The Pacific campaign of 1854-1856
The Pacific campaign of 1854-1856

Royal NavyCampaigns'Crimean' War
Royal NavyCampaigns'Crimean' War

The following extracts from the Times newspaper refer to the (unsuccessful) attempts of the squadron commanded first by Rear-Admiral David Price and then by Real-Admiral Henry William Bruce (part of a joint Anglo-French force) to neutralise the Russian navy in the northern Pacific Ocean during the war of 1854-1856.

(Note: I have corrected obvious misspellings of proper names.)

For these events described by William Laird Clowes see here and here.

Extracts from the Times newspaper
Fr 5 August 1853Rear-Admiral David Price, to be Commander-in-Chief on the Pacific station, in the room of Rear- Admiral Fairfax Moresby, C.B., in the command at that station since August 21, 1850.
We 5 October 1853


The President, 50, Captain Burridge, flag of Rear-Admiral Price, Commander-in-Chief for the South Pacific station, to relieve Rear-Admiral Moresby, C.B., arrived off this port this morning from the Nore. She saluted the Port Admiral, and will proceed to Plymouth as soon as the weather (at present very unfavourable) moderates.
We 11 January 1854The Serpent, 12, Commander (acting) Edward H.G. Lambert, arrived at Spithead at 1 o’clock to-day from the Pacific station... Rear-Admiral Moresby, C.B. Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, in the Portland, 50, Captain H. Chads, was at Valparaiso when the Serpent sailed and had only just received the intelligence of being succeeded in the command by Rear-Admiral Price, in the President 50 (now well on her way to the station).
Tu 18 July 1854From Peru the news is to the 12th of June... A smart shock of an earthquake was felt at Lima, but it did no damage. Her Majesty’s schooner Cockatrice, 4 guns, was the only British ship of war at Callao. The President, Admiral Price, and the French frigate La Forte, had sailed northwards on receiving news of the declaration of war, - it is presumed to look for the Russian vessels of war Diana and Aurora, or to blockade Sitka.
Tu 26 September 1854

(from our own correspondent.)


By the arrival of one of the vessels trading between this place and the Sandwich Islands on the 9th inst. we have the following news respecting the Russian men-of-war in the Pacific, and which were reported to be cruising on this coast:-

The frigate Diana, of 60 guns, Captain Lessoffsky, left Honolulu on the 1st of June, as was supposed, for Sitka. She returned, however, to the same port on the 10th of the same month, when it was ascertained that she had passed her time cruising in the neighbourhood of the Sandwich Islands, and it was reported that she had given the English frigate which was dogging her the slip. It was rumoured that the Diana was awaiting the arrival of the Aurora, another Russian frigate, then daily expected at the Sandwich Islands from Valparaiso, but on the receipt of the declaration of war the Diana left suddenly, and the general impression was that she had gone to Sitka. Should this have been her destination, it is feared she may fall in with the English and French whalers in the Sea of Ochotzk and Behring's Straits.

Our anxiety as to the movements of the English and French squadron, of which we had not heard any authentic and precise accounts since the commencement of the war, was relieved by the intelligence from the Sandwich Islands on the 12th inst. The following account of the arrival at Honolulu of the combined squadron I condense from one of the local papers. On the 17th of July six vessels under sail, besides a war steamer, were all seen bearing down for the anchorage, and a splendid sight it was. The British and French flags were commingled in the fleet in beautiful accord, and all the vessels looked neat and trim and prepared for service as well as display.

"By 2 o’clock they were all at anchor in a line off the harbour, and turned out to be the British frigate President, flagship, the Amphitrite and steamer Virago, the French frigate Forte, the Eurydice, l’Artémise, and brig Obligado, three English and four French - the English carrying 80 guns, and the French 138. This fine squadron is from Callao, viâ Nukahiva, one of the Marquesas Islands, and was but 14 days in making the passage from the latter port. They are, of course, looking for the Russians, but the Russians are somewhere else just now, and they must be hunted up, if possible, when warm work will, of course, take place. At last accounts the people of Vancouver's Island were under much anxiety, daily expecting a visit from the Russian vessels, against which they had no means of defence.

"The following is a list of the English ships and chief officers composing the squadron:-
"Frigate President, 50, flagship of Rear-Admiral David Price; Edward H. Howard Flag-lieutenant; Richard Burridge Captain; Matthew Connolly Commander; H.A. Hollingsworth, W.G.H. Morgan, J.H. Marryat, and George Palmer, Lieutenants; V.G. Roberts, Master.
"Frigate Amphitrite, 24, Captain Charles Frederick; W.L. Staniforth, Douglas Walker, and E.B.H. Franklin, Lieutenants - W.H. Crane, Master; T.J. Jones, Second Master; Richard K. Wilson, First Lieutenant of Marines.
"Steamer Virago, 6,300-horse power, Commander Edward Marshall; W.C. Forsyth and Lewis J. Moore, lieutenants; G.H. Inskip, master.

"The following is a list of the French ships and officers: -
Frigate La Forte, 60, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Fevrier Despointes; Capitaine de Fregate, De Miniac; Lover, J., Lieutenant de Vaisseau, second; Bouillon, G., Rahier, J., and Thomas, L., Lieutenants de Vaisseau; Gauvain, P., Coetnempren de Kersaint, and Laplanche, Enseigns de Vaisseau.
"Frigate L’Eurydice, 32, Capitaine de Vaisseaux, Lagrandiere; Massillon, Capitaine de Fregate, second; Feissoles, Lacombe, Lefebvre, Lapasse, and Bourasser, Lieutenants de Vaisseau; Jicquel des Touches, and Castrensen, Enseigns de Vaisseau. Officier, Danois.
"Corvette L’Artémise, 30, Capitaine de Fregate L’Eveque; Touon and Alisa, Lieutenants de Vaisseau; Hardi, Jicque, and Amet, Enseigns de Vaisseau.
"Brig L’Obligado, 16, Capitaine de Fregate, Rousseau de Rosencourt; Waneichout, Journel, Dinel, and Jicquel des Etouches, Enseigns de Vaisseau."

The officers of the combined squadron seem to have had a pleasant time of it during their stay. Their official proceedings, the arrival of Her Majesty’s frigate Pique to join the squadron from England, and its departure, you will find given in the Polynesian, published at Honolulu, as follows: -
"On Tuesday the English Admiral's ship exchanged salutes with the shore, and on Wednesday the French.
"The steamer Virago entered the port on Monday afternoon for the purpose of coaling.
"The Polynesian says: - 'An audience was given by His Majesty on Friday, the 21st inst., to Rear-Admiral David Price and Rear-Admiral Fevrier Despointes, on which occasion they were accompanied by the representatives of Great Britain and France, by the commanders of the several English and French vessels of war now in port, and by numerous other officers of the squadron, and also by Bishop Maigret, with a number of his clergy. Each Admiral addressed His Majesty to the effect that they visited the islands to refresh and recruit their vessels, and that they were happy to find His Majesty's kingdom in a state of peace and order. They were gratified with the present opportunity of meeting His Majesty, and of offering their best wishes for his prosperity. His Majesty replied, reciprocating the pleasure expressed at meeting the British and French Admirals, and was glad to find his islands afforded the necessary refreshments for ships of war, which he should be happy to welcome to his ports, of all nations. He alluded to his neutrality, which he should enforce, and which he desired to be respected. Ha also expressed his wish that the present war might be brought to a speedy conclusion, and that peace might again pervade the nations of Europe.
"'His Majesty availed himself of the offer of the Virago, by Admirals Price and Des Pointes, and on Saturday, July 22, at 11 o'clock, embarked with Her Majesty the Queen, Princes Liholiho and Kameha-meha, Princess Victoria, the Kuhina Nui, Ministers of State, members of the Privy Council and of the House of Nobles, &c. The Representatives of Great Britain, France, and the United States, and a large company of ladies and gentlemen of Honolulu, were also on board, which gave the whole excursion a social and agreeable character. The fine bands from the English and French flagships discoursed sweet music during the whole trip, and added not a little to the enjoyment of those on board. As the Virago passed out among the squadron, the yards of every ship were manned, and His Majesty was saluted by both the Admirals' ships at the same moment, and again on returning the yards were manned, and every honour paid His Majesty which could have been paid the greatest Sovereign of Europe.'

"The Polynesian of July 29, one week later, says: -
'Our last issue had but just been circulated when Her Britannic Majesty’s frigate Pique, Captain Sir F. Nicolson, of 40 guns, arrived from England, viâ Callao, and the number of vessels comprising the squadron were equalised - four English and four French - and bringing up the number of guns to 120 English to 138 French, while the steamer, with her very heavy armament, renders the two divisions of about equal efficiency. All these vessels at anchor outside made a most imposing appearance for this part of the world, and one never before witnessed at the islands. During the stay of these vessels they have been busily employed in watering and taking in supplies, of which the French ships required more than the English, and our wharfs and streets have presented quite an animated contrast to the usual dullness of the month of July. But, however desirable their presence to the business of Honolulu, they have gone, and left us to the usual monotony of summer life.
"'On Tuesday morning, at 10 o'clock, the squadron took up their anchors and stood off to the south-west, but, when hull down, altered their course to the west, which course they were steering when they passed out of sight, the Virago leading.
"'The destination of this squadron is not publicly known. From intelligence recently received from San Francisco, that despatches were there awaiting the French Admiral, and that he was soon expected, it has been surmised that the squadron may look into that port; others again suppose that they are bound north, to the Russian possessions on the Asiatic continent, in quest of the Russian vessels supposed to be cruising in that vicinity. However this may be, and whatever their destination, of this we feel assured, that from the efficiency of the squadron, and the character of the officers in command, if an opportunity presents, some brilliant achievements will be performed during the cruise on which this squadron has now entered. But time alone can determine the result. A few months must bring them back, or at least a part of the vessels, for the boisterous and icy regions of the north are not the place for naval operations during the winter. If they have gone in part to afford protection to the whalers in the Arctic and Ochotzk Seas, they may be looked for, with them, by November, at latest, when we shall have our harbour full again, and a ship of war or two for their protection would not be amiss.'"

Tu 24 October 1854


The following is an extract from a letter received on the 20th inst. from the Pacific:-

"Her Majesty's ship President, at Sea, July 28.

