and writers as Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester, Alexander Kent, C. Northcote Parkinson, and others. Dean King and John B. Hattendorf, authors of the acclaimed volumes A Sea Of Words and Harbors and High Seas, have combed the historical archives, including memoirs, diaries and letters, to serve up this distinguished collection of first-hand pieces from the great Age of Nelson.
The remarkable narratives in this meticulously researched work are by turns thrilling and touching, hilarious and terrifying, poignant and majestic. In addition to eye-witness accounts of most of the critical events of the period — the Glorious First of June, the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, the Battle of Trafalgar, and the death of Nelson — you will also find revealing insights into the nature of life and war at sea aboard a man-of- war: not just the heroic moments, but the deprivations, the monotony, the pleasures, the pain, the justices, and the injustices. There are fleet battles, frigate duels, fire-ship missions, cutting-out missions, shipwrecks, pursuits by the press gang, and deadly encounters with gales and cannibals, all told in the words of the men who actually lived through them.
For all readers captivated by this singular period in maritime history, Every Man Will Do His Duty brings the people and events of the times vividly to life.
DEAN KING is the author and editor of numerous books, including two highly-acclaimed companions to the novels of Patrick O'Brian, A Sea of Words and Harbors and High Seas. He lives with his wife and family in Richmond, Virginia.
JOHN B. HATTENDORF, PhD, is the Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History and director of the Advanced Research Department at the United States Naval War college in Newport, Rhode Island.
FOR ALL FANS OF MARITIME FICTION AND NAVAL HISTORY,
A COLLECTION OF THE MOST EXCITING FIRST-HAND
ACCOUNTS FROM THE GREAT AGE OF NELSON
"I could feel the heaving deck and smell the gun smoke in these pages. Thoughtful readers of naval fiction will revel in the eyewitness accounts of living and fighting at sea in the days of sail, which are gathered in this wonderful anthology."
— Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN (retired) "We've needed this book for a very long time."
— Captain Edward L. Beach, USN (retired), author of Run Silent, Run Deep
"Kudos to Dean King and John Hattendorf for making these tasty first-person sea stories of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars accessible to a new generation of readers. Every Man Will Do His Duty is sure to become the one-stop reference for autobiographical narrative from these perennially fascinating years."
•— Christopher McKee, Samuel R. And Marie-Louis Rosenthal Professor and
Librarian of the College, Grinnell College, author 'of A Gentlemanly and Honorable
Profession: The Creation of the LIS Naval Officers Corps, 1794-1815
"It is surprising, given the long history of sailing sea warfare fiction that stretches from O'Brian, Kent, Pope, Parkinson, and Forester back to Marryat and Smollet, that some work comparable to this has not appeared before. ... This is a wonderfully useful and interesting book for both the enthusiast of historical sea fiction and the student of naval history."
— Rear Admiral Henry S. Morgan, USN (retired)
"The diaries, correspondence and autobiographies sampled here are a veritable blueprint for O'Brian's novels ... The myriad voices heard (within) this book, from rich officers to semi-literate seamen, makes this an entertaining overview of the zenith of the age of sail combat. And for those impatient for O'Brian to finish up his Aubrey-Maturin novels, Every Man Will Do His Duty provides a splendid literary interlude."
— Winston Salem Journal, North Carolina
"Fascinating reading for anyone interested in history and the sea. Dean King's explorations have yielded a collection of narratives that are just as exciting as the marvellous Aubrey-Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian. Dr William Beatty's stunning.account of the death of Lord Nelson, for example, is far better than any fictional rendering I have read, but it is equalled by many of the narratives King has chosen."
— Douglas Day, C. W. Barrett Professor of English, University of Virginia
Foreword by John B. Hattendorf
List of Maps and Charts
The War of the French Revolution
Chapter numbers correspond to sites on maps, pp. xvi and xviii.
