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HMS Indus (launched as Defence, 1861)

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NameIndus (launched as Defence)Explanation
TypeBroadside ironclad frigate   
Launched24 April 1861
HullIron
PropulsionScrew
Builders measure3270 tons
Displacement6270 tons
Guns22
Fate1935
ClassDefence
Ships bookADM 135/126
Note1885 h.s.
1898 = Indus, t.s.
1922 hulk
Snippets concerning this vessels career
DateEvent
5 December 1861
- 1 October 1862
Commanded by Captain Richard Ashmore Powell, Channel squadron
1 October 1862Commanded by Captain Augustus Phillimore, Channel squadron
13 January 1868Commanded by Captain Charles Henry May, Channel squadron
(5 October 1869)Commanded by Captain Nowell Salmon, West Indies, then Mediterranean
Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Ma 5 August 1861The armaments intended for the following ships - viz., the Defence and Resistance, and Achilles, recently laid down, and also to be iron-clad, after the method of the Warrior, are announced as follows: -The Defence and Resistance, of 1,462 tons each, and to be fitted with engines of 600 nominal horse-power, will have two 100-pounders on the upper deck, 16 100-pounder as side guns on the main deck, and four 40-pounders also on the main deck. The Achilles will be provided with 34 100-pounders on the main deck. On the upper dock there will be two 100-pounders on revolving carriages. There will be eight of the same on slides and carriages; four 40-pounders on truck carriages and two 32-pounders smooth bore of the old cast-iron Ordnance, making a total of 50 to the Achilles, and 22 each to the Defence and Resistance. The whole of the guns have been handed over to the store for dispatch from Wolwich on demand.
We 4 September 1861'The Proposed New Iron Frigates'.
Tu 4 February 1862Yesterday a party of 60 additional shipwrights, including a portion of the hands removed from the Rattlesnake, 21, screw corvette, completed, and the Pylades, 21, screw, under repair in the fourth dock at Chatham, were placed on the iron-cased steam frigate Royal Oak, 51, building under No. 7 shed, in order to expedite the construction of that vessel, which it is intended shall be completed and ready for launching by the first spring tide in the month of September next. A number of the shipwrights now employed on the iron frigate Defence, 18, will he attached to the Royal Oak on their leaving that ship during the present week. The number of hands now employed on the Royal Oak is nearly 400, including apprentices and labourers. By direction of the Admiralty a powerful travelling crane is in course of erection at the side shed adjoining that under which the frigate is building, in order to facilitate the removal of the heavy beams and timbers used in her construction. The erection of the traveller has been placed in the hands of a London firm, the iron tramways on which the crane will work having been already fixed. Considering the great weights which the traveller will be required to lift, it is to be hoped that care will be taken to have the supports thoroughly tested before the work is completed and handed ever to the Admiralty, the opinion of practical men being that greater strength ought to have been secured.
Although the construction of the iron ship Achilles, 50, 6,079 tons, 1,250-hose power, building at Chatham, has been seriously retarded owing to the difficulty experienced by the Admiralty in procuring iron of the quality required, considerable progress has been made in the work, and already about one-half of her massive ribs, answering to the timbers in an ordinary vessel, have been forged and successfully fixed in their place without accident. The difficulty experienced by the Admiralty in obtaining adequate supplies of iron is still felt in as great force as ever, and, instead of the Achilles being completed within two years from the time in which she was commenced, as was originally expected, at least treble that period will elapse before she will even be afloat, if she continues to progress only at her present rate. There are not more than about 100 workmen engaged on her, including those in the factory department, and yet it was estimated that at least 1,000 hands would be constantly required to complete her in the prescribed period of two years. The chief difficulty appears to be in obtaining adequate supplies of plate iron, the establishment being overstocked with angle iron. Negotiations are, however, now pending with several eminent firms, and it is believed that in a very short time sufficient supplies of first-class iron will be sent in to the dockyard. During yesterday and Saturday a number of the massive armour-plates were landed at the dockyard, although these will not be required to be used for several months to come. Each plate weighs slightly over four tons, is about 15 feet in length by about 3 feet in width, and of an uniform thickness of 4½ inches. The whole are manufactured of rolled iron, at the Parkgate Ironworks, Yorkshire, where powerful machinery has been erected for the purpose.
