From Nelson to Admiral Gambier
My Dear Sir,
The armed transports commanded by Lieutenants I am very anxious to have, they will safe convoy for every transport joining the fleet, at least if they have long guns, for otherwise they will not easily pass the Gut, but whatever they are armed yet they will be most useful for getting us Bullocks at Tangier and Stores will be safe in them and in fresh Breezes they will pass safely.
The Enemy I have no doubt will very soon put to Sea. I am dying with anxiety for frigates, as yet I can only get two, but I have ordered all I am within reach of, for less than eight and three good Brigs are not sufficient for this above all others important service of watching the Enemy's movements and to be with the fleet on the day of the Battle. I am sorry to be obliged at this moment to reduce my Force so low as 23 Sail of the Line, but if I did not begin the whole fleet in three weeks must have gone inside the Mediterranean. Half of the two decked ships are now under 90 tons of water. I was sorry to find by the cutter that Royal Sovereign nor Defiance had sailed, nor even the Melpomene, which was, I considered, ready when I sailed. The money must rest till I can assemble frigates. The Aurora's convoy has been detained at Gibraltar for want of frigates to see them safe, the money frigates must do that. The Apollo and Sybille I hope are ordered but I fear my means will arrive too late, for the battle will be over and I shall have to regret the want of frigates, but I am not complaining, for I know you must be as anxious to have the thing well done as I can be and therefore will expedite the means. The will come out you may rely and fight if forced to Battle.
Ever my Dear Sir, I am Your faithful Humble Servant,
NELSON AND BRONTE