|Launched||13 August 1858|
|Builders measure||3733 tons|
|Fate||1875||Last in commission||1862|
|Class||Class (as screw)||Mersey|
|13 August 1858||Launched at Chatham Dockyard.|
|4 March 1859|
- 13 August 1862
|Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain Henry Caldwell, flagship of Richard Saunders Dundas, Channel squadron, then (1860) North America and West Indies|
|1 July 1867|
- 20 September 1867
|Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Captain John Corbett, flagship of Rear-Admiral Claude Henry Mason Buckle, flagship, Queenstown|
- January 1869
|Commanded by Captain Richard Dunning White, flagship, Queenstown|
|(4 January 1869)||Commanded by Captain John Seccombe, flagship, Queenstown (and, May 1869, cruise of the Reserve Fleet)|
|14 April 1870|
- 21 August 1872
|Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Alan Henry Gardner, flagship, Queenstown (replaced by Revenge)|
|23 January 1875||Sold to Castle and Beech for breaking up at Charlton.|
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Ma 14 August 1848|
THE LAUNCH OF THE MERSEY
Another attempt was made yesterday afternoon at Chatham dockyard to launch Her Majesty's large screw frigate Mersey, 40, which refused to quit the stocks on the previous day, and the efforts of those employed in the operation were crowned with complete success, the Mersey being now safely afloat alongside the dockyard. The failure in the attempted launch on Thursday afternoon appeared to take every person by surprise, as such a circumstance had not been known to occur at Chatham dockyard for a very great number of years; and even now no satisfactory reason for the non-launching of the vessel can be arrived at. It was not until after 4 o'clock on Thursday afternoon that the efforts to get her off the stocks were abandoned, and Mr. Laire, the master shipwright, reluctantly gave the orders to discontinue the attempts that day, and issued directions to shore up to prevent her rushing down the "ways" into the river in a sudden fit. Immediately the huge vessel was made secure a minute examination of the ship, the "ways," the cradle, and, indeed, every other part of the ship, was instituted, in order to ascertain why the hitch had occurred. It was at first supposed that that part of the ship which had been recently added had sunk in some minute degree so as to affect the incline of the "ways," but on examination not the slightest sinking, even to the minutest part of an inch, could be detected, a satisfactory proof of the excellent manner in which the ship had been constructed by Messrs. Rigby, the contractors. The "ways" were then examined, and these were found to be in perfect order, the "camber" of the vessel being even a trifle more than is usually the case in consequence of the immense length of the Mersey. The only conclusion arrived at to account for the hanging of the ship was that of adhesion, a feature not altogether unknown in the launching of large vessels, the supposition being that the great weight of the Mersey - increased too by 100 tons of machinery which had been put on board - had caused her to adhere so tightly to the "ways" as to require a force of no ordinary description to lift her and give her a slight start. Several gangs of shipwrights were accordingly employed up to a late hour on Thursday night, commencing again at 4 o'clock yesterday morning, in putting down additional blocks and screws to ease her off. Four large hydraulic presses were also borrowed from the yards of Messrs. Foord and Sons and Mr. Gill, at Rochester, to be used in the attempt to move her, the Government establishment at Chatham being without any machinery of that description. Several large rams were also placed at the stem of the ship to exert their force on the sullen mass.
The time decided on to make the second attempt to launch the Mersey was 3 o'clock in the afternoon, at which time there was sufficient water to float her off. At that hour Mr. Laire and Mr. Fincham, the master shipwrights, stationed themselves at the head of the vessel; Mr. Cheeseman, her builder, superintending the operations of the men below. At a given signal the dog-shores and blocks were simultaneously knocked away, and the pressure from the four hydraulic presses brought to bear against the vessel's stern. The shipwrights at the same moment forced the rams, by means of powerful wedges, against the ship, which could no longer resist the tremendous force applied, and in about five minutes the cry arose, "She's off," and in an instant afterwards the large vessel was seen gliding down the "ways " into the waters of the Medway, which she appeared to be so reluctant to enter. Notwithstanding the disappointment many thousands had to endure the previous day there was again an immense number of spectators present, as it was pretty well known that the ship could not resist the force about to be used in getting her off the stocks. As the Mersey floated into the river those on shore and on board the vessel loudly cheered. After the launch, another examination of the "ways" and slip was made, but no fault whatever could be found in either to account for the failure in the first attempt, which, as we previously stated, was doubtless caused by adhesion.
The Mersey will be masted and jury-rigged at Chatham, after which she will be navigated to Portsmouth to be made ready for sea, it being understood that she is to form one of the Channel fleet of large line-of-battle ships and frigates, She is pierced for the following powerful armament:-Main deck, 28 10-inch guns, each 84 cwt. and 9 feet 4 inches in length; upper deck, 12 68-pounder pivots, each 95 cwt. and 10 feet in length. From the power of her engines (1,000-horse), she is expected to attain a great speed afloat. The next vessel to be launched at Chatham dockyard is the Charybdis, 22, screw corvette; to be followed by the Hood, 91-gun line-of-battle screw steamer.