1. In the King's Service, 1793-1794
With only a silver watch and one rupee to his name, William Richardson is pressed into service while in India. He describes life on board the 48-gun frigate Minerva and how a mutiny was avoided; from A Mariner of England: An Account of William Richardson from Cabin Boy in the Merchant Service to Warrant Officer in the Royal Navy [1780 to 1819] as Told by Himself, edited by Colonel Spencer Childers, C.B., R.E.
2. Commence the Work of Destruction: The Glorious First of June, 1794
On board Gambier's speedy 74-gun HMS Defence, fourteen-year-old William Dillon experiences the heat of the Glorious First of June in the hellish lower deck; from A Narrative of My Adventures (1790-1839), by Sir William Henry Dillon, K.C.H., Vice- Admiral of the Red, edited by Michael A. Lewis, C.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S.
3. The Noted Pimp of Lisbon and an Unwanted Promotion in Bull Bay, 1794
Sailing homeward on board the Gorgon, 44 guns, James Gardner reports on ship life and shore leave in Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Lisbon. Along the way, French prisoners nearly revolt upon hearing the "Marseillese," American sailors invite a brawl over a beef pie, and a deserter gets an undesirable promotion from a chamber pot; from Recollections of James Anthony Gardner, Commander R.N. (1775-1814), edited by Sir R. Vesey Hamilton, G.C.B., Admiral, and John Knox Laughton, M.A., D.Litt.
4. For the Good of My Own Soul, 1795
An itinerant merchant and naval seaman dodges the press gangs in England and describes a brief stay in London before meeting his inevitable fate; from The Nagle Journal: Diary of the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor, from the Year 1775 to 1841, edited by John C. Dann.
5. They Would as Soon Have Faced the Devil Himself as Nelson, 1796
Nelson and his shipmate Archibald Menzies, better known as the "Scotch Hercules," oversee the evacuation of Bastia, Corsica, after Spain enters the war against Britain; from "Nelson at Bastia," by M.C., An Old Agamemnon, United Service Journal, February 1841, no. 147.
6. The Battle of Cape St. Vincent, 1797
In an inspired moment, Nelson deviates from the battle plan and produces one of the most unlikely triumphs of the war; from A Narrative of the Battle of St. Vincent; with Anecdotes of Nelson, Before and After that Battle, by John Drinkwater Bethune, F.S.A.
7. Mad Dickey's Amusement, 1798-1800
At last, Jacob Nagle finds his niche in the Royal Navy. On board the sloop Netley, he is a very busy prizemaster; from The Nagle Journal, edited by John C. Dann.
8. The Fortune of War, 1799
In the Bay of Bengal, a captive merchant captain experiences a fierce battle between two powerful frigates, the French La Forte, 50 guns, and HMS La Sybille, 44 guns; from A Master Mariner: Being the Life and Adventures of Captain Robert William East- wick, edited by Herbert Compton.
9. The Audacious Cruise of the Speedy, 1800-1801
Captain Thomas Cochrane, later the tenth earl of Dundonald, and the fifty-four- man crew of the Speedy, 14 guns, have the gall to engage and board the Spanish xebec frigate El Gamo, 32 guns, 319 men; from The Autobiography of a Seaman, by Thomas, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B., Admiral of the Red, Rear-Admiral of the fleet, Marquess of Maranham, etc.
10. Bermuda in the Peace, 1802-1803
A midshipman recounts the loss of a shipmate during a gale and horseplay in Bermuda during a lull in the action; from The Midshipman: Being the Autobiographical Sketches of His Own Early Career, from Fragments of Voyages and Travels, by Captain Basil Hall, R.N., F.R.S.
The Napoleonic War
11. The Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
Nelson's greatest triumph as seen by William Robinson from the lower deck; from Jack Nastyface: Memoirs of a Seaman, by William Robinson.
