On October 21, 2005, the 200th Anniversary of Britain's Greatest Naval Victory,
the Bay Area English Regency Society invites you to attend

at 5:30 PM (by advance reservation only), followed by

at 8:30 PM (reserve or pay at the door)

Friday, Oct. 21, 2005,

Arlington Community Church

52 Arlington Avenue in Kensington, CA

(in the hills above El Cerrito)

5:30 p.m. Nelson Memorial Dinner

8:30 p.m. Victory Ball

Preview the dances at the BAERS 2nd Friday Dance Party on October 14, 8:00 pm,
at St. Mark's Episcopal Church (600 Colorado Avenue, 1.5 blocks west of
Middlefield in Palo Alto. Separate admission, $8.)

The evening will begin at 5:30 when the doors open for the Admiral Lord
Nelson Memorial Dinner, a traditional beef (or fish alternative) buffet.

Guests who wish to attend only the Battle of Trafalgar Victory
Ball can arrive at 8 for dancing to begin at 8:30.

To make Dinner/Ball reservations: $50 for reservations postmarked no later than Oct. 7th.
$60 postmarked Oct. 8 or later; we must receive your reservation by October 17th.

To reserve a spot for the Trafalgar Ball ONLY: $15 mail-in reservation, $20 at the door.

Please contact Jolie Velazquez for more information:
joltraf1805@yahoo.com or 415-931-5775 evenings.

The full tale of this famous battle

As Napoleon threatened to invade the sceptered Isle of England, Horatio Nelson, Rear Admiral of the White, took the fleet under his command to find and defeat the combined navies of France and Spain. Already a hero after his brilliant leadership in other naval victories, especially the Battle of Nile in 1898, Nelson had the hearts of the English people as well as the seamen and officers who served under him. Willing to break the long-established rules of naval warfare, he had brought his homeland victories, France its few defeats.

In the summer of 1805, Nelson gathered 33 ships and led a sometimes wild-goose chase across the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas trying to second-guess where the enemy fleet may be hiding. But on the evening of Oct. 20, he finally caught up with the fleet off the Cape of Trafalgar, Spain under Admiral Villaneuve. Villaneuve knew that his 15,000 sailors were under-trained and under-equipped, and had been driven into hiding at Cadiz for several weeks, even though he outnumbered the English ships. But under direct orders from Napoleon to go out and fight, he set sail and ran right into Nelson's squadron.

What Nelson did that evening and the next morning were documented with reverence. He met with his captains to give them the battle orders, which he called the "Nelson Touch." (Bold movement straight at ships lined up to produce mass broadsides.) He wrote last letters to his daughter Horatia and her mother, Emma Hamilton, his mistress of many years. Being a generally melancholy fellow, he also wrote a will in which he asked his nation to support the common-law family he was leaving behind. He said a famous prayer, and on deck dictated his well-known signal to the fleet, "England expects that every many will do his duty."

Moving large fleets takes time so it was mid-day before the two armadas met in combat on the 21st. True to form, the French-Spanish fleet was lined up to maximize their firepower, but Nelson's ships were proceeding in spearhead lines that were going to cut into the defenses into order to rake the enemy ships (firing down the length rather than broadside). The tactic was a gamble because the English ships were vulnerable to raking themselves until close enough for action. But as they were moving targets, the odds were still in their favor, and it worked.

Not long after Nelson's flagship, the "Victory," engaged three French ships, a sniper on board the "Redoubtable" fired a shot that entered Nelson's shoulder and traveled down into his spine. The damage was too extensive for treatment, and he was taken below to made a comfortable as possible before the end. He lived long enough to hear from his close friend Captain Hardy that they had won a tremendous victory, having destroyed, damaged or captured the majority of the enemy fleet. Only a third of the French sailors made it back to port, and many were wounded. It was the worst defeat ever inflicted on a British enemy.

When England received the news of the victory almost two weeks later the rejoicing was tempered by the loss of their greatest hero. There were balls and bonfires around the country, but the nation really pulled out all the stops for Nelson's funeral when his body arrived preserved in a cask of liquor. His coffin was made out of the mast of the "Orient," the French flagship (one of the largest ever built) that had been blown up during the Battle of the Nile. His procession was witnessed by huge crowds of mourners, and he was interred in Westminster Abbey, along with royalty and notables.

The "Victory" is the only preserved war ship of its time. Visitors to Greenwich can tour her and see where Nelson was shot and where he died below decks. Celebrations of this year's 200th anniversary of the battle and Nelson's triumph and death have taken place all year in Britain. Our event is but a modest tribute to both the man and the achievement.

For more information about Nelson and his career go to www.nelsonnavy.co.uk.


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