Yesterday a party of shipwrights were despatched from Chatham dockyard to Shoeburyness, to be employed in erecting a target faced with iron armour-plates fastened together without bolting, on the principle recommended by Mr. Scott Russell. The armour-plates, which are of the same thickness as those for the Achilles and Royal Oak, have been prepared at Chatham dockyard, where the target has been put together, the plates being of different sizes, with the edges prepared according to Mr. Russell's directions. The experiments with the elongated Armstrong shot upon this target, and their effect on the iron plates, are looked forward to with some interest, as, should the Admiralty decide on adopting the plan recommended by Mr. Scott Russell, the whole of the armour-plates for the iron ships building will require to be altered.
Fr 4 April 1862No instructions have yet been received from the Admiralty for suspending the works connected with the Royal Oak, 50, armour-plated frigate, under construction at Chatham, and it is therefore probable that the plan proposed for completing the squadron of armour-plated frigates building at the several dockyards as cupola ships, on Captain Coles's principle, has been abandoned, and that the Royal Oak and the other vessels of her class will be completed simply as armour-plated ships, according to the original plan. In the meantime every effort is being made by the dockyard officials to have the Royal Oak completed and afloat during the present summer. To accomplish this every hand, with the exception of some 50 or 60 shipwrights and caulkers at work on the Racoon, 22, and the Pylades, 21, is employed on her, and from the energy which is just now being displayed little more than four months will see the first of the new description of wooden armour-covered ships afloat. By special direction of the Admiralty all the hands in the dockyard have been withdrawn from the wooden ships and placed on the two iron vessels, the Achilles and Royal Oak, which together have upwards of 1,000 shipwrights and mechanics employed on them, in addition to the hands at work in the factory and smithy preparing the materials to be used. The exterior of the Royal Oak is now completely planked in readiness to receive her armour-plates, which will be laid on a solid backing of teak and oak of 29 inches in thickness. Adjoining the slip, an extensive building is in course of erection for the reception of the machinery to be used in preparing the iron slabs in which the vessel will be encased. Unlike the Achilles, the Resistance, the Defence, and other iron vessels of that class, which are provided with projecting stems, for running down vessels, the Royal Oak and the other armour-plated ships, are almost square-built, each being constructed with what is termed a "tumble-home" stem, projecting in the slightest possible manner from the bow of the ship, thus doing away altogether with the supposition of these frigates being used as steam rams. In order to obtain additional strength for the stern-post, the screw-well usually found on board screw steamers will be partially abolished in the Royal Oak and the sister ship Royal Alfred, building at Portsmouth.
Ma 11 August 1862'Our Iron-Cased Fleets'.
Ma 1 June 1863Her Majesty's ships of war, now at Spithead consist of the Black Prince, 40 guns, screw iron frigate, Capt. Wainwright; Defence, 18 guns, screw iron frigate, Capt. Phillimore; Racoon, 20 guns, screw woodlen corvette, Capt. Count Gleichen, and Orontes, screw iron troopship, Capt. Hire.
Th 19 November 1863When the Chief Constructor of the Navy …
Sa 12 November 1864The 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.
