and I can never forget the sorrow and consternation that lay on every countenance . . . Numbers stopped me and shook hands with me, because they had seen the tears on my cheek, and conjectured that I was an Englishman; and several, as they held my hand, burst, themselves, into tears.Roger Knight, The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson at 528 (2005).
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Today is the 204th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, possibly the most decisive naval engagement in history. The French and Spanish lost 22 ships; the British none, and Britain gained a century of maritime supremacy, though at the cost of the life of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, the widely-esteemed British commander. English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was walking the streets of Naples when the news arrived there: