|The Mid-Victorian Royal Navy William Loney R.N. Fun||Search this site|
HMS Royal Oak (1862)
|► The Royal Navy||Browse mid-Victorian RN vessels: A; B; C; D; E - F; G - H; I - L; M; N - P; Q - R; S; T - U; V - Z; ??|
|Type||Broadside ironclad frigate|
|Launched||10 September 1862|
|Builders measure||4056 tons|
|Snippets concerning this vessels career|
|27 April 1863|
- 19 March 1866
|Commanded by Captain Frederick Archibald Campbell, Channel squadron, then Mediterranean|
|21 March 1866|
- 13 December 1867
|Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain George Disney Keane, Mediterrean|
|14 December 1867||Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Captain Henry Shank Hillyar, Channel squadron, then Mediterranean|
- 9 January 1872
|Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain Leveson Eliot Henry Somerset|
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Sa 16 March 1861||Admiralty orders have been received at Chatham dockyard for a squadron of five steam frigates and other vessels of war to be built at that establishment, in addition to the several line-of-battle and other screw steamers which are now in progress. The following are the names, number of guns, and horse-power of the new vessels: -The Boadicea, 51, 600-horse power [cancelled 1863]; the Pactolus, 22, 200-horse power [cancelled]; the Diligence, 17, 200-horse power [cancelled 1863]; the Salamis, 4, 250-horse power; and the Albatross, 4, 200-horse power [cancelled 1863]. The above ships of war will be commenced immediately the vessels now on the stocks, several of which are in a very forward state, are completed. The ships building at Chatham are the Bulwark, 91 [laid down in 1859, suspended in 1861 and finally cancelled in 1873]; the Royal Oak, 91; the Belvidera, 51 [laid down in 1860 and cancelled in 1864]; the Rattlesnake, 21; the Menai, 21 [laid down in 1861 and cancelled in 1864]; the Reindeer, 17; and the Myrmidon, 4.|
The Lords of the Admiralty have decided on naming the large iron mail-clad steamer about to be commenced at Chatham dockyard the Achilles. The new vessel will be an improvement on those of the same description recently built, and her dimensions will be somewhat larger. Her engines will be nominally of 1,250 horse-power, but they will be capable of being worked up to considerably over 2,000 horse-power. She will be pierced for 40 guns, all of which will be the long-range Armstrong guns.
|Th 22 August 1861||Yesterday the Commissioners of the Admiralty commenced their annual inspection of the dockyard at Chatham. They visited, in the first instance, the lead mills, and afterwards the testing-houses, where the anchors and cables manufactured at this and other yards are tested by powerful hydraulic engines before being delivered to the various vessels of war. Their Lordships, having directed a few minor alterations to be carried out at the testing-house, proceeded to the Anchor-wharf, where the anchors, buoys, and other stores are deposited. Since their last visit several improvements have been carried out at this part of the dockyard, and others are in contemplation. They spent a short time in examining one of the portable steam cranes, several of which have been recently supplied to the yard by Messrs. Taylor, of the Britannia Ironworks, the saving of manual labour by the use of these machines being very great. Leaving the wharf, their Lordships proceeded to inspect the various docks, and also the ships now on the stocks. Passing No. 1 slip, on Which the Salamis has only been within the last few days commenced, the members of the Board inspected the Reindeer, 16, under the second shed. Their Lordships next visited No. 1 dock, which is in course of being extended seaward, and deepened and enlarged, by Messrs. Foord and Sons, the contractors. Already a considerable depth has been gained, by the harbour at that spot having been deepened and the entrance to the dock cleared of the mud, which had for years been accumulating to such an extent that only the smallest vessels could be docked in it. The alterations effected, however, will now admit of large line-of-battle ships being accommodated in it. At present this dock is empty. Advantage has been taken of that circumstance, and the whole is now being floored over, in order that the space thus gained may be used for storing the models and portions of the ironwork required in constructing the Achilles, 50, building in the next dock. The new factory and workshops recently erected between the first and second docks were next visited, the factory being filled with machinery, forges, and workmen employed in preparing the beams, slabs, and plates for the new iron frigate. The Orpheus, 21, screw corvette, in No. 3 dock, being rigged and fitted for the first division of the Steam Reserve, was next inspected, the Duke of Somerset going on board and inquiring into the work in progress. Passing the President, 51, in the next dock, their Lordships briefly inspected the Menai, 22 [laid down in 1861 and cancelled in 1864], the Belvidera, 51 [laid down in 1860 and cancelled in 1864], the Bulwark, 91 [laid down in 1859, suspended in 1861 and finally cancelled in 1873], and the Myrmidon, 4. screw steamers, all of which are in various stages of progress, and then visited the Royal Oak, 51, building under the last shed. This vessel, although only a short time since commenced, has made considerable progress, and every effort is being made to have her completed by an early date. She is the first of the large wooden frigates which the Admiralty have decided on having covered with armour plates, and more than usual interest is therefore felt in her progress. The massive iron plates, each weighing