Fr 24 February 1865Three of the iron screw steamships belonging to the Channel squadron are now in dock at Devonport. The Achilles, 20, Capt. Edward W. Vansittart, was placed in No. 3 dock at Keyham, on the 11th January, partly in consequence of the loss of one of the blades of her propeller. The new propeller, which will have blades of greater strength, is not yet fitted. Some alterations have been made to her after stern post, apparently with a view to carrying off the water more readily when the ship is in motion. Her bottom is being recoated with Hay's composition, which operation is nearly complete. The dock shores were shifted on Monday in order that the spots which they covered might be properly coated. The Black Prince, 41 Capt. Lord Frederick H. Kerr, was placed in the Prince's dock, Devonport, on the 15th inst. Her starboard watch had leave from the 16th to the 19th, and the port watch from the 20th to the 23d inst. The shaft of her engine has been launched out to examine the condition of the "thrust bearing," which is in very good order. The bottom of this ship was completely painted with Hay's composition in November, 1863, and partially so in May, 1864. About the middle of December, while at moorings in Hamoaze, her starboard side was "hogged;" that is, her bottom was cleaned by a large brush moved by rope guys. When in dock this side was found to be nearly clean, and on the port side there was comparatively very little weed, and but a few small mussels. Some corrosion has taken place on her bottom, especially from the line of flotation to 10ft. below, which is the part most exposed when she rolls at sea. It may have commenced through the friction of a deeply-laden vessel (such as a collier) lying alongside. Some such cause as this has apparently been in operation, as the composition is rubbed off chiefly on that part between the mainmast and the foremast, which is that usually occupied by vessels lying alongside. However, since she has been in dock, owing probably to exposure to the atmosphere, the effects of corrosion have been exhibited more or less below, from the keel upwards. The pits in some places may be a quarter of an inch deep. There is considerable rust on the keel. The Defence, 11, Capt. Augustus Phillimore, was placed in No. 1 dock at Devonport on the 14th inst. The ship is in good order and will require no important alterations; her officers still consider her "a good sea boat." In November, 1863, her bottom was thoroughly coated with Peacock's and Buchan's composition; in June, 1864, it was retouched. She has been lying in harbour for the last four months, during which she was hogged. When docked it was found that some short weed, about an inch long, and a few small shell fish were attached, but this was chiefly in quarters out of the run of the sea. She is now receiving another coat of the same composition. Some corrosion exists below the water-line.
Sa 18 March 1865Yesterday morning, in accordance with previously understood arrangements, the majority of the members of the Board of Admiralty arrived at Portsmouth from London, and embarking on board the Royal Sovereign turret ship, at Spithead, took a short cruise in the Channel, south of the Isle of Wight, accompanied by Her Majesty's ships then lying at Spithead, and witnessed some evolutions under steam and gunnery. The fleet at Spithead, which consisted of the Achilles, Black Prince, and Defence iron-clad broadside-gun frigates, the Royal Sovereign iron-cased turret ship, and the Liverpool, latest improved class of wooden screw frigate, had steam up and cables hove in shortly after 9 a.m., in readiness for their Lordships' arrival. The wind was moderate from S.S.E., with the barometer steady at 30·3. At half past 10 the Fire Queen steam yacht was seen from on board the ships of the fleet to be coming from between the points of Portsmouth harbour to Spithead with the flag of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, G.C.B, the Naval Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, flying from her main, and very shortly the party on board of her were transferred from the Fire Queen to the Royal Sovereign, consisting of Admirals Sir Frederick Grey, Drummond, Eden, Frederick, and Fanshawe; with Mr. Romaine, C.B., and Capt. Hall, R.N., secretary to the Duke of Somerset (from the Admiralty); accompanied by Admirals Sir Michael Seymour, G.C.B., Sydney Colpoys Dacres, C.B., and George Elliot, Capts. Caldwell, C.B., Preedy, C.B., F. Scott, C.B. and Aide-de-Camp to the Queen, and a number of other naval officers out of uniform, and also by Capt. Pigeaud, Naval Attaché to the Imperial French Embassy in London. Capt. Astley C. Key, C.B., of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, received the members of the Admiralty and the officers by whom they were accompanied on the deck of the Royal Sovereign, as her commander pro tem. The anchors of the fleet were soon afterwards weighed, and the ships steamed slowly out by the eastern channel as they secured their anchors, the Royal Sovereign leading, as the flagship of the Admiral commanding; the four-masted Achilles came next, the Black Prince third, the Defence fourth, and the Liverpool last. The Lords of the Admiralty present had, therefore, for their