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The Channel Squadron 1858 - 1862

The Royal Navy (1/2) (2/2)

Although there had of course been squadrons stationed in home waters previously, the Channel squadron (often incorrectly referred to as the Channel Fleet) first became a permanent formation in 1858. The following extracts from (generally the Naval Intelligence column of) the Times newspaper refer to the activities of the Squadron in the period 1858-1862.

Extracts from the Times newspaper
Ma 23 November 1857It has been already stated that it is in contemplation to commission a Channel squadron either before or in the spring, about the end of the financial year, and the Renown, 91, just commissioned at Chatham, is doubtless intended as a member. The Algiers, 91, sister ship, is being expedited for the pendant at Portsmouth as much as possible; there will be no difficulty in manning a fleet if commissioned, the guardships being full of continuous and general service men, to the extent at Portsmouth alone of about 2,000 (collectively), above their own complements and more are being added daily by the ships paying off.
Th 11 March 1858An Admiralty order has arrived at Sheerness, staying the fitment of ships for the Channel squadron.
Tu 13 April 1858

HOUSE OF COMMONS, Monday, April 12.


The House then went into committee on these estimates.

Sir J. PAKINGTON said…
I must now state to the committee what is the opinion of the present Government upon another point, in which opinion I anticipate the concurrence of every member of the House - viz., that we ought never to be without a Channel fleet. (Hear.) I do not think it is consistent with our position, with our national dignity or safety, that we should have no naval force at all in the Channel. I remember when my right hon. friend opposite proposed his estimate last year he said there would be no Channel squadron on account of the state of affairs in China. I allow the pressure of affairs in China at that time was severe, but I venture to think that no Government should under any circumstances leave the Channel without a squadron. Her Majesty's present Government hold it to be their first duty, without any loss of time that can be avoided, to establish a Channel squadron, not only for the protection of our shores, but for the exercise of our officers and men. The hon. and gallant member for Southwark (Sir C. Napier) will agree with me, I am sure, when I say that the introduction of steam into our navy is so recent and our officers as yet so unaccustomed to its application, that it is essential there should be a squadron for evolutions and practice which shall enable officers and men to become practically acquainted with the new system. (Hear.) We have an example before us set by our opposite neighbours in France, which we cannot with prudence neglect. They do not allow their coasts to be left defenceless, nor do they allow their officers and sailors to remain without opportunities for practice. On the contrary, with great prudence, and with his usual sagacity, the Emperor of the French has assembled at Toulon a force which will form a squadron of evolution, and I hope before the present summer has passed away that we shall see in our own Channel a squadron worthy of England and her naval reputation assembled for the same praiseworthy object. Having told the committee the number of men which we shall ask them to grant, I will now proceed to explain how we shall dispose of them. I have said we ask for 2,000 additional men, in order to complete the manning of our ships. Of those 2,000 men 1,621 are already on board ship, leaving 379 to be obtained. I have explained that, in order to complete the harbour ships in commission we want 1,318 men more than we have. Deduct from that number the balance of 379 to be gained out of the increased vote, and there will remain 939 more than the increased estimate, supposing all the ships to be fully manned. For the Channel squadron, which we hope to fit out in the course of the summer, we shall require 1,500 more men, and also 1,000 for reliefs, which must be effected during this year. That gives 3,439 men more than the increased vote for which we ask, but within the next three months there will arrive from China, the Mediterranean, and other stations ships whose crews will be paid off to the extent of 3,488 men. Therefore, after having provided for the requirements of the ships now in commission, for such additional ships as we hope to have soon in the Channel, and 1,000 for foreign reliefs, we shall have a balance out of the vote we now ask for of 49 men remaining in England. That is the explanation I have to give of the vote, which is a large one, I admit. I wish I could consistently with my duty have proposed a lower amount, but I trust the explanation I have given will convince the committee that it is not unnecessarily large in order to maintain the navy in a state of efficiency. I hope the policy of this country will ever be, while adapting its force to the varying circumstances of the time, to maintain the navy in an effective condition, to keep up an effective Channel squadron, and further to have a reserve of available seamen to man our ships upon an emergency without the recurrence of so humiliating and unsatisfactory a state of things as we have lately witnessed in our ports, (Hear, hear.)

