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The Experimental Squadrons of 1844 - 1846

The Royal NavyExperimental squadrons 1846 (2/3)

Extracts from the Times newspaper
We 10 June 1846The squadron of evolution will leave Cork, to continue their cruise, tomorrow.
Th 11 June 1846


(Extract of a private letter received from an officer of the squadron, dated "Cove of Cork, June 5, 1846:-)

* * * * * "But the truth is it has been more a squadron of evolution than of rates of sailing, &c. There has been but one general signal to try rate of sailing, and that was off the wind. In this trial the Vanguard appeared to have the advantage. On a wind there has been no general trial. Those that have taken place have been accidental and partial, all parties claiming the victory, nor if it easy for an impartial person to give an opinion, for ships are very inconstant, last year every one admitted the Queen to be one of, if not the best of the squadron; this year she has certainly lost her sailing qualities. The St. Vincent in a fair breeze I have no doubt would beat her. Last year she was sailed by Sir B. Walker; this year, perhaps, she is not so well managed by her present captain; but whatever the reason, she has lost her former superiority. Ships vary much from trim, &c. Perhaps were a general signal to be made to-day to try rate of sailing, Vanguard would beat the whole squadron, because she is now tolerably light and in her very best trim. At another time, when complete with provisions, &c., Superb would beat everything. Trafalgar is certainly, in all weathers, the slowest. The St. Vincent is a most superior ship, and would probably beat any three-decker in the navy; but I repeat there has never been any general trial. Of the steamers little can be said. Terrible and Cyclops have never seen the Commodore since they left Spithead. The rigging of the former ship was very lubberly done. Her damages from the gale were much more extensive than any of us expected - her rudder-head gone, all her round houses, and galley in paddle-box, washed away, besides being afloat on her main deck during the whole of the gale. Cyclops' damages you know. Scourge and Gladiator both suffered in the gale, and took in great quantities of water, and lost some of their bulwarks, &c. Rattler proved herself the best of the whole, beat all the squadron lying-to, and has not suffered in the least. She lay to under close-reefed fore and main topsails, the others under close-reefed fore topsails, excepting Retribution, and she lay-to under try sails only, as she found it answer better, under that canvass, taking in no water. Raleigh and Superb had a trial; the former had a slight advantage off the wind, the latter a greater advantage on a wind; the trial, however, was too short to form a fair opinion upon."
Th 11 June 1846


A Cork correspondent of the Freeman's Journal furnishes the following:-

"On Saturday, the 6th inst., the Sabrina steamer, bound from Bristol to Cork, Captain Parker, commanding, immediately opposite the town of Cove ran foul of the Scourge, one of Her Majesty's steam-frigates, now lying at Cove, being one of the experimental squadron, which some days since, under command of Commodore Sir Francis Collier, put into that harbour. We are happy to say no serious injury was sustained on either side. The Scourge had her bowsprit carried away, part of her stem, and her figure-head severely damaged. The Sabrina had her gunwale stove in and a part of her mast carried away; however, she was enabled to continue her journey, and delivered her cargo and crew safely at Cork. The utmost interest was excited amongst the crew of the squadron in consequence of its being known to some of the officers on board the fleet that the Hon. Major Gough and his bride were on board the Sabrina, en route to Killarney. Immediately on the shock of the concussion of the Sabrina against the Scourge being felt, the deck passengers (among whom were some pig-jobbers and old women) set up a terrific yell, and the cries of 'Murder, murder,' 'I am drowned, I am drowned,' echoed from Spike Island to Cove. With a terrible uproar the people ran to the quays in crowds; boats were in requisition to relieve the vessel; but, as before stated, there was no need for such assistance. It is only due to Captain Parker to observe, that the utmost diligence and skill were used on his part, and the accident occurred purely from an endeavour of his to avoid coming in contact with a pleasure yacht making way towards him, and which had he struck against, the consequences must have been dreadful. The caution and ability of Captain Parker are too well known to the public to require any comment. But that I am in a hurry for post, I would let you know more."

Fr 12 June 1846


The Canopus, 84, Captain Moresby, sailed this day at noon, to join the squadron of evolution, for which she carries dispatches; also supernumeraries for the Hibernia, with Sir W. Parker on board, whom she expects to find off Cape St. Vincent.
Fr 12 June 1846


The Cork Constitution of Tuesday contains the following:-

"The sailing of the squadron of evolution has been postponed until to-morrow. The officers ashore were ordered to be on board their respective ships at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning, to proceed to sea; but despatches from the Admiralty, which arrived the previous evening, countermanded the order. This day being appointed for celebrating Her Majesty's birth, a Royal salute will be fired from the batteries of Spike Island, Camden and Carlisle forts, and from Her Majesty's ships in harbour, which will be answered by a salute of 21 guns from the Royal Cork Yacht Club battery and the yachts of the club. The vessels of war now in Cove are the Myrmidon iron steam-vessel, Lieutenant-Commander Jenkin, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Pigott; the Rhadamanthus steam troop-ship, Master Commander Laen, and the Albion steam troop-ship: and the Squadron of Evolution- consisting of the St. Vincent, 120; Trafalgar, 120; Queen, 110; Rodney 92; Superb, 80; Vanguard, 80; Belleisle, 80; Raleigh, 50; Brilliant, 22; and Her Majesty's steamers Retribution, 10; Gladiator, 8; Scourge, 2; and Rattler, 5. The Canopus, 84, is hourly expected to join the squadron.

"Despatches arrived at Cove on Saturday night, ordering Her Majesty's ship Albion, 80, to proceed at once to (it is said) Lisbon. She was fully victualled during the night, and was towed out of the harbour on Sunday morning by Her Majesty's screw-steamer Rattler.

"It is said that Admiralty despatches were received last night by the Commodore of the Squadron, ordering the immediate sailing of the Queen, 110, for Lisbon."

Ma 15 June 1846


The Cork Reporter of Thursday says-

"This morning, at 5 o'clock, Her Majesty's ships Trafalgar. Rodney, Superb, Vanguard, Raleigh, Belleisle, and Brilliant, got under weigh with a light breeze and moved out of the harbour in beautiful style, laying to for a short time off the Lighthouse, where they were joined about 9 o'clock by the St. Vincent and Queen, carrying the flags of the respective commodores, and towed out by Her Majesty's steamers Rattler and Pluto. All then stood off in the direction of Bantry, where it is intended they should land their marines, &c., and practise the evolutions, &c noticed in a previous publication. Her Majesty's steam-frigate, Gladiator, Captain Robb, sailed yesterday morning with sealed orders, not to be opened until she was 35 miles off the land. Her Majesty's steamer Terrible, the largest frigate in the world, is expected at Cove this day, to embark the whole regiment of Royal Marines, under command of Colonel Barton, for conveyance to Woolwich. The other war steamers have not yet left Cove."

Ma 15 June 1846


Sir,- Having just seen, with more surprise and regret than I can express, an invidious paragraph in several journals, copied, I imagine, from some Cork paper, in which it is stated that "the Queen is not only out of trim, but that she is disgracefully handled," I am led, as a friend of the gallant commodore whose broad pendant is flying on board this ship, as well as a friend of her captain, to observe, that from my knowledge of both, I sincerely believe that this unhandsome remark is untrue. Sir Gordon Bremer, I am well assured, will never suffer any ship in which he serves to be "disgracefully handled," and though it has been the misfortune of the gallant captain of the Queen not to have been employed for nearly 20 years, and never before as a. post-captain, yet, as a commander, I have always understood that Sir Henry Leake was considered a very smart officer, and it was for his active and distinguished services on the coast of Africa that he received the honour of knighthood, if I am not misinformed.

In the absence of both the gallant officers, on whom this severe reflection which I have quoted would painfully fall, if it were true, I am induced to ask your insertion of these few remarks, with the hope that they will tend to set aside any unfavourable impression which the report alluded to might otherwise cause.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,
June 11.