immediate personal observation under steam three distinct classes of our broadside gun ironclads, our most powerful turret ship, and the latest improved model of the 34-gun wooden frigate. The ships continued on their course, with the steam tender yachts Fire Queen and Sprightly in attendance on the port beam of the line, until 20 minutes past noon; when the headland of Dunnose opened out well on the starboard beam of the fleet, and the course was changed from S. and by W. to W, so as to bring the wind and sea abeam and get as much roll as was possible out of the turret ship while working her turrets and guns. There was found, however, to be neither wind nor sea enough to effect her, placed as she was, in the slightest degree, and the direction of the course was therefore again changed by signal to W. and by S. to some distance further off the land. There the breeze freshened a little, with a somewhat heavier sea. The Royal Sovereign's speed was slowed, her crew beat to quarters, turrets were manned, upper deck bulwarks thrown down, and other preparations made for action, and all being ready the turrets were turned by that portion of the crew at the winch handles below, and the guns sighted and laid in various directions to exhibit the turrets' capabilities of revolving and the time occupied in laying the guns in various directions. There was nothing new or particularly interesting in any of these proceedings, excepting the fact that the work necessarily took a longer time in each instance than it did on similar occasions of trial when the ship was in commission under Capt. Osborn's command. This was owing to the fact that the greater part of the men yesterday (who had been lent from the Excellent) had never before been engaged in working turrets and their guns. While the Royal Sovereign was lying thus the four broadside ships steamed past and close alongside her in line, and it was evident that had they been in reality approaching the ship in this manner as enemies every ship would have been sunk by the guns of the turret ship before they could have brought their broadside guns to bear upon her deck or turrets. The Achilles was a strong illustration in point, as she steamed up for the Royal Sovereign's port quarter with only eight guns in battery on either side of her hull, the foremost guns being on a line with her forward funnel. It was also remarkable that all the ironclads exhibited a greater lateral motion, or "roll" than the Royal Sovereign under full steam, and that while the Defence plunged her bows into the water and threw a wave up to her hawsepipes the Liverpool rode with greater ease than any of the others. There was a want of both wind and sea to test satisfactorily, as a matter of comparison, the working of the different ships' guns in a roll of a seaway, for no roll to speak of existed, and preparations were therefore made for target firing, the Royal Sovereign commencing from her three foremost turrets at 1,800 yards' range, with 150lb. round shot and 40lb. charges of powder, firing to starboard; and then with circling round the target and firing from the same guns at short range. Guns, turrets, and fittings worked with ease, and the concussion felt on the ship's upper deck was generally allowed to be less than the concussion ordinarily felt on a ship's main gun deck from the firing of ordinary 68 or 100 pounders. The Lords of the Admiralty present and the officers accompanying them were on the ship's upper deck during the time of the firing, some being on the platform round the funnel casing, and others walking the deck itself on the leeward side from the fire. The practice from the turret ship having been brought to a conclusion signal was made to the fleet to close on the Admiral and open fire from their port batteries on the target at 600 yards as they steamed past. The Royal Sovereign led off with two shots from her foremost turret guns, and was followed by the Achilles from her 9·22-inch or 100-pounder smooth bore coil built guns, and the other ships by their mixed batteries as they came up. The effect was magnificent, and the Lords of the Admiralty saw much to suggest reflection in the brilliant scene before them. There was a costly squadron of five ships, each perhaps superior as a ship to all others of the same class in foreign navies, and yet only one of these carried guns that would even under the most favourable circumstances pierce any one of the other's sides. If, however, the naval display of yesterday was intended to settle any of the disputes in the contest of "turret versus broadside ships' batteries," an old partly plated hulk or target would have afforded more satisfactory results. The target fired at was a small "pole" target, sent afloat with a flag on the top of the pole, and it is remarkable that it was not hit in any instance by the fire of the fleet. After the firing had been brought to a conclusion the fleet returned to Spithead in the order they left, and again anchored there. The Lords of the Admiralty, on leaving the Royal Sovereign, took the opportunity of visiting the other ships as they came to an anchor. On returning to Portsmouth their Lordships visited the Malacca and other ships in the harbour, and afterwards dined at Hirst's Portland Hotel, Southsea.
