In July 1853, Russian troops occupied the "Danubian Principalities". When the Russia Emperor Nicholas I showed no signs of accepting an Anglo-French ultimatum to withdraw, war was declared on 27 March 1854. In anticipation of this, the first portion (16 screw and paddle vessels) of a British fleet left Portsmouth on 11 March 1854 for the Baltic under the command of the 68 year old Vice-Admiral Charles Napier to be in the Baltic if war was declared and, coincidentally when the ice would be breaking up, allowing the Russian Baltic fleet to take to sea.
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Th 9 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Feb. 8.We regret to say Rear-Admiral Martin, Superintendent of this dockyard, is indisposed.
We understand Mr. Ash, foreman of shipwrights, has accepted a present of plate from the officers of the Russian corvette Navarro, lately refitted in this dockyard.
The Caesar, 91, Captain Robb, received her bowsprit this afternoon, and will be masted to-morrow.
The Dragon, 6, paddle-wheel steam frigate, Captain Willcox, has been placed alongside the jetty to-day, preparatory to her being docked to-morrow, to have her copper, &c., examined.
Orders were received at this port to-day for the Neptune, 120, Captain Scott, and the Excellent gunnery ship. Captain Sir Thomas Maitland, C.B., to prepare for the reception of 300 coast-guardmen each to-morrow.
The Frolic; 16, Commander Nolloth, sailed from Spithead this evening for a cruise to examine her ship's company.
The Argus revenue steam cruiser, Commander Grandy, came into harbour this morning, and the Mermaid revenue cruiser, Lieutenant Stokes, anchored at Spithead this afternoon. These vessels, we believe, are to be employed in collecting the coast-guardmen, and conveying them to the different stations as they may be required.
The Hecla steam sloop, for surveying service in the North Sea, adjusted her compasses to-day, and will be ready to leave about Saturday.
Captain Fremantle, of the Juno, 26, at Spithead, is indisposed, in London.
Rear-Admiral Corry's squadron are expected at Spithead by the 14th, and provisions are being prepared for them at the Royal Clarence-yard.
The Talbot, 26, jury-rigged, in charge of Mr. King, master of the Neptune, sailed this afternoon for Deptford to be fitted as a storeship for the Arctic Regions.
PLYMOUTH, Feb. 8.Her Majesty's sloop Racehorse, 14, Commander Barnard, was towed into the Sound on Monday, and took her powder and shell on board the same day.
The screw steamship Edinburgh, 58, Captain Hewlett, bent sails in Hamoaze yesterday. She has been ordered to Portsmouth, and will go out of harbour to-day.
The steam vessel Avon left on Monday with supernumeraries for Portsmouth.
The guardship St. George, 120, Captain Kingcombe, is ordered to be taken into dock and to receive her topmasts and other spars. She is to be ready to leave for Portsmouth on the 7th of March.
The screw steamship Royal George, 120, Captain Henry J. Codrington, is also ordered to be ready for sea on the 7th of March.
The screw steamship Nile, 90, was commissioned on Monday by Commander Augustus S. Booth.
The ropehouse boys in the dockyard have been granted 2s. per week additional wages.
Twelve shipwrights’, four caulkers’, and two ropemakers' apprentices were entered yesterday.
|Fr 10 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Feb 9.The coastguardmen draughted for the Neptune, 120, and Excellent gunnery-ship, mentioned in our yesterday’s report, were put on board to-day, 300 each ship, and 34 more were brought up from Southampton this afternoon by the Pigmy tug, and added to those on board the Neptune.
Fifty men are ordered to be entered at this dockyard as riggers, the men of that class in the establishment being wanted for ship duty.
The Caesar, 91, Captain Robb, shipped her mizenmast and bowsprit last night, and will ship her main and foremast to-morrow.
The Dragon, 6, paddlewheel frigate, Captain Willcox, was docked to-day to have her copper examined and cleaned.
The Conway, 26, has been brought alongside the dockyard to-day to be fitted as a temporary flagship for the Commander-in-Chief at Queenstown, the Ajax, 58, screw block-ship, being required for the Baltic fleet.
|Tu 14 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Feb. 13.The Caesar, 91, screw, Captain Robb, came out of the steam basin this morning, and round to the fitting basin to ship her main and fore masts, which she has done, and is rigging as fast as possible.
The Edinburgh, 58, Captain Hewlett, was placed in No. 2 dock this morning to have her copper, &c., examined. She will receive a number of the riggers abovementioned as part complement, and is ordered to be ready for sea by this day week. We believe all the seamen riggers called out this morning will be borne upon her books.
The Dauntless, 23, screw. Captain Ryder, bent sails and received her crew from their berthing hulk this morning, and hauled into the stream to adjust her compasses, preparatory to going out of harbour.
The Princess Royal, 91 (screw), Captain Lord Clarence Paget, also bent sails this morning. We believe both these vessels will now go out of harbour to Spithead on Wednesday.
The Dragon, 6, paddle frigate, Captain Willcox, has made up the whole of her petty officers from the "riggers," and will get a good crew.
The Bussorah Merchant freightship sailed this afternoon for Australia with a draught of the 11th Regiment. She calls at Queenstown for further troops.
Rear-Admiral Fanshawe, who has been staying a few days with his nephew, the Admiral-Superintendent (Marten) of this dockyard, had a narrow escape from accident on leaving the dockyard this morning for London, by the breaking of the hind axle of his carriage, which was upset by the casualty.
The Basilisk, 6, paddlewheel-sloop, Commander the Hon. F. Egerton, got up her steam in the harbour this morning and tested the working of her engines.
The Duke of Wellington, 131, is to be the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic fleet, and the Nile, 91, will be offered to Commodore Martin in exchange.
|Th 16 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Wednesday.The first instalment of the Baltic fleet from this port went to Spithead to-day — the Princess Royal, 91, Captain Lord Clarence Paget, and the Dauntless, 33, Captain A.P. Ryder, both screwships. As may be readily imagined, their leaving the harbour at such a juncture was witnessed by an immense concourse of spectators. The Princess Royal is a new ship ably manned and heavily armed, and, as this is the class which will form the most conspicuous feature in the fleet about to congregate in these waters, we will recapitulate her armament:— 28 eight-inch, 62 32-pounders, and 1 68-pounder pivot gun — a tremendous battery when compared with the guns in vogue during the last war. The Dauntless has been greatly improved since she was last employed, and such precautions taken as will prevent, we trust, the recurrence of any such fatality as that which so depopulated her decks when on the West India station. She ran the measured mile at Stoke's Bay, and made, we are informed, nearly 10 knots per hour. The Princess Royal did not run the mile, but stretched as far as Osborne, and then up to the Nab Light, when it became apparent something was wrong with her machinery, though to what extent we do not yet know. The Dauntless was ordered to her assistance, but we believe the Princess Royal moored without her. Medical officers are much wanted for the navy, and Dr. Sir John Richardson, C.B., Medical Inspector of Haslar Hospital, left that establishment a day or two since to hold an examination in London of candidates for entry into the navy as assistant-surgeons. There seems to be some sort of cross purposes at work in making arrangements about the pensioners, whose muster we reported on Monday, as an order has been promulgated to-day to discharge all seamen and marine pensioners who were selected yesterday and Monday for duty, except those employed in the rigging-house, and these are to be sent on board the Edinburgh, 58, Rear-Admiral Chads's flagship. This ship has been moved from dock to-day to the fitting-basin, to complete her refit. She embarked marine artillery and marines this afternoon, under the command of Captain Delacourt, and is fitting as fast as possible. The Simoom and Vulcan troopships have a powerful force employed upon them, and will be ready to embark their respective apportionment of troops by the 24th. The Caesar, 91, Captain Robb, has been placed in the steam factory basin dock, to be coppered, and completed in other respects for sea. Rear-Admiral Superintendent Martin is recovering from his late indisposition, and will be able to attend to his duties again in a day or two. The Mercury cutter, Lieutenant Freeland, came in to-day from the Channel Islands with volunteers for the fleet. Captain Willson, the commanding staff officer of pensioners, is still engaged in making his return of the out-pensioners fit for duty, which body will make a goodly muster. Volunteers continue to come in hourly from all quarters.
|Fr 17 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Feb. 16.Her Majesty's ship Neptune, 120, we believe, will be a reserveship. 54 petty officers have been draughted from her to serve in the Blenheim, 80, Princess Royal, 91, and Dauntless, 33, and this day 402 seamen, chiefly Coastguard levies, were draughted for service on board the same ships. This corps has been found most efficient in their great gunnery practice which shows the effective character of their recent training at their several stations, by Captain Jerningham, who is now in Ireland raising volunteers for the fleet. Mr. John Ward, chief-engineer of the first class, serving in Her Majesty's ship Blenheim, has this day been promoted to the rank of inspector of machinery of the Royal Navy afloat, and appointed to the flagship Duke of Wellington, for service in the Baltic fleet. Mr. Ward is an able naval engineer, as may justly be surmised from this distinguishing mark of Admiralty appreciation, and was chief-engineer of the Sidon, under Captain Henderson (now Controller-General of the Coastguard). The ships already noticed are being expedited as fast as human skill can do so, and we shall have a large and heavy proportion of the North Sea fleet at Spithead in a few days. We are happy to say that the accident to the machinery of the Princess Royal, 91, yesterday, was only of a trivial nature, and will be repaired by to-morrow. The weather continues most propitiously fine, and the officers are indefatigable in aiding the exertions of the men both afloat and ashore. Rear-Admiral Fanshawe, C.B., the newly-appointed Commander-in-Chief of the West India squadron, went out to Spithead to-day to visit his ship the Boscawen, but we believe the Admiral goes out overland to take command of the station. The Basilisk, 6, paddle-wheel sloop, Commander the Hon. F. Egerton, went to Spithead to-day, where there are now the Princess Royal, 91; Boscawen, 70; Juno, 26 ; Leopard, 18; Dauntless, 33; and Basilisk, 6.
|Fr 17 February 1854|
WOOLWICH, Feb. 16.Captain Richard S. Hewlett (1850), who has commanded the Edinburgh, 58, screw steamship, since she was commissioned as a tender to the Excellent gunnery-ship, in May, 1852, has been selected by Rear-Admiral Henry D. Chads, C.B., to be his flag-captain in the Edinburgh, and their Lordships have officially confirmed Captain Hewlett in that appointment for service in one of the divisions of the Baltic squadron.
|Sa 18 February 1854|
WOOLWICH, Feb. 17.Commodore and First Captain Michael Seymour, Captain John Kingcome, C.B., and all the officers of the St. George, 120, guardship of ordinary at Devonport, have been turned over to the Royal William, 120, at Devonport, as the St. George is required for active service at sea as one of the ships of the Baltic squadron.
Captain Harry Eyres (1841) is appointed to command the St. George, 120, commissioned this day at Devonport for active service.
Captain Edward Scott, and the officers of the Neptune, 120, guardship of ordinary at Portsmouth, have been turned over to the St. Vincent, 102, at Portsmouth, the Neptune being required for active service at sea.
Captain Henry Smith (1846), at present in command of the Simoom steam troopship, to command the Neptune, 120, commissioned this day at Portsmouth for active service at sea [this was incorrect (see next entry)].
|Ma 20 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Feb. 19.The Neptune, 120, at this port, is ordered to be commissioned by Captain Henry Smith, C.B. (1829), for sea-service. She is to have a complement of 970, including officers and men.
The St. Vincent, 101, three-decker, is ordered to be commissioned at this port by Captain E.H. Scott, of the Neptune, for the ordinary flagship, with the usual ordinary complement of officers and men.
The Blenheim, 60, Captain the Hon. F.T. Pelham, is being completed by the Coastguard draught while her crew are on leave for seven days. First-Lieutenant Wriford, of the Marine Artillery detachment on board, was disembarked on Thursday. Surgeon Charles A. Anderson has been appointed to her, vice M’Laren, superseded at his own request.
Coals are ordered to Copenhagen for the Hecla, surveying-vessel, Master-Commander Peter Wellington, which left this port yesterday week with a large staff of surveying officers to sound the way for the Baltic fleet.
|Sa 25 February 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Feb. 24.The equipment of the ships fitting out here to form part of the fleet for the Baltic goes on night and day now, or nearly so. Admiral Corry's squadron is expected in sight momentarily, and when here they are not to rendezvous more than four days at Spithead, just time enough to re-victual, store, and for their crews to be paid down to the 31st of January last. Every kind of provision, powder, shot, shell, and in fact every necessary for action, is ready to be shipped. All leave from the fleet is prohibited. The staff of the Pay-office is put upon a full war establishment by the detachment of experienced officers from the Admiralty and the department of the Paymaster-General of the Navy who are down here from London on this special and important duty.
|Tu 28 February 1854||Upon the arrival from the Tagus of Admiral Corry's squadron, which was seen yesterday evening outside the Isle of Wight, and has now cast anchor at Spithead, Sir Charles Napier, the Commander of the fleet, transfers his flag to the Duke of Wellington. That portion of the naval forces which is already completely ready for active service will shortly assemble in the Downs, and proceed early in March to the Kattegat, where it will await the opening of the Baltic, which is seldom accessible for maritime operations before the latter part of the month of March, so that the presence of the fleet off the shores of the Baltic will coincide in point of time with the period at which the definitive answer of the Emperor of Russia to the ultimatum of Europe can be received. The Russian Baltic fleet consists of three divisions of about nine line-of-battle ships each, which are now lying in the three naval ports of Revel in Esthonia, Helsingfors in Finland, and Cronstadt, — all within the Gulf of Finland. Of these three stations Revel is commonly free from ice ten days or a fortnight before the upper part of the gulf, and it is of course important that the divisions of the Russian fleet which are thus separated should not be enabled to reunite under the guns of Cronstadt. Helsingfors is protected by the fortifications of Sweaborg, built on three islands opposite the mouth of the harbour, and mounting 800 guns, with barracks and casemates for 12,000 men. The Isles of Aland, which were seized by Russia when she effected the conquest and annexation of Finland in 1809, are also an important naval station, as they command the Gulf of Bothnia, and threaten even the capital of Sweden, to which kingdom they ought rightfully to belong. It would be a wise and politic measure, well calculated to check the immoderate ascendancy of Russia, if the events of the war enabled the allied Powers to restore these islands to the Scandinavian monarchies, with which they are intimately connected by race, religion, past traditions, and national spirit; and we cannot but hope that the gallant people of Sweden may take advantage of this conjuncture in affairs to recover the province which was so shamefully wrested from them nearly half a century ago.|
|Tu 28 February 1854|
SHEERNESS, Monday.Instructions have been issued by the Admiralty to the Board of Ordnance to furnish a supply of the Minié-rifled muskets to the various ships of the Baltic fleet, in order to render more effective the armament of the Marines serving on board, and in lieu of the ordinary muskets now used, which are to be returned into store. A limited number of the Minié rifles are also to be issued for the use of the seamen.
The Cressy, 89, screw steamship, Captain R.L. Warren, is completed in her fittings by the dockyard artisans, who for some time past have been at work on her until 10 p.m. Her officers and crew, who during her equipment have been berthed on board the Minotaur, shifted over on Sunday. On Monday morning the Cressy left the fitting basin and steamed to Black Stakes, in the river Medway, where she will take on board her guns, ammunition, &c., and be swung for the adjustment of her compasses. She will then proceed to the Little Nore, and after being inspected by Vice-Admiral the Hon. Josceline Percy, Commander-in-Chief, will sail for the Downs, on her way to Spithead, the rendezvous of the fleet destined for service in the Baltic. The Cressy wants about 50 A B's to complete her complement of 750.
The Hecla steamer, Mr. P. Wellington, master commanding, is ordered to return to the Downs by the 7th of March, to enable the various masters and others on board her to re-embark in their respective ships.
The Majestic, 80, screw steamship, Captain Charles Hope, is being got ready for sea service with all possible haste. The whole strength of the dockyard artificers, now that the Cressy is completed, are employed in her equipment, in order that she may be ready for sea by the 15th of April. Her officers and men are to be transferred, forthwith from the St. Lawrence to the Minotaur hulk. The Majestic has not yet entered very many bluejackets.
|Fr 3 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, March 2.
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier and Rear-Admiral Corry were telegraphed up to the Admiralty yesterday, and have not yet returned. Rear-Admiral Chads is practising the fleet morning and afternoon in gunnery, and the firing is magnificent. A continual cannonade is going on from morning till night, and Spithead presents a picture which few artists could do justice to. The victualling is going on most actively. The present exigency is likely to lead to some essential reforms in naval customs; for instance, to-day the steam-frigates Arrogant and Valorous came into harbour with their powder in, to get a supply of coals. It has hitherto been the rule for ships to unload their powder at Spithead, prior to coming into harbour, the hoy containing their powder coming into harbour too; they went to Spithead again, and the hoy went after them, and, when their fires were put out in the furnaces, the ammunition was re-shipped. Here was both loss of power, loss of fuel, and loss of time. The Vulcan and Simoom, laden with troops, were detained several hours at Spithead by the practice of this old regulation. They steamed to Spithead, then had to put out all their fires and blow off steam, then take in the powder and shell, re-light their fires and get steam up again before they could proceed. Other navies do not perpetrate those absurdities, and we hope they will be abolished in the British. The ships at Spithead are all manned, we believe, and one or two have more than their complement. The Prince Regent, 90, Captain Hutton, Rear-Admiral Corry's flag ship, is one of the most perfect men-of-war in the navy. Her lower deck tier are entirely 68-pounders. Admiral Corry has not the least wish to exchange her for any other ship. A court-martial will be held on board the Victory, on Saturday, to try a marine, belonging to the St. Jean d’Acre, for striking his superior, a non-commissioned officer of the same ship. It is thought probable that Captain Hay, of the Victory, (at present flag-captain to Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, K.C.B.), or Captain Mansel, will be Sir Charles Napier's flag-captain. The Dauntless, 33, screw-frigate, Captain Ryder, returned from her cruise to-day and joined the fleet. The Orestes coal hulk, is towed from ship to ship to fill up their bunkers. The Caesar, 91, Captain Robb, shipped her screw last evening, and her engines on trial in the Steam Basin worked well, she will try them at Stokes' Bay to-morrow. The Odin, 16, Captain Francis Scott, is going into the Steam Basin to repair defects.
PLYMOUTH, March 2.
Her Majesty's frigate Pique, 40, Captain Sir F. Nicolson, was towed from the Hamoaze into the Sound yesterday by the Jasper and Confiance.
SHEERNESS, March 2.Captain Edmond M. Lyons (4th October, 1849), appointed to the Miranda, 14 guns, screw steam sloop, has taken up his commission and joined. Lieutenant J.F.C. Mackenzie (26th June, 1846), lately serving in the St. George, 120 guns, guard ship of ordinary at Devonport, took up his commission as First Lieutenant, and joined this sloop yesterday; also Lieutenant Cecil Buckley. Great activity prevails in getting ready for her to join the Baltic fleet as early as practicable.
Commander George Wodehouse (30th July, 1844), has taken up his commission and joined the Rosamond, six-guns, paddle-wheel steam sloop. Lieutenant W.B.A.F. Paterson took up his commission and joined this sloop yesterday.
Commander the Hon. Arthur A. Cochrane (12th April, 1851), has taken up his commission and joined the Driver, six-guns, paddle-wheel, steam sloop.
Caulkers have been sent on board to caulk decks and waterways, &c., of the Waterloo, 120-guns, Captain Lord Frederick Kerr, flag ship to Vice-Admiral the Hon. Joscoline Percy, Commander-in-Chief, and she is to get ready for immediately taking her departure from here if required. She now musters nearly 800 men and officers, including supernumeraries.
The Majestic, 80 guns, new screw steamship, Captain James Hope, C.B.., has this day been put out of dry dock for the purpose of being masted, but will again be taken into dry dock for her screw, gear, &c., to be completed; her engines will be in a few days ready for trial.
An additional number of shipwrights have been put on the Ganges, 84-guns, in order to complete her repairs, the dock in which she is being required for immediate use.
An order has been received from the Admiralty to expedite the fitment of the Monarch, 84 guns, Captain John E. Erskine (June 28, 1838), with all possible despatch.
The Cressy, 80-guns, new screw steamship, Captain Richard L. Warren, was put out of the fitting basin yesterday and towed to Black Stakes, to take in ammunition» shell, &c., and other stores, preparatory to her leaving here for the Downs.
The Hart sailing tender to the Waterloo flag-ship is engaged, under charge of Eugene C. Batty, mate of the Waterloo, at Dover, to procure volunteers for general service.
It is reported that Captain Christopher Wyvill, (22d of February, 1832), will supersede Captain Charles Hope in the command here as Captain Superintendent of Her Majesty's Dockyard, and also in command of the Guard-ship of Ordinary at this port.
The Euryalus, 50-gun frigate, was put out of dry dock yesterday at Chatham, and towed down to Folly Point, off Gillingham, where she will complete her armament and stores preparatory to her departure.
The Driver, Rosamond, and Miranda, are to join the Baltic fleet in the Downs, with all possible despatch.
|Tu 7 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Monday.There had been little stir on board the fleet to-day. In fact, the ships have not been visible from the shore all day, owing to the prevalence of a thick fog, which has enveloped every object a few yards from the land. This came on yesterday afternoon very suddenly, and with it a complete change in the temperature. The fleet has been augmented this morning by the Blenheim, 60, Captain the Hon. F.T. Pelham, from this harbour, and there may be others from other ports. We are happy to state that the whole crew of the Prince Regent, 90, have been allowed to follow their Admiral and Captain into the Neptune, to the great satisfaction of all parties. Some important alterations have been made in the commands since our yesterday's report. Second-class Commodore Martin, late of the Duke of Wellington, is appointed to hoist a first-class pendant in the Leopard, 18, paddle-frigate, Captain G. Giffard, and to take command of the paddle-steam squadron. Second-class Commodore Talbot, Commander-in-Chief on the Cape of Good Hope station (ordered home), is to transfer his pendant to the Nile, screw, 91, Commander Booth, in the place of Commodore Martin. Captain Mansell will command the Meander, 44-gun frigate, vice Talbot. Captain Gordon (late commanding the screw steam corvette Encounter) is appointed flag-captain to Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier. The Neptune, 120, we have no doubt will now be ready in a day or two; the Caesar, 91, will be completed by the dockyard department by the 18th; the Valorous, 16, by the 13th; and the Odin, 16, by the end of the month. The dockyard men are working "night and day" to accomplish these results. No day of sailing is named yet; indeed, it is not expected any move will be made until Friday, when Her Majesty and the Court are expected to steam through the fleet on their way from Gosport to Osborne. Several hundreds of visitors have come into Portsmouth to-day, principally excursionists from Brighton, to see the fleet, but the impenetrable state of the atmosphere has been a sad drawback to such as did not like to take a boat. These are rare times for the watermen; boathire is at a high premium, and the wherryowners and others are reaping a rich harvest.
Through the activity of Mr. Moore, foreman of shipwrights of the Devonport dockyard, the repairs of the screw steamship Duke of Wellington, 131, were sufficiently advanced yesterday at noon to allow of the lower shores being knocked away, and 12 feet of water admitted into the dock.
CHATHAM, March 6.The Euryalus, 50, screw steam-frigate, Captain George Ramsay, having been reported complete in the engineer and shipwright departments on Saturday last, immediate orders were issued for her to proceed on Sunday morning to Sheerness, and take in a full stock of coals, and also shells and other munitions of war, preparatory to joining the Baltic fleet.
|Tu 7 March 1854||The Baltic fleet will sail, in pursuance of present orders, on Sunday.|
We regret the tides will not permit the Neptune to go out of harbour until Saturday, or this ship would be ready to sail with the fleet, as she cannot transship her provisions, guns, &c., until she gets to Spithead. The crew goes over to her to-morrow.
|We 8 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Tuesday.Her Majesty will inspect the fleet at noon on Saturday, and it will sail, in pursuance of orders at present in force, on Sunday morning for the Baltic. The spectacle of the Queen reviewing her fleet in battle array before despatching it to its destination will doubtless again draw thousands to these shores. The inhabitants of Portsmouth intend to show their respect for Sir Charles Napier by presenting him with an address, and giving a parting ovation on his embarcation for sea on Saturday. It is supposed Sir Charles will embark at the Victoria-pier from the house of his friend Mr. Grant next Saturday afternoon. The Victoria pier is within a couple of hundred yards of the spot on Southsea-beach, now marked by an old anchor of the Victory, where Nelson embarked before Trafalgar. The weather to-day has been somewhat clearer than yesterday, and the fleet at Spithead has been plainly visible nearly all day. Rear-Admiral Corry shifted his flag from the Prince Regent to the Neptune, 120, this morning. It is a subject of general regret that the tides did not admit of this magnificent three-decker being got out to Spithead yesterday. With the matchless crew of the Prince Regent, Captain Hutton would have had her equipped and reported ready for sea in 48 hours, and she would have formed a most noble and conspicuous object in the spectacle anticipated on Saturday next. The Blenheim, 60, screw two-decker, met with a mishap on going to Spithead yesterday afternoon. After clearing the harbour's mouth, in the direct course for Spithead, when off the Spit-buoy, she found a vessel moored directly in the fairway of the harbour channel. On discovering this (there was a thick fog at the time), the Blenheim put her helm a-port (in pursuance of the instructions laid down to follow in such cases), to go under the stern of the merchantman, thinking she was anchored in mid-channel, when she immediately after grounded on the edge of the shoal of the Spit Sand. She sent in to the Port Admiral for assistance, which was promptly despatched. Admiral Superintendent Martin's dockyard staff were quickly at the scene of the disaster, and worked all night at lightening the ship of her guns, heavy sea stores, water, &c., and, being perfectly upright, die floated off the shoal between 5 and 6 o'clock this morning, we believe without damage. The Commander-in-Chief, Sir Thomas Cochrane, was at the spot in the Fire Queen all night.
