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Friends, I am looking for help. I wish to purchase the best, the most detailed, account of the Battle of Trafalgar. As you are all no doubt aware there are a great many books to choose from! So I am looking for recommendations from the Forum members.

I await your deliberations with interest.

Mike.

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Wow.. tall order, Mike.  I suspect it's as Captain Poison's link shows, you'll need more than one book as there are so many aspects to this battle.  Even books just on one ship that was participant will have a perspective not found in others.  For example, The Billy Ruffian has details from the crew perspective for 3 major battles.. The Glorious First of June, Battle of the Nile, and Trafalgar.  

 

It would be great if there was just one source that covered everything, but I fear that it would be a rather large tome.

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Start with the basics from the era itself: William James's epic "Naval History of Great Britain" in six volumes, first published about 1823. It has always been in print. Should be easy for you to find over there. James's data was used and reused in every subsequent history. He is surprisingly detailed for the period. See volume III, pages 380-448, in particular.

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Mike,

 

The Euryalus master's log is considered the most comprehensive on site log of the battle.   The original is at Lloyd's of London but no longer available to be seen by the public due to its poor condition.  It was transcribed by Admiral T. Sturges Jackson in his chronicles and I transcribed it in the Euryalus book,

Volume I.  There is also a transcription in the Euryalus book of the Adm. Collinwood letter to the Admiralty  that was published November 6, 1805 in the London Gazette that you may find useful.  You can find these on line but please feel free to email me if you would like me send them over to you.  I would copy them here, but I use IE and I understand MSW does not allow cut and paste if you use IE.

 

Allan

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For me the best is "The voices of the battle of Trafalgar", a collection of plenty of letters written in the days or hours before an after the battle.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Voices-Battle-Trafalgar-Peter-Warwick/dp/0715325566/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478626444&sr=8-1&keywords=voices+of+trafalgar

 

XXXDan

Edited by dafi
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Mike,

 

The Euryalus master's log is considered the most comprehensive on site log of the battle.   The original is at Lloyd's of London but no longer available to be seen by the public due to its poor condition.  It was transcribed by Admiral T. Sturges Jackson in his chronicles and I transcribed it in the Euryalus book,

Volume I.  There is also a transcription in the Euryalus book of the Adm. Collinwood letter to the Admiralty  that was published November 6, 1805 in the London Gazette that you may find useful.  You can find these on line but please feel free to email me if you would like me send them over to you.  I would copy them here, but I use IE and I understand MSW does not allow cut and paste if you use IE.

 

Allan

 

Attached is the log of the Euryalus from Jackson, T. Sturges (Thomas Sturges). 1899. Logs of the Great Sea Fights, 1794-1805. Vol. 2. [London] Printed for the Navy records society. http://archive.org/details/logsofgreatseafi02jack.

 

Pages from 1899 logsofgreatseafi02jack.pdf

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My sincere thanks to everyone who responded to my request for information. Special thanks to those who provided sources and, in one case, actual material. The recommendation for The Trafalgar Companion was also much appreciated as this was something I had my eye on......a second hand copy will have to do!

I should explain that am not looking to research this topic in depth but I felt the need for something meaty never the less.

Thank you all, 

 

Mike.

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  • 1 month later...

I took Dafie's advice and got a copy of Voices of the Battle of Trafalgar and I'm reading it now.The book is a chronological presentation of relevant text quoted directly from contemporary sources and in each case participants in the battle. SO you are getting eyewitness first person accounts, about one every page, with contextual commentary from the author Peter Warwick. The narrative begins 1803 so you are getting insights into the build up leading to the battle.  I had THOUGHT that I had already read this book from a lending library fifteen years ago, it reads EXACTLY like the book I had read long ago and has the same format. But in perusing the books bibliography I came across a title written in 2002, so it could not be the book I had read 15 years ago so now I wonder which book that was? Anyway, I fully agree with Dafi that this is a great book for getting an overall picture. I would also recommend John Keegan's book The Price of Admiralty. That book is broken up into several essays on naval combat in general and has only about 1/5th of the book dedicated to the battle, but I recommend the book on the strength of that 1/5th, its a very good summery of things, the best I have read on the subject.

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