We 14 April 1858The intention to commission a Channel fleet forthwith, as announced by the First Lord of the Admiralty in the House of Commons on Monday night, has created the most lively feelings of satisfaction in naval circles and among the tradesmen of Portsmouth, where the fleet will rendezvous. Rear-Admiral the Hon. Sir Henry Keppel, K.C.B., is mentioned as the probable Commander-in-Chief of this fleet.
We 28 April 1858The Ordnance Department at Portsmouth are issuing munitions of war to the line-of-battle ships Victor Emmanuel, 91, Algiers, 91, and Caesar, 91, in readiness for commission. The Caesar, being fully rigged, is expected to be the first commissioned to form one of the Channel fleet.
We 12 May 1858The Melpomene, 51, is being expedited for immediate commission at Portsmouth. The men are employed in the mast-house from 6 in the morning until 8 at night in getting her masts and yards ready. She is believed to be intended for one of the squadron to be commissioned immediately at Portsmouth to form a portion of the Channel fleet, which we are informed is to be got together without further delay.
Ma 7 June 1858COMMAND OF THE Channel squadron. - There is now, we believe, no doubt as to the selection of Rear-Admiral the Hon. Sir Henry Keppel as the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel squadron. Great fears were entertained at one time that the command would be given to a worn-out officer, whoso unpopularity with smart young seamen is well known, and whose day is, in fact, passed; and it is no small relief, therefore, to learn that one of the most vigorous and at the same time justly popular admirals in the service is the officer chosen. If men understand that they are to be kept at one incessant routine of drill and gunnery, and gunnery and drill, from Monday morning till Saturday night, it requires no very intimate knowledge of sailors to predict that the ships will, like the Marlborough, remain for months with only the marines and idlers on board. Had the Marlborough been blessed with a popular captain, there is no knowing what effect it might have had upon the unemployed sailors. It is strange how small a matter will turn the current of popularity; but the fact of a ship's remaining half-manned for three or four months is considered tantamount to an admission that there is something wrong about the ship or captain. It will he seen how long the Orion, the ship destined to bear Sir Henry Keppel's flag, takes in manning. If she is not manned offhand we shall be greatly surprised, and shall be inclined to accept it as an ill omen. Sir Henry is well known to the best description of men we have in the service. He is known as one full of fight, and he humours "Jack's" predilections by despising and denouncing humbug. He will take care to have the squadron which may be placed under his orders in good fighting condition, and it will not be his fault if the crews of the ships do not, in due coarse, become seamen as well as gunners. -United Service Gazette.
Ma 7 June 1858A professional paper has allotted the command of the Channel fleet to Rear-Admiral Keppel, and given him a flagship (Orion). Neither of these guesses will be found correct. We believe Admiral Martin will have the chief and Admiral Elliot the second flag.
Sa 12 June 1858The three depot ships of the steam fleet in reserve at Portsmouth, Devonport, and Sheerness - the Hannibal, 91, Captain the Hon. G.F. Hastings, C.B.; the Exmouth, 91, Captain Robinson; and the Cressy, 81, Captain Halsted - are to form members of the Channel fleet, their steam reserve staff being turned over to sailing ships.
Th 24 June 1858The Renown, 91, Captain Forbes, arrived at Spithead yesterday afternoon from Plymouth, to join the Channel fleet.
Ma 28 June 1858The Brunswick, 80, screw, Captain Erasmus Ommaney, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from Plymouth, to join the Channel fleet.
Th 1 July 1858The Duke of Wellington, 131, Captain Eyres, C.B., will be given up this day to the steam reserve at Portsmouth. She is fully rigged, and is supposed to be intended for flagship of the Channel fleet. Captain Eyres and staff will return this day to their old ship St. Vincent.
Ma 12 July 1858The United Service Gazette says:-
"We have much pleasure in announcing that the ships intended to form the Channel fleet will be brought forward immediately for commission. Rear Admiral of the Red Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., one of the most active and deservedly popular in the service, was on Thursday appointed the commander-in-chief, and will forthwith hoist his flag at Portsmouth on board the Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles Fremantle is in his 58th year, which, as the admirals' list goes, must be though young. He is also full of vigour, and, upon the whole, we may congratulate the First Lord upon the discretion he has displayed in selecting this officer from among the numerous aspirants for the distinguished post. The flag captain and other officers composing the staff have not yet been named. Great care will be necessary with regard to the captain and commander of the flag ship, for these are times in which a little delicate handling will do great things towards manning the fleet, while the want of it will be productive of much mischief."
Ma 9 August 1858Rear-Admiral of the Red Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., hoisted his flag on board the Renown, 91, Captain Forbes, at Spithead on Saturday as Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, now assembling at that anchorage.
Tu 10 August 1858Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, shifted his flag from the Renown, 91, Captain Forbes, to the Orion, 91, Captain D'Eyncourt. at Spithead, yesterday.
We 18 August 1858The Euryalus, 51, Captain John W. Tarleton, C.B., in dock at Portsmouth, when repaired, will join the Channel squadron until such time as Prince Alfred shall embark, which it is expected will be about October.
Th 26 August 1858The Orion, 91, screw, Captain Edwin C.T. D'Eyncourt, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Freemantle, Commander-in-Chief of the Channel squadron; the Caesar, 91, screw, Captain Charles Frederick; the Renown, 91, screw, Captain Arthur Forbes; the Brunswick, 80, screw, Captain Erasmus Ommanney; and the Racoon, 21, screw, Captain James A. Paynter, sailed from Spithead yesterday for a short cruise in the Channel, the first movement of the Channel fleet.
Tu 31 August 1858On Thursday night five line-of-battle ships belonging to the Channel fleet anchored at Torbay. They are expected to remain a few days in the bay, and since they have been there they have been practicing great gun exercise.
We 1 September 1858The Channel squadron, comprising the Orion, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Fremantle, the Brunswick, the Renown, the Caesar, and the Racoon, arrived in Plymouth Sound yesterday (Tuesday) evening.
Fr 3 September 1858The Victor Emmanuel, 91, screw, Captain James Willcox, C.B., was inspected at Spithead yesterday forenoon by Admiral Sir George F. Seymour, and is expected to sail about Sunday to join the Channel squadron.
Sa 4 September 1858Admiral Freemantles squadron will probably sail from Plymouth today (Saturday) for Cork or Bantry Bay, where they will remain a short time, and then take a cruise for a fortnight, returning to Plymouth Sound.
Ma 6 September 1858In consequence of the dirty weather from the southward and westward, Admiral Fremantle's squadron, consisting of the Orion, Caesar, Brunswick, Renown, and Racoon, did not sail from Plymouth Sound for Ireland on Saturday Preparations are made for their departure to-day (Monday).
The Diadem, 32, screw frigate, Captain W. Moorsom, C.B., sailed from Spithead yesterday forenoon for Plymouth to join the Channel squadron. She is expected to be away about a month, and on her return is to come into harbour to be fitted with her proper masts. Those she has at present are only jury masts.
The Victor Emmanuel, 91, screw, Captain James Willcox, is expected to sail from Spithead to-morrow to join the Channel squadron.
Ma 29 November 1858The Channel squadron, consisting of the Royal Albert, Renown, Orion, and Brunswick, weighed anchor on Saturday morning, and steamed out of Bantry Bay for Cork; on obtaining an offing the squadron at noon of the same day let off their steam, and raised their propellers, and proceeded under canvass, the Renown leading the weather line, and followed by the Orion, and the Brunswick leading the lee line, followed by the Royal Albert. The wind during the whole time the squadron was at sea was from south to south-east blowing fresh and occasionally increasing to a gale. At daylight of the 24th the squadron had separated owing to a dense November fog. The vessels arrived at Queenstown in the following order, Brunswick and Renown on the afternoon of the 24th and Royal Albert at 1 p.m. on the 25th. The Orion is outside of the harbour.
Ma 20 December 1858It is reported at Plymouth that the Channel fleet will remain during Christmas at Queenstown, and then repair to Lisbon.
Ma 3 January 1859The annual return of the names, number of guns, and tonnage of the whole of the vessels in the navy was published on Saturday, from which it appeals that the British navy at the commencement of the present year, consists of 523 vessels, including screw steamers of every description, exclusive of which there are 167 gunboats. Of the number of vessels composing the navy no less than 176 are in commission, and doing duty in every part of the globe. The vessels in commission are distributed as follow:- 32 line-of-battle ships, frigates, and smaller vessels are attached to the East Indies and China station; 25 on the coast of Africa; 16 in the Mediterranean; 15 on the Pacific and on the Australia station; 15 on the North America and West India station; 7 on the south-east coast of America, and 5 at the Cape of Good Hope. The remaining 61 vessels, are employed on particular service, or attached as guardships to the principal ports in Great Britain and Ireland, including the Channel squadron, which is composed of the following screw steamers:- The Royal Albert, 121, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir C.H. Fremantle, K.C.B.; the Orion, 91, Captain E.C.T. D'Eyncourt; the Renown,. 91, Captain, A. Forbes; the Victor Emmanuel, 91, Captain J. Willcox; the Brunswick, 80, Captain E. Ommanney; and the Racoon, 22, Captain J.A. Paynter.
Tu 11 January 1859It is rumoured in naval circles that the Government have it in contemplation to make a considerable augmentation in the Channel squadron by the addition of 12 sail of the line. The greatest activity prevails at all the dockyards in hastening forward the completion of those line-of-battle ships which have been on the stocks several years, most of which are nearly completed, in order that they may be commissioned and made ready for sea. During the present year 'several first-class screw steamers will be launched at Portsmouth, Chatham, Devonport, and Pembroke, when other line-of-battle ships are to be immediately laid down on the same slips.
Fr 28 January 1859The Atlas, 91, one of the new screw steamers of the line, ordered to be built at Chatham-dockyard, will, in all probability, be launched during the present year, when she will be attached to the Channel squadron. The Hood, 91, just completed at Chatham, is also intended for the Channel fleet.
Th 10 February 1859The Trafalgar, 120, in dock at Chatham, being converted into a 90-gun screw steamer, is nearly completed, and will be ready to be undocked next month, when it is understood she will be attached to the Channel fleet.
Ma 14 February 1859BEREHAVEN, BANTRY-BAY, Feb. 9.- The Channel fleet arrived in this harbour to-day, and will remain, it is said, for some weeks. It left Queenstown on Saturday last. The excitement generally caused by its arrival is damped in this case by an unfortunate event which preceded it. Last night, a little before 12 o'clock, Her Majesty's brig Wizard, in attempting to enter this harbour, went on shore on the small "Rhone Corrid," or Seal-rock, outside the east entrance. The night was exceedingly dark and hazy, and the weather very stormy. After she struck her guns were fired, when the Coastguard and some of the inhabitants of the neighbouring shore went to her assistance in two boats, and after considerable difficulty succeeded in taking off the crew. Some of the men engaged on this occasion were the same who, in the year 1853, took off at the risk of their lives, the crew of the Lady of the Lake, a merchant ship that was wrecked on the same rock, and were rewarded with 5 l. by the Shipwrecked Mariners Society, and by subscriptions collected in Cork and Dublin, and even in London. The firing from the Wizard was also heard on board Her Majesty's gunboat Skipjack, which was anchored in Berehaven Harbour, about four miles from the catastrophe. Steam was got up on board her, and she proceeded to the spot and took the officers and crew of the Wizard on board. The latter has become a total wreck, and the officers did not even save their clothes. She was stationed at Queenstown for training boys, and was notorious for her bad sailing, as she frequently missed stays and committed other mistakes in sailing, of which none of Her Majesty's ships of the present day ought to be guilty.
Ma 18 April 1859The screw troopship Urgent, Commander John W.D. Macdonald, left Plymouth on Thursday for the Channel fleet in Bantry Bay.
Ma 25 April 1859The Lords of the Admiralty have given directions for the Channel fleet to be supplied with Redl's cone signals, and preparations are being made accordingly in the Devonport Dockyard. Redl's mode has been practised in Plymouth Harbour for the last six months. It Is cheap, simple, and very rapid, and is also adapted for use by the steam-whistle of a gunboat, or by a bugle, bell, &c. in case of fog. Under recent directions from Port Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds, K.C.B., the system has also been carried out at night, by lights, and can then be worked more rapidly than by day. On Thursday night, in the presence of the Port Admiral and a large party, some experiments were made from the battery at Mount Wise, for testing the use of Robson's patent signal lights and dischargers in conjunction with Reld's code. Robson's lights are of three colours - red, blue, and green, and like the rockets, which exhibit the same colours, are very intense and distinct. Communication was quickly obtained with the flagship Impregnable, lying off Mount Edgecumbe, and the gunnery-ship Cambridge, in Hamoaze. The rockets throw out a ball of fire, which floats in the air some time after the discharge, and with the lights greatly increase the usefulness and rapidity of the cone signals. Robson's inventions have been long adopted by the Trinity Board and the mercantile marine.
Fr 29 April 1859THE CHANNEL FLEET.- BEREHAVEN, April 23.-The ships of the Channel fleet that had been staying here for some months left to-day. They comprised the Royal Albert, the Renown, the Brunswick, the St. Jean d'Acre, and the Racoon. The Victor Emanuel and the Orion came in here with them, but early in March they were ordered to Tangier. It is said that these two vessels are to join the Channel fleet again, as also the Algiers and the James Watt, line-of-battle ships, and the Liffey, the Mersey, and the Doris, frigates. The Caesar and the Diadem are also returning from the West Indies to join, and the Euryalus from the Mediterranean. During their stay here the Marines and Naval Brigades were exercised on shore every week, as also in the boats. The Admiral, Sir Charles Freemantle, is most deservedly popular with all classes.- Cork Reporter.
Fr 13 May 1859The screw corvette Cadmus, 21, has been commissioned at Chatham by Capt, Henry S. Hillyar, C.B. It is expected she will be attached to the Channel squadron.
Th 19 May 1859Her Majesty's screw line-of-battle ships Renown, 91 guns, Captain Arthur Forbes; the St. Jean d'Acre, 101, Captain Thomas P. Thompson; the Brunswick, 80, Capt. Erasmus Ommanney, and the screw corvette Racoon, 22, Captain James A. Paynter, arrived at Gibraltar on the 3d inst. from the coast of England on their way to the Mediterranean. These ships of war lately formed put of the Channel fleet, and were escorted to the Bay by the Royal Albert, 120, Rear-Admiral Sir Charles H. Fremantle. The Renown, the St. Jean d'Acre, the Brunswick, and the Racoon, having taken in some fresh supplies, left the Bay between 3 and 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 4th, under steam for the eastward. The Victor Emmanuel, 91 guns, Captain Willcox, C.B., which has been lying at Gibraltar for some time past, proceeded eastward at 9 a.m. on the 4th. Admiral Fremantle returned to England in the Royal Albert, which left on the afternoon of the 6th.
Sa 21 May 1859On Thursday the Cressy screw steam line-of-battle ship steamed out of harbour at Sheerness for Spithead, to join the Channel fleet. She saluted the flag of the Commander-in-Chief, and at 12 o'clock fired a Royal salute, in commemoration of Her Majesty's birthday.
Fr 27 May 1859The screw line-of-battle ship Exmouth, 90, Capt. J. Stopford, arrived at Portland on Tuesday night from Plymouth, to join the Channel fleet.
The new screw steam corvette Cadmus, of 21 guns, and 400-horse power (nominal), Capt. Hillyar, from Chatham, has completed her coaling from the depôt in Saltpan Reach. She will have her compasses adjusted to-day, take in her combustible munitions of war, and leave immediately to join the Channel squadron.
We 1 June 1859The new screw steam frigate Emerald, Capt. Arthur Cumming, and the new screw steam corvette Cadmus, Capt. Hillyar, now at Sheerness, ready to join the Channel squadron, will proceed to the Great Nore, and there remain to salute the Princess Royal of Prussia on her passage down the Thames. Her Royal Highness will embark from Gravesend tomorrow.
Th 2 June 1859Rear-Admiral of the Blue John Elphinstone Erskine arrived at Sheerness yesterday, at noon, and shortly after, accompanied by Flag-Lieut. Robert G. Douglas, proceeded on board the new screw steamship Edgar and hoisted his flag (blue) at the mizen, as second in command of the Channel squadron. The gallant Admiral forthwith proceeds on short leave of absence, during the fitting of the ship.
Ma 6 June 1859The crew of the screw steamship Royal Albert, 121, flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, Capt. Edward B. Rice, in Plymouth Sound, were paid wages on Wednesday, and obtained leave of absence for four days.
Th 9 June 1859The Channel fleet now assembled at Portland consists of the following screw steamships;- Exmouth, 91, Capt. J. Stopford; Hero, 91, Capt. G.H. Seymour, C.B.; James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; Algiers, 91, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; Cressy, 80, Capt. the Hon. G.J.B. Elliot, C.B.; Mersey, 40. Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B.; Blenheim, 60, Capt. F. Scott. A considerable augmentation, of the fleet is shortly expected.
We 15 June 1859The steam despatch boat Flying Fish arrived in Portland Harbour on Sunday morning; the screw steam frigate Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming, arrived in the evening from Spithead, to join the Channel fleet.
Sa 18 June 1859The new line-of-battle ship Royal Albert, 121, Captain Rice, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, arrived at Portland harbour on Thursday afternoon at half-??? [unreadable] from Plymouth. On arriving off King's Pier, the Hero, Captain G. H. Seymour, C.B., saluted the gallant ??? with the usual number of guns, which was duly replied to. The Royal Albert came in under steam, and took an excellent position inside the other ships of war at anchor in that magnificent harbour. The fleet now comprises the following ships:- Royal Albert, 121; Hero, ???; James Watt, 91; Algiers, 91; Mersey, 40; Emerald, Blenheim, 60; and the gunboats Flying Fish, 6, and ???.
Th 23 June 1859The Pioneer, 6, screw despatch vessel, Commander May sailed from Spithead on Tuesday, to join the Channel fleet in Portland Roads.
