Nelson wounded at Tenerife, 24 July 1797 by Richard Westall

Nelson wounded at Tenerife, 24 July 1797

Richard Westall

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Nelson wounded at Tenerife, 24 July 1797

After the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 14 February 1797, Nelson was stationed off Cadiz and was ordered to take possession of the town and harbour of Santa Cruz in Tenerife, where Spanish treasure ships were reported to be lying. After several failed attempts Nelson decided upon a direct assault on Santa Cruz by night. During his attempt to land Nelson was about to disembark when he was hit just above the right elbow by a musket or similar ball fired as grapeshot, which shattered the bone and joint. The arm was amputated aboard the 'Theseus' that night. In the painting, Nelson's barge is shown beached in the surf, in port-bow view. Hit on the point of landing he reeled and staggered back into the boat where he lies, having transferred his sword to his left hand. He is supported by a sailor and there is blood on the sailor's shirt and on the lining of Nelson's coat. Lieutenant Josiah Nisbet, Nelson's stepson, stands behind him and is saving his life by staunching the blood.
Richard Westall

  • Image reference: BHC0498

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