Preparations for war Feb 1854

The Baltic Fleet

The Baltic Fleet

Southport Visiter

Jan 21st 1854

Preparations for war

England and France are preparing two powerful fleets to take naval possession of the Baltic sea to defeat the Russian fleet should it show itself out of the harbour at Cronstradt and to place St Petersburg in a state of close blocade.

The scew steamship JAMES WATT and CAESAR, each 90 guns have been commissioned, the first on Friday the second on Saturday. The ILLUSTRIOUS, 72 guns also commissioned in order to serve as a training ship for newly-raised seamen of the navy.

Two steam frigates, the BULLDOG and the DRAGON were commissioned on Monday.

The CUMBERLAND, 70 guns, flagship of Vice Admiral, Sir G. F. SEYMOUR. K.C.B. Commander-in-Chief in the West Indies, will come to England immediately, and the ship intended to relieve her, the BESCAWEN, 70 guns, flag ship of Rear Admiral FANSHAWE, C.B, now fitting at Chatham, is to be detained in England.

It is estimated 2,500 blue-jackets are required to man the ships now fitting out at home ports.

It is intended by the Government to enrol 20.000 Irish Militia, to these 10,000 Scotch Militia will be added.

H.M.S APOLLO an old 42 gun frigate has been fitted as a store ship under the command of Mr JOHNSON, Master R.N. Filled with provisions it was towed out at Portsmouth harbour on Saturday for Spithead, whence she has sailed for Euxine.

22 recruiting parties have left Woolwich garrison on Friday and Saturday last, and 17 on Monday to enlist young men for the Royal Artillery.

February 17th 1854

The Cunard’s Co, steam ships CAMBRIA and NIAGRA have been chartered to take out the guards, carrying 1,000 guards each.

The Peninsular and Oriental Companies are likely to supply the Government with one or two of their ships, the RIPON probably one of their number.

The great screw ship HIMALAYA expected back in the next few days from Alexandria, her services will be put into requisition. There are also available the General Screw Companies JASON and GOLDEN FLEECE.

Preliminary orders for enrolment of the Greenwich Pensioners have been issued by the Admiralty. All pensioners are to attend on Tuesday next for inspection to ascertain their fitness for service. Failure to comply will result in losing their pensions.

Coast guards are to be made available for manning the navy.

Rear Admiral CHADS. C.B just promoted from Captain of the EXCELLENT, Gunnery ship, is appointed to command of the division of the fleet intended for the Baltic. Lieut J. H. CHADS has been nominated Flag-Lieut to his father.

It is said the NILE, 90 guns, screw, will be one of the Baltic flag ships. Sir C. NAPIER is mentioned as a probable commander and His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge will be in command of the brigade of guards.

The SPITFIRE Surveying, steamer, Commander SPRATT, has been ordered up to the Black sea, no doubt for surveying operations.

The DUKE of WELLINGTON, 131 guns, St JEAN D’ACRE, 101 guns, ROYAL GEORGE, 120 guns, AGAMEMNON, 91 guns, PRINCESS ROYAL, 91 guns, CAESAR, 91 guns, JAMES WATT, 91 guns, NILE, 91 guns, CRESSY, 81 guns, SANSPARAL, 71 guns, HOGUE, 60 guns, AJAX, 60 guns, BLENHEIM, 60 guns, EDINBURGH, 60 guns, 14 such screw ships, properly manned, are a match for 28, sail, of the canvas fleet of Russia.

Another addition to this fleet is the MAJESTIC, 81 guns, to be commissioned at Sheerness, commanded by Capt James HOPE. C.B, the Capt of the FIREBRAND, who led the way up the Parana and cut the chain across the noble river at Oligando Point, giving freedom to the commerce of the Country.

The following regiments will be on their way to the Mediterranean before the end of next week.

3rd Bat, Grenadier guards, 2nd Bat, Coldstream guards, 1st Bat, Scots Fusilier guards, 4th, 28th, 33rd, 50th, 77th and 93rd Highlanders, with the 2nd Bat of the Rifle brigade.

The 9th and the 62nd regiments are on their passage from Cork, the 39th, 89th, 17th and 14th have formed companies and await transport accommodation.

The regiments already at the Mediterranean stations are the 1st [1st Batt], 3d Buffs, 13th Light infantry, 30th, 31st, 41st, 44th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 55th, 57th, 68th, 71st [1stBatt] and 92nd.

There is a shortage of ship’s clerks an pursers in the R.N, all those in that class on ships in harbour will be sent to sea, and invalided officers will undertake the duties on home stations.

All excusing themselves from service through ill health will have to be examined at Greenwich, Haslar etc, by the Naval physicians.

