HMS Amazon (1865)
HMS Amazon (1865)

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NameAmazon (1865)Explanation
Launched23 May 1865   
HullWooden Length187 feet
PropulsionScrew Men150
Builders measure1081 tons   
Displacement1525 tons   
Fate1866 Last in commission1866
Ships bookADM 135/14   
23 May 1865Launched at Pembroke Dockyard.
29 April 1866
- 10 July 1866
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Commander James Edward Hunter, Devonport, until she collided at night with SS Osprey (Cork Steam Packet Co, Liverpool to Antwerp) off the Start, English Channel en route from Portsmouth to Halifax; 10 fatalities in Osprey)
26 July 1866Paid off (that is to say; her books were closed).
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Sa 12 November 1864The following is the list of the vessels of the Royal navy which will be armed, and are now being armed, with the new description of 300-pounder and other guns in course of issue. The figures after each vessel specify the number of guns of the description mentioned she will carry. To mount the 12-ton 300-pounders:- Bellerophon, 10; Royal Sovereign, 5; Minotaur, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wiveren, 4; Prince Albert, 4; Agincourt, 4; and Northumberland, 4. To be armed with the 6½-ton guns:- The Achilles, 20; Black Prince, 20; Warrior, 20; Lord Warden, 20; Lord Clyde, 20; Royal Oak, 20; Prince Consort, 20; Royal Alfred, 20; Caledonia, 20; Ocean, 20; Minotaur, 18 ; Agincourt, 18; Valiant, 16; Zealous, 16; Hector, 16; Defence, 10; Resistance, 10; Endymion, 6; Mersey, 4; Orlando, 4, Pallas, 4; Favourite, 4; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Amazon, 2; Viper, 2; and Vixen, 2. To mount the 64-pounder muzzle-loader:- The Bristol, 12; Melpomene, 12; Liverpool, 12; Severn, 12; Arethusa, 12; Phoebe, 12;. Shannon, 12; Octavia, 12; Constance, 12; Sutlej, 12; Undaunted, 12; Impérieuse, 12; Aurora, 12; Leander, 12; Bacchante, 12; Emerald, 12; Phaeton, 12: Narcissus, 12; Forte, 12; Euryalus, 12; Topaz, 12; Newcastle, 12; Liffey, 12; Immortalité, 12; Glasgow, 12; Clio, 8, North Star, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1865]; Racoon, 8; Challenge[r], 8; and Menai, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1864]. The following will be supplied with the 64-pounder breech-loaders:- The Scout, 8; Rattlesnake, 8; Cadmus, 8; Scylla, 8; Barossa, 8; Jason, 8; Charybdis, 8; Wolverine, 8; Pylades, 8; Orestes, 8; Pearl, 8; Pelorus, 8; Satellite, 8; Acheron, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Shearwater, 4; Valorous, 4; Furious, 4; Bittern, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Magicienne, 4; and Columbine, 4. A supply of the 6½-ton smooth-bore 100-pounder wrought iron guns has already been received at Chatham, and it is understood that the first supply of the 300-pounder rifled 12-ton Armstrong gun may shortly be expected at the Ordnance wharf.
We 29 March 1865A party of riggers will shortly leave Devonport for Pembroke, to return with the new screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, building there. Jury masts for her were sent on last week by the screw steam storeship Fox, 2, Staff Commander Thomas C. Pullen, which also conveyed engine gear for the iron screw steamship Lord Clyde, 24, building at Pembroke.
Sa 20 May 1865The paddle wheel steam frigate Gladiator, 6, Capt. Francis H. Shortt, left Plymouth yesterday (Friday) with a gang of riggers, under Commander Paul, to proceed to Pembroke, to navigate the new screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, to Devonport.
Th 8 June 1865The screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, launched at Pembroke on the 23d of May, left Milford on Tuesday afternoon, in charge of Commander Paul, and in tow of the paddle-wheel steam sloop Sphinx, She was expected last evening at Plymouth.
Fr 9 June 1865The paddlewheel steam sloop Sphinx, 5, from Pembroke, arrived on Wednesday evening at Plymouth, having in tow the new steam sloop Amazon, 4, under charge of Commander Paul. Yesterday the Amazon was towed into Hamoaze and placed alongside the jetty in Devonport dockyard, to be dismantled and completed for the first division of the steam reserve.
Th 27 July 1865Her Majesty's paddle steam storeship Dee, Master-Commander Raymond, laden with engines and boilers for the Mermaid, building at Cowes [no vessel is known to fit this description; a coastguard vessel Imogene was, however, completed by White of Cowes early in 1866, with engines from Penn of Greenwich, and this may be the vessel referred to], machinery for the Amazon, and stores for the western yards, sailed yesterday from Woolwich.
We 9 August 1865The Admiralty Board meeting at the Keyham office of the Admiral Superintendent, which assembled on Monday morning, rose shortly after 1 o'clock, when the Duke of Somerset and his colleagues passed through the engine factory, smitheries, and boiler factory in the great quadrangle to the north basin, which is being deepened and enlarged from five to ten acres, and for that purpose is in the hands of the contractors, whose efforts are retarded and to some extent suspended in consequence of the terms required by the amalgamated masons. Instead of 300 Mr. Bisset has only about 170 men, chiefly excavators. The construction of the sides of the basin is stopped, and the piles of wrought granite remain as they have been for many months past undisturbed. The strike of the masons against all the leading Government contractors and most of the principal builders here continues. It was commenced in consequence of the refusal of the masters to accept a code of rules drawn up by the Masons' Society in London, Plymouth was selected as the place where the first attempt should be made to bring the masters within the pale of the irresponsible bodies to which the men belong. At Staddon a few non-society men are employed on the fortifications, and are briskly pushing on the work. Picklecombe Fort is at a standstill, and so are Bovisand and Screasdon Forts. The operations on the long line of the north-east defences are almost suspended for want of masons. As far as possible the contractors are proceeding with their excavations and earthworks, but they are unable to complete some portions of their contracts. Four or five old masons are allowed by the Masons' Society to work at the Cattedown quarries. They are not members, but are compelled to act in conformity with most of the rules. After inspecting the excavations in the north basin at Keyham, and the Greyhound and Jason in the South basin, the Lords of the Admiralty proceeded round the sea wall, through the tunnel, into Devonport dockyard. Here they inspected the north smithery, and went round No. 4 dock, in which is the screw steam frigate Amazon, launched in May last at Pembroke, and now preparing for the first division of the steam reserve; she is a wooden ram. They then went on board the sailing frigate Flora, fitting in the basin for a receiving ship for the Commodore at Ascension. After taking luncheon at the house of the Admiral Superintendent, the Lords of the Admiralty proceeded through the ropehouse and masthouse down to the south smithery, outside which four hose were connected with the pipes supplied with salt water from an elevated iron cistern which is filled from the mast pond by the engine of the south smithery. This arrangement is for the purpose of protection from fire. Four plugs near the ropehouse were also tested. Several members of the Board returned to their yacht, the Enchantress, while the Duke of Somerset, Sir Frederick Grey, and Lord Clarence Paget proceeded to the chief office of the Admiralty superintendent, where they received deputations from the shipwrights, joiners, sailmakers, ropemakers, and riggers, and from the artisans of the Keyham factory, on the subject of wages. Deputations from some of the minor branches could not be received. This duty occupied the First Lord until 6 o'clock in the evening.
Ma 6 November 1865Weather permitting, the iron-cased ship Lord Clyde, 24, and the sloop Amazon, 4, will have their engines tested at Plymouth in the course of the week.
Sa 2 December 1865A contractor's trial of the engines of the screw steam stoop Amazon, 4, took place outside Plymouth Breakwater on Thursday, when the weather was extremely calm, there being only a light breeze from the north occasionally. The Amazon is from lines by Mr. E.J. Reed, Chief Constructor of the Navy. She is a wooden ship, of 1,081 tons, built at Pembroke, with a wooden prow, iron deck beams, and iron masts. Her length is 187ft., her breadth 52ft., and her present draught 13ft. 6½in. Forward; and 16ft. 5½in. Aft. The sloop is intended for a first-class despatch gun vessel; she is full rigged, but is not yet supplied with armament or stores. The fuel on board was about 200 tons. Her engines, of 300 horse-power nominal, are direct acting horizontal, with surface condensers, superheaters, &c, by Messrs. Ravenhill, Hodgson, and Co., and are of the same descriptions as those by that firm on board the Lord Clyde, 24, of which a very detailed account appeared in the Times of the l4th of November last. Six runs at the measured mile under full-boiler power produced a mean speed of 12.053 knots, and two runs at half-boiler power of 10.319 knots. The load on the safety-valve was 271b.; pressure of steam on boilers, 251b.; vacuum in condensers - full power forward, 25½; aft, 25½; half-power forward, 27; aft, 27; mean pressure on cylinders, 26.75lb.; weather barometer, 30 deg. 10 sec. The propeller was four-bladed, diameter 15ft, pitch 12ft. 6in. The boilers produced abundance of steam, and the engines worked most satisfactorily. When put in commission the Amazon will have a complement of 100 officers and men, and her armament will consist of four guns - viz., two pivot and two broadside. The latter will weigh each 6 tons, and will carry 1501b. shot. The pivots, 64-pounders, will project. The pivot gun in the bow will be water-borne by the wooden prow.
Tu 16 January 1866In consequence of high winds on Wednesday and Thursday, the screw steam sloop Amazon, 4, could not leave Hamoaze; but on Friday she went outside Plymouth Breakwater to test her engines and machinery, under the superintendence of Capt. William Edmonstone, C.B., who is in command of the steam reserve at Devonport. Mr. Sampson Harris (Howe 107) performed duty as inspector of machinery afloat in the absence of Mr. William A Dinnen, of the Indus. Mr. James Steil, from the steamyard, and Mr. Robert Saunders of the dockyard, were also present. The manufacturers of the engines, Messrs. Ravenhill and Co. were represented by Mr. Richard Hodgson, one of the principal partners. The wind was northerly, force about 3, with a slight swell. The Amazon on this occasion drew 13ft. 4½in. forward, and 16ft. 4½in. aft, and the four-bladed screw previously used was displaced for a two-bladed Griffith's, having a diameter of 15ft. and a pitch of 15ft. Six trials under full-boiler power produced a mean of 12.171 knots, the mean revolutions being 88½. Four trials under half-boiler power produced a mean of 10.461 knots; the revolutions were 72. The pressure of steam on the engines was 25lb., and the vacuum 25½ inches. She went round the circle (.35 of a mile) in three minutes 23 seconds, and answered her helm very well. Throughout the day the engines worked satisfactorily, and there were no hot bearings. The sloop measures 1,031 tons, is 187ft. long, and 32ft. broad. At the former trial her draught was 13ft. 3in. forward and l6ft. 4in. aft. After four runs the results were:- Mean speed, 11.492; speed of the screw, 11.100; negative slip, .392; and revolution, 75.
Th 3 May 1866The screw steam despatch sloop Amazon, 4, at Devonport, was put in commission on Monday, by Commander J.E. Hunter. She will have a complement of 130 officers and men.
Th 21 June 1866The Amazon, 4, unarmoured screw sloop, Commander Hunter, from the westward, has joined the Pallas and Terrible at Spithead.
Sa 23 June 1866The Amazon, 4, screw unarmoured sloop, Commanded Hunter, now at Spithead, is having some slight defects iu her machinery made good, in readiness to proceed to sea.
We 11 July 1866The Amazon, 4, unarmoured screw despatch vessel, Commander Hunter, sailed from Spithead on Monday for the North American station, calling in, it was expected, at a western port.
We 11 July 1866


About 1 o'clock yesterday morning a fearful collision occurred between Her Majesty's ship Amazon, Captain J. E. Hunter, bound from Portsmouth, for Halifax, North America, and the Cork Steampacket Company's passenger steamer Osprey, Captain Bartridge, bound from Liverpool for Antwerp, in the English Channel, about 30 miles off Start Point. At the time the vessels struck each other it was very calm and not dark, and as both parties allege they had their proper signals hoisted it is at present a mystery as to who is at fault. "Within three or four minutes after the collision the Osprey parted. The Amazon, being a much larger vessel, did not sustain such serious damage as the Osprey, and the crew instantly lowered their boats and used every effort to save as many of the Osprey's crew and passengers as possible. The whole of the crew (21 in number) of the Osprey were saved, but we regret to state that the stewardess, Mary Ann Keating, and nine others, including four ladies (one a captain's wife) were drowned. Captain Bartridge's wife was saved, but he lost his two daughters and son. It was soon discovered that the Amazon was making water, and, though all the pumps were set to work, she filled so fast by half-past 2 o'clock that Captain Hunter ordered boats to be lowered, and all hands speedily transferred themselves into them, their weight bringing the boats down within an inch of the water. At half-past 2 the Amazon was observed to be sinking fast. A heavy fog now came on, and she was soon lost sight of. The boats steered for the English coast, and safely arrived at Torquay at 4 yesterday afternoon.

Additional names of those lost:- Mrs. Hubbart, the widow of a barrister in Dublin, and two daughters, aged 22 and 15 respectively; Mrs. Captain Wrey and two daughters, of Edghill, Liverpool

Th 12 July 1866Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, with, the exception of one boy, arrived at Portsmouth yesterday at 3 p.m., and were received on board the screw three-decker Duke of Wellington, Capt. C. Fellowes, pending the Court-martial which it is expected the Admiralty will order to be held on board Her Majesty's ship Victory on Commander Hunter, his officers, and crew for the loss of their ship. The boy alluded to is missing, and it is feared must have gone down in the ship. There are, of course, all kinds of rumours relative to the collision between the Amazon and the merchant steamship Osprey, to the lights shown by such vessel, the directions in which the helm was shifted on board such vessel at the moment prior to the collision, &c.; but it would be unwise to repeat such rumours when the whole matter connected with the loss of the ship is to be immediately investigated by a court-martial.