The Royal Sovereign is ordered to undergo an ordeal of some 12 or 14 days' experimental work outside the Isle of Wight under the direction of Capt. A. C. Key, C.B., of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, when her gunnery capabilities will be fully and practically developed under every possible condition. As on this officer's report must depend in a great measure the matured opinion of the Admiralty respecting the turret principle, it is satisfactory to hear it remarked on all sides that the conduct of such an important matter could not have been placed in more able or impartial hands.
A. patented compass, the invention of Commander Arthur, of Her Majesty's ship Excellent, was tried on board the Royal Sovereign during the cruise, and attracted much attention from several of the Lords and the officers on board. It is for registering a ship's course at sea on lined and prepared paper, working on a cylinder by clockwork, the direction of the ship's head being taken and marked by an indicator pencil every two minutes and a half. It can be placed in any part of the ship where there is no local attraction, and does not require being placed with the ship's compass.
Th 20 April 1865The remaining portion of the Channel Squadron, consisting of the Black Prince, Capt. Lord F. Kerr, the Prince Consort, Capt. O. Wiles; and Defence, Capt. Phillimore, left Portland Roads on Monday evening at 8 p.m. to join the Edgar (flagship of Admiral S.C. Dacres), off Portland, after which they proceeded down Channel en route to Lisbon. The Achilles (ironclad), Capt. Vansittart, will join the squadron off Plymouth.
(various)this gets replaced
Th 7 September 1865The ships composing the Channel fleet at Spithead, consisting of the Edgar (flag), Achilles, Black Prince, Prince Consort, Hector, Defence, Research, and Trinculo gun vessel, have filled up with coals, stores, and provisions, and are under orders to sail for Portland and a cruise westward. The Salamis, despatch vessel, requires sundry repairs, which may probably detain her a short time at Spithead after the departure of the fleet.
Fr 14 February 1868OUR IRON-CLAD FLEET. — A return likely to be called for annually has been laid before Parliament, giving an account of our iron-clad fleet built, building, or ordered. The return, which is dated the 30th of August, 1867, contains a list of 31 ships then completed, 13 of them wholly armour-clad, and 18 partially. They are: — The Black Prince, 32 guns; Warrior, 32; Defence, 16; Resistance, 16; Achilles, 26; Hector, 18: Valiant, 18; Minotaur, 26; Agincourt, 26; Northumberland, 26; Royal Oak, 24; Prince Consort, 24; Caledonia, 24; Ocean, 24; Royal Alfred 18; Zealous, 20; Bellerophon, 15; Lord Clyde, 24; Lord Warden, 18; Penelope, 11; Pallas, 8; Favourite, 10; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Waterwitch, 2; Vixen, 2; Viper, 2; Royal Sovereign, 5; Prince Albert, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wivern, 4. Twenty-one of these ships are of more than 3,000 tons each. Six other ships were at the date of this return building; two to be wholly armour-clad, and four partially; the Hercules, just launched; the Monarch, 6 guns, to be launched in June; the Captain, 6, the Repulse, 12, to be launched in April; the Audacious, 14, in December; and the Invincible, 14, in March, 1869. All these six ships exceed 3,700 tons. Another, the Bellona, is ordered [and apparently later cancelled]. Lastly, there are the four wholly armour-clad batteries launched in 1855 and 1856, the Erebus, Terror, Thunderbolt, and Thunder; the three first of 16 guns, and the last 14, their tonnage ranging from 1,469 to 1,973. The first cost of the 31 iron-clad ships completed amounted in the whole to 7,284,294l. This includes fittings, but the accounts for some of the latter ships are not yet closed, and this sum does not include incidental and establishment charges. These last indirect charges, calculated in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee on Dockyard Manufactures, add about 35 per cent. to the gross direct charges for labour and materials expended upon each ship in the financial year 1864-65, about 51 per cent. for 1865-66, and the year 1866-67 is for the present estimated to show the same ratio of 51 per cent. These indirect charges have amounted, on the Bellerophon, to no less than 114,372l.; Lord Warden, 104.292l., with a further addition to follow: Royal Alfred, 69,999l., also liable to some addition; Lord Clyde, 66,964l.; Pallas, 61,076l. The most costly of the ships have been the Minotaur, 450,774l.; the Agincourt, 446,048l., both of them with unsettled claims for extra payment; the Northumberland, 433,130l., with the accounts not yet closed; the Achilles, 444,590l.; and the Hercules, estimated at 401,000l. Further sums have to be added to the cost of these ships for dockyard, incidental, and establishment charges.