|Fr 29 April 1859||THE CHANNEL FLEET.- BEREHAVEN, April 23.-The ships of the Channel fleet that had been staying here for some months left to-day. They comprised the Royal Albert, the Renown, the Brunswick, the St. Jean d'Acre, and the Racoon. The Victor Emanuel and the Orion came in here with them, but early in March they were ordered to Tangier. It is said that these two vessels are to join the Channel fleet again, as also the Algiers and the James Watt, line-of-battle ships, and the Liffey, the Mersey, and the Doris, frigates. The Caesar and the Diadem are also returning from the West Indies to join, and the Euryalus from the Mediterranean. During their stay here the Marines and Naval Brigades were exercised on shore every week, as also in the boats. The Admiral, Sir Charles Freemantle, is most deservedly popular with all classes.- Cork Reporter.|
|Th 9 June 1859||The Channel fleet now assembled at Portland consists of the following screw steamships;- Exmouth, 91, Capt. J. Stopford; Hero, 91, Capt. G.H. Seymour, C.B.; James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; Algiers, 91, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; Cressy, 80, Capt. the Hon. G.J.B. Elliot, C.B.; Mersey, 40. Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B.; Blenheim, 60, Capt. F. Scott. A considerable augmentation, of the fleet is shortly expected.|
|Sa 18 June 1859||The new line-of-battle ship Royal Albert, 121, Captain Rice, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, arrived at Portland harbour on Thursday afternoon at half-??? [unreadable] from Plymouth. On arriving off King's Pier, the Hero, Captain G. H. Seymour, C.B., saluted the gallant ??? with the usual number of guns, which was duly replied to. The Royal Albert came in under steam, and took an excellent position inside the other ships of war at anchor in that magnificent harbour. The fleet now comprises the following ships:- Royal Albert, 121; Hero, ???; James Watt, 91; Algiers, 91; Mersey, 40; Emerald, Blenheim, 60; and the gunboats Flying Fish, 6, and ???.|
|Fr 1 July 1859||The screw line-of-battle ship Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Thomas Hope, arrlved at Portland on Tuesday afternoon from Spithead. Her Majesty's vessels now at anchor in that harbour are the Royal Albert, 121; Hero, 91; James Watt, 91; Agamemnon, 91; Algiers, 91; Emerald, 51; Mersey, 40; Curacoa, 31; Blenheim, 60; Pioneer, 6; Flying Fish, 6; and the Biter, 2.|
|Fr 8 July 1859||The screw line-of-battle ships Royal Albert, 121, Capt. E.B. Rice, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle; the James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; the Hero, 91, Capt. G.H. Seymour, C.B.; the Algiers, 91, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mersey, 40, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B.; and the screw despatch gunboat Flying Fish, 6, Commander Hope, left Portland harbour on Wednesday morning for a cruise in the Channel. The Agamemnon, 91, Capt. T. Hope; the Emerald, 31, Capt. Arthur Cumming; the Blenheim, 60, Capt. Scott; and the Pioneer, 6, Commander May, are still at anchor.|
|Ma 18 July 1859||The screw line-of-battle ships Royal Albert, 121, bearing the flag of Sir Charles Fremantle; James Watt, 91; Algiers, 91; Hero, 91; the screw-frigate Mersey, 40; and the despatch gunboat Flying Fish, 6, arrived at Portland under steam on Friday morning after a few days cruise in the Channel. The other ships at anchor at Portland are the Agamemnon, 91; Aboukir, 91; Emerald, 51; Blenheim, 60 ; and the gun-boats Pioneer, 6, and Biter, 2.|
|Ma 22 August 1859||Eight out of the 11 vessels forming that portion of the Channel fleet at Spithead left that anchorage under steam on Saturday. Early in the morning indications were given of their approaching departure; royal yards were crossed, funnels raised, and fires lit. At noon Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., embarked on board his barge from the sallyport stairs, and proceeded on board the Royal Albert, which, with the remainder of the squadron, had steam up, and was hove short. It was 3 p.m. before the fleet was fairly under way, the Royal Albert leading as far as the Nab Light, when the Flying Fish, 6, screw, Commander C. W. Hope, was sent ahead of the Royal Albert, and took up her position as look-out vessel to the squadron. Scarcely a ripple was on the water, and a more magnificent sight could not be imagined than the ships presented as they steamed round the east end of the Wight in the order named:- The Flying Fish, screw, 6, Commander C. W. Hope; the Royal Albert, 131, screw, Captain E. B. Rice, bearing the flag (red at the mizen) of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B.; the Algiers, 91, screw, Captain G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the James Watt, 91, screw, Captain E. Codd; the Agamemnon, 91, screw, Captain T. Hope; the Hero, 91, screw, Captain G.H. Seymour; the Diadem, 32, screw, Capt. W. Moorsom, C.B.; and the Emerald, 51, screw, Capt. A. Cumming. The Mersey was detained at Spithead on her experimental screw trials, her third attempt at the measured mile on Saturday again proving a failure, owing to the continued priming of her boilers. The ships at present at Spithead comprise the Trafalgar, 91, screw, Capt. E.G. Fanshawe; the Mersey, 40, screw, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B.; and the Scout, 21, screw, Capt. John Corbett, the above three vessels belonging to the Channel fleet; the Sidon, 22, paddle, Capt. R.B. Crawford, and the Pioneer, 6, screw, Commander Hugh Reilley, both ordered on foreign service, and the Gorgon, 6, paddle, Commander Bedford C. Pim|
|Ma 12 September 1859||The Channel fleet was off Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. At half-past 3 o'clock they were under steam only 3½ miles south of the Mewstone coming from the eastward, and led by the Royal Albert; they then edged in towards the Breakwater, under jibs and spankers only; wind, N. by W. The ships afterwards paid off towards the south, and at 5 o'clock were four or five miles east of the Eddystone, under steam only, apparently going down Channel. The fleet consisted of the flagship, the Royal Albert, 121, Rear. Admiral Sir Charles Freemantle; the Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D. O'Callaghan; the James Watt, 91, Capt. Edward Codd; Caesar, 90, Capt. Thomas H. Mason; Hero, 91, Capt George H. Seymour; Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; Nile, 90, Capt. Arthur P.E. Wilmot, C.B.; Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles F. Schomberg; Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Thomas Hope; Topaze, 51, Capt. Hon. W.S. Spencer; Emerald, 51, Capt. Arthur Cumming; Flying Fish, 6, Commander Charles W. Hope; and Melpomene, 50, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart.|