12. The Death of Lord Nelson, 1805
Dr. Beatty observes Admiral Nelson throughout his ultimate battle and reports here his words with Captain Hardy and others, including his last words; from The Death of Lord Nelson, 21 Oct. 1805, by William Beatty, M.D., edited by Edward Arber, F.S.A.
13. An Unequal Match, 1807-1808
Given an unworthy command, Captain William Dillon makes the best of an ugly situation in northern waters. In command of the brig Childers, against the much heavier Danish brig Li,igum, Dillon shows his heart of oak; from A Narrative of My Adventures (1790-1839), by Sir William Henry Dillon, K.C.H., Vice-Admiral of the Red, edited by Michael A. Lewis.
14. With Stopford in the Basque Roads, 1808-1809
Fifteen years after being impressed into the Royal Navy, William Richardson, now a warrant officer, participates in one of the most storied naval actions of the Napoleonic wars; from A Mariner of England, edited by Colonel Spencer Childers.
15. When I Beheld These Men Spring from the Ground, 1809
When first heard from in Every Man Will Do His Duty, Midshipman Hall was avenging the death of Shakings, a cur, on board the Leander in the waters off Bermuda. Five years later, having recently passed for lieutenant, Hall witnesses an awesome sight, the Battle of Corunna, and assists in the embarkation of retreating British troops; from The Midshipman, by Captain Basil Hall.
16. "Damn 'em, Jackson, They've Spoilt My Dancing," 1809-1812
Beset by four French ships, HMS Junon, 38 guns, fights courageously and her captain is fatally wounded. But for the Junon's Lieutenant Jackson, this is just the beginning of a wild odyssey through the French prisons of Verdun and Bitche and back home again; from The Perilous Adventures and Vicissitudes of a Naval Officer, 1801-1812; Being Part of the Memoirs of Admiral George Vernon Jackson (1787-1876), edited by Harold Burrows, C.B.E., F.R.C.S.
17. The Woodwind Is Mightier than the Sword, 1809-1812
A former U.S. Navy seaman, James Durand is impressed by the British, is wounded in battle, and discovers a novel way to ease the burden of service; from James Durand: An Able Seaman of 1812, His Adventures on "Old Ironsides" and as an Impressed Sailor in the British Navy, edited by George S. Brooks.
The Napoleonic War, Continued,
and the War of 1812
18. HMS Macedonian vs. USS United States, 1812
During the bloody battle between the Macedonian and the United States, Samuel Leech fights the Macedonian's fifth gun on the main deck and loses some of his mess; from Thirty Years from Home or A Voice from the Main Deck, by Samuel Leech.
19. An Unjustifiable and Outrageous Pursuit, 1812-1813
Down on his luck, George Little, an American seaman, turns to privateering and his luck grows worse. A story of fighting, cannibals, and prison; from Life on the Ocean; or, Twenty Years at Sea: Being the Personal Adventures of the Author, by George Little.
20. A 'Yankee Cruiser in the South Pacific, 1813 345
Sent to the South Pacific to protect American whalers and to wreak havoc upon British shipping and whaling interests, Captain David Porter runs up the coast of Chile and Peru to the Galapagos Islands in his mighty little frigate Essex; from Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean by Captain David Porter in the United States Frigate Essex, in the Years 1812, 1813, and 1814.
21. Showdown at Valparaiso, 1814
The Phoebe's Captain Hillyar is a friend of Captain Porter's. In earlier days, Porter spent many pleasant hours with the Hillyar family in Gibraltar. Yet Hillyar 's mission is to destroy Porter's frigate, the Essex. Far from home waters, the tension mounts as the two frigates lie anchored in a neutral port; from Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean by Captain David Porter.
22. We Discussed a Bottle of Chateau Margot Together, 1812-1815
Lieutenant William Bowers cruises off southwestern England and then takes a land tour on the other side of the Channel; from Naval Adventures During Thirty-Five Years' Service, by Lieutenant W. Bowers, R.N.
Notes on the Texts