Sa 28 November 1868That portion of the Channel Squadron which left Plymouth Sound on Thursday for Lisbon, consisted of the Minotaur, Defence, Penelope, Bellerophon, and Northumberland. The Warrior shipped her powder yesterday (Friday), and will follow shortly. The Helicon and Pigeon will probably leave to-day with despatches for the Admirals.
Tu 1 December 1868Her Majesty’s ship Helicon will sail from Devonport tomorrow morning, and will convey despatches for the Channel Squadron, consisting of the Minotaur, Bellerophon, Penelope, Northumberland, Defence, and Pallas.
Fr 26 March 1869

THE CHANNEL SQUADRON.

A report from Rear-Admiral Warden on the cruise of the Channel Squadron in June last has been laid before the House of Commons. The weather was too exceptionally fine to be favourable to the development of the qualities of the ships under trial. The squadron comprised eight ships. Rear-Admiral Warden reports.—
"Of all these the Bellerophon is the readiest and most easily handled under steam, and she has the most powerful battery under the thickest armour. Under sail she is slow and stows a small quantity of fuel, but is very economical in expenditure. Her principal defects as a fighting ship I consider to be, that the guns in her battery are placed too close together; the absence of upper deck armament, and the want of fire in the line of keel, under armour, as well as the inefficiency of the bow-gun, which is on the main deck. I do not believe that in chase of an enemy's ship she could, by any possibility, fire her bow-gun, the projecting bow helping the sea to roll up to, in, and on her main deck, flooding it and compelling the closing of the port. On one occasion, 30th of June, when steaming head to wind 5½ knots (force of wind 6), in reply to the signal, "Can you fight bow-gun?" the answer was "Yes, with closing the port occasionally." The absence of upper deck armament is, I presume, to be accounted for by the fact that the ship, as originally designed, was not intended to have any upper deck, and as is was an afterthought, it was not prepared to carry guns.
“The next class to be noticed is the Prince Consort and Royal Oak. They were built to serve a particular purpose, at what was considered a critical period. They were generally viewed as a makeshift, and being merely wooden line-of-battle ships cut down and armoured, they are not likely to be repeated. Nevertheless they have good qualities; they are armoured throughout, are powerful ships, handy under steam, from being short with good speed, and do sufficiently well under sail. Their consumption of fuel is very great. They roll very much, and so deeply that I am of opinion, now that ironclad ships are taking the place of wooden line-of-battle ships, it is worthy of all consideration whether it is not advisable to make them coastguard ships after putting them in a state of thorough repair in every respect; they might then last for years. Under existing circumstances, if they are much at sea, it is not to be expected that they will be worth repair at the expiration of their present commission.
"I now come to the Defence and Pallas. The former is a very handy ship under sail, especially with her screw raised, is very economical in her expenditure of fuel, but an indifferent performer under steam. A proof of it may be found in the fact that on the 30th of June, when practising evolutions, force of wind 5, squadron steaming 5½ knots, head to wind with a slight easterly swell, when she lost her station some little distance, she was utterly unable to regain it, although she was making 54 revolutions by signal. On her trial at the measured mile, in March, 1862, 62 revolutions gave her a speed of nine knots, according to the official record. In fact, she never did get into her place, and the evolution was not completed. As the experiments now taking place on board the Pallas are to be made the subject of special report, I need not further advert to them in this place, nor do I think it necessary to say more about that ship, as her qualities are sufficiently well known; and I do not suppose there is the least probability of a second ship of the same class being ever built.
