On the third day, June 3rd, the Royal Prince, bearing the flag of Sir George Ayscue, the largest and heaviest ship in the English fleet, ran on the Galloper shoal, and being threatened by fire-ships, surrended. The ship was burnt, and the crew, including the admiral, were made prisoners.
But the death of the Merrimac was to follow close upon her birth; she was the portent of a few weeks only. For, during a short time past, there had been also rapidly building in a Connecticut yard the Northern marvel, the famous Monitor. When the ingenious Swede, John Ericsson, proposed his scheme for an impregnable floating battery, his hearers were divided between distrust and hope; but fortunately the President's favorable opinion secured the trial of the experiment. The work was zealously pushed, and the artisans actually went to sea with the craft in order to finish her as she made her voyage southward. It was well that such haste was made, for she came into Hampton Roads actually by the light of the burning Congress. On the next day, being Sunday, March 9, the Southern monster again steamed forth, intending this time to make the Minnesota her prey; but a little boat, that looked like a "cheese-box" afloat, pushed forward to interfere with this plan. Then occurred a duel which, in the annals of naval science, ranks as the most important engagement which ever took place. It did not actually result in the destruction of the Merrimac then and there, for, though much battered, she was able to make her way back to the friendly shelter of the Norfolk yard. But she was more than neutralized; it was evident that the Monitor was the better craft of the two, and that in a combat à outrance she would win. The significance of this day's work on the waters of Virginia cannot be exaggerated. By the armor-clad Merrimac and the Monitor there was accomplished in the course of an hour a revolution which differentiated the naval warfare of the past from that of the future by a chasm as great as that which separated the ancient Greek trireme from the flagship of Lord Nelson.
The Mongol invasion took place in the fourth year of Kōan [a. d. 1281]
(From the Bayeux Tapestry.)
(From the 'Life of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick'; drawn by John Rous about 1485.)
The Dragon or other figure-head has been unshipped, possibly because the galley is going into port.
Which particular battle this picture is supposed to represent cannot be stated, since old Holinshed uses it over and over again for almost every naval engagement to which he makes reference right back as far as the Conquest. That cannon were not then in existence does not appear to trouble him at all. But we may take it as fairly representative of an action at sea in the times in which the historian lived and wrote.
The first Spanish ships to meet their fate were the stragglers from the main body of the Armada. Above is shown one such vessel being engaged by an English captain. The great Spanish galleon is quite at the mercy of the smaller but handier vessel, which has got the wind of her enemy, and is pouring a destructive fire into her prow.
In this fruitless attempt to invade our shores ten thousand Spaniards gave up their lives. England lost but one ship and about a hundred men.
Admiral Hawke in this engagement gained a decisive victory. The Royal George was the first of an improved type of ship. Her end was a tragic one, for she capsized and sank at Spithead, taking 900 people with her.
On this date Lord Howe achieved a victory over the French which was considered so important that on the return of the fleet to Spithead the King presented Howe with a gold chain and a sword valued at 3000 guineas.
Philip of Spain, arriving in the Straits of Dover on his journey to England to espouse Mary, flaunts the flag of Spain without paying the customary salute. Lord Howard of Effingham, the English admiral, soon brings him to his senses by firing a round shot across his bows.
An 18-ton gun in action at the bombardment of Alexandria. The gun has just recoiled after firing. No. 1 is "serving the vent". The sponge end is being passed to be thrust out of the small scuttle in the middle of the port (which is closed as soon as the gun is fired), so that the big wet end can be placed in the gun.
She was a very efficient reply to the French La Gloire, which was a wooden ship converted into an ironclad. Observe the Red-and-blue Ensign. The White Ensign with St. George's Cross did not become universal in the Royal Navy till 1864.
This picture illustrates an incident which has frequently occurred in the patrol flotillas when destroyers have been hunting down submarines and the latter have retaliated by firing torpedoes. Clever manœuvring in combination with good gunnery is the war-ship's best protection against attack by submarine.
There was a law that ships must not approach the land with their figure-heads in position with "gaping heads and yawning snouts."
(From a painting by Carpaccio)
Observe the capacious hull, the heavy mast, the way the sail is made fast in the middle as well as by the sheets at the corners, the crane for hoisting missiles to the top, and the darts ranged round it; also the way the main-yard is spliced in the middle.
(From an illuminated MS. of 1480)
Note the diminutive figure-head, the two shields amidships—probably placed there for decorative purposes, as the ship appears to be "dressed" with many pennons and streamers. The smallness of the tops is unusual, also the square port-hole and the double-gabled cabin.
Looking at the lofty hulls, the immense mainsails, and the nearness of the ports to the water-line, we can easily understand how a want of care wrecked the Mary Rose. The ship in the background on the right is apparently trying to reduce sail, and has had to lower her main-yard. Her mainsail is almost in the water, to the apparent danger of the ship.
With hull covered with plates of copper and iron, two rudders, one at the bow and one at the stern; and a paddle-wheel as her propelling machinery, fitted inside.
