James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Anthony Terry, 31 October 1805 (Abstract)

From Anthony Terry, 31 October 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Anthony Terry. 31 October 1805, Cádiz. “Referring to what I had the honor of writing you on the 8. inst. Copy herewith—The object of the present is to inclose you a List of the Combined Fleet that left this Port on the 19th. & 20th.1 it is reported that the motives that Admiral Villeneuve had for Sailing, was, that as a new Admiral was expected daily from France to take the Command of the Fleet, he thought it verry hard to deliver up the Command; that having received intelligence that Nelson’s fleet was only composed of 22. Ships & some Frigates determin’d him to go out & give him battle, let it be what it will, the whole Fleet has been Sacrificed, as a most dreadfull action at the distance of 8. or 10 leagues began on the 21st. at 11. oClock in the morning, which lasted without intermission untill 7. oClock in the Evening—the results down to this date are agreable to the enclosed Sheet, shall continue giving you every information I may be able to obtain on the Subject.

“The French General Mr. Rosigny that was expected arrived here on the 24th.—say Admiral.

“The American Ship Huntress John Cunnyngham Master bound from Belfast to Gibraltar wth. Provisions has been sent in here by the French Ship Heroe on the 19th. the Cargo will be condemned & freight paid.2

“By the enclosed Paper you will see the glorious beginning of the French on the Continent.”

Adds in a postscript: “Governmt. Notes 553⁄ 4 a 56.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, CD, Cádiz, vol. 1). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Terry. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures (19 pp.) are several lists of the thirty-three ships of the line, five frigates, and two brigs of the combined French and Spanish fleets in the 21 Oct. 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. The lists describe the state of the ships after the battle, how many survived and their condition, and how many were lost. Also enclosed is a transcript of an article from a 13 Oct. 1805 Bayonne newspaper, describing French victories in Germany, a sheet listing the total number of ships in the British squadron, and a note that Lord Nelson had survived for six hours after the battle.

2The Huntress, John Cunningham, carrying a cargo of soap, candles, butter, potatoes, cider, rum, and cloth was taken by the Héros and carried into Cádiz, where French commissary Le Roy reported to Denis Decrès that, according to the U.S.-French Convention of 1800, carrying enemy property did not make the ship liable to condemnation. Le Roy authorized the captain to make a provisory sale of the cargo. The French council of prizes did not decide on the case until 1814, when it declared that the ship had all proper documentation, and depriving the enemy of the cargo could have been accomplished by driving the Huntress away from the port instead of seizing it. The ship and cargo were ordered released (Bonnel, La France, les États-Unis et la guerre de course, 209–10).

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