Aspect 4: Log of the Albemarle

Horatio Nelson was captain of the Albemarle from 1781 to 1783.


Below the map you'll find an extract from the vessels log for November 1781, when HMS Albemarle was one of the escort ships bringing a large convoy back to England from Denmark. You'll find a reproduction of the page of the log referring to the ship's arrival in Yarmouth Roads on page 12 of 'Maritime Norfolk Part Two'.

The markers indicate the passage of HMS Albermarle from 25th November 1781 to 3rd January 1782. The blue markers use the latitude and longitude when it is given in the log; the purple markers use an estimated latititude and longitude from the bearing given in the log. This is because when vessel was in sight of land, a bearing relative to the land was much easier than using the sextant and the other instruments required when the vessel was out of sight of land.

Occasionally a white marker is used, such as on the 17th December. This reflects information on the ship's position indicated by the bearings given within the text of the log, in between the 24 hours positions given by the blue and purple markers.






A transcription of the log is given below the map. A question mark indicates an entry which is difficult to read.


We have taken Masterland Castle to be Marstrand on the Swedish Coast and the Cole to be the Kull or Kullens. In the former case the castle on the island would have been a prominent marker and the latter had a light on the promontory. At that time the day was taken to change at 12 noon rather than 12 midnight in ships of the Royal Navy. The ruling was changed about 1806.

