HMS Victory

HMS Victory, flagship of Admiral Sir John Jervis at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent

February 14th 1997 marked the bicentenary of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, the first of the important series of Horatio Nelson's naval victories leading up to the bicentennial of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005.

1797 was an eventful year - two of the Royal Navy's greatest victories were achieved in this year - St. Vincent in February and Camperdown in October. Yet, between these two dates the navy passed through a serious crisis of fleet mutinies at Spithead and The Nore. 1797 also saw the rise to fame of Horatio Nelson, whose dramatic action at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent secured victory.

At the battle Admiral Sir John Jervis (later Earl St. Vincent) led a squadron of 15 sail against a numerically far superior Spanish fleet. He fell on them off the southern coast of Portugal as they were running for Cadiz and divided their line into two parts. From his flagship, HMS Victory he ordered his ships to tack in succession and prevent the gap from being closed. Nelson, last but two in the line, saw that this manouevre would not be completed in time and made a quick decision to turn his ship, HMS Captain into the gap. He took on seven Spanish ships, including the Santissima Trinidad, the largest ship in the world and two other ships, the San Nicolas and San Josef. Through a hail of pistol and musket fire he led boarding parties onto both and captured both.

By nightfall four ships had been taken and ten others crippled. Admiral Jervis was generous in his praise of Nelson who was knighted (KB). Commodore Nelson was to fly his flag as Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson - the promotion had been approved before the battle but Nelson did not hear of it until after St. Vincent.

St Vincent - 14th February 1797

The Battle, the Commanders, the Flagship
the main commemorative web site


Nelson, an exhibition of his life and times, can be seen at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

The Nelson Gallery - NMM

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Links to related sites

Vice Admiral Nelson Vice Admiral Lord Nelson's home page - presented in partnership with the 1805 Society
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard The world's greatest historic ships at Portsmouth's historic dockyard
National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London.
The Nelson Society promoting interest in and appreciation of the life of Admiral Lord Nelson
'England Expects....' Eastern Counties Network Nelson pages
Nelson project Norfolk Education
Nelson and his Navy Anglia Multimedia CD ROM
Spectrum line
Web rings and Historical site links
St Vincent College is pleased to participate in these WebRing links - use the links to visit other participating sites

The Royal Navy Ring

The History Ring

The Naval Ships History Ring

The European History Ring award
Selected by as one of the best military sites on the web - awarded Distinguished Military Site Award - 2001

HMS VictoryHMS Victory - visitor information

One of the Portsmouth Historic Ships
Tourist information and links to web sites
HMS Victory - the virtual tour

These pages created by Peter Milford, St. Vincent College, Gosport, to commemorate the bi-centenary of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent - February 14th 1797

St. Vincent College - maintaining the St. Vincent tradition of education and training
© Copyright: Peter J. Milford - January 1997 - 2001
The contents of this site are © copyright Peter J. Milford
unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without express permission