Sir Robert Calder's Action, July 22nd 1805

Method Aquatint with hand colouring
Artist T.Surtherland after T.Whitecombe
Published Publish'd March 1817, at 48 Strand for J.Jenkin's Navel Achievements.
Dimensions Image 190 x 255 mm
Notes In the War of the Third Coalition (1805-1806) Calder was in command of the squadrons blockading the ports of Rochefort and Ferrol, in which (amongst others) ships were being prepared for the invasion of England by Napoleon I. Calder held his position with a force greatly inferior to that of the enemy, and refused to be enticed out to sea.

On its becoming known that Napoleon intended to break the blockade of Ferrol, as a prelude to his invasion, the Admiralty ordered Rear-Admiral Charles Stirling to join Calder and intercept the Franco-Spanish fleet on their passage to Brest. The approach of the enemy was concealed by fog; finally on the 22 July 1805 the fleets came into sight. The allies outnumbered the British; but Calder ordered his fleet into action. The ensuing battle of Cape Finisterre was a serious defeat for Napoleon: fifteen British ships had engaged twenty French and Spanish ships and captured two. The British losses were 39 officers and men killed and 159 wounded; the allies lost 158 dead and 320 wounded. After four hours, as night fell, Calder gave orders to discontinue the action. He offered battle again on the two following days, but the challenge was not accepted. The French Admiral Villeneuve, however, did not pursue his voyage, but took refuge in Ferrol, eventually returning to Cádiz. Villeneuve had failed in all his objectives: he had landed no troops in Ireland, and the plan of linking with the fleet at Brest, driving off the British Channel squadrons, and supporting Napoleon's invasion of Britain came to nothing: the Armée d'Angleterre waited uselessly at Boulogne as before. In the judgment of Napoleon, his scheme of invasion was baffled by this day's action; but much indignation was felt in England at the failure of Calder to win a complete victory.
Framing mounted
Price £275.00
Stock ID 23697