Observe the sharp ram, the tower-like forecastle, and the curiously perched cabin aft. Also the tail-like ornaments at the stern, possibly reminiscent of the sterns of the old "Dragon-ships" and "Long Serpents". The big and somewhat triangular openings are probably gun-ports, but no guns are visible.
Of this plate Valturius quaintly writes: ' When everything is cleared for navigation
before the charge is made upon the enemy, it is well that those who are about to engage the foe should first practise in port, and grow accustomed to turn the tiller in calm water, to get ready the iron grapples and hooked poles, and sharpen the axes and scythes at their ends. The soldiers should learn to stand firm upon the decks and keep their footing, so that what they learn in sham fight they may not shrink from in real action.
Built in 1765. 2162 tons.
The Battle of Trafalgar
After twenty-five days in England, Nelson took command off Cadiz on September 28, eager for a final blow that would free England for aggressive war. There was talk of using bomb vessels, Congreve's rockets, and Francis's (Robert Fulton's) torpedoes to destroy the enemy in harbor, but it soon became known that Villeneuve would be forced to put to sea. On October 9, Nelson issued the famous Memorandum, or battle plan, embodying what he called "the Nelson touch," and received by his captains with an enthusiasm which the inspiration of the famous leader no doubt partly explains. This plan, which had been formulating itself in Nelson's mind as far back as the pursuit of the French fleet to the West Indies, may be regarded as the product of his ripest experience and genius; the praise is perhaps not extravagant that "it seems to gather up and coördinate every tactical principle that has ever proved effective."
Three-decked ship of the line, 18th century
During the winter of 1537-1538, the naval yards of Constantinople were busy with the preparations for a new fleet which should take the offensive against the Venetians and the Christians generally. In the spring Barbarossa got out into the Archipelago and, raiding at will, swept up another batch of prisoners to serve as galley slaves for the new ships. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean states nerved themselves for a final effort. Venice contributed 81 galleys, the Pope sent 36, and Spain, 30. Later the Emperor sent 50 transports with 10,000 soldiers, and 49 galleys, together with a number of large sailing ships.
At this point, it is worth pausing to consider in detail the war galley which the Phœnicians had developed and which they handed down to the Greeks at this turning point in the world's history. The bireme and the trireme were adopted by the Greeks, apparently without alteration, save that at Salamis the Greek galleys were said to have been more strongly built and to have presented a lower freeboard than those of the Phœnicians.
I will now give you a sectional division of a first-rate line-of-battle ship. Such a ship, carrying 120 or more guns, has four decks on which her guns are placed. The highest is open to the air, and is called the UPPER DECK
At the after part, extending a little way beyond the mizen-mast, there is a raised platform, called the POOP. It has no guns on it.
On the main deck is the steering-wheel, with the binnacle in front of it.
The after part of this deck between the poop and the main-mast is called the quarter-deck, and is the place where the officers especially walk. The part under the poop is divided into cabins, appropriated to the use of the captain. Here, also, is a clerk's office and a pantry. Between the main and fore-mast the large boats are stowed, and on either side are the gangways at which sentries are stationed.
The next deck under this is called the MAIN DECK. In the after part is the admiral's cabin. Immediately under the boats is a pen for the officers' live-stock ; and just abaft the fore-mast is the galley, or kitchen.
The third deck from the upper is called the MIDDLE DECK. The after part is fitted up for the lieutenants, chaplain, surgeon, paymaster, marine officers, &c., and called the WARD-ROOM. In the fore part of the deck is placed the sick-bay, a compartment fitted up as a hospital ; about the centre of this deck is one of the capstans.
The fourth from the upper is called the LOWER or GUN DECK. In the after part is the GUN-ROOM, where the midshipmen, and other junior officers, mess. The tiller of the rudder works through the gun-room just above their heads. A second capstan is placed on this deck ; and forward are the riding-bitts for securing the cables. It is the lowest deck on which guns are carried.
The ORLOP DECK is the fifth deck from the upper. It has no guns or ports, though lighted up by bull's eyes or scuttles. In the after part is the purser's issue-room ; next to it is the after cockpit, where the midshipmen and other junior officers sleep in hammocks. Before it again will be found the sail-room, where the sails are kept, and the cable-tiers, where the cables are stowed. Before it again, just abaft the fore-mast, is the fore cockpit, and the warrant officers' cabins, while right in the head of the ship are the carpenter's and boatswain's stores.
Low as we have got, we have still further to go down to the HOLD, which, if it may be so called, is the sixth deck from the highest. It is often divided into two decks for the greater convenience of stowage. Here are the FORE AND AFTER MAGAZINES, WATER TANKS, WINE AND SPIRIT ROOM, CHAIN CABLE LOCKERS, SHOT LOCKERS, BREAD ROOM, SHELL ROOM, GUNNER'S STORE ROOM, DRY PROVISION, and BEEF AND PORK IN CASKS. Since the introduction of auxiliary steam-power into ships of war, a large portion of the hold is devoted to the steam-engine and boilers, coal bunkers, and the shaft of the screw, while the funnel runs up through all the decks ; but it is wonderful, comparatively, how little space these are allowed to occupy, considering the great aid the steam-engine affords to the movements of the ship.