nearly five tons, and of a regular thickness of four and a-half inches, are lying by the side of the vessel in readiness to be placed on the sides immediately the timbers are fit to receive them. The members of the Board went over this fine frigate, which, although only in frame, appears to be of the most gigantic size and of enormous strength. After completing the inspection of the ships building and in dock, their Lordships visited the eastern end of the yard, and inspected the site on which it is proposed to construct the additional docks, basins, and locks for the extension of Chatham Dockyard, in conformity with the recommendation of the Parliamentary committee, the estimated cost of which is upwards of 1,000,000l. sterling. Close to this part of the yard the iron gunboats, built at the close of the Russian war, are laid up under cover, but these were not inspected by their Lordships. Their Lordships then landed at the New-stairs, and proceeded to Melville Naval hospital, where they were received by Surgeon J. Moody, the principal medical officer, and the staff of the establishment. The excellent arrangements of the interior of this hospital were warmly commended The buildings are of the largest kind, and a greater space is afforded the inmates than in any other similar establishment. At present there are 170 patients in the hospital, but accommodation is provided for nearly 300. After leaving the hospital the Duke of Somerset and their lordships again took boot, and were rowed over to St. Mary's Island, to inspect the works in progress there for enlarging the dockyard establishments in that direction. A considerable tract of land has already been reclaimed from the river and embanked, chiefly by means of convict labour, several hundred prisoners being daily employed on the operations. Their Lordships were conducted over the place by Mr. Rivers, clerk of the works, and Mr. Macdonnell, C.E., under whose superintendence the improvement are being carried out. The works are of great magnitude, and will occupy several years before they are completed. The entire sum required for this part of the improvement of Chatham Dockyard, exclusive of the construction of the new docks, &c., is nearly 200,000l. The members of the Board will resume their inspection of the naval establishment at Chatham this morning, after which they will proceed to visit Sheerness.|
|Tu 3 December 1861||'Our Iron-Clad Frigates'.|
|Tu 4 February 1862||Yesterday a party of 60 additional shipwrights, including a portion of the hands removed from the Rattlesnake, 21, screw corvette, completed, and the Pylades, 21, screw, under repair in the fourth dock at Chatham, were placed on the iron-cased steam frigate Royal Oak, 51, building under No. 7 shed, in order to expedite the construction of that vessel, which it is intended shall be completed and ready for launching by the first spring tide in the month of September next. A number of the shipwrights now employed on the iron frigate Defence, 18, will he attached to the Royal Oak on their leaving that ship during the present week. The number of hands now employed on the Royal Oak is nearly 400, including apprentices and labourers. By direction of the Admiralty a powerful travelling crane is in course of erection at the side shed adjoining that under which the frigate is building, in order to facilitate the removal of the heavy beams and timbers used in her construction. The erection of the traveller has been placed in the hands of a London firm, the iron tramways on which the crane will work having been already fixed. Considering the great weights which the traveller will be required to lift, it is to be hoped that care will be taken to have the supports thoroughly tested before the work is completed and handed ever to the Admiralty, the opinion of practical men being that greater strength ought to have been secured.|
Although the construction of the iron ship Achilles, 50, 6,079 tons, 1,250-hose power, building at Chatham, has been seriously retarded owing to the difficulty experienced by the Admiralty in procuring iron of the quality required, considerable progress has been made in the work, and already about one-half of her massive ribs, answering to the timbers in an ordinary vessel, have been forged and successfully fixed in their place without accident. The difficulty experienced by the Admiralty in obtaining adequate supplies of iron is still felt in as great force as ever, and, instead of the Achilles being completed within two years from the time in which she was commenced, as was originally expected, at least treble that period will elapse before she will even be afloat, if she continues to progress only at her present rate. There are not more than about 100 workmen engaged on her, including those in the factory department, and yet it was estimated that at least 1,000 hands would be constantly required to complete her in the prescribed period of two years. The chief difficulty appears to be in obtaining adequate supplies of plate iron, the establishment being overstocked with angle iron. Negotiations are, however, now pending with several eminent firms, and it is believed that in a very short time sufficient supplies of first-class iron will be sent in to the dockyard. During yesterday and Saturday a number of the massive armour-plates were landed at the dockyard, although these will not be required to be used for several months to come. Each plate weighs slightly over four tons, is about 15 feet in length by about 3 feet in width, and of an uniform thickness of 4½ inches. The whole are manufactured of rolled iron, at the Parkgate Ironworks, Yorkshire, where powerful machinery has been erected for the purpose.