It is to be regretted that the two fine 6½-ton 7-inch rifled guns which formed the main armament of the Amazon have gone down in the vessel, and in a position in the Channel where there is no possible chance of their recovery. At the present moment when the rearmament of our navy has just commenced, the loss of these two guns is almost of greater importance to us than the loss of the Amazon herself.

Fr 13 July 1866


The Amazon was not only a perfectly new ship, but was the first of so novel and interesting a class of vessels that the following particulars of her construction and armament will be read with interest. She was designed about two years ago by Mr. E. J. Reed, Chief Constructor of the Navy, in obedience to the directions of the Board of Admiralty and Controller of the Navy, for the purpose of replacing the slow and weakly-armed sloops of the Royal Navy with vessels of higher speed and more powerful guns, and in a very early stage of her progress she obtained considerable notice from the circumstance of Lord Clarence Paget, who was then the organ of the Admiralty in the House of Commons, stating in Parliament that she was the first of what he was pleased to call the "Alabama class" of our men-of-war, the fact being, however, that the Amazon really differed in all essential respects from the Alabama much more than the latter vessel differed from the existing types of Admiralty sloops.

The first thing aimed at in the design of the Amazon, which was an unarmoured ship, was a speed superior to that of the Rinaldo and Roebuck classes, whose maximum speed was 10.25 and 11.1 knots respectively. The speed of the Amazon proved to be 12.4, or very nearly 12½ knots, and in a valuable Parliamentary paper, printed by order of the House of Commons on the 23d of March last, on the motion of Mr. Graves, the Controller of the Navy shows that a speed of even 13 knots, in this vessel of only 1,080 tons, would have been obtained but for an increase in the weight of her armament and complement, and the submergence of the "counter" of the ship, intended to screen the rudder-head. With these drawbacks, however, the speed of the Amazon greatly exceeded that of all previous men-of-war of her size, at load draught, and placed her in this respect among the fastest of our unarmoured frigates.

The next peculiarity in the Amazon's design was the adoption of what is known as the economical class of propelling engine, which had been adopted with great success, as regards economy of fuel, in the Enterprise, Pallas, Bellerophon, and other armour-plated ships, and in the experimental wooden frigates, but which was not in use in any wooden sloop of war belonging to the Royal Navy. The adoption of this class of engine, in association with the French form of screw-propeller, led to some very singular and unexpected results in the early trials of the Amazon, all of which are set forth, in the detail that professional persons require, in the Parliamentary paper before referred to. The characteristic feature of these engines is the employment of very small boilers, and consequently the consumption of very little fuel, in proportion to the power developed by the engines, the large development of power being secured by the great expansion of the steam, the use of surface condensers, and the system of super-heating the steam on its way from the boilers to the engines. The machinery of the Amazon was made by Messrs. Ravenhill, Salkeld, and Co., and although in this case, as in that of the Pallas and of the Bellerophon, the usual excess of power over and above the contract power was not developed, the result of the experiment was highly satisfactory, and the consumption of fuel for the speed of the ship proved exceedingly small. Perhaps the most interesting changes made in the hull of the Amazon depended in some degree upon the great indicated power which it was proposed to develop in her engines. The bow was formed with greater length below than above the water, somewhat in the form of a swan's breast, not, as some of our contemporaries are presuming, to adapt the vessel for use as a "ram," but with a- view to superior speed and behaviour in a sea-way, exactly in the same manner and for the same reason, as the Helicon paddle-steamer was formed at the bow, with an obvious advantage in point of speed. There was no iron forging or casting upon the stem, as some accounts have represented, but merely a light brass cutwater to cleave the water smoothly and easily, as in the case of the Helicon, when the vessel was driven at the high speed contemplated. It may be added that the bow of the Amazon received none of those interior bracings and strengthenings which, were fitted to the Pallas and other wood-built "rams," the use for ramming purposes of so light a vessel, built without armour, forming no part of the intentions either of the Admiralty or of Mr. Reed, her constructor. At the stern of the vessel, on the contrary, where it was known that the great strain of her engines must come, an entirely new system of iron bracing was expressly introduced, under the personal directions of Mr. Reed, the power to withstand the strain of her engines and screw at that part being the crucial test of a wood-built ship of great engine power, and this difficulty being enhanced in the case of the Amazon by the submersion of the "counter" before referred to. As other vessels of the Amazon class are coming forward, it is satisfactory to know that the stern of the Amazon, with the new system of strengthening, proved fully able to withstand all the strain brought upon it even when the engines and screw were running for many hours together at their greatest speed.

The armament of the Amazon consisted of four guns, two of them being of 6½ tons weight, and firing l00 lb. Round shot, with 23 lb. Charges of powder. These formidable guns were carried in the centre of the ship, and, by a new arrangement of the gun-slides and pivots, were so contrived that both of them could quickly be brought to bear and fought on either side of the ship - a system which has also been carried out in most of our sloops of war that have undergone a refit since the Amazon was designed. In addition to these two heavy guns amidships the Amazon carried a revolving 64-pounder rifled gun at the bow, and another at the stern, each capable, like the central pivot guns, of being fought on either side. By these devices the Amazon was enabled not only to steam after an enemy at an unusually high speed, but also to engage her with an armament far more formidable than any sloop of like size had previously borne into action.