|Sa 17 September 1859||The Channel fleet entered Plymouth Sound yesterday (Friday). It consists of the flagship Royal Albert, 121, Rear-Admiral Sir C. Fremantle; the Hero, 91, Captain Sir G.J. Brooke; the Algiers, 91, Captain O'Callaghan; the Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Wilson [this would seem to be an error, Thomas Hope was captain at this time]; the Caesar, 90, Capt. Mason; the Emerald, 50, Capt. Cumming; the James Watt, 91, Capt. E. Codd; the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Schomberg; and the Topazee, 50, Capt. Spencer. The ships hove in sight about 9 a.m.; the Admiral entered at 11; the last ship at 2 p.m.; the flagship parted her bower cable in the Sound; the Melpomene and the Mersey parted company from the rest of the fleet at sea.|
|Ma 3 October 1859||None of the ships belonging to the Channel fleet have left Plymouth during the last week, and there is no present prospect of a combined movement by Admiral Fremantle, who is Commander-in-Chief of the port daring the temporary absence of Vice-Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds, K.C.B. In the meantime indications which would pass unnoticed under other circumstances, are now observed with interest both on board and on shore; the officers know, if possible, less than the townsmen. The flag ship, Royal Albert, 121, Capt. B. Rice, went from the Sound on Wednesday into Hamoaze, and, with all her armament on board, was placed in dock at Devonport. The copper was stripped off near the aperture of her shaft, and that part of the ship was caulked and recoppered; her bends were also caulked. She was undocked on Saturday. The corners of her fans will probably be reduced. Her crew of 1,000 men are considered good. Some of them are absent on leave until the 7th inst. Strong gales from the southward, accompanied by heavy rains, have recently prevailed, and have compelled the fleet in the Sound to strike top-gallant-masts and make all snug. The state of the weather has most likely prevented the departure of the screw steamship Caesar, 90, Capt. Thomas H. Mason; for some days the davits have been ready to get up her anchors, and she has been otherwise prepared. The blue Peter was flying on Saturday, and 10 or 12 officers and about 60 men, for various ships in the Mediterranean, have embarked. The officers of the Caesar are requesting to have their letters addressed in the first instance to Gibraltar. According to present information she will remain two years on the station; she was commissioned in June, 1853. The Caesar sailed yesterday (Sunday) morning, at 10 o'clock, It will be recollected that, some 10 days since, the Lords of the Admiralty issued orders to prepare for foreign service the James Watt, 91, Capt. Edward Codd, and the Agamemnon, 91, Capt. Thomas Hope. These ships continue ready. The James Watt is bound for the Mediterranean, and has received stores for the Orion and other ships there. The destination of the Agamemnon is uncertain; it is not thought now that she will follow the James Watt; some of her officers have just received leave of absence for a week. The Nile, 90, Capt. A.B. Wilmot, C.B, has a good crew of 850 men, many of whom are from Liverpool; about five months since she supplied 80 to the Doris, and shortly after, 90 to the Algiers. It is expected that the Nile will return to Queenstown, where her crew will probably be reduced to 350. The screw steam frigate Emerald, 50, Capt. Arthur Cumming has a crew of 550, which is less than her complement; it is supposed that she will winter at Sheerness. The Mersey, 40, Capt. Caldwell, C.B., has a complement of 560, chiefly "young fellows," who hope to be paid down at Portsmouth, and to pass the winter there. No preparations for sea are making on board the Diadem, 32, Capt. William Moorsom, C.B. The screw steam gun-vessel Flying Fish, 6, Commander Hope, went outside the harbour on Thursday to try her machinery, which has been recently repaired at Keyham steam yard. The Aboukir, Hero, Melpomene, Topaze, and Virago, complete the Channel fleet. Very few men have volunteerd for the expedition to China.|
|Ma 10 October 1859||Yesterday (Sunday) there were in Plymouth Sound ships of war belonging to five different nations, a circumstance said to be unprecedented.- The English ships of the line Aboukir, Algiers, Donegal, Hero, and Nile; frigates Diadem, Emerald, Melpomene, Mersey, and Topaze; corvette Pearl; the Dutch frigate Admiral Koopman, and sloops Vesuvius and Rainier; the Russian sloop Razboynik; the Brazilian corvette Bahiana; and the Turkish line-of-battle ship Shadie. In all 17 pennants. The whole of the ships, with the exception of the Brazilian corvette, have steam power.|
|Th 13 October 1859||The following screw steamships, forming part of the Channel fleet, in Plymouth Sound, were ordered on Tuesday to prepare for sea immediately: viz., the Donegal, 101, Capt. William F. Glanville; the Emerald, 50, Capt. Arthur Cumming; the Melpomene, 50, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart; the Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; the Algiers, 91, Capt, George W.D. O'Callaghan; the Hero, 81, Capt. George H. Seymour; and the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles S. Schomberg. The Nile and Melpomene will probably go to the West Indies, and the Hero to Vancouver's Island.|
The screw steam corvette Pearl, 21, Capt. Borlase, C.B., left Plymouth on Monday night for China. As she passed through the Sound her crew was cheered most lustily by the crews of the Channel fleet.
|Sa 15 October 1859||At 8 a.m. on Thursday Rear Admiral Elliott hoisted his flag (blue at the mizen) on board the screw steamship Hero, 90, Capt. Seymour, in Plymouth Sound, and took command of the fleet. His flag was saluted by the Dutch and Brazilian ships of war in the Sound. At noon the Aboukir, Capt. Schomberg, tripped her anchor and was followed in succession by the Hero, 90, Capt. Seymour; Algiers, 91, Capt. G. O'Callaghan; Trafalgar, 91, Capt. Fanshawe; and Donegal, 101, Capt. G. Glanville, under steam, and by the Mersey, 40, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B,; Melpomene, 60, Capt. Ewart; and Emerald, 51, Capt. A, Cumming, under canvas. The last ship left at 5 p.m. One report states that the squadron will cruise ten days and return to Plymouth, another that they will rendezvous at Queenstown.|
|Th 20 October 1859||The following ships of the Channel fleet arrived in Cork Harbour on Saturday:- Donegal, 101, screw steamer; Aboukir, 90, screw steamer; Hero, 91, screw steamer; Trafalgar, 120; Algiers, 91, screw steamer; Emerald, 51, screw steamer; Melpomene, 50, screw steamer; and Mersey, 40 screw steamer.|
|Th 27 October 1859||The Channel fleet was off Plymouth on Tuesday evening. The Emerald and Mersey parted company from them, and entered the Sound to receive provisions for conveyance to Torbay, where the ships will assemble, and be joined by the Royal Albert and Diadem, from Plymouth.|
|We 2 November 1859||The screw line-of-battle ship Royal Albert, 121, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, the screw steam frigates Mersey, 40, and the Emerald, 51, arrived at Portland on Sunday from Plymouth. The Mars, 80, and the Blenheim, 60, arrived from the westward on Monday.|
|Sa 12 November 1859||The Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. George D. O'Callaghan, arrived at Spithead from Portland yesterday.|
The ships remaining in Portland Harbour are:- the Royal Albert, 131; the Hero, 91; the Aboukir, 91; the Mars, 81; the Blenheim, 61; the Mersey, 40; the Emerald, 51; and the Melpomene, 51.