Rear-Admiral Chads has exercised a division of the fleet to-day in shot practice, and the ships have been exercised in making sail in line, in squadrons, forming line, reefing and loosing sail, and such like essential manoeuvres. A shot from one of the ships this afternoon had nearly proved the destruction of a collier, and has been the cause of some most absurd reports ashore. The facts are simply these:— The United Kingdom, 245 tons, Hobson master, in ballast, while on her way to-day from Southampton to Sunderland, got within range, and a 32lb.-shot struck her a little abaft the mainmast, above the cabin deck, entered the vessel, struck a flour barrel on the other side, and, coming against one of the iron knees of the vessel, lodged there. We are happy to say no one was hurt by the splinters. The astonishment of the skipper at so unexpected a visitor we need not attempt to depict. The wounded craft was brought into harbour to be repaired in the dock.
The St. Jean d'Acre's bowsprit-cap, which was started on the occasion of the collision with the Desperate, is being bolted afresh — an operation which requires the jibboom to be got in; a new maintopmast in lieu of the one carried away at sea has also to be tried aloft before being stowed. These things have delayed her getting all ataunt before this.
The Royal George, screw, 120, Captain Codrington, C.B., only averaged six knots an hour from Devonport here on Sunday last, owing to meeting a severe easterly gale; her complement is 990, and she was only 57 short of that number on making Spithead. Her lower deck ports are 5 foot 5 inches out of the water. The last of Admiral Corry's division (the Arrogant) has been paid wages to-day. The fleet appears to be moored now in the following order
PLYMOUTH. March 7.After leaving the Keyham dock yesterday morning the screw steamship Duke of Wellington, 131, took her powder, shot, shell, and provisions on board in Hamoaze. She will probably go out of harbour to-day. Forty-one extra riggers hare been ordered to join her from this dockyard.
The St. George, 120, Captain Eyre, will go out of harbour on Wednesday; her crew will be paid wages on Thursday.
The crew of the frigate Pique, 40, Captain Sir F. Nicolson, were paid wages yesterday.
The Royal William, 120, was masted yesterday. She will be brought to the yard to-day.
SHEERNESS, March 6.The Euryalus, 50, screw steam-frigate of 400-horse power, Captain Samuel Ramsey [should be George Ramsay], got up steam yesterday morning and left Folly-point. She is now alongside the coal depôt in Saltpan-reach taking in her coals for sea; when she has completed her coaling she will be brought to the swinging buoy for the purpose of having her compasses adjusted, and on Thursday next will proceed down the Swin on a trial trip, after which she will be inspected by the port officers, and proceed to the Downs to join the Baltic fleet.
|Fr 10 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Thursday.All the world seems moving again towards Portsmouth, in anticipation of a grand spectacle taking place at Spithead on the occasion of Her Majesty's steaming through the fleet on her way to Osborne tomorrow, and again, on Saturday, finally inspecting the fleet prior to its departure the following morning for the North Sea. Already is every hotel full, every house occupied, and provisions rising to famine prices. Here and there may be seen heaps of luggage piled on the pavements of the High-street, before hotels and private dwellings, and well-dressed wayfarers marching with blank countenances alongside their barrow-loads of "mails," casting wistful glances at the upper portions of the tenements on either side the street; for of course everybody wants to get into the best place — Portsmouth town. The public caterers have gone on foraging excursions to neighbouring villages and agricultural districts in search of domestic edibles, as eggs, butter, milk, vegetables, &c. Not a bed or sofa, that we can hear of, is to be obtained even in the most unwelcome of localities, but at a price which few would think of paying for such out of the way and meagre accommodation. Great as was the influx of the sight-seeing world last August to see the review, the rush now seems greater, although far less time has been given to authenticate the rumour of the intention of Her Majesty to personally inspect the fleet before sailing, and the excitement has all sprung up on the part of the public within the past three or four days. An immense addition had previously been made to the local census since the commencement of the gathering of the ships at this anchorage by the relatives and friends of the officers on board, who have settled here to see the departure of those connected with them. There have been the usual gunnery and seamanship movements in the fleet today, and we believe another Admiral appointed (Rear-Admiral Plumridge), who will take the command of the paddle squadron, with his flag in the Leopard. 18, Commodore Martin having declined that command. Her Majesty has notified her intention to leave London to-morrow morning at half-past 9, and will arrive here about a quarter to 12. Sir James Graham and other members of the Board of Admiralty arrived here this evening, and, for want of shore accommodation, will, we believe, sleep on board their yacht, the Black Eagle, which has arrived to attend upon them. Viscount Hardinge, the Commander-in-Chief of the army, will also arrive to-night, or by the first train in the morning, and take up his quarters with Major-General Simpson, the Lieutenant-Governor, who will also have his brother-in-law, Rear Admiral Dundas, and Rear-Admiral Hope Johnston, &c., under his roof. The flagship of the fleet, the Duke of Wellington, is expected up to-morrow, when the Neptune, 120 (Rear-Admiral Corry's ship), is also expected to be got out to Spithead, so successful have been the exertions to equip her for the occasion. Captain Somerset and Lieutenant Nugent, with 1 sergeant and 20 men of the Royal Engineer corps, arrived from Woolwich this afternoon, at 2 o'clock, to embark in the Duke of Wellington, for service with the Baltic fleet. Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier returned from London this afternoon.
Additional advance wages were paid yesterday at Spithead by the Admiralty staff to all the ships which had completed their complements by draughts of newly-raised men, Coastguardmen, &c. These comprised the Blenheim, Hogue, Edinburgh, Boscawen, Dragon, Imperieuse, and Frolic.
The Caesar will be warped into the stream to-morrow, to paint and black down. The Dauntless will be ready on Saturday.
Since the foregoing was written, the following official orders have been promulgated:—
Sir Charles Napier shifts his flag from the Princess Royal to the St. Jean d’Acre to-morrow (Friday) morning at daylight, and the fleet will sail immediately after the Queen has passed through on her way to Osborne.
The Duke of Wellington has been telegraphed not to call here, but to go on to a certain rendezvous communicated to the fleet alone.
The ships that will sail in pursuance of these orders comprise all those now at Spithead, except the Prince Regent, 90; the Boscawen, 70; and the Bulldog, 6, viz.:—
The St. Jean d’Acre, 101, flag of Sir C. Napier, Captain the Hon. H. Keppel.
The Princess Royal, 91, Captain Lord C. Paget.
The Royal George, 120, Captain Codrington, C.B.
The Edinburgh, 58, Rear Admiral Chads, C.B.
The Blenheim, 60, Captain the Hon. F.T. Pelham.
The Hogue, 60, Captain Ramsay.
The Ajax, 58, Captain Warden.
The Impérieuse, 51, Captain Watson, C.B.
The Arrogant, 47, Captain Yelverton.
The Tribune, 30, Captain the Hon. S.T. Carnegie.
The Amphion, 34, Captain Ryder.
The Leopard, 18, Captain Giffard.
The Dragon, 6, Captain Willcox.
The Frolic, 16, Commander Nolloth.
It is to be hoped the tides will allow the Neptune, 120, Captain Hutton, flag of Rear-Admiral Corry, to be got out to Spithead on Saturday, as she is now perfectly ready for sea. Rear-Admiral Corry will proceed with the second division as soon as the ships are ready, which, we understand, will consist of Neptune, 120, Prince Regent, 90, Boscawen, 70, Valorous, 16, Odin, 16, Bulldog, 6, &c.
(By Electric Telegraph.)The Commander-in-Chief has since the despatch of the above received telegraphic orders countermanding the departure of any portion of the fleet until Saturday.
PLYMOUTH, March 9.Her Majesty's screw steamship Duke of Wellington, 131, has been supplied with a barge for the use of Admiral Sir Charles Napier. 270 Minié rifles are to be distributed today among her Marines. 155 Coastguardmen joined her yesterday from the flagship Impregnable. The Duke will probably go into the Sound on Friday.
The steamship Rhadamanthus, Belam master, sailed on Wednesday afternoon with boats, gigs, cutters, and jollyboats for the fleet at Portsmouth.
The screw steamship James Watt, 91, will be ready to go out of harbour about the 29th inst.
At the Royal William Victualling-yard yesterday a contract was made by Messrs. Murrell and Crossing to supply 2,000 quarters of wheat, at 83s. per quarter of 4801b.
Advices from the Baltic steam surveying vessel Hecla, dated Nyborg, Holstein, March 3, are in hand. They state that the efforts of the scientific officers on board have been successful. The very best feeling prevails on the part of the Norwegian authorities. The day after the steamers arrival at Christiania a deputation from the Storthing invited the officers to a public breakfast, but this was very prudently declined, rather than run the risk of any political expressions, which might be injudicious at the present moment.
The Hecla is the first British steam-vessel of war which has ever entered the harbour of Christiansand. She will probably be off Deal about the 15th inst.
(By Electric Telegraph.)
Thursday Evening.Her Majesty’s screw steamship Duke of Wellington, 131, with the flag of Captain Michael Seymour, Captain of the Fleet, came down the harbour this afternoon, and passed the west end of the breakwater about 3 o’clock, bound to Spithead. The weather being thick, she was under steam only, going easy. She will probably spread her canvas when the weather clears, there being a light favourable breeze from west-south-west.
|Sa 11 March 1854|
THE BALTIC FLEET.
PORTSMOUTH, Friday Night.To-day at noon, Her Majesty, attended by the Court, arrived here from London, and, proceeding on board the Fairy yacht, passed through the Baltic fleet at Spithead on her way to Osborne. The weather was rather wet and disagreeable at the time, and the crowds of strangers at present collected in Portsmouth had not a very favourable opportunity of seeing what took place. They were obliged for the most part to content themselves with what through a hazy atmosphere they could make out from the shore. A few small boats and one or two steamers enabled their occupants to have a nearer view of the style in which the Royal salute was fired and the ships manned yards; but we are not sure that proximity adds much to the effect of this spectacle, which for the short time it lasts is certainly one of the most imposing that can be imagined. The fleet assembled at Spithead last summer had somewhat detracted from the absolute novelty of such a sight, but the magnitude of those events to which the present naval force owes its origin, and the universal interest which they excite, will not permit of the Queen's reception by her fleet to-day being sunk to the level of an ordinary ceremonial observance. To see those stupendous vessels of war with that expression of reserved strength about them, which gives to their huge hulls and uncanvassed rig a certain air of solemnity and mystery, is alone worth a trip to Portsmouth, Then, it is something to be present when, from porthole to porthole and ship to ship, the grand music of a Royal salute is prolonged; but above all other considerations is the desire which must be felt in every patriotic breast to behold before it starts upon its mission that mighty fleet which carries with it into the Baltic the highest interests of western civilization. Such thoughts must be at the bottom of that remarkable anxiety which the public are manifesting about the naval force now anchored at Spithead. Without any precise information as to a review, and with a mere rumour to go upon, that the Queen will pay a formal visit to the fleet before it puts to sea, they have for the last few days been flocking into Portsmouth by thousands. The town is consequently in a state of extraordinary bustle, and the cost of the preparations for war are not likely for the present, at least, to be closely counted by the inhabitants, whatever may be the case elsewhere.
The fleet lies under the shore of the Isle of Wight, anchored in less extended order than that of last summer, but presenting a much more formidable appearance, from the greater number of ships and their greater size. The huge frame of the Duke of Wellington, though still unmatched, no longer enjoys that decided pre-eminence which she then commanded over all around, for the Royal George, of 121 guns, and the St. Jean d’ Acre, of 101 guns, now attract the eye almost as much, and worthily share with her the general admiration.
