|Commander K. at Nelson's Column|
Trafalgar Square, London
An alliance misnamed "The Armed Neutrality of the North" combined the forces of Russia (led by the half-mad Tsar Paul I), Prussia, Sweden and Denmark. This group was allied with Napoleonic France against Britain and placed an embargo to British shipping throughout the Baltic ports. This alliance represented a mortal threat to British power as Scandinavia was the principal source of timber and hemp for rope and canvas -- critical components of the Royal Navy.
|Commander K. + Nelson|
Malta Maritime Museum, Malta
At a critical moment that afternoon Lord Nelson penned a note to the Danes seeking a temporary truce:
"To the Brothers of Englishmen, the Danes
'Lord Nelson has directions to spare Denmark when she is no longer resisting, but if firing is continued on the part of Denmark, Lord Nelson will be obliged to set on fire the floating batteries he has taken, without having the power of saving the brave Danes who have defended them."
After being pounded with broadsides from the British 74-gun ships of the line, the Danes agreed to a temporary truce and the crisis passed. In spite of Parker's caution, Lord Nelson and the Royal Navy prevailed that day capturing 12 Danish ships, sinking two, blowing up another and setting much of Copenhagen ablaze. The butcher's bill for the battle of Copenhagen was 350 British dead, about 1,600 Danes killed and 2,000 captured.
|Lord Horatio Nelson, Trafalgar Square|
Photo: Courtesy Jim Hooper
|Commander K. and Nelson, Crypt St. Paul's, London|
"Though I have only one eye, I see all this will burn very well."
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