Nelson at Santa Cruz

By J.D. Spinney, published August 1959


Once the Spanish fleet had been driven into Cadiz following the battle of Cape St Vincent, expectations amongst senior officers and the Admiralty were high that they might yet lay hands on the Spanish treasure ships sheltering at Santa Cruz. The San José from Manilla and the Principe Fernando from Mauritius, both the property of the Royal Campany of the Philippines, lay in the outer roadstead when Terpsichore and Dido arrived to check if they had arrrived. By mischance the Fernando was towed away, leaving the enormous bulk and treasure of the San José intact.   To correct this, Nelson planned meticulously a cutting out expedition againt the Spanish force at Santa Cruz.   Unfortunately a strong current inshore prevented the ships’ boats from reaching the shore before dawn, and a second attempt was also foiled by the weather. But Nelson was persistent, and a third attempt resulted in men being landed. But the Spanish defence was alert and despite courageous efforts by Troubridge eventually an honourable capitulation was agreed.

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Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

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