Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the same length and weight, upon both her first and 1807, second decks, and was similarly armed as the Gibraltar in the british service. Subsequently, (March 18, 1797,) 18 of the Gibraltar's 20 long 9-pounders upon the quarterdeck and forecastle were substituted for the same number of 24-pounder carronades, making the whole of her 80 guns, except two, of one caliber. The San-Ildefonso, as formerly shown, * also mounted · long 24s on her first and second decks. But the most important exception is, that the Téméraire and her two sister ships, Dreadnought and Neptune, mounted long 18s upon their second and third decks.t By the time, however, that these three 98s had been 10 years in the service, it was found necessary to change their third-deck 18s for 12s.

An equalization of caliber in three species of Newly guus has been obtained by the invention of a ship-ed megun, meeting, in length and weight, about midway dium between the carronade and the long gun of the same caliber. Thus :

Long 24-pdr. Medium 24-pdr. | 24-pdr. carr.

in. Length..... Weight with carriage..

of this medium ship-gun, three varieties exist, the Gover, the Congreve, and the Blomefield, named after their respective inventors. The muzzle of the Congreve resembles that of the carronade; and the other two guns, in appearance, differ very slightly from each other. M. Dupin claims the priority of invention on behalf of his countrymen, Texier de Norbec, admiral Thévenard, and M. Bourdé.I

In December, 1806, several english two-decked line-of-battle ships were armed throughout with guns of one caliber, 24-pounders Jong, 24-pounders of * See vol. iii. p. 132.

+ Ibid. # Voyage dans la Grande-Bretagne, Force Navale, tome ii.

gun.

feet

9 cwt. 58

6 qrs. 3

feet

6 cwt. 39

in.

6 qrs. 0

feet

3 cwt. 19

jn.

8 qrs. 0

p. 101.

1807, Gover, and 24-pounder carronades; whereby the

ships, being old and weak, had much less weight to carry, with only a slight diminution in their broadside force. The greater part, if not the whole, of the ships had their

poops cut off ; and some of the 74s were rigged with 61-gun ships' masts and yards. The difference in the two modes of arming the 74s will best appear by a short table.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

same.

Had there been a medium 32-pounder, as well as a medium 24 and 18, any new or effective two-decker, above a 64, might, we should suppose, have carried all her guns of the former caliber : in which case the momentum of her armament would be greatly augmented, while its absolute weight would remain nearly the

For instance, taking it for granted that a medium 32-pounder would not weigh more than 40 cwt., or two hundred weight less than the common or nine feet 18-pounder, the weight of seventy-four 32-pounders of the three descriptions, with their carriages, would not exceed that of the old armameut as stated above; and yet the broadside-force would be increased from 928 to 1184 lbs., a very material consideration.

An equalization of caliber to this extent would, however, as a general establishment, be almost impracticable in a navy like that of England, on account of the great number of guns which it would be necessary to recast. A newly-formed navy, like that of the United States, would have no such difficulty to encounter. The Americans, indeed, with their accustomed ingenuity, have recently invented a medium 32-pounder gun, and, by its means, have armed their largest ships with a treble battery of that powerful caliber.

British officers &c.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]

The number of commissioned officers and masters, 1807, belonging to the british navy at the commencement of the year 1807, was, Admirals

52 Vice-admirals

57
Rear-admirals

50
superannuated 25
Post-captains

693

26 Commanders, or sloop-captains 502

superannuated 50 Lieutenants

2728 Masters

429 And the number of seamen and marines voted for the service of the same year was, 120000 for the first, and 130000 for the remaining twelve lunar months of it.*

Napoléon, it will be recollected, in his plan of Napooperations against England, framed in September, and his 1804, intended that the Brest fleet, of 23 sail of the scheme line and smaller vessels, should disembark from vasiou. 30000 to 40000 men in the north of Ireland, or even in Scotland, in order to operate as a diversion while the main body of the grand army was traversing the Channel.t. Some distinguished french officers, it seems, were of opinion, that Ireland solely should have been the object of the expedition, judging that, with the aid of the disaffected inhabitants of that unhappy country, a third of the army assembled for the conquest of England would suffice; that the troops, in their diminished number, could be transported by a fleet of men of war, instead of having to wait for so many contingencies to concur, ere a flotilla of 2000 gun-boats could reach in safety the opposite coast; and that the loss of Ireland would inflict a deep wound on the pride of England, would weaken her resources, and greatly reduce her in the scale of national importance.

