French Report of Trafalgar: Real or Not?

#1
Recently I came across this webpage that apparently contains an interesting French report of the Battle of Trafalgar:

French Report on Victory at Trafalgar : Nelson : Villeneuve : Napoleonic Era : Sailors :

While war propaganda is nothing unusual I find it hard to believe that the French would outright fabricate an event that never happened.
While it would be hilarious if the report was real and a whole new question of Napoleon's reaction would be opened up I find it hard to believe.
The site also contains a British report which, while obviously glorifying the British victory is much,much more realistic.

What do you think? Can anyone verify if the French report is real and tell me what you think.
 
Likes: Futurist
Apr 2017
2,861
Las Vegas, NV USA
#2
What do you think? Can anyone verify if the French report is real and tell me what you think.
Perhaps this might have something to do with the "Spectacular victory for the French and Spanish."

"The battle took place the day after the Battle of Ulm, and Napoleon did not hear about it for weeks—the Grande Armée had left Boulogne to fight Britain's allies before they could combine a huge force. He had tight control over the Paris media and kept the defeat a closely guarded secret for over a month, at which point newspapers proclaimed it to have been a tremendous victory.[76] In a counter-propaganda move, a fabricated text declaring the battle a "spectacular victory" for the French and Spanish was published in Herald and attributed to Le Moniteur Universel.[77][78]" Wikipedia
 
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Likes: Edratman
Dec 2014
6,125
Spain
#3
Recently I came across this webpage that apparently contains an interesting French report of the Battle of Trafalgar:

French Report on Victory at Trafalgar : Nelson : Villeneuve : Napoleonic Era : Sailors :

While war propaganda is nothing unusual I find it hard to believe that the French would outright fabricate an event that never happened.
While it would be hilarious if the report was real and a whole new question of Napoleon's reaction would be opened up I find it hard to believe.
The site also contains a British report which, while obviously glorifying the British victory is much,much more realistic.

What do you think? Can anyone verify if the French report is real and tell me what you think.
I am afraid it is not a French record but a joke written by one internet boy interested on Napoleon´s age. It is not well documented. No "Oliva" admiral in history of Real Armada... never... I think it is written "Olive" because Olive Oil!
And Santisima Trinidad in Trafalgar carried 140 cannons not 136.
 
Oct 2013
13,486
Europix
#5
I looked a bit around, the only mention of this report (in French) is under the title "Trafalgar: an example of fake news in 1805".

The site is saying that the French journal "le Moniteur" (which would be the source, apud "The Naval Chronicle, XIV, were the text appeared) didn't published anything in that period on the battle.

source: Trafalgar : exemple de Fake news en 1805
 
Mar 2019
276
Kansas
#6
.
The site also contains a British report which, while obviously glorifying the British victory is much,much more realistic.
It is known that the British report was doctored. Before he was wounded Nelson fully intended to court martial 3 of his captains for doing their best to avoid the action. Collingwood who assumed command of the fleet decided given the magnitude of the victory not pursue the disciplinary action because he thought it would detract from the bravery shown by most of the fleet.
 
Likes: Futurist
Oct 2010
8,485
#7
It is known that the British report was doctored. Before he was wounded Nelson fully intended to court martial 3 of his captains for doing their best to avoid the action. Collingwood who assumed command of the fleet decided given the magnitude of the victory not pursue the disciplinary action because he thought it would detract from the bravery shown by most of the fleet.
Source fore this claim about court marshaling captains. It sounds very dubious.
 
#8
Perhaps this might have something to do with the "Spectacular victory for the French and Spanish."

"The battle took place the day after the Battle of Ulm, and Napoleon did not hear about it for weeks—the Grande Armée had left Boulogne to fight Britain's allies before they could combine a huge force. He had tight control over the Paris media and kept the defeat a closely guarded secret for over a month, at which point newspapers proclaimed it to have been a tremendous victory.[76] In a counter-propaganda move, a fabricated text declaring the battle a "spectacular victory" for the French and Spanish was published in Herald and attributed to Le Moniteur Universel.[77][78]" Wikipedia
Interesting. This seems possible but I'm still not comfortable and will look into it further.