"On the 17th May we left Callao for the Marquesas Islands in company with the Virago and a French squadron, consisting of La Forte, 60 guns, and Obligado, 18, and reached Nukuhiva, the French settlement at the Marquesas, on the 8th of June, having had a very fine run of 3,000 miles. We remained there till the 3d of July, when the squadron, which had been reinforced, sailed for Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, in quest of the enemy. Our force on arriving at Honolulu consisted of:- English - the President, 50; Amphitrite 24; Virago, 6. French - La Forte, 60; Eurydice, 30; Artémise, 30; Obligado, 18.

"The Pique joined us on the 22d, having come almost direct from Rio Janeiro to meet the squadron, so that we have now a very respectable force of ships to meet the Russians with.

"During our stay at Honolulu all the ships were busily employed in completing water and provisions. Each ship left with live cattle on board. We took six of the finest bullocks I ever saw, and we have just got through three of them to-day. It was actually necessary for the health of all that we should at least have a fortnight's fresh meat, as before our arrival there we had been 63 days on Her Majesty's allowance of salt beef and pork, which you may imagine was not calculated to improve our health or general appearance.

"While we were at Honolulu the Admiral and many officers of the squadron attended a full dress levee of the King of the Sandwich Islands, at which you will probably smile, but I can assure you that English and American civilization has done wonders here. King Kamehameha IIIExternal link keeps up his Court in the same manner as in England; he has Palace Guards, Ministers of Departments (Europeans principally), and all the attributes of Royalty. Her Majesty the Queen is blessed with a daughter called the Princes Victoria after Her Majesty, and there are several princes of the Royal blood. The chiefs are perfect aristocrats, and boast of their unpolluted descent for many generations. The nobility are very fine well grown men, and the difference of their appearance and that of the lower orders indicates a decided superiority of breeding. The King is said to have the prevailing weakness of his subjects for drink to an incredible extent, and probably the Americans will in one of his drunken fits induce him to make over his dominions to them, as they are very anxious to incorporate these splendid islands with the United States. The Admiral took His Majesty and the Royal family and all the Court outside the harbour for a cruise in the Virago on the 22d, and on passing our fleet, which must have appeared most imposing to them, the President and Forte fired a royal salute in honour of His Majesty, and all the ships manned yards and gave three cheers. His Majesty and suite were all dressed in very handsome and expensive uniforms; the Virago was crowded with English and American ladies and gentlemen; our band was on board the steamer, which must have been a great treat to- them all, as it is really a first class one. I never saw in the Pacific such splendid facilities for obtaining supplies for ships. Of course, the arrival, of our large squadron raised the price of the market considerably - more than double - but everything can be procured, - water in abundance, coal, bullocks, much finer than English, sheep and cattle of all kinds, vegetables, fruits, and almost everything can be obtained, either produced in the islands or brought from San Francisco, which is only about ten or twelve days' sail.

"About 300 whalers come to Honolulu every year to refit, and its central position in the ocean makes it invaluable. It is a sad pity our Government have not possession - a more glorious depôt for the squadron and merchantmen could not be found.

"Honolulu has sprung up in 30 years to be a considerable and well-built town of about 15,000 inhabitants, and everything bears the air of advancing civilization and improvement. There are two or three newspapers published weekly and communication with San Francisco has been established fortnightly. During our stay there the celebrated singer Catherine HayesExternal link arrived in a merchant bark from San Francisco, en route to Australia; she paid us a visit last Sunday.

"Nukahiva, one of the Marquesas was also visited. The bay in fine weather is the most magnificent piece of scenery that can be imagined. It is perfectly land-locked, in shape of a horse-shoe, and surrounded by hills about 1,000 to 1,200 feet high. The first part of our stay there the weather was very fine, and we enjoyed ourselves much, During the latter part of our stay it rained incessantly and so heavily as to prevent our going on shore. The French have a settlement here, consisting of a wretched fort of three guns, several neatly built houses, occupied by the Governor and his officers, and the rest storehouses for salt provisions, the resources of the island not furnishing adequate supplies for 150 settlers, who are soldiers of the colonial regiments of France. They are obliged to be exceedingly cautious with the natives, who do not appear to like them much, and great precaution has to be used to prevent a surprise by them, which, occurred once, and nearly all the French were killed by the blacks. There is always a French ship of war there, the captain of which acts as Governor. The natives are a fine race - dark copper colour, and tattooed all over the body and face, and some of them have a terrific aspect. Their costume is generally that worn by our common parent, Adam, but they are very fond of European clothes, and wear them with a great air. The women ace not bad-looking, and have a little more dress than the men, although their spare attire would alarm some of our good folks at home. They are expert swimmers. I saw several women in the water with their infants, which they managed to hold aloft most cleverly. The island abounds with cocoanuts, bananas, and guavas, and all sorts of vegetables grow profusely. Pigs are also very numerous, but cannot be obtained by us at any price. Melville’s Types gives a most interesting account of these islands, although rather romanced.

"We are now going to a very trying part of the globe - SitkaExternal link, a Russian fur settlement, which is in a very high northern latitude, and the weather is very severe there. We are in hopes of meeting the Russian squadron there, and of ascertaining whether we are to have any fighting or prize-money. Should it turn out nothing is to be done there, we shall, doubtless, proceed to PetropaulovskiExternal link another settlement on the coast of Kamtschatka, where the Russian ships will doubtless be.

"At present it appears our force will comprise the President, Pique, Eurydice, and Virago. The French Admiral proceeds to San Francisco, to look out for privateers, with the other portion of the squadron.

"We are, however, quite uncertain; a day might alter the whole of our surmises. All we now are certain of is, that we are about 300 miles from Honolulu, steering due north. We are now about 25,000 miles from home. I forward this by the Amphitrite, leaving to go with the French Admiral to San Francisco. I am glad to say we are all well in health, and vary happy and, comfortable in every way."

Th 23 November 1854

(from our own correspondent.)


I think it likely that by this time you will have heard of an attack made by the allied French and English squadrons upon Petropaulovski, a Russian settlement on the eastern shore of Kamschatka. Intelligence of this affair will, no doubt, have been forwarded to St. Petersburg overland, and the accounts of it which will be circulated from that quarter will be inaccurate and one-sided. The Czar will, I dare say, publish it as a victory. The affair has really been a sad one, when we reckon the loss of life, including that of our Admiral, one English and three French officers, besides some 60 men, both French and English, and a great many wounded. The intelligence was brought to San Francisco by the French squadron, which arrived here on the 3d inst., composed of La Forte, of 60 guns, Admiral Despointes; the frigate Eurydice, 30, Captain La Grandière; and the brig of war Obligado, 18, Captain de Rosencourt. They were 25 days from Petropaulovski. The English squadron went to Vancouver's Island, and is expected here daily.

The best account, of the engagement which has appeared is that given in a French paper, the Echo de la Pacifique, published in San Francisco, which I copy below, premising, for the purpose of making the account more easily understood, that Petropaulovski is a place of considerable importance, is the residence of a military commandant, with a large garrison, which was considerably increased about a month before the declaration of war reached the Pacific by reinforcements from Siberia, under the command of an experienced Russian general. These reinforcements were conveyed down the river Amoor to the Bay of Saghalian, and thence across the Okhotsk Sea to the garrison. The troops were conveyed by steamers, for which the Amoor is navigable. The town and garrison of Petropaulovski are situated on a sort of inner bay, across which a long sandbank runs parallel with the town, leaving a narrow entrance from the outer to the inner bay. The allies found two Russian men-of-war, the Aurora, of 44 guns, and the Dwina, of 20 guns, dismantled and moored broadsides on as a battery (as my informant termed the position), defending the entrance of the harbour. They were sheltered behind the sandbank and only became visible when they opened a galling fire.

I must now hasten to give you the account of the attack:-

"On the 25th of July the allied fleet, composed of the French vessels - the Forte, the Eurydice, the Artémise, and the Obligado; and the English vessels - the President, the Pique, the Amphitrite, and the Virago, left Honolulu. On the 30th of July the Amphitrite and the Artémise were detached for San Francisco. On the 28th of August the fleet arrived within sight of the mountains about Petropaulovski, After a reconnaissance of the bay by the Virago the fleet moved up on the 29th with colours flying, in the following order:- the President, the Forte, the Pique, the Eurydice, The Virago was placed by the side of the President, and the Obligado by the side of the Forte. At the moment of casting anchor the four Russian batteries opened upon them. These four batteries were the battery on Schakoff Point, on the left of the entrance to the harbour; a battery on the point to the right; an uncovered battery of 12 guns on the tongue of land jutting out into the port near the entrance; and a battery on the peninsula, which protects the city on the west. This battery was placed on a low portion of the peninsula, over which the masts of four vessels in the bay were discoverable. Three of these vessels were men-of-war, and one a merchant vessel.

"It was then half-past 5 o'clock. The Virago advanced toward the peninsula, and opened a fire upon the Russian batteries. A battery of mortars near the town replied, but the bombs fell short, exploding high in the air. Lights were kept up in the vessels during the night to deceive the Russians, who maintained the fires at their batteries through the night. In the morning every preparation was made for a severe battle. The Schakoff battery contained five heavy guns; the uncovered battery contained 12 36-pounders; the battery on the right was less dangerous and protected by feeble fortifications. The English Admiral directed the master-gunner of the Pique to dismount one of their guns; the shot struck the gun, dismounted it, and made it useless. The open battery was evidently the most dangerous, being protected by fascines 12 feet in diameter. The Pique was moored at the starboard of the Virago, and the President was placed behind the steamer. The Forte took position on the larboard of the Virago. Beyond the sandbank the Russian transport was visible, and three portholes of the Aurora. The Virago advanced to within cannon shot of the lighthouse; the cannon was fired, and the ball fell near the steamer; the Virago replied with a bomb, which struck the lighthouse.

"At this time, a-quarter after 1, a small boat was despatched from the Pique, with the commander of that vessel, to the Forte. The French Admiral, with his Aide-de-Camp and Burgeon, went to the President. Admiral Price had just been mortally wounded, his pistol having gone off in his hand, and the ball having pierced his heart. The drums beat a retreat, and the preparations for the battle were suspended.

"An hour later a Russian sloop, rigged like a coaster, was seen steering for Avatscha. Two small boats from the President pursued and took it, with nine sailors who were on board.

