HMS Sprightly (1837)
HMS Sprightly (1837)


The Royal Navy

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NameSprightly (1837)Explanation
TypePacket   
Acquired1837
HullWooden
PropulsionPaddle
Builders measure234 tons
Displacement 
Guns 
Fate1889
Class 
Ships bookADM 135/445
NoteLaunched 1823.
Transferred from Post Office, ex-Harlequin
Snippets concerning this vessels career
DateEvent
1 January 1862Commanded by Master commander George Allen, Portsmouth, tender to Victory
Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Sa 8 December 1849

Portsmouth, Dec. 6.

In Port and Fitting

In the Harbour. - The Victory and Illustrious flag-ships, the Excellent gunnery ship; the Blenheim steam-guard-ship; the Eurydice, stripping to pay off; the Contest, fitting out; the Rolla apprentices' brig, laying up for the winter; the Fairy and Elfin, and Portsmouth yachts; the Flamer packet from Holyhead, and the Echo tug.
In Dock. - The Britannia, 120; the Dauntless, 24; the Fantome, 16; the Lily, 16; the Fox, 42; the Devastation, and the Birkenhead steam frigates.
In the Basin. - The Princess Charlotte, 104; the Actaeon, 26; and the Sprightly and the Bee steam-vessels.
In the Steam Basin, - The Ajax, 60; the Penelope, 22; the Sidon, 26; the Victoria and Albert royal yacht; the Urgent , the Pike, the Asp, and the Blazer.
Building. - The Royal Frederick, 120;[subsequently cancelled later and completed as Frederick William] the Prince of Wales, 120; the Princess Royal, 90; the Argus, and the Furious steam sloops.
Sa 22 November 1851The Sprightly steam tender, Acting-Master-Commander Allen, sails to-morrow for Plymouth, taking supernumeraries for Lisbon and the West Indies, to take passage respectively in the Rosamond and Hecate steam sloops.
Ma 6 March 1854

PORTSMOUTH, March 5.