A few minutes before the guns of the Victory announced the arrival of the Royal train the signal to dress ship was made from the St. Jean d’Acre, in which Sir Charles Napier had his flag flying, and immediately the order was obeyed. The fleet, however, made no holyday display of bunting, but was decked soberly with flags, as became a naval force with rough work before it and the honour of the country in its keeping. The salute from the Victory had hardly died away, when through the haze every ship could be seen with her yards manned, while in one or two the crews swarmed like bees upon the rigging. Then, after a short pause, the Fairy, with the Royal standard flaunting from her mainmast, came gliding out of the harbour, and instantly the crowds assembled on shore raised their loyal cheers for the Queen. Bending her course past the Platform Battery, the guns of which poured forth their welcome, the yacht steered at once for the head of the fleet, where the flagship lay. The salute then began, and was volleyed forth in grand style. Hardly had the flash of the first gun blazed from the side of the St. Jean d’ Acre when all the other ships were following her example, and for about a minute there was a roar of artillery which must have made all on the shore thank Heaven most devoutly that they were not Russians. The Queen must have smelt more gunpowder while receiving this acknowledgment of her Royal presence than she ever did in her life before, for the smoke, borne by the west wind, soon enveloped the tiny form of the Fairy, and even the fleet itself was so completely shrouded that nothing of the mighty ships composing it could be seen, except here and there, high up in the air, the flags waving at their tallest mastheads. Through the dense cloud the flash of the guns for a time penetrated, but even that was at length lost in the mass of vapour, and then, until all was silent, nothing could be distinguished but the louder or fainter boom of each report as it came from the port or starboard broadside. When the smoke had passed away the Fairy, which looked at that distance, and by contrast, very like a Thames wager-boat, was steaming swiftly through the fleet, on her way to Osborne. Those on shore could not, of course, distinguish the cheering taken up by ship after ship as they were passed in succession, but it came from spar, rigging, and deck with a heartiness and precision winch were overwhelming, and which must, under all the circumstances, have found a deep response in the heart of the Sovereign. The Royal George and the Duke, the only three-deckers in the fleet, and which, perhaps, on that account hold an isolated position, bringing out their size more strikingly, delivered their hurrahs with thrilling effect. The Black Eagle followed the Fairy in her course with a distinguished company on board, among whom, we are told, were the French and Prussian Ambassadors. These distinguished personages could hardly fail to be impressed with the spectacle which they this day witnessed. They will be able to convey to their respective Governments some idea of the spirit in which the crews of the fleet at Spithead take their departure for the Baltic, and of the efficiency of that fleet, the first division of which carries 1,047 guns, propelled by a steam-power of 6,970 horses, and a force of 10,251 men.
The Queen visits the fleet to-morrow, weather permitting, and will probably be present at noon, when it weighs anchor and puts to sea.
|Ma 13 March 1854|
THE BALTIC FLEET.
PORTSMOUTH, Saturday Night.The first Division of the Baltic fleet has departed on its warlike mission, amid the cheers of thousands of spectators, in the presence of the Queen and the Royal family, and attended by the best wishes of the whole nation. Of the naval force which for the last few weeks has been mustering at Spithead only three vessels remain. The Neptune, the Prince Recent, and the Boscawen stay behind to form the nucleus of the second division, which is immediately to assemble there, and, under the flag of Admiral Corry, to follow Sir Charles Napier to the Baltic. We shall then have equipped and despatched from our shores an armament such as the world has never seen equalled, and not unworthy of that supremacy which we claim to hold upon the ocean. Sir Charles Napier will have under his command a fleet of 44 ships, manned by upwards of 22,000 men, mounting about 2,200 guns, and propelled by a steam power of more than 16,000 horses. Of the ships, only six will be unaided by that new force which is manifestly destined to effect the same revolution in warlike operations as it has already accomplished in those of peace. These are the Neptune, 120, the St. George, 120, the Prince Regent, 90, the Boscawen, 70, the Monarch, 84, and the Cumberland, 70, noble vessels of the old school, though modern invention teaches us to rely less upon them than we used to do. Of the crews it would, perhaps, be premature to speak until we have got them all, but the division which put to sea to-day was manned by 8,820 men collected without any recourse to the pressgang, at a moment when the immense demands of the mercantile marine have almost denuded our ports of sailors. The speed with which this force has been raised, the volunteer character of the service being preserved, is a sufficient guarantee that no insurmountable difficulties will present themselves in supplying seamen for the ships about to be sent to Spithead. With reference to the steam-power of the fleet, we have as yet no data for showing how the enormous aggregate of 16,000 horses is to be made up; but, as Sir Charles Napier took out to-day a propelling power of 5,350 horses by screw, and of 2,020 horses by paddle, or a total of 7,370 horses, it follows that, enormous as the force thus despatched is, it, in fact, forms the weaker half of what his command in the Baltic will ultimately include. As to guns, also, a similar remark may be made, for, while the fleet, when fully constituted, will be able to declare the will of England to the Czar through 2,200 portholes, and by cannon to which those of the last war were mere toys, the first division carries out to-day an armament of not more than 887 guns. This, however, will be augmented to 1,019 guns in the Downs, where the Cressy, of 80, and the Euryalus, of 50, will join the rest of the expedition — thus increasing the number of men actually despatched to the north to 10,160, and the horse-power to 8,170. It must not be supposed that the fleet which we are thus sending from our shores exhausts all our naval strength, for the reserve ships have not been touched, 30 additional first class men-of-war could almost at once be put into commission, and our dockyards and private establishments could enable us to show to the world results at least twice as great as those which the last few months have yielded. It is this extraordinary productive energy of the country, husbanded and matured to the highest pitch during 40 years of peace, with which our enemies will have to reckon. That this energy will be exerted to the utmost, if necessary, cannot now be doubted, for, though we are not a military nation, we have, when the occasion justifies it, as warlike a spirit as any people on the face of the earth.
The best expression which probably can be given to the thoughts of all who saw Sir Charles Napier depart to-day from Spithead will probably be found in the bald but telling statistics of the mighty fleet which he has been chosen to command, and of the division with which he has put to sea. Of the fleet itself what we have already stated may help to give some idea. Its aggregates, however, can only at present be set forth in general terms, the details being left for the next few weeks to work out. Of the division which set out for the Baltic to-day we can speak more definitely. It comprises, as will be seen from the following list, eight screw line-of-battle ships, four screw, and. four paddle-wheel ships of inferior rank, making a total of 16 war-steamers; of which two — the Duke of Wellington and the Royal George — are three-deckers, while three carry Admirals' flags — Sir Charles Napier's in the Duke, Admiral Chads' in the Edinburgh, and Admiral Plumridge's in the Leopard;—
There is thus not a single ship in the division dependent upon sails alone for propulsion, while there are 12, including all the liners and the four largest frigates, which, being screws, are equally available as steamers or sailing-vessels, or as both combined. In looking down the list those who are conversant with naval matters will readily distinguish for themselves the old from the new, the fast from the slow, and the general characteristics and antecedents of each. For the general public, however, who have not that special knowledge, it may be interesting to state that the Duke of Wellington, the St. Jean d’ Acre, the Princess Royal, the Imperieuse, and the Tribune are those most recently turned out from our dockyards; that the Blenheim, Hogue, Ajax, and Edinburgh have recently been employed as blockships; and that the Amphion and the Arrogant were among the first, if not the first, men-of-war fitted with the screw. The Royal George was built at Chatham so long ago as 1837; the Blenheim, the Ajax, and the Edinburgh have all borne the brunt of war service already, the last especially, having been at St. Jean d’Acre; so that Sir Charles Napier takes with him to the Baltic at least one strong memento of former triumphs to help him in gaining new ones. The four paddlewheel frigates will no doubt serve useful purposes in the fleet, though their construction is less favourable for fighting than the screws. Of these, the Division contains the earliest and the latest examples in the service, the difference of speed between the Amphion, which was adapted to that form of propulsion in 1846, and the Tribune, which was built at Sheerness in 1853, serving to show the progress which has been made in the last seven years. The most splendid and perfect specimen of. naval architecture in the Division, and in every way worthy to be the flagship of the Baltic fleet, is unquestionably the Duke of Wellington. She furnished a striking contrast to the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamer the Madrid, which, shining in all the splendour of fresh paint, and puffing out volumes of angry steam, formed no inconsiderable feature of the marine spectacle in Spithead to-day. The great man-of-war lay silent and grim, with an air of reserved strength difficult to rouse into action, but terrible when awakened. The commercial leviathan glided easily about with a conscious power of her own which she made no secret of showing, while her fiery-red roaring funnels seemed to growl out the whole wrath of the country at Russian aggression. One other observation before the scene which Spithead and Portsmouth to-day presented is described. The expedition with which the first division has been prepared for sea is pronounced by all who are most competent to judge as highly creditable to the dockyard authorities; and, if this compliment be deserved, it may be regarded as the first-fruits which the nation has enjoyed of | that new system of making appointments and promotions which Lord Auckland and Sir Francis Baring introduced, and which Sir Baldwin Walker so stoutly defended while the last Administration held office. When it is considered what an amount of work is involved in the construction and complete equipment of even one war-steamer, those resources cannot be very ill husbanded by which we are enabled to send 18 to the Baltic at so early a moment [in fact the initial squadron consisted of 16 vessels]; and, though that result must be regarded as arising from previously existing facilities rather than created by the occasion, many strong indications exist that the true uses of our dockyards are being at length properly defined and developed, especially on points where the resources of private establishments can be brought in aid of them.
Fine weather, a clear bright sky, and a steady | west wind were the fair accompaniments of the naval force which to-day set out from Spithead. The day itself, too, was propitious, and the Admiral was eager to get to sea, as what man worthy of a command like his would not be under the circumstances? The Mayor, Aldermen, and Town-council of Portsmouth, however, had determined to present him an address, and half-past 10 o'clock was fixed upon by Sir Charles for receiving it. At that hour he proceeded to the Guildhall cheered and followed by crowds. There the Mayor addressed him as follows: —
"Sir Charles, — It becomes my duty to announce to you that the town-council of this ancient borough have resolved to present an address to you on your embarking from these shores to lead Her Majesty's fleet, and, as we sincerely, most sincerely, trust, to add fresh triumphs to the list of those glorious victories which have shed imperishable lustre on the British navy. We further trust that, if it please God, you may be the instrument for producing in the mind of the Sovereign of Russia such impressions as will induce him to yield to the peaceful suggestions of united Europe, and to desist from those schemes of aggression which now appear to lead him onward. But whether you return as the triumphant warrior or the harbinger of a peaceful settlement of the Eastern question, considering that your career stamps you as one of the greatest men of the age, we have great pleasure, Sir Charles, in tendering to you our deepest respect on this occasion when you are about to lead forward to action the younger members of that service of which you are so distinguished an ornament." (Loud cheers.)
The Town-clerk then read and presented to Sir Charles the following address:—
"To Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier, K.C.B.
"Sir Charles, — We, the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the ancient borough of Portsmouth, having learnt that you were about to embark from our port to take command of the powerful fleet destined for the Baltic Sea (to which distinguished position you have been appointed by the favour of Her Most Gracious Majesty), are anxious, ere you leave the British shores for the probable scene of actual conflict with that Power which has been fitly characterized as 'the common enemy of Europe,' in defence of the just and honourable cause which this nation, in conjunction with its allies, has espoused, to express our earnest hopes that you will be enabled, if the necessity arrives, to lead the mighty armaments of which you have the command to some great and glorious victory, and thus compel the autocrat who has so wantonly disturbed the peace of the world to appreciate the courage and resources of England and France united, which he has hitherto dared to set so completely at defiance.
"Great indeed is the responsibility which rests on you, and great are the expectations and anxieties with which the British people will be filled while you are engaged in the difficult and perhaps perilous duties to which your Queen and country call you. In those duties may the God of battles aid and prosper you; and may the combined force under your control, fighting in cordial union in a righteous cause, succeed in materially assisting to bring the warfare to a speedy and decisive issue!
"You, and the equally brave and gallant men who will rally round you, will have the earnest aspirations not only of the inhabitants of this borough, but of the whole people of the united kingdom. We wish you 'God speed!' and pray that the war which has been thus needlessly forced upon Europa may eventually result in a still more lasting peace, check the barbarous policy of aggression, and promote the civilization of the world.
"Given under the common seal of the borough, this 10th day of March, 1854.
"G.C. STIGANT, Mayor."
|Ma 13 March 1854|
|Sir Charles Napier, who was vociferously cheered, said, in reply,—|
"Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen — When I tell you that I have had only 24 hours to got ready to go afloat you will not be surprised if I decline to make a long speech; however, I beg to thank you for this very kind and handsome address. I believe it is not usual when a man goes abroad to have addresses of this kind presented to him, but all I can say is this — that I will do the best I can to prevent the British flag from being tarnished. I know a great deal is expected from the fleet, but, gentlemen, you must not expect too much. (Cheers.) We are going to meet no common enemy; we are going to meet an enemy well prepared. I am sure every officer and man in the fleet will do his duty gloriously; but, at the same time, I warn you again that you must not expect too much. (Cheers.) The fleet is a new one; the system of warfare is new; great consideration is required to ascertain how it is best to manage a fleet urged by steam. The system of warfare is entirely different now to what it was formerly; but we will do our bost (cheers), and I am sure I shall remember to the last day of my life the kindness of the people of Portsmouth." (Loud cheers.)
While the Admiral, having given this reply, returned to the George Hotel, the Corporation in their robes went in formal procession to the Victoria Pier in order to be present at his embarcation. Sir Charles, again enthusiastically cheered on his way, arrived there about 11 o'clock. So great was the pressure around him and the few private friends who accompanied him, that he had considerable difficulty in getting to the pier-head, and here again his evident impatience to be afloat was arrested by a patriotic silversmith, who, seizing him by the hand, with great earnestness of manner, repeated those good wishes on behalf of the inhabitants which had already been expressed at the Town-hall. The Sprightly had been appointed to take Sir Charles on board his flagship, but she could neither get alongside the pier herself nor could her boats for some time approach it. An obstinate excursion steamer, with the classic name of Pyrrhus, would stick in the way, and there were dozens of smaller craft that would intrude, despite all orders to the contrary. At length, however, he got safely off, and the Sprightly, after nearly crushing a pilot-boat filled with sailors' wives and children that lay in the way, put him on board the Duke of Wellington. From the Platform Battery and every other point on the Portsmouth shore which commanded a view of the embarcation loud cheers resounded, and the old Admiral seemed much affected by the extraordinary marks of sympathy and confidence towards him thus evinced by his countrymen as he quitted the soil of England on his perilous and important mission.