"On the morning of the 31st of August the Schakoff battery opened the fire; the Pique, the Forte, and the President began a heavy fire in reply. The Virago landed a body of troops near the battery on the right; the firing from the Schakoff battery began to slacken; the troops from the Virago advanced on the run toward the battery on the right; the Aurora, by a steady fire, arrested them for a few moments; a loud huzza welcomed the fire, and when the smoke cleared away the troops were seen in possession of the battery. They destroyed the gun-carriages and spiked the guns. The Aurora landed 200 men to retake the battery; the Pique and the Forte opened a fire to protect their men, who re-embarked in good order,

"The Forte threw a hail of canister shot on the open battery, which replied by a heavy fire, sending four balls into the frigate's hull and as many through the bulwarks. At the end of half an-hour half of the Russian guns were unfit for service; the President then turned to aid the Forte; at the expiration of two and a-half hours the battery was silenced, and the Russians went on board the Aurora and the Dwina. The cannonade then ceased, and on the vessels the night was spent in repairing the damage done during the day.

"On the 1st of September the Virago went to the bay of Tarinski, where the body of Admiral Price was interred. While there the steamer picked up three American sailors, deserters from whalers, who communicated what was supposed to be important information with regard to the topography of Petropaulovski. On the 3d of September a council of war was held on the Forte, and it was resolved to make a second attack the next day. It was determined to land 700 men, of both nations, including a picked body of 176 carabineers. Every man was to receive 60 cartridges, and an additional supply of ammunition was to be placed in sloops. Captain De la Grandiere for the French, and Captain Burridge for the English, were to be in command of the troops on land. The day was passed in making preparations. On Monday, the 4th of September, at 3 o'clock in the morning, the drums called all hands to quarters, and the troops for the land were taken on board the Virago, which landed them on the low portion of the peninsula. The battery fired a shot through the rigging of the Virago; the Forte replied, and dismounted one of the guns of the battery; the guns of the battery, handled with great skill, redoubled their fire on the Forte. The balls whistled over the frigate. One went through the mainmast, about 15 feet above the dock; another was lodged in the midst of the mizenmast. The troops were landed at 8 o'clock; the two batteries were silenced. The commander of the Forte pointed out a magazine of oil, and promised to promote the gunner who should set it on fire. The first ball effected the object; a heavy cloud of smoke, followed by a clear flame, marked the successful shot. The fire continued to burn for six hours.

"The troops took up the march, the English Marines in the lead. On arriving at the battery, the guns were spiked, The troops, leaving the battery mounted the hill at a quick step, and entered into a thick brushwood. Here they were received by a lively fire of musketry, to which they replied in the midst of the brush. The Virago, leaving the troops, went to the point at the north, from which a constant fire was kept up. Here, on a brook, near the town, a battery of five guns was unmasked, and then silenced by the Virago.

"In the meantime the fight in the brushwood was very severe. The sailors fought like madmen, under the destructive fire of the Russians. Captain C.A. Parker fell, charging at the head of the English Marines; M. Bourasset fell at his side. Lieutenant Lefebre, of the Eurydice, was killed, Mr. Howard, aide-de-camp of the English Admiral, had his arm broken. Unable to sustain the unequal struggle the order was given to re-embark. The first object of the landing was attained. The battery was evacuated, the Russian cannoneers were dead upon their guns and their cannons spiked. To have gone further would have cost severe losses; to have dislodged the Russians from the wood, of which the size was unknown, would have required a siege. The troops retired slowly. One company of 100 men, hidden among the ruins of the battery when the remainder passed, gave the advancing Russians a check, and under this protection the English and French carried off their wounded. On board the Forte the carpenters were busy in repairing damages. On the next day, the 5th, those killed in the assault were buried at Tarenski. On the 6th the squadron made ready to depart, and on the 7th departed. During the day two vessels were seen, one a three-master, the other a schooner. The Virago took the schooner, and the President took the Sitka, a vessel of 800 tons, from Ayan, in Okhotsk Sea, with provisions and arms for Petropaulovski. The cargo of the Sitka was valued at $200,000. The schooner was burnt on the high sea on the 8th.

"Such was the Battle of Petropaulovski, one of the most bloody of the encounters which have so far taken place between the Allies and the Russians. Although the squadron was not entirely successful, yet it obtained several important advantages. The Russians have lost a large number of men, who cannot well be replaced at that remote point. They have also lost a large number of guns, spiked and rendered useless for service. Besides, they have lost the provisions, previously much needed, which were on the Sitka. Far from all reinforcements, without hope of obtaining provisions, the garrison of Petropaulovski is separated from the rest of the world by an arctic winter. A fortress, isolated in the midst of ice, its destruction would have been no conquest. The object was to attack the Russian vessels, not the fortifications. If the frigates were not taken, they were at least severely injured. The Aurora had her masts out by the balls of the Forte, and her decks riddled; her sails were cut into rags, and many of her guns were dismounted. These injuries condemn the Aurora to inaction for the winter, even if the ice and cold of the season did not prevent a departure.

"The losses which our vessels have sustained have not weakened their force nor decreased their enthusiasm. Superior to the enemy, they were arrested by obstacles which their courage would have sufficed to overcome, but the surmounting of which offered no adequate reward to the victors. Besides, the fleet was short of provisions. It was expected that Petropaulovski would yield at the first assault, and not that it would resist a siege.

"During the whole course of the expedition the most thorough good feeling prevailed between the French and English. On land and sea, in the harbour of Honolulu, and under the fire of Petropaulovski, the officers and sailors of the two nations have learnt, by continual intercourse, to love and esteem each other. The two nations, rivals in other times, now friends, obey the same thought, and mix their blood upon the field of battle. In the polar seas of Asia and on the shores of Bomarsund they are animated by the same sympathy and emulation. The brave Parker, cheering our soldiers forward, died at their side; and around him our officers and sailors fell, decimated by an invisible enemy. A friendship founded upon mutual esteem, and cemented by such recollections, assures the permanent union of the two greatest nations of the earth."

I have the authority of an officer who was present at the bombardment for stating that the preceding account is in the main correct.

There are various accounts as to the force at Petropaulovski. One of the officers told me there were eight batteries, mounting 80 guns, besides the two men-of-war, which did good service as batteries; in all 144 guns. The population is reckoned at 2,000 since the late addition to the garrison. The place is a strong position, fortified by nature, and is capable of resisting a superior force. The strength of the allies is easily computed. La Forte is a first class frigate, carrying 60 guns, of which 8 are 80-pounders, and 52 are 30-pounders, with a crew of 500 men; the Eurydice carries 30 guns, of which 4 are 80-pounders, and 26 are 30-pounders, with 230 men; and the Obligado carries 12 guns, all 30-pounders and 120 men. The English vessels, the President, 50, the Pique, 40, and the Virago, 6, carry together 208 guns, which, added to the French, make an aggregate of 310 guns on the side of the allies.

The casualties of the land attack on the 4th of September were as follows:- English - Captain Parker, of the Marines, and 29 men killed; and the following nine officers wounded:- Lieutenants Howard, Palmer, and Morgan, of the President; Bland (Lieutenant), Robinson. (Mate), Chichester (Midshipman), M’Cullum (First Lieutenant of Marines), and Clements (Second Lieutenant of Marines), the latter very badly, - of the Pique; and Whitelock, boatswain of the Virago, finger shot off. All these casualties occurred on shore. Not a single officer was wounded on board. The French had three lieutenants killed on shore and five officers wounded. Besides the foregoing, there were 147 men wounded on both sides, about an equal number of French and English, in this attack. I have not been able to ascertain the total loss from first to last. It is set down at 120 men on the side of the English, and at about the same number on that of the French. It was impossible to form an estimate of the loss on the Russian side, but it was supposed to be much greater than that of the allies. The French officers describe the havoc of the Russians during the bombardment as awful in the extreme. Many of them were cut in two by the balls from the ships, and fragments of bodies were seen flying about in the air over their batteries, and it is admitted that they fought throughout with the utmost bravery and determination. As an example of the unflinching courage displayed by them, an anecdote is related of a Russian sentinel at whom 60 rifle shots were aimed, but nothing could overcome his stoicism, and he continued to pace up and down the ramparts of the fort on which he was stationed, without turning his head either to the left or to the right. He escaped, as he deserved, Russian though he was.

The land engagement was a most desperate one. The men landed under the direction of an American pilot, who represented the environs of the town as quite easy of access. But, whether by mistake or treachery, in advancing upon the principal redoubt the forces of the allies found themselves entangled in a "chaparal" - a thick bush of underwood and brambles, which arrested their progress at every step, but which afforded the Russian sharpshooters, who lay in ambuscade in the bushes, a secure and almost impenetrable shelter, whence they shot dead every man of whom they caught a glance. Notwithstanding the galling hidden fire to which they were exposed, and to which they could not reply with effect, the troops pressed on with the greatest intrepidity, until the similarity of the uniforms of the English and the Russians caused confusion in the ranks of the French, who feared to fire upon the red uniforms (of the Marines), thinking they might be those of their brethren-in-arms. When retracing their steps they lost their way, and found themselves suddenly brought up by a precipice 70 feet deep. Deadly volleys were pouring in upon them from the rear, and they had no alternative but to jump down the precipice or be shot; several did jump, and some of them were killed and others maimed.

Admiral Price died on the 30th of August as the fleet was preparing for action. The ships immediately anchored on the announcement of this melancholy event, and hostilities were deferred till the next day, when they fought, with his body on board the President. On the 1st of September he was buried on shore, at a place called Tarienski, situated some miles from Petropaulovski, on the opposite side of the bay. The Admiral's death threw a gloom over the whole fleet, for he was universally beloved. The French Admiral took the command, and conducted the bombardment from the time of Admiral Price's death.

The English ships were but slightly injured - so slightly that all their damages were repaired at sea in three days.

On the 7th of September, as the fleet was leaving the bay of Petropaulovski, the President captured the Sitka, after a chase of two hours. She was armed, and loaded with provisions and munitions of war for the garrison. She had several Russian civilians on board, on their way to Petropaulovski, and some military officers. The Pique, on the same day, took the Russian schooner already mentioned, loaded with stores. She was a vessel of about 100 tons burden. After removing the cargo and crew she was burnt. The crews and passengers of these two vessels and the crew of the Avatscha, a small coaster used as a brick boat, taken by two of the President's boats in the bay on the 30th of August, were all transferred to the French ships and brought to San Francisco. The civilians have been released by the French Admiral, but the military men are still retained as prisoners of war. The Sitka was taken to Vancouver to be adjudicated.

