The first behind-the-scenes account of the capital ships of the Nelsonic era. Watch-by-watch and deck-by-deck description of everyone on board. Extensive quotes from previously unpublished contemporary material In the summer of 1805 the Mediterranean Fleet made a 6,686-mile round trip to the West Indies: the Franco-Spanish fleet it was chasing buried a thousand men at Martinique, but Nelson reported his fleet 'in the most perfect health, except some symptoms of scurvy', with no death from sickness.
This was the standard set by the Royal Navy that was maintained until Napoleon was finally defeated, and not surpassed until the post-modern era. Drawing extensively on previously unpublished letters, reports, court-martial records, and other contemporary RN and enemy documents, as well as Admiralty regulations, captains' and admirals' orders and logs, Navy Board construction and fitting warrants, and published memoirs and reminiscences, the narrative uses the model of a twenty-four-hour day to show how everyone on board a ship-of-the-line contributed to this unprecedented survivability and fighting ability and reveals the organization, feeding, equipping, training, punishment, recreation, and motivation of up to 875 officers, men, and boys from all walks of life and five continents. Also explained are the roles of the non-naval personnel on board, from wives and guests to soldiers, supernumeraries, and prisoners, and chapters detail the end-of-life roles, as guardship and hulk. Appendices include complete establishments of carpenter's and boatswain's stores, the complement and pay of a ship-of-the-line, and complete listings of the ships-of-the-line 1793 - 1815. This is essential reading for historians, lovers of the naval novel, and all those who have wondered just how such complex communities achieved this unprecedented peak of efficiency.
Author: Nicholas Blake
Title: Steering to Glory: A Day in the Life of a Ship of the Line
First Published by: Chatham Publishing
Date: 14 October 2005