CORNWALLIS, Admiral Sir William, “Billy Blue”. 20383



Original Autograph Wrapper (only), signed by Cornwallis lower left, addressed to Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves on HMS Foudroyant. Overall 9 x 7 inches, clean but creased. Inscribed ‘On His Majestys Service’. 9 September 1804. Admiral of the Red Sir William Cornwallis (1744-1819), brother of Charles Cornwallis, the 1st Marquess Cornwallis, British commander at the siege of Yorktown. Cornwallis took part in a number of decisive battles including the siege of Louisbourg in 1758, when he was 14, and the Battle of the Saintes but is best known as a friend of Lord Nelson and as the commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. He is depicted in the Horatio Hornblower novel, Hornblower and the Hotspur. His affectionate contemporary nickname from “the ranks” was Billy Blue. The wrapper is addressed to Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves (1747-1814), who hoisted his flag on HMS Foudroyant from 30 October 1803 to February 1805.