It is well understood that the allied fleet would have demolished Petropaulovski had it not been for lack of provisions. By some oversight there is no storeship attached to the fleet, and the squadrons were obliged, by the shortness of their provisions, to sail to a port where they could replenish their stores, otherwise the bombardment would have been continued until the place was reduced to ashes. The stores of the English squadron are at the Sandwich Islands. It will be impossible to renew the attack this winter, as the fogs which prevail on the coast render navigation too dangerous to attempt it. Even when the fleet was advancing towards the place to make the attack the fog was so dense that the signals could scarcely be distinguished at a distance of two ships' lengths.

As the failure to destroy Petropaulovski has given rise to a good deal of comment even in this remote place, and will unquestionably be criticized in England and France, perhaps with some asperity, it is proper to mention that the attack upon this place was not premeditated. The allied fleet was in search of the Russian fleet, and as soon as they hove in sight of Petropaulovski, being at the time in want of water, the batteries on the outward harbour opened upon them before they fired a shot. The allied fleet laboured under a great many disadvantages, for the strength of the current and the thick fog prevented the ships from approaching nearer than three miles from the sandbar which divides the harbours, and they were provided with only one steamer to help them out of their difficulty. It was only from the prisoners taken in the Sitka after all the fighting was over that it was learned that the Russian fleet were in the Sea of Ochotsk, at the mouth of the river Amoor, where the Russians have a naval rendezvous.

Her Majesty's ships Amphitrite and Trincomalee and the French corvette L’Artémise, which left San Francisco on the 23d ult. on a cruise, have not yet returned. It is rumoured that the Amphitrite has gone to the Sandwich Islands. Her commander, Captain Frederick, being the senior officer in the squadron, is now the commodore on the station, by the death of Admiral Price.

Sa 25 November 1854It conveys an impressive idea of the contest in which this country and France are now engaged to reflect that we are pursuing the ships and destroying the towns of our antagonist far beyond the limits of the civilized world, and that the Russian power even in the wilds of Kamtschatka is exposed to be challenged in this war. On the other hand, it is no less remarkable that the resources of the Russian empire appear to be equal to its extent, and that in the most remote solitudes to which our seamen have penetrated, such as Kola, in Lapland, and Petropaulovsky, in Kamtschatka, we have encountered troops and batteries well supplied with all the means of defence and all the necessary stores of munitions and arms. Petropaulovsky is a settlement on that rugged peninsula which projects into the seas of Northern Asia beyond the longitude of Japan. It is a station for whalers and for the traffic of the Russian fur trade on the confines of Asia and America; but the distance and obscurity of such a position might well have preserved it from attack if it had not acquired a temporary interest as the place of refuge of the Russian squadron in the Pacific. It was known on the outbreak of hostilities that the Russians had three or four ships-of-war in the Eastern Seas, which might do great injury to our commerce in the Chinese and Australian trade if they were not closely watched. For this reason the British squadron in the Pacific was reinforced by the Pique, and Admiral David Price, an officer in whose energy and experience great confidence was placed, took the command on that station. Two Russian ships, the Aurora and the Dwina, were known to be vessels of war well found and manned, for one of them had taken advantage of the hospitality of this country just before the rupture to repair her defects in Portsmouth Dockyard. It became therefore the duty of the French and English vessels on the station to co-operate in the pursuit of these ships, to capture them if possible, and, if not, to render them unfit for ulterior service. With this view the Amphitrite was despatched to watch their course after they effected their escape from Honolulu, and to take measures for bringing the whole squadron within reach of their guns. It was at length discovered that the Aurora and the Dwina had succeeded in finding a refuge in the Russian harbour of Petropaulovsky, in Kamtschatka, while the Pallas, another Russian frigate, lay at the mouth of the Chinese river Amoor, to the south of the Gulf of Okhotsk. Leaving the Sandwich Islands on the 25th of July, the allied squadrons, consisting of two English and two French frigates, besides a steamer and a corvette, sailed to the north-west. Admiral Price’s flagship was the President, a fine 50-gun frigate, supported by the Pique, and the six vessels carried in all nearly 200 guns and 2,000 men. On arriving off the Bay of Avatscha, in which the settlement of St. Peter and St. Paul stands, on the 28th of August, Admiral Price went in on board the Virago to reconnoitre the place. He approached within long range of the batteries, and found that the Russian ships of war were laid up within the harbour, defended by four external batteries of no great strength. Fort Schakoff, however, mounted five large guns, and was flanked by two batteries of 12 36-pounders.

Upon this reconnaissance it was decided that an attack should he made on the 30th of August; the ships were cleared for action, and went into the harbour, and the bombardment had just commenced, when an incident of a most singular nature suspended the attack. Admiral Price, at the commencement of the action, is stated to have gone into his cabin and shot himself with a pistol through the heart, his mind having apparently given way under the responsibility of his position. Few officers in the British navy saw more service from 1801 to 1815 than the late Admiral, or more ably discharged their duty to the country. He served in both the expeditions to Copenhagen, in Sir Samuel Hood's squadron, and in the last American war with great distinction, and his recent appointment to the command of the Pacific squadron was justly approved, as an appointment conferred on merit alone. The lamentable and unforeseen incident which ended his career at so critical a moment must therefore be regarded as the result of some infirmity or sudden visitation beyond all human control. Upon this occurrence, Captain Sir F. Nicolson, of the Pique, became the Senior officer of the British ships there present, and the French Admiral Despointes assumed the command of the allied squadron. The attack, however, was suspended until the following day.

On the 31st of August the bombardment of the batteries and the ships began in earnest, and the fire on both sides was kept up with great animation. It does not appear, however, that the ships approached nearer than eight cables' length from the batteries, and, although the Russian guns were silenced for a time, the works were repaired in the night. The Aurora frigate opened a heavy fire from behind the tongue of land which partly concealed her from our ships, but she received in return considerable damage from the squadron. The result of the day was, however, less decisive than had been anticipated, probably because the ships were not brought in close enough to effect the destruction of the works. In consequence of this imperfect success, it was resolved on the 4th of September to attempt a combined attack by land and by sea, which unhappily cost the squadron many valuable lives, with no proportionate result. A force of 700 seamen of the two nations and 100 Marines, were landed from the Pique and the French corvette Eurydice, being nearly half the entire strength of the united crews. The party was led by M. de la Grandiere, Captain Burridge, of the President, and Captain Parker, of the Marines. They succeeded in reaching the battery which they were to take in the rear, but they found it abandoned and the guns already spiked. Meanwhile the enemy lay in wait for our troops in a thick jungle or “chaparal,” into which they appear to have been led by the treachery of an American guide. Here a most unequal combat ensued between the Russian sharpshooters in close ambuscade and our brave Seamen and Marines. Captain Parker was one of the first who fell, and two French officers were killed by his side, while the whole loss of the landing party exceeded 100 killed and wounded. The ships meanwhile renewed the attack, but without much success, as so large a proportion of the crews were on shore. One or two Russian transports were soon afterwards captured by the President, but it must be admitted that the attack on Petropaulovsky and the Russian frigates was not so successful as it ought to have been; perhaps because our forces were not prepared to meet so strenuous and well-organized a resistance on so remote a point of the Russian empire. It is, however, of some importance to know that the Russians have succeeded in establishing maritime stations of this strength both on the promontory of Kamtschatka and at the mouth of the Chinese river Amoor for these positions might, if unmolested, enable them hereafter to harass our trade in the Eastern seas, and to open a direct communication between the Russian territories in Asia and the Western States of the American Union. The expedition commenced by Admiral Price was, therefore, not ill conceived, and if it be repeated with a more complete force we trust it will be more successful.

Ma 27 November 1854Rear-Admiral Bruce is appointed to succeed to the Command-in-Chief of the British squadron on the Pacific station, and will most probably hoist his flag to-morrow on board the Brisk, 14, screw sloop, ah Spithead, which is under orders for the Pacific station. Admiral Bruce takes with him as flag-captain the same officer who served with him in that capacity at Lagos (Captain Lyster). Lieutenant John R. Alexander, of the Impregnable, is to be his flag-lieutenant, and Mr. George R. Martin, of the President, secretary.
Admiral Bruce is to leave England on the 9th of December for New York, for the purpose of placing himself in communication with the British Minister there previous to his crossing overland to the Pacific via Panama.
The Indefatigable, 50, Captain Hope, flagship at Rio Janeiro, is to be ordered round the Horn to take the Admiral's flag in the Pacific [this was, however, apparently not to be].
Th 30 November 1854The Monarch, 84, sailing two decker, is selected to carry Rear Admiral Bruce's flag on the Pacific station, and will sail in a few days under the command of Captain Henry Lyster.
Sa 2 December 1854The Monarch, 84, was ordered yesterday from Spithead to Plymouth, where she is ordered to be fitted for the flag of Rear-Admiral Bruce, whose flag captain, Henry Lyster, has been appointed to the Monarch, and takes command this day. Captain Erskine, who gave up the Monarch to Captain Lyster, will have another ship, most likely the Hannibal[in fact: the Orion], on the promotion of Captain the Hon. F.W, Grey, to flag-rank, now daily expected. The Coastguard men, put into the Monarch to make up her complement on going to the Baltic, are to be withdrawn from her for the service of other ships, and their place supplied by supernumeraries draughted from all the available depôts.
Ma 4 December 1854The Monarch, 84, Captain Lyster, sailed from Spithead on Saturday evening for Devonport to be fitted as flagship on the Pacific station.
We 6 December 1854


We have been favoured by the Admiralty with the following: -

"Her Majesty’s ship Pique, Sept. 19.
"Sir, - I have the honour to enclose, for their Lordships' information copies of letters addressed to Captain Frederick, of Her Majesty's ship Amphitrite.
"These copies will be forwarded in the event of a mail leaving San Francisco during Captain Frederick's absence from that place.
"I have, &c.,
"F.W.E. Nicolson, Captain,
"The Secretary of the Admiralty."