During the entire morning the ships of war had lain quietly at their anchorage as usual, with nothing apparently to disturb their grand repose. About half-past 9 o'clock they had been joined by the Neptune, Admiral Corry's flagship, which, having been fitted for sea with incredible speed, was tugged out of harbour by two steamers in presence of an immense concourse of people. Shortly afterwards the Black Eagle went to Spithead, with a distinguished party aboard, and as noon approached the number of small craft, pilotboats, yachts, and excursion steamers in the roadstead increased. Still there was little to indicate that a fleet was about to set forth on an expedition of such importance; no steam up, no sails even partially unfurled; and, though there was incessant cheering on the waters, and the Madrid hung about as if expecting some great event to come off, the crews of the different ships showed no unusual activity, except that on board the Duke of Wellington that red cloth which everywhere betokens the expected presence of Royalty had been laid down to the main and lower decks. Beyond this the routine duties appeared to be going on with undisturbed regularity, and the ship’s company of 1,190 men not preoccupied to any extent that could interfere with their consumption of the substantial soup which poured forth from huge cauldrons by stopcocks three or four inches in diameter to supply them with dinner. About a quarter to 1 o’clock the Fairy was observed to leave Cowes, and for a time her signals were narrowly watched from the deck of the flagship. As she neared the fleet, a Royal salute blazed from each ship with bewildering effect, "the Duke" setting the example, and being followed immediately by the rest. Hardly had the smoke been rolled off by the west wind, and the roar of the guns died away, when those thrilling cheers which the crews of our Navy know so well how to give arose, not from the yardarms manned in the formal fashion of piping peace times, but from the rigging, in which the men swarmed like bees, while the Marines presented arms upon each quarterdeck, and the bands on board played the National Anthem. Arrived, at the head of the fleet, the Fairy signalled that Her Majesty would receive the captains of the different ships, instead of herself visiting the Duke of Wellington, which seems to have been previously contemplated. In a few minutes they were on their way to the Royal yacht, and their boats, added to the other craft afloat, presented a highly animated picture. Sir Charles Napier, with Commodore Seymour, Captain of the Fleet, was foremost in paying his respects to the Sovereign. As he went and came, he was loudly cheered by thousands of spectators from crazy old tubs of steamboats, that rolled about as if they were drunk with the enthusiasm of their living freights. The other admirals and captains followed, and when all were returned, the signal to some of the nearest ships was given to weigh. Then the huge sails were quickly shaken out, and it became apparent that the steam fleet was about to put to sea under canvas alone; and, with all the obvious advantages of that hidden power which has done so much to rescue the mariner from the tyranny of the winds and the waves, it must be confessed that, to see ships in their beauty and majesty, the invention of Daedalus still bears the palm over that of James Watt. It was nearly 2 o'clock before the first signal to weigh was given from the huge flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, and by 3 she herself had left her anchorage. The St. Jean d’Acre went first, then the Tribune, Imperieuse, Blenheim, Amphion, Valorous, Princess Royal, Edinburgh, Ajax, Arrogant, Dragon, and Hogue, in the order stated. The Royal George and the Duke of Wellington followed, the clear sunlight brightening up their canvas as they glided majestically onwards. Last of all came the Leopard, under steam like the rest of the paddle-wheel squadron, while the screws all weighed under single-reefed topsails, topgallantsails, jib and driver. No strict order of departure was observed until the ships had got sufficiently on their way to have ample searoom for forming double line, which they did standing to the south-east in the following order—
The spectacle presented by this division of the Baltic fleet as it quitted Spithead was one which will not readily be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The Fairy, having accompanied the first pact of the division for several miles, was stopped, and the Queen, with a regular flotilla of boats and steamers around her yacht, saw ship after ship under easy sail pass by to fight the battles of the country. Each crew mounted once more into the rigging to give her a round of parting hurrahs, and topgallantsails were lowered— that mark of respect which the navy itself receives from the mercantile marine. When the Duke of Wellington approached the Royal yacht, the rest of the fleet were already dim and faint in the distance. Though under no press of canvas, the brisk west wind had carried them well out to sea, the Royal George fitly closing in the receding line with her huge hull and spreading sails. The crew of the flagship had now in their turn to give their farewell cheers. They sprang up the rigging with astonishing rapidity, not stopping according to custom at the cross-trees, but mounting upwards until the most adventurous spirits had reached the very summits, for the honour of possessing which they struggled. One daring fellow coolly seated himself upon the truck of the maintopmast, where, with one hand he waved his cap in cheering, while he held the other arm extended, to show that he was unsupported. The hurrahs from the crew of the Duke of Wellington at bidding farewell to their Queen and country will long ring in the ears of all who heard them. Her Majesty stood waving her handkerchief towards the mighty ship as she departed, and for a long time after the whole fleet had gone the Royal yacht remained motionless, as if the illustrious occupants desired to linger over a spectacle calculated to impress them so profoundly. Well might they do so, for seldom has Royalty gazed upon a scene more touching and portentous. The power and fortunes of England sail with her navy. That force therefore, the first division of which Queen Victoria saw this day go forth to war, must exercise an important influence upon the future history of a reign hitherto unprecedentedly prosperous and peaceful. Whatever betides, we have sent out stout ships, manned by stout and willing hearts, propelled by the same agency which has so incalculably increased our internal resources, and commanded by a gallant Admiral who is not likely to lose any opportunity that may present itself of having his name inscribed in the book of fame with those of Nelson and the other heroes whose victories have established our supremacy upon the seas.
DOVER, Sunday Evening.It having been stated that the fleet would pass Dover early this morning, all were on the qui vive eagerly expecting its appearance. It was not, however, until about 9 o'clock that any positive intelligence could be obtained; it was then learned that the fleet was 14 or 15 miles south-west of Hastings, which it passed at 11 a.m. At this time the excitement among the inhabitants became very great. Large numbers crowded all the best positions for seeing the imposing pageant, the cliffs, piers, and beach being densely thronged with eager spectators. The South-Eastern Company despatched a vessel from Dover to meet the fleet at 12 40 p.m., which first sighted it at 1 p.m., disposed in two long lines, as nearly in mid-channel as possible, the colossal Duke leading the outer line, closely followed by the St. Jean d’Acre. The weather was as favourable as could be wished; not a cloud was to be seen, and the sea was almost unruffled. The fleet passed Dover at 3 p.m., and proceeded to the Downs.
|Tu 14 March 1854|
The Hecla steam sloop, commissioned for the special service of conveying a large number of surveying officers to the Baltic to make soundings for the approach of Sir Charles Napier's fleet, returned to Spithead this morning. She left Hull on her outward voyage on the 19th ult., and anchored in the harbour of Flekkefiord on the 22d, and left on the 23d for Christiansand (weather very threatening and snowstorms very prevalent), where she anchored the same evening, and Mr. Wellington communicated with the British Consul; from Christiansand she proceeded to Christiania, and carried a line of soundings across the harbour, thence to Fredericksvarn, a small port near Laurvig, where she anchored on the 24th. The Commandant of that port furnished a Government pilot and a set of Norwegian charts for the whole of Christiania Fiord. She left on the 25th for Laurvig Bay, and steamed about there, then proceeded up Christiania Fiord, past Hosten to Drobach, where she anchored in the evening. The anchorage of this place was found very bad; she left on the 28th, and proceeded down the Fiord of Christiania. On the 1st inst. she sighted the lights of Wingo Sound at midnight, hove to, and proceeded at daylight in through Warholm, Flemish and Hawke-roads, and in and out of the north, middle, and south channels. She left Wingo Sound on the 2d, made for the Skau, on the coast of Zetland, and proceeded along Albeck Bay and Frederickshaven. She sounded all the way, in the evening anchored in Nyborg roads; and, on the 3d, passed between Kalsko and Spogo, noting the leading marks in and out; also the marks on the Vengeance shoal. Thence she went by the Langland Deep S.S.W. through the Great Belt, and anchored at Kiel the same night. She left Kiel about 8 o'clock in the evening of the 3d, and arrived off Copenhagen on the 5th, having made Dars Point on the previous morning, and examined the locality of the Plantagenet shoal, where a line-of-battleship sank some long time since. She found the shoal accurately marked on the chart, and commenced her return on the 7th, so as to be in the Channel on the 12th (as ordered). The Danish Government, she found, had recently issued an order that no vessel should anchor within a certain distance of the Trekroner Battery. The Hecla found that the Great Belt is easily navigable. Christiansand appeared to be the best port for a fleet to anchor in on the coast of Norway, Wingo Sound on the coast of Sweden, Nyborg in the Great Belt, and Kiel Bay, on the eastern coast of Holstein, a little to the south of Schleswig, the most advantageous of any for a large fleet. It is a capacious and most beautiful bay, and possesses the paramount advantage of communication by railway with Hamburg, besides any amount of victualling supplies, which are both good and cheap. Coals are also plentiful, and may be had at a reasonable contract price. The Hecla arrived in the Downs at 1 o'clock yesterday (Sunday) morning, and left for Spithead at 10 a.m.; she fell in with Sir Charles Napier's fleet, off Dover, at 1 30 p.m., in two divisions, under steam, and all plain sail. The Admiral made signal to shorten sail, and for the Hecla to commence supplying the weather division with the masters and second masters belonging to them, and two pilots (40 of whom she had on board) to each. She commenced with the last ship of the lee division, and did not finish transshipping all the officers until 7 p.m. Sir Charles expressed to Master Commander Wellington his high satisfaction at the opportune punctuality of falling in with him, and the manner in which he had performed the duty intrusted to him. After disembarking Commander Scott, R.N., and Captains Fenwick, Bailey, and Sidney Webb, of the Trinity-house, the Hecla proceeded for Spithead, where she arrived between 7 and 8 this morning. She came into harbour this afternoon, and commenced coaling, to return to the fleet with despatches, and some necessaries for the Commander-in-Chief. The Hecla met with no ice in the Baltic. Her survey took her over 3,000 miles of sea.
DEAL, Sunday Night.
The squadron which left Spithead yesterday afternoon under the command of Sir C. Napier was perceived in the offing at 3 p.m. to-day, under steam, and all sails furled. Shortly before 5 o'clock the Duke of Wellington, 131, with the flag of the Commander-in-Chief at the fore, rounded the South Foreland, followed by the rest of the division. The flag of the Commander-in-Chief was saluted with 15 guns by the Cressy, 80, Captain R.L. Warren, which was duly acknowledged. The fires were banked up for the night, and the fleet will probably sail at daylight to-morrow (Monday) morning for the north. A vast number of people arrived yesterday by the South-Eastern Railway to see the ships anchored in the Downs.
SHEERNESS, March 13.The Euryalus, 53 guns, new screw-steamship, Captain George Ramsay, returned to the Nore yesterday shortly after my despatches were sent off. Her return was in consequence of the two North Sea pilots not having joined previous to her departure from here, and orders being sent on board for her to proceed immediately into the North Sea instead of proceeding to the Downs. The pilots arrived here at 7 p.m. yesterday, and were sent off from here at 8 30 p.m. by the Cuckoo steamvessel. The Euryalus left the Nore at daylight this morning, with the Cuckoo in attendance, which will accompany her as far as Orfordness; she will there take out the Trinity, Queen's pilot, Mr. Joshua Taylor, and the engineers and millwrights, who left here for the purpose of completing the condensing steam apparatus with which she is fitted, and by which 990 gallons of fresh water can be procured daily while under steam. The Cuckoo will then land them at Yarmouth, and proceed to Harwich to convey volunteers for the navy from that place to this port.
The Monarch, 84 guns (late guardship of ordinary at this port), Captain John E. Erskine, slipped from her moorings at 11 a.m. this day, assisted by the steamvessels Wildfire and African, and proceeded to the Nore. On passing the Waterloo, 120, flagship, her rigging was manned by the bluejackets, every ratline being occupied, and three hearty English cheers were given by them. This was immediately responded to by the crew of the Monarch. The Monarch proceeded to the Nore, and anchored. On the steamvessel leaving her she saluted the Admiral's flag, which was returned by the Waterloo. The Monarch's crew will be paid their advance to-morrow, and inspected, immediately after which she leaves for the North Sea, Her North Sea pilots will be here to-morrow, ready to proceed to sea with her after inspection.
The Majestic, 80 guns, new screw steamship, Captain James Hope, will be put out of dry dock to-morrow, and will remain in the fitting basin to complete taking in her stores and armament, shot, &c. A trial of the machinery for lifting and lowering her propellers has taken place to-day, which has been found in every respect satisfactory. Her crew ace progressing smartly with her equipment.