The Western Morning News gives the following particulars respecting the recent most calamitous collision in the English Channel, briefly noticed in our columns of yesterday :-
"The steam sloop of war Amazon left Spithead on Monday for Halifax, Nova Scotia, having been appointed to the North American station. She was commissioned at Devonport in April last, by Commander James E. Hunter, an active officer of high standing in the service, and left Plymouth Sound on the 4th of June, for a cruise in the North Sea. She had on board a crew of 130 of all ranks, and about 20 supernumeraries. The Amazon was a four-gun screw sloop, of 1,081 tons and 300-horse power, was contract built and constructed of wood, having been designed by Mr. E.J. Reed, the Chief Constructor of the Navy. The ship on Thursday morning, about 1 o'clock, was on her voyage down Channel; it was the watch of one of the lieutenants; the night was clear, and the weather fine, with a light breeze. The Amazon had her regulation lights brightly burning, and at the hour named a steamer was reported about two points on the starboard bow. She proved to be the screw steamer Osprey, 450 tons register, Captain Bertridge, belonging to the Cork Steam Navigation Company. As they reached each other the Amazon put her helm hard a starboard and exhibited the green light, but the Osprey put her helm hard a port and exhibited the red light. The result of these measures was that, as the Amazon fell off, the Osprey came across the Amazon's fore-foot, and. The Amazon ran into the Osprey on her port-quarter, striking her at about one-third of her length from her stern. The Osprey was fearfully crushed below her water-line by the prow of the Amazon. On board the Osprey the greatest confusion ensued on the collision; the majority of the crew clambered in over the bowsprit of the Amazon, which protruded over her deck. It was instantly found that the Osprey was settling down by her stern, for, although she was built in three compartments, she was struck at the stokehole, at which point the two after compartments joined, and the partition being crushed in, the compartments were of no service. A great body of water rushed into the engine-room, where the second engineer was in charge, and he, having stopped the engines on hearing the first concussion, rushed on deck, barely in time to escape the flood of waters. By that time most of the crew and passengers - the latter in various stages of nudity - were running to the forward part of the ship, and an attempt was made to get out a boat. The crew of the Osprey had by this time clambered into the Amazon, hand-over-hand up ropes from her bow, and two boats were promptly lowered from the Amazon, and the captain and one or two men were picked up by one of them. The captain's wife, who was attired only in her nightdress, was hauled in over the Amazon's bows, as also were one or two of the crew, one of whom, a Dutchman, had a very narrow escape, as He succeeded in. Grasping a rope when he was on the point of sinking for the third time. But, though by these means the captain, crew, and captain's wife were rescued, the captain's three children - girls aged 15 and 12 and a boy aged 10 - were swallowed up in the vortex caused by the sinking steamer, in which also were engulfed the whole of the saloon passengers - Mrs. Hubbard, widow of a Dublin barrister, and her two daughters, aged respectively 22 and 15 years: Mrs. Rea, the wife of the master of the ship Seaflower, and her two young children; and Mary Ann Keating. The stewardess, Mrs, Rea, was seen at her cabin door a moment after the collision, and the second engineer helped her on deck. But her children were below, and she frantically called for them, and made as if to go below in search of them. The moment in which safety might have been secured was thus spent, and, neglecting to go forward, she was seen no more. Less exciting, but almost equally serious incidents, were meanwhile occurring on board the Amazon. In the shock of the collision the prow of that ship became twisted and wrenched round, and thus a large hole was made in that vessel, through which water was found to be pouring in great volumes. The ship's pumps were instantly set to work, and great exertions were made to keep the vessel afloat; but the water gained on the crew, and the engineer soon came on deck and reported to the captain that the fires were extinguished, and the engine-room half full of water. Captain Hunter received the news with that remarkable coolness which seemed to characterize all hands, but it was seen from that moment that the Amazon would go down. Still, no exertions were relaxed, and the five boats of the vessel were got out with as much order as if for a holyday trip. Each boat was laden to the water's edge, some of the men lying flat in the bottom, and had any sea been running or a breeze sprung up all must have perished. The boats left the Amazon at 3 30 a.m., the ship being then settling down in the sea, although, as a fog shortly afterwards set in, she was not actually seen to founder. They were then about 18 miles off land, and somewhere off Dartmouth. No provisions, water, or property of any kind was taken on board, and the seamen of the Osprey were only partly clothed, and the captain's wife had on only her nightdress, over which a blanket had been thrown. In the early morning the boats fell in with three fishing smacks, which, were boarded and which rendered a double service, in relieving the boats of some part of their too great load, and in piloting them into harbour. Thus aided, the shipwrecked men reached Torquay shortly after 4 on "Wednesday afternoon. They were provided for very kindly by several of the inhabitants, and, after their more immediate wants had been supplied, the officers and men of the Amazon were forwarded by special train to Portsmouth, the captain and crew of the Osprey going to Plymouth. The Osprey's captain, Mr. Bertridge, and his wife, were greatly distressed at the event, which has deprived them of three children; and the officers and men of the Amazon and Osprey have also lost everything. The Osprey was of 460 tons register and 250 horse power. Her crew consisted of the captain, two mates, two engineers, seven firemen, seven seamen, cook, steward, and stewardess, and at the time she had also on board the captain's wife and three children, a little boy a friend of the family, seven saloon passengers and a man as deck passenger. She was on her passage from Liverpool for Antwerp, having left the former port at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The crew were provided for on Wednesday night at the Plymouth Sailors' Home. Further information from Portsmouth states that the crew of the Amazon were sent on to Exeter on Tuesday night, and thence to Portsmouth, where they arrived on Wednesday afternoon, and are now berthed on board the Duke of Wellington. All the crew have answered to their names, with the exception of a supernumerary boy named Compton, whose absence is not accounted for. The question of responsibility as to the cause of the collision will, of course, form the subject of official inquiry, but, in the absence of any information on the subject, it is unaccountable how with a proper look-out on both vessels, and on a clear night, they could have approached each other so closely as to render a collision inevitable without being observed. A court-martial on the officers and crew of the Amazon will, no doubt, be held as soon as the necessary formalities have been gone through."

Tu 17 July 1866


Mr. SAMUDA gave notice that on Monday, July 23, he would ask the First Lord of the Admiralty to explain how it happened that the Amazon, a war steamer, built for the purpose of a steam ram, should have caused her own destruction by coming into collision with a vessel smaller than herself and not built for a warlike purpose. (Hear, hear.) He would also ask why the Amazon, if not intended to be used as a steam ram, should have been constructed with a cutwater as if she had been so intended to be used. He would ask the President of the Board of Trade how it was that all the crew of the Osprey were saved, while so many of the passengers, who were chiefly women, were lost (hear, hear), and whether, if this were proved to be owing to the want of proper discipline on the part of the crew, he would undertake to frame a legislative enactment to avoid the recurrence of such scandals. (Hear, hear.)

We 18 July 1866A naval court-martial is ordered to assemble on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, at Portsmouth, to-morrow,Thursday, for the trial of Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, for the loss of that ship by collision with the merchant screw steamer Osprey.
Th 19 July 1866