"Her Majesty’s ship President, Petropaulovski, Aug. 30.
"Sir, - It is my painful duty to report to you officially the death of Rear-Admiral Price, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific station, which took place at 4.30 p.m., this day.
"I have, &c.,
"R. Burridge, Captain.,
"To Capt. Sir F. Nicolson, Bart., &c.,"

"Frigate la Forte, le Sept. 6
"Monsieur le Commandant, - Si le débarquement n'a pas été heureux, e'est par des difficultés de terrain, et si nos hommes ont été obligés de ré-embarquer, nous avons, du moins, acquis la certitude que les deux nations peuvent compter l'une sur l'autre, et que, si de nouvelles circonstances nous mettaient en présence de l'ennemi, nos efforts seraient couronnés de succès.
"Nos équipages, pas habitués à combattre 1a terre, ont montrés un grand ordre; veuillez, M. le Commandant, recevoir mes remercimens et les faire agréer à vos capitaines, vos officiers, et vos équipages, et je serai heureux de faire connaître à mon Gouvernement le courage, la discipline, et le dévoument qu'ils ont montrés.
"Recevez, &c., &c.,
"Le Contre-Amiral Commandant les Forces Navales Françaises.
"F Despointes."

"Her Majesty’s ship Pique, Petropaulovski, Sept. 6.
"Sir, - It is with great satisfaction that I have received the letter which you have done me the honour to address me, in which you mention in high terms the conduct of our men while engaged on shore with the enemy.
"Allow me, Sir, to convey to you the heartfelt thanks of every officer and man in the British squadron for the expression of your good opinion.
"I hear from all quarters the highest praise of the ardent courage of your men while advancing, and of their coolness and discipline during retreat - remarkable qualities in seamen, who are, as you truly observe, unaccustomed to shore operations.
"Allow me to take this opportunity of expressing my deep sympathy for the losses sustained among the officers and men of your squadron.
"I have, &c.,
"F.W.E. Nicolson, Captain and Senior Officer."

Return of Officers, Seamen, and Marines Killed, Wounded, and Missing on board Her Majesty's ships engaged in the operations against the Batteries and Town of Petropaulovski, Sept. 4,1854.

"Pique. - A. Bland, Lieut., contusion; G. Robinson, mate, slightly; L. Chichester, mid., slightly; G. M'Callum, Lieut., R.M., slightly; W. H. Clements, Lieut., R.M., severely. Seamen, killed or missing, 8; dangerously, 5; severely, 5; slightly, 4. Marines, killed or missing, 4; dangerously, 2; severely, 5; slightly, 1. Total, killed or missing, 12; dangerously, 7; severely, 11; slightly, 9-39.
"President. - C.A. Parker, Capt., R.M., killed or missing; E.H. Howard, Flag Lieut., severely; G. Palmer, Lieut., severely; W.G.H. Morgan, Lieut., slightly. Seamen, killed or missing, 5; dangerously, 2; severely bruised, 14; slightly, 4. Marines, killed or missing, 5; severely bruised, 10; slightly, 4. Total, killed or missing, 11; dangerously, 2; severely, 28; slightly, 9-50.
"Virago. - T. Whitelock, Botswain, severely. Seamen, killed or missing, 1; severely, 3; slightly, 7. Marines, killed or missing, 2; dangerously, 3; slightly, 1. Total, killed or missing, 3; dangerously, 3; severely, 4; slightly, 8-18.
"Total, killed or missing and wounded, 107.
“R. Burridge, Captain.

"Pacific Station, F. Nicolson, captain."
"List of Officers, and Seamen killed, wounded and missing, on board the French squadron, on the 31st of Aug., and Sept 4, 1854, at Petropaulovski.
"Aug 31, 1854.
"Forte. - Dumesnil, Mid., slight wounded. Seamen (died on board), 1; dangerously, 1; slightly,6 Total, killed, 1; dangerously, 1; slightly, 6.
"Sept. 4, 1854.
"Forte. - Seamen, killed or missing, 8 (7 left on shore, one died on board): Lefebvre, Lieut., killed or missing (left on shore): Bourasset, Lieut, (died on board) ; Delacombe, Lieut., dangerously. Total, killed or missing, 10; dangerously, 17; slightly, 4.
"Eurydice. - Gieguel des Touches, Mate, dangerously; Coete, Mid., dangerously; Guérin, Surgeon, dangerously; seamen, killed or missing, 8 (left on shore). Total, killed or missing, 8; dangerously, 11; slightly, 10.
"Obligado. - D’Journel, Mate, slightly: - des Touches, Mate, killed or missing (left on shore); Leitre, Midshipman, slightly; seamen, killed or missing, 6 (5 left on shore, 1 died on board). Total killed or missing, 7; dangerously, 10; slightly 18.
"Total, killed or missing and wounded, 102."

Th 7 December 1854The Monarch, 84, Captain Lyster, which left Spithead last Saturday for Devonport to be decked and fitted for the flag of the Commander-in-Chief on the Pacific station, put back to Spithead yesterday morning with foreyard carried away, &c. A new one has been sent to her, and she will probably start again to-day.
Ma 11 December 1854Liverpool, Dec. 9.—The Royal mail steamer America, Lang commander, sailed for Halifax and Boston to-day with 150 passengers, including Rear-Admiral Bruce, who goes out to take the command of the Pacific fleet.
Th 14 December 1854The Monarch, 84, having had her copper examined, and having been repaired in Devonport dockyard, was placed at her sailing moorings on Monday.
Ma 25 December 1854The Monarch, 84, will leave Hamoaze for Plymouth Sound on the 28th inst., and is appointed to sail for South America on the 2d of January.
Tu 26 December 1854

(from our own correspondent.)

San Francisco, Nov. 16.

Her Majesty’s steamer Virago, Captain Marshall, arrived in this port on the 28th ult., in six days from Victoria, Vancouver’s Island. On the same day the discovery ship Plover, Captain M'Gguire, arrived from a cruise in search of the Franklin expedition. On the day following (the 29th) the frigates President and Pique, Captains Burridge and Sir F. Nicholson, arrived in 13 days sail, also from Victoria; and the Amphitrite, Captain Connolly, arrived on the 7th of this month, in 17 days, from Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. The President now bears the flag of Commodore Frederick (late of the Amphitrite), promoted by the death of Admiral Price.

We 1 January 1800The foremast of the Monarch, 84, having been found defective in the heel, was taken out of her on Thursday, and sent to the Devonport dockyard for repair with all possible despatch.
Fr 5 January 1855The foremast of the Monarch, 84, Captain Patey, having been repaired at the Devonport Dockyard, was put on board on Wednesday, when her crew fitted the lower rigging and got topmasts on end. On Thursday she was towed from Hamoaze into Plymouth Sound, where her crew are to receive wages, and she is appointed to sail this day for South America.
Ma 8 January 1855The crew of the Monarch, 84, Captain Patey, were paid wages on Saturday. She has been supplied with two medicine chests complete, a double quantity of medicine, &c., and was expected to leave Plymouth Sound yesterday for the Pacific, to bear the flag of Rear-Admiral Bruce, Commander-in-Chief on that station.
Fr 12 January 1855The screw steamship Monarch. 84, Captain Lyster, sailed from Plymouth on Sunday afternoon, for the Pacific.
Th 17 May 1855Her Majesty's ship Monarch arrived safely at Rio Janeiro on the 18th of February; she was to sail for Valparaiso on the 22d of that month. The Madagascar, Spy, and Trident were at Rio on the 18th of February.
Tu 26 June 1855The following information respecting the English and French fleets was received here [San Francisco] from the Sandwich Islands after I posted my last letter on the 1st. On the 16th of April there were at Honolulu Her Majesty's frigate President, Captain Burridge; the sloops of war Rattlesnake and Dido, and the screw steamer Brisk. The Rattlesnake had arrived on the 9th of April in 42 days from Valparaiso with provisions for the fleet, and on the following day the President had arrived in 31 days from Caliao, with Rear-Admiral Bruce on board. The Dido had been at Honolulu for some time, and the Brisk had arrived on the 15th of April from Valparaiso. The new flagship the Monarch, 84, Captain Patey, was expected shortly.
Fr 29 June 1855The allied expedition destined to operate against Petropaulovski had assembled at the Sandwich Islands, and would probably appear before that fortress about the middle of June. It is said to consist of 15 British and French ships, including four steamers, the whole under the command of Admiral Bruce, in the Monarch, 80, and of Admiral Fourichon, in the Forte, 50, both reported to be good and efficient officers. It is supposed that the reduction of Sitka and other Russian possessions is contemplated by this squadron.
Ma 10 September 1855

(from our own correspondent.)

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday, July 27.

Our hope of retrieving the repulse of last autumn at Petropaulovski has been disappointed. The Russians have given us the slip. They evacuated the place before the allied squadrons arrived. We were not at all prepared for this news, and it took us all by surprise, as we expected a stout resistance. The French brig-of-war Obligado, Captain Rosencourt, which arrived at San Francisco on the 19th inst., with despatches for the Consul of France, brought the intelligence of the evacuation. The following information was published in the San Francisco Herald the day after her arrival: -

