Activity 4: Nelson's Letters
The principal means of communication in Nelson's time was by letter. These pages contain just a few of the letters which Nelson wrote. They help us understand his life, and some of the feelings he had about events in which he took part.
The index to the letters is given below. Nelson was married to Frances, whom he calls Fanny, but later in his life he had an affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton. There are examples of letters to both women, and to colleagues in the British fleet, as well as official naval letters. The selection also includes letters to Nelson.
The earlier letters are signed Horatio Nelson; the later ones Nelson and Bronte. Nelson had been made Duke of Bronte and added the title to his signature.
- Captain Nelson writes a love letter to his betrothed (Frances); 19th August, 1786
- Captain Nelson hopes for a "neat cottage" to his wife; 17th January 1795
- Captain Collingwood congratulates Nelson on his part in the Battle of St Vincent; 15th February 1795
- Captain Nelson tells his wife of his faith in himself; 2nd August 1796
- Rear-Admiral Nelson's first letter after the loss of his arm: to Sir John Jervis; 27th July 1797
- Nelson writes to his wife after the loss of his arm; 3rd August 1797
- Captain Collingwood congratulates Sir Horatio Nelson on the Nile; 27th September 1798
- Nelson to Alexander Davison, his agent; about 30th September 1805
- Nelson expresses his anxieties about frigates to Admiral Gambier; 6th October 1805
- Nelson sends Collingwood the "Nelson Touch"; 9th October 1805
- Nelson's last letter to Admiral Collingwood; 19th October 1805
- Nelson's Last Letter to his Daughter Horatia; 19th October 1805 (written two days before Trafalgar)
- Nelson's Last Letter to Lady Hamilton; 19th October 1805 (also written two days before Trafalgar)