A rare letter written by Nelson with his left hand while recuperating after losing his right arm is to be auctioned later this month.

The letter, written in black ink on tracing paper and dated January 29, 1798, was scribed by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson after he was injured in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797.

It is addresses to Thomas Lloyd Esq, No: 15 Mary's Buildings, St Martins Lane, London, and will be sold in Halls' auction of fine furniture, European ceramics and works of art in Shrewsbury on February 26.

Valued at up to £4,000, the letter is part of a consignment from descendants of the famous Lloyd family of Dolobran, Pontrobert, near Welshpool, Quakers, iron merchants and founder partners of Taylors and Lloyds bank, now Lloyds TSB.

Aaron Dean, Halls' books specialist, said the letter gave a fascinating glimpse of Admiral Lord Nelson's state of mind between the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife where he lost his arm and his next command in the build up to the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, where he was shot and killed while leading the Royal Navy to his most famous victory.

''This is a great part of British history,'' said Mr Dean.

''The letter was written in Nelson's left hand while he was recuperating in Bath from losing his arm. An inflammatory ligature impeded his recovery, however, this eventually came out naturally and the letter reveals that he is pushing for his next command with the Royal Navy.

''His persistence paid off and he was given command of the 74-gun HMS Vanguard.

''HMS Boadicea referred to in the letter was a Royal Navy frigate serving in the Channel and East Indies.

''He also refers to Sir Charles Thompson who was in command of the Brest-blockade fleet until failing health forced his retirement in 1798.''

Mr Dean said an article in The New York Times of December 31, 1911, refers to the letter as the New Nelson Letter, which was ''newly discovered by a West Hartleypool gentleman, an ancestor of Thomas Lloyd''.

''It is not known who this ancestor is but it is presumed that it was returned to or purchased by the Dolobran Lloyds at this time,'' he added.

Also included in the auction, as part of the consignment from the Lloyd family, are letters written by Robert Southey, Poet Laureate from 1813-1843, and social reformer Elizabeth Fry. They are expected to fetch around £150 each.

A rare botanical book by Crispin van de Passe is also included in the auction and has an estimate of up to £3,000.