Man of War - The Fighting Life of Admiral James Saumarez, Anthony Sullivan

Man of War - The Fighting Life of Admiral James Saumarez, Anthony Sullivan

Admiral Sir James Saumarez was one of the most senior British naval officers of the Napoleon Wars, but he isn't as familiar as many of his contemporaries. Saumarez fought in many of the key naval battles of the period- the battle of the Saintes, Cape St. Vincent and the battle of the Nile, and commanded at the two battles of Algerciras. However he wasn't quite part of Nelson's inner 'band of brothers', despite being present at the Nile, and didn't fight at Copenhagen or Trafalgar, which perhaps helps to explain why he isn't better known. Saumarez is a familiar name, but his career isn’t so familiar.

His most important duties probably came in the Baltic, where he acted as a floating diplomatic, attempting to prevent open war with Sweden, and reducing tensions with Russia. For many years he was probably better known in Sweden than here, and a memorial to him was unveiled there as late as the 1970s. He also played a part in the long blockade of the French coast, where his Channel Island background came in useful (and also allowed him to spend more time at home that was the case for most British Admirals).

The post-war section is rather bitty - in places it seems like the author was determined to mention everything he'd found in his research, even when it wasn't that interesting. Otherwise the narrative is well balanced, and we get an interesting portrait of a significant British admiral

1 - Childhood and Early Career
2 - Lieutenant Saumarez
3 - Lieutenant to Post Captain
4 - Russell and the Battle of the Saintes
5 - Half Pay in Guernsey
6 - Crescent versus Reunion
7 - Channel Service and the Escape of Crescent
8 - Orion and the Battle of Ile de Groix
9 - The Mediterranean Fleet and the Battle of Cape St. Vincent
10 - Mutiny and Blockade
11 - Chasing the French
12 - The Battle of the Nile
13 - Admiral Bruix's Cruise and the Blockade of Brest
14 - The Battle of Algeciras
15 - The Peace of Amiens
16 - Commander-in-Chief, Channel Islands
17 - The Baltic
18 - Commander-in-Chief, Baltic Fleet
19 - Saumarez: British Diplomat Afloat
20 - The Prince of Ponte Corvo
21 - The Carlshamn Cargoes
22 - Baltic Fleet: Final Season
23 - Final Command
24 - Retirement
25 - Summation

Author: Anthony Sullivan
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 259
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2017

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