Orders arriving at Portsmouth on Saturday, vessels to form the fleet to the North sea and Baltic to assemble at the Downs by the 6th of March and they will also rendezvous in the Yarmouth roads. The expedition will be one of the most powerful ever sent northward.

DUKE OF WELLINGTON, screw, 131 guns, NEPTUNE, 120 guns, ST GEORGE, 120 guns, ROYAL GEORGE, screw, 120 guns, ST JEAN D’ACRE, screw 101 guns, PRINCESS ROYAL, screw, 91 guns, CAESAR, screw, 91 guns, NILE, screw, 91 guns, JAMES WATT, screw, 91 guns, PRINCE REGENT, 91 guns, MAJESTIC, 90 guns, MONARCH, 84 guns, CRESSY, screw, 80 guns, BOSCOWEN, 70 guns, BLENHEIM, screw, 60 guns, HOGUE, screw, 60 guns, EDINBURGH, screw, 58 guns, AJAX, screw, 41 guns, PIQUE, 40 guns, AMPHIAN, screw, 34 guns, DAUNTLESS, screw, 33 guns, TRIBUNE, screw, 18 guns, SIMOON, troop screw ship, 18 guns, MAGICIENNE, 16 guns, VALOROUS, paddle, 16 guns, DESPERATE, screw, 8 guns, VULTURE, screw, 6 guns, VULCAN, troop screw ship, 6 guns, DRAGON, paddle, 6 guns, BULLDOG, paddle, 6 guns, BASILISK, paddle, 6 guns.

Recruiting for the navy is being carried out at Liverpool with great energy, but moderate success, the high wages obtainable in the Mercantile marine being an obstacle towards the enlistment of good sailors in H.M Service. Capt BEVIS sent off to London, 34 able bodied seamen from Liverpool on Monday night and 30 yesterday.

On Saturday the Cunard steamer NIAGRA will sail for Malta with a regiment at present stationed at Leeds, 900 strong.

Recruiting parties are active in Manchester, but with moderate success, numerous candidates have offered themselves but the majority, have been refused, being below the standard height. The 7th Regt of Fusiliers stationed at Regent Rd, barracks, Salford, expect to be sent to the east in the course of next month.

In the Metropolis on Wednesday, shortly after 12 o’ clock the 1st Bat, Coldstream guards, marched out from St Georges Barracks, Trafalgar Square, en route for Chichester, preparatory to their embarkation for the Mediterranean. Col BENTINCK commanded the battalion, which as it passed along the Strand, was enthusiastically cheered by a multitude, so great was the excitement that the thoroughfare was for some time entirely suspended. At Waterloo Bridge the toll-keepers were overwhelmed by the torrent of people accompanying the troops, who were not stopped in their farewell by any number of turnstiles, and the men appeared in high spirits and marched cheerfully along to the familiar air of, “The girl I left behind me.”

At 2pm the 3rd Batt of the Grenadier guards removed from the Tower to St Georges barracks and they, too, in their passage along the streets, were Accompanied by crowds of people.

On Wednesday 350, picked men from the 2nd Batt, Scots Fusiliers, now stationed at Windsor, arrived at the Wellington barracks, which proceeds at once to the Mediterranean. The expedition are, Lieut Col DIXON, Lieut Col MONCRIEFF, and Quarter Master ALLEN.

Besides Mister DUNBAR’S ship the CANTERBURY, the government have chartered for the transport of stores to Malta, the ORIENT, 1050 tons, the SIR JOHN POLLOCK, 640 tons, the GEORGIAN, 780 tons.

The embarkation will be effected on Saturday at noon, as soon as the troops are on board, the steamers will proceed on their voyage. Only a few of the Officer’s horses will be taken, and women and children will accompany each detachment. About 2,500 troops it is said will sail from Southampton and these will be distributed between the RIPON, MANILLA and ORINOCO, the latter being an emigrant ship, will take the largest number. The ships have been victualled for 15 days, but with good weather should reach their destination in 11 days, the ordinary duration of the voyage.

The Highland Brigade of the 42nd, 79th and 93rd Highlanders, are under orders for the east. The order for the 63rd Regt to embark for The Cape of Good Hope has been countermanned.

The Regiments for foreign, service will not relieve the corps in the Mediterranean, but will proceed to the neighbourhood of Constantinople.

On Saturday morning a war steamer arrived at Belfast Lough for the purpose of taking on board the coast guard men of the several stations of Antrim and Down. She left on Sunday evening with 60 men, smart fellows, well accustomed to the sea, and to the use of arms, better still delighted at the change in their service.

The steamer proceeded to Cork with a body of spare coast guards of the Southern districts waiting for embarkation, she will then proceed to Portsmouth.


Copyright 2002 / To date