Yesterday a party of shipwrights were despatched from Chatham dockyard to Shoeburyness, to be employed in erecting a target faced with iron armour-plates fastened together without bolting, on the principle recommended by Mr. Scott Russell. The armour-plates, which are of the same thickness as those for the Achilles and Royal Oak, have been prepared at Chatham dockyard, where the target has been put together, the plates being of different sizes, with the edges prepared according to Mr. Russell's directions. The experiments with the elongated Armstrong shot upon this target, and their effect on the iron plates, are looked forward to with some interest, as, should the Admiralty decide on adopting the plan recommended by Mr. Scott Russell, the whole of the armour-plates for the iron ships building will require to be altered.
|Th 20 February 1862||In order to provide increased facilities at Chatham Dockyard for constructing the iron and iron-plated vessels now building, as well as those intended to be built, at that naval establishment, the Lords of the Admiralty have decided on expending a considerable sum during the present year in the improvement and enlargement of the dockyard, in addition to the large sum voted last year for the formation of new docks and basins, and the erection of an additional factory and other buildings. The principal works in connexion with the enlargement of the dockyard will be executed by convicts. The second dock, in which the iron steamer Achilles, 50, is under construction, will be improved at a cost of about 3,500l., which sum will be expended in the construction of a new caisson at the entrance, l,000l. having already been voted for this purpose. It is also intended to enlarge the workshops used by the mechanics and artisans employed on the Achilles, at an estimated cost of about 1,000l. Their Lordships have also given directions for the enlargement of the millwrights yard and premises so as to admit of a greater number of hands being employed in connexion with that department, should their services be suddenly required. The erection of a large workshop on the space adjoining the slip on which the Royal Oak is building, the works connected with which have already been commenced by Messrs. Foord and Sons, the contractors, will involve an outlay of upwards of 3,000l., including the machinery required in armour-plating the wooden ships. Directions have also been given for erecting additional quarters for the metropolitan police force employed in the dockyard, at an estimated cost of 3,000l. The total sum which it is intended to expend during the present year in the improvement of Chatham Dockyard, exclusive of the large amount already voted for that purpose, is nearly 50,000l. A considerable addition is to be made to the number of mechanics employed on the Achilles, provision having been made for employing 1,051 hands on that vessel during the present year, in order that she may be completed in the shortest possible time. The sum taken in the estimates for wages for the hired workmen engaged on the iron ships this year is 74,310l. Provision has also been made for the entry of hired artificers and labourers at Chatham and the other dockyards for a period of four months, to be employed exclusively on the repair of ships, the sum required for this purpose being 30,000l. In addition to the present dock accommodation it is intended to construct five new docks at Chatham, three of which will be of 500ft. in length, and two of 400ft., and each capable of receiving the largest vessels in the service. Three large basins, communicating with each other, are also intended to be formed at the eastern end of the existing yard, the largest of which will have an area of 30 acres, with a length of 2,000ft. and width of 700ft., the two remaining basins covering 22 acres and 7 acres respectively. The depth of water in each basin will be 30ft. at neap tides. By far the most important part of the intended improvements, however, will be the embankment of the river to prevent the filling up of the existing channel-way. This will be accomplished by means of convict labour, the estimated cost of the work already contemplated being 85,000l., which includes the cost of the cofferdams for executing the work within free from water. The river from the locks at the entrance to the basins, towards Sheerness, will be deepened to form a channel 600ft. wide and 27ft. deep at half-tide, which will give 31ft. at neaps and 35ft. at spring tides. The sum to be expended on deepening the river, according to the plan already decided upon, is 45,000l. As soon as the whole of the alterations and improvements now in progress, as well as those decided upon, have been carried into effect Chatham Dockyard will be the most commodious or our naval establishments, while its protection from hostile attacks will be amply secured by the powerful batteries and fortifications now being erected in its vicinity.|
