Horatio Nelson, wounded in battle at Tenerife in 1797, is taken to safety by his concerned crew. Engraving by J. Neagle, 1809, after R. Westall.
- Westall, Richard, 1765-1836.
- May 1809
About this work
Nelson was wounded on the shores of Tenerife in 1797 during a failed attack on the island. "Two landing attempts on 22 July, however, only succeeded in alerting the defences. Then a deserter's information persuaded the captains to make another attempt, and Nelson consented. This time the plan was for a direct frontal assault of the town in darkness, relying on speed to overwhelm the strong defences. Everyone knew it was very risky, and their assessment of the defences was optimistic. Though the governor, General Antonio Gutirrez, had fewer than 800 regular troops (including some French seamen) and about as many local militiamen (mostly without firearms), the defenders were well led, well trained, and in good heart. Even so, if the whole British force of 1000 had rushed the mole, as planned, they might well have succeeded, for it was defended by fewer than 100 men. Unfortunately the defences were alert, strong currents swept the boats along the shore, and only a few, including Nelson's, reached the mole. As he stepped from the boat he was wounded in the right arm. His stepson Lieutenant Josiah Nisbet got him aboard a boat and back to the Theseus, where his arm was amputated."--Oxford dictionary of national biography.