Captain George Duff

Born 1764
Died in command of H M S Mars 21st October 1805


To his wife


May 6[, 1805]

I have been paying my respects today to Admiral Collingwood.  He is the senior officer ordered to be ready for foreign service, and a fine steady good officer he is.   I do not know one I would so soon go on service with; but he is still of my opinion, that it is a matter of precaution, having so many sail of the line ready to follow the enemy whereever he may go, and by no means clkear that we should ever leave the fleet.  
 I long much to be with you all, and to see our young Miss Ann. [Anna Margaret Duff 1805 - 1827 had been born since his departure.]  We are now very old married folks: this day 14 years [ago] was the first time I could claim you as my own, and we have had very little of one another's society since we have been married. This war must soon have an end, when I hope to remain with you altogether; for we are now become rather an old couple, and do not wish for a change: indeed I do not think it ever was our wish I may say, since we first knew each other.  I frerquently recollect with pleasure our playing together when at school, at my father's.  In short, it required every thing here to keep one's spirits up, so far from those we love.        

May 7[, 1805]

I have no news to tell my ever dearest Sophia; but as a ship from England has been in sight all day, I take her to be the Bellerophon, our old friend Cooke, and I hope to have some letters by him from you.  He is one of my oldest friends in the serevice, and was, till the other day, Captain of the guard-ship at Plymouth; but he was no sooner appointed to the Bellerophon, than he was ordered to fit for foreign service*.  If we go to the Mediterranean, I shall be very glad to have so good and old a friend of the party.  God bless you all, and good night. 
Captain Cooke, after the most gallant conduct, fell about the same time as his friend, Captain Duff, in the battle of Trafalgar.  The enemy were attempting to board, when he was struck with a grape shot in the breast, and fell upon the deck.  His men were going to carry him below, when he exclaimed, "Let me die in peace!" 


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Updated at  19:06 on 12 March 2008