Tu 16 June 1846


Her Majesty's ship Canopus, 84, Captain Moresby, hove in sight from Portsmouth about half-past 3 this afternoon, under topsails, topgallant sails, and royals, with courses hauled up; very light wind from the southward. On her appearance the Port Admiral, Sir John West, left Hamoaze in his yacht, but meeting Captain Moresby's gig in the Sound, he returned with that officer to Mount Wise. At half-past 4 the Canopus was off the western arm of the breakwater, lying to, with her maintopsail to the mast, signalizing with the Admiral. From this port she received despatches and supernumeraries, and at 9 in the evening proceeded to join the squadron of evolution at the rendezvous in Bantry Bay.
Th 18 June 1846


Her majesty's ship Trafalgar, 120, Captain Nott, from the coast of Ireland, was towed into the Sound during the night by the Vizen steamer.
Fr 19 June 1846


Her Majesty's steam-frigate Terrible, 800 horse-power, Captain William Ramsey, with, her four funnels at work, hove in sight from the eastward at about half-past 11 o'clock this forenoon at Plymouth. She has brought from Cork the battalion of Marines recently quartered in Ireland, and they were disembarked in the course of the day at Her Majesty's Royal William Victualling-yard, Stonehouse. The Terrible is now ship-rigged, having yards across her mizen. She has the blue Peter up, and will probably this evening proceed again to sea to join the squadron of evolutions.

The rudder of Her Majesty's ship Trafalgar, 120, Captain Martin, has been unhung, and taken to Her Majesty's dockyard, where a survey will be held to-day. Should it be necessary to dock the Trafalgar, she will be sent to Portsmouth for that purpose.
Fr 19 June 1846


By the last news from the squadron of evolutions we learn that the Rodney took the advantage a fog afforded her of shifting a fore-topsail-yard, carried away in a trail with the Albion.

The Terrible steam-frigate, Captain W. Ramsay, arrived this morning from Cork, with about 700 marines belonging to the different divisions, and upwards of 100 women. The men were in garrison at that place, but have been relieved by a regiment of the line. The Terrible came into the harbour this afternoon, and the disembarkation commenced with those belonging to the Woolwich and Chatham divisions. These are to leave the Gosport terminus of the South Western Railway at half-past 8 o'clock to-morrow morning, and boats will be in waiting at Vauxhall to receive them on their arrival, and take them to their destinations.
We 8 July 1846

THE Channel squadron.


A friend has favoured us with the following extract of a private letter, dated July 3, from one of the ships of the squadron:-

"On the 24th of June the Queen, Canopus. and Superb tried rate of sailing under single-reefed topsails and topgallant sails, with a strong breeze and moderate sea. The Queen was beaten in three hours about 2 1/2 miles by Superb; the Canopus beat Superb about two ships length to windward.
"On the 25th Vanguard, Canopus, and Raleigh started to try rate of sailing, the two former under single-reefed top-sails and topgallant sails, the latter under double-reefed topsails and topgallant sails, being unable to carry single-reefed topsails. In about an hour after starting, Raleigh carried away her foretopsail yard, and was in consequence entirely put of the race. During the hour, however, before the accident, she appeared to forereach on her two competitors, and might have beaten them. At the expiration of four hours, Vanguard beat Canopus 500 yards to windward. Vanguard much stiffer than either of her competitors. Raleigh, the most crank; 20 tons of extra ballast would perhaps remedy this defect.
"On the 26th the steamers were ordered to fire three rounds blank cartridge. The Avenger and Gladiator fired only four guns each. The Retribution was the only vessel that fired the whole number.
"On the 30th the steamers were ordered to try rate of steaming. At 10 a.m. the Retribution, Gladiator, and Avenger, started, full power, with a strong breeze six points on port bow. In two hours the Retribution gained on Gladiator 12 miles; on Avenger three miles. At noon altered course to wind on port beam, and tried until 4 p.m.;- at each successive step of expansion gear - during the whole of this time the relative distances were perceived as near as possible as during the trial from 10 to 12. At 4, being about seven or eight miles dead to leeward of the Admiral the signal was made to prepare to steam to windward. Topmasts were in consequence struck, and everything got ready to join the ships to windward. At about 4-30 they started abreast. Retribution soon got the lead, although Gladiator stuck very close for a few minutes; but once clear of her, she soon shot ahead, beating her in the run about two miles, and Avenger four miles.
"Gladiator and Avenger were each working up to 10 lb. the square inch, having tubular boilers. Retribution can only work up to 6 1b., having the old common boilers.
"July 1.- The Terrible having joined the fleet during the previous night, a signal was made to try rate of steaming with her. They accordingly started at about 10 a.m., with full power, the Terrible, with her tubular boilers, working up to 13 1b. the square-inch, and after steaming dead to windward, with a strong breeze and heavy head-swell for three hours, she beat Retribution as near as possible half a mile an hour. Unquestionably, she is a noble ship; but, nevertheless, I am inclined to believe she beat Retribution principally by the great command of steam generated by tubular boilers. Had both ships been fitted with similar boilers, probably the result would have been different. One thing by this trial appears to be clearly settled - that where two ships of similar tonnage, or nearly so, and equal horse power, but fitted with tubular and common boilers, are matched, the former must have the advantage in speed over the latter. This was very evident in the trial the day before with Gladiator, for with Retribution's immense engines of 800 horse power, over Gladiator's 450, the former certainly ought to have beat her double the distance, had they both been fitted with similarly constructed boilers. At 1 p.m. a signal was made to Terrible to steam with 6 lb. pressure only. At first Retribution gained rapidly on her, but as soon as this was perceived on board she shot ahead again. In short, this trial is not worth relating, it being almost impossible to keep steam at any exact pressure. A few shovelsful of coal, or slightest alteration of throttle valve, more or less, will always cause an alteration. In the evening they both banked the fires.
"July 2, at 9 a.m., we tried rate of sailing on a wind, starboard tack. Terrible, under all plain sail: Retribution with single-reefed topsails. At 11, the wind falling light, Retribution shook out first reefs. At 1-30 p.m., Retribution being about one mile ahead, tacked. At 3, having weathered on her opponent about three quarters of a mile, bore up and set port studding sails. Ran until sunset without any difference of sailing; then lighted the fires of two boilers and steamed all night. Terrible gained two miles all night. Arrived at Cove this evening, July 3, at 7 p.m. Found the squadron, lying here."

(From the Cork Reporter of Saturday.)

This noble fleet arrived in our harbour yesterday, and now is anchored in line at the man-of-war roads, presenting as splendid and imposing a spectacle as can well be imagined. The first which appeared at the harbour's mouth yesterday morning was the St. Vincent, bearing the flag of Commodore Collier, which, on entering, saluted the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir H. Pigott in the usual form. The other ships of the squadron continued to come in during the day, and the fleet, when all are anchored in Cove harbour, will consist of four three-deckers, five two-deckers, three frigates, and five steamers, embracing a force of 17 men-of-war, with 1,020 guns and 11,400 men.

They are as follow:-
Three Deckers.- Queen, St. Vincent, Trafalgar.
Two Deckers.- Albion, Canopus, Superb, Rodney, Vanguard.
Frigates.- Raleigh, Constance, Brilliant.
Steamers.- Retribution, Gladiator, Avenger, Scourge, Rattler.

It is understood they will remain for a fortnight or three weeks, several repairs having to be done, and it is also confidently asserted that they will be paid in Cove harbour.

We have been favoured by a nautical friend with the following notice of the arrival of the squadron and of their movements since they were last in the harbour:-

"Cove, July 3, 1846.

"About 10 a.m. the Squadron of Evolution, after a cruise of three weeks, between the Lands-end and Cape Clear, were seen entering this harbour in the following order:-
"Her Majesty's ship St. Vincent, Commodore Sir F. Collier, under all plain sail to royals.
"Queen, Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer, under topsails and topgallant sails, taking up station abreast of the St. Vincent.
"Brilliant, fore and plain topgallant studding sails set.
"Vanguard, under topsails, anchoring a head of St. Vincent.
"Next came the little schooner yacht Kestrel, Right Hon.the Earl of Yarborough, which accompanied the squadronfrom Cove, and has continued in .company during the cruise.
"Rodney, under topsails, taking station, a-head of the Queen.
"Canopus, under the same sail, made her appearance 20 minutes after, and anchored a-head of Vanguard.
"Superb, under topsails, followed and came to windward of Rodney.
"At 11-15, Her Majesty's ship Avenger also arrived."