The screw steamshlp Trafalgar, 91, from Portland, arrived in Plymouth Sound yesterday morning.
|We 7 December 1859||The screw line-of-battle ship Algiers, 91, rejoined the Channel Fleet at Portland on Sunday. The vessels now at anchor there are the Royal Albert, 131 (flag ship); Hero, 91; Aboukir, 91; Algiers, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Mars, 80; Mersey, 40; Diadem, 32; Blenheim, 60; Donegal, 101; Partridge, 6; and the Biter, 2.|
|Th 23 February 1860||The screw steam frigate Diadem, 32, Capt. James H. Cockburn, arrived at Portland on Tuesday from Portsmouth. A portion of the Channel fleet is expected to leave that harbour in a few days for the Tagus. The vessels now in port are the Royal Albert, 121; Edgar, 91; Queen, 91; Algiers, 91: Donegal, 101; Hero, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Melpomene, 51; Mersey, 40; Diadem, 32; Blenheim, 60; Mutine, 17; Greyhound, 17; Biter, 2; and the Partridge, 2.|
|Fr 24 February 1860||We learn by electric telegraph that the Channel fleet, consisting of the Royal Albert, Edgar, Donegal, Algiers, Trafalgar, Queen, Mersey, Melpomene, and Diadem, left Portland at noon yesterday, under sail, for Lisbon.|
|Fr 2 March 1860||A letter dated Torbay, Tuesday, received at Plymouth, from one of the officers of the Channel squadron, says that off the Lizard the ships were taken all aback, and could not again form a line. The Edgar, Queen, and Donegal remained out. Besides the casualties to the Queen, Diadem, Algiers, and Mersey, already reported in The Times, the letter states that the Aboukir lost her cross-jack yard and starboard quarter-boats, the Royal Albert pitched her jib-boom under at times, and the Trafalgar lost her jib-boom; she will probably call at Plymouth before proceeding to the Tagus.|
|We 4 April 1860||A portion of the Channel Fleet, consisting of the screw steamships Royal Albert, 121, Capt. Henry J. Lacon, bearing the flag of Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B.; the Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles F. Schomberg; and the screw steam-frigate Melpomene, 51, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart, hove in sight at Plymouth about 6 o'clock yesterday (Tuesday) morning, with the wind from the westward, a smart breeze. They came in from sea under their three topsails, and on reaching the west end of the breakwater took in all canvas, and proceeded under steam to the anchorage ground, the flagship taking her position well to the westward. At 8 o'clock the flag of Port Admiral Sir Barrington Reynolds, K.C.B., was honoured by a salute, which was acknowledged by the Impregnable, 104, Capt. Stewart, in Hamoaze. This portion of the Channel fleet left Lisbon on Friday, March the 23d, in company with the screw steamships Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon; Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D. O'Callaghan; Queen, 86, Capt. Charles F. Hillyar; Mars, 80, Capt. James N. Strange; and the screw steam-frigate Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B. The Edgar carried away her main topsailyard on Sunday morning, when crossing the Bay of Biscay. The Edgar and Mersey have lost a man each overboard. On Monday night, off the Lizard, the Edgar, Algiers, Queen, Mars, and Mersey parted company, and proceeded up Channel for Portsmouth. Very fine weather was experienced at first, but within the last four days strong gales from west-north-west have prevailed, with extraordinary heavy seas. All the ships are reported leaky; the Royal Albert will require a thorough caulking. Two Dutch ships of war were in the Tagus.|
|Th 5 April 1860||The Second Division of the Channel fleet, comprising the Edgar, 91, screw, Capt. James E. Katon, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral of the Blue John E. Erskine; the Queen, 86, screw, Capt. C.F. Hillyar; the Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. G.W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mars, 80, screw, Capt. J.N. Strange; and the Mersey, 40, screw, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B., steamed into Spithead from the Channel yesterday morning by the eastern entrance in the order named. The Edgar having anchored, each succeeding ship steamed to the westward of the flagship, and, rounding to, proceeded to their respective positions. The Queen took up the eastern berth of the line, a-head of the Edgar. To the westward of the Edgar the Algiers anchored, and the Mars took up the western berth. The four liners are thus moored in a line from south-east to north-west. The Mersey frigate brought up in deeper water on the outside of the line. Soon after the ships came in sight the customary salutes were exchanged between the Edgar, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine, and the Victory, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral Bruce. The Sprightly and Pigmy steam tenders were despatched from the harbour to Spithead on the fleet's arrival.|
Sails were unbent on Tuesday on board that portion of the Channel squadron which arrived in Plymouth Sound the same day from Lisbon, and measures are in progress for their immediate refitment. Those ships previously in the Sound sent up topgallantmasts and yards, and loosed sails to dry. The Conqueror, 101, Capt. Sotheby, steamed into Hamoaze and brought up off Keyham; she was appointed to go into dock yesterday (Wednesday).