"The Minotaur, the Achilles, and the Warrior are three very noble ships. The last named, however, I look upon as the least valuable of the three — her unarmoured ends, exposure of steering wheel, her rolling propensities (as compared with the other two), are defects which are not compensated for by any good qualities superior to theirs. The first and second, notwithstanding their great length, which of necessity carries with it some disadvantages, have many great qualities. They steam at high speed; the Achilles is, under sail, everything that could be expected in an armoured ship unable to raise her screw; and no doubt the Minotaur would do equally well if she were masted in the same way, which I consider she ought to be the first favourable opportunity. The Minotaur is more heavily armed than the Achilles, having four 12-ton 9-inch guns on the main deck, and two 6½-ton guns on the upper deck, which fire in a line with the keel, under the protection of armour, being the only ship in the squadron which possesses this advantage, and is armoured throughout, having 5½ inch plates, tapering to 3½in. These are great advantages over a ship in other respects so nearly alike, but in the great and all-important point of the capacity for fighting their guns, they are both alike, rolling as nearly as possible to the same extent, which is a minimum as compared with other ships; and in this respect of steadiness of platform upon which to fight their guns, I believe they stand out unrivalled and unsurpassed by any ship which has ever been built. Believing as I do, that this invaluable property of steadiness is due to the form of the ships, and the proper distribution of the weights on board them, and not to be attributed to their great length, this question has constantly forced itself on my mind — viz., it is not possible to build a broadside-ship, heavily armed, adequately protected, of such a length as to secure sufficient speed, and to be at the same time a handy ship, and of such a shape and form as to roll as little as the Minotaur and Achilles? Unless this question can be answered positively in negative, I have a full conviction that it ought to be attempted, so long as broadside-ships continue the most important and formidable part of our navy.
"My own idea of the proper theory of ironclad ships is this, that they should always be built of iron, be armoured throughout, be as heavily armed as possible, and possess bow and stern fire, at least to the same extent as the Lord Warden and Lord Clyde. Perhaps the time has arrived when the enormous increase in the power of artillery, and the increased weight and thickness of the armour-plates, which have become necessary to resist the projectiles now in use, render the carrying out of this theory of ironclad ships impracticable. If this be so it would seem to follow that if guns are to be used of such a weight that the whole length of the broadside cannot be made use of to carry them, and the space which they occupy is too great to admit of their being protected by a thickness of armour capable of resisting the shot which will be brought against them, it seems to follow, I say, that the turret-ship is a necessity. Guns of any weight can be placed in turrets, armour of almost any thickness can be carried round them, and it will then only be necessary to protect the water-line with a belt, as heavy and as thick as the ship can bear. These conditions carried out, it remains, of course, that the turret-ship should be constructed so that she should be a habitable and comfortable ship for the officers and men, with a sufficiency of sail power to enable her to meet the varied requirements which are usually made on a British man-of-war. The question again naturally arises. Is it impossible to build such a ship? The conditions above-stated, which seem to render a resort to turret-ships inevitable, seem also to point out that, in the broadside-ship, armour-plating will eventually have to be given up everywhere, except at the water-line and at the bow and stern, to protect guns firing in a line with the keel. In ships built completely of iron with guns as heavy as they are capable of carrying, protection must be reduced to a minimum, and shot and shell be allowed to find their way through and through the iron fabric, perhaps with less damage to ship and life than if they had been checked in their progress by armour-plating.
