The State of Nelson’s Fleet Before Trafalgar
The condition of a fleet after long service reflects on the Admiral’s care. Nelson’s fleet blockaded Toulon for 22 months and then was able to pursue Villeneuve to the West Indies, and back without scurvy or unseaworthiness affecting the ships. On arrival at Spithead, five ships were reported fit for service, six needed inspection or docking. The deaths in the fleet over two years amounted to 110 men with 140 in hospital out of 6,500 crew. The fleet physician attributed this achievement to the provision of antiscorbutics, Peruvian bark, good victualling, dry airy quarters, morale-boosting entertainment and no leave ashore.