"It will be recollected that the allied Squadron in the Pacific made an attack upon Petropaulovski in the early part of last September, and, having been rather roughly handled, sailed southward without effecting the reduction of the place. Petropaulovski is the capital of Kamtschatka, and is a place of considerable importance. It is situated on a kind of inner bay, divided from the outer one by a sandbar which runs parallel to the town, leaving a narrow entrance for vessels seeking the inner harbour. It will be recollected that the ship moored behind this bar when the first attack was made on the place, and, being completely sheltered from the guns of the allied fleet, did good execution.
"From time to time we have been advised of the movement of all the vessels belonging to the allied fleet in the Pacific to the northward during the past spring, and it appears that it was determined that another attack was to be made on Petropaulovski, and that its reduction was to be effected at any cost. Accordingly, in the early part of last May, the allied fleet, augmented by the arrival of other vessels of war, appeared before the devoted town, and commenced preparations for the attack. When they approached sufficiently near to be able to discern objects on the shore they were greatly surprised to find that the American flag had been substituted for the Russian, and that a most extraordinary stillness reigned around. On landing they found that the town had been deserted and not a single human being remained save two Yankees and a Frenchman, who acted as their servant. From them they learned that orders had come from Siberia for the removal of the Russian troops to the garrison at the mouth of the Amoor River, and that the inhabitants had also fled to the village of Avatscha, come miles distant. Immediately after the desertion of the place the American flag was hoisted by the two Americans who remained behind, as a signal to the allied fleet, which, it appears, was expected. The town, after the desertion of the garrison and the inhabitants, presented, of course, a very lonely appearance. Packs of dog scoured through the silent streets in search of food. The houses were all tenantless, and a solemn stillness reigned around. It appears that on the repulse of the allies last fall it was determined to strengthen the fortifications of the place, in order that they might be able to give them a warmer reception on their second appearance. The fortifications were composed of logs of wood, fascines, and earth, about 15 feet in thickness, and the embrasures indicated the fact that no less than 51 guns were mounted, and these of the heaviest calibre; but, strange to say, not one of the guns, nor any of the ammunition and stores, could be found by the allies when they arrived there last May. They were either carried to the Amoor River or buried. The probability is that they were disposed of in the latter way. The arsenals, magazines, &c., which were principally frame buildings, were burnt down by the allies, and all the property belonging to the Government which could be found was destroyed. The stores and private dwellings were, however, scrupulously respected. From the two Americans the allies learned the particulars of the exodus of the garrison and the inhabitants. It appears that on the receipt of the news of the defeat on the first attack in England the English screw-steamer Barracouta, 14 guns, and the steamer Encounter, 6 guns, were ordered from China to Petropaulovski, to watch the movements there. Both lay off the coast, about 60 miles from Petropaulovski, during the whole spring; but on the I7th of April the whole garrison embarked on board the Aurora and the Dwina and four merchantmen, and, taking with them all their stores and ammunition, set sail for the Amoor River, The movement was not perceived on board the English steamers, in consequence of the thickness of the weather, occasioned by the snow and fogs. The inhabitants all moved to the village of Avatscha, where the wife of the commandant also remained, not being able to proceed with the troops, in consequence of the delicate state of her health at that time. Before leaving the allies destroyed all the fortifications and erected a fence around the graves of Admiral Price (who, it will be recollected, committed suicide just before the last attack was made on Petropaulovski) and the English and French who fell on that occasion, having been drawn into an ambuscade while marching upon one of the batteries by which the harbour was protected. It is difficult to divine what were the reasons of the Russians in abandoning the place. It was well fortified both by nature and art, and the result of the first attack showed that the place could be successfully defended even against a larger force than the allies could muster in the Pacific.
"The Obligado, Captain Rosencourt, left at Petropaulovski the British vessel of war Trincomalee, on board which two Russian prisoners had been placed, for the purpose of exchanging them for a French sailor, who had both his arms cut off in the attack made on the place by the allies last fall, and was afterwards captured by the Russians. It is stated that he received the kindest treatment. The English frigates Pique and Amphitrite, after the destruction of the works at Petropaulovski, sailed for the Okhotsk Sea, and the remainder of the fleet for Sitka. The English vessels will proceed to Vancouver’s Island, and the French to this port. A portion of the fleet will remain at the North for the present, and will cruise around the Aleutian Islands, The French steamer Prony may be expected here in a few days, The population of Petropaulovski, previous to the arrival of the allied fleet, is estimated by Captain Rosencourt, of the Obligado, to whom we are indebted for the above information, to have been about 1,200.
"Captain Rosencourt brought back with him as trophies a sledge used by the inhabitants in travelling over the snow with dogs, an anchor found in Petropaulovski, a deer, and a Russian dog. The Obligado mounts 12 guns, 32-pounders, and two mountain howitzers, such as are used against the Indians in this country, and generally carried on the backs of mules. These were intended to be used on land, and all the vessels of the fleet were provided with them."

The following information, which is more precise than the foregoing account, was communicated by a correspondent to the same paper, and is, I know, reliable: -

"The Obligado brig-of-war (French), Captain Rosancourt, left Petropaulovski on the 19th of June. That place had been evacuated on the 17th of April by the Russians, the population, about 1,200 in number, having retired to the interior of the peninsula, carrying with them their effects. The authorities and garrison embarked on board the Aurora, the Dwina, and a transport, which, proceeded to the Amoor with three American whalers, laden with the stores and the matériel of the place.
"When the Russian ships left there were two English war steamers, recently arrived from China, off the coast. They had been despatched by the British Admiralty to intercept the communication of Petropaulovski with the Amoor. Owing to the dense fogs, however, that prevail off the coast of Kamtschatka, the Russian convoy passed close to them without having been perceived. The escape of the Russian ships was almost miraculous, as, encumbered as they were with troops and matériel, they could have made but a feeble resistance.
"The allied forces destroyed the forts and burnt all the Government stores. As a port of refuge, or point of aggression, the efficacy of the place is destroyed daring the present war. It will be sufficient to send a vessel, from time to time, to look in, - a thing which can be done now without danger, to prevent the Russians from turning Petropaulovski to any account until peace is proclaimed.
"The only inhabitants of the place when the allied forces arrived were an American merchant and his two clerks and a runaway French seaman. One of there was despatched to the Deputy-Governor of Siberia, who had retired to a village about four miles from the town, to offer to exchange some Russian prisoners, then on board the Obligado, for two officers, one English and the other French, who had been captured by the Russians during the former affair. It was believed that they would be given up.
"The Russian Admiral, whose flagship, the Dwina, was lost in Japan, had arrived at Petropaulovski in a small sloop or lugger, with 150 of his men, a few days after the evacuation of the place. Without stopping, he proceeded to the Amoor. He, too, had the good fortune to escape the two English steamers outside, by taking advantage of the fog and hugging the coast.
"The Russian ships of war are now all collected in the Amoor, and consist of the following: - The frigates Pallas and Aurora, the corvette Dwina, two steamships, and a few transports. It is believed that they have all been partly disarmed and conveyed as high up the river as possible, so as to be placed beyond the reach of the guns of the allied squadrons. The mouth of the Amoor is defended by strong forts and garrisoned by from 8,000 to 10,000 men. Reinforcements are constantly coming down the river from Siberia.
"The British and French divisions on the China station, forming a collective force of 20 vessels, including seven large war steamers, had sailed for the Amoor, where they were expected to arrive about the 15th of July. There will be some hard fighting. The two British steamers which were cruising off Petropaulovski had proceeded to the Amoor with the Amphitrite. The latter vessel will return to San Francisco with the news of the result.
"The allied forces, including the French frigates Forte and Alceste, with the corvette Eurydice and the British line-of-battle ship Monarch, the frigates President and Dido, and the screw steamer Brisk, have gone to the Russian settlements in the Aleutian Islands and to Kodiak. They will pick up any Russian trading vessels that they may meet with. They will afterwards look in at Sitka. If there are any Russian ships-of-war there they will assail the place and try to cut them out; if not, they will respect it, unless provoked by the Russians opening the fire. Sitka is placed beyond the sphere of hostilities by an agreement between the English and Russian companies which their respective Governments have sanctioned. The French do not deem themselves bound by this agreement. It is not, however, likely that there will be any fighting at Sitka.
"Admiral Fourichon, the commander of the French squadron, is a young officer of great energy and activity. His wife, an Irish lady, accompanies him in all his campaigns.
"The British sloop-of-war Pique has been ordered to the China Seas."

The reasons which induced the Russians to evacuate the place can only be conjectured. The most probable were the fear that they could not successfully resist the attack of this year, as they were aware that the fleet would be more powerful than the force that attacked them in September, and that the Amoor being by far the more important position it was more desirable to defend and endeavour to preserve it than Petropaulovski. It appears that in the interval between the period of the former attack and the date of the evacuation the place had been greatly strengthened by the erection of additional works; the number of guns mounted had been doubled; and altogether the place appeared to the allied officers to have been put in so formidable a state of defence as to have afforded the means of a very serious resistance. It is now said among the officers that if the last attack had been prolonged for an hour - some say half an-hour - the Russians must have surrendered, as their ammunition was almost exhausted.

On the 22d of this month the French frigates Alceste and La Forte, and on the 24th the French corvette Eurydice arrived at San Francisco, all from Sitka. Before their arrival it was reported here that Sitka had also been evacuated by the Russian residents. This was a mistake. The treaty which exempts the place from hostilities during the present war was strictly respected. On the arrival of the allied fleet off the place the English screw steamer Brisk went in to communicate with the authorities, when the Governor sent his secretary on board with a message expressing his hope that the convention would be observed, as the place was without the means of defence, and could not offer any resistance. The Commander explained that he had merely entered to ascertain if the Dwina or Aurora (Russian men-of-war) were in port; that if they were, the French fleet would cut them out, as France has not entered into the treaty of neutrality, but that no harm was intended towards the town or the inhabitants. No vessel of war having been in the harbour, the people were left unmolested to pursue their usual avocations. Sitka Is represented as finely situated close to a chain of lofty mountains which are clothed at their base with dense forests of cedar and pine. The climate was quite agreeable at the time of the visit of the fleets, and, although rather foggy, is at all times salubrious. The harbour is capacious and safe, and generally presents a scene of considerable activity by the building and repair of ships which are carried on. The town contains a population of about 1,200 Russians and Indians. The chief business of the place is in the hands of the well-known Russian American Company, who have their great depôt here. By special license a company composed chiefly, if not entirely, of Californian capitalists has an establishment at the place to supply us with ice for our "sherry cobblers," &c.; and, under the influence of the good understanding existing between America and Russia, our commerce with these northern possessions is likely to increase.

It may not be inopportune to quote here a short article on the subject from the Alta California of San Francisco: -

"Independent of the operations of the Ice Company (Russian American Commercial Company), the trade between California and the Russian possessions in North America and Asia has already assumed an importance which cannot fail ere long to make it a prominent feature in the business of California. We learn by the arrival of the La Forte and Alcaste that the impulse given to business in the secluded little corner of Sitka by the Ice Company has already extended into the interior, and must soon materially affect the interests of that section of the continent. Not only will this company continue to shut off the importation of ice from the Atlantic States, but, as the business expands, they will in all probability supply the East Indies with that luxury. But, besides the ice, it appears that other branches of trade are being developed. Some months since the barks Cyane and Palmetto cleared from this port for the Russian possessions, with full cargoes, consisting of large quantities of provisions, lumber, machinery, furniture, a complete saw-mill, iron, hardware, hollow ware of all kinds, and, in fact, the paraphernalia of quite a little colony. There vessels were loaded and despatched with great privacy, the stevedore refusing to give any information as to their destination. The facts, as yet, are only known to the parties interested. We are able to state, however, with considerable confidence that three, vessels proceeded to the Amoor River, in Asiatic Russia, possibly touching at Petropaulovski on the route. One hundred miIes above its mouth a splendid country exists, the greater part of which is clad with inexhaustible forests of pine and fir, and here the company are able to locate a branch house, and eventually communicate with the interior of Russia and China. The Amoor or Saghalien River is considered as the dividing line between the two empires - with the vast province of Mantchooria on the south, and Southern Siberia on the north. A trade once established, and California would pour her products into the lap of Asia by a channel until now almost unknown to the world."