The subject of 'ramming' I approach with great diffidence. It is one which exists principally in the region of speculation. I am not one of those who think that in the next naval war ramming will rank before artillery as a mode of attack; but I believe firmly that it will play a very important and formidable part in all future engagements. Possibly some naval actions will be decided by the independent and energetic action of some individual captain seizing the fortunate moment and the right opportunity for running his enemy down at a high speed. It is as clear as anything can be that so long as a ship has good way on her, and a good command of steam to increase her steam at pleasure, that ship cannot be what is called 'rammed'; she cannot even be struck to any purpose so long as she has room and is properly handled. The use of ships as rams, it appears to me, will only be called into play after an action has commenced, when ships, of necessity, are reduced to a low rate of speed, probably their lowest. I therefore apprehend that it would be consistent with prudence and good tactics always, when going into action to hold in reserve a portion of the squadron or fleet (and that whether the force was large or small, whether the enemy were numerically superior or otherwise) to act as rams; and when the action had commenced, and noise and smoke and fire were doing their work, the reserve to be brought into play to act independently, as circumstances might require. For this purpose ships must be made capable of playing their part, and strengthened on purpose to perform such duty, and the form of bow which I believe best calculated to deal the hardest blow, and carry with it the greatest amount of destruction, is the straight upright stem of the Achilles or the slightly curved one of the Minotaur, rather than the projecting prow of the Bellerophon and others of a similar form. The result of the experience gained when the Amazon 'rammed' a small steamer in the channel is not encouraging. I believe also on this subject, as well as on very many others connected with naval warfare, that the first great action at sea between ironclad squadrons or fleets will dissipate and cast to the winds many of our preconceived opinions and theories, disturb many of our prejudices, and throw an entirely new light on the whole subject."

Fr 2 September 1870Our Malta correspondent, writes under date of Valetta, August 26:—
"By the arrival of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's packet Nyanza on the 21st inst, intelligence has been received of the Mediterranean Squadron under the command of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, K.C.B., to the 17th inst. The squadron, consisting of the Lord Warden, Caledonia, Royal Oak, Prince Consort, Bellerophon, and Columbine, arrived at Gibraltar on the 12th inst., and completed with coal on the same day. The Lord Warden and Caledonia, being finished coaling, put off from the Mole and moored in the inner anchorage. On coming to an anchor off the New Mole a slight collision occurred between the Prince Consort and Bellerophon. The former touched the quarter of the latter, caring away the quarter davits of the Bellerophon and snapping off her own jibboom. Early on the morning of Monday, the 15th inst., the Channel squadron was sighted from the Gibraltar signal-staff, and soon afterwards made its appearances coming round the point under sail; then furling sails it steamed into the anchorage off the New Mole. The squadron consisted of the Minotaur, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton, K.C.B.; Agincourt, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Henry Chads; Northumberland, Monarch, Hercules, Inconstant, Captain, and Warrior. By noon on the 17th all the ships had completed coaling, and were ready for sea. The combined Mediterranean and Channel Squadrons, under the supreme command of Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, were expected to put to sea on the 19th for the long talked-of cruise. There were at Gibraltar besides the above-mentioned ships, the Bristol, training vessel, Captain T.W. Wilson; the Trinculo and Porcupine Staff Captain Calver. The latter vessel proceeded into the Mediterranean on the 16th inst. to prosecute a survey of the sea-bottom, in the interests of science. She may soon be expected at Malta. The Bristol was to join the combined squadrons during the cruise. When the Mediterranean squadron was off Algiers on the 8th inst., the Psyche proceeded into that port, rejoining the Flag the same night. She went on to Gibraltar on the following day, and again met the Commander-in-Chief on the 11th inst., with the mails. His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar has been pleased to allow the gates of the fortress to he opened, when required during the night, for the use of officers of the various ships — a privilege hitherto not conceded, but one which is fully appreciated by the whole squadron. The following is a list of the appointments and charges made since my last letter … [omitted] … Her Majesty’s ironclad ship Defence, 16, Capt. Nowel Salmon, V.C., was unexpectedly ordered off by telegraph on the 20th inst. Her destination was kept secret, but is variously rumoured to be Tunis, Palermo, and Gibraltar. I think that it is not impossible she has gone to Civita Vecchia, for the protection of British residents at Rome, and to offer a refuge to His Holiness the Pope end his Ministers, should the course of events render such protection desirable or necessary. Her Majesty's despatch vessel, Antelope, 3, Lieut.-Commander J. Buchanan, arrived here on the 25th inst. from Constantinople, seven days. The surveying schooner Azov, Lieut.-Commander Moore, which had gone out on hydrographic science, has returned into port."
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