Captain Robert Moorsom - Battle of Trafalgar

A cased Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund Trafalgar Sword, together with belt and sword slings of £100 value to Captain Robert Moorsom of HMS Revenge The sword with a curved single edged blade 31¼” and hollow ground beautifully enriched in blue and gilt throughout with flowers, foliage, naval and military trophies, entwined dolphins, Britannia and Victory, British arms and George III Royal Cypher. On the reverse side the recipient’s initials within a starburst and more gilt and blue decoration, the presentation inscription within a blued panel reads “From the Patriotic Fund at Lloyds to Robert Moorsom Esq Capt of HMS Revenge for His Meritorious Services in Contributing to the Signal Victory obtained over the combined fleet of France and Spain off Cape Trafalgar on the 21st October 1805”. Gilt stirrup hilt, the quillons shaped as fasces. the knuckle guard in the form of Hercules club entwined with a serpent, acanthus leaf langets below trophy of arms with in panel, ivory chequered grip, the backstrap in the form of the Nemean Lion. In its highly decorated two panelled gill scabbard with cast medallions on both sides of Britannia presenting an olive wreath to a successful fleet, set on a background of trophies of arms and flags with framed inscription of the ship and date “Revenge 21st Octr 1805". Hercules with Hydra and the Namean lion on remaining panels Within the velvet covered panels fasces, wreaths, anchors, armour etc. Two sword suspension loops in the form of coiled serpents, the chape bordered with bead decoration, locket engraved R. Teed Sword cutler, Lancaster Court, Strand. The sword is in good condition but has obvi­ously been worn by Captain Moorsom, and has been badly cleaned, the gilt is good, the gilt on the blade is dull. The leather belt is of regulation pattern for naval officers, black leather with double gilt wire line, 2 Iions heads and snake fastener. 7 other lion headed mounts adorn the belt and sword slings. In its original hardwood case. velvet  lined with paper Iabel inside lid explaining the meaning of the AIegorical emblems on the sword. The engraved brass recessed carrying handle is in the centre of the lid, the circular disc “From the Patriotic Fund Lloyds London to Robt Moorsom Capt of HMS Revenge 1805. MHM.

Note: Captain Robert Moorsom, H.M.S. Revenge. Although the Revenge was a 74 class she carred 84 guns at Trafalgar, the heavy weights included 16 x 32 pounders, 6 x 18 pounder carronades and instead of carrying 18 pounders she had 24 pounders. She formed part of Admi­ral Collingwood’s Division who were to engage the enemy rear and who were outnumbered by the amount of ships they took on. William “Nasty Face” Robinson was serving on Revenge and it is th his through his reminiscences that we know much about her performance at Trafalgar. When the combined enemy fleet was first sighted it “looked like a forest of masts rising from the Ocean”. Revenge came under fire a long time before she returned with her first shot. William Nasty Face Robinson said “Many of our men thought it hard that the fighting should be all on one side and became impatient to return this compliment”. Captain Moorsom knew that all their powder and ball was going to be needed when they got close in. He told his men ‘Never mind their firing, when I fire a carronade from the quarterdeck, that will be your signal for you to begin, and I know you will do your Duty us Englishmen”. As soon as the gunners heard the carronade they let go all their double shotted cannon. Moorsom made his way to the gap between the Spanish San Ildefonso and the French Achille but the two ships closed up and Achille’s jib boom ripped away Revenge’s mizzen topsail, Achille failed to ram Revenge up against San IIdefonso but the enemy crew were keen to board Revenge, Nastyface recalls “One ran her bowsprit over our poop with a number of her crew on it and in her rigging, two or three hundred men were ready to follow, but they caught a Tartar, our Marines with their small arms, and the carronades on the poop loaded with canister shot swept them off so fast, some into the water and some on the decks, that they were glad to sheer off”.

Captain Moorsom said “The Frenchmen were under my stern and I was obliged to endure a raking fire for a considerable time without being able to help myself for all our ropes were cut to pieces in going down and the wind so light that we were a long time exposed to their fire before we got near”. Nastyface reported that a gun crew were wiped out and that one of them was their cobbler and, as they were about to throw him overboard, he sprang back to life and fought the battle out.” The Revenge’s Chaplain recalls “Captain Moorsom had told his men “he would act as Lord Nelson had always done, lay his ship alongside the largest he came near and would leave the rest to his mcu’ they gave him three Chccrs and they fought like lions”. Eight shots had gone through the copper of the waterline of Revenge. Captain Moorsom was wounded in the cheek but would not quit the deck and ‘fought his ship as cooly as if at dinner’ as stated by the Chaplain. Nastvface wrote that the Dons fought as well as the French when one considers that to begin with the Spanish did not base great enthusiasm for the Battle. The Defence joined the Revenge in bombard­ing the San Ildefonso and together they shot away her mizzen and mainmasts. The battle raged on until after 4 o’clock and when it was over the men would start enquiring who was left, which of the mess mates had been thrown overboard, Nastyface recalled that the men were given a gill of rum and they needed it as they had not ate or drank since breakfast. Much of’ the forgoing was taken from “Trafalgar” by Clayton & Craig, just published and a good read. An interesting incident happened involving HMS Revenge, the wife of a French seaman was blown naked out of the French ship Achille, she was picked up by the sloop Pickle and transferred to the Revenge Captain Moorsom ordered the Purser to provide some cloth, needle and thread to make herself decent and the ending of the story was that she was reunited with her husband who had already been taken prisoner.