The Rosamond, 6 guns, paddlewheel steam sloop, Commander George Wodehouse, has this day bent sails, and is waiting sailing orders.
The Driver, 6 guns, paddlewheel steam sloop, Commander the Hon. A. Cochrane, has also bent sails, and is now waiting sailing orders.
|We 15 March 1854|
DEAL, Monday, 1 P.M.The squadron under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier is lying at single anchor in the Downs, awaiting final orders, and comprises the following ships: —
The Duke of Wellington, 131 (screw), with the flag of the Commander-in-Chief at the fore; Royal George, 120 (screw); St. Jean d’Acre, 101 (screw); Princess Royal, 91 (screw); Cressy, 80 (screw); Edinburgh, 58 (screw), flag of Rear-Admiral Chads, C.B.; Blenheim, 60 (screw); Hogue, 60 (screw); Ajax, 58 (screw); Impérieuse, 50 (screw); Arrogant, 46 (screw); Amphion, 34 (screw); Tribune, 30 (screw); Valorous, 16; Leopard, 12, flag of Rear-Admiral Plumridge; and Dragon, 6, paddle frigates; in all 16 sail, mounting in the aggregate 953 guns, and with a total complement of 9,390 seamen, marines, and marine artillery. The Ajax shifted her mizentopsail in the forenoon, and exercised a portion of her crew at general quarters. The whole of the ships have their fires banked up, so as to be ready to weigh at a moment's notice. The Hecla steamer, Mr. Peter Wellington Master Commanding, having disembarked the North Sea pilots, &c., left yesterday, at 8 p.m., for Spithead. Hundreds of persons have been afloat to-day in steamvessels and shore boats, to witness the imposing spectacle the Downs present. The Deal boatmen are reaping a rich harvest, charging in many instances 10s. a head for the conveyance of passengers to and from the shore.
2 30 p.m.— The signal "Prepare for Sea" has just been made, and the various ships are about to weigh anchor.
PORTSMOUTH, Tuesday.The Neptune, 120, Captain Hutton, flag of Rear-Admiral Corry; the Boscawen, 70, Captain Glanville; and the Bulldog, 6, paddle frigate, Captain W.K. Hall; are under orders to leave Spithead to-morrow, to join the fleet of Sir Charles Napier in Wingo Sound. The Neptune's complement of 970 is fully made up, and such is the estimation in which her Admiral and Captain are held that she might have been far more extensively manned had it been necessary, 33 volunteers having presented themselves only yesterday. Her newly-entered men have been paid in advance to-day, and she has received all supernumeraries and packages for the Baltic fleet, and is perfectly ready to sail, but is detained for the Boscawen to make up her crew, to enable her to do which 80 Coastguardmen are being brought in, either by the steam-frigates Magicienne or Vulture, or by railway, and are hourly expected. The Neptune's extra number was made up entirely while in harbour by volunteers from other ports. The whole of her crew had leave before going to Spithead, and all have punctually returned, except two or throe whose room will be far more desirable than their company. The Bulldog got up steam, and cruised about Spithead for a couple of hours this forenoon, to try her boilers. These three ships are to proceed direct to Wingo Sound. The Odin, 16, paddlewheel frigate, Captain Francis Scott, will follow on Saturday. She is refitting her boilers, &c., with night and day despatch, and will steam direct from the basin to sea. This will be the first chance offering to relatives and friends to communicate with the fleets; and Captain Scott has been besieged with letters, soliciting the conveyance of articles for officers and men in the various ships now on their way to the Baltic, in answer to which he requests us to state that everything for the fleet of Sir Charles. Napier, from persons having friends serving therein, which may be put on board Her Majesty's ship Odin before Saturday next, the 18th inst., shall be carefully secured and forwarded to the address upon each article.
The Caesar, 91, screw, Captain Robb, steamed out to Spithead to-day. She has large gangs of artificers still in her employed upon her internal fitments, and has no guns, but they arrived for her last night, and she will ship them forthwith. The alacrity with which this ship has been got to Spithead, almost ready to sail, reflects the highest credit upon every department employed.
The St. Vincent, 101, flush-deck three-decker, Captain E.H. Scott, has been brought down the harbour to-day, and placed alongside the dockyard to be expedited in her fitment as a seagoing ship.
The Gladiator paddle frigate, and Scourge and Sphynx paddle sloops are being expedited for commission. The pendants are expected to be hoisted daily.
The troop and storeship Resistance, Master-Commander Bradshaw, in dock, has received new lower rigging, and is nearly refitted. She is wanted for service without delay.
The Prince Regent, 90, Captain H. Smith, C.B., is refitting her rigging at Spithead. She has been exercising her ship's company at great gunnery to-day. She will be some time manning if she is not supplied by draughts.
|Th 16 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Wednesday.The Neptune, 120, Captain Hutton; Boscawen, 70, Captain Glanvill; and Bulldog, 6, Captain W.K. Hall, have not sailed to-day to join the fleet, being detained by Her Majesty, who is desirous of seeing Admiral Corry off. The Boscawen's draught of Coastguardmen not having arrived, the Neptune and Bulldog will sail without her to-morrow noon. The Bulldog is 16 short of her complement of 160. The Neptune, besides being extraordinarily burdened with provisions and stores for other ships as well as herself, takes out a large quantity of shells for the fleet.
The Prince Regent, 90, Captain H. Smith, C.B., is refitting her rigging at Spithead. She is 325 to-day short of her complement of 820.
The Caesar, 91, screw, Captain Robb, at Spithead, took her powder on board to-day and has commenced shipping her guns.
The Elfin, Royal despatch yacht, Master Commanding Alfred Balliston, came up from Osborne at 1 p.m. to-day, and signalled to Admiral Corry, "The Queen does not embark today."
SHEERNESS, March 14.The Vulture, 6 guns, paddlewheel steam-frigate of 470-horse power, Captain Frederick H.H. Glasse, arrived here yesterday from Shields with volunteers for the navy. Immediately after their being sent on board the flagship Waterloo, she proceeded to Saltpan Reach, and took in her full stowage of coals from the coal depôt. After she has taken in a full supply of water, she is to leave here to join the Baltic fleet.
The Majestic, 80 guns, new screw steamship, Captain James Hope, has this day been put out of dry dock into the basin. The trial of her engines and machinery will take place to-morrow in the basin.
The Siren, 16 gun-sloop, has been brought down from Saltpan Reach, and taken into the fitting-basin, preparatory to her being commissioned here as one of the squadron to be fitted out for the purpose of proceeding to sea to watch the movements of privateers under the Russian flag. The stores, rigging, spars, &c., for the Siren, are all ready to be sent on board, on her being commissioned.
The Larne, 14 gun-sloop, is ordered to be brought down from Saltpan Reach, and taken into the fitting-basin for similar service with the Siren.
The Monarch, 84 guns, Captain John E. Erskine, has this day been inspected by the Captain-Superintendent; her crew have been paid their advance, and she will leave here to-morrow morning at daylight for the north.
The Melampus storeship, after landing a number of gunboats, launches, pinnaces, cutters, and gigs from Portsmouth for sea-going ships, left here this day for Woolwich.
The Reform schooner transport arrived here this day from Deptford, with 800 bags of ship-bread, to be deposited in the victualling stores in Her Majesty's dockyard here for the use of the Baltic fleet as occasion may require.
|Fr 17 March 1854|
DEPARTURE OF ADMIRAL CORRY.
PORTSMOUTH, March 16.At 11 o'clock this morning Her Majesty and Prince Albert, in the Fairy Royal steam yacht, Captain the Hon. Joseph Denman, came up to Spithead from Osborne to bid farewell to Rear-Admiral Corry, before his noble ship, the Neptune, 120, left to join Sir Charles Napier's fleet. Immediately on the Fairy's arriving within a couple of miles of the three-decker, the latter opened a Royal salute, which was taken up by the Prince Regent, 90, Captain Smith; Boscawen, 70, Captain Glanville; and Frolic, 16, Commander Nolloth. The Neptune and Bulldog paddlefrigate, Captain W.H. Hall, then weighed, the former under topsails and topgallant sails, and ultimately royals; the latter under steam. The Neptune's sails were set as if by simultaneous movement effected by machinery. At one moment she lay at anchor with all sails furled, and not the slightest indication of a movement; the next, down fell every stitch at once, and she wore round like a cutter and again stood majestically away for the Downs, followed by her smaller steam consort, whom she outstripped while yet inside the Nab. The Fairy, after steaming through the squadron and receiving the homage of the crews in the Prince Regent, Caesar, Boscawen, and Frolic, followed the huge Neptune until outside the Nab, where another demonstration was made, the men clambering up to her trucks to shout again and again in vociferous loyalty. Admiral Corry will anchor in the Downs until the receipt of orders to proceed further. The Boscawen will proceed as soon as men arrive to make her crew complete, and the Caesar will be the next to follow; then the Prince Regent. The Cruiser, screw, 16, Commander the Hon. G. Douglas, arrived at Spithead this morning from Gibraltar to join the fleet. She left on the 9th, exchanged numbers with the Simoom on the same day off the Rock, and passed the Golden Fleece on the 15th, both with troops on board.
The Caesar, 91, Captain Robb, is to-day taking in her armament, which is being conveyed to her at Spithead by the Lively naval lighter, from the Gun Wharf.
PLYMOUTH, March 16.Her Majesty's screw steamsloop Desperate, 8, Captain W.W. Chambers, arrived early on Wednesday morning from the west coast of Scotland and St. George's Channel, where she has gathered 154 coastguardsmen and volunteers. She will be supplied here with a new pivot gun, and her crew will be paid wages. The Nimrod coal dcpôt was yesterday towed into the Sound to complete the coaling of the Desperate.
The St. George 120, Captain Eyres, will sail to-day for the rendezvous of the fleet under Sir Charles Napier. She has shipped the men brought by the Desperate, who are to be considered as supernumeraries. She is now 240 short of her complement, which will be completed at Spithead.
The Royal William, 120, Captain Kingcombe, was yesterday towed from the sheer hulk to her moorings in ordinary.
The screw steamship Algiers, 90, is ordered to be commissioned.
Millers, bakers, coopers, and labourers at the Royal William victualling yard have been ordered to work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. All biscuit is in future to be packed in casks, instead of bags as heretofore.
|Ma 20 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, March 19.The Neptune, 120, Captain Hutton, flag of Rear-Admiral Corry, arrived in the Downs at 2 p.m. on Friday, and sailed at midnight for Wingo Sound, accompanied by the Monarch, 84, Captain Erskine, Vulture, 6, Captain Glasse, and Bulldog, 6, Captain W.K. Hall. As this was the first commission of the Neptune, her sailing qualities were most anxiously watched by all on board, and we are happy to hear all feel gratified at her performances. She sails fast, is very stiff, works remarkably easy, and exhibits all the characteristics of a very superior ship, so far as an opinion can be formed from the short service she has yet rendered at sea.
The St. George, 120, Captain Ayres, C.B., arrived at St. Helen's on Friday night from Devonport, and was towed up to Spithead yesterday morning by the Desperate.
Every preparation was made yesterday for despatching a squadron of four sail from Spithead to reinforce the fleet of Sir Charles Napier this morning. The Odin, 16, paddle frigate, Captain Scott, steamed out of harbour to Spithead yesterday afternoon to ship her powder and her North Sea pilot. The Desperate, 8, Captain Chambers, received a full stowage of coal from the floating depôt. The Cruiser, 41, screw sloop, Commander the Hon. G.H. Douglas, was paid wages; and the Boscawen, 70, Captain Glanville, was ordered to take in a spare screw for the St. Jean d'Acre, and to secure her mainyard for that purpose. But an accident in slinging the propeller, we believe, caused the carrying away of about 20 feet of the mainyard, and stopped the shipment of the metal and the sailing of the ship. A new mainyard was sent to the Boscawen at Spithead this morning, which she is getting up. When fitted she will leave for the rendezvous, with the Desperate. The Odin and Cruiser weighed and left for the rendezvous at half-past 7 and 9 o’clock.
The Desperate, 8, screw-corvette, Captain Chambers, arrived at Spithead on Friday morning from Devonport, with Mr. Biddlecombe, the Master of the Fleet of Sir Charles Napier, on board. After lying to until this afternoon, when the Queen passed, she proceeded for the rendezvous, Wingo Sound. Her Majesty, in the Fairy, came through the squadron at 3 o clock this afternoon on her return to town, and was loudly cheered by the seamen on the yards of the ships, each ship's band playing the National Anthem, and a Royal salute being fired.
The Gorgon, 6, paddle steamsloop, Commander Cumming, has been completed for sea and placed in the harbour ready for service. The St. Vincent, 101, Captain Scott, has got her lower rigging over her mastheads, and her masts and other gear have been got in readiness for her to ship. She will make rapid progress in her equipment, everything having been fitted by the dockyard riggers a year or two ago, when she was prepared as if for commission, but, for some reason, was unrigged, dismantled, and placed in ordinary under bare poles. The Scourge, 6, paddlewheel sloop, has been repaired, having had now upper works, &c. The Conway, 26, Captain Fulford, has got her topmasts up, and her rigging nearly fitted. Captain W.H. Hall has arrived and commissioned the Hecla steamsloop, for service in the Baltic.