The Board of Trade (Marine Department) have received the annexed official deposition made on oath before the receiver of wreck by Captain Stephen Burtridge, late commander of the Osprey steamer, relative to the circumstances connected with the recent extraordinary collision in the Channel, by which the Osprey and Her Majesty's steamship Amazon both foundered, with loss of life:-
"Stephen Burtridge, late master of the Osprey, states that the Osprey (screw steamer) was 426 tons register, and belonged to the Cork Steamship Company. She was schooner-rigged, and built of iron at Cork in 1855, Her crew numbered 20 hands, and her cargo consisted of general goods, consigned to merchants at Antwerp. She carried seven passengers, my wife and three children, and a little boy, a friend of the family, were on board. The vessel left Liverpool on the 7th at 6 p.m., weather fine, and a moderate breeze blowing from the west. We brought up in Crosby Channel, about five miles from Liverpool, for the purpose of adjusting the feed valves. In about an hour and a half got under way and proceeded down Channel, the weather fine, and occasionally foggy. Rounded the Land's End at about 11 a.m. on the 9th. The feed valves acting satisfactorily, proceeded up the Channel; passed the Start Light at about 8 45 p.m., all well. At 12 midnight the chief mate took charge of the watch, having relieved the second mate. I had been on the bridge up till 11.50. I went into the look-out house on the same bridge, and stretched myself on the sofa, having previously directed the second mate to call me if there was the least fog or for any other purpose. At about 12.50 a.m. the chief mate came to the door of the watch-house, which was broad open, and called out, 'Look here, Sir; here's a fellow running into us on his starboard helm. Ours is hard aport.' I immediately jumped up and shouted to the man to keep the helm hard aport, as had been previously directed by the mate. I made the stranger out to be a heavy steamship, under full steam, approaching the Osprey rapidly. We were going at the time about 8 1/3 knots, I hailed the ship and told him to put his helm hard aport, but received no answer; nor did I observe that she altered her course a single point, but ran straight upon us. I am under the impression she was tending starboard helm. As she neared us I clearly discovered she was a ram, and she struck us under the mizen rigging under the port quarter. At the time of the collision my ship had paid off to the southward fully six points. I immediately jumped to the cabin and called out down the skylight for the passengers to come up and save their lives, as best they could, the crew having gone on board the stranger. I placed the women and children into the port after boat, and cut the lashings, in order that the boat might float off the deck as the ship sank from under us, the stranger having parted from us. The ship sunk suddenly. The davits head caught the gunwale of the boat, and she sank with, the Osprey, drowning the seven passengers and three of my own children. My wife jumped out of her, and was saved by the stranger's boat. I went down with the boat, but saved my life by swimming, and caught hold of a lifebuoy. When I came to the surface, seeing the stranger's boat coming, I called to them to pick up the women, for that I was all right. From the time of the collision it was about four or five minutes before the Osprey sank. The weather was beautifully fine, and the sea smooth, and the air perfectly clear. We were about 18 miles to the southwest of Portland. I was picked up and taken on board the stranger, which proved to be Her Majesty's ship Amazon. At the time of the accident the Osprey's regulation lights were burning brilliantly. I kept on full speed in order to get out of the stranger's way as quickly as possible. A quarter of an hour after getting on board the Amazon she was found to be in a sinking state and we had to take to the boats to save our lives. We arrived at Torquay as about 3 in the afternoon of the 10th. The screens of the Osprey's regulation lights were properly adjusted according to the regulations of the surveyor of the Board of Trade at Liverpool. My crew were all perfectly sober, and were a good, steady set of men. I estimated the loss of the ship at 19,000 1 (the value of the cargo not included). Ten lives were lost by drowning and 22 saved.

Sa 21 July 1866


A naval court-martial assembled on Thursday on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, in Portsmouth harbour, for the trial of Commander James E. Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, for the loss of that vessel by collision with, the screw trading steamer Osprey off the Start Point, in the Channel; on the 10th inst.

The Court was composed of Rear-Admiral George G. Wellesley, C.E., President; Captains A.C. Key, C.B., E. Tatham, Hon. F. Egerton, A.D.C., W.C. Chamberlain, W.G. Luard, E.W. Turnour, Charles Fellowes, and E.D'O.D'A. Aplin. Mr. E. Hoskins officiated as Deputy Judge- Advocate; Captain Harris was also present as nautical assessor to the Board of Trade. Mr. Pope-Hennessy represented the owners of the Osprey. Captain Bertridge and part of the officers and crew of the Osprey were in attendance.

Captain Hunter said the course the Amazon was steering at the time of collision was W. half S. The fog came on about half-past 3 on the morning of the collision. At the time of the collision the stars were out, but he did not notice the moon.

Alfred Churchill Loveridge, sub-lieutenant of Her Majesty's late ship Amazon, said he was officer of the middle watch on board the Amazon on the morning of the 10th inst, The orders he received from the previous officer were, course W. half S., fore and aft sail set, to keep a good look-out, and inform the captain if anything happened. He was told the ship was going on the fourth grade of expansion, at a speed of 12.88 knots. He was on the starboard side of the bridge about a quarter to 1, as near as he could say, and saw a light, which he thought was about four miles off, a little on the starboard bow. He did not know at that time what the light really was, and, having fore and aft sails set, he kept the ship away about two points. He then looked at the light, and made out that it was a steamer coming up Channel, and then well clear of him on the starboard bow. He was perfectly satisfied that if they both continued the courses they were then steering she must go clear of him on his starboard beam and pass some distance under his stern. He could not see any alteration in her course until she was broad on their starboard bow, when all of a sudden he saw the whole of her port broadside, and then made out that she was running straight across their bows. He immediately gave the order "Hard aport," and "Stop the engines." He then, seeing he could not avoid the collision, went back to the telegraph handle and signalled "Reverse the engines." He could positively state the engines were stopped at the time of the collision, and be believed they were going astern From the time of his first seeing a light until the time of collision between 12 and 14 minutes, as near as he could judge, elapsed. He thought he could have seen the green light of the Osprey if it had been lit and properly trimmed. Had the Osprey not ported her helm, he considered she might have passed clear of them about eight ship's lengths.

Mr. C.W. Last, midshipman of the middle watch on board the Amazon on the night of the 10th and morning of the 11th of July, said he heard Mr, Loveridge give the order "Starboard." Soon after he went on the bridge, and Mr. Loveridge pointed a ship out to him on their starboard bow. He never saw any light belonging to the Osprey but the masthead light. He knew it was the starboard bow of the Osprey he saw by the lay of her masts. James Horton, quartermaster of the watch on board the Amazon at the time of the collision, said he was of opinion the collision was caused by the Osprey putting her helm aport.

Joseph Widdick, a boy on board the Amazon, said he had the bow look-out on the night of the collision, and reported a light off the starbourd bow about a quatter of an hour before the collision. It was a masthead light. He saw the Ospray's red light about five minutes after seeing the masthead light.

Thomas Skelton, private, Royal Marines, one of the look-out men on board at the time of tho collision, said he saw the white light from 10 to 15 minutes before the collision, and the red fight about three minutes previously.

Mr. Macintosh, first-class assistant engineer on board the Amazon, said, previous to the collision occurring he received an order to "stop her." The second order was to "go astern," and the engines wero going astern at the time of collision.

Lieutenant Charles Heskett, senior lieutenant on board the Amazon at the time of the collision, described the measures taken to save those on board the Osprey. He considered every available means were used to do so.

Lieutenant R.B. Wilkinson, second lieutenant of the Amazon, gave similar evidence.

After the examination of Mr. J, G. O'Connell, the master, and John Kestrell, the chief carpenter's mate, the Court adjourned.

