Captured crew list of the French ship, ‘Scipion’ which escaped at the Battle of Trafalgar, dated 1805
Four French ships from the vanguard of the combined fleet under the command of Rear-Admiral Dumanoir escaped during the Battle of Trafalgar: Scipion, Mont Blanc, Dugary-Trouin, and the Formidable. They were captured approximately a fortnight later, on 3 November 1805, by Captain (later Admiral) Richard Strachan, and taken to Plymouth as prizes. In amongst the High Court of Admiralty papers are captured documents (principally ship’s musters) of these ships under The National Archives catalogue references HCA 32/1171, HCA 32/1096, HCA 32/999 and HCA 32/1026 respectively.
These volumes list (in French) the entire crew of each vessel under headings which include: name, rank, place of birth, length of service, salary, monies due, monies owed, and details of transfers. Recent voyages are listed at the front of each volume, which reveal that the ships were part of the fleet that was chased across the Atlantic by Nelson prior to Trafalgar. Other information included in each piece varies from volume to volume. The muster book for the Scipion includes details of soldiers of the 67th infantry serving on board, mentions recent engagements including Trafalgar, and gives a few incidental details regarding reducing rations for some of the crew. The muster book for Mont Blanc also contains a helmsman’s log with a description of the Battle of Trafalgar.