|We 11 April 1860||The portion of the Channel fleet anchored at Spithead, under the command of Rear-Admiral John E. Erskine, and consisting of the Edgar, the Algiers, the Queen, the Mars, and the Mersey, has been inspected by the officials of the steam and shipwright departments, and their report of defects of the different ships, and the repairs recommended to be carried out, has been forwarded to the Admiralty. The whole of the five vessels, as we before stated, are in need of repairs to both hull and machinery. The Mersey's required repairs in the last-named department are likely to prove of a very extensive character, and necessarily involve a large outlay before she can be again pronounced fit for foreign service. The Queen's repairs have been taken in hand by the Steam Factory Department. The Algiers, it is expected, will proceed to Keyham, where she will be placed in dock to repair the defects in her stern, &c. It is rumoured that the Duke of Wellington, 131, screw, in the first-class steam reserve in Portsmouth harbour, will be commissioned to receive the flag of the Admiral commanding the Channel Fleet, the Royal Albert's defects requiring remedy. The Duke may be pronounced fit for 18 months, or, perhaps, two years' service, if worked carefully and no accident occurring; but at the end of that time she would require new boilers and very extensive repairs to both hull and engines. As she is not in a sufficiently healthy condition of hull, boilers, and engines, to be sent on a foreign station for a three years' cruise, it is very probable that the rumour concerning her may be verified, and that she may carry Admiral Fremantle's flag in the Channel Fleet.|
|Ma 25 June 1860||The Channel squadron, after an anchorage of 15 days in St. Margaret's Hope, Firth of Forth, left its moorings on Saturday afternoon, and under canvass, with auxiliary steam power, proceeded down the Firth and stood out to sea. The squadron, in passing the narrow straits at Queensferry, proceeded in single line, the leading ships being the Royal Albert, 121, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir C. Fremantle, the Mersey, 40-gun frigate, the Edgar, 91, flagship of Rear-Admiral Erskine, and the Donegal, 101, followed by seven other ships of the line and the Diadem frigate. The Greyhound corvette, 17, accompanied the Royal Albert as a tender. On passing Inchkeith, and getting into the outer bay of the Firth, the fleet formed in two lines, and stood out south-west in the direction of St. Abb's Head; the Royal Albert, the Donegal, the Aboukir, the Conqueror, and the Centurion, with the Greyhound forming the south line, and the Edgar, the Trafalgar, the Algiers, the Mars, the Diadem, and the Mersey, the north line. A number of steamers convoyed the fleet down the Firth, The public enthusiasm excited by the visit o£ the Channel squadron in the Forth can scarcely fall to give a stimulus to the service in the south-east of Scotland, where for many years a fleet of war-ships had not been seen; and great disappointment is felt that the fleet has not been able to make the tour of the north of Scotland and Ireland, as was anticipated. It was expected that the squadron would reach Yarmouth-roads yesterday afternoon.|
|Ma 2 July 1860||On Saturday the Channel fleet arrived In Yarmouth Roads. The squadron, which has been engaged in target practice in the North Sea during the past week, consists of the Royal Albert, 120; Conqueror, 101; Donegal, 101; Algiers, 91; Edgar, 91; Aboukir, 91; Trafalgar, 91; Centurion, 80; Mars, 80; Mersey, 40; Diadem, 32; Ariadne, 26; and Flying Fish, 6. The fleet is not expected to remain in Yarmouth Roads more than three or four days, as it is to take part in a naval review before the departure of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for Canada.|
|Tu 10 July 1860|
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES.
PLYMOUTH, MONDAY AFTERNOON.
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle's Channel squadron, consisting of the flagship Royal Albert, 121, Captain Henry J. Lacon; the Donegal, 101, Captain Henry Broadhead; the Aboukir, 90, Captain Douglas Curry; the Greyhound, 17, Commander Francis W. Sullivan; the Conqueror, 101, Captain Edward S. Sotheby, C.B.; the Trafalgar, 90, Captain Edward G. Fanshawe ; the Centurion, 8 0, Captain Henry G. Rogers, C.B.; the Edgar, 91, Captain James E. Katon; the Algiers, 91, Captain George W.D. O'Callaghan; the Mersey, 40, Captain Henry Caldwell, C.B.; and the Diadem, 32, Captain James H. Cockburn, under canvas only, with a smart breeze a little to the southward of east, hove in sight from Mount Wise at half-past 8 o'clock this morning in two lines. They then formed one line, and stood in for the port. At half-past 10 o'clock the ships wore in succession, and went away to the westward. Shortly after they came in sight more to the southward. Their funnels are up ready for use. The only ship likely to enter the Sound is the Diadem, which is said to be short of fu el. The Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe, in his steam yacht, near the Royal William Victualling-yard, is waiting the approach of the Prince of Wales. The Hero continues inside the Breakwater ready for sea, and arrangements are made for the expected departure of his Royal Highness to-morrow (Tuesday) morning. Her escort, the Ariadne, will probably take the Osborne in tow. The Flying Fish has gone on to Newfoundland.
(BY ELECTRIC AND INTERNATIONAL TELEGRAPH.)
PLYMOUTH, MONDAY EVENING.
Sir Charles Fremantle's squadron, which arrived off the port this morning, formed two lines, ranging about north and south, in the afternoon to receive the Royal yacht, which hove in sight at 7 o'clock, and was saluted by the Impregnable and other ships in Hamoaze. On rounding the west-end of the Breakwater the yardarms of the Hero, St. George, Emerald, and Ariadne, in the Sound, were manned, and the three last-named and the Plymouth Citadel saluted. At half-past 8, when the Prince left the yacht to join the Hero, the Emerald and the Citadel repeated the compliment. The weather is extremely fine, and thousands of the inhabitants were assembled on the heights.
|Tu 24 July 1860||The sudden death of Mr. James Rusden, Master of the screw steam frigate Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B., has created a feeling of great regret among the officers and crews of the Channel Fleet, now in Bantry Bay.|
|Tu 11 September 1860|
REVIEW OF THE CHANNEL FLEET.
The fleet, having all got under way by about 8 a.m., stood out to sea from Milford Haven, and, having made an offing of about seven miles, the Osborne, which had previously joined, with the Lords of the Admiralty on board, made the signal for the fleet to form a double line. They accordingly broke into two divisions; the starboard one, consisting of the Royal Albert, 121; the Donegal, 101; the Conqueror, 101; the Mars, 80, and the Trafalgar, 91, was led by Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., in the Royal Albert. The port division, under Rear-Admiral Erskine, in the Edgar, 91, which was leading, comprised also the Algiers, 91; the Aboukir, 91; the Centurion, 80; the Mersey, 40; and the Diadem, 32. This manoeuvre having been executed with great precision, the Osborne signalled for the fleet to make sail under easy canvass, followed by an order from the Admiral to bank up the fires. Having stood on thus for some time, the two divisions tacked in succession to the starboard, after which the order was given to form a single line of battle. This was effected by the starboard division standing on its course, and the port one tacking until they came into line, when they followed in the wake of their predecessors, an interval of two cables' length separating each ship. The concluding and most exciting manoeuvre of the day was then made by the whole getting orders to make all sail that could be done with safety, and running before the wind. Studdingsail booms were then run out, and every inch of canvass both alow and aloft that would draw was set. The order was then given to make for the nearest port, on which the fleet bore up for Milford Haven. The Osborne then steamed up to the Admiral's ship, and Rear-Admiral Pelham, C.B., hailed Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., and expressed, on the part of his Grace the Duke of Somerset and the rest of the Lords, the extreme satisfaction they all felt, not only in the appearance of the fleet, but also in the admirable precision with which all the manoeuvres had that day been performed, and we believe Capt. Ramsay, C.B., the superintendent of Pembroke Dockyard, was commissioned to convey the above opinion in writing to the Admiral of the fleet. The Osborne then parted company, - the Royal Albert giving the Lords of the Admiralty a salute of 19 guns, which the Osborne acknowledged by dipping her ensign, after which she stood to the southward, it being their Lordships' intention to inspect some important works in progress at the Scilly Isles, and afterwards proceed to Devonport to inspect the dockyard at that place. Nothing could be more favourable than the weather; it was slightly hazy up to 8 o'clock a.m., when it cleared up, and a fine fresh breeze came from the north-east, which lasted up to 3 o'clock p.m., when it died away. The whole of the signalling was done by bunting, and not by Ward's new system, as was generally supposed that it would be, and the brilliant flags had a very pretty effect as rapidly repeated by every third ship. As the fleet entered the harbour the Admiral made the signal for all the ships to take up their old berths, and by 6 o'clock p.m., all were in their original positions.