Yesterday Mr. Stephen Burbridge, the master of the Osprey, was examined. He said,- About 10 minutes to 1 the mate called me from the watch-house on the bridge:-"Come out here, Sir, here's a vessel running into us with a starboard helm; our's is hard aport." He said she was a ram by her protruding stem. She struck under the port mizen rigging, seemingly as if she had been at full speed and with a starboard helm. His helm was bard aport all the time. Mr. Burbridge then described the steps he took to save the passengers and crew. The Amazon went ahead after the collision. He thought that if after the collision the Amazon had kept forging ahead on the Osprey, she would have kept the Osprey longer above water and thereby there would have been more time to save the women and children. It was his opinion that she reversed from the Osprey after the collision.- From the time that the light was reported, being a point on the port bow, a red light, he thought it very judicious in the mate to port a little so as to shut out the green light, and not lead the stranger astray. It would have been contrary to the regulations to have shown at once his green light.

Pierce Nagle, the mate and officer of the watch; Peter Keihaus, the look-out man ; and Martin Collins and James Cronin, men at tha wheel; and James Clarke, an able seaman on board the Osprey, were then examined.

Commander Hunter requested time to prepare the defence, and the Court was adjourned until this morning.

Ma 23 July 1866


The court-martial appointed by the Admiralty, under the presidency of Rear-Admiral George G. Wellesley, C.B., resumed and concluded its sittings on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, at Portsmouth, on Saturday.

On the opening of the court the President intimated that the Court were prepared to receive the defence of the prisoners, when Commander Hunter read his, as follows:-
"Mr. President and Gentlemen of this Honourable Court,- I will not take up your time with a long statement, but merely place myself in your hands to decide whether I did my duty or not on the occasion of the trying circumstances which caused the assembling of this Court. I feel, as I think my brother officers do, that the greatest satisfaction is to know you have done your duty under any circumstances. On the morning in question when the collision took place between the Amazon and the Osprey I hope the Court has found by the evidence given that I and my officers and men did our duty and used our utmost exertions to save the crew and passengers of the Osprey, to keep the Amazon afloat, and afterwards to save the lives of those left in my charge with the limited means at my command. I think it my duty to all under my command to bring before the notice of the Court certain parts of the evidence given by the mate of the Osprey, in which he states that he "threw ropes from the Amazon, and begged of the Amazon's crew to assist in saving the lives of those on board the Osprey, and they took no notice of him," in which statement I believe him to be wrong owing to the confused state of mind he must have been in at the time. I can bring forward the men who were with me throwing ropes over to the Osprey, while I was calling out "Bend the ropes on to the women," but seeing no one on board the Osprey to do as I wished I was on the point of going down with some of my men when the Osprey sank dragging the bows of the Amazon some feet down with her. I need not dwell any longer on this particular point, but the evidence I shall bring forward will effectually clear the officers and men under my command from the imputation attempted to be cast upon them. Upon the cause of the collision I can say nothing, but beg to give my opinion of the officer of the Amazon's watch at the time, Sub-Lieutenant Loveridge; During the two months I had the honour and pride to command the Amazon, I found him most attentive and zealous In all his duties, more especially in his watch, as the master, Mr. O'Connell. Will testify. During the cruise off the coast of Belgium, Mr. Hesketh, my first lieutenant, and Mr. O'Connell, the master, frequently mentioned to me what a good officer of the watch and how careful Mr. Loveridge was, and I may say I had a good opportunity of trying him, as the navigation was most intricate, with ships constantly passing, and all his orders were given, clearly, decidedly, and with good judgment. I should like, again, to bring before the notice of the Court particularly the praiseworthy conduct of my first lieutenant, Mr. Hesketh; Mr. Wilkinson, the second lieutenant (who was in the cutter so short a time after the collision, although he kept the first watch and had only just gone to bed); Mr. O'Connell, the master, for his many valuable suggestions to me and his correct knowledge of the position of the ship when I asked him to point it out to me on the chart in my cabin. Words cannot express my feelings at the noble way in which the engineers and stokers remained at their duty even when they were working up to their middle in water. Also, the conduct of the chief carpenter's mate, Kestrell, and the chief boatswain's mate, Barrow, who showed such excellent examples to the men. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the petty officers, who showed the men their duty on board, and who kept them together after landing on shore. I cannot yet close my defence without stating to the Court that my passenger on board, Captain J.V. Baird, R.N., who was taking a passage to North America on a special mission, made me many valuable suggestions after the collision, for which I have to sincerely thank him. He is my senior officer, and well known in his profession, and I felt that I had a good adviser by me under such trying circumstances. It is only through most urgent private affairs that he has been prevented attending the court to-day to tender his evidence. He has, I am sorry to say, lost in the Amazon all his effects, including some very valuable instruments, I now with the utmost confidence leave myself, my officers, and crew in the hands of the honourable Court."

Commander Hunter also, by permission of the Court, read the defence of Sub-Lieutenant Loveridge, in the following terms:- "I stand at the outset of a professional career, which I had earnestly hoped, and still continue to hope, may prove honourable, as one of the chief actors in circumstances which have brought about the loss of several lives and of two valuable ships,- in a position as distressing as it is unusual to an officer of my standing. The pain I feel for the losses which have occurred would be difficult to bear were it not for the strong consciousness I have that the accident has not been owing to any want of care or precaution on my part. I feel that I may safely leave myself in the hands of the Court as to whether I have not shown proper care, vigilance, and attention to my duties as the officer of the watch on the morning in question. But from the evidence given by the officers and crew of the Osprey I feel that I have to defend the correctness of my judgment in the steps I took from the time the Osprey's lights were seen until the collision took place. To that point only, therefore, I ask leave to address myself. I would recall to the recollection of the Court that when standing on the starboard side of the bridge I saw first of all a single white light a point and a half or two points on my starboard bow. From the position in which I stood it will be evident to the Court that, with fore and aft sail set, I could not have seen a vessel on my port bow, and that, therefore, the vessel I saw (supposing it to have been a vessel) could not have seen my red light, and it is abundantly proved by the evidence that the light seen was in my starboard bow, and not on my port bow. Knowing this, and not knowing at the moment what the light was, or whether it was a ship's light at all - drawing on as we were to the Start - I had to consider what to do. Seeing a single white light on my starboard bow I could not well continue my course, because the light I saw might be the Start, which would have shown us to be so much out of our reckoning as to make even a momentary approach towards it unadvisable; or it might have been a fishing boat nearer than it appeared; or it might have been a steamer steering directly for my starboard bow, in which case it was my business to keep out of her way, and hers to continue her course. I could not port my helm. Because it might still have been the Start Light or a vessel which had already crossed ahead of the Amazon from port to starboard. Under these circumstances I took the precautionary measure of at once bringing the doubtful light broad on the bow on which I first saw it. In a minute and a half or two minutes I then with difficulty, by the aid of my glasses, made out the Osprey's red light. I had now to consider whether to continue my course across the Osprey's bows, leaving her to stand on under my stern, or to shift my helm to port so as to cross her bows. I saw nothing to lead me to suppose the Osprey was porting her helm, and it is in evidence that the amount of port-helm given her at first was, in fact, so small as to render it impossible for me to notice it, approaching one another as we were. I could not think that the Osprey - seeing nothing but a green and while light nearly ahead of her, as I suppose she must and as I believe she did in fact see - would finally put herself across the Amazon's bows, which ship was steering a steady course. I thought that if I now shifted my helm I should confuse the person in charge of the approaching steamer, who would, I considered, be probably minding his starboard helm to pass astern of me. For this reason I kept my course starboard with the utmost care, without any movement to the other ship. I feel confident the Osprey did not alter her helm to hard-a-port until the time mentioned in my evidence, which view is rather corroborated by the nature of the evidence given by her chief mate and helmsman, and, therefore, sufficient warning was not given me to shift my helm with safety. I cannot but believe that the Osprey's men and officers are mistaken in supposing they ever saw the Amazon's red light previous to the collision, for if that could have been so she must have been at one time on our port bow, or right ahead, and as l brought her four or five points on our starboard bow before, even with the aid of glasses, her red light was made out, I cannot think, even if I were mistaken in supposing she had not been previously on our port bow, or right ahead, she could have then been near enough to have made out our red light. I am borne out in thinking this by the chief mate of the Osprey's evidence, which states that he saw our red light "drawing more on a parallel to the Osprey's course, or, in other words, more ahead." Then I find it difficult, if not impossible, to imagine two ships of nearly equal speed in such a position as to bring about such, a result, whereas it is plain from the whole evidence that the masthead and the green light of the Amazon would have made the movement described by the witness. I am well aware of the difficulties some persons have of distinguishing colour at night, and think this may in some measure account for the discrepancy. I have now only to leave myself in the hands of the Court, feeling confident of a just award, and that should it decide that I have committed errors of judgment, it will also decide that they have been errors of over caution.