Sa 25 June 1859The screw steam-frigate Amphion, 36, attached to the steam reserve at Chatham, has been commissioned at that port, and is to have a complement of 340 men. It is understood that she will be attached to the Channel squadron of observation.
Fr 1 July 1859The screw line-of-battle ship Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Thomas Hope, arrlved at Portland on Tuesday afternoon from Spithead. Her Majesty's vessels now at anchor in that harbour are the Royal Albert, 121; Hero, 91; James Watt, 91; Agamemnon, 91; Algiers, 91; Emerald, 51; Mersey, 40; Curacoa, 31; Blenheim, 60; Pioneer, 6; Flying Fish, 6; and the Biter, 2.
Fr 8 July 1859The screw line-of-battle ships Royal Albert, 121, Capt. E.B. Rice, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle; the James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; the Hero, 91, Capt. G.H. Seymour, C.B.; the Algiers, 91, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mersey, 40, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B.; and the screw despatch gunboat Flying Fish, 6, Commander Hope, left Portland harbour on Wednesday morning for a cruise in the Channel. The Agamemnon, 91, Capt. T. Hope; the Emerald, 31, Capt. Arthur Cumming; the Blenheim, 60, Capt. Scott; and the Pioneer, 6, Commander May, are still at anchor.
Sa 9 July 1859A letter received at Plymouth from Lyme states that the Channel squadron left Portland on Thursday morning, and were "creeping slowly" down Channel. It is understood that they will rendezvous in the vicinity of Torbay for a week.
Ma 18 July 1859The screw line-of-battle ships Royal Albert, 121, bearing the flag of Sir Charles Fremantle; James Watt, 91; Algiers, 91; Hero, 91; the screw-frigate Mersey, 40; and the despatch gunboat Flying Fish, 6, arrived at Portland under steam on Friday morning after a few days cruise in the Channel. The other ships at anchor at Portland are the Agamemnon, 91; Aboukir, 91; Emerald, 51; Blenheim, 60 ; and the gun-boats Pioneer, 6, and Biter, 2.
Fr 22 July 1859The Channel fleet, at present at Portland, will leave that anchorage, according to present arrangements, on the 23th inst. for Spithead, where it will undergo necessary repairs, and the crews will have leave of absence ashore.
Tu 26 July 1859His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, accompanied by Prince Alfred and Prince Arthur, arrived in the Royal yacht Victoria and Albert at noon yesterday on a visit of inspection to the extensive defensive and other important works in connexion with the new harbour at Portland. A portion of the Channel fleet, consisting of the Royal Albert, Agamemnon, James Watt, Algiers, and Emerald, which had shortly before left the harbour for Spithead, saluted the Royal party on passing. On the yacht rounding the extremity of the outer breakwater the ships at anchor - Aboukir, Blenheim, Topaze, Melpomene - also saluted. Their Royal Highnesses, on landing, were received by Mr. Coode, engineer-in-chief, and Mr. Leather, contractor for the breakwater, who conducted them over the works now in progress. After the inspection the Royal party returned on board the Victoria and Albert, which immediately left the harbour for Osborne.
Th 28 July 1859The screw steam frigate Diadem, 32, Capt. Moorsom, C.B., sailed from Plymouth on Tuesday to join the Channel squadron.
Fr 5 August 1859The Edgar, 91, screw, Captain Katon, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral J.E. Erskine (blue at the mizen), second in command of the Channel fleet, sailed from Spithead yesterday, at 3 p.m., for Portland, under canvass.
We 10 August 1859The screw steamship Edgar, 91, Capt. Katon, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral J.E. Erskine, second in command of the Channel fleet, arrived at Portland on Saturday morning from Spithead. The Blenheim, 60, Capt. F. Scott, returned from the westward on Friday. Sir John Burgoyne, Inspector-General of fortifications, paid an official visit to the works at Portland on Saturday. The screw line-of-battle ship Neptune, 91, Capt. Sir William Hoste, arrived at Portland on Sunday afternoon from Spithead.
Tu 16 August 1859A portion of the Channel fleet is expected to proceed on a cruise in the Channel in a few days.
Sa 20 August 1859It is expected that the Channel fleet will leave Spithead this morning for a cruise of eight days off Ushant, at the end of which time it will return to port for three days, when it will again put to sea, and, being joined by Her Majesty's ship Caesar, from Devonport, will cruise until about the 20th of September, when it will form two divisions, one of which, it is supposed, will winter at Bantry Bay and the other at Portland.
Ma 22 August 1859Eight out of the 11 vessels forming that portion of the Channel fleet at Spithead left that anchorage under steam on Saturday. Early in the morning indications were given of their approaching departure; royal yards were crossed, funnels raised, and fires lit. At noon Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., embarked on board his barge from the sallyport stairs, and proceeded on board the Royal Albert, which, with the remainder of the squadron, had steam up, and was hove short. It was 3 p.m. before the fleet was fairly under way, the Royal Albert leading as far as the Nab Light, when the Flying Fish, 6, screw, Commander C. W. Hope, was sent ahead of the Royal Albert, and took up her position as look-out vessel to the squadron. Scarcely a ripple was on the water, and a more magnificent sight could not be imagined than the ships presented as they steamed round the east end of the Wight in the order named:- The Flying Fish, screw, 6, Commander C. W. Hope; the Royal Albert, 131, screw, Captain E. B. Rice, bearing the flag (red at the mizen) of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B.; the Algiers, 91, screw, Captain G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the James Watt, 91, screw, Captain E. Codd; the Agamemnon, 91, screw, Captain T. Hope; the Hero, 91, screw, Captain G.H. Seymour; the Diadem, 32, screw, Capt. W. Moorsom, C.B.; and the Emerald, 51, screw, Capt. A. Cumming. The Mersey was detained at Spithead on her experimental screw trials, her third attempt at the measured mile on Saturday again proving a failure, owing to the continued priming of her boilers. The ships at present at Spithead comprise the Trafalgar, 91, screw, Capt. E.G. Fanshawe; the Mersey, 40, screw, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B.; and the Scout, 21, screw, Capt. John Corbett, the above three vessels belonging to the Channel fleet; the Sidon, 22, paddle, Capt. R.B. Crawford, and the Pioneer, 6, screw, Commander Hugh Reilley, both ordered on foreign service, and the Gorgon, 6, paddle, Commander Bedford C. Pim
We 24 August 1859At half-past 6 o'clock on Saturday evening Her Majesty's ship Nile steamed out of Cork harbour with the intention of joining the Channel squadron at Spithead. It is thought likely that she will henceforth form portion of the squadron, and that the Hawke will continue for some time longer to hold the post of guardship in Queenstown.
The screw steam despatch vessel Flying Fish, 6, Commander C. Hope, arrived at Plymouth on Monday, from the Channel fleet. The screw steamship Caesar, 90, Capt. T.H. Mason, got up steam on Monday morning, and in the afternoon left Plymouth Sound to join the Channel fleet, which, it is said, will cruise as far west as Ushant.
The scrow steamships Aboukir, 91, the Topaz, 51, and the Melpomene, 51, left Portland harbour on Sunday, to join the Channel fleet, which was cruising a few miles from the harbour. The Edgar, 91, the Impérieuse, 51, and the Blenheim, 60, remain in port.
Sa 27 August 1859The Channel squadron, in two divisions, consisting of 12 ships in all, were passed cruising off the Lizard on Wednesday, the 24th inst.
Th 1 September 1859It is reported at Plymouth that the Channel fleet will return in a few days to Portland.
Th 8 September 1859THE CHANNEL FLEET.- Torbay has been again honoured during the past week with a visit from the Channel fleet. On Wednesday the Melpomene, 51, Capt. Ewart; Diadem, 32, Capt. W. Moorsom, C.B.; and the screw despatch gunboat Flying Fish, 6, Commander Hope, arrived in the bay from the westward. On inquiry it was learnt that a day or two before the fleet encountered a very heavy westerly gale in the chops of the Channel, in which the Diadem sprang her mainyard, and that with the vessels above-named she was detached from the squadron and ordered to rendezvous at Torbay. Early on Friday morning they were rejoined by the remainder of the fleet. The vessels were discerned in the offing standing in for the bay in splendid order. They consisted of the Royal Albert, 121, Capt. E.B. Rice, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B.; the James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; the Algiers, 91, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the Caesar, 90, Capt. T.H. Mason; the Agamemnon, 91, Capt. T. Hope; the Aboukir, 91, Capt. F. Schomberg; the Nile, 91, Capt. A.P.E. Wilmot; the Hero, 91, Capt. G.W. Seymour, C.B.; the Emerald, 51, Capt. A. Cumming; the Topaz, 51, Capt. the Hon. W.S. Spencer; and the Imperieuse, 50, Capt. John J.B.E. Frere. At noon the whole of the ships had come to an anchor about midbay. It was a noble sight to the spectator ashore to witness these magnificent specimens of naval architecture taking up their respective positions. Thousands of persons were, as on the last occasion, attracted to the quays, and the bay has been every day studded with boats and steamers conveying excursionists around the vessels. By the kindness of the commanders the ships were again, subject to necessary regulations, thrown open to the public, and during the whole of the specified hours an immense number of visitors have availed themselves of the privilege. The Diadem and the Flying Fish got under way on Saturday morning and proceeded to Plymouth, but the rest still remain at anchor.
Fr 9 September 1859The Channel fleet left Torbay at 11 o'clock on Wednesday morning.
Ma 12 September 1859The Channel fleet was off Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. At half-past 3 o'clock they were under steam only 3½ miles south of the Mewstone coming from the eastward, and led by the Royal Albert; they then edged in towards the Breakwater, under jibs and spankers only; wind, N. by W. The ships afterwards paid off towards the south, and at 5 o'clock were four or five miles east of the Eddystone, under steam only, apparently going down Channel. The fleet consisted of the flagship, the Royal Albert, 121, Rear. Admiral Sir Charles Freemantle; the Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D. O'Callaghan; the James Watt, 91, Capt. Edward Codd; Caesar, 90, Capt. Thomas H. Mason; Hero, 91, Capt George H. Seymour; Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; Nile, 90, Capt. Arthur P.E. Wilmot, C.B.; Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles F. Schomberg; Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Thomas Hope; Topaze, 51, Capt. Hon. W.S. Spencer; Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming; Flying Fish, 6, Commander Charles W. Hope; and Melpomene, 50, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart.
Sa 17 September 1859The Channel fleet entered Plymouth Sound yesterday (Friday). It consists of the flagship Royal Albert, 121, Rear-Admiral Sir C. Fremantle; the Hero, 91, Captain Sir G.J. Brooke; the Algiers, 91, Captain O'Callaghan; the Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Wilson [this would seem to be an error, Thomas Hope was captain at this time]; the Caesar, 90, Capt. Mason; the Emerald, 50, Capt. Cumming; the James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Schomberg; and the Topazee, 50, Capt. Spencer. The ships hove in sight about 9 a.m.; the Admiral entered at 11; the last ship at 2 p.m.; the flagship parted her bower cable in the Sound; the Melpomene and the Mersey parted company from the rest of the fleet at sea.
Ma 19 September 1859The screw steam-frigate Melpomene, 50, Capt. Ewart, rejoined the Channel fleet in Plymouth Sound on Sunday morning.
Fr 23 September 1859Vice-Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth, having been granted leave of absence, struck his flag on board the Impregnable, in Hamoaze, on Wednesday night. His duties will in the meantime devolve on Sir Charles Fremantle, Admiral of the Channel fleet, now in Plymouth Sound.
Ma 3 October 1859None of the ships belonging to the Channel fleet have left Plymouth during the last week, and there is no present prospect of a combined movement by Admiral Fremantle, who is Commander-in-Chief of the port daring the temporary absence of Vice-Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds, K.C.B. In the meantime indications which would pass unnoticed under other circumstances, are now observed with interest both on board and on shore; the officers know, if possible, less than the townsmen. The flag ship, Royal Albert, 121, Capt. B. Rice, went from the Sound on Wednesday into Hamoaze, and, with all her armament on board, was placed in dock at Devonport. The copper was stripped off near the aperture of her shaft, and that part of the ship was caulked and recoppered; her bends were also caulked. She was undocked on Saturday. The corners of her fans will probably be reduced. Her crew of 1,000 men are considered good. Some of them are absent on leave until the 7th inst. Strong gales from the southward, accompanied by heavy rains, have recently prevailed, and have compelled the fleet in the Sound to strike top-gallant-masts and make all snug. The state of the weather has most likely prevented the departure of the screw steamship Caesar, 90, Capt. Thomas H. Mason; for some days the davits have been ready to get up her anchors, and she has been otherwise prepared. The blue Peter was flying on Saturday, and 10 or 12 officers and about 60 men, for various ships in the Mediterranean, have embarked. The officers of the Caesar are requesting to have their letters addressed in the first instance to Gibraltar. According to present information she will remain two years on the station; she was commissioned in June, 1853. The Caesar sailed yesterday (Sunday) morning, at 10 o'clock, It will be recollected that, some 10 days since, the Lords of the Admiralty issued orders to prepare for foreign service the James Watt, 91, Capt. Edward Codd, and the Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Thomas Hope. These ships continue ready. The James Watt is bound for the Mediterranean, and has received stores for the Orion and other ships there. The destination of the Agamemnon is uncertain; it is not thought now that she will follow the James Watt; some of her officers have just received leave of absence for a week. The Nile, 90, Capt. A.B. Wilmot, C.B, has a good crew of 850 men, many of whom are from Liverpool; about five months since she supplied 80 to the Doris, and shortly after, 90 to the Algiers. It is expected that the Nile will return to Queenstown, where her crew will probably be reduced to 350. The screw steam frigate Emerald, 50, Capt. Arthur Cumming has a crew of 550, which is less than her complement; it is supposed that she will winter at Sheerness. The Mersey, 40, Capt. Caldwell, C.B., has a complement of 560, chiefly "young fellows," who hope to be paid down at Portsmouth, and to pass the winter there. No preparations for sea are making on board the Diadem, 32, Capt. William Moorsom, C.B. The screw steam gun-vessel Flying Fish, 6, Commander Hope, went outside the harbour on Thursday to try her machinery, which has been recently repaired at Keyham steam yard. The Aboukir, Hero, Melpomene, Topaze, and Virago, complete the Channel fleet. Very few men have volunteerd for the expedition to China.
Ma 10 October 1859Yesterday (Sunday) there were in Plymouth Sound ships of war belonging to five different nations, a circumstance said to be unprecedented.- The English ships of the line Aboukir, Algiers, Donegal, Hero, and Nile; frigates Diadem, Emerald, Melpomene, Mersey, and Topaze; corvette Pearl; the Dutch frigate Admiral Koopman, and sloops Vesuvius and Rainier; the Russian sloop Razboynik; the Brazilian corvette Bahiana; and the Turkish line-of-battle ship Shadie. In all 17 pennants. The whole of the ships, with the exception of the Brazilian corvette, have steam power.
Th 13 October 1859The following screw steamships, forming part of the Channel fleet, in Plymouth Sound, were ordered on Tuesday to prepare for sea immediately: viz., the Donegal, 101, Capt. William F. Glanville; the Emerald, 50, Capt. Arthur Cumming; the Melpomene, 50, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart; the Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; the Algiers, 91, Capt, George W.D. O'Callaghan; the Hero, 81, Capt. George H. Seymour; and the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles S. Schomberg. The Nile and Melpomene will probably go to the West Indies, and the Hero to Vancouver's Island.
The screw steam corvette Pearl, 21, Capt. Borlase, C.B., left Plymouth on Monday night for China. As she passed through the Sound her crew was cheered most lustily by the crews of the Channel fleet.
Sa 15 October 1859At 8 a.m. on Thursday Rear Admiral Elliott hoisted his flag (blue at the mizen) on board the screw steamship Hero, 90, Capt. Seymour, in Plymouth Sound, and took command of the fleet. His flag was saluted by the Dutch and Brazilian ships of war in the Sound. At noon the Aboukir, Capt. Schomberg, tripped her anchor and was followed in succession by the Hero, 90, Capt. Seymour; Algiers, 91, Capt. G. O'Callaghan; Trafalgar, 91, Capt. Fanshawe; and Donegal, 101, Capt. G. Glanville, under steam, and by the Mersey, 40, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B,; Melpomene, 60, Capt. Ewart; and Emerald, 51, Capt. A, Cumming, under canvas. The last ship left at 5 p.m. One report states that the squadron will cruise ten days and return to Plymouth, another that they will rendezvous at Queenstown.
Tu 18 October 1859A special messenger from the Lords of the Admiralty arrived at Plymouth on Sunday with despatches, and the screw steamvessel Flying Fish, 6, Commander Hope, left the Sound immediately. It is supposed that she will communicate with, the squadron of eight ships which left Plymouth on Thursday, under Rear-Admiral George Elliott, and which form a portion of the Channel fleet, under full command of Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle.
Th 20 October 1859The following ships of the Channel fleet arrived in Cork Harbour on Saturday:- Donegal, 101, screw steamer; Aboukir, 90, screw steamer; Hero, 91, screw steamer; Trafalgar, 120; Algiers, 91, screw steamer; Emerald, 51, screw steamer; Melpomene, 50, screw steamer; and Mersey, 40 screw steamer.
Ma 24 October 1859By the last accounts received at Malta the Marlborough, 131, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Fanshawe, the Commander-in-chief, with Rear Admiral Dacres on board as Captain of the Fleet; the Conqueror, 101; the Orion, 91; the Princess Royal; 91; the Renown, 91, steam-ships of the line; the Vulture, 6, steam frigate; the Scourge, 6, the Coquette, 4, and the Lapwing, 4, steam sloops; the Growler steam gunboat; the African depot ship; the Redpole steam tug were at Gibraltar, as well as the Edgar, 91, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Erskine, and the Neptune, 91, steamships of the line belonging to the Channel fleet. The Caesar, 90, the James Watt, 91, the Agamemnon, 91, steamships of the line, and the Virago, 6, steam sloop, were on their way to Gibraltar and the Mediterranean from England; and on her way to Malta from England and Gibraltar the Supply, 2, steam storeshlp. On her way to Gibraltar and England the Firebrand, 6, steam sloop. The Doris, 32, steam frigate, was at Tetuan, and the Quail steam gunboat at Tangier.
Th 27 October 1859The Channel fleet was off Plymouth on Tuesday evening. The Emerald and Mersey parted company from them, and entered the Sound to receive provisions for conveyance to Torbay, where the ships will assemble, and be joined by the Royal Albert and Diadem, from Plymouth.
Tu 1 November 1859

(From an eye-witness)

As the Channel fleet has experienced one of the heaviest gales that have visited our coasts for many years, a short description of this revolving storm and of the wellbeing and doings of the fleet may not be uninteresting. The ships that comprised the squadron, under Rear-Admiral George Elliot, were the Hero, Captain Seymour, bearing the Admiral's flag; the Trafalgar, Captain Fanshawe; the Donegal, Captain Glanville; the Algiers, Captain O'Callaghan; the Aboukir, Captain Schomberg; the Mersey, Captain Caldwell; the Emerald; and the Melpomene, Captain Ewart. The ships remained in Queenstown a week. On Saturday the Admiral received his orders to proceed with the fleet to sea. The harbour was filled with shipping, a fresh north wind blowing. The signal was made about 9 a.m., "Up propellers," shortly followed by "Weigh; outward and leewardmost ships first." This was immediately obeyed; the Algiers led out under all sail, followed closely by the Aboukir, Melpomene, Emerald, Mersey, Trafalgar, and Hero; the Donegal remained in port in consequence of the illness of her captain. The ships sailed out in beautiful style, threading their way through a quantity of shipping. Nothing occurred at sea worthy of note until Monday morning. On that day the winds were light. The fleet was formed in line of battle, targets were laid out, and the whole forenoon was devoted to gunnery practice. The practice was extremely good, notwithstanding a good deal of rolling motion. On that afternoon several heavy storms of hail and sleet came from the N.W., and continued during the night, with very variable winds. After quarters at sunset the topsails were double-reefed, and courses reefed for the night. Variable winds still prevailed. Land was seen about the Land's-end and the Lizard lights sighted at about daylight, 6.30 a.m. The weather set in very dirty at S.E.; with increasing wind and heavy rain. The third reefs were taken in the topsails about 9 a.m., and shortly after topgallant-yards sent on deck; topgallant masts struck by signal; and also a signal, "Admiral will endeavour to go to Plymouth," "Form two columns; form the line of battle." About 10 a.m., signal, "Prepare to move with bowers. Bend sheet cable." The wind increased to a fury, with torrents of rain toward 11 a.m., with very thick weather, the wind heading the ships off, so that it became very doubtful if the stemmost ships could possibly get into the Sound, although it was probable the Hero and the headmost ships could get in. Admiral Elliot then, with the spirit of a British Admiral, decided at once (although he knew his exact position, having made the Eddystone lighthouse) to wear the fleet together and stand off and face the gale. Although the leading ships were in good positions to wear, it was not so with those in rear of the line. The Aboukir had just passed the Eddystone; the Trafalgar and Emerald were still in the rear, the Trafalgar having been detained to pick up a man who had fallen overboard from the jibboom, which was executed with great skill. The Aboukir immediately wore, set her courses, and dashed to windward of the lighthouse by carrying a press of sail and weathered it half a mile followed closely by the Mersey. The Algiers, Melpomene, and Trafalgar passed it very closely to leeward, as the Hand Deeps were under their lee. Added to these difficulties there was a perfect fleet of trawlers, vessels unmanageable while their trawl is towing, so that it required the greatest skill to avoid running them down. What must have been the sight from the lighthouse - these leviathan ships darting about like dolphins round it in the fury of the storm, defying the elements, and the little trawlers, with their masts bending like reeds to the gale! The signal was made to get up steam to secure the safety of the ships. The ships then got their canvass reduced and stood off the land. The Mersey and the Melpomene furled their sails, and got up steam, the former stalwart ship moving along like an ocean giant. The gale still increased until about 3 p.m., remaining very thick with rain. About 3 it lifted, the wind fell, the sun shone; but the sea remained towering up and breaking. The barometer then stood at about 28.50 deg. The Hero, Trafalgar, Algiers, Aboukir, and Melpomene were not far separated. Signal made, "Form the order of sailing in two columns." This was partially executed, when in a squall the wind shifted to N.W. It then for some three hours blew a perfect hurricane, considerably harder than it had previously blown at S.E. The ships stood up well. The Hero, dauntless as her name, appeared to take it easy. The Aboukir, close to leeward of her, carried one reef out of her maintopsail through the whole of it; and the Algiers, the Trafalgar, and the Melpomene were all doing well. The former eased up her topsail sheets in the squalls. The Mersey and the Emerald, it is supposed, had steamed into Plymouth, as they were not in sight. The ships kept in open order through the night; they wore in succession by night signal at about 1 a.m., made the land at daylight near the Start Point, formed the line of battle by signal, got the steam, up, and carrying sail came up Channel at about 11-knot speed, steamed into Portland, and took up their anchorage without the loss of a sail, a spar, or a rope yarn.

This appears highly creditable to newly-organized ships, - some only a few months together, the senior not a year; and I hope it will tend to show that our mariners of England are not in that decay that some old gentlemen in the House of Commons are so glad to point out at all times and seasons. A little quiet organization - not a continual harassing and worry at shifting sails and spars and killing men, but a fair exercise at guns, sails, &c. - will make our fleet a credit to the country and a safeguard to the nation.

Tu 1 November 1859The screw steam-frigate Emerald, 51, Captain A. Cumming, left Plymouth on Saturday for Portland.
We 2 November 1859The screw line-of-battle ship Royal Albert, 121, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, the screw steam frigates Mersey, 40, and the Emerald, 51, arrived at Portland on Sunday from Plymouth. The Mars, 80, and the Blenheim, 60, arrived from the westward on Monday.
Fr 4 November 1859Her Majesty's screw steamsloop Mutine, Commander W. Graham, yesterday commenced receiving her stores in preparation for sea. One sergeant, one corporal, and 16 privates of the Royal Marines will embark to-day from the Woolwich division. The paddlewheel steam-sloop Prometheus, Commander Skipwith, sailed from Woolwich yesterday at 315 p.m., and proceeded to Greenhithe to adjust compasses in preparation to join the Channel fleet.
Sa 12 November 1859The Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. George D. O'Callaghan, arrived at Spithead from Portland yesterday.
The ships remaining in Portland Harbour are:- the Royal Albert, 131; the Hero, 91; the Aboukir, 91; the Mars, 81; the Blenheim, 61; the Mersey, 40; the Emerald, 51; and the Melpomene, 51.
The screw steamshlp Trafalgar, 91, from Portland, arrived in Plymouth Sound yesterday morning.
Sa 19 November 1859The screw frigate Ariadne, 26, in dock at Chatham, which was originally intended for the first division of the steam reserve, is now ordered to be immediately made ready for sea, and is expected to hoist the pendant to-day. It is at present unknown for what service she is intended, but it is likely she will, in the first instance, join the Channel squadron. Colonel Rea, Commandant of the Royal Marines at Chatham, received Admiralty orders yesterday for her detachment of Marines to be selected from that division.
Ma 28 November 1859

MALAGA, Nov. 17.

The following details are from the Gibraltar Chronicle:-
"Three of Her Majesty's steamships that have been in our bay since the 24th of September will take their departure to-day for England. These ships are the Edgar, 91, bearing Rear-Admiral Erskine's flag, belonging to the Channel fleet; the Conqueror, 101, Captain Clifford; and the Centurion, 80, Captain Patey. The two latter having put in their time on the Mediterranean station will, we hear, be paid off on their arrival at Portsmouth.
" 1 o'clock.- The above ships have just left the bay."
We 7 December 1859The screw line-of-battle ship Algiers, 91, rejoined the Channel Fleet at Portland on Sunday. The vessels now at anchor there are the Royal Albert, 131 (flag ship); Hero, 91; Aboukir, 91; Algiers, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Mars, 80; Mersey, 40; Diadem, 32; Blenheim, 60; Donegal, 101; Partridge, 6; and the Biter, 2.
Tu 20 December 1859Rear-Admiral Erskine returned to Plymouth on Saturday, and reholsted his flag on bourd the Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon. It is probable that she will join the Channel fleet shortly.
We 4 January 1860The Admiralty have ordered a trial of Coston's night signals on board the Channel Fleet, and Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle has appointed a Board composed of the following officers to report on it; viz., Capt, H. Caldwell, Her Majesty's ship Mersey; Capt. J.N. Strange, Her Majesty's ship Mars; and Capt. H.J. Lacon, Her Majesty's ship Royal Albert. These signals have already had a preliminary trial at Woolwich, before Commodore Drummond, and were favourably reported on. They have for some time been in use on board the United States' squadron, by order of the United States' Navy Department. The signals consist of a firework, or combination of two or three coloured lights (white, red, or green), contained in a small case. They are held horizontally at arms' length, on a stick or handle, and when lighted burn with great brilliancy and distinctness, the change of colour being instantaneous. The smaller size signals may be distinguished at from four to six miles, and the larger size from six to ten miles' distance.
Ma 9 January 1860THE ROYAL NAVY OF 1860.- By the official Navy List for the present month and quarter we find that the British navy consists o£ 518 vessels, including screw steamers of every description, exclusive of which there are 153 gunboats, 121 brigs, hulks, &c., employed in harbour service, and 47 coastguard tenders. Of the number of vessels composing the navy no less than 314 are in commission and doing duty in every part of the globe. The vessels in commission are distributed as follows:- 65 line-of-battle ships, frigates, sloops, and gunboats attached to the East Indies and China station, 18 on the Coast of Africa, 6 at Australia, 13 in the Pacific, 3 in the Brazils, 8 on the south-east coast of America, 8 at the Cape of Good Hope, 21 on the North America and West India station, 41 in the Mediterranean, 19 attached to the Channel squadron, and the remaining 112 are employed on particular service or attached as guardships to the principal ports in Great Britain and Ireland.
Fr 13 January 1860The Lucifer paddle has proceeded in charge of Second Master-attendant Stokes, with a mooring lump in tow for Portland to remove the moorings recently laid down there for the use of the Channel fleet to fresh positions.
Th 19 January 1860The screw line-of-battle ships in Portland harbour are the Edgar, 91, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine, second in command of the Channel fleet; Donegal, 101; Hero, 91; Algiers, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Aboukir, 91; and the Mars, 80. The screw frigate Diadem, 32; the screw corvette Mutine, 18; and the gunboats Flying Fish, 6; and the Partridge, 2. The paddlewheel steam frigate Prometheus, 6, and the Coastguard ship Blenheim are also at anchor. The Royal Albert, 121, is daily expected from Plymouth.
Fr 27 January 1860The Lucifer paddle steamer, with Second-Master-Attendant Stokes and party on board, has arrived at Portsmouth from Portland, where they have been engaged in laying down moorings for the use of the Channel Fleet.
Fr 3 February 1860The screw line-of-battle ship Royal Albert, 121, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, Commander in Chief of the Channel Fleet, arrived at Portland on Wednesday under steam from Plymouth, and took up her old position in the harbour. The Aboukir, 91, left Portland under canvas on Tuesday afternoon for a cruise in the Channel. The coal-hulk Pitt arrived on Tuesday night from Portsmouth, in tow of the paddlewheel steamers Virago and Lucifer, and was placed at her moorings at an early hour next morning. The Virago shortly afterwards left the harbour for the westward. There are now three Admirals at Portland - Fremantle, Erskine, and Elliott, and the following ships and gunboats:- The Royal Albert, 121, Capt. H.J. Lacon; the Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon; the Algiers, 91, Capt. W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mars, 80, Capt. James N. Strange; the Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; the Hero, 91, Capt. G.H. Seymour; the Trafalgar, 91, Capt. Edward G. Fanshawe; the Melpomene, 51, Capt. J.F. Ewart; the Mutine, 17, Commander William Graham; the Blenheim, 60, Capt. Francis Scott; the Flying Fish, 6, Commander C.W. Hope; and the gunboats Biter, 2, and Partridge, 2.
Th 23 February 1860The screw steam frigate Diadem, 32, Capt. James H. Cockburn, arrived at Portland on Tuesday from Portsmouth. A portion of the Channel fleet is expected to leave that harbour in a few days for the Tagus. The vessels now in port are the Royal Albert, 121; Edgar, 91; Queen, 91; Algiers, 91: Donegal, 101; Hero, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Melpomene, 51; Mersey, 40; Diadem, 32; Blenheim, 60; Mutine, 17; Greyhound, 17; Biter, 2; and the Partridge, 2.
Fr 24 February 1860We learn by electric telegraph that the Channel fleet, consisting of the Royal Albert, Edgar, Donegal, Algiers, Trafalgar, Queen, Mersey, Melpomene, and Diadem, left Portland at noon yesterday, under sail, for Lisbon.
Ma 27 February 1860The Channel squadron, consisting of eight ships under all sail, was observed from Plymouth Citadel at 3 p.m. on Friday, standing down Channel with a moderate breeze from the south, and steering for Lisbon.
The screw steam frigate Diadem, 32, Captain James H. Cockburn, put into Plymouth Sound on Friday, having been run into by the screw steamship Queen, 86, Captain Charles F. Hillyar, by which she lost her bowsprit, figurehead, and part of her cutwater; the bowsprit is gone close home to the gammoning. The collision took place four or five miles south-cast of Portland, on Thursday evening, shortly after 7 o'clock. All the ships in the Channel fleet were then tacking in succession. Wind light, S.S.W. The Queen was on the lee line, on the port tack, under all plain sails, except royals, with a single reef in the topsails, steering E.N.E. The Diadem was on the weather line, starboard tack, under single reefed topsails, topgallantsails, foresails, spanker, and jib, steering about N.W. ½ W., but on the approach of the ship was put hard down and brought up in the wind. It is stated that, according to ordinary rule, instead of attempting to cross the frigate's bows she should have gone under her stern. The Queen lost her quarter-boat, but has gone on with the fleet to Lisbon. On Saturday the Diadem went into Hamoaze to have defects made good at Devonport Dockyard, where she will be detained more than a fortnight.
Th 1 March 1860His Royal Highness Prince Alfred passed his examination for midshipman on board the Euryalus the day the ship anchored at Spithead. The examination extended over three days. The King of Portugal dined with the Prince and the officers of the ship, on board, on the 18th inst. [should be 'ult.'] The Euryalus sailed from Lisbon on the following day [19 February], and had a contrary wind until off Ushant, when it veered from N.E. to N.W. and S.W. Off Cape Finisterre she lost a man by falling from aloft overboard. She passed the Channel squadron below Plymouth, at 10 30 p.m. on Sunday, standing on a wind down Channel.
Fr 2 March 1860A letter dated Torbay, Tuesday, received at Plymouth, from one of the officers of the Channel squadron, says that off the Lizard the ships were taken all aback, and could not again form a line. The Edgar, Queen, and Donegal remained out. Besides the casualties to the Queen, Diadem, Algiers, and Mersey, already reported in The Times, the letter states that the Aboukir lost her cross-jack yard and starboard quarter-boats, the Royal Albert pitched her jib-boom under at times, and the Trafalgar lost her jib-boom; she will probably call at Plymouth before proceeding to the Tagus.
Sa 3 March 1860

HOUSE OF COMMONS, Friday, March 2.


Sir J. PAKINGTON rose to put a question to the noble lord the Secretary of the Admiralty, but before making that inquiry he cold not refrain from saying how warmly he concurred In all that had been said by the right hon. gentleman the member for Portsmouth [Francis Thornhill Baring], with respect to Sir Leopold M'Clintock and Lady Franklin… The question which he had risen to ask referred to some accidents reported to have occurred to the ships of the Channel squadron. The Times of that morning contained the following paragraph:-

"A letter dated Torbay, Tuesday, received at Plymouth, from one of the officers of the Channel squadron. says that off the Lizard the ships were taken all aback, and could not again form a line. The Edgar, Queen, and Donegal remained out. Besides the casualties to the Queen, Diadem, Algiers, and Mersey, already reported in The Times, the letter states that the Aboukir lost her cross-jack yard and starboard quarter-boats, the Royal Albert pitched her jib-boom under at times, and the Trafalgar lost her jib-boom; she will probably call at Plymouth before proceeding to the Tagus."

He wished to know whether the Admiralty had received any account of this dispersion, as he might call it, of the fleet off the Lizard, and whether the damage which had been caused was to be considered as the inevitable result of the late gale, or whether there was reason to attribute any blame to the offices in command of the squadron. A much more important question, however, and one upon which he was still more anxious for an explanation, arose with reference to the casualties to the Queen, Diadem, Algiers, and Mersey. Was he right in believing that these casualties had arisen from these magnificent ships having on three recent occasions come into collision with each other in the open Channel? He understood that on one occasion the Diadem and Queen ran foul of each other, and that on another, the Algiers and Mersey came into collision; and that both these occurrences took place when the ships were sailing in two lines, and tacking in succession. These collisions could not take place without much danger, and without causing serious damage and consequent expense, and, with regard to their cause, it was impossible to escape from one of two inferences. Either the sailing order under which the manoeuvres were executed must be of a defective and unsafe character, or there must be a want of seamanship among the officers who were in command of those ships. He therefore asked his noble friend to give some account of these circumstances, and he trusted that it would be in his power to give such an explanation as would remove the unpleasant feeling on the part of the public, to which the statements contained in this paragraph had given rise.

Lord C. PAGET hoped he might be permitted, on the part of his brother officers, to thank the right hon. baronet the member for Portsmouth for the handsome way in which be had mentioned the services of Captain M'Clintock and others connected with Arctic exploration and discovery…

The noble lord then proceeded to state, in reply to the question of the right hon. baronet the member for Droitwich [Packington], that undoubtedly there had been two collisions in the Channel, one of which had been of a very serious nature, inasmuch as it had resulted in the loss of the bowsprit of the Diadem. He was disposed to think, however, that the right hon. baronet was rather inclined to listen to what he had formerly called midshipmen's yarns. The statement which had appeared in The Times of that morning had evidently been prepared by the youngest midshipman in the fleet. He had looked over it very carefully, and he confessed that neither he nor any of his brother officers at the Admiralty had been able to make head or tail of it. (A laugh.) The fleet started from Portland on Thursday, and proceeded with a moderate breeze down the Channel, until it arrived off the Lizard. There during the night, the squadron being in two lines, a signal was made to tack in succession. The Diadem was the stern ship of the weather line, and the Queen fell foul of her and carried away her bowsprit. A very detailed report had been received from the captain of the Diadem, but the Admiralty had not yet obtained a very distinct report from the captain of the Queen. They had, however, ordered an inquiry into the circumstances. The other collision had taken place between the Algiers and the Mersey. The only information which the Admiralty had received was contained in a letter from the Mersey, which had put into port for some slight repairs, but in this case also a minute investigation would be instituted. The right hon. baronet had expressed opinions with respect to the conduct of the Channel squadron, which, if they had not come from a person intimately acquainted with the navy, he should have regarded as undeserving of notice.

Sir J. PAKINGTON:- I expressed no opinions, but merely asked for information.

Lord C. PAGET appealed to the House whether the right hon. baronet had not talked of extreme mismanagement in the conduct of the fleet. (Hear, hear.) There could be no doubt that when two vessels came into collision a certain amount of blame attached to one party or the other,- generally, indeed, to both; but he could not at that moment state whether any, and, if any, what degree of censure had been incurred in the late collisions in the Channel. He could perfectly understand, considering the state of the weather when the squadron left Portland, that there should be a loss of spars, a pitching away of jib-booms, and various accidents of that nature; but the Admiralty had at present no reason to suppose that there had been any mismanagement whatever. Accidents might always be expected when a squadron, commanded by young inexperienced officers, and manned by raw crews, put to sea for the first time. But that only showed the importance of keeping our squadrons constantly at sea. (Hear, bear.) He believed the right hon. baronet would find that our Channel fleet, notwithstanding the recent collisions, was well commanded and officered, and that the accidents which had occurred at starting would be followed by complete success. (Hear, hear.)

Sir C. NAPIER thought the only fault which had been committed was that of sending a young squadron to sea to meet the equinoctial gales. But he could not agree with the Secretary to the Admiralty that the collisions were caused by the weather. The ships were taken aback, and the signal was made to tack. Every sailor knew that there were stringent orders to the effect that the ship on the port tack should always give way to the ship on the starboard tack. Those orders had not been obeyed on the occasion of the recent collision, and he was afraid the officer commanding the ship on the port tack had incurred some blame in not giving way, as he ought to have done, to the ship on the starboard tack. Young officers, however, could not be expected to be familiar with all the rules and regulations connected with the conduct of a squadron at sea, and he supposed there was not an officer in the Channel squadron who had ever sailed in a fleet before. The Admiralty ought to have sent the squadron to sea in the month of June, July, August, or September, in which case it would have had ample time to put itself in order before the equinoctial gales came on. (Hear, hear.)

Ma 5 March 1860The Hero, 91, screw, Captain George H. Seymour, C.B., which had sailed on Friday from Spithead to join the Channel Fleet, put back to that anchorage on Saturday morning, with the loss of her fore yard, which had been carried away in a heavy squall from the W.S.W. off St. Catharine's at 5 a.m. the same day. The broken yard was towed ashore by the Comet steamtug, and the irons, &c. landed at the dockyard at noon. By 3 p.m. the new yard had been fitted with the irons, leathered, and launched into the water off the King's Stairs, In readiness for towing off to the ship. The Hero again sailed from Spithead at 7 a.m. yesterday, but brought up in St. Helen's Roads, the weather looking wild and unsettled, with a strong breeze from the westward.
We 7 March 1860The Mars, 80, screw, Capt. Strange, sailed from Spithead at daylight yesterday to join the Channel fleet. A number of her crew are reported absent. The Flying Fish screw despatch vessel, Commander Charles W. Hope, also sailed from Spithead yesterday for the same destination.
Ma 12 March 1860It is expected that the screw steamship Trafalgar, 90, Capt. Edward G. Fanshawe, will leave Plymouth to-morrow {Tuesday), probably to join the Channel squadron at Lisbon. Her crew were paid wages under the supervision of Admiral Sir T.S. Pasley on Friday, and the starboard watch obtained leave until to-day (Monday).
Fr 23 March 1860The screw steamship Conqueror, 101, Capt. J. Willcox, C.B., belonging to the Channel squadron, is expected at Plymouth to repair, she being leaky abaft, near the sternpost.
Ma 2 April 1860The Channel fleet, under command of Admiral Fremantle, sailed from Lisbon at 10 30 a.m, on the 23d ult. After their departure two Dutch frigates were the only foreign vessels of war left in the port. The usual Portuguese squadron was lying in the Tagus.
We 4 April 1860A portion of the Channel Fleet, consisting of the screw steamships Royal Albert, 121, Capt. Henry J. Lacon, bearing the flag of Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B.; the Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles F. Schomberg; and the screw steam-frigate Melpomene, 51, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart, hove in sight at Plymouth about 6 o'clock yesterday (Tuesday) morning, with the wind from the westward, a smart breeze. They came in from sea under their three topsails, and on reaching the west end of the breakwater took in all canvas, and proceeded under steam to the anchorage ground, the flagship taking her position well to the westward. At 8 o'clock the flag of Port Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds, K.C.B., was honoured by a salute, which was acknowledged by the Impregnable, 104, Capt. Stewart, in Hamoaze. This portion of the Channel fleet left Lisbon on Friday, March the 23d, in company with the screw steamships Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon; Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D. O'Callaghan; Queen, 86, Capt. Charles F. Hillyar; Mars, 80, Capt. James N. Strange; and the screw steam-frigate Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B. The Edgar carried away her main topsailyard on Sunday morning, when crossing the Bay of Biscay. The Edgar and Mersey have lost a man each overboard. On Monday night, off the Lizard, the Edgar, Algiers, Queen, Mars, and Mersey parted company, and proceeded up Channel for Portsmouth. Very fine weather was experienced at first, but within the last four days strong gales from west-north-west have prevailed, with extraordinary heavy seas. All the ships are reported leaky; the Royal Albert will require a thorough caulking. Two Dutch ships of war were in the Tagus.
Th 5 April 1860The Second Division of the Channel fleet, comprising the Edgar, 91, screw, Capt. James E. Katon, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral of the Blue John E. Erskine; the Queen, 86, screw, Capt. C.F. Hillyar; the Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mars, 80, screw, Capt. J.N. Strange; and the Mersey, 40, screw, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B., steamed into Spithead from the Channel yesterday morning by the eastern entrance in the order named. The Edgar having anchored, each succeeding ship steamed to the westward of the flagship, and, rounding to, proceeded to their respective positions. The Queen took up the eastern berth of the line, a-head of the Edgar. To the westward of the Edgar the Algiers anchored, and the Mars took up the western berth. The four liners are thus moored in a line from south-east to north-west. The Mersey frigate brought up in deeper water on the outside of the line. Soon after the ships came in sight the customary salutes were exchanged between the Edgar, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine, and the Victory, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral Bruce. The Sprightly and Pigmy steam tenders were despatched from the harbour to Spithead on the fleet's arrival.

Sails were unbent on Tuesday on board that portion of the Channel squadron which arrived in Plymouth Sound the same day from Lisbon, and measures are in progress for their immediate refitment. Those ships previously in the Sound sent up topgallantmasts and yards, and loosed sails to dry. The Conqueror, 101, Capt. Sotheby, steamed into Hamoaze and brought up off Keyham; she was appointed to go into dock yesterday (Wednesday).

Fr 6 April 1860The crews of that portion of the Channel Fleet anchored at Spithead had leave granted them ashore, in parts of watches, yesterday evening until 7 a.m. to-morrow. The whole of the vessels have suffered more or less, both in their hulls and machinery, from the effects of the late gales during their passage to and from Lisbon. Of the five ships at Spithead, the Edgar has proved the most efficient of the whole, as well as much the easiest craft in a seaway. Next to her ranks the Mersey, the Mars taking next place, with the Algiers and the Queen last. The two last-named vessels rolled very heavily; the Queen, indeed, to such an extent as to unship the shot from their racks on the main deck, and send them flying about, injuring 15 of her crew before they were stowed down in her after-hold. She has a heavy sick-list besides. Her funnel casing is torn, waste steam-pipe carried away, and her machinery requires a thorough overhaul - the effects of her rolling and working. She made a good deal of water, as may be supposed, during the worst part of the last gale. The Algiers also made water during the gale, and her stern is supposed to be defective. The Mersey's steam-pipe is defective, from its great length exposed to the working of the ship; but, most important of all, her condensers are cracked. They will all require considerable repairs before they can again proceed to sea. All the officers of the squadron agree in awarding the superiority on every point at sea - speed under canvass, and easy motion in heavy seas especially - to ships of the Edgar and Donegal class, over those of the Algiers and Queen's.
Ma 9 April 1860REPAIRS IN THE NAVY.- It was stated by the Surveyor of the Navy, in a report of the committee appointed by the Treasury to inquire into the Navy Estimates, that at the end of 15 years, on an average, the hull of each ship in the navy requires a complete and extensive repair. And further, that the duration of a ship of war cannot be estimated at more than 30 years. The Surveyor took for his guidance the average of the 10 years from 1849 to 1859, when 35 ships of the line and 46 frigates were removed from the effective list of the navy. We much fear that none of our "converted" ships, nor indeed any of our finest specimens of naval architecture, will stand the wear and tear for the periods assigned to them by the Naval Surveyor; and it is supposed, when he made the above statements, he alluded to the duration of sailing ships only, for we have had a few warnings lately as to the future fate of our Victorias, Howes, Duncans, and Diadems, by the introduction of steam into ships of war. We have found that, instead of requiring a complete repair once in 15 years only, that as many months are sometimes sufficient to send a ship into dock. The rapid manner in which the navy has been reconstructed in some degree accounts for this premature decay, in consequence of the unseasoned timber which has been so extensively used, and which from the limited supply in hand could not well have been avoided; but, in addition to the use of indifferent materiel, we must reckon upon our steam ships of war becoming rotten sooner than our sailing ships did, in consequence of the heat produced by the volcanic fires we put into them. Shipwrights know to a plank where to "prick" for rotten wood in a steamship. With unerring precision they try her just in the "wake of the boilers," where the alternations of heat and cold are the greatest, and which are sufficient to destroy the best seasoned timber. It is in these places that steamships require repairs oftenest. There is, however, another destructive power that disables a steamship of war in a very marked manner, and that is the "shake of the screw." Long-continued screw propulsion at full speed soon tells a tale. We have had indications in the Princess Royal, 91, now under repair at Portsmouth, of the destructive effects of the vibratory motion of the screw. She has been almost rebuilt abaft, after having passed through one commission only. It is said, also, in conformation of this, that the whole of the Channel fleet is leaky, and that the Royal Albert, the flag ship, will require a thorough caulking. When we remember how recently this ship was built and commissioned these reports are by no means satisfactory. Judging, therefore from the experience to be derived from the few years the "screw" has been in the navy, we must expect to find defects, in the "deal-wood" of all our ships, which is subject to the cross-stain it receives in passing through a body of water in a state of perturbation. Of course other naval Powers will have the same destructive elements to contend with as ourselves. Indeed, we happen to know that the vibration in some French line-of-battle ships greatly exceeds that of our best ships. The Emperor, however, aims as speed; he knows its importance as well as we do. But to obtain this very desirable quality in screw ships of war, he must be prepared to do as we do, and that is to anticipate a very serious increase in his navy estimates under the head of "repairs" - Army and Navy Gazette.
We 11 April 1860The portion of the Channel fleet anchored at Spithead, under the command of Rear-Admiral John E. Erskine, and consisting of the Edgar, the Algiers, the Queen, the Mars, and the Mersey, has been inspected by the officials of the steam and shipwright departments, and their report of defects of the different ships, and the repairs recommended to be carried out, has been forwarded to the Admiralty. The whole of the five vessels, as we before stated, are in need of repairs to both hull and machinery. The Mersey's required repairs in the last-named department are likely to prove of a very extensive character, and necessarily involve a large outlay before she can be again pronounced fit for foreign service. The Queen's repairs have been taken in hand by the Steam Factory Department. The Algiers, it is expected, will proceed to Keyham, where she will be placed in dock to repair the defects in her stern, &c. It is rumoured that the Duke of Wellington, 131, screw, in the first-class steam reserve in Portsmouth harbour, will be commissioned to receive the flag of the Admiral commanding the Channel Fleet, the Royal Albert's defects requiring remedy. The Duke may be pronounced fit for 18 months, or, perhaps, two years' service, if worked carefully and no accident occurring; but at the end of that time she would require new boilers and very extensive repairs to both hull and engines. As she is not in a sufficiently healthy condition of hull, boilers, and engines, to be sent on a foreign station for a three years' cruise, it is very probable that the rumour concerning her may be verified, and that she may carry Admiral Fremantle's flag in the Channel Fleet.
We 11 April 1860Last week five stout steamships of the Channel squadron anchored at Spithead on their return from Lisbon. They had encountered boisterous weather, no doubt, but we certainly were not prepared for the report that they had all suffered such damage as to require considerable repairs before they could again proceed to sea. From the description given of their condition it appears evident that they suffered not merely as ships, but as steamships. Had they been sailing vessels of the old character they might have been longer on the voyage and less efficient men-of-war, but they would probably not have received such injury as to send them into dock. NELSON used to talk triumphantly of the manner in which his ships could buffet the gales of the Mediterranean without carrying away a spar; but NELSON'S vessels had no steam-pipes to be carried away, no funnel-casings to be torn, and no condensers to be cracked. We suspect, too, that they would have rolled far less heavily and with slighter strain, while the current outlay upon each would have been much less considerable.
Th 12 April 1860The disturbance on board a line-of-battle ship at Spithead on Tuesday, and referred to in The Times of yesterday, occurred on board the Edgar, 91, screw, Capt. Katon, flagship of Rear-Admiral J.E. Erskine, second in command of the Channel Fleet. It is stated that the Marines first displayed signs of insubordination relative to leave on the Monday, which was renewed on Tuesday, on which day a portion of the ship's company joined them, when there ensued the usual routine practised of late on such disgraceful occasions. Five of the ringleaders, comprising two Marines, one Marine artilleryman, and two seamen, were sent on board the Victory, where it is supposed they will be tried for their mutinous conduct. Various rumours are in circulation as to the cause of the disturbance and its extent. The Sprightly steamer was ordered to bank her fires, and the Marines on board Her Majesty's ship Victory were to hold themselves in readiness during last night to proceed in her on board the Edgar, should their services be required.
Th 19 April 1860The court-martial for the trial of the mutineers of Her Majesty's ship Edgar is expected to assemble on board Her Majesty's ship Victory in Portsmouth harbour on Monday next.
Th 19 April 1860The screw steamship Royal Albert, 121, Capt. Henry J. Lacon, was removed on Tuesday afternoon from Hamoaze into the lock at Keyham Steamyard, Plymouth. The wind was blowing very strongly from the eastward, and an ordinary observer might have doubted the prudence of making the attempt in such weather. Commander George Biddlecombe, additional assistant-master attendant, took charge afloat, and, having a paddlewheel steaming on either side, advanced cautiously against the wind towards Keyham shortly after 2 o'clock. On nearing, a powerful warp was, under the instructions of Commander James Brown, master attendant, connected with the ship and a capstan on the south side of the lock, and a smart gang of blue-jackets and marines, having fitted the capstan bars, soon got a strain on her. Other warps were attached from the port bow to capstans on the north side, and, guiding ropes being also fixed to both her quarters, she became, when the tugs cast off, completely under control ashore, and the huge mass, hand led almost like a toy, was without the slightest grating or collision quietly lodged in the lock, in charge of the assistant-master shipwright, Mr. Henry Peake, who, with his foreman, Mr. Rowe, was in attendance to receive her. After being relieved of some 300 tons of coal, she will be placed in dock for repair, and will be fitted with four new boilers. Nearly a month will elapse before she can leave the yard. The flag of Rear-Admiral of the Blue George Elliot, Capt. of the Channel fleet and second in command, continues flying at the mizen of the Royal Albert.
Ma 23 April 1860A court-martial is expected to assemble on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, in Portsmouth harbour, this morning, for the trial of the men undermentioned (part of the crew of Her Majesty's ship Edgar, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine, second in command of the Channel fleet), on the charges annexed to their names:- William Mathews, Thomas Doidge, Alfred Gunstan, Alfred Fry, William Harvey, William Parker, Charles Lucas, James Trlckey, Daniel Mooney, and Charles Cannon, private marines; and Henry Dawson, gunner, Royal Marine Artillery; on a charge of disobeying orders to fall in at two different times when the watch was piped to do so. James Haining, gunner, Royal Marine Artillery, and John Menzies, private, Royal Marines, for preventing John Clarke from being put in irons, and rescuing him from the sergeant and corporal who had him in charge. George W. Smith, A.B., for inciting a seaman named Cook to disobey orders, and to make a disturbance and unship ladders, &c, John Clarke, private, Royal Marines, for having when the port watch was mustered, endeavoured to delay and discourage the service by falling in with that watch instead of the starboard, to which he belonged, and for misconduct in the boat when being conveyed to the Victory a prisoner. George Jarvis, ordinary seamen, for inciting Cook to disobedience of orders, and for wilfully disobeying orders by remaining below when his watch was piped to fall in. Rear-Admiral the Hon. Sir H. Keppell, K.C.B., it is believed, will be president of the Court.
Fr 11 May 1860The Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. George D. O'Callaghan, will go out of Portsmouth Harbour to Spithead to-morrow morning, to rejoin the first division of the Channel fleet at Spithead, on the completion of her repairs and refit.
Ma 14 May 1860The Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. G.D. O'Callaghan, steamed ont of Portsmouth harbour on Saturday, and anchored in her old position with the port division of the Channel fleet at Spithead.
Fr 18 May 1860Admiral Sir C. Fremantle, K.C.B., in command of the Channel squadron, struck his flag on board the screw steamship Royal Albert, 121, at Plymouth, on Wednesday at sunset. It is reported that the gallant officer is gone to the Admiralty on special business.
Fr 25 May 1860The Channel fleet, consisting of the Conqueror, 101; the Donegal, 101; the Algiers, 91, the Aboukir, 91; the Trafalgar, 91; the Centurion, 80; the Mars, 80; and the Diadem, 32, left Portland harbour on Wednesday afternoon for a cruise in the Channel. The Blenheim, 60, is the only ship of war now at Portland.
Th 31 May 1860The screw steamship Royal Albert, 121, Capt. H. Lacon, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., got up steam on Tuesday in Plymouth Sound, and sailed for the Downs to take the lead of the Channel fleet, which, it is reported, will visit the coasts of Ireland and Scotland.
We 6 June 1860Her Majesty's ship Edgar, 81, Capt. Katon, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Ersklne, passed the Downs yesterday to join the Channel squadron at Leith.
Ma 11 June 1860The Channel squadron, on its northern cruise, arrived at the mouth of the Firth of Forth on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday forenoon steamed up the Firth. It was fully expected that the fleet would anchor in Leith roads, opposite Edinburgh, and great disappointment was felt when the splendid vessels, the finest ever seen in these waters, proceeded 8 or 10 miles higher up to the better enclosed roadstead of St. Margaret's Hope. The upper part of the Firth chosen as the temporary anchorage of the fleet is about two miles in breadth, and enclosed by the cultivated and picturesque coasts of West Lothian and Fifeshire; and, the Channel being deep and broad, ample searoom is given for the evolution of the largest vessels, while the shelter is equal to that of any harbour in the kingdom. The unprecedented spectacle of a squadron of the Royal Navy in the Firth of Forth had been looked forward to with the deepest interest by the inhabitants of Edinburgh and Leith, and immediately it was found that the fleet were to pass higher up the Firth steam tugs and little boats of all descriptions pursued them to their chosen anchorage. On Saturday also numerous steam-vessels and lesser craft sailed from Leith to Granton, carrying passengers round the fleet, and causing an unwonted stir in the quiet roadstead of St. Margaret's Hope. The squadron are 14 in number - namely, the Royal Albert, 121 guns, the flagship of Sir C.H. Fremantle, K.C.B.; the Donegal, 101; the Conqueror, 101; the Edgar, 91; the Aboukir, 90; the Algiers, 91; the Trafalgar, 90; the Mars, 80; the Centurion, 80; the Mersey, 40; the Diadem, 32; the Ariadne, 26; the Greyhound, 17; and the Flying Fish, 6. In St. Margaret's Hope there has also been for some time stationed the Edinburgh, 60 guns, as a training-ship. Several sick seamen were conveyed from on board the Royal Albert to Leith Hospital on Friday evening. The squadron is expected to remain about a week in the Firth.
Tu 19 June 1860A rumour was current in naval circles yesterday at Portsmouth that Sir Thomas Maitland, C.B., had been offered the command of the Channel fleet in lieu of the Pacific station, and that Sir Charles Fremantle was about to receive another command.
Th 21 June 1860The Locust, 3, paddle-wheel steamer, 150-horse power Lieut. and Commander J.B. Field, arrived yesterday at Sheerness from the Channel Islands, where she has for some time been employed in protecting the fisheries and In exercising the Pilots and Coast Volunteers. After coaling and taking in a stock of provisions she will proceed to Leith, to be placed under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles H. Fremantle, C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet.
Ma 25 June 1860The Channel squadron, after an anchorage of 15 days in St. Margaret's Hope, Firth of Forth, left its moorings on Saturday afternoon, and under canvass, with auxiliary steam power, proceeded down the Firth and stood out to sea. The squadron, in passing the narrow straits at Queensferry, proceeded in single line, the leading ships being the Royal Albert, 121, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir C. Fremantle, the Mersey, 40-gun frigate, the Edgar, 91, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine, and the Donegal, 101, followed by seven other ships of the line and the Diadem frigate. The Greyhound corvette, 17, accompanied the Royal Albert as a tender. On passing Inchkeith, and getting into the outer bay of the Firth, the fleet formed in two lines, and stood out south-west in the direction of St. Abb's Head; the Royal Albert, the Donegal, the Aboukir, the Conqueror, and the Centurion, with the Greyhound forming the south line, and the Edgar, the Trafalgar, the Algiers, the Mars, the Diadem, and the Mersey, the north line. A number of steamers convoyed the fleet down the Firth, The public enthusiasm excited by the visit o£ the Channel squadron in the Forth can scarcely fall to give a stimulus to the service in the south-east of Scotland, where for many years a fleet of war-ships had not been seen; and great disappointment is felt that the fleet has not been able to make the tour of the north of Scotland and Ireland, as was anticipated. It was expected that the squadron would reach Yarmouth-roads yesterday afternoon.
Sa 30 June 1860Rear-Admiral Stopford hag been appointed Captain of the Channel Fleet, vice Rear-Admiral Elliott, who has resigned.
Ma 2 July 1860On Saturday the Channel fleet arrived In Yarmouth Roads. The squadron, which has been engaged in target practice in the North Sea during the past week, consists of the Royal Albert, 120; Conqueror, 101; Donegal, 101; Algiers, 91; Edgar, 91; Aboukir, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Centurion, 80; Mars, 80; Mersey, 40; Diadem, 32; Ariadne, 26; and Flying Fish, 6. The fleet is not expected to remain in Yarmouth Roads more than three or four days, as it is to take part in a naval review before the departure of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for Canada.
Tu 3 July 1860The Channel fleet anchored in the Downs yesterday evening, on its way from Yarmouth Roads to Spithead, to take part in the naval review which is to take place prior to the departure of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for Canada. [In fact this review never took place]
We 4 July 1860Rear-Admiral the Hon. Frederick Thomas Pelham, C.B., one of the Lords of the Admiralty, arrived at Devonport on Monday morning, and in the afternoon, accompanied by Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, Admiral-Superintendent of the Dockyard, went on board the screw steam-ship Hero, 91, Capt. Seymour, where a large party of ladies were assembled. Shortly after steam was got up, and the Hero left Hamoaze and proceeded into Plymouth Sound, where she will probably remain until his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales embarks. It is expected that the Channel fleet will wait outside the port and escort the Hero into the Atlantic.
Ma 9 July 1860The Channel fleet sailed from the Downs on Saturday, at noon, for Plymouth.
Tu 10 July 1860



Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle's Channel squadron, consisting of the flagship Royal Albert, 121, Captain Henry J. Lacon; the Donegal, 101, Captain Henry Broadhead; the Aboukir, 90, Captain Douglas Curry; the Greyhound, 17, Commander Francis W. Sullivan; the Conqueror, 101, Captain Edward S. Sotheby, C.B.; the Trafalgar, 90, Captain Edward G. Fanshawe ; the Centurion, 80, Captain Henry G. Rogers, C.B.; the Edgar, 91, Captain James E. Katon; the Algiers, 91, Captain George W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mersey, 40, Captain Henry Caldwell, C.B.; and the Diadem, 32, Captain James H. Cockburn, under canvas only, with a smart breeze a little to the southward of east, hove in sight from Mount Wise at half-past 8 o'clock this morning in two lines. They then formed one line, and stood in for the port. At half-past 10 o'clock the ships wore in succession, and went away to the westward. Shortly after they came in sight more to the southward. Their funnels are up ready for use. The only ship likely to enter the Sound is the Diadem, which is said to be short of fuel. The Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe, in his steam yacht, near the Royal William Victualling-yard, is waiting the approach of the Prince of Wales. The Hero continues inside the Breakwater ready for sea, and arrangements are made for the expected departure of his Royal Highness to-morrow (Tuesday) morning. Her escort, the Ariadne, will probably take the Osborne in tow. The Flying Fish has gone on to Newfoundland.



Sir Charles Fremantle's squadron, which arrived off the port this morning, formed two lines, ranging about north and south, in the afternoon to receive the Royal yacht, which hove in sight at 7 o'clock, and was saluted by the Impregnable and other ships in Hamoaze. On rounding the west-end of the Breakwater the yardarms of the Hero, St. George, Emerald, and Ariadne, in the Sound, were manned, and the three last-named and the Plymouth Citadel saluted. At half-past 8, when the Prince left the yacht to join the Hero, the Emerald and the Citadel repeated the compliment. The weather is extremely fine, and thousands of the inhabitants were assembled on the heights.

We 11 July 1860



The screw steamship Hero, 91, Captain George H. Seymour, C.B., with his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and the screw steam frigate Ariadne, 26, Captain Edward W. Vansittart, weighed anchor in the Sound at 7 o'clock this morning, and shortly after sailed for Quebec. On leaving the port the Prince was saluted by the screw steamship St. George, 91, Captain the Hon. F. Egerton; the screw steam frigate Emerald, 51, Captain Arthur Cuming; by the Artillery in Plymouth Citadel, and by the Cornish Royal Volunteers from a field battery near the ruins of Mount-Edgcumbe-park. About a league and a half south-east of the Eddystone the Hero was joined by Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle's Channel squadron; wind, easterly; very light. It is understood that the squadron, after escorting the Prince part of the way across the Atlantic, will return to Bantry Bay, and, having already visited the capital of Scotland, there is some probability of their going afterwards to Dublin.

Fr 13 July 1860Two of Sir Charles Fremantle'a squadron - viz., the screw steamship Donegal, 101, Capt. S. Broadhead, and the Aboukir, 90, Capt. D. Curry, dismasted two fishing smacks on Tuesday, when, they were escorting his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales down Channel.
The screw steamsloop Greyhound, 17, Commander Francis W. Sullivan, which returned to Plymouth from the Channel squadron on Tuesday evening, has some defects to make good. She is ordered to prepare for foreign service - the Mediterranean, it is said.
We 18 July 1860

(From our own Correspondent.)


THE CHANNEL FLEET- The arrival of the Channel Fleet, consisting of 11 sail-of-the-line, in Bantry Bay, on Saturday, has created a considerable stir in that locality, and a demand for fresh provisions has given a great impetus to the beef trade. One dealer slaughters daily 20 head of cattle for the supply of the fleet.

Tu 24 July 1860The sudden death of Mr. James Rusden, Master of the screw steam frigate Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B., has created a feeling of great regret among the officers and crews of the Channel Fleet, now in Bantry Bay.
Ma 30 July 1860The screw steamship Orion, 91, Capt. T.B. Frere, has received a quantity of stores and provisions for the Channel Fleet.
We 15 August 1860The paddlewheel steamsloop Geyser, 6, Commander George M. Jackson, was appointed to leave Plymouth Sound yesterday to join the Channel Fleet.
Ma 20 August 1860It is reported at Plymouth that the stay of Admiral Erskine's division of the Channel fleet at Milford Haven will be about a fortnight.
Ma 3 September 1860The paddle steam storeship Rhadamanthus, 4, F.N. Sturdee, master-commander, from Woolwich, with marine engine gear, &c., was hauled on Saturday into Keyham basin, Plymouth, where her cargo will be discharged with all speed, and she will then be placed alongside the Royal William Victualling-yard to load provisions for that part of the Channel Fleet which is at Milford.
Ma 10 September 1860On Thursday afternoon the Lords of the Admiralty proceeded in Her Majesty's steamer Lightning and steamed round the whole of the Channel Fleet; all of which, together with the blockship Blenheim, 60, Capt. Tatham, manned yards in splendid style, presenting a spectacle seldom seen anywhere, much less in Milford Haven. Their Lordships then went on hoard the flagship Royal Albert, 121, and soon after left under a salute of 19 guns from the fleet. The result of the visit to the Admiral was soon apparent by the signal being made to "hoist in boats and prepare for sea." This, followed by an order for all the fleet to be "hove short" by 4 a.m. next morning made it generally known throughout the fleet that Friday was to be a day of exercise and evolutions before their Lordships, outside the haven. Accordingly, a little after 6 o'clock a.m., on Friday, the order was made to "weigh in succession" and "stand out to sea," which they did in the following order, viz.: - The Diadem, 32, Capt. James H. Cockburn; the Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; the Mars, 80, Capt. James N. Strange; the Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D. O'Callaghan; the Trafalgar, 91, Capt. Edward S. Fanshawe; the Aboukir, 91, Capt. Douglas Curry; the Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Caton, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine; the Centurion, 80, Capt. Henry D. Rogers; the Conqueror, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead [should be Edward Sotheby]; the Royal Albert, 121, Capt. H.J. Lacon, flag-ship of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B.; and the Donegal, 101, Capt. Edward Sotheby, C.B. [should be Henry Broadhead]. In about one hour and a half the whole were under weigh, and steaming out to sea. Shortly after 7 o’clock a.m., the Osborne, with the Admiralty flag at the main, slipped her moorings and went down the haven, accompanied by the gunboat Violet and Her Majesty’s ship Lightning, with the Earl of Cawdor on board. The fleet were expected to return on Friday night, with the exception of some few that will remain at sea for a few days, in order to go through a series of practical experiments, both by day and night, with Mr. W.H. Ward's new system of ocean telegraphic signalsExternal link, to have a personal inspection of which was, we believe, the principal object of the Lords of the Admiralty when they ordered the present review.
Tu 11 September 1860


The fleet, having all got under way by about 8 a.m., stood out to sea from Milford Haven, and, having made an offing of about seven miles, the Osborne, which had previously joined, with the Lords of the Admiralty on board, made the signal for the fleet to form a double line. They accordingly broke into two divisions; the starboard one, consisting of the Royal Albert, 121; the Donegal, 101; the Conqueror, 101; the Mars, 80, and the Trafalgar, 91, was led by Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., in the Royal Albert. The port division, under Rear-Admiral Erskine, in the Edgar, 91, which was leading, comprised also the Algiers, 91; the Aboukir, 91; the Centurion, 80; the Mersey, 40; and the Diadem, 32. This manoeuvre having been executed with great precision, the Osborne signalled for the fleet to make sail under easy canvass, followed by an order from the Admiral to bank up the fires. Having stood on thus for some time, the two divisions tacked in succession to the starboard, after which the order was given to form a single line of battle. This was effected by the starboard division standing on its course, and the port one tacking until they came into line, when they followed in the wake of their predecessors, an interval of two cables' length separating each ship. The concluding and most exciting manoeuvre of the day was then made by the whole getting orders to make all sail that could be done with safety, and running before the wind. Studdingsail booms were then run out, and every inch of canvass both alow and aloft that would draw was set. The order was then given to make for the nearest port, on which the fleet bore up for Milford Haven. The Osborne then steamed up to the Admiral's ship, and Rear-Admiral Pelham, C.B., hailed Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., and expressed, on the part of his Grace the Duke of Somerset and the rest of the Lords, the extreme satisfaction they all felt, not only in the appearance of the fleet, but also in the admirable precision with which all the manoeuvres had that day been performed, and we believe Capt. Ramsay, C.B., the superintendent of Pembroke Dockyard, was commissioned to convey the above opinion in writing to the Admiral of the fleet. The Osborne then parted company, - the Royal Albert giving the Lords of the Admiralty a salute of 19 guns, which the Osborne acknowledged by dipping her ensign, after which she stood to the southward, it being their Lordships' intention to inspect some important works in progress at the Scilly Isles, and afterwards proceed to Devonport to inspect the dockyard at that place. Nothing could be more favourable than the weather; it was slightly hazy up to 8 o'clock a.m., when it cleared up, and a fine fresh breeze came from the north-east, which lasted up to 3 o'clock p.m., when it died away. The whole of the signalling was done by bunting, and not by Ward's new system, as was generally supposed that it would be, and the brilliant flags had a very pretty effect as rapidly repeated by every third ship. As the fleet entered the harbour the Admiral made the signal for all the ships to take up their old berths, and by 6 o'clock p.m., all were in their original positions.

The Lords of the Admiralty previous to leaving Pembroke-dock granted the employés the usual half-holyday for Saturday.

Th 13 September 1860Pursuant to orders received on Sunday last, the Channel fleet, consisting of the Royal Albert, 121, Capt. H.J. Lacon, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., commanding the Fleet; the Conqueror, 101, Capt. Edward S. Sotheby, C.B.; the Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; the Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon, flagship of Rear-Admiral John E. Erskine; the Mars, 80, Capt. James F. Strange; the Trafalgar, 91, Capt. Edward G. Fanshawe; the Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D, O'Callaghan; the Centurion, 80, Capt. Henry D. Rogers, C.B.; the Aboukir, 91, Capt. Douglas Curry; the Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; and the Diadem, 32, Capt. James H. Cockburn, got steam up by daybreak on Tuesday last, and sailed from Milford Haven at about 10 o'clock a.m. They are bound for a cruise of three weeks or a month, and it is supposed will go round the Western Islands, after which they are to rendezvous at Torbay, previous to going into winter quarters. Mr Ward is on board the Admiral's ship with his new system of ocean telegraphs, which are to be thoroughly tried during the cruise. The fleet has been in Milford Haven for more than three weeks, and the conduct of the men has been most exemplary. The civil authorities have not had to interfere except in one or two exceptional cases of drunkenness, together with a few cases of the not very heinous crime of overstaying leave. Rumour has it that three or four vessels of the fleet are to winter at Milford. A more secure berth could not be found in any case.
Ma 17 September 1860The screw steam line-of-battle-ship Mars, 80, Capt. J.L. Strange, from the Channel fleet, arrived in Plymouth Sound on Friday evening, and on Saturday morning saluted the flag of the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir A. Fanshawe, K.C.B. which was acknowledged by the Impregnable. The defects of the Mars are to be made good, and she is to be provisioned and stored for foreign service in the Mediterranean.
Tu 18 September 1860The screw steamship Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead, which arrived in Plymouth Sound on Saturday evening, as reported in The Times yesterday, was detached from the Channel squadron at daylight on Friday, in lat. 49 59 N., long. 7 45 W. From Tuesday morning, when the ships left Milford, to the time of detachment constant strong winds were experienced. On Wednesday morning, at 11 o'clock Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle signalled the ships to form line abreast and start afterwards in chase to windward. The Donegal shortly took the lead and at the end of the trial was some miles ahead of her competitors. The Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon, was a good second; the Trafalgar, 90, Capt. Edward G. Fanshawe, third; and the Conqueror, 101, Capt. Edward S. Sotheby, C.B., bad fourth; the rest were nowhere. At 5 p.m, the signal for trial was recalled and signal given to form order of sail in two columns. On Thursday the wind increased to a strong gale; the squadron was under closereefed topsails and storm sails. On Friday morning, at 1 o'clock, the principal steering rope of the Donegal broke, which induced the Admiral to order her to Plymouth to have it replaced, although the could have remained at sea if necessary.
We 3 October 1860The Channel fleet passed up Channel outside Plymouth yesterday morning, at 7 o'clock, under canvas; only half topsails down. Wind light, from the westward.
Th 4 October 1860The second division of the Channel fleet, under the command of Rear-Admiral J.R. Erskine, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from the westward, under steam and fore and aft canvas. The ships comprise the Edgar, 91, screw (flag), Captain J.E. Katon; Trafalgar, 91, screw, Capt E.G. Fanshawe; Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. George D. O'Callaghan; Mersey, 40, screw, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B. and the Diadem, 32, screw, Capt J.H. Cockburn.
Fr 5 October 1860It is expected that the screw steamship Aboukir, 90, Captain Douglas Curry, which arrived in Plymouth Sound on Wednesday with the Royal Albert, the Conqueror, and the Centurion, will have to go up Hamoaze to be repaired. During the recent cruise the fleet has been engaged in the usual routine of naval evolutions, and the discipline of the ships has been fully tested. Under canvas only the Edgar is said to be the best. The Conqueror has been repeatedly complimented by Admiral Freemantle for her smart appearance and efficiency. Complaint is made that the Commercial Code of signals which has been recently introduced, and is of great value, appears to receive no proper attention from the merchant vessels met by the ships of the fleet. During the cruise Ward's night signals have been tested, and have proved very valuable. Admiral Bethune's signals were also tried; they are useful only at short distances.
The officers of the Steam Reserve Department of Woolwich Dockyard yesterday went down to Greenhithe for the purpose of accompanying Her Majesty's screw steam gunvessel Landrail, 5, Commander Wilson [should probably be Martin], down the measured mile, on a trial of her new engines, supplied by Mr. Humphreys, of Deptford. The trial having been perfectly satisfactory, the Landrail proceeded on her way to Portsmouth to join the Channel Squadron, and will ultimately proceed to the West Indies.
Sa 6 October 1860It is not expected that that portion of the Channel fleet at Plymouth will continue long in the Sound. The crews will most likely be paid down, and granted leave of absence; some have already obtained leave. All the ships are refitting. The Conqueror is completing with coal. The Centurion is receiving provisions, apparently for another cruise. On Tuesday night the watch on board the Conqueror observed flames in the midship part of the lower deck of the Centurion, which was lying near, and sent assistance immediately. By the time they arrived the fire had been discovered on board, the first to give the alarm being a seaman, who at the time was sleeping in his hammock. The flames were promptly subdued, but the firebell was kept ringing all night. The fire occurred close to the boilers, and one of the ship's beams is considerably burnt. The cause is unknown, but it is supposed to have arisen from a naked candle having been placed in contact with some clothes hung to dry.
Ma 8 October 1860The Landrail, 4, screw, Commander Martin, and the Spiteful, 6, paddle, Commander Wilson, both arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from Woolwich; the former reported to join the Channel squadron, and the latter for the coast of Africa.
Tu 9 October 1860We understand that, owing to continued ill-health, Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., will not rehoist his flag as Commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet. According to present arrangements the two divisions of the fleet will winter at Portsmouth and Devonport, remaining under the command of the Port Admirals at the respective ports.
Th 11 October 1860Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet, who left the Royal Albert, 121, Capt. H. Lacon, a few days since at Portland, to have an interview with the Lords of the Admiralty in London, rejoined his ship in Plymouth Sound on Tuesday. While on shore Sir Charles has been promoted from Rear Admiral to Vice Admiral, and his new flag, blue at the fore hoisted on Tuesday, was duly honoured by a salute of 15 guns, which was responded to by the flagship Impregnable, 104, Capt. the Hon. F. Kerr, in Hamoaze. It is understood at Plymouth, that Sir Charles will shortly strike his flag again. The Royal Albert is completing with fuel; her capstan has been sent to the Devonport Dockyard to be repaired. A portion of the Channel Fleet will, it is expected, be despatched to meet the Prince of Wales on his return from the United States. His Royal Highness will not, as first intended visit the Island of Bermuda, but will sail for England direct from New York. The 17th of November has been named as the day of departure.
Sa 13 October 1860Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., struck his flag on Wednesday at sunset on board the screw steamship Royal Albert, 121, Capt. Henry Lacon, in Plymouth Sound, and resigned command of the Channel Fleet. On Thursday morning his successor, Rear-Admiral R.F. Stopford, late Captain of the Fleet, hoisted his flag with the customary salute, on board the Royal Albert, which was answered by the Impregnable, 104, Capt. Lord F. Kerr, in Hamoaze.
Tu 16 October 1860At Spithead are the Trafalgar, 91, screw, Capt. Fanshawe, refitting as a part of the Channel Fleet; the Tartar, 21, screw, Capt. Hayes; the Spiteful, 6, paddle, Commander Wilson; and the Landrail, 5, screw, Commander Martin. The Tartar will sail in two or three days for the Pacific. The Spiteful and the Landrail are completing repairs to sundry slight defects, and awaiting sailing orders, expected for the West Coast of Africa.
Sa 20 October 1860The Immortalité, 51 screw, will be placed in the steam basin at Portsmouth to-day, to make more room in the harbour, in consequence of the presence of part of the Channel Fleet in the port.
Sa 20 October 1860Vice-Admiral of the Blue Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., in command of the Channel squadron, is expected to return with the fleet to Portland to-morrow (Wednesday). The following is a list of the ships, guns, horse-power, and tons' burden, together with the names of the officers and number of men composing the fleet: - Vice-Admiral Sir C. H. Fremantle, K.C.B., Commander; Rear-Admiral J.B. Erskine, Second in Command; Rear-Admiral R.F. Stopford, Captain of the Fleet:-
ShipsGunsComplementHorse powerTonsCommanders
Royal Albert1211,0505003,726Capt H.J. Lacon
Donegal1019308003,245" H. Broadhead
Conqueror1009308003,265" E.S. Sotheby, C.B.
Edgar918606003,094" J.E. Katon
Trafalgar908605002,900" E.G. Fanshawe
Algiers918506003,340" G.W.D. O'Callaghan
Aboukir908304003,091" D. Curry
Centurion807504003,590" H.D. Rogers, C.B.
Mersey405941,0003,733" H. Caldwell, C.B.
Diadem324758002,475" J.H. Cockburn
Partridge2 60233Tender to Royal Albert.
Fr 2 November 1860It is reported at Plymouth that the port division of the Channel Squadron will winter there, that one ship will be always in the Sound, and be relieved every month, and that the others will be moored at Hamoaze.
Tu 6 November 1860That portion of the Channel squadron stationed at Plymouth are reefing studding-sail gear, and making other preparations for proceeding to Lisbon. It is reported that the flagship Royal Albert may sail to-day.
The Centurion, 80, Capt. H.D. Rogers, received her powder on Friday afternoon.
On Monday morning the riggers of the Devonport dock-yard were admitted before the usual hour, for the purpose of unmooring the screw steamship Aboukir, 90, Capt. Douglas Curry, which will then be taken from Hamoaze into the Sound; she received her powder when in the inner harbour. The despatch of these ships to the Tagus was unexpected at Plymouth.
The Emerald, 51, screw, Capt. Arthur Cumming, sailed from Spithead early on Sunday morning for Plymouth Sound and Lisbon.
We 7 November 1860Rear-Admiral Robert F. Stopford's port division of the Channel squadron, in Plymouth Sound, received orders on Monday evening to prepare for sailing yesterday (Tuesday) morning for Lisbon; and the ships were supplied by Mr. W.F. Collier, the Portuguese Vice-Consul, with bills of health for that city,- a course not frequently observed. They consist of the flagship Royal Albert, 12l, Capt. Henry D. Lacon, Conqueror, 101, Capt. E.S. Sotheby, C.B.; Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; Aboukir, 90, Capt. Douglas Curry; Centurion, 80, Capt. H.D. Rogers, C.B.; and Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming. At an early hour yesterday (Tuesday) morning, they picked up their small bower anchors, and at 11 o'clock fires were lighted under the boilers of the Royal Albert and Aboukir. At 1 p.m. the ships were detained for despatches. At 2 the Conqueror, Centurion, and Donegal left the Sound under canvas, and the Royal Albert and Aboukir under steam. They would soon put out their fires, as the wind continues strong from the eastward. The Emerald hauled down her blue-peter at 11, and will not sail with the rest, but remain at Plymouth for the stragglers, of whom there are about 200 on shore without leave.
Fr 9 November 1860Most of the stragglers from the port division of the Channel squadron have gone on board the screw steam-frigate Emerald, 51, screw, Capt. Arthur Cumming, in Plymouth Sound, preparing to follow Admiral Stopford to Lisbon.
Ma 12 November 1860The screw steam-frigate Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming, having embarked men left behind from the squadron, sailed from Plymouth Sound on Friday afternoon under canvas for the Tagus.
Fr 7 December 1860The Geyser, 6, paddle, Commander G.M. Jackson, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from Lisbon, with the remaining officers and crew of Her Majesty's screw troopship Perseverance, wrecked on the 24th of October last on a reef of rocks off the north-west end of Mayo, Cape Verde. The Geyser had an exceedingly rough passage out from the Channel to Lisbon, where she arrived on the 29th ult. Having received on board the officers and men of the Perseverance, she sailed again for England on the following day, the 30th ult. During the whole passage home she experienced a continued succession of very heavy gales from all points of the compass. She arrived in Plymouth Sound on Wednesday morning, and received orders to proceed on to Portsmouth. The Perseverance's officers and men will be transhipped to Her Majesty's ship Victory, on board which ship it is expected a Court-martial will be held for the trial of Commander Power and his officers for the loss of their ship. The division of the Channel fleet which had proceeded to Lisbon from England was lying in the Tagus at the time of the Geyser's sailing, but was to leave for Plymouth South on the 6th inst.
We 19 December 1860Moorings, hulks, &c., are preparing at Plymouth for the reception of that portion of the Channel fleet which will winter there. Those ships the bottoms of which require cleaning or overhauling will be taken into Keyham steamyard.
Fr 21 December 1860The flagship Royal Albert, 121, Capt. Henry Lacon; the Conqueror, 101, Capt. Edward S. Sotheby, C.B.; the Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Douglas Curry; and the Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming, which left Lisbon on the 10th inst., entered Plymouth Sound yesterday. They were under canvas until Monday, when steam was got up, in order to arrive by the time appointed. Fine weather was experienced until Wednesday evening, when a heavy squall carried away the Emerald's mainyard close off in the slings. The Centurion, 80, Capt. Henry B. Rogers, C.B., will remain up the Tagus until the arrival from Gibraltar of the St. Jean d'Acre, 101, Capt. Thomas P. Thomson, which she will supply with provisions, and then join the Channel squadron at Plymouth. The crews are all healthy.
Sa 22 December 1860The mainmast of the flagship Royal Albert, 121, at Plymouth, is said to have sustained damage on the passage out to Lisbon, owing to the mainstay having given way.
The ships in the Sound, belonging to the Channel squadron, discharged their powder yesterday morning. Admiral Stopford's ship, the Royal Albert, 121, Capt. Henry J Lacon; the Conqueror, 101, Capt. Edward S. Sotheby, C.B., and the Donegal, 101, Capt. Broadhead, went up Hamoaze; the Aboukir and the Emerald are likely to follow.
Ma 24 December 1860The screw steamship Aboukir, 90, Capt. Douglas Curry and the screw steam frigate Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming, went on Saturday afternoon from Plymouth Sound into Hamoaze.
The mainmast of the screw steamship Royal Albert, 121, at Devonport, is decayed. Her sails were sent to the Devonport Dockyard on Saturday. The crew are paid down, and granted 21 days' absence on leave. It is probable the crews of the Centurion, Donegal, Aboukir, and the Emerald will also be paid down, and that they will be provided with passages to the home ports.
Ma 31 December 1860THE POPULARITY OF THE NAVY.- A correspondent informs us that the eastern division of the Channel fleet shows the following list of desertions:- Trafalgar, 169; Edgar, 146; Algiers, 89; Diadem, 110;- a severe reckoning, which shows that there are causes for desertion more tempting than the inducements to remain, or that the deserters were irrational blackguards, who to their offence superadded ignorance of their own interests.- Army and Navy Gazette.

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