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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July 2005, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Nelson's letter sold for 66,000
Nelson's letter
The letter outlining his strategy for the upcoming battle
A letter outlining Nelson's strategy for the Battle of Trafalgar has been sold at auction for 66,000.

In the four-page document, written on board HMS Victory on 5 October 1805, Nelson vows to "annihilate" the Franco-Spanish fleet.

The letter was sold at Bonhams in London on Tuesday.

The eve-of-battle letter was one of the highlights of Bonhams' sale of artefacts relating to Nelson and the Royal Navy 1750-1815.

The letter is quite possibly the finest letter relating to Trafalgar remaining in private hands

Nelson's letter was sent to Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty, outlining his strategy for the upcoming battle, which proved one of Britain's most famous naval victories.

In it, Nelson writes (quoted verbatim): "I have 23 Sail with Me and Should they come out I shall immediately bring them to battle but although I should not doubt of Spoiling any Voyage they may attempt Yet I hope for the arrival of the Ships from England that as an Enemys fleet they may be annihilated."

A spokesman for the auctioneers said: "The letter is quite possibly the finest letter relating to Trafalgar remaining in private hands."

The auction also includes a further 29 letters written by Nelson and another 80 manuscripts relating to him or the Royal Navy of his time.

HMS Victory

Another of the main lots, a "secret memorandum" in which Nelson sets out his tactics for the Battle of Trafalgar to his captains, was sold for 55,200.

Other items on sale include a fragment of sail believed to be from HMS Victory which was found in Ipswich, is expected to fetch 8,000 - 12,000.

Collectors will also be bidding for a chamber pot commissioned for Napoleon while he was in exile on the British island of St Helena in the South Atlantic, which is expected to sell for 1,200 - 1,500.

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