The Campaign of Trafalgar

Sir Julian Corbett




Nonsuch Publishing

In 1910, the revered maritime strategist Sir Julian Stafford Corbett published The Campaign of Trafalgar, with the intent of providing the first ‘staff account’ of the celebrated battle. Beautifully written, and possessed of the historian’s classical precision, Corbett examines the underlying reasoning, both diplomatic and military, that wrought the framework of these famous endeavours. Corbett examines the various relations of the events of the campaign, from Nelson’s remarkable chase of Admiral de Villeneuve, to Bonaparte’s seemingly reckless unreadiness, and accords them their true place in an over-arching strategy. The intricacies of Pitt’s negotiations are evaluated in the context of England’s most real fears and ambitions, while Corbett considers the delicate balance of England and her allies’ territorial arrangements in the clear light of their colonial concerns. Crucially, and controversially, The Campaign of Trafalgar puts forward the theory that the campaign’s real importance lay, not so much in preventing an invasion of Britain, but in gaining control of the Mediterranean Seas; to render Britain impregnable was, however, heroism’s just reward.