The victualling of the ships at Spithead for six months foreign service was completed yesterday. There are now at this rendezvous to-day the following ships, the complements of which we give, as nearly as we can arrive at them without consulting the ships' books:—
 Guns.Tons.Crew.Horse-
power.
Princess Royal, Captain Lord Clarence Paget, flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier, K.C.B., &c.913,129880400
Prince Regent, Captain Hutton, flag of Rear-Admiral Corry.902,513821
Edinburgh, Captain Hewlett, flag of Rear-Admiral Chads. C.B.561,772660450
Royal George, Captain Codrington, C.B.1212,6161,100400
St. Jean d'Acre, Captain the Hon. Henry Keppel.1013,600900650
Boscawen, Captain Glanville.702,212620
Hogue, Captain W. Ramsay.601.750660450
Imperieuse, Captain Watson, C.B.512,347530360
Arrogant, Captain Yelverton.471,872450360
Amphion. Captain A.C. Key.341.474320300
Tribune, Captain the Hon. S.T. Carnegie.301,570200300
Dauntless, Captain Ryder.331,490300580
Leopard, Captain Giffard.181,412280550
Valorous, Captain C.H.M. Buckle.161,255220400
Dragon, Captain Willcox.61,270200500
Bulldog, Captain W.C. Hall.61,123160500
Frolic, Commander Nolloth.16511120
They have each been ordered (this day) to draw charts for the Baltic.
Every day will add to this force, which will eventually include the three-deckers, Duke of Wellington, 131; St. George, 120; Waterloo, 120; Neptune, 120; Caesar, 91; Nile, 91; James Watt, 91; Algiers, 91; Monarch, 84; Ganges, 84; Cressy, 81; Majestic, 81; Blenheim, 60; Ajax, 60; Euryalus, 51 ; Fox, 42; Pique, 40; and numerous others. Sir Charles Napier will, we believe, command personally 20 sail of the line, and 10 sail of French. There will be about 50 sail of smaller ships, which will be apportioned to the English and French Rear-Admirals and Commodore Martin, and it is reported a squadron of sailing-sloops or brigs is to be commissioned to cruise off the Scotch coast to prevent privateering. Rear-Admiral Corry will shift his flag to-morrow from the Prince Regent, 90, to the Neptune, 120, an order having been received yesterday, appointing Captain Hutton to the Neptune, and Captain Smith, C.B., from the Neptune, to the Prince Regent. Captain Hutton takes with him Commander Bunce, Lieutenant Brandreth, and 50 of the Prince Regent's crew. When the change of officers and ships was made known on board the Prince Regent yesterday, the whole ship's company, who really love their admiral and captain, and are devotedly attached to their matchless ship, wanted to follow the admiral, as one man, into the Neptune, and when told that only 50 would be allowed to be draughted by the Admiralty, their countenances betokened the sincerest dejection. Subsequently all the petty officers went aft on the quarter deck and respectfully requested that the Admiralty might be memorialised for their removal with their admiral and captain. The Neptune will be some time getting ready. She has lower yards and topmasts up and topgallant masts pointed, but has only 150 men on her books besides her draught of Royal Marines. We expect, therefore, that Rear-Admiral Chads will be the first despatched with a "flying squadron" of frigates towards the Baltic, that Sir Charles Napier will follow, and that Rear-Admiral Corry will bring up the rear. Captain Hay, of the Victory, has declined the flag-captaincy to Sir Charles Napier. The Prince Regent, the St. Jean d’Acre, the Amphion and the Odin were paid wages down to the 31st of January yesterday. The Imperieuse, Tribune, and Valorous will be paid to-morrow, leaving only the Arrogant (whose pay books have not yet been landed) of Admiral Corry's division to be paid. The Blenheim, 60, Captain the Hon, F.J. Pelham, has readjusted her compasses and will be ready to join the fleet to morrow. The Caesar, 91, Captain Robb, is rattling down her rigging. The Odin, 16, Captain F. Scott, is repairing boilers in the steam-basin. The fleet are daily exercised in .gunnery, reefing, furling, &c. Mr. Parratt, of the Treasury, brought down last night from London a small tubular collapsing boat, upon the principle of his admirable liferaft, which he has this day taken off to the St. Jean d'Acre, for the Hon. H. Keppell. The 23d, 42d, and 79th Regiments are preparing for active service. The two latter corps will be augmented by volunteers from the 72d and 79th depots, 31 volunteers from the 11th Foot, 32 from the 65th, and 62 from the 35th embarked from this dockyard at 6 o'clock this morning, in the Foyle, British and Irish Steam-pocket Company's vessel, to join the 1st battalion of the Royals, at Plymouth. The Foyle embarks the 93d depôt at Plymouth, to-morrow, for the Isle of Wight. The depôt of the 2d battalion of the Rifle Brigade will be conveyed to the Isle of Wight to-morrow in Her Majesty's steam-tender Sprightly.
The Cruiser, 14, Commander G.H. Douglas, will join the Baltic fleet.
Sa 18 March 1865Yesterday morning, in accordance with previously understood arrangements, the majority of the members of the Board of Admiralty arrived at Portsmouth from London, and embarking on board the Royal Sovereign turret ship, at Spithead, took a short cruise in the Channel, south of the Isle of Wight, accompanied by Her Majesty's ships then lying at Spithead, and witnessed some evolutions under steam and gunnery. The fleet at Spithead, which consisted of the Achilles, Black Prince, and Defence iron-clad broadside-gun frigates, the Royal Sovereign iron-cased turret ship, and the Liverpool, latest improved class of wooden screw frigate, had steam up and cables hove in shortly after 9 a.m., in readiness for their Lordships' arrival. The wind was moderate from S.S.E., with the barometer steady at 30·3. At half past 10 the Fire Queen steam yacht was seen from on board the ships of the fleet to be coming from between the points of Portsmouth harbour to Spithead with the flag of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, G.C.B, the Naval Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, flying from her main, and very shortly the party on board of her were transferred from the Fire Queen to the Royal Sovereign, consisting of Admirals Sir Frederick Grey, Drummond, Eden, Frederick, and Fanshawe; with Mr. Romaine, C.B., and Capt. Hall, R.N., secretary to the Duke of Somerset (from the Admiralty); accompanied by Admirals Sir Michael Seymour, G.C.B., Sydney Colpoys Dacres, C.B., and George Elliot, Capts. Caldwell, C.B., Preedy, C.B., F. Scott, C.B. and Aide-de-Camp to the Queen, and a number of other naval officers out of uniform, and also by Capt. Pigeaud, Naval Attaché to the Imperial French Embassy in London. Capt. Astley C. Key, C.B., of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, received the members of the Admiralty and the officers by whom they were accompanied on the deck of the Royal Sovereign, as her commander pro tem. The anchors of the fleet were soon