|Fr 4 April 1862||No instructions have yet been received from the Admiralty for suspending the works connected with the Royal Oak, 50, armour-plated frigate, under construction at Chatham, and it is therefore probable that the plan proposed for completing the squadron of armour-plated frigates building at the several dockyards as cupola ships, on Captain Coles's principle, has been abandoned, and that the Royal Oak and the other vessels of her class will be completed simply as armour-plated ships, according to the original plan. In the meantime every effort is being made by the dockyard officials to have the Royal Oak completed and afloat during the present summer. To accomplish this every hand, with the exception of some 50 or 60 shipwrights and caulkers at work on the Racoon, 22, and the Pylades, 21, is employed on her, and from the energy which is just now being displayed little more than four months will see the first of the new description of wooden armour-covered ships afloat. By special direction of the Admiralty all the hands in the dockyard have been withdrawn from the wooden ships and placed on the two iron vessels, the Achilles and Royal Oak, which together have upwards of 1,000 shipwrights and mechanics employed on them, in addition to the hands at work in the factory and smithy preparing the materials to be used. The exterior of the Royal Oak is now completely planked in readiness to receive her armour-plates, which will be laid on a solid backing of teak and oak of 29 inches in thickness. Adjoining the slip, an extensive building is in course of erection for the reception of the machinery to be used in preparing the iron slabs in which the vessel will be encased. Unlike the Achilles, the Resistance, the Defence, and other iron vessels of that class, which are provided with projecting stems, for running down vessels, the Royal Oak and the other armour-plated ships, are almost square-built, each being constructed with what is termed a "tumble-home" stem, projecting in the slightest possible manner from the bow of the ship, thus doing away altogether with the supposition of these frigates being used as steam rams. In order to obtain additional strength for the stern-post, the screw-well usually found on board screw steamers will be partially abolished in the Royal Oak and the sister ship Royal Alfred, building at Portsmouth.|
|We 9 April 1862||The Board of Admiralty, composed of the Duke of Somerset, Vice-Admiral the Hon. Sir F.W. Grey, K.C.B., Capt. Charles Frederick, Capt. the Hon. J.R. Drummond, C.B., and Rear-Admiral Lord Clarence Paget, C.B., the Secretary, went yesterday morning to witness some experimeats with large guns at Shoeburyness.|
In addition to the iron frigate Achilles, 50, 6,079 tons, 1,250-horse power, building at Chatham dockyard, the following squadron of iron vessels are now under construction by private firms for the Admiralty, several of which are in a very advanced state - viz., the Agincourt, 50, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power, building at Birkenhead; the Northumberland, 50, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power, and the Valiant, 32, 4,063 tons, 800-horse power, building at Millwall; the Minotaur, 50, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power, and the Orontes, 3, 2,812 tons, 500-horse power, building at Blackwall; and the Hector, 32, 4,063 tons, 800-horse power, building at Glasgow. The following iron-plated frigates are now building at the several Royal dockyards, the whole of which are intended to be afloat during the present year - viz., the Caledonia, 50, 4,045 tons, 800-horse power, at Woolwich; the Ocean, 50, 4,045 tons, 1,000-horse power, at Devonport; the Prince Consort, 50, 4,045 tons, 1,000-horse power, at Pembroke; the Royal Oak, 50, 3,716 tons, 1,000-horse power, at Chatham; and the Royal Alfred, 50, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power, at Portsmouth. in addition to the above there are no fewer than 31 line-of-battle ships and other screw steamers now on the stocks at the several dockyards, most of which are admirably adapted for conversion into shield ships, on Captain Coles's principle. Of these the Bulwark, 91 [laid down in 1859, suspended in 1861 and finally cancelled in 1873], at Chatham; the Repulse, 91, at Woolwich; the Robust, 91 [laid down in 1859, suspended in 1861 and finally cancelled in 1872], at Devonport; and the Zealous, 91, at Pembroke, are all in a very advanced state, requiring only a comparatively small outlay to plate them with iron. There are also three first-class 51-gun figates also building - viz., the Belvidera [laid down in 1860 and cancelled in 1864] at Chatham, the Tweed [laid down 1860 and cancelled in 1864] at Pembroke, and the Dryad at Portsmouth, - which are admirably adapted for conversion into armour-plated ships. They would not require the removal of any decks, as would be the case with line-of-battle ships, but would only have to be lengthened and strengthened to enable them to bear the increased weight which would be placed on them. Of the other vessels in progress several are intended to carry 22 guns and upwards. If completed as iron-cased steamers they would be larger and of greater tonnage than either the Monitor or Merrimac. The whole of the hands have been removed from the wooden ships building at the several dockyards, and are now employed on the iron-cased frigates under construction, five of which will be afloat by the end of the present year.
