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.