The Lords of the Admiralty previous to leaving Pembroke-dock granted the employés the usual half-holyday for Saturday.
|Th 13 September 1860||Pursuant to orders received on Sunday last, the Channel fleet, consisting of the Royal Albert, 121, Capt. H.J. Lacon, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Fremantle, K.C.B., commanding the Fleet; the Conqueror, 101, Capt. Edward S. Sotheby, C.B.; the Donegal, 101, Capt. Henry Broadhead; the Edgar, 91, Capt. James E. Katon, flagship of Rear-Admiral John E. Erskine; the Mars, 80, Capt. James F. Strange; the Trafalgar, 91, Capt. Edward G. Fanshawe; the Algiers, 91, Capt. George W.D, O'Callaghan; the Centurion, 80, Capt. Henry D. Rogers, C.B.; the Aboukir, 91, Capt. Douglas Curry; the Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; and the Diadem, 32, Capt. James H. Cockburn, got steam up by daybreak on Tuesday last, and sailed from Milford Haven at about 10 o'clock a.m. They are bound for a cruise of three weeks or a month, and it is supposed will go round the Western Islands, after which they are to rendezvous at Torbay, previous to going into winter quarters. Mr Ward is on board the Admiral's ship with his new system of ocean telegraphs, which are to be thoroughly tried during the cruise. The fleet has been in Milford Haven for more than three weeks, and the conduct of the men has been most exemplary. The civil authorities have not had to interfere except in one or two exceptional cases of drunkenness, together with a few cases of the not very heinous crime of overstaying leave. Rumour has it that three or four vessels of the fleet are to winter at Milford. A more secure berth could not be found in any case.|
|Th 4 October 1860||The second division of the Channel fleet, under the command of Rear-Admiral J.R. Erskine, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from the westward, under steam and fore and aft canvas. The ships comprise the Edgar, 91, screw (flag), Captain J.E. Katon; Trafalgar, 91, screw, Capt E.G. Fanshawe; Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. George D. O'Callaghan; Mersey, 40, screw, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B. and the Diadem, 32, screw, Capt J.H. Cockburn.|
|Sa 20 October 1860||Vice-Admiral of the Blue Sir Charles Howe Fremantle, K.C.B., in command of the Channel squadron, is expected to return with the fleet to Portland to-morrow (Wednesday). The following is a list of the ships, guns, horse-power, and tons' burden, together with the names of the officers and number of men composing the fleet: - Vice-Admiral Sir C.H. Fremantle, K.C.B., Commander; Rear-Admiral J.B. Erskine, Second in Command; Rear-Admiral R.F. Stopford, Captain of the Fleet:-|
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|We 15 January 1862||From letters received from the West Indies, dated Jamaica, December 21, by our Chatham correspondent, several important movements on the part of the various vessels of war are announced. The Mersey, 40, 100-horse power, Capt. H. Caldwell, C.B., arrived at Port Royal, on the 13th of December, from Bermuda, and was shortly expected to leave. The Donegal, 99, 800-horse power, Capt. Osborn, C.B., and the Sanspareil, 70, 400-horse power, Capt. Bowyear, arrived from England on the 16th, with part of the Marine battalion, for Mexico, on board. The Himalaya, 700-horse power, Capt. Seccombe, had arrived from Bermuda, and was to leave for Barbadoes and England on the 22d of December. The Conqueror, 101, 800-horse power, Capt. Sotheby,C.B., had arrived out with her Marines, and was to leave for Bermuda about the 24th of December. Her Majesty's paddlewheel steamer Barracouta, 6, Capt. Malcolm, arrived at Jamaica, from England, on the 15th of December. The Sanspareil passed the Cadmus, 21, Captain Hillyar, C.B., near Antigua, standing to the southward, on the 9th. Of December, last from St. Thomas. Her Majesty's screw steamers St. George, 86, Captain the Hon. F. Egerton, and Cygnet, 5, Commander Thrupp, arrived at Port Royal on the 2lst of December, also a small French screw sloop of war. All were well on board these ships.|
|We 22 January 1862||The Conqueror arrived at Port Royal, Jamaica, on the 13th, one month from England, all well onboard, and will proceed to Bermuda. The Donegal and Sanspareil have not yet arrived. The ships in the harbour are the Mersey, the Himalaya, and the Barracouta. The St. George is expected. The crews are all healthy, the weather being very fine.|
|We 29 January 1862||From Her Majesty's ship Medusa, which left the British Commander-in-Chief on the 5th of January for New York, we learn that the destination of most of the ships on the West India station will be changed in consequence of the pacific tone of the news from Washington. The Mersey, 50, is ordered up to Bermuda; the St. George, 86, carrying His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, is to return home immediately in consequence of the death of the Prince Consort. The Donegal, 100, is to sail for the Gulf of Mexico, to fill the place of the St. George. The Conqueror, 100, will follow in the same direction. The Nile, 90, with the Admiral's flag, was at Bermuda, as well as the Diadem, 32. The Hero, Aboukir, and Emerald, recenly despatched from England, had not yet arrived at Bermuda; in fact, Her Majesty's ship Donegal was the only ship of the Channel fleet which had joined Admiral Milne on the 5th of January.|
|Sa 12 November 1864||The following is the list of the vessels of the Royal navy which will be armed, and are now being armed, with the new description of 300-pounder and other guns in course of issue. The figures after each vessel specify the number of guns of the description mentioned she will carry. To mount the 12-ton 300-pounders:- Bellerophon, 10; Royal Sovereign, 5; Minotaur, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wiveren, 4; Prince Albert, 4; Agincourt, 4; and Northumberland, 4. To be armed with the 6½-ton guns:- The Achilles, 20; Black Prince, 20; Warrior, 20; Lord Warden, 20; Lord Clyde, 20; Royal Oak, 20; Prince Consort, 20; Royal Alfred, 20; Caledonia, 20; Ocean, 20; Minotaur, 18 ; Agincourt, 18; Valiant, 16; Zealous, 16; Hector, 16; Defence, 10; Resistance, 10; Endymion, 6; Mersey, 4; Orlando, 4, Pallas, 4; Favourite, 4; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Amazon, 2; Viper, 2; and Vixen, 2. To mount the 64-pounder muzzle-loader:- The Bristol, 12; Melpomene, 12; Liverpool, 12; Severn, 12; Arethusa, 12; Phoebe, 12;. Shannon, 12; Octavia, 12; Constance, 12; Sutlej, 12; Undaunted, 12; Impérieuse, 12; Aurora, 12; Leander, 