Yesterday, the 26th, Her Majesty’s Iine-of-battle ship Monarch and the frigate President arrived in San Francisco Bay, last from Sitka, all well. Admiral Bruce and his staff are on board the President, in which he came down, but shifts his flag to-morrow to the Monarch, which only "caught him up" at Sitka on the 16th of July from the Sandwich Islands. From Sitka the Monarch and President came to San Francisco together, racing all the way, which is said to have been a very interesting trial of speed. Both vessels are at anchor at Sancelita, the old men-of-war's watering place, across the bay.

The English squadron at Petropaulovski was composed of the screw steamer Encounter, of 14 guns, Captain O’Callaghan, and the steamer Barracouta 6, Captain Parker, both of which had been despatched from China to watch the place, as already mentioned, and which two vessels the combined fleets found off the coast; the frigate President, 50, Captain Burridge, with the Admiral on board; the Pique, 40, Captain Sir Frederick Nicolson; the Trincomalee, 24, Captain Houston; the Amphitrite, 24, Captain Frederick; the Dido, 18, Captain Morshead; and the screw steamer Brisk, 14, Captain Seymour - in all eight vessels and 190 guns. Of these the Encounter and the Barracouta steamers, and the Pique and Amphitrite sailed from Petropaulovski on the 13th of June to join the allied fleet at the Amoor. The two steamers rejoin, the Pique joins (for the first time and accompanies) the China squadron, and the Amphitrite returns to San Francisco with the news of the result of the attack upon the Russian fortifications. The Trincomalee, Dido, and Brisk are expected daily at San Francisco, from Vancouver, to join the flagship and the President, already here, as I have just stated. The squadron will remain here until the arrival of the next European mail. The squadron is in excellent health. To-day there was one man only indisposed in both vessels.

The vessels which composed the French squadron at Petropaulovski were: - The frigate La Forte, of 60 guns, bearing the flag of Admiral Fonrichon; the Alceste, 54, Captain Penauros; the corvette Eurydice, 32, Captain La Grandier; and brig Obligado, 18, Captain Rosencourt; 4 ships and 164 guns, at present all at San Francisco, at anchor near the town. Three of them sail in a few days for various places in the Pacific - the admiral's ship for Peru, where he left his wife, one for Tahiti, and the third for the Sandwich Islands, probably. The Alceste remains here for the present to await the recovery of several of her men, who are on shore ill of the scurvy, which they contracted on her long cruise, and symptoms of which were manifest when she set sail from the Sandwich Islands for the North Sea. The French war steamer Prosny Is expected here shortly from New Caledonia.

When the allied squadron was in the north it was ascertained that the trade hitherto carried on between Sitka and the Aleutian Islands and other places in Okhotsk, has this year been paralyzed, the fleet of small merchant sailing vessels which habitually traded between the different ports in these seas and along the coasts of Northern Asia and America having dispersed for fear of being captured.

The Eurydice (French) sailed within sight of the coasts of the Aleutian Islands, as near and as often as the fogs would permit, in the hope of falling in with some of these traders, but did not see any of them. They used to sail in company, preceded by a steamer, but they must have abandoned their trade for this year, and sought shelter in some retired nooks at remote points. The Russian possessions in all that quarter were said to be suffering from want of the provisions annually conveyed to them by these merchant vessels. The annual value of their trade in furs, whalebone, walrus teeth, and precious stones is estimated at $2,000,000, which the Russian American Company controlled.

Our thoughts are now turned anxiously to the Amoor. I may remark that the impression of the allied officers is that the fleet will not be able to do the Russian fortifications any damage. For there is a bar at the mouth of the Amoor, upon which the greatest depth of water that flows is only 13 feet. We are assured that the Russians took out the guns and discharged everything from their men of war, the two frigates Pallas and Aurora, the corvette Dwina, two steamers, and some large transports; and by extraordinary exertions and the use of empty casks, floated them, thus lightened and empty, over the bar into deep water beyond, under the guns of the fort. The vessels were then formed into a sort of battery, and their guns replaced. Now, while it is admitted that the fleet cannot injure the fortifications from the outside of the bar, owing to the distance and the nature of the position, it is considered certain that the larger vessels of the squadron cannot cross the bar, and it is feared that any of the smaller vessels which may do so will run every risk of destruction from the united guns of the Russian vessels, and of the land batteries, all of which are furnished with pieces of enormous calibre.

Recurring to the affair of last autumn at Petropaulovski, we have now undoubted information that the Russians were reduced to a few pounds of powder, the two vessels Aurora and Dwina, which were moored across the entrance and drawn up as batteries, having been reduced to just sufficient for one broadside, and the garrison to about the same extremity; that a train was laid under the vessels to blow them up, and a man in readiness with a fuse to apply it; and, finally, that the flag on the batteries would have been struck as soon as the vessels were destroyed, and the garrison would then have surrendered. All this would have been accomplished if the allied fleet had not unluckily hauled off a little too soon. Statements to this effect were freely surmised here months ago, and now the allied officers confirm their truth from information obtained on the cruise.

These facts have called forth some severe censure from the officers now here. I refrain from mentioning a name, but feel justified in stating that the opinion is general in both squadrons that there was a lamentable lack of judgment, perseverance, and pluck, and that the feeling is equally strong that if Captain Frederick had been present the result would, have been more satisfactory. I give this as the on dit in the fleet, and not as a puff to the last-named officer, whom I don't know, and have never even seen.

There was only one broken gun-carriage found at Petropaulovski. It appeared that the guns had been removed on sledges. The number of the population which evacuated in April was about 1,500. The original account of the severe losses of the Russians in killed in the bombardment was confirmed. This is all the information I have learnt, and I regret it is not of a more satisfactory and cheering nature.

We 12 September 1855

(from the London Gazette of Tuesday, Sept. 11.)

ADMIRALTY, Sept. 10.

Despatches, of which the following are copies, have been received from Rear-Admiral Bruce, Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty’s ships and vessels on the Pacific station:-

President, at Petropaulovski, June 15.

Sir,- I have to report, for the information of the lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that, arriving off this port on the 30th of May, I found the place completely evacuated - not a ship, gun, or person to be seen - nothing but empty embrasures and deserted houses.

I entered the inner harbour on the following day in the Barracouta, accompanied by Captain Penanros, of the French frigate Alceste, when we found three Americans (the only residents left), from whom we learn that the Russian ships named in the margin (Aurora, 44; Dwina, 20 ; Olivutza, 20, Transports: Baikal, Irtisch) were cut through the ice, and took their departure, on the 17th (the 5th) of April, with all the guns and munitions of war and all the soldiers and Government employés, 800 in number; but of their destination we could obtain no clue.

I reached the rendezvous, lat. 50° N., long, 160° E., in my flagship on the 14th of May, and the Dido and Pique arrived the same day; the Encounter and Barracouta had been there since the 14th of April. Great credit is due to Captain O’Callaghan and Commander Stirling for the zealous exertion by which they effected this object; and their Lordships will remark the promptitude with which they were despatched by Admiral Sir James Stirling.

The French frigate Alceste and the Brisk were in the vicinity of the rendezvous at the same time, but the prevalence of thick fogs and adverse weather prevented my seeing the Bay of Acootska before the 20th ult,, when, six of the ships being together, I trusted to the prompt appearance of the seventh, and accordingly proceeded to the port, In tow of the Barracouta, followed by the Alceste, in tow of the Brisk. The Dido, Pique, and Encounter arrived the same evening.

Commander Stirling, of Her Majesty’s steam-sloop Barracouta, while separated from the squadron, having, during a break in the fog, looked into the anchorage to see if it was there, took, with much judgment, that opportunity of reconnoitring the harbour; and I was informed by him of the ships being no longer in it.

The Amphitrite, from Honolulu, having met me on the 11th inst., while I was in the act of following the Russian ships into the Sea of Okhotsk, and given me such information as to convince me that a combined English and French force was already there, instead of proceeding I despatched Her Majesty’s ships Pique and Barracouta on the 13th and the Amphitrite on the 14th to reinforce the squadron of Sir James Stirling at the month of the Amoor. The Encounter sailed on the 12th for Sir James Stirling’s rendezvous at Haksdadi, in the Straits of Maksmai, to inform his Excellency of the movements of the other ships, in case he should not have left there. The Amphitrite will rejoin my flag off Sitka go soon as Captain Frederick finds her services are not required in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Resuming the subject of Petropaulovski, I would observe that the enemy must have worked in an indefatigable manner after the departure of the allied squadron last year, as we found nine batteries for 54 guns had been constructed with much skill and labour, by means of fascines strongly bound together, 25 feet thick, staked and filled in with earth, and some of them ditched round, with covered ways leading from one to the other, and trees planted in the rear. Every possible preparation had been made to receive us prior to the orders arriving from St. Petersburg to evacuate the place.

I caused the batteries to be destroyed, but, having met with no opposition on approaching Petropaulovski, I considered it a point of honour to respect the town.

I found hidden in the Rakovla harbour a fine Russian whaler of 400 tons, called the Aian, built at Abo in 1853. She would have sailed from here three weeks since for Aian, with the family of the Governor of the place, and, among other articles of cargo, an engine for a small steamer said to be there, but the opportune arrival of some of the squadron off the port prevented her leaving. As I found her deserted, and her sails, boat, and anchors are not to be found, she will be destroyed.

I am disappointed in not having succeeded in opening a communication with the inhabitants, who have fled from the town, for I hoped to obtain the release of the two English prisoners they have among them. I learn, however, from the Americans that they are very well treated.