Since our last report of the movements of the fleet, a good trial under steam took place between the latter named vessel, Gladiator, and Retribution, against a heavy head sea, in which trial the Retribution had the advantage completely. The Avenger, all in all, and next to the Rattler, was considered to be the most perfect steamer afloat. When, therefore, she joined in this trial and could only keep pace, last of the whole, much surprise was expressed at this her failure in her speed, in comparison with others in a heavy sea.

Several vessels are yet to make their appearance, having been lost sight of in the fog.


After leaving Cove it was believed that Sir William Parker in the Hibernia was on his way to take command of thefleet, but he did not since fall in with them. A more active and experienced commander could not be found among the flag officers of the day. His services in 1839-40 at the Admiralty, afterwards in China, where he gained honours, and won imperishable laurels, all speak of this judicious selection. We look forward, if these reports are true, to hearof some creditable manoeuvres in gunnery and naval tactics, which will add a further store of information to that already in possession of the Admiralty, and aid in their conclusions those persevering and energetic individuals who have devoted their lives to the study of British naval architecture. These are the means, ships well stored and provisioned (we wish it could be said well manned) proudly floating in the unfathomable waters of the Atlantic, ready at the will of some skilful commander to be guided as experience might best dictate, for the nation's good.

June 11.- Weighed and proceeded out of Cove harbour, hove to; Trafalgar and Belleisle parted company.
12th.- Squadron standing to the southward.
13th.- Wind variable. 4 p.m. Her Majesty's sloop of war Fly hove in sight on her way to England to be paid off; communicated with her and supplied the captain and officers with some live stock. The general liberality of the officers in most of the ships is deserving of remark, all having sent, unasked, more or less in the shape of fowls, fresh beef, wine, &c. Indeed it was considered, that instead of being a supply for the captain of the Fly and his officers, enough was handed on board to supply the whole ship's company. Same evening, towards midnight, exercised at general quarters, firing three rounds of blank cartridge, Brilliant first.
14th.- Standing to the south-west. 5 p.m.- Gladiator made her number. 8 p.m. Gladiator and Scourge parted company.
15th.- Squadron took up position and laid out targets for exercise with shot, 150 miles south-west of Scilly. Sir Gordon Bremer and captains of particular ships visited Commodore Collier on board St. Vincent.
16th.- Her Majesty's ship Canopus joined the squadron from Spithead, having on board supernumeraries for the Hibernia, lat. 48 deg. 40 min., long. 10 deg. 10 min.
18th.- Light variable airs. Exercised firing at targets.
19th.- Gladiator and Scourge rejoined.
20th.- Light breezes; standing to the south-west.
21st.- Retribution joined; 185 miles south-west of Scilly.
22nd.- Moderate breeze from northwest. Vanguard, Canopus, and Raleigh tried rate of sailing on a wind under single, reefed topsails and topgallant sails. After a trial of four hours the Canopus weathered the Vanguard: Queen asked permission after nearly two hours had elapsed to join. She was observed to settle considerably to windward during the last hour of the trial, though the former head-reached. Raleigh having split foretopsail was done for this trial.
23d.- A strong breeze sprang up from the southward.
24th.- Avenger steamer joined company from Plymouth, bringing letters for the Fleet.
25th.- Strong breeze. St. Vincent, Queen, and Raleigh shifted topsails and reefed; in doing which the Queen had a man killed by falling from the mizen-top on the poop.
26th.- Squadron formed in line of battle under topsails and canvas. Took stations in two columns as before squadron standing to the southward.
27th.- Standing to the northward and eastward.

Th 9 July 1846


The indifferent performances of the Avenger steam-frigate, in her trials with the Retribution and the Gladiator, as reported in The Times of this day, and which astonished all who read the details, are accounted for in a letter we have received this afternoon, dated Cove of Cork, July 5, which says- "Since then, (the date of the letter we were favoured with yesterday), we have found out that the reason the Avenger did so badly was in consequence of a mistake she made in taking a signal, and had only two boilers at work instead of four. This will, of course, explain her being so much astern. The whole fleet are here, except the Cyclops and the Trafalgar. The latter is looking for us on the cruising ground."

Another letter from a gentleman who has been 40 years and upwards a commissioned officer in the service very laconically says,- "I have seen enough of this to convince me that experimental cruising is nothing more than practical humbug."


The interest in the performances of the vessels of the squadron of evolution continues unabated, and the following details, from authentic sources, of the real merits of the Terrible and Retribution steam frigates is given impartially:-

The Terrible and Retribution parted company from the fleet the first night after leaving Spithead, and sailed for the rendezvous, 260 leagues to the westward of Scilly. In sailing without steam (having been ordered to sail by the Commodore), the Terrible passed the Retribution as if she were at anchor, the latter making signal, "Not able to bear any more sail with safety." The wind increasing to a gale, the Retribution hove up for Plymouth Sound, not being able to contend with a heavy sea. The Terrible beat to windward notwithstanding, and reached the rendezvous, and stood the gale for three days before she bore up for Plymouth, having sprung her rudder-head from. an unforeseen defect in the heart of the wood, and not in "a terribly disabled condition," as has been stated. The flaps of the paddle-boxes were washed up by the. violence of the sea, but the openings were not injured, nor any of the masts sprung, or other material damage done. The only injury the mast-heads sustained was being chafed by the injudicious application of iron or wire rigging, instead of rope, for experiment. The Terrible weathered the gale beautifully, without straining or plunging her bows under water, having her decks only occasionally wet with the spray while maintaining her station during the three days she remained in expectation of the arrival of the ships; but none made their appearance at the appointed place. The Retribution plunged her bows so much under water in the same gale, that some of her 68-pounder shots were washed out of the racks forward and aft on the quarter deck. On the rudder of the Terrible being replaced, and the flaps of the paddle-boxes restored, she sailed from Plymouth, taking the Aetna bomb vessel, of 372 tons, in tow to Milford, and from the Land's-end towed her, with the aid of her sails only, using no steam, to that port. She then went to Cork, embarked 928 marines, wives and children, with 88 tons of baggage, in addition to her own crew and 500 tons of coals on board, and arrived at Plymouth in less than 20 hours, using only three boilers, and steaming at the rate of 11.5 knots per hour. On leaving Plymouth, the Terrible proceeded to Portsmouth with only two boilers working, and, from her extraordinary speed under these circumstances, afforded evidence that she consumes less coals than the smaller ships require for a similar rate of steaming. The Terrible having two decks with heavy guns, she is doubly armed in comparison with the Retribution or any other steamer, and as a man-of-war is superior either with sail or steam to any steam-vessel yet known. On her return to the fleet from Portsmouth she tried her speed again with the Retribution, which she had previously beaten at Spithead, to the extent of 7-8 th of a mile an hour; and on the 1st inst., blowing very fresh from W.S.W., she went at it head to wind, beating Retribution again at the rate of a mile an hour - the Retribution plunging head under in a heavy sea, and the Terrible riding the wave-top beautifully at the rate of 9 1/2 knots per hour. A trial was made next day under sail, and the Terrible weathered three-quarters of a mile on the Retribution in five hours. When steaming into Cork, the Terrible, with two boilers only at work, was able to keep pace with the Retribution, although her full steam was on when entering that port.
Th 16 July 1846


Extract of a private letter, dated Cork, July 11, 1846:-I have just time to send you a line to inform you that today, rather suddenly, a signal was made to land field-pieces, and man and arm boats, &c. About 1,300 marines were landed, and 14 field-pieces, at a place called Cork Bay. There was some little difficulty in landing the cannon, owing to its being low water. Everything else went on well. There wag no firing, it being intended as a prelude to Monday next, when a regular field-day, with firing, is to take place. The field-pieces were manned by the seamen, who went through the exercise with much spirit and good will. The whole was under the command of Captain Willes, of the Vanguard."
Ma 20 July 1846


(From the Cork Examiner)

COVE, Tuesday.

The beautiful harbour of Cove presented one of the gayest and most animated spectacles that could possibly be conceived yesterday. Rumour had for some days given out that the marines and sailors of the fleet were to go through sundry evolutions, such as landing, attacking, sham battles, and so forth; and that the scene of the operations was to be the shore and the hill near Corkabeg and Carlisle-fort. Accordingly, every boat on the river, from the Brickfields to Whitegate, was put in requisition. The steamers were crowded to excess; the market boats were impressed as pleasure craft; and not a thing that could be propelled by oar or sail that was not brimfull of life and expectation. The harbour was covered over with yachts of every tonnage, skimming about like sea-birds with glistening wings. The sun shone brightly over land and sea, giving to everything its loveliest aspect - making one of nature's holydays.

At an early hour a whole flotilla of boats of all sizes, from the. launch and pinnace to the gig and jolly-boat, rowed or sailed from the various men of war at anchor in the roads. They had on board over 2,000 marines, and some 300 or 400 blue-jackets, the former fully accoutred, and the latter armed with their cutlasses. They landed on the fine sandy strand of Corkabeg, and, having formed, marched by a circuitous road to the ground marked out for the day's manoeuvres - on the brow of the hill near the fort, and affording a fine view of the sea on one side, and an exquisite glimpse of that part of the inner harbour near Mr. French's beautiful wood of Cuskiny, on the other. Every swelling mound was grouped over with numbers of fashionably dressed women, who added much, by the varied hues of their garments, to the picturesqueness of the scene.

About 12 o'clock the operations commenced. It is quite unnecessary to particularize the different tactics of the day; suffice it to say, that the marines were supposed to resist imaginary attacks and sorties from the fort; that they formed into squares to meet imaginary cavalry; that they fired in line, singly and in platoon; that they formed into columns, and, in fine, went through the usual manoeuvres that our readers must frequently have seen at a review. The firing, especially by companies, was excellent and steady; indeed quite as good as that of the ordinary troops of the line. The operations of the blue jackets were far more interesting. Several guns, heavy and light, which had been carried up to the fort on the previous Saturday, were brought into the field, and were wheeled about, fired, limbered and unlimbered by the gallant tars with a dexterity only equalled by the faculty with which, they rattled them to various positions for attack and defence. Some of the lighter guns were pulled along by six or eight men, who were regularly harnessed to them, and who made them bound over the uneven ground as they brought them into position, or breasted the brow of the hill. The heavier guns were dragged along by a dozen or more seamen. Perhaps the most beautiful and indeed astonishing of the evolutions gone through was that of dismounting the guns, which was done with as much facility as if a boy were taking to pieces a toy cart. The wheels were off, the carriage in pieces, and the gun on the ground, in less than a minute; and on the order being given to mount them again, they were raised on the carriage and fired off in about the same time! From 12 to 3 o'clock both marines and tars blazed away an incredible quantity of "villainous saltpetre," the smoke from which at times wreathed the whole field, leaving nothing to be seen but the bright glimmer of bayonets that glanced out from the opal vapour. After having gone through an infinite variety of evolutions, the guns were taken into the fort by the sailors, and the marines and tars marched from the field to the strand of Corkabeg. The whole force were then drawn up into three bodies, and were quietly draughted into the boats, the largest of which were afloat in the deep water, the smaller boats serving as a means of communication. In about half an hour sails were set and ores in motion, and away went a flotilla of some 40 boats for their respective vessels, before a breeze that had freshened with the in-coming tide. The appearance of the harbour at this moment was beautiful beyond description, more than 100 sails bent to the breeze, while innumerable whalers, gigs, yawls, and wherries were pulling away for the shore. Precisely at 4 o'clock p.m. a salute of 11 guns was fired from Her Majesty's ship Vanguard, intimating the advent of another distinguished stranger, and accordingly the salute was quickly answered by a similar number of guns from the Hibernia, 120, then quickly gliding into the harbour, under clouds of canvass - the reports of her guns, owing to the distance, came booming in a soft and subdued manner across the bright blue waters of our noble harbour. The Hibernia had on board Admiral Sir William Parker, who arrived from the Mediterranean, and who has command of the Squadron of Evolution. In about half an hour subsequently, another splendid three-decker, Her Majesty's ship Trafalgar, entered the harbour, both ships, of course, anchoring in the man-of-war roads - thus making a sight seldom seen here, four three-deckers and a similar number of fine frigates, with nine war-steamers also riding in our harbour.

Wednesday morning.

From an early hour on yesterday morning the harbour presented the same gay and animated appearance which it wore on the preceding day - crafts of every size, from the cumbersome barge to the light and graceful wherry, all fully freighted, literally covered the waters, being propelled by sturdy oarsmen, or by the gentle influence of the wind, towards Carlisle-fort, the grand point of attraction, where the "sham battle" was to take place. The ground was much better attended than on the preceding day, not only by fashionables, but by the peasantry - amongst the spectators I noticed the Mayor of Cork, who wore the insignia of chief magistrate. The marines, who were reviewed by General Turner, went through similar evolutions to those of the previous day; as did also the sailors. We cannot forbear to offer our testimony to the beauty and accuracy of the firing of the marine artillery, particularly at one time when they were supposed to attack an imaginary fort, and after cannonading it for some time, they retreated and kept up, whilst thus placed, a steady and continuous fire. We regret to have to mention that an accident of a rather serious nature occurred to a sailor, named Griffiths, a Welshman, belonging to the Vanguard, who had his right hand terribly shattered by the explosion of a cannon. It seems the gun missed, or rather "hung fire," and when in the act of ramming it, it exploded, sending the rammer some 40 or 50 feet into the air, and wounding the poor sailor - it was very fortunate that the gun had such an elevation at the time, or surely some lives would have been sacrificed, Griffiths, after having his arm bound up by the surgeon of the vessel, was removed to Haulbowline, where it is to be amputated. The only other accidents that I heard of was that of a marine who lost an eye by the bursting of his gun; and a number of sailors who were deprived of the points of their fingers, and some of the finger itself, by the explosion of powder. We saw also several marines carried of the eventful field in a state of insensibility - but from a far different, and when in the field, most unsoldier-like cause - to wit, drunkenness. The sham-battle terminated at 3 o'clock, when such a scene of terrible confusion and excitement ensued in the re-embarkation, not of the troops, but of the numberless spectators, as I never witnessed in my life, and which I surely could not attempt to describe.

Fr 24 July 1846


The Scourge steam-bomb vessel, Commander Caffin, arrived this morning from Cork, where she left the Channel squadron (on Monday), about to put to sea on the following morning for a few weeks' cruize, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker. The Scourge has been sent away to have new boilers (!) or her present ones made safe and serviceable (if they can be). This dangerous defect of the boiler makers will, of course, be dragged in as a fault of the surveyor of the navy by "Harris" and Co.
Th 30 July 1846The Channel squadron was still at Cove on the 26th inst.
Ma 3 August 1846


The Constance, 50, Captain Sir Baldwin Walker, and the Eurydice. 26, Captain George Elliot, sailed this morning for Plymouth. They weighed about 11 o'clock, the Constance first, and stood ont under royals and flying jib. There was a steady working breeze from S.S.W. The Eurydice soon gave her stern to her larger competitor, and maintained the lead in the race (which had evidently been agreed upon) so long as we could follow them from the shore. They join the Channel fleet under Sir William Parker.
Ma 10 August 1846


Captain A.L. Corry, of the Superb, 80, has not proceeded to sea in his ship this last cruize, but left her at Cork, on Admiralty leave, Mrs. Corry being dangerously ill. Com­manderW.K. Stephens (acting) has command of the Su­perb pro tem. Captain Corry states that the fleet is much improved in efficiency - an improvement which could not possibly have been attained without sending the ships to sea. This opinion, upon a question which has been much agitated and disputed, formed by an officer of Captain Corry's ex­perience, is very valuable.
We 12 August 1846


On Friday the 7th instant Plymouth Sound was graced by the presence of four of Her Majesty's ships, destined to increase the squadron of evolution, under Vice-Admiral Sir W. Parker, G.C.B., viz.:- Her Majesty's frigate Raleigh, 50, Captain Sir T. Herbert. K.C.B.; Her Majesty's frigate Constance, 50, Captain Sir Baldwin Walker; Her Majesty's sloop Spartan, 26, Captain T.M.C. Symonds; and Her Majesty's sloop Eurydice, 26, Captain Elliott. The crews were making every preparation for an early departure. The Raleigh went into the Sound from Barn-pool on the 1st, took her yawl aboard on the 6th, and was out of the dockyard hands on the 7th. She then had rather a list to port. The Constance arrived in the afternoon of the 4th from Portsmouth, and was paid advance on the 7th, when she appeared in good trim, and was visited by Admiral-Superintendent Sir S. Pym, of the Devonport dockyard, and Captain Sir Thomas Fellowes, of the Royal William Victualling-yard.

The Spartan arrived from Spithead on the 5th, and was paid advance. Until yesterday she bore the flag, blue at the main, of Port-Admiral Sir John West. The Eurydice came in on the 4th, at 5 in the morning, from Portsmouth. On the 7th her hands were busily employed stowing sails, &c.

Yesterday, at a quarter after 4, the Spartan struck her flag, and saluted the Admiral with 17 guns, - which were acknowledged by Her Majesty's ship Caledonia, 120, Captain Manby H. Dixon, in Hamoaze. The Admiral's flag was hoisted on board the Netley cutter. At half-past 5 the four ships, with the blue peter flying, hove their anchors close to their bows.

At half-past 7 this morning, they got under weigh. On board the Raleigh, Captain Herbert hoisted his broad pennant, as Commodore, and was immediately saluted by the Constance, Spartan, and Eurydice. There was a stiff breeze from south-west. The Spartan and Eurydice started first under courses and single-reefed topsails. The frigates were under courses, single-reefed topsails and topgallant-sails. The Eurydice has evident advantage of the Spartan. She was the more weatherly ship, and beat the Spartan nearly a mile in an hour. The Raleigh, however, was overhauling both, and probably got to windward of them in five or six hours. These three were out of sight of the citadel by 10 o'clock.

Shortly after leaving the harbour the Constance carried away a spar, sheet, or some portion of her rigging. For nearly an hour she lay with her main topsail to the mast, with several hands aloft. The Netley cutter went outside the breakwater, and communicated with the Constance by signals, which were repeated by the Inflexible in Barn-pool, and by the telegraph at Mount Wise.

At 11 o'clock, in consequence of a signal from the Netley, the Raleigh put back, lowered her boat, and communicated with the cutter, after which she again bore down Channel. The Constance was not out of sight at 2 o'clock.
Fr 14 August 1846


The Comet steam vessel, Lientenant Commander Johnston, is ordered to go in search of the Channel squadron, with despatches for Sir William Parker. Captain A.L. Corry, of the Superb, goes out in her to rejoin his ship, the Superb, 80. She will start this evening if the present violent weather moderates.
We 19 August 1846


Her Majesty's steamer Comet sailed last evening with despatches for the squadron of evolution under Admiral Sir H [should be W(illiam)] Parker.
Sa 22 August 1846


The squadron of evolution will shortly return to Spithead. We believe the "recall" has gone out in the Comet, Taking the opinion of that highly efficient and long, experienced officer, Captain Corry, of the Superb, as confirmatory evidence of the fact of great proficiency, greater than could possibly have been arrived at without proceeding to "sea" haring been acquired by the crews of the ships denominated the Channel squadron, since they have left port, we naturally turn to the cause of such highly gratifying and important efficiency. It is clear that the crews of the harbour ships, before they were sent to sea, were crude and valueless as seamen; in fact were literally landsmen. There is, therefore, great credit due to those who have wrought so beneficial a change - the officers, but for whose influential example and judicious directions the men would, beyond a doubt, have never acquired that proficiency which is so handsomely testified to by the gallant and distinguished officer abovenamed. This fact affords the Lords of the Admiralty a valuable opportunity of conveying their sense of such services as those rendered, by rewarding the men who, by their experience and example, have mainly conduced to so gratifying and highly important an end. There are many officers in the Channel squadron who have long earned that promotion to which every one who enters the service naturally looks forward as the only reward for the devotion of his life to the service of his country, but from want of "interest" they have been passed over (to the disgrace of previous Boards of Admiralty be it spoken) to the favour of a few possessing that all-important desideratum; but we humbly trust a better sense of justice will be exhibited in the present case, and that the chance alluded to will not be thrown away. Such officers as are serving in the flag ships especially ought, in common honesty, to receive that promotion to which their increased labours over those employed in other ships of the squadron so eminently entitle them. Some of those gentlemen, the lieutenants more particularly, have seen and performed much essential service; some even have been for more than 20 years actually employed.
Ma 31 August 1846



Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the Channel squadron, put to sea from Lisbon on the 18th inst., in the Hibernia, 100, Captain Richards, with the St. Vincent and all the other ships of the squadron except the Trafalgar and Superb, which are for the present left at Lisbon. It is said the squadron proceeds to Lagos for water, thence to Gibraltar and Tetuan, - where Sir W. Parker will part company, and proceed to Malta, when the squadron will return to Cork, and finally to Spithead.

The only trial of sailing of any interest since we last mentioned the squadron was, on the 10th inst., between the St. Vincent and Hibernia, the ships of the Vice-Admiral and Chief Commodore :-


Under double reefed topsails and courses, topgallant sails, jib, and spanker. Hibernia no mizen topgallant sail. Wind from N.E. by N. to N.E. Rate of sailing, six to eight knots. Angle of inclination of St. Vincent, 6 to 9 1/2.

[table of bearings omitted]


St. Vincent, in 4 hours and 45 minutes, weathered Hibernia 4 miles and 662 yards.


Under the same sail as above. Wind, N.E. by N. Course, S.E. Distance run, 26 miles.

[table of bearings omitted]


St. Vincent, in 3 hours and 45 minutes, headed Hibernia, 5 miles and 375 yards.
Nautical mile, 2,025 yards.

The Queen is improved on a wind, in fine weather; the St. Vincent is equal with a head sea - on a wind the St. Vincent the best - off the wind the Queen has the advantage. Both these ships superior on all points to Rodney, which is not improved from what was done to her when in dock. Trafalgar very bad, and the Hibernia not much better; the latter has no guns on her quarter-deck or forecastle. Superb, Vanguard, and Canopus much alike. The Cyclops and Polyphemus, no chance, either sailing or steaming, with Rattler - she is quite perfection.

Of the steamers the only members of that portion of the squadron remaining at the above date were the Cyclops and Polyphemus, paddle-wheel sloops, and the Rattler, screw propelled, which latter is pronounced by Sir William Parker as the most perfect man-of-war steamer that ever came under his notice.

We 2 September 1846


The Comet steam-vessel, Lieutenant-Commander Johnston, returned this morning from Lisbon, whither she had conveyed despatches for the Commander-in-Chief of the Squadron of evolution, Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker. She arrived at Lisbon on the 21st ult., and found lying there the Trafalgar, 120, Captain Nott, with the broad pendant of Commodore Sir J.G. Bremer, protecting British interests; and the Superb, 80, Captain Stephens (acting). Captain Corry had not joined, not having gone out in the Comet, which remained a day at Lisbon to coal, and then went in search of the squadron of evolution, which he found a few hours' run off the port on Saturday, the 22d ult., and delivered her despatches. The Admiral had in his company at the time the St. Vincent, 120, Captain Sheppard, bearing the pendant of Commodore Sir F. Collier ; the Queen, 110, Captain Sir Henry Leeke; the Rodney, 92, Captain Collier; the Albion, 90, Captain Lockyer; the Canopus, 84, Captain Moresby; the Vanguard, 80, Captain Willes; the Raleigh, 50, Commodore Sir Thomas Herbert; the Constance, 50, Captain Sir Baldwin Walker; the Eurydice, 26, Captain Elliot; the Spartan, 26, Captain Symonds (the latter four forming the frigate experimental squadron under Sir T. Herbert, which had joined the large fleet on the preceding day; the Rattler, screw steam sloop, Captain Smith; the Cyclops steam-sloop, Captain Lapidge; and the Polyphemus steam-sloop, Commander M'Cleverty.