12; Bacchante, 12; Emerald, 12; Phaeton, 12: Narcissus, 12; Forte, 12; Euryalus, 12; Topaz, 12; Newcastle, 12; Liffey, 12; Immortalité, 12; Glasgow, 12; Clio, 8, North Star, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1865]; Racoon, 8; Challenge[r], 8; and Menai, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1864]. The following will be supplied with the 64-pounder breech-loaders:- The Scout, 8; Rattlesnake, 8; Cadmus, 8; Scylla, 8; Barossa, 8; Jason, 8; Charybdis, 8; Wolverine, 8; Pylades, 8; Orestes, 8; Pearl, 8; Pelorus, 8; Satellite, 8; Acheron, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Shearwater, 4; Valorous, 4; Furious, 4; Bittern, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Magicienne, 4; and Columbine, 4. A supply of the 6½-ton smooth-bore 100-pounder wrought iron guns has already been received at Chatham, and it is understood that the first supply of the 300-pounder rifled 12-ton Armstrong gun may shortly be expected at the Ordnance wharf.|
|Th 24 August 1865|
THE VISIT OF THE FRENCH FLEET TO PORTSMOUTH.The preparation for the entertainments to be given by the naval, civil, and military authorities at Portsmouth to the officers of the French fleet progresses very satisfactorily. The ballroom in course of construction, under the supervision of the superintending civil engineer of the dockyard, in the quadrangle of the Royal Naval College, is already partially floored and roofed in, and will be handed over to the upholsterers and decorators on the 26th inst. - that is, three days before the arrival of the fleets at Spithead from Brest, so that ample time will remain to complete all the details. The approaches to the Naval College are exceedingly good, with a wide semicircular drive for the arrival and departure of carriages. The entrance hall of the College is very spacious, and will, when properly decorated, form a most appropriate vestibule to the ballroom. The latter is being constructed, as we have already stated, in the quadrangle of the College, and is 107ft. in length by 55ft. in breadth, clear of all the upright timbers. Its height is 20ft. to the plates of the roof and 36ft. to its apex. Right and left of the ballroom from the entrance the supper tables will be arranged in the College rooms, access being gained to the latter from the ballroom by temporary broad flights of steps. At the opposite end of the ballroom to the entrance a temporary opening has been made into the College gymnasium, which will be elegantly decorated and fitted with refreshment buffets. The ballroom itself will be made to represent a vast tent, whose roof and walls are composed of the tricolour of France. The apex of the roof of this tent, and the plate line, will be marked with a gold cable four inches in diameter, to relieve the somewhat monotonous outline which would otherwise predominate. Banks of shrubs and flowering plants will be placed round the base of the hall and its approaches, while rich trophies of arms and flags will decorate the walls. Seven devices in gas will also occupy positions on the walls, and 40 candelabra of four wax lights each have also been provided for the same purpose. From the roof of the hall will hang massive chandeliers with wax lights. The orchestra is set back from the ballroom, and will not, therefore, detract from the space given. It will be a noble room; but still, with even its unusual size, the question remains, is it sufficiently large for the occasion? We ourselves doubt it, for accommodation should have been provided for thousands where it is now only being provided for hundreds. There is every probability of the "crush" at the Admiralty Ball at Portsmouth being greater even than that recently experienced at the ball given in honour of our flag at the Hôtel de Ville, Cherbourg.
On board Her Majesty's ships in Portsmouth Harbour all are eager to do a something, no matter how trifling, that may render any chance visit of their French brethren one of mutual and hearty good feeling, On board the Duke of Wellington there are, as yet, none of those extraordinary arrangements visible by which her decks will be transformed from their grim sternness of the present to the dazzling splendour they are intended to assume. Although not visible on board, however, all necessary provisions are made, and under the energetic direction of Capt. Seccombe, who bears a wonderful reputation for taste and general management in such matters, the final issue of the arrangements on board the Duke is certain to be successful. It has been suggested by some fastidious people that a ship bearing some other name than that of the military opponent of the Great Napoleon might have been selected by our Admiralty for the occasion. This, however, is sheer nonsense. Old rivalries in arms are now forgotten by both nations, or only remembered as so many pages in history which two peoples, formerly endeavouring to the uttermost to destroy each other, may now study together and with mutual benefit. Besides, is not the ship an old companion in arms of the Imperial navy, carrying as she did the flag of a British admiral in company with one bearing the tricolour of an admiral of France on the waters of the Baltic Sea? On board no ship here or elsewhere will the officers of the French navy receive a heartier welcome than on board the Duke of Wellington. Turning to the military portion of the coming fêtes, and which will necessarily be restricted, owing to the limited stay of the fleets at Spithead, if for no other cause, every precaution is being taken to render whatever manoeuvres may be decided upon by the authorities as effective as possible. Amid all this note of preparation and bustle in the naval and military camps, the civil element is not silent. A working committee, with the Mayor, Mr. R.W. Ford, at its head, is energetically employed in making complete the preparations of the citizens for the entertainment of our honoured guests. Nearly 1,500l. has already been sent in to the committee to meet the necessary expenses, but a total of 2,000l. is required for the purpose, which, however, will no doubt in good time be forthcoming. It is a most gratifying proof of the good feeling entertained by all classes to read in the subscription list the names of many county families and others living at a distance from Portsmouth. Their money has been handed in no doubt from a feeling that the entertainment of the officers of the French fleet at Portsmouth is a national rather than a local question, and that too great honour could not well be done to the guests of the occasion.