Sub-Lientenant Loveridge, then addressing the Court through the Deputy-Judge-Advocate, stated that what certificates he had possessed were lost in the Amazon, and read a letter from Captain S. Greville, R.N., in which that officer spoke of Mr. Loveridge's professional qualifications and general conduct in very favourable terms. Captain Alexander, R.N., late of Her Majesty's ship Euryalus, also tendered himself as a witness, and, on being sworn, said,- Mr. Loveridge served under my command in Her Majesty's ship Euryalus for about 14 mouths, during which time he commended himself to my favourable notice by his zeal and intelligence in the discharge of his duties, as well as by his general good conduct.'

The Court then adjourned to consider its finding. On the re-opening of the Court the Deputy-Judge-Advocate read the finding and sentence of the Court as follows:- "The Court are of opinion that Her Majesty's late ship Amazon was lost on the morning of the 10th of July by coming into collision with the late steamship Osprey. That the collision was occasioned by a grave error in judgment upon the part of Sub-Lieutenant Alfred C. Loveridge, the officer of the watch, in putting the helm of the Amazon to starboard, instead of to port, when first sighting the light of the Osprey, in contravention of the regulations for preventing collisions at sea."

"That no blame is attributable to Commander Hunter and the other officers and crew of the said ship. That the efforts used to endeavour to save Her Majesty's said ship after collision, as well as the lives of the crews and passengers of both ships, reflect the highest credit on Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's ship Amazon."

"The Court adjudged Sub-Lieutenant A.C. Lovendge to be dismissed from Her Majesty's service, but, on account of the high character given him for zeal in the service, they recommend him to the favourable consideration of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and the said Mr. A.C. Loveridge is hereby so sentenced accordingly."

"The Court adjudged Commander Hunter and the other officers and crew of the said ship to be fully acquitted of all blame, and they are acquitted accordingly."

The PRESIDENT then, handing Commander Hunter his sword, said,- "Commander Hunter, it is now my pleasing duty to hand you your sword, and to express the gratification with which the Court has received the testimony to the bright example set by you to your officers and ships' company after the collision, and which was so worthily followed."

The Court then broke up.

After the decision had been given Mr. Pope Hennessy expressed on behalf of the owners of the Osprey their sense of the strict impartiality of the proceedings.

Tu 31 July 1866The paying out of commission of the crew of Her Majesty's late ship Amazon took place ou board the Duke of Wellington, Capt. C. Fellowes, at Portsmouth on Thursday. Commander Hunter, the late Commander of the Amazon, read a letter to his officers and ship's company, previous to their payment, from Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, Port-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, in which the gallant Admiral stated that he was directed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to express the great satisfaction of their lordships with the conduct of the officers and crew of the Amazon after the collision of that ship with the late steamship Osprey, although their lordships could not but regret the results of the collision.
Sa 4 August 1866


Mr. GRAVES asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what steps, if any, the Board intend taking with reference to the six wooden vessels set forth in Return No. 366 of Session 1865 (vessels not armour-plated), as building on the same lines and dimensions as the Amazon - viz., the Niobe, Vestal, Blanche, Nymph, Daphne, and Dryad, to improve their strength, speed, and general efficiency for the purposes for which this class of vessel was orginally intended; and whether it will not be desirable to test the speed and qualities of one of these vessels at sea, under canvas as well as under steam, before proceeding further with the completion of the others.

Sir J. PAKINGTON.- I beg in the first place to say that there are seven of these vessels remaining to be built and not six, as given in the list contained in rny hon, friend's question. He has omitted the Sappho. The Admiralty are now very anxiously engaged in considering whether the peculiar bow of the Amazon is or is not of a shape which it is desirable to retain. Our present impression is that the bow is not successful, and that it would be well to affect a change. The Niobe, the Vestal, the Nymph, and the Daphne, are so far advanced that it would require a considerable outlay to have to alter their bows. The Admiralty are now making inquiries as to cost and time, which may decide whether they will deem it desirable to make the change or not. This answer does not apply to the remaining vessels, which are in a less advanced state, and it is the intention of the Admiralty to make considerable changes in the bows of those three vessels.