The Admiralty charts of the Baltic have just been completed with the very latest soundings marked, and they are this day out. Each ship of the Baltic fleet will be supplied with three copies.
|Tu 21 March 1854|
THE BALTIC FLEET.
COPENHAGEN, March 16.I have only time to-day to say that the Baltic fleet, under the command of Sir Charles Napier, is expected to-morrow, the 17th.
There is a report, however, that it will be safer for the Duke of Wellington and the vessels of the first class to pass through the Great Belt by Nyborg, where the water is deeper, though the navigation is more intricate, instead of through the Sound, where there is only 25 or 26 feet of water in some parts of the channel.
If this report be true, I conclude that the frigates and vessels of the second class will enter the Baltic by the Sound, and the larger vessels by the Great Belt.
The appearance of the British fleet in these waters has greatly strengthened the popular and constitutional party in Denmark, and, on the other hand, afflicted the friends of Russia with proportionate disgust.
The fleet arrived in Wingo Sound yesterday, all well.
The Odin embarked buoys and lanterns and sailed from the Downs, for Wingo Sound, at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
|Tu 21 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Monday.The Boscawen, 70, Captain Glanville, fitted her new mainyard yesterday, and sailed this morning to join the Baltic fleet. She was completely manned, having received the draughts which made up her crew to 650. The Caesar, 91, screw two-decker, Captain Robb, was paid advance at Spithead to-day. She wants about 100 to complete her crew to 950. The Prince Regent, 90, Captain Smith, C.B. is refitting her rigging at Spithead. She wants about 200 to make up her complement to 920. The Penelope steam frigate, if paid off, will place a first-class crew of upwards of 300 men at the disposal of the Admiralty. It hast been contemplated to make the Penelope available for troop service, but she could only carry 300 or 400, and has no accommodation for officers, unless a poop were added to her, which would occupy valuable time and labour, and, after all, be of very little utility. The Desperate,, 8, screw corvette, Captain Chambers, was inspected at Spithead this morning by Vice-Admiral Sir T. Cochrane, K.C.B., prior to her departure for the Baltic. The Gorgon, 6, paddle sloop, Commander Cumming, commenced swinging to-day for the adjustment of her compasses. The Hecla, 6, paddlewheel sloop, Captain W.H. Hall, will have a complement of 135, which we believe is nearly made up.
|We 22 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, March 21.The St. Vincent, 102, Captain Scott, is progressing fast with her rigging. She has main and mizen topmasts up and fidded, and foretopmast slung ready for hoisting in board.
The Caesar, 91 (screw), Captain Robb, is swinging at Spithead for the adjustment of her compasses.
A survey has been held to-day upon the state of the Penelope, 16, paddle frigate, Captain Lyster, with the view of making her available for further immediate service in this emergency.
The Gladiator, 6, paddle frigate, has been brought to the steam factory jetty to-day to receive her now shaft. She is to be ready for commission by the 3d proximo.
The Resistance, 42, troopship, Master Commander Bradshaw, hauled out of dock to the fitting-basin this afternoon to complete for sea.
The Cuckoo, steam-vessel, arrived this morning from the eastward, with seamen and supernumeraries for the fleet.
Some blasting experiments connected with naval operations were exhibited to-day at Rat Island, in this harbour, in the presence of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, K.C.B., the Commander-in-Chief, Captain Sir Thomas Maitland, C.B., of the Excellent, Captain Savage, R.M.A., Instructor in Fortification at the Royal Naval College, and other scientific officers. We abstain from minutely describing the object from prudential motives.
The Gorgon, 6, paddlewheel sloop, Commander Cumming, completed the adjustment of her compasses to-day, and will bend sails to-morrow, preparatory to dropping out to Spithead, where the St. George, 120, Caesar, 91, Prince Regent, 90, and Desperate, 8, remain at anchor.
|Th 23 March 1854|
PLYMOUTH, March 22.Her Majesty's screw steamvessel Conflict, 8, Captain J. Foote, steamed out of harbour into the Sound yesterday, and took her powder and shell on board. Her crew will be paid advance of wages to-day.
The riggers employed in rigging the screw steamship Algiers, 91, pointed topmasts yesterday.
Lieutenant G.W. Edwardes, of the screw steamship Nile, 91, Commodore Martin, was honourably acquitted by court-martial yesterday.
|Fr 24 March 1854||Although no authentic information has yet been received of the Emperor of Russia's answer to the ultimatum of the Western Powers, and the intelligence published by several journals on this point has been in anticipation of the event, several circumstances of comparatively minor importance mark the steady and gradual progress of events to that catastrophe which the passions and the obstinacy of a single man have unhappily rendered inevitable. The announcement contained in this journal that the Governments of England and France had resolved to summon Russia to pledge herself in six days to evacuate the Principalities, on pain of a declaration of war, appears to have reached St. Petersburg before the courier who was the bearer of that message; for, although we did not publish the fact until after his departure from this country, the circumstance that he was directed to go by way of Vienna, and was slightly detained there, caused him to be longer on the road than the ordinary course of the post. It is said, and not without probability, that the Emperor Nicholas exclaimed, on learning the nature of the communication addressed to him, that he could answer it in six minutes as well as in six days; but we shall not be surprised to find that he has availed himself of every pretext to gain time, and we have reason to believe that considerable impedimenta were offered to retard the journey of the British courier on his way from Vienna to St. Petersburg. The interval has been used by Russia to increase and improve her preparations for defence in the Baltic provinces and in Finland, while she has exerted all her diplomatic influence, not without some appearance of success, in Berlin and Vienna.|
Meanwhile, however, the fleets have been steadily approaching their destination. Sir Charles Napier having first conveyed his powerful squadron to Wingo Sound, favoured by a south-west wind, which took the ships to the coast of Sweden in little more than 48 hours, has now arrived at Copenhagen, where he landed at once to pay his respects to the King of Denmark. It is probable that ere this the whole fleet has entered the Baltic, by the Belt or by the Sound, and we have information that four French ships of the line, including the Austerlitz, a screw steamer of 100 guns, arc on their way from Toulon and Brest to join Admiral Napier's flag. In the Black Sea the Retribution and the Caton have been despatched to reconnoitre the mouths of the Danube, and it is said to remove, if necessary by force, the obstacles which the Russians have raised at Sulina to prevent the exit of merchant vessels from the river. It is difficult to conceive a greater abuse of the rights of war than this attempt on the part of Russia to obstruct entirely, at its mouth, the navigation of one of the greatest rivers in Europe, not by blockade, but by endeavouring to imprison between the banks of the Danube such neutral vessels as may chance to be there, Russia herself having previously given an assurance that the neutral trade would not be molested in such vessels as had not touched at Turkish ports. We shall be happy to learn that among the first operations undertaken by the combined fleets arc the measures required to reopen the Danube, for nothing more thoroughly characterizes the long-cherished and selfish designs of Russia than the artifices and calculated neglect by which she has sought to choke up the mouths of that great stream.
|Sa 25 March 1854|
THE ANGLO-FRENCH ULTIMATUM.We have received the following despatch of yesterday’s date from our correspondent at Berlin:—
"Count Nesselrode has communicated to the English and French Consuls that the Emperor will give no answer at all to their joint summons."
|Ma 27 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, March 26.Another fine new heavily armed ship left this morning to augment the fleet under Admiral Napier — the Caesar, 91, screw, Captain Robb. She weighed about 7 o'clock under all plain sail, and left with a fine breeze from the westward. Her crew was completed by a draught of about 80 from the number (215) of Coastguard men and others brought by the steam-frigate Magicienne, 16, Captain Fisher, from the north of Ireland yesterday morning. It is expected the complement of the St. George, 120, at Spithead, will also be materially increased by the men thus brought, and that she will be the next ship to leave for the Baltic. Men being so scarce, a number of vessels have been ordered home from foreign stations, among them the Meander, 44, from the Cape; the Fox, 42, from the East Indies (she has been relieved); the Centaur, 11, from the Brazils; and the Athol, Waterwitch, Myrmidon, Teazer, and Alecto from the Coast of Africa. These, on arrival, will give upwards of 1,150 men for distribution, and materially strengthen the crews of the fleet, for all are, of course, good and experienced seamen. Some disagreeable circumstances on board the Desperate have been brought under the notice of the Admiralty since that vessel has been lying at Spithead by means of a "round-robin," which the Port-Admiral, Sir Thomas Cochrane, went off to inquire into for the second time yesterday. The Conflict, 8, screw corvette, Captain Foote, left Spithead last evening for the Baltic. The Hecla, 6, paddlewheel steam-sloop, Captain W.H. Hall, went to Spithead yesterday afternoon, and will leave in a day or two for the Baltic, where Captain Hall's experience will be of great advantage. Much surprise has been expressed at "Nemesis" Hall taking so small a vessel, he being a captain of 10 years' standing, but the fact is that the Admiralty had nothing else in a sea-going condition to offer him when he applied. Sir James Graham regretted he had not a ship suitable to his rank and abilities to offer him, when the Hecla came into his recollection at the moment, and he said, "By the way, there's the Hecla; would you take her?" "I'll take a launch, Sir James, if you will commission her," was the prompt and gallant reply; nor do we think the insignificant size of the ship will materially hinder so good and well-tried an officer from rendering valuable assistance in the fleet.
The Magicienne, 16, Captain Fisher, came into harbour to coal, yesterday afternoon. It is supposed she will attend the St. George to the Baltic.
PLYMOUTH, March 26.Her Majesty's screw steamship James Watt, 91, Captain the Hon. George Elliot, went from Hamoaze into the Sound yesterday afternoon. Her crew will be paid wages to-morrow, and she will leave for Spithead the same day.
The despatch steam-frigate Magicienne, Captain Fisher, which put in here yesterday to embark volunteers for the eastward, left Portsmouth on the 4th inst., and called for Coastguardmen at Cork, Bearhaven, Valentia, Ventry, Tarbert, Galway, Ballinakiel, Westport, Black Sod Bay, Killala, Killibegs, Arranmore Island. and Lough Swilley, having run a distance of more than 1,400 miles. The weather, during the first portion of her voyage, was exceedingly boisterous and foggy, which detained her considerably between Bearhaven and Galway. At the latter port Mr. Kelly, commanding the revenue cruiser Amphitrite, was ordered to take the duty of pilot, for which, on the west coast of Ireland, he was well qualified.
DOVER, Sunday Evening.The Austerlitz, 100 guns, and the Conflict, both screws, passed Dover under steam and sail, about noon to day, on their way to join the fleet in the Baltic. The Austerlitz saluted the port as she passed, but considerable delay occurred before the compliment was returned.
|Tu 28 March 1854|
The noble Earl having handed Her Majesty's Message to the clerk-assistant, Mr. Lefevre, it was by him taken to the Lord Chancellor.
The LORD CHANCELLOR, rising, read the Message, amid the breathless silence of the House, as follows:—
"Her Majesty thinks it proper to acquaint the House of Lords that the negotiations in which Her Majesty, in concert with her allies, has for some time past been engaged with His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias have terminated, and that Her Majesty feels bound to afford active assistance to her ally the Sultan against unprovoked aggression.
"Her Majesty has given directions for laying before the House of Lords copies of such papers, in addition to those already communicated to Parliament, as will afford the fullest information with regard to the subject of these negotiations. It is a consolation to Her Majesty to reflect that no endeavours have been wanting on her part to preserve to her subjects the blessings of peace.
"Her Majesty's just expectations have been disappointed, and Her Majesty relies with confidence on the zeal and devotion of the House of Lords, and on the exertions of her brave and loyal subjects to support her in her determination to employ the power and resources of the nation for protecting the dominions of the Sultan against the encroachments of Russia."
The LORD CHANCELLOR, having read Her Majesty's Message, handed it to the reading clerk, Mr. L. Edmonds, who, taking it to the table, again read the Royal Message, in such a tone as to be entirely unintelligible, even to those who had just heard it audibly read by the Lord Chancellor.
The Earl of CLARENDON, then rising, said,— My lords, on Friday next I shall move that Her Majesty's most gracious Message be taken into consideration.
|Tu 28 March 1854|
THE BALTIC FLEET.
COPENHAGEN, March 22.The day before yesterday Sir Charles Napier arrived here in the Valorous steamer, Captain Buckle. The Danes were excessively pleased with him for taking off his hat on landing at the Customhouse stairs. Sir Charles then paid a visit to Mr. Buchanan, our Minister, and with him proceeded to pay his respects to the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
It is said that the King of Denmark refused to see the gallant Admiral, on a plea of ill-health, but, in reality, from an indisposition to offend the Russian party, which is rather strong here. Yesterday morning Sir Charles Napier returned in the Valorous to Wingo Sound, and it is expected that the fleet will enter the Baltic to-morrow and pass the Great Belt in a day or two.