I am afraid it is not a French record but a joke written by one internet boy interested on Napoleon´s age. It is not well documented. No "Oliva" admiral in history of Real Armada... never... I think it is written "Olive" because Olive Oil!
And Santisima Trinidad in Trafalgar carried 140 cannons not 136.
Something leads me to believe this, who is the ''internet boy'' who wrote it? About Santisima Trinidad, the report misrepresents it as having 74 guns and the British ship that engaged it as having 136. No British ship at Trafalgar carried that many guns and as you say Santisima Trinidad had 140. If the report is real this could work for propaganda as I doubt an average French soldier or citizen would know what Santisima Trinidad is and how many guns it really has.
 
Likes: martin76
#9
It is known that the British report was doctored. Before he was wounded Nelson fully intended to court martial 3 of his captains for doing their best to avoid the action. Collingwood who assumed command of the fleet decided given the magnitude of the victory not pursue the disciplinary action because he thought it would detract from the bravery shown by most of the fleet.
I would like a source for Nelson court-martialing captains as well. The captains of Prince and Britannia were rightfully attacked for inaction but as far as I read there was to be no court-martialing. Collingwood did heavily misrepresent the action. The following is taken from the naval history ''In Nelson's Wake'' and I believe it describes the situation well, the court martial comment is underlined:

The crude arithmetic of ships and men confirmed the British triumph, but in the aftermath of battle, doubts were still cast on the conduct of many of the ships’ captains who had been in the very thin of the fray. Richard Grindall’s Prince had performed appallingly, while Lord Northesk, inBritannia, had failed to engage closely or overpower any enemy ship. Collingwood’s flag captain, Edward Rotheram, later criticised Grindall and Northesk’s conduct, saying they both ‘behaved notoriously ill in the Trafalgar action’. Thomas Fremantle noted that ‘many have in my opinion behaved improperly’, while Blackwood suggested to Collingwood that ‘there had been a want of exertion on the part of some particular ship’. Some vessels had fired too early, the ensuing smoke hindering their ability to locate targets; only Codrington in Orion timed his gunnery to perfection. While the captains had been encouraged to use their initiative, not all of them were blessed with decision-making abilities. Captain Berry was criticised by Codrington, who described Agamemnon ‘blazing away and wasting her ammunition’. The worst accusations were reserved for those that had failed to come into the action until very late in the day, allowing many enemy ships to flee. In total 15 enemy vessels escaped, and the feeling among the survivors was that the victory could have been more complete. Lieutenant William Pringle Green, writing seven years later, stated that ‘if the officers had done their duty in every ship’ then ‘the whole of the enemy’ would have been taken or destroyed. Feelings were particularly high in Victory, which had sustained so many casualties. The sailor, John Brown, stated in a letter home that only fourteen vessels had fought in the action, and criticised bitterly the ships that had ‘skulkd a way’. He reserved special condemnation for Prince, which ‘had nobody kill’d or Wounded’.

Collingwood, who assumed command of the British fleet, knew of these furtive mutterings and privately admitted that many ships had avoided the worst of the action. He confided to Lord Barham that, ‘although the exertion on the 21st was very great, it was not equal by any means; some of the ships in the rear of my line, although good sailing ships, did not answer my expectations fully.’ However, there was to be no inquiry, and no courts martial. Understanding the political importance of a victory unsullied by talk of cowardice or incompetence, Collingwood left any such misgivings out of his official dispatches, and ensured that the public did not learn of the missed opportunities. Instead, he hailed a ‘complete and glorious victory’, and his dispatches singled out only Temeraire for special praise, noting ‘the invincible spirit of British seamen, when engaging the enemies of their country’.
Pages 210-212 (May vary depending on the edition.)
 
Mar 2019
276
Kansas
#10
I would like a source for Nelson court-martialing captains as well. The captains of Prince and Britannia were rightfully attacked for inaction but as far as I read there was to be no court-martialing. Collingwood did heavily misrepresent the action. The following is taken from the naval history ''In Nelson's Wake'' and I believe it describes the situation well, the court martial comment is underlined:
I suspect I have misremembered what I read. :( The passage you quote is extremely familiar. And I am glad you found it. I have been wracking my brain trying to remember where I read it

Nelson was wounded a good two hours before the battle was decided, so logic would suggest he would not have been on deck to see ships that might not have been pressing the enemy with as much enthusiasm as they should have