Captain George Duff
Died in command of H M S Mars 21st October 1805
Captain Duff to his wife
Mars, off Cadiz, October 17[, 1805]
I sent away my letter to my ever dearest Sophia on Sunday, by the Prince of Wales. I am sorry to find there have been two opinions of Sir Robert Calder's conduct, when in sight of the enemy. I regret it very much, as he is a very worthy gallant officer. As the situation of the enemy's fleet, and the orders he was under, were known only to himself, I am very glad to find a court martial is to take place; I hope it will completely clear him.
Lieutenant Capples, one of our marine officers, a very good man, being ordered home in the Prince of Wales, I have sent by him the moorish plaid, or whatever you may call it, and have desired him to do the best he can to get it to you, which I am sure he will do.
On Sunday I got your letter of the 22nd August, by Lisbon: it was rather long in coming, but as I wish to hear from my dearest wife every opportunity, you may as well now and then send a letter that way.
From all account, we shall have war on the Continent, but I think the hotter war the
sooner peace. As to ship, station, Admiral, &c., I cannot be better off.
We have been long told that a promotion is to take place; but I will never believe
it till I see it in the Gazette, as I cannot see how they can make one, when we have so
many on the Admirals' list already; if they take in the same number as they have
usually done, in two promotions I shall be very near, if not in it; but I have so many
great men near me, they will get the marines. I should have no objection to a few
years of them in peace without the flag; but my chance is little indeed. However, I
have this comfort to say, that few have served more than me, for whatever may fall to my
October 18[, 1805]
I now recommence my letter of yesterday. The only news I have since heard, is that Sir Richard Strachan, with six sail of the line, was in sight of the French squadron from Rochfort, which has been cruising off Cape Finisterre for a long time: if he gets up with them, he will I hope give a good account of them.
You ask me about Lord Nelson, and how
I like him. I have already answered that question, as every person must do that ever
served under him. When we want any thinng we shall go to Gibraltar, as there is a
dockyard and stored there, and I suppose we shall remain off here till the combined fleet
gives us the slip. This place is easy to blockade during the summer, but no place
can be blockaded in the winter; and although every look-out possible will be kept, I
have little doubt of their getting off, if they wish it, during the winter.
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Updated at 19:02 on 12 March 2008