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Letter by Nelson to Sir Hyde Parker, 24 March 1801

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Catalogue reference: ADM 1/4 (Ha 48A)


March 24th 1801

Saint George

My Dear Sir Hyde

The conversation We had yesterday has naturally from its importance been the Subject on my thoughts, and the more I have reflected the more I am confirmed in opinion that not a moment should be lost in attacking the Enemy, they will every day & hour be stronger, we never shall be so good a Match for them as at this moment, the only consideration in my mind is how to get at them with the least risk to our Ships.

By Mr Vansittarts account the Danes have taken every means in their power to prevent our getting to attack Copenhagen by the passage of the sound, Cronenburg has been Strengthened, the Crown Islands fortify’d (on the outermost of which are 20 Guns pointing mostly downwards and only 800 yards from very formidable batterys placed under the Citadel supported by five Sail of the line, Seven floating batteries of 50 Guns each, besides small craft, gun boats &c &c, also that the Revel Squadron of 12 or 14 Sail of the line are soon expected as also 5 sail of Swedes; It would appear by what you have told me of your Instructions that Government took for granted that you would find no difficulty in getting off Copenhagen, and that in the event of a failure of negotiation that you might instantly attack, and that there would be scarcely a doubt but the Danish fleet would be destroy’d, and the Capital made so hot that Denmark would listen to reason and its true interest, By Mr Vansittarts account their state of preparations exceeds what he conceives our Government thought possible, and that the Danish Government is hostile to us, in the greatest possible degree, therefore here you are, with almost the safety, certainly the honour of England more entrusted to you



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