* See Appendix No. 22. + See vol. iii. p. 315.

1

1807.

His

Suc

His suc

It is believed that bis imperial majesty, in proportion as he grew discouraged with the immobility of his flotilla, felt the force of all this reasoning; and that, when on the last of August, 1805, he suddenly drew off his legions from the neighbourhood of Boulogne, to be in time for an autumnal campaign

against the two continental powers (Austria and hope to

Russia) who had coalesced with Great Britain against

him, he entertained the hope of being able, at some ceed a- future and not far distant day, either as a prepagainst Ireland ratory step towards, or as a substitute for, the inva

sion of England, to make a french province of the land of Hibernia.

Even had the battle of Trafalgar not been fought, Napoléon would hardly have marched his soldiers, from the midst of their brilliant successes in Germany back to their cantonments on the coast, again perhaps to waste their time in a long course of list

less inactivity. Much less would he have done so, cesses now that the ships of that mighty fleet, which he had shore. hoped to assemble in the Channel to convoy his army

to its destination, were all captured, destroyed, wrecked, or blockaded. He therefore, having made peace with Austria at Presburg, and since gone to war with Prussia, continued achieving victory after victory over the Prussians and Russians, until he brought them also to his terms by the double treaty

of Tilsit. Siege A seaport town of Western Prussia having, in the

course of the war waged against those powers, become the scene of active operations, a british naval force was naturally to be found cooperating with the garrison in their endeavours to repel the invaders. The fortified city of Dantzic is seated on the western branch of the Vistula, near its entrance into the Baltic; and on the 14th of March, in the present year, was invested by a powerful french army under marshal Lefebvre.

On the 12th of April the 16-gun ship-sloops Sally, (hired,) captain Edward Chetham, Falcon, captain

of Dantzic.

George Sanders, and Charles, (hired,) captain Robert 1807. Clephane, arrived off the harbour of Dantzic. As April. general Kalkreuth, the governor of the fortress, Capt

. suspected that the besiegers would be supplied with Chetprovisions by sea, captain Chetham detached the arrives Charles to' cruise between Rose hind, or head, and off the Dantzic hay, to intercept any vessels having that object in view; and on the 16th be anchored with the Sally in the Fair Way, a basin formed between the two mouths of the Vistula. Here the ship was so moored, as to flank the isthmus by which alone the French could attack the works.

On the 17th, finding that, owing to the French Enters having encamped on the Nehrung, or Holme, form- tula. ing the western bank of the Vistula, the communication between the Fair Way and the garrison was completely cut off, captain Chetham resolved upon making an attempt to reopen it. For this purpose he lightened his ship by sending all her heavy stores on board her consort, the Falcon; and on the same day, by the great exertions of her officers and crew, as well as of captain Sanders and a portion of his officers and men, the Sally pushed through the shoal water of the sluice or mouth of the Vistula.

At 6 h. 30 m. P. M. the Sally, whose armament, Atwe believe, consisted of 24-pounder carronades, tacks commenced a close action with the french troops at French the Great Hollands on the Nehrung, in number about 2000, assisted by three pieces of cannon, and by a small battery at Legan on the right or southeastern bank of the river, and partially sheltered by the ruins of several houses which the garrison had found it necessary to destroy. The action continued within pistol-shot until 9 P. M.; when, having several of the gun-breechings on her larboard or engaged side shot and carried away, and being without any wind to enable her to maintain her position, the Sally attempted to bring her starboard broadside to bear. In this captain Chetham was foiled by the cends strength of the current. The Sally then hauled river.

Des

« AnteriorContinuar »