Our Ministry is in a wretched state, but still they stay in in spite of their unpopularity, which has increased tenfold since they refused to leave office.
The Diet has this day voted a sum of 400,000 rixdollars as an additional war credit, and this money is to be spent by a Ministry in which the Chambers have unanimously declared that they have no confidence. Verily there is "something rotten in the State of Denmark."
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.)
NYBORG, March 27, 8 A.M.The fleet under Admiral Napier, 23 vessels in all, anchored here yesterday, and has just sailed for Kiel.
The weather is fine.
(BY SUBMARINE AND EUROPEAN TELEGRAPH.)
KIEL, Monday.This morning the fleet, 23 strong, had all passed the Great Belt, steering for this port.
The Miranda is still taking soundings in the Baltic.
|Tu 28 March 1854|
THE BALTIC FLEET.
GOTHENBURG, March 19.The squadron under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier weighed anchor in the Downs at 2 p.m. of the 13th inst, under steam and canvass, with a light breeze from the southward, and proceeded through the Gull stream, steering E.N.E. By sunset the ships had formed three divisions or columns, sailing in open order, and according to the following programme;—
Early in the following morning the fires were extinguished, the propellers and paddle-wheels disconnected, each ship making and shortening sail as requisite, to keep in station. In the forenoon the crews were exercised at general quarters; in the afternoon the newly-raised men were put to cutlass, drill, &c. At noon the squadron was in lat 52° 50' N., long. 3° 10' E., the Scaw Light bearing N. 40° 47' E., 338 miles distant. The wind during the day was abaft the beam. Towards evening it fell light, and at midnight a calm had set in, when the fires were lighted, steam got up, propellers and paddles connected, the ships steering a N.E. course.
At 9 a.m. of the 15th, each ship’s company went to general quarters, and fired three rounds of blank cartridge. At noon the latitude was 54° 24' N., long. 4° 10' E., the Scaw Light bearing N.E. by E. by compass, 260 miles; squadron still under steam, alone. A dense fog set in at sunset, and continued during the night, the flagships Duke of Wellington, Edinburgh, and Leopard firing a gun every half hour to denote their position to the rest of the squadron.
Up to 10 a.m. of the 16th none of the squadron were visible, most of them having parted company during the preceding night. Towards noon the atmosphere became partially clear. The weather column, comprising the Leopard, Valorous, and Dragon; the Princess Royal, Royal George, Imperieuse, and Arrogant, of the central; and the Ajax of the lee columns, having separated from the rest during the prevalence of the fog, were not in sight. The wind was blowing fresh from the southward. The ships in company closed with that of the Commander-in-Chief, and made sail to close-reefed topsails and reefed courses. At noon the lat. was 56° 18' N., long. 5° 40' E. the northern point of Denmark bearing E. by N. by compass, 199 miles. About 4 p.m. the fires were put out, each ship spreading the canvass requisite to keep in position. The wind becoming light the next morning, the reefs were shook out, and the squadron proceeded under all plain sail.
At 10 a.m. of the 17th land was perceived, bearing N.W, went to general quarters by signal. At noon got up steam, the Naze, Norway, being N.W. by W. by compass, 30 miles, and Skagen Point, Denmark, E. by S., 90 miles. None of the missing ships had yet rejoined the squadron.
Early in the morning of the 18th, the light on Skagen Point was made, and shortly after daylight a merchant vessel being observed to be on shore on the northern point of the coast of Norway, the Tribune was despatched to render any assistance that might be necessary. The Ajax came in sight by 8 a.m. The brig Peggy, of London, laden with coals for the fleet, was taken in tow by the Cressy, and the whole of the squadron, with the exception of the Royal George and Arrogant, wore at anchor in Wingo Sound, in the Cattegat, by 3 p.m. The Euryalus, Capt. W. Ramsay, together with the ships which parted company in the fog which prevailed during the night of the 16th, had previously arrived. Sir C. Napier struck his flag on board the Duke of Wellington, and proceeded on the morning of the 19th to Copenhagen, leaving Rear-Admiral Chads in command. The various ships will replenish their coal, and on the return of the Commander-in-Chief, by which time it is expected Rear-Admiral Corry with the vessels under his orders, together with the French fleet, will have arrived, the allied squadron will proceed to Kiel, in Holstein, and thence to the Baltic.
|Tu 28 March 1854|
PLYMOUTH, Monday Evening.
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.)Rear-Admiral Montagu Stopford arrived here yesterday, and hoisted his flag (Blue) at the mizen, on board the Royal William, 120, ordinary guardship, as Commodore-Superintendent of the Devonport Dockyard, in the absence of Captain M. Seymour, doing duty as captain of the fleet on board the Duke of Wellington, 131. At 8 a.m. to-day Admiral Stopford proceeded into the Sound, and paid wages on board the screw steamship James Watt, 91, Captain the Hon. George Elliott. At 1 p.m. Lieutenant-Colonel F. Graham, who is appointed to command the Royal Marines in the Baltic fleet, embarked in the James Watt, and at 5 p.m. she left the Sound for Portsmouth. The 20th Regiment, stationed at Devonport, expect to embark on the 5th of April for the Baltic.
WOOLWICH, March 27.A casting took place on Friday last, at the foundry in Woolwich Dockyard, of a fine brass screw propeller for the James Watt, 91, screw steamship, and, although 10½ tons of metal were used in the casting, it was sufficiently cool to be taken out of its mould to-day, and was found to be perfect in every respect. The workmen, by continuing at their employment in making the mould, sometimes as late as 10 o'clock p.m., were enabled to make the casting sooner than would otherwise have been the case, although it was required as early as possible to enable the James Watt to proceed to join the Baltic fleet. The Algiers, 91, screw steamship, has had a brass screw propeller already supplied to her of the same pattern as has been cast for the James Watt; and the Nile, 91, screw steamship, and the Hannibal, 91, screw steamship, are to have similar brass screw propellers cast for them.
|We 29 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Tuesday.The three-decker St. George, 120, Captain Eyres, C.B., and the Prince Regent, 90, Captain H. Smith, C.B. (sailing ships), received orders yesterday afternoon to prepare for sailing at a moment’s warning, and had commenced preparations for weighing just after the close of my yesterday's despatch, but they moored again for the night. The St. George, attended by the Hecla, 6, paddlewheel sloop, left Spithead this forenoon for the Baltic. Such was the haste to get these ships away that the crew of the latter went without their advance, which was ordered to be paid them to-day. The St. George and Prince Regent are about 500 short of complement between them, but their numbers will be made up as seamen fall in from the sources we pointed out in our Sunday’s report. The Prince Regent is being paid advance to-day, and shipping stores for the fleet in the Baltic, with which she will sail, we believe, this evening. The Magicienne, 16, paddle frigate, Captain Fisher, will most probably attend upon her; she has her steam up, and all ready.
The James Watt, 91 (screw), Captain George Elliot, arrived at Spithead this morning from Devonport, en route to the Baltic. We believe she has disclosed a few defects on the passage, which she will repair in a day or two, and then sail to join Sir Charles Napier. She is a remarkably handsome ship, and appears to be efficiently manned.
The St. Vincent, 101, sailing three-decker, Captain E. H. Scott, fitting out ostensibly as the ordinary depot ship in this harbour, is being so thoroughly equipped for sea that we have no doubt she will be sent to reinforce Sir Charles Napier when she has got a crew of 900. The Waterloo, 120, flagship at Sheerness, will, we believe, not be kept in reserve, but will be sent to the Baltic.
The James Watt, Magicienne, and Desperate were the only ships at Spithead at 6 o'clock to-night, and the St. Vincent, in harbour, and the Colossus, 80, in dock fitting for screw machinery, are the only ships now left fitting for the war service. The Penelope, 16, steam frigate, is expected to be recommissioned very shortly, and the transport Resistance is also getting forward.
The Menelaus (44), lazaretto ship, has been towed from the Motherbank into this harbour to-day — it is reported to be fitted as a second hospital ship for the Baltic.
The new 30-gun screw frigate Curaçoa, to be launched at Pembroke on the 27th proximo, is ordered round to this port, to be fitted for commission for the war service with the utmost expedition. Jury rigging is being got ready for her here; and a riggers’ crew will go hence to rig and navigate her to this port.
The Sphynx, 6, paddlewheel steam-sloop, in this basin, will be the next paddlewheel commissioned, we expect, as a large party of artificers are employed upon her.
The Prince Regent is now (6 p.m.) under way for the Downs.
SHEERNESS, March 28.The Driver, 6 guns, paddlewheel steam-sloop, Commander the Hon. Arthur A. Cochrane, left here this day at 3 p.m. for Harwich and other ports on the east coast of England, to call for seamen who have volunteered for the navy. After completing her complement of blue jackets, she will proceed to the Baltic.
|Th 30 March 1854|
PORTSMOUTH, Wednesday.The James Watt, screw, 91, Captain George Elliot, will leave Spithead for the Baltic probably this evening. Her engineering defects, by the indefatigable application of the steam department of this dockyard working all night, are remedied, and she has filled up with coal. She was officially visited, and her crew mustered by Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief, this morning. She is, from our own observation, in as fine man-of-war condition as any ship could be during so short a time after commission; her crew are also above mediocrity. Her steaming powers we may judge of by the fact that she made Spithead in 17 hours after weighing from Plymouth, using only half her power, and with no sail set except jib.
The St. Vincent, 101, sailing three-decker, Captain E.H. Scott, has got her lower and topmast rigging turned in ready for rattling down, and is shipping her tanks from the Clarence-yard.
The Penelope, 16, paddle-wheel steam-frigate, has been this day recommissioned for war service. Captain Caffin is her new commander. She is being refitted for sea with all despatch.
The Magicienne, 16, paddle frigate, Captain Fisher, followed the Prince Regent at sunset last night for the Baltic.
The Harpy, iron steam-vessel, 4, is ordered for commission. She will be taken out of dock on Monday.
The Pigmy, steam tug, proceeded to Southampton this morning to embark troops for the Isle of Wight.
Captain Tennyson D'Eyncourt has been appointed to the command of the Desperate screw steam-frigate.
|Fr 31 March 1854|
THE BALTIC FLEET.
GOTHENBORG, March 22.The arrival in the Cattegat of the squadron under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir C. Napier was hailed with the greatest enthusiasm by the residents of this city, a vast number of whom went afloat to welcome the presence on the Swedish shores of the most powerful fleet that has assembled there for more than 50 years. Should the gallant commander-in-chief remain beyond the present week, a deputation from the principal authorities will be sent off to the flagship, inviting him and the whole of the officers of the fleet to a public ball. The Swedes and Norwegians are in favour of the cause which England and France have resolved to support. The Danes, on the other hand, are inclined to support Russia, and, from information recently received, it is doubtful if the allied squadrons will rendezvous at Kiel.
Sir Charles Napier shifted his flag from the Duke of Wellington to the Valorous on the morning of the 19th inst., and proceeded to Copenhagen to receive the further instructions from the Admiralty which there awaited him. Commodore Michael Seymour, Captain of the Fleet, hoisted his broad pendant on board the Duke, Rear-Admiral Plumridge, with his flying in the Leopard, being senior officer pro tem. The Dragon was despatched outside the Sound to take in tow any merchant vessels that might be in the offing laden with coals for the fleet. Each day the crews of the various ships have been at the great guns, firing at a target moored at a distance of 800 yards. The precision with which the shots were fired was in most cases admirable, and leaves no doubt of the destructive effect they would produce if directed at the ships or batteries of an enemy. The greatest unanimity of sentiment prevails throughout the squadron, Officers and men, although hard worked, perform their onerous duties most cheerfully, imbued with the feeling that it is incumbent on them to sacrifice their personal comforts to the exigencies of the service in which they are engaged.
The Dauntless, 33, Captain Ryder, was descried under sail in the forenoon of the 21st inst., beating up for the anchorage, but, owing to the strong north-east wind, she was unable to get into the Sound, and anchored outside. In the afternoon she got up steam by signal, and took up her appointed station with the other ships. The Valorous returned shortly before sunset from Copenhagen with the Commander-in-Chief, and he re-hoisted his flag on board the "Great Duke." The squadron immediately hoisted in their boats, and made preparations for sailing at a moment's notice.
In the forenoon of the next day the masters of the various ships were signalled to repair on board the flagship with the charts for the Baltic. The Tribune, Captain the Hon. S.T. Carnegie, was ordered to get up steam with all despatch, and sent to procure pilots. The squadron is expected to sail in a day or two for the Baltic, proceeding through the Great Belt. Colds and affections of the chest, having an inflammatory tendency, prevail in some of the ships. With this exception, the crews are in a healthy state.
The Commander-in-Chief has determined on Kioge Bay, near Copenhagen, as the rendezvous for the ships under his order, for which anchorage they will start on the return of the Tribune with pilots.