DateBearingWindsCoursesLog Entry
Tuesday 27 Nov, 1781Moored in Elsinore RoadsFrom SSE to SE Fresh breezes and hazey weather. a.m. ditto wather. The Sampson made the signal for sailing. Answered ditto. People employed occasionally.
Wednesday 28 Nov, 1781Moored in Elsinore RoadsSSE, SE Fresh gales and hazey weather. Ships company variously employed. Carpenters employed raising the comins of the hatchways. a.m./More moderate. Repeated the signal for sailing.
Saturday 8 Dec, 1781Cole NEbyE/?6 miles St Catherines Hill WSWEasterly Ditto winds and weather. /p.m.? The Sampson made the signal for sailing. Repeated ditto. At 8 a.m./ the signal was made to weigh. At 9 weighed and came to sail in company with His Majesty's Ships Sampson, Enterprize, Argo, with a convoy. Repeated the signal for the convoy to make more sail. At 10/a.m./ abreast of Elsinore Castle. At noon the Cole NEby
Sunday 9 Dec, 1781Masterland Castle ENE/E 5 leaguesEast, E by SEN/NEModerate breezes clear weather ? ? p.m./ hove too for the convoy to come ? ? ? The Cole ? ? Sweden Island E
Monday 10 Dec, 1781Naze of Norway, W 47 milesE by SE, NE, SEW,SLight airs & clear frosty weather. At 2 pm Masterland Castle EbyS 6 or 7 leagues. Convoy in company. At 6 the Commodore SW
Tuesday 11 Dec, 1781N 7 East, 27 leaguesSE by E, SES36WDitto weather. At 2 p.m./ repeated the signal for the sternmost of the convoy to make more sail. At 4 the Commodore & body of the convoy ahead & 44 sail astern & much scattered. At 8 ditto weather. Convoy in company. At midnight fresh breezes and squally. Convoy in company. Could see nothing of the Sampson. At 2am/ fresh gales. At
Wednesday 12 Dec, 1781Flamboro Head, S 70 W 59 ⅔ ?SSE, SouthSWFresh gales & hazey. At 3pm 67 sail in sight. At 8 ditto weather. More of the convoy in sight. At midnight moderate and hazey. At 7am/ two sail in sight. At 8 bore away and gave a chase to the SW. At 9 spoke to a fisherman bound to Ostend
DateBearingWindsCoursesLog Entry
Thursday 13 Dec, 1781So 74 W, 29 leaguesSouth, SSE, S by WS67WFresh gales and hazey. At 4pm/ sounded 17 fathom. Convoy in company. At 6 the body of the convoy about 3 miles ahead. At midnight sounded 16 fathoms and with 13 ? ? Convoy in company. At 2 am/ spoke a sloop from Harwich fishing. At /2/18 saw a cutter to leeward turn up to the convoy. At 9 wore ship after her but could not come up with her. At 11 the Commodore made the signal to come within hail of him ?
Friday 14 Dec, 1781Hornsey, WNW milesSbyE, SbyW, S Moderate breeze hazey weather. Bore away. 114 sail in sight. At 2 pm the Sampson made the signal to speak the Argo. At 3 repeated the signal for ships of the starboard ? to close.
Sunday 16 Dec, 1781Spurn WNW 7 milesSSW, WSW Fresh breezes and foggy weather. Working up under the land. At 3 repeated signal to anchor.
Monday 17 Dec, 1781 23:59Anchored in Yarmouth RoadsWbyN, WSW, SW Ditto weather.
Tuesday 18 Dec, 1781DittoNNW, NbyE Moderate and hazey. Employed mending sails /a.m. foggy weather. Made the signal for all masters of merchantmen. People employed occasionally.
Wednesday 19 Dec, 1781Moored in ditto  Moderate and hazey weather throughout. Moor ship. Made the signal for all masters of merchantmen. People employed variously.
Thursday 20 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SSW Moderate and rainy weather. Sailed His Majesty's ship Artois, cleared hawse, ??? Ditto. Weather. Employed variously.
DateBearingWindsCoursesLog Entry
Friday 21 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SW, WSW Moderate and hazey weather. Sent empty casks ashore. People variously employed.
Saturday 22 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.Ditto Moderate breezes and hazey weather. Employed variously. |a.m.| Sent ashore empty casks.
Sunday 23 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SSW Fresh gales wth rainy weather. |am| Mustered the ships company. Received beer and water on board.
Monday 24 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SSW Do. Winds and weather. Struck lower yard. S. top gallant masts |a.m.| Employed in the hold and other jobbs.
Tuesday 25 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.Westerly First and middle parts. Fresh gales and cloudy residue. Moderate and fair weather. |a.m.| Got up topgallant masts and lower yards. Made the signal with a 9 pounder for unmooring ? Unmoored & hove in to
Wednesday 26 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SW,S by W Moderate winds and fair weather. ? Meridian. Made the signal to weigh with a 9 pounder. Ditto. Weighed & came to sail. Removed at St Nicholas Gatway. At 5 made the signal with a 9 pounder to tack. Ditto. ??? signals. At 10 fresh gales Tacked. Occasionally during the night fired nine pounders. Signal guns
Thursday 27 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SSW Fresh gales with hazey weather. Moored a cable each way. Golston tower NW & W. Yarmouth steeple No Dist. off shore 1
DateBearingWindsCoursesLog Entry
Friday 28 Dec, 1781At anchoring in Yarmouth Roads.WSW Fresh gales. a.m./ strong gales at 5. Struck ?? Masts of lower yards. Ditto. Veered to 2 cables on the best bower. At 8 made the signal with a 9 pound gun to moor. Ditto let go the small bower anchor. Struck fore and main of masts . At 11 struck mizen tomast, employed making nippers and sundry jobbs.
Saturday 29 Dec, 1781At anchoring in Yarmouth Roads.WSW Strong gales and hazy weather. Arrived here His Majecty's Ship Proselyte. At 6pm moored a cable each way. Am/ More moderate. Swayed up the topmasts and sett up the rigging, loosed the foresails and mainsails to dry. Ditto mended sails.
Sunday 30 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.SW Fresh breezes and rainy weather. Received beer and water on board. Mustered the ships company. ?? cleared hawse.
Monday 31 Dec, 1781Moored in Yarmouth Roads.  Moderate breezes and hazey weather. p.m./ made the signal with a 9 pounder to unmoor. Ditto. Unmoored & hove into a whole cable on the whole bower. At 8 pm/ squally with rain. Made the signal with a 9 pounder to ?? Years & topmasts stuck. Ditto. At 6a.m./ made the signal with a 9 pounder & swayed up yards & topmasts. At 9 made the signal with a 9 pounder to weigh. At 11 weighed and came to sails. Sampson, Preston, Argo and convoy in company.
Tuesday 1 Jan, 1782    
Wednesday 2 Jan, 1782   Fresh breezes & hazey weather. Shortened sail occasionally for the convoy. At 3p.m. hove too. At 4 filled S Foreland NWbyS 4 or 5 miles.
Thursday 3 Jan, 1782   Fresh breezes with rain at 7pm moored ship a cable each way upper Deal mill South Foreland SW by W offshore 1
DateBearingWindsCoursesLog Entry