The Comet received letters and despatches from the Admiral and the squadron, and left on her return on Sunday, the 23d ult., put into Corunna from the prevalence of north-easterly winds, where she coaled, which place was at that time in a state of considerable excitement from the probability of a rising of the populace. The town was under martial law.

Mr. Northcote, master, came home from the fleet in the Comet to resume his duties as assistant-master attendant of Chatham Dockyard, having been relieved by Mr. Thompson. Mr. Smith, second master of the Trafalgar, also invalided in the Comet, which brought invalids and mails, which latter she landed at Plymouth last evening.
Sa 5 September 1846The squadron of evolution have received orders to return to Spithead on or about the 16th inst.
Tu 29 September 1846


The Retribution steam frigate, Captain Lushington, arrived this morning at Spithead, about 9, and saluted the Commander-in-Chief with 17 guns, in smart style, which was duly acknowledged by the Victory. She left the squadron of evolution under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir W. Parker, on Tuesday night, at 9 p.m. The squadron then consisted of the Rodney, 92, Captain Collier; the Vanguard, 80, Captain Willis; the Albion, 90, Captain Lockyer; the Superb, 80, Captain Corry; the Trafalgar, 120, Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer; the Cyclops steam frigate, Captain Lapidge; the Terrible steam frigate, Captain Ramsay; the Phoenix steam sloop, Commander Dennis; and the Spartan, 26, Captain Symonds. The Eurydice, 26, Captain Elliot, parted company on the same night as the Retribution, for England. The Polyphemus steam sloop, Commander M'Clearty [should be M'Cleverty], parted company on the same day for Tangiers; and the Rattler steam sloop, Captain Smith, for Gibraltar; the latter, on the day previous, having lost her fore and maintop mast in a heavy squall. The admiral appears to have given the superiority to the surveyor's liners in all weathers. The Rattler among the steamers beat every thing; the Terrible was the next in his estimation, and the Retribution next.

The Retribution sailed from Cork on the 31st of July, in the evening, at 8 o'clock, and arrived at Gibraltar on the 6th of August at 6 p.m. (Terrible in company the whole time); she sailed again from Gibraltar on the 9th of August, and arrived at Corfu on the evening of the 16th; left Corfu with the right wing of the Rifle Brigade, on the 21st of August, and took the route by the Straits of Messina, arriving at Gibraltar on the evening of the 27th. On the 28th the Fairlie and Equestrian transports arrived, and on the 29th left Gibraltar with the Rifle Brigade for the Cape. The Retribution left Gibraltar on the 4th instant, and on the evening of the 5th observed Sir W. Parker, with his squadron, standing in to Lagos Bay, where she joined company. All the ships were then present except the Trafalgar and Canopus, which latter was at Lisbon. The Trafalgar rejoined the fleet that same night, about 12 o'clock. The squadron sailed from Lagos Bay on the 8th instant, after having completed water with great expedition, much to the satisfaction of the Admiral, and arrived at Cadiz on the afternoon of the 11th of September. The steamers, except the Rattler, were rather behindhand in getting into the anchorage at Cadiz, particularly the Retribution, which vessel had her floats on and did not anchor before 9 that night, owing to strong adverse winds (all the steamers the whole time above detailed being under sail alone). The Terrible carried away her maintopmast in going in, owing to the bad way in which the topmast rigging is fitted, having so little spread for their lofty masts. This is a defect which all the steamers have to contend with.

The squadron again sailed from Cadiz on the 17th instant. This time the steamers had all their floats off, and were well able to keep company with the squadron. It must, however, be said that the squadron were never under a very heavy press of canvas, except in light winds, and almost always close hauled. From the 17th to the 22d instant, the squadron were performing various evolutions (about 28 miles to the southward of Cape Spartel), consisting of "forming lines of bearing," "columns," and "line of battle," which were well performed.

It was seldom, after long nights, that any ships of the squadron were found out of their stations, and those but very little who were so.

The Retribution left the fleet about 40 miles due west of Cape Spartel, on the evening of the 22d instant (Tuesday), bringing despatches from the Admiral, and arrived at Spithead, as above detailed, having been under steam and sail the whole way, with fine weather.

The St. Vincent, Queen, and Eurydice may be expected shortly, the latter having left the same night as the Retribution; the Queen and St. Vincent five days previous.

Both the Retribution and Eurydice supplied the Vanguard with all the provisions they could spare (at sea) before leaving. The Eurydice had beaten the Spartan (her competitor), both on and before the wind in all the trials they had had, and it is said the Eurydice carried the "cock" at her masthead.

With regard to the Terrible, she is reported to be the finest of all the steamers except the Rattler, but might be much improved, especially with regard to her rigging. The crossjack and mizentopsail yard do not appear to have found favour in the eyes of Sir W. Parker, inasmuch as she was required one day during trial to set those sails, and she signalled "have none," clearly proving she only crossed those yards for show (which our readers will remember we hinted at, in drawing a comparison between her and the Retribution, whilst both were in this harbour prior to the sailing of the squadron for Spithead), and which were spare yards belonging to her fore and main masts!

On the evening of the Retribution leaving, it was understood the Admiral would put his helm up for Tangier; the same morning, however, the Phoenix arrived with important despatches from the British Minister at Madrid for the Admiral, which would perhaps alter the position of the fleet. It was at the same time reported that the Terrible was ordered to proceed to Malta to bring to the fleet as much provision as she could carry. The Retribution was inspected by Sir W. Parker, at Cadiz, who expressed himself much pleased with her efficiency and qualifications. Before she left Corfu her port main crank was cracked, and found defective, and condemned as unserviceable at Lagos Bay, after a strict survey, and her machinery being too powerful, she works much, and cannot stand up under her canvas as a vessel of such immense tonnage ought to do, but this matter is perhaps better explained in the following extract of a private letter from a scientific officer of much experience :-

"However much the opinions of nautical men may have differed in regard to the Terrible and the Retribution steam frigates, there cannot, now, I presume, be two opinions upon their respective merits. That either of them answer perfectly as frigates is very doubtful; that either of them are worth the large sums of money which have been expended upon them, is equally doubtful; and that the latter vessel is the greater failure of the two, there can be no doubt whatever. On the 1st of August both vessels started from Cork together for Corfu, and, generally speaking, the Terrible was enabled, from the great power of steam, to proceed nearly as fast with two boilers as the Retribution could with three. When the latter became very light she certainly got on better; the consequence of this was that the Terrible burned much loss coal on her voyage than her companion. With regard to the stowage of troops, the Retribution had the best of it, owing to her having a lower and 'flying' deck, the latter stowing the whole of the baggage, whilst the Terrible had to carry much on deck, thereby cumbering her guns, &c. This, indeed, is the great fault of that ship (the Terrible), owing to the manner in which her constructor has placed her boilers, viz., in line, extending over two thirds of the main deck; the consequence is, that, although upwards of 200 tons larger than the Retribution, she has, in reality, a shorter main deck. In point of sailing, however, she certainly in a breeze has a great advantage, being enabled to stand up under her canvas, whilst the Retribution is buried, heeling over in a royal breeze 10 and 11 degrees. In fact, the crankneas of the latter ship was the astonishment of the whole fleet, and well it might, for when at anchor she never has a list either to port or starboard (according to the anchor down) of less than four, and sometimes five degrees; and this I fully believe to be the sole cause of the Retribution's being now sent home disabled, for what machinery could stand being eternally laying over on its side? Moreover, the ship is not strong enough for the heavy (800) horse power machinery, even, if she did stand upright.
"The Eurydice beat the Spartan both off and on the wind; Captain Elliot, however, has declared his intention of leaving her.
"The Vanguard beat the Superb and the rest on a wind.
"The St. Vincent, Queen, and Eurydice are on their way; the first and last to Spithead, the Queen to Devonport.
"The Admiral is gone to Tetuan; the Terrible to Malta for provisions."
We 30 September 1846