|We 16 April 1862||The Duke of Somerset, First Lord of the Admiralty, accompanied by his private secretary, Capt. J. Moore, C.B., and Rear-Admiral R. Spencer Robinson, Controller of the Navy, paid an official visit to Chatham dockyard yesterday. Their object was to inspect the iron ships now under construction at Chatham, in order to ascertain the progress made with them. On arriving at the dockyard the Duke of Somerset was met by Capt. Fanshawe, superintendent, Mr. Lang, master shipbuilder, Commander Pope, master attendant, and the other principal officials of the establishment, who accompanied him to the dock in which the Achilles, 50, is building, where he spent a considerable time in the inspection of the works. After leaving the Achilles he proceeded to the extreme end of the building sheds to inspect the armour-plated frigate Royal Oak, 50, which is now waiting to receive her shield-plates. Instructions were given for every exertion to be used in completing this vessel, which, provided no delay arises in plating her, will be launched in August next, about a month before the period formerly calculated upon. The works adjoining the Royal Oak shed, in which the machinery required to be used in preparing the armour-plates is to be erected, were then inspected, after which a visit was paid to the Bulwark, 91 [laid down in 1859, suspended in 1861 and finally cancelled in 1873], and the Belvidera, 51 [laid down in 1860 and cancelled in 1864], ordered to be converted into armour-plated shield-ships. His Grace returned to the Admiralty in the afternoon.|
|Tu 8 July 1862||Yesterday a number of mechanics presented themselves at Chatham Dockyard for entry at that establishment to supply the places of those now on strike, it being now definitely understood that under no circumstances will any of the turnouts be again employed. The applicants for work were all inspected by the master-shipbuilder, and several were at once entered and placed on the Achilles. There is no doubt, whatever, that the entire number of hands required to succeed the men on strike will be soon obtained, notwithstanding the attempts of the turnouts, aided by the emissaries of the trades society, to prevent the Admiralty from obtaining workmen. Since the strike the shipwrights placed on the Achilles have been employed as riveters and platers, - branches of the trade in which it was never intended to employ them had it not been for the attempted coercion of the hired mechanics. As it is, the new hands are making very satisfactory progress, considering that the work is altogether new to them, and the officials engaged in superintending the building of the iron frigate state confidently that in a very short time the work done by the shipwrights will not be in the slightest degree inferior to that of the trade mechanics. Yesterday, the second of the large machines to be used in bending the armour plates for the Royal Oak and Achilles, while hot, was completed at the factory under the superintendence of Mr. Armstrong, the machine being precisely the same as that used in preparing the armour-plates for the Warrior. There are also two very powerful hydraulic machines used in the dockyard, manufactured by Messrs. Westward, Baillie, and Co., for bending the armour plates cold.|
|Th 17 July 1862||By special permission of the Admiralty 28 of the cadets belonging to the Danish training frigate Pillau, lying off Greenhithe, accompanied by their captain, paid a visit of inspection to Chatham dockyard on Tuesday, and were conducted over the establishment by Mr. Hutchins, one of the assistant master shipbuilders. The principal objects of attraction appeared to be the iron frigate Achilles, 50, and the armour-plated frigate Royal Oak, 50, both of which are under construction. Both vessels were very minutely inspected, particularly the Royal Oak, Capt. Suemon, who accompanied the cadets, stating that it was the intention of the Danish Government forthwith to construct several armour-plated frigates, and that they were desirous of obtaining the best possible information to guide them in their construction. After leaving the Royal Oak a considerable time was spent in inspecting the costly and powerful machinery recently erected in the factory adjoining the dock in which the Achilles is building for boring, planing, cutting, and otherwise preparing the exterior plates for that vessel. The cadets left the yard in the afternoon, after expressing the greatest possible pleasure at their visit to the extensive establishment.|