Launched in 1863
Among the numerous huge monsters constituting the iron-clad fleet of England, the Minotaur, is one of the most gigantic and formidable; and the sister ships, the Agincourt and Northumberland, all of precisely the same tonnage, power, rig, and equipment, are the largest and most powerful ships in the navy.
The Minotaur was built at Blackwall, by the Thames Ship Building company and the engines were constructed by Messrs. Penn, of Deptford.
She is 6,621 ton's measurement, and propelled by screw engins of 1,350 horsepower, with a speed of 15 knots an hour.
She is 400 feet in length by 59 in width, and carries in all thirty-four of the heaviest guns used afloat. Among these which form her chief batter on the main deck are four 300-pounder Armstrongs.
Ships the British navy might have had! Freaks of marine architecture that have not been officially adopted.
We illustrate here some curious designs for war-ships by various inventors.
No. 1 is McDougal's Armoured Whale-back, with conning-towers, a design of 1892 for converting whalebacks into war-vessels.
No. 2 is an American design of 1892, Commodore Folger's Dynamite Ram, cigar-shaped, with two guns throwing masses of dynamite or aerial torpedoes.
No. 3 is a design by the Earl of Mayo in 1894 and called "Aries the Ram," built round an immense beam of steel terminating in a sharp point,
No. 4 is Gathmann's boat for a heavy gun forward, designed in 1900. She was to be of great speed, and the forward gun was to throw 600 lb. of gun-cotton at the rate of 2000 feet per second. A formidable Armada this, had it been practicable.
New Zealand war canoe
Fight between the Centurion and a Spanish galleon
The accompanying drawing is perhaps one of the clearest and best contemporary illustrations we have of these mediæval galleys. It will be seen that it consists of a long low open boat, with outrigger galleries for the rowers, while the hold is left[free for merchandise, or, as in the present instance, for men-at-arms. It has a forecastle like an ordinary ship; the shields of the men-at-arms who occupy it are hung over the bulwarks; the commander stands at the stern under a pent-house covered with tapestry, bearing his shield, and holding his leader’s truncheon. A close examination of the drawing seems to show that there are two men to each oar; we know from other sources that several men were sometimes put to each oar. The difference in costume between the soldiers and the sailors is conspicuous. The former are men-at-arms in full armour—one on the forecastle is very distinctly shown; the sailors are entirely unarmed, except the man at the stroke-oar, probably an officer, who wears an ordinary hat of the period, the rest wear the hood drawn over the head. The ship in the same illustration is an ordinary ship of burden, filled with knights and men-at-arms; the trumpeters at the stern indicate that the commander of the fleet is on board this ship; he will be seen amidships, with his visor raised and his face towards the spectator, with shield on arm and truncheon in hand.
Rowers in an Athenian warship, about 400 B.C. (Fragment of relief found on the Acropolis)
Greek Sea Fight, 550 B.C.
On the night of February 15, 1898, one of our battle-ships, the Maine, was blown up in the harbor of Havana, and 266 of our sailors were killed. Many believed that this awful deed was the work of Spanish officials; and this conviction deepened when a careful investigation was made by a court of naval inquiry. In all parts of this country the excitement of the people increased until they were ready to go to war with Spain if she would not change her policy toward Cuba.
But Spain was so stubborn that President McKinley, after trying in every possible way to prevent hostilities, was obliged to say in a message that "the war in Cuba must stop"; and on April 25, 1898, Congress took the momentous step of declaring war.
The Goubet class are of iron, sixteen feet long, three feet wide, and about six feet deep. The motive power is a Siemens motor driven by storage batteries. Fifty of these boats were purchased by the Russian government. They have no rudder, but a universal joint in the screw shaft permits of the screw being moved through an arc of ninety degrees. The torpedo is carried outside the boat, secured by a catch worked from inside. On arriving under the enemy, the torpedo is released, and striking the ship's bottom, is held there by spikes. The boat then withdraws, unreeling a connecting wire; and when at a safe distance, fires. The absence of a rudder, however, causes erratic steering, and the spikes with which the torpedo is fitted might fail to stick in steel-bottomed ships.
Some of the earliest three-deckers, or, as we may almost call them, five-deckers, were built at this dockyard; and of these the most famous was the Great Harry, so named after the king, which was launched here in 1514. For the period, the ship was a large one, being of a thousand tons burden; though we should not think much of her size now, when we have ironclads of over eleven thousand tons. There are models of her in the Greenwich Naval Museum, which is not far from Woolwich; and a curious lofty wooden castle she is, rising far up above the water-line, and offering a fair target, if the cannon of those days had any accuracy.
One of the 'Wooden Walls of Old England.' The Duke of Wellington Screw Line-of-Battle Ship. One hundred and thirty-one Guns.