Ceramic flagons like this one, but slightly larger having a capacity of one-Imperial gallon, were used to carry and store rum on board ships of Great Britain's Royal Navy from the late 1800's through July 31st, 1970 on which date the daily issue of rum was terminated. The navy's flagons were encased in a tightly hand-woven willow basket to reduce breakage, whereas this Pusser's version has been decorated to salute one of the world's greatest fighting admirals, Horatio Nelson. Two hundred years following the event that created it, the term "Nelson's Blood" still remains a vital part of the lexicon of the seaman and the Royal Navy - in continuous service since the days of Henry VIII from the year 1525. ADMIRAL LORD HORATIO NELSON At the beginning of the 19th century, England was in a difficult position. Parts of the North American colonies had gained their independence from the crown. Spain was the undisputed ruler of the oceans and a strict enemy to England. English ships were often taken by the Spanish fleet and there was no defence against this. Europe had been conquered by Napoleon's French army and Britain was threatened by invasion. The British fleet was weak in number and suffered from uncreative leadership. There was one British naval officer who was different - Horatio Nelson! Admiral Nelson was an outstanding and strongly nonconformist leader. He did not follow the old and traditional patterns, but instead created his own solutions in the battles and engagements that he fought and later lead. In fact, at times his path to success was in direct defiance of the orders given him. He did not follow orders that he found useless or not according to his own concept, and because of his leadership and tactical genius, he was victorious in every major engagement he fought and was therefore never brought to task for his disobedience. He was popular and well-respected, and those he led worshipped him in contrast to the usual relationship between English military leaders and their men at that time. He was always personally in the thick of the fight. He appealed to the pride and patriotism of his sailors. This connection to his men, apart from winning the most important sea battle at the time and one of the greatest in the annals of naval warfare, made him a hero to not only his men and the Royal Navy, but to the common people of England where the Battle of Trafalgar, 200 years later, is still celebrated. THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR AND "NELSON'S BLOOD" The cameo on the back of the flagon shows Nelson standing on the deck of HMS VICTORY during the Battle of Trafalgar just before his being mortally wounded. The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on October 21st, 1805 off Cape Trafalgar, near Cadiz, Spain. The two most powerful fleets in the world engaged to decide who would master the waves, Britannia or Bonaparte with his Spanish allies. Shortly before engaging the enemy, as these two great fleets approached one another, Nelson hoisted his now famous flag signal to his British Fleet: "ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY". From the quarterdeck of his mighty British flagship, HMS VICTORY, England's most gifted Admiral commanded a fleet of twenty-seven warships. Although outnumbered, by executing some brilliant new tactics, he smashed through the line of battle of the thirty-three French and Spanish vessels under Vice Admiral Villeneuve, dividing them into three segments. Nelson led from HMS VICTORY with his friend and flag captain, Captain Hardy. With more than 100 guns and eight hundred crew, HMS VICTORY bore down on the French Flagship, REDOUBTABLE - and Nelson hoisted another signal "ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY"! Cannon fire, grapeshot, musket balls and deadly splinters of oak destroyed all in their path. VICTORY'S wheel was smashed to pieces, while Nelson with his ship's officers calmly paced up and down in clear view of the enemy. John Scott (Nelson's secretary), was sliced in two by a cannon ball. His blood soaked the sandy deck and his body parts were thrown over the side. Hardy's silver buckle was torn from his left shoe. "This is too warm work Hardy, to last long" Nelson exclaimed. The attack is pressed home as the British breach their enemies' line of battle. The ships are raked with gunfire at close quarters, masts and rigging fall, VICTORY and REDOUBTABLE, the two opposing flagships, are so close that their rigging entangles side by side as they exchange point blank gunfire. Hardy turns to see Nelson fall to the deck on the exact spot where Scott was killed. The gold bullion is torn from Nelson's epaulette; he has been shot through the left shoulder. His spine is broken and he knows he will not survive the fight. In the heat of battle in those days, it was customary to throw the mortally wounded and the dead over the side. Captain Hardy had Nelson carried below where he expired three hours later with the knowledge that he had won a great victory at Trafalgar. Nineteen of the enemy had been sunk or captured; not a single British ship was lost. HMS VICTORY put into Gibraltar for repairs where legend has it that Nelson's body was placed in a large cask of Pusser's Rum to preserve it for the long voyage back to England. Upon arrival, the cask was opened and Nelson's preserved body removed. But the rum was almost gone. The jack tars (sailors) had drilled a small hole at the base of the cask through which they drained most of the rum, thereby drinking of Nelson's Blood. Since then, the term Nelson's Blood has become synonymous with Pusser's Rum, and is still in wide use today, especially with those having connections to the Royal Navy. France and Spain never recovered from their disastrous defeat by Nelson. But the greatest battle in British naval history was won at a high price with the lost limbs and lives of naval officers, sailors, marines, and England's brightest son, the audacious Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson only in his 47th year. THE FLAG SIGNAL Around the neck of the decanter is the famous signal that set the seal to Nelson's fame. Just before engaging the enemy at the Battle at Trafalgar on October 21st, 1805, he flew this signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty". THE STOPPER The stopper design includes the Killick's Anchor, the symbolic anchor of the seaman as designated by the Admiralty. It is a very old design for which the etymology is not known. Its unique design has long been associated with the jack tars of the Royal Navy and sailors everywhere in the world. THE SEVEN SEAS The Seven Seas-an old expression which really means all the waters which cover the face of the earth, and refers in fact to the seven oceans: the Arctic (Oceanus Arcticus), the Antarctic (Oceanus Antarcticus), the North Atlantic (Mare Septentrio Atlanticum), the South Atlantic (Oceanus Meridies Atlanticum), the Indian Ocean (Mare Indicum), the North Pacific (Mare Septentrio Pacificum), and the South Pacific (Mare Meridies Pacificum). These are inscribed in Latin around the base of the flagon.
CAUTION - Due to small size differences in the neck of the bottle and the cork stopper, this product is prone to seepage during shipment. We will make every attempt to ship the product so it will not leak during transit but we will not honor any claims for leaking bottles. Do not order this product unless you agree to our terms.
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