The "Governor's Green" where the civic entertainments will be given, is, as its name implies, a large and nearly square plot of green sward, and is admirably situate for the purpose. It is in close contiguity to the main street of the town, and has unusually wide approaches for entrance and exit. On two sides it is bounded by the sea face of the town ramparts, and on the others by the garrison church, monastery wall, railways, &c. The entrance to the Green from the Grand Parade will be under a triumphal arch, which, if only executed as designed, will produce a striking effect and be a credit to all concerned. Triumphal arches are, however, generally speaking, very ticklish matters to deal with. They may turn out exceedingly well, or they may prove to be excessively ridiculous, and it would therefore be unwise to venture on any prophecy relative to the one at Portsmouth. The triumphal arch passed through, the Governor's Green is fairly entered upon, and in the immediate front and on the right of the visitor, under the elm trees, on the fortifications, and by the line of railings alluded to, will be lofty poles, with bannerets, connected with festoons of evergreens and lit up by night with gas in opaque shades. On the left of the entrance are the buildings and marquees in which the entertainments, consisting of a déjeuner, promenade concert, and ball, will take place. A decorated porch of entrance leads into the first hall or apartment, circular in form, and 80ft. in diameter. From this an ante-room leads to another apartment, 140ft. in length by 40ft. in breadth. This latter is but a continuation of the main apartment in which the déjeuner will be given, a permanent building 100ft. in length by 50ft in breadth, presenting a broad vista of 240ft. in length. All will be brilliantly illuminated with gas, and decorated with choice flowering plants, evergreens, arms, and flag trophies, &c. The committee have ample space to work upon, even for the display of all the art enthusiasm available in or around Portsmouth, and there can be no doubt that all the ornamentation will be effective, in good taste, and to the entire satisfaction of both friends and guests.
The programme, so far as it has been settled at present between Admirals Drummond and Eden at the Admiralty — the two official lords on duty in town — and Admiral Sir Michael Seymour at Portsmouth, has been somewhat modified since Tuesday last, and until the Duke of Somerset and the lords now at Brest return to Portsmouth the programme will remain subject to still further modifications. At present the intentions of the Admiralty, so far as they can be ascertained, are to give a dinner on board the Duke of Wellington on the evening of the 29th, the night of the arrival of the fleet. On the following day a dinner to about 100 will be given in the ball-room of the Royal Naval College. On the next day, the 31st, a review of the troops will take place on Southsea-common in the morning, and in the afternoon and evening the civic authorities and inhabitants will entertain the French Minister of Marine and officers of the French fleet in the Governor's Green. On the 1st of September Sir Michael Seymour gives a private dinner at the Admiralty-house, and the ball and supper take place afterwards at the Naval College. Beyond this nothing definitive is known. With the Duke of Somerset and Lord Clarence Paget at the end of one set of telegraphic wires at Brest, the two lords at the Admiralty who are supposed to have the sole arrangement of the coming festivities, and with Sir Michael Seymour as the target for both parties to fire their messages at, it is impossible to say what may be the precise length or breadth of the ultimate official programme. The dockyard, arsenal, and other public establishments will, as is usual with us, be open to the inspection of the French officers every day of their stay at the port, and some return in this respect will, therefore, be made for the extraordinary courtesy and kindness shown to English officers and civilians when going over Cherbourg dockyard during the recent visit of the fleets there. The dockyard of Portsmouth could almost be stowed away in one of the basins of Cherbourg yard, and therefore, if judged by its area only, must appear contemptibly small in the eyes of Frenchmen. The stores and workshops of Portsmouth yard are all pigmies, also, compared with those of Cherbourg; but the machinery in the factory of Portsmouth yard is immeasurably superior in every respect to that in Cherbourg yard, as are also the steamhammer and forges of the smithery. The new foundry, also, is worthy of our reputation as a people that are "workers in metal;" and the pattern shop is unrivalled in any country for its collection of engineering patterns. Of iron ships there are a few that may well pass muster — the ironcased frigate Royal Alfred, fitting for carrying, 12-ton guns on her broadside; the Valiant, iron frigate, in No. 10 dock, completing for commission; the Wivern and Scorpion, Captains H. Burgoyne, V.C., and Commerell, V.C., both double-turreted ships, and each fitted to carry four 12-ton guns, at a maximum draught of water of 12ft.; the Helicon, paddle despatch-vessel, in the bow of which the officers of the Magenta and Solferino may recognise the "beak" of their own ships; the Mersey, wooden frigate, the largest and finest of her class ever constructed; and lastly, though not least important, the iron frigate Minotaur, with her beautiful hull and machinery and most abominable style of rig. To the officers of the French fleet this ship, as she now lies in dock, will be an object of great interest, and the dock also in which she lies, the only dock we have fit to show a stranger, exhibits itself also at the same time under the best possible conditions in having on its blocks one of the largest ironclads in the world. Although, therefore, Portsmouth yard is small and ill-arranged, it yet contains ships and material which will interest our visitors, and upon which we shall be glad to receive their criticism while endeavouring to return the courtesy they themselves have exhibited to us under similar circumstances.
|We 15 January 1873||Officers from the Constructive Department of the Controller of the Navy were yesterday engaged at Portsmouth in inclining by lines of iron ballast on each side of the upper deck the stability of the unarmoured wood-built screw frigate Endymion, now refitting as one of the Detached Squadron. The Endymion has now new fore and main masts to replace her old ones, which were found to be rotten upon survey some short time since; and, as these new lower masts belonged to a frigate of larger tonnage (the Mersey), the Endymion's angles of stability are necessarily affected to some degree, and the present inclination trial has been made to fix definitely these points under her increased weight of lower masts.|