French Eyewitness Account From Battle Of Trafalgar Uncovered





A French eyewitness account of the country's dramatic defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar has been discovered, shedding light on the historic battle.

Details of the sea battle, in which British boats chased and captured the French vessels, appear in the helmsman's log. The document, taken from the French ship Mont Blanc, was discovered by researchers from the British National Archives among the vessel's muster roll, the lists of payments to the crew on board.

Alistair Hanson, a historian at the National Archive, said: 'This discovery is of significance because it provides us with a rare French eyewitness account of the battle. It will also be valuable to French genealogists who will be able to track those seamen who died.'

The incident occurred towards the end of the Battle of Trafalgar as the boats Mont Blanc, Scipion, Duguay-Trouin and Formidable formed part of a vanguard of a combined fleet commanded by Rear Admiral Dumanoir Le Pelley.

Because of a breakdown in communication and a lack of wind, the ships were out of range for most of the battle. By the time they came face to face with the English, the Battle of Trafalgar had all but been won and the French fled. But they were captured and became the only enemy vessels to be brought back to the UK.

Bruno Papparlardo, naval historian at The National Archives, said: 'The log is one of the most exciting finds in recent times for naval historians and anyone interested in the Battle of Trafalgar.

'Together with the muster rolls for the ship and rolls for the Duguay- Trouin, the Scipion and the Formidable, this unique find will allow us to be able to make direct comparisons between the British and the French ships and give us a better insight into their battle plans.'


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John Allan Wilson - 11/6/2005

Now that's what I call History News. Can someone post details, please?