The Retribution steam-frigate, Captain S. Lushington, arrived yesterday from the squadron. She has come home in consequence of some defect in the fitting of her engines, by which she is constantly, when her fires are lighted, in danger of catching fire. A survey has been ordered by the Board of Admiralty, which is now taking place by Rear-Admiral Parker, C.B., and Captains Pasco and Chads, who went out to her in the Myrtle steamer for that purpose. So imminent does the danger appear to be, that the floors, and every part near the engines, are obliged to be kept flooded with water while the ship is under steam. The flooring and engine-room have sunk two inches since this defect was discovered.
Th 1 October 1846


The Retribution steam-frigate. Captain Lushington, remains at Spithead for orders. She requires so much alteration and improvement before she can become a serviceable ship, that it is considered probable she will be given over to the engineers and dockyard hands, and her officers and ship's company, than whom there is not a more efficient body of men in the service, if we may believe the testimony of Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, Commander-in-Chief of the squadron of evolution, turned over to the Amphion, 36, screw propeller, at Woolwich. The result of the official inquiry into the state of the Retribution's engines yesterday has not transpired. The report of the court was transmitted to the Lords of the Admiralty last night, and she awaits their Lordships' decision, which has not yet been received.

When she left the squadron, the Prince de Joinville's force was up the Mediterranean, bat daily expected down to cruise off Cadiz and the other southern ports, to prevent any arms, &c., being landed for the peasantry or the people to use against the authorities favourable to the Montpensier alliance [the marriage of the sister of the Queen of Spain to the Duke of Montpensier on 10 October 1846].

In our mention of the operations of the squadron on Tuesday, we omitted to state that the Cyclops steam-frigate, Captain Lapidge, had proved herself so efficient a vessel in all the trials under Sir William Parker, that that officer had pronounced her a most useful and superior war-steamer, and inferior to no ship under his command under sail.

We omitted to mention also that when Sir William Parker discovered the imposition practised by the Terrible, in exhibiting crossjack and mizentopsail yards, for which she had no sails, the Admiral ordered those yards to be immediately struck.

The return home of the St. Vincent, 120, and the Queen, 110, would, we are informed, make Vice-Admiral Parker's squadron vastly inferior to that under the Prince de Joinville. Much dissension and discomfort prevailed on board the St. Vincent by the last advices from the squadron.
We 14 October 1846Her Majesty's ships Hibernia (the Vice-Admiral ship) Superb, and Trafalgar, left the anchorage at Gibraltar this morning, in tow of the steamers Cyclops, Rattler, and Virago. The Rodney, Vanguard, and Albion will follow when the steamers return after passing the Straits, or other expected steamers arrive, to perform the service. The first-named ships have since put back; the Superb and Trafalgar anchored off Sandy Bay, and the Hibernia, Cyclops, and Rattler returned to port, while the Virago kept cruising about.
We 7 October 1846


Her Majesty's ship St. Vincent, 120, Captain John Sheppard, bearing the flag, red at the main, of Commodore Sir Francis A. Collier, came in to Plymouth this morning at 7 o'clock, under close-reefed forotopsail and double-reefed mainsail. The wind is blowing a strong gale from the S.S.E. The St. Vincent dropped anchor inside the western arm of the Breakwater. She is bound to Portsmouth, but put in through strong contrary winds, and left Her Majesty's ship Queen, 110, Captain Sir Henry J, Leeke, in the Channel, yesterday afternoon. At 8 o'clock the St. Vincent saluted the flag of Port-Admiral Sir John West, which was duly acknowledged, and at 11 o'clock she exchanged a similar compliment with His Imperial Brazilian Majesty's frigate Constitucional.
We 7 October 1846


The Eurydice, 26, Captain T. Elliot, arrived this morning from the Channel squadron. The Eurydice has had 11 trials with the Spartan since leaving England, and in every one she has had great advantage both in speed and going to windward; and she left the squadron of evolution without a dissenting voice. The ships stood thus as to trial:-
Eurydice, first; Spartan, second; Raleigh, third; Constance, fourth; Vanguard, fifth; Superb, sixth; Canopus, seventh; St. Vincent and Queen, nearly equal; Albion, Rodney, Hibernia, and Trafalgar, next.

Steamers.- Rattler seems the fastest and best; Cyclops, second; Polyphemus, third; Terrible, fourth; Retribution, far behind.

As regards the Eurydice these results must surprise every person interested in naval architecture; when it is considered that the Eurydice (drawing two feet less water than Spartan in sailing trim, and one foot mean draught on even keel, and also stowing her stores and provisions better) has without doubt proved herself the most weatherly and fastest on all points, not only beating the Spartan but the whole squadron of evolution, consisting of vessels second to none in the service, we feel it must reflect the highest praise on her builder, Admiral Hon. G. Elliot, and her captain (no doubt one of the best ship sailors in the service), who can thus combine speed, stowage, and first-rate weatherly qualities, with a light draught of water and one of the most beautiful models above water in the service.
Fr 9 October 1846


About half-past 10 o'clock this morning Her Majesty's ship St. Vincent, 120, Captain John Sheppard, with the flag of Commodore Sir F.A. Collier, endeavoured to work out through the Western Passage to Plymouth, under double-reefed topsails and foresail, the wind blowing hard from the westward. When reaching into Cawsand Bay, on the larboard tack, she put about, and while in stays was caught in a tremendous squall of wind and rain between Redding Point and the western end of the Breakwater. Being compelled to go before it, she brailed up her foresail, and under foretopsail and jib returned to her anchorage in the Sound.

Her Majesty's ship St. Vincent split her foretopsail in her attempt this morning to go to sea.

Fr 9 October 1846


The St. Vincent, 120, Captain Sheppard, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Sir Francis Collier, has been expected to come up momentarily all day. Up to our despatch leaving (5 o'clock), however, she had not made her number.
Sa 10 October 1846


Her Majesty's ship St. Vincent, 120, Captain John Shepherd, with the flag of Commodore Sir F.A. Collier, sailed this morning at 9 o'clock from Plymouth for Portsmouth.

Port-Admiral Sir John West has hoisted his flag, blue at the main, on board Her Majesty's ship Queen, 110, Captain Sir H.J. Leeke, in the Sound.
Sa 10 October 1846


The St. Vincent, 120, Captain J. Shepherd (acting), and bearing the red broad pendant of Commodore Sir F.A. Collier, K.H., arrived this morning at Portsmouth from Plymouth.

The Commander-in-Chief, Sir C. Ogle, Bart., went out in the Myrtle steamer to inspect her this forenoon. Her crew were exercised with shot and shell at a mark, and the Admiral expressed himself highly gratified with their proficiency. She will take out her powder and shells, if the weather will permit, this afternoon, preparatory to her coming into the harbour.
Ma 12 October 1846


Orders were received on Friday evening by telegraph from the Lords of the Admiralty, in reply to the report of the arrival of the St. Vincent, for that ship to remain at the anchorage at Spithead, with orders for Commodore Sir Francis Collier to keep his broad pendant flying on board, and also for Captain Shepherd to continue in the command. Other orders from their Lordships were received yesterday afternoon for the St. Vincent to come into harbour, but as it was too late then for her to come in, as the tides are neaping, an endeavour will be made to get her in to-morrow. If unsuccessful she must remain at Spithead until the next spring tides.
Tu 13 October 1846



We yesterday received the following communication:-"Will you give publicity to the following contradiction of a statement which appeared in the Hampshire Telegraph of the 10th inst.? The Hampshire Telegraph reports that on the 16th of September, the Raleigh. had a slight advantage over the Eurydice. I give you a paragraph out of Sir Thomas Herbert's report to the Admiralty of that day's trial, which will be more satisfactory, as coming from the captain of the Raleigh, than anything I could say: -
"'In the above time (five hours) the Raleigh had the advantage of the Spartan about 2,649 yards, the Eurydice having outsailed all, and gained on the Raleigh 4,041, and in the end she had gained 4,470 yards. She had also gained on the Constance 8,190 yards. The wind during this trial steady.'
"We are sure the Hampshire Telegraph will contradict the report in their next week's paper. The Eurydice always had an advantage in sailing over the Raleigh and every other ship, as the sailing reports will prove."