|Ma 11 August 1862||'Our Iron-Cased Fleets'.|
|We 4 February 1863||Instructions have been given to Messrs. Allen and Co. to fit their engine-room telegraphs on board the Royal Oak at Chatham, similar to those fitted on board the Warrior. The Recruit iron paddlewheel steamer, at Chatham, is also to be fitted with an engine-room telegraph, with one deck dial only.|
|Th 19 November 1863||When the Chief Constructor of the Navy …|
|Sa 12 November 1864||The 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.|
|Fr 2 September 1870||Our Malta correspondent, writes under date of Valetta, August 26:-|
"By the arrival of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's packet Nyanza on the 21st inst, intelligence has been received of the Mediterranean Squadron under the command of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, K.C.B., to the 17th inst. The squadron, consisting of the Lord Warden, Caledonia, Royal Oak, Prince Consort, Bellerophon, and Columbine, arrived at Gibraltar on the 12th inst., and completed with coal on the same day. The Lord Warden and Caledonia, being finished coaling, put off from the Mole and moored in the inner anchorage. On coming to an anchor off the New Mole a slight collision occurred between the Prince Consort and Bellerophon. The former touched the quarter of the latter, caring away the quarter davits of the Bellerophon and snapping off her own jibboom. Early on the morning of Monday, the 15th inst., the Channel squadron was sighted from the Gibraltar signal-staff, and soon afterwards made its appearances coming round the point under sail; then furling sails it steamed into the anchorage off the New Mole. The squadron consisted of the Minotaur, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton, K.C.B..; Agincourt, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Henry Chads; Northumberland, Monarch, Hercules, Inconstant, Captain, and Warrior. By noon on the 17th all the ships had completed coaling, and were ready for sea. The combined Mediterranean and Channel Squadrons, under the supreme command of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, were expected to put to sea on the 19th for the long talked-of cruise. There were at Gibraltar besides the above-mentioned ships, the Bristol, training vessel, Captain T.W. Wilson; the Trinculo and Porcupine Staff Captain Calver. The latter vessel proceeded into the Mediterranean on the 16th inst. to prosecute a survey of the sea-bottom, in the interests of science. She may soon be expected at Malta. The Bristol was to join the combined squadrons during the cruise. When the Mediterranean squadron was off Algiers on the 8th inst., the Psyche proceeded into that port, rejoining the Flag the same night. She went on to Gibraltar on the following day, and again met the Commander-in-Chief on the 11th inst., with the mails. His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar has been pleased to allow the gates of the fortress to he opened, when required during the night, for the use of officers of the various ships - a privilege hitherto not conceded, but one which is fully appreciated by the whole squadron. The following is a list of the appointments and charges made since my last letter … [omitted] … Her Majesty’s ironclad ship Defence, 16, Capt. Nowel Salmon, V.C., was unexpectedly ordered off by telegraph on the 20th inst. Her destination was kept secret, but is variously rumoured to be Tunis, Palermo, and Gibraltar. I think that it is not impossible she has gone to Civita Vecchia, for the protection of British residents at Rome, and to offer a refuge to His Holiness the Pope end his Ministers, should the course of events render such protection desirable or necessary. Her Majesty's despatch vessel, Antelope, 3, Lieut.-Commander J. Buchanan, arrived here on the 25th inst. from Constantinople, seven days. The surveying schooner Azov, Lieut.- Commander Moore, which had gone out on hydrographic science, has returned into port."