Fr 26 March 1869


A report from Rear-Admiral Warden on the cruise of the Channel Squadron in June last has been laid before the House of Commons. The weather was too exceptionally fine to be favourable to the development of the qualities of the ships under trial. The squadron comprised eight ships. Rear-Admiral Warden reports.—
"Of all these the Bellerophon is the readiest and most easily handled under steam, and she has the most powerful battery under the thickest armour. Under sail she is slow and stows a small quantity of fuel, but is very economical in expenditure. Her principal defects as a fighting ship I consider to be, that the guns in her battery are placed too close together; the absence of upper deck armament, and the want of fire in the line of keel, under armour, as well as the inefficiency of the bow-gun, which is on the main deck. I do not believe that in chase of an enemy's ship she could, by any possibility, fire her bow-gun, the projecting bow helping the sea to roll up to, in, and on her main deck, flooding it and compelling the closing of the port. On one occasion, 30th of June, when steaming head to wind 5½ knots (force of wind 6), in reply to the signal, "Can you fight bow-gun?" the answer was "Yes, with closing the port occasionally." The absence of upper deck armament is, I presume, to be accounted for by the fact that the ship, as originally designed, was not intended to have any upper deck, and as is was an afterthought, it was not prepared to carry guns.
“The next class to be noticed is the Prince Consort and Royal Oak. They were built to serve a particular purpose, at what was considered a critical period. They were generally viewed as a makeshift, and being merely wooden line-of-battle ships cut down and armoured, they are not likely to be repeated. Nevertheless they have good qualities; they are armoured throughout, are powerful ships, handy under steam, from being short with good speed, and do sufficiently well under sail. Their consumption of fuel is very great. They roll very much, and so deeply that I am of opinion, now that ironclad ships are taking the place of wooden line-of-battle ships, it is worthy of all consideration whether it is not advisable to make them coastguard ships after putting them in a state of thorough repair in every respect; they might then last for years. Under existing circumstances, if they are much at sea, it is not to be expected that they will be worth repair at the expiration of their present commission.
"I now come to the Defence and Pallas. The former is a very handy ship under sail, especially with her screw raised, is very economical in her expenditure of fuel, but an indifferent performer under steam. A proof of it may be found in the fact that on the 30th of June, when practising evolutions, force of wind 5, squadron steaming 5½ knots, head to wind with a slight easterly swell, when she lost her station some little distance, she was utterly unable to regain it, although she was making 54 revolutions by signal. On her trial at the measured mile, in March, 1862, 62 revolutions gave her a speed of nine knots, according to the official record. In fact, she never did get into her place, and the evolution was not completed. As the experiments now taking place on board the Pallas are to be made the subject of special report, I need not further advert to them in this place, nor do I think it necessary to say more about that ship, as her qualities are sufficiently well known; and I do not suppose there is the least probability of a second ship of the same class being ever built.
"The Minotaur, the Achilles, and the Warrior are three very noble ships. The last named, however, I look upon as the least valuable of the three — her unarmoured ends, exposure of steering wheel, her rolling propensities (as compared with the other two), are defects which are not compensated for by any good qualities superior to theirs. The first and second, notwithstanding their great length, which of necessity carries with it some disadvantages, have many great qualities. They steam at high speed; the Achilles is, under sail, everything that could be expected in an armoured ship unable to raise her screw; and no doubt the Minotaur would do equally well if she were masted in the same way, which I consider she ought to be the first favourable opportunity. The Minotaur is more heavily armed than the Achilles, having four 12-ton 9-inch guns on the main deck, and two 6½-ton guns on the upper deck, which fire in a line with the keel, under the protection of armour, being the only ship in the squadron which possesses this advantage, and is armoured throughout, having 5½ inch plates, tapering to 3½in. These are great advantages over a ship in other respects so nearly alike, but in the great and all-important point of the capacity for fighting their guns, they are both alike, rolling as nearly as possible to the same extent, which is a minimum as compared with other ships; and in this respect of steadiness of platform upon which to fight their guns, I believe they stand out unrivalled and unsurpassed by any ship which has ever been built. Believing as I do, that this invaluable property of steadiness is due to the form of the ships, and the proper distribution of the weights on board them, and not to be attributed to their great length, this question has constantly forced itself on my mind — viz., it is not possible to build a broadside-ship, heavily armed, adequately protected, of such a length as to secure sufficient speed, and to be at the same time a handy ship, and of such a shape and form as to roll as little as the Minotaur and Achilles? Unless this question can be answered positively in negative, I have a full conviction that it ought to be attempted, so long as broadside-ships continue the most important and formidable part of our navy.
"My own idea of the proper theory of ironclad ships is this, that they should always be built of iron, be armoured throughout, be as heavily armed as possible, and possess bow and stern fire, at least to the same extent as the Lord Warden and Lord Clyde. Perhaps the time has arrived when the enormous increase in the power of artillery, and the increased weight and thickness of the armour-plates, which have become necessary to resist the projectiles now in use, render the carrying out of this theory of ironclad ships impracticable. If this be so it would seem to follow that if guns are to be used of such a weight that the whole length of the broadside cannot be made use of to carry them, and the space which they occupy is too great to admit of their being protected by a thickness of armour capable of resisting the shot which will be brought against them, it seems to follow, I say, that the turret-ship is a necessity. Guns of any weight can be placed in turrets, armour of almost any thickness can be carried round them, and it will then only be necessary to protect the water-line with a belt, as heavy and as thick as the ship can bear. These conditions carried out, it remains, of course, that the turret-ship should be constructed so that she should be a habitable and comfortable ship for the officers and men, with a sufficiency of sail power to enable her to meet the varied requirements which are usually made on a British man-of-war. The question again naturally arises. Is it impossible to build such a ship? The conditions above-stated, which seem to render a resort to turret-ships inevitable, seem also to point out that, in the broadside-ship, armour-plating will eventually have to be given up everywhere, except at the water-line and at the bow and stern, to protect guns firing in a line with the keel. In ships built completely of iron with guns as heavy as they are capable of carrying, protection must be reduced to a minimum, and shot and shell be allowed to find their way through and through the iron fabric, perhaps with less damage to ship and life than if they had been checked in their progress by armour-plating.
The subject of 'ramming' I approach with great diffidence. It is one which exists principally in the region of speculation. I am not one of those who think that in the next naval war ramming will rank before artillery as a mode of attack; but I believe firmly that it will play a very important and formidable part in all future engagements. Possibly some naval actions will be decided by the independent and energetic action of some individual captain seizing the fortunate moment and the right opportunity for running his enemy down at a high speed. It is as clear as anything can be that so long as a ship has good way on her, and a good command of steam to increase her steam at pleasure, that ship cannot be what is called 'rammed'; she cannot even be struck to any purpose so long as she has room and is properly handled. The use of ships as rams, it appears to me, will only be called into play after an action has commenced, when ships, of necessity, are reduced to a low rate of speed, probably their lowest. I therefore apprehend that it would be consistent with prudence and good tactics always, when going into action to hold in reserve a portion of the squadron or fleet (and that whether the force was large or small, whether the enemy were numerically superior or otherwise) to act as rams; and when the action had commenced, and noise and smoke and fire were doing their work, the reserve to be brought into play to act independently, as circumstances might require. For this purpose ships must be made capable of playing their part, and strengthened on purpose to perform such duty, and the form of bow which I believe best calculated to deal the hardest blow, and carry with it the greatest amount of destruction, is the straight upright stem of the Achilles or the slightly curved one of the Minotaur, rather than the projecting prow of the Bellerophon and others of a similar form. The result of the experience gained when the Amazon 'rammed' a small steamer in the channel is not encouraging. I believe also on this subject, as well as on very many others connected with naval warfare, that the first great action at sea between ironclad squadrons or fleets will dissipate and cast to the winds many of our preconceived opinions and theories, disturb many of our prejudices, and throw an entirely new light on the whole subject."

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