afterwards weighed, and the ships steamed slowly out by the eastern channel as they secured their anchors, the Royal Sovereign leading, as the flagship of the Admiral commanding; the four-masted Achilles came next, the Black Prince third, the Defence fourth, and the Liverpool last. The Lords of the Admiralty present had, therefore, for their immediate personal observation under steam three distinct classes of our broadside gun ironclads, our most powerful turret ship, and the latest improved model of the 34-gun wooden frigate. The ships continued on their course, with the steam tender yachts Fire Queen and Sprightly in attendance on the port beam of the line, until 20 minutes past noon; when the headland of Dunnose opened out well on the starboard beam of the fleet, and the course was changed from S. and by W. to W, so as to bring the wind and sea abeam and get as much roll as was possible out of the turret ship while working her turrets and guns. There was found, however, to be neither wind nor sea enough to effect her, placed as she was, in the slightest degree, and the direction of the course was therefore again changed by signal to W. and by S. to some distance further off the land. There the breeze freshened a little, with a somewhat heavier sea. The Royal Sovereign's speed was slowed, her crew beat to quarters, turrets were manned, upper deck bulwarks thrown down, and other preparations made for action, and all being ready the turrets were turned by that portion of the crew at the winch handles below, and the guns sighted and laid in various directions to exhibit the turrets' capabilities of revolving and the time occupied in laying the guns in various directions. There was nothing new or particularly interesting in any of these proceedings, excepting the fact that the work necessarily took a longer time in each instance than it did on similar occasions of trial when the ship was in commission under Capt. Osborn's command. This was owing to the fact that the greater part of the men yesterday (who had been lent from the Excellent) had never before been engaged in working turrets and their guns. While the Royal Sovereign was lying thus the four broadside ships steamed past and close alongside her in line, and it was evident that had they been in reality approaching the ship in this manner as enemies every ship would have been sunk by the guns of the turret ship before they could have brought their broadside guns to bear upon her deck or turrets. The Achilles was a strong illustration in point, as she steamed up for the Royal Sovereign's port quarter with only eight guns in battery on either side of her hull, the foremost guns being on a line with her forward funnel. It was also remarkable that all the ironclads exhibited a greater lateral motion, or "roll" than the Royal Sovereign under full steam, and that while the Defence plunged her bows into the water and threw a wave up to her hawsepipes the Liverpool rode with greater ease than any of the others. There was a want of both wind and sea to test satisfactorily, as a matter of comparison, the working of the different ships' guns in a roll of a seaway, for no roll to speak of existed, and preparations were therefore made for target firing, the Royal Sovereign commencing from her three foremost turrets at 1,800 yards' range, with 150lb. round shot and 40lb. charges of powder, firing to starboard; and then with circling round the target and firing from the same guns at short range. Guns, turrets, and fittings worked with ease, and the concussion felt on the ship's upper deck was generally allowed to be less than the concussion ordinarily felt on a ship's main gun deck from the firing of ordinary 68 or 100 pounders. The Lords of the Admiralty present and the officers accompanying them were on the ship's upper deck during the time of the firing, some being on the platform round the funnel casing, and others walking the deck itself on the leeward side from the fire. The practice from the turret ship having been brought to a conclusion signal was made to the fleet to close on the Admiral and open fire from their port batteries on the target at 600 yards as they steamed past. The Royal Sovereign led off with two shots from her foremost turret guns, and was followed by the Achilles from her 9·22-inch or 100-pounder smooth bore coil built guns, and the other ships by their mixed batteries as they came up. The effect was magnificent, and the Lords of the Admiralty saw much to suggest reflection in the brilliant scene before them. There was a costly squadron of five ships, each perhaps superior as a ship to all others of the same class in foreign navies, and yet only one of these carried guns that would even under the most favourable circumstances pierce any one of the other's sides. If, however, the naval display of yesterday was intended to settle any of the disputes in the contest of "turret versus broadside ships' batteries," an old partly plated hulk or target would have afforded more satisfactory results. The target fired at was a small "pole" target, sent afloat with a flag on the top of the pole, and it is remarkable that it was not hit in any instance by the fire of the fleet. After the firing had been brought to a conclusion the fleet returned to Spithead in the order they left, and again anchored there. The Lords of the Admiralty, on leaving the Royal Sovereign, took the opportunity of visiting the other ships as they came to an anchor. On returning to Portsmouth their Lordships visited the Malacca and other ships in the harbour, and afterwards dined at Hirst's Portland Hotel, Southsea.
The Royal Sovereign is ordered to undergo an ordeal of some 12 or 14 days' experimental work outside the Isle of Wight under the direction of Capt. A. C. Key, C.B., of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, when her gunnery capabilities will be fully and practically developed under every possible condition. As on this officer's report must depend in a great measure the matured opinion of the Admiralty respecting the turret principle, it is satisfactory to hear it remarked on all sides that the conduct of such an important matter could not have been placed in more able or impartial hands.
A. patented compass, the invention of Commander Arthur, of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, was tried on board the Royal Sovereign during the cruise, and attracted much attention from several of the Lords and the officers on board. It is for registering a ship's course at sea on lined and prepared paper, working on a cylinder by clockwork, the direction of the ship's head being taken and marked by an indicator pencil every two minutes and a half. It can be placed in any part of the ship where there is no local attraction, and does not require being placed with the ship's compass.
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