In conclusion, I desire to add that, although it has necessarily been a great disappointment to the squadron under my command to find upon arrival at this place, more than 2,000 miles outside their station, that the enemy had escaped and the batteries were deserted, yet their Lordships will not fail to observe that not the less credit is due for the great zeal and anxiety that have been shown by each of the ships in pushing onward, in the hope of being in time to take part in the anticipated operations at this port.

The best understanding subsisted between Captain Penanros, of the Alceste, and me, and I cannot say too much in favour of the zeal , and activity he displayed to meet every wish of mine and to keep the appointed rendezvous; the same continues with respect to Rear-Admiral Fourichon.

I am, &c.,
H.W. Bruce,
Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.

The Secretary of the Admiralty.

President, off Sitka, July 17.

Sir,- I request yon will inform the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that before leaving Petropaulovski I succeeded in opening a communication with Captain Martinhoff, the temporary Governor of that place, who had retired into the interior, having for its object the release of two prisoners taken last year, as reported in my general letter of the 15th ult, No. 44.

Having forwarded a safe conduct to Captain Martinhoff, through the kind offices of an American resident in Petropaulovski, that officer sent 150 versts inland for them, and on their arrival, on the 25th ult., delivered them up to Captain Houston, of Her Majesty's ship Trincomalee, and three Russians, who had been detained on board the French brig Obligado since last year, were given in exchange.

The two men proved to be William Garland, ordinary seaman of Her Majesty's ship Pique, and Pierre Langois, of the French frigate Forte. The latter will be handed over to the Forte on my arrival at San Francisco, and the former will, at his own request, be appointed to the Brisk, his proper ship having sailed for the China station. Both appear to have been treated with much kindness during the time they have been in the hands of the enemy.

I have, &c.,
H.W. Bruce.

The Secretary of the Admiralty.

Tu 25 September 1855

(from our own correspondent.)


On the 7th Her Majesty’s line-of-battle ship Monarch sailed from San Francisco, with Admiral Bruce on board; her destination is unknown, but it is supposed that she is cruising between this and Vancouver’s island. She will return early in September, by which time the Amphitrite is expected to arrive from the Amoor. The Monarch, unluckily, lost a number of her men by desertion while here, about 24, it is said. They escaped in two batches from the ship on different occasions, and managed by hard rowing in the ship’s boats to reach the shore at Sancelito, on the north coast of the bay, although they were pursued. Some days after the Monarch sailed a party of the officers of the President surprised and captured three of the deserters in the bushes about two miles inland. They are detained on board the President, awaiting the return of the admiral's ship, to be restored to her. The causes of the desertion were the usual causes with sailors at this port - the attraction of the mines and the high rates of wages in this country.

Her Majesty’s steamer Brisk, Captain Curtis, arrived on the 13th, all well, in seven days from Vancouver's Island. She remained in port only two days, and went to sea again on the 15th. Her destination was not given, but she is supposed to have gone out to meet the admiral at a rendezvous off the coast. The Dido is expected here daily from the north. The President is still here.

The vessels of the French squadron have all sailed, except the Alceste.

Th 25 October 1855


The following account of the movements of our fleets in the Pacific has reached us from a correspondent in China: -

"It will be borne in mind that last year an unsuccessful attack was made on the Russian settlement of Petropaulovski by the Pacific squadron under Admiral Price. From all that can be learnt we may expect to hear of further operations against the same place by his successor, Admiral Bruce, part of the China fleet having been detached to assist him. Our information as to the enemy force in these distant seas is singularly incomplete. A line-of-battle ship (the Ingermarland) is said to be there, but has never been seen. The Diana frigate was lost daring an earthquake at Simoda in November, 1854, and their remaining vessels appear to be - Pallas, 50; Dwina, 22; Oltenitza, 22; Aurora, 44; Vostock, 3 or 5, and three or four more from Sitka, mostly schooners or store-ships. The force of the station and at its disposition consists of three frigates - the Winchester, 50 (flag); Sybille, 40; Spartan, 26; live sailing sloops - Comus, 14; Racehorse, 14; Bittern, 12; Grecian, 12; Rapid, 8; and five steam sloops - Hornet, 17 (screw); Encounter, 14 (screw); Rattler, 11 (screw); Barracouta, 6; and Styx, 6 - in all 13 sail, exclusive of the Australian division and of surveying vessels. In addition to the above men-of-war, the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamer Tartar was chartered at an enormous expense as tender to the Winchester, and armed with three guns. Our allies’ vessels were - the Sybille, 52 ; Constantine, 26; and Colbert, 6 (paddle), making the effective force on the China station in March, 1855, five frigates, seven steamers, and five sailing sloops, of 311 guns, and about 3,000 men. It was scattered as follows: - The Encounter and Barracouta were despatched from Shanghai on the 22d of March to assist the Pacific squadron in reducing Petropaulovski - a place within the limits of this station. The Sybille, Hornet, and Bittern sailed from Hongkong on the 7th of April, to reconnoitre in the Gulf of Tartary, and ascertain the practicability of an attack on the Russian settlements on the Amoor from the south.

"The Spartan was despatched a few days afterwards to cruise about the Kurile Islands (why no one knows), and the Styx got orders to join the flag at Nangasaki, after carrying about some freight and vice-consuls to different ports in China. The Admiral sailed last of all in the Winchester, in the beginning of May, for the above port, whither the French had already proceeded. The Rattler, Comus, Racehorse, Grecian, and Rapid were left to protect the British interests in China, and to see that the opium dealers were not annoyed in their philanthropic traffic by pirates, or anything of that sort.

"In the further account of the operations we will follow the Admiral as nearly as possible. He remained at Nangasaki eight or nine days, trying to get the valuable treaty which he concluded last year ratified; but was told by the Japanese to call again about the beginning of October. Owing to the French squadron not having completed their preparations, the Winchester, Styx, and Tartar put to sea on the 20th of May, the Styx proceeding to Shanghai for the English mail of the 9th of April (which was expected to bring peace), while the flagship and her tender made for another Japanese port (Hakodade, in the Straits of Saugor), where they arrived on the 29th of May, the steamer having expended her last ton of coal. The same day they received intelligence of the enemy from Commodore Elliot, by the Bittern. The Sybille, Hornet, and Bittern, in their cruse up the Gulf of Tartary, had unexpectedly fallen in with a Russian squadron of six vessels on the morning of Sunday, the 20th of May. The enemy were at anchor in a strong position, in the head of Castries Bay, 51° 27' N. lat., 141° E. long. That day and the following were spent in reconnoitring and in vain manoeuvres, tempting and defying them to come out and fight fairly, which, however, they declined. Their force was found to be as follows: - Aurora, 44; Oltenitza, 22; Dwina, 20; Vostock, 5; a brigantine of three guns; and a large ship which could not be distinctly made out, and supposed by some to be the Kamtschatka storeship, 8 guns, while others asserted she was a corvette. With the small force of a frigate, brig, and steamer it was deemed unadvisable to attempt cutting them out, and, the Hornet having gone in as far as was safe, and exchanged shells with the Dwina, the Commodore withdrew, and next morning despatched the Bittern to the Admiral for assistance, meaning himself to blockade them till farther force arrived, As mentioned, the Bittern joined the Admiral on the 29th of May. On the 30th she sailed in company with him, leaving the Tartar behind. Though prompt assistance was required we find these two ships at anchor on the 2d of July in the Straits of Saugor, about 30 miles from the port which they left on the morning of the 30th. At midnight of the 2d they were joined by the Spartan, from the Kurile Islands, where she had, of course, seen nothing and learnt nothing. She had, however, been within about 150 miles of the squadron supposed to be acting against Petropaulovski, but had not communicated with them. The Winchester, Spartan, Bittern, and Tartar finally sailed from the Straits to the Commodore's assistance at midnight on the 24 of July, or exactly 96 hours after the Admiral had received intelligence by the Bittern. On the 7th they fell in with the Commodore at the rendezvous he had appointed in the Straits of La Perouse, but only to learn that the Russians had left Castries Bay during his absence to the southward on the 23d, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th; and on going back on the 28th he found the bay empty, and everything that had been in use on shore left evidently in great haste. He had immediately proceeded to the rendezvous, had been told by whalers that there was no passage to the northward from Castries Bay, but had made no reconnaissance in that direction, nor had he looked into any of the bays on the Tartary shore on his way down. His belief was that the Russians were still in the head of the Gulf of Tartary.

"The force with the Admirals flag now numbered three frigates, the Hornet and Bittern mounting 145 guns. The Tartar had been sent back to Hakodade on the 3d of June. The Russian squadron seen in Castries Bay had only 106. Whether Admiral Stirling waited for the further reinforcement of the 84 French guns or for the English mail expected by the Styx is not known, but certain it is that he dodged about in the Straits of La Perouse from the 7th of June, when he fell in with the Commodore, till the 17th, when he at last turned his head to the northward, and stood up the Gulf of Tartary. He had meantime, on the 16th, received the English mail of the 9th of April, by the Styx, which on that day arrived with the Tartar from Hakodade. This steamer did not bring out a declaration of peace, as many had expected, but she informed the Admiral that she had communicated, on the 13th, with the French frigates Sybille and Constantine, in the Straits of Saugor, and learnt of the loss of the steamer Colbert, on a rock near Nangasaki.

"On the Admiral proceeding northward he left behind the Bittern, to cruise about the rendezvous, and bring up the French frigates when they should arrive, but with orders to be at Jonquiere Bay (on the Saghalien coast) by the 26th at latest, and not to remain on the rendezvous so long as to prevent this. The Tartar and the Styx were also sent back by him on the 22d, with orders to proceed to Hakodade. No one can yet understand the cause of these two most efficient steamers being thus discarded. The Styx had 100 tons of coal left, the Tartar had three days' wood, and the Commodore had reported that coal was readily procurable in Jonquiere Bay. The Tartar had the additional recommendation of drawing but seven feet - an invaluable quality where operations in shoal water were to be expected.

"On the afternoon of the 25th the three frigates and the Hornet anchored in Jonquiere Bay, in lat. 50°50' N., and found that any quantity of wood and coal was procurable. They also learnt from the savage natives that 'seven sleeps' before two vessels had been at anchor there, and several Russian naval buttons were seen in their possession, affording a fair clue to the quality of their visitors. They were now within 50 miles of Castries Bay, but no attempt at ascertaining if it was again occupied was made on the afternoon of the 20th, or the whