Captain Thomas Hardy, commander of Admiral Nelson's flagship Victory, recalls when in 1805 they had received word that the French and Spanish fleets were cornered in Cadiz harbor. He had first met Nelson in 1795 or so and they had been at sea together for many years. He visits Nelson's home, Merton Place, where he comes into contact with the foppish Mr. Beckford but Hardy doesn't approve of him nor that Nelson would have that type of person around him. They argue but as professional men, they agree to continue sailing together. Nelson devises a unique plan of attack, one that carries many risks. Hardy visited Merton Place only one other time, after the battle of Trafalgar.