The St. Vincent, 120, Commodore Sir Francis Collier, (Captain J. Shepherd acting) came into harbour this afternoon. Everything that could be removed was taken out to lighten her. The tides having neaped so much it was feared she would not have been got into harbour; her marines were put into the Echo tug, and all her boats were hoisted out, and filled by the crew. A vast assemblage of spectators congregated on the walls and the Victoria pier to witness the fine old ship return to her winter quarters.

We 14 October 1846


The St. Vincent 120, was got into the harbour yesterday in the very nick of time, just at the top of high water, and as the tides are still neaping, and a strong northerly wind came on in the night and still continues, it is evident she could not have been got in until the next springs. It is what is called close and rather dangerous pilotage, for had she grounded she must have been ruined, as it would have been almost impossible to have got her off until the increased flow floated her. The broad pendant of Commodore Sir Francis Collier was not "struck at sunset last evening," nor did Sir Charles Ogle's flag take its place onboard the St. Vincent to-day. The pendant is still flying (5p.m.).
Th 15 October 1846Commodore Sir Francis A. Collier, C.B., and K.C.H., visited Woolwich dockyard to-day, and remained some time at the office.
Fr 16 October 1846


Commodore Sir Francis Collier's red broad pendant still flies from the mainmast head of the St. Vincent, all such reports as that gallant officer's "having struck his broad pendant at Portsmouth," and "hoisted a blue one on board the William and Mary at Woolwich," as stated by two "oracles" this morning, being false.
Sa 17 October 1846


This morning, at 9 o'clock, the flag (blue) of Admiral Sir Charles Ogle, Bart., the Commander-in-Chief, was hoisted on board the St. Vincent at Portsmouth, 120, Captain Milne taking the command, superseding Captain Shepherd. Commodore Sir Francis Collier's pennant was struck at sunset last night. Captain Milne mustered the crews of the ships in commission here to-day, after reading his commission on board the St. Vincent.
Ma 19 October 1846The Cyclops steam-frigate, Captain W.F. Lapidge, arrived at Spithead last evening from the Mediterranean.

She had been to Southampton, and landed at noon his Excellency Lord Howard de Walden, British Minister at Lisbon, family, and suite.

The squadron under the chief command of Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, Bart., at Gibraltar, consisted of (when the Cyclops left, on the 3d inst.) the Hibernia, 120, Captain Peter Richards, flag of Vice-Admiral Parker; the Trafalgar, 120, Captain Nott, Commodore Sir J.J.G. Bremer; the Rodney, 92, Captain Collier, C.B.; the Albion, 90, Captain Lockyer; the Vanguard, 80, Captain Willes; the Superb, 80, Captain Corry; the Spartan, 26, Captain Symonds; and the steam-sloop Rattler, Captain Smith; the Polyphemus, Commander M'Cleverly; the Virago, Commander Lunn; and the Phoenix, Commander Dennis. The Terrible steam-frigate, Captain Ramsay, had gone to Malta for provisions for the squadron.

The Cyclops arrived at Lisbon on the 4th inst., and embarked Lord Howard de Walden, family, and suite, whom she brought home, on leave.

The Cyclops was delayed a few days, to endeavour to tow the flag-ship Hibernia through the Straits, it being the Admiral's intention to pass the squadron through, by steam-vessels, in two divisions; but, owing to strong westerly winds he failed in accomplishing his wishes. Later intelligence, however, informs us the squadron had succeeded in passing through (by an easterly wind), and had proceeded off Cadiz, with the probability of its entering that port.

The squadron was perfectly healthy and in the highest state of efficiency, having watered at Tetuan, and completed their provisions.

The Cyclops remains at Spithead for orders.
Tu 20 October 1846The St Vincent, 120, Captain Milne, flag-ship of Admiral Sir Charles Ogle, Bart., Commander-in-Chief of this port [Portsmouth], which came into harbour on Monday last, and has since comfortably settled down at her old moorings off Gosport, is ordered to refit and complete for sea service again with all possible despatch, pursuant to an Admiralty order promulgated this morning. The confusion this order has created, and the absurdity of the host of reports it has given rise to on shore, are of the most extraordinary description. Certain it is that according to present orders, the fine old ship will be at Spithead fully manned and stored again in a few days. The Admiralty despatches brought by the Cyclops are supposed to have been the cause of this change in the winter quarters of the St. Vincent.The Vengeance, 84, Captain Stephen Lushington, having had her bottom broome down, was undocked and floated into the basin this morning, where she is progressing with her rig as rapidly as the smallness of her complement will permit of. Another hundred men have, however, been ordered to her, making her complement 450. She is entering the extras fast, the fame of her First-Lieutenant [Henry Alexander Story] having brought him a host immediately the placard, announcing the want of seamen and petty officers for the Vengeance, was exhibited this morning. She got her cross-trees, masthead-pennants, and tops over this morning. The Marines have not joined yet. On the St. Vincent leaving for other service she will take the flag of Admiral Sir Charles Ogle.
Fr 23 October 1846The St. Vincent, 120, Captain Milne, flag of Admiral Sir Charles Ogle, is again ready for sea. The riggers and other supernumeraries she discharged on last going into Plymouth have been sent for, and her extra marines are ordered to join; but we believe her proper complement of seamen will supersede the necessity for extra marines in future.
Sa 24 October 1846The St. Vincent, 120, Captain Milne, flag-ship at this port [Portsmouth], will not go to sea again at present. It is expected she will be docked and return stores again.
Ma 16 November 1846The Channel squadron, under Vice-Admiral Sir W. Parker Bart., was off Lisbon on the 8th inst. A private letter says, "The country is at present in a very disturbed state, and there is every chance of its remaining so for some time. Lisbon is quite in a state of blockade by land, as no one is permitted to go outside the lines. The squadron is still here, and there is no chance of its distribution; on the contrary, we expect to be reinforced. The America, 50, Captain the Hon. J. Gordon, sailed yesterday to take her station off Coronna. The Gladiator steam-frigate, Captain Robb, is ordered off to Oporto to protect British interests there. The Cyclops steam sloop, Captain Lapidge, remains with us. Colonel Wylde has proceeded, to the performance of his mission. The Terrible steam-frigate, Captain Ramsay, leaves to-day, with Commodore Sir J.G. Bremer (whose pendant she flies), and the Marquis of Chandos, for England. The squadron at present under Sir W. Parker, off Lisbon, consists of the Hibernia, 100 (his own flag-ship); the Rodney, 92; the Albion, 90; the Canopus, 84; the Superb, 80; the Trafalgar, 120; and the steamers Gladiator, Rattler, Cyclops, and Polyphemus. The Vanguard is expected to join."The Terrible arrived at Devonport on Friday morning; in the afternoon Sir Gordon Bremer struck his broad pendant, landed, and left by the next available conveyance for London, being appointed Commodore-Superintendent of Woolwich Dockyard, vice Sir Francis Collier, promoted. The Terrible has been daily expected at Spithead for some time, orders having been lying here for her to proceed to Sheerness and turn over her officers and crew to the Formidable, 84.

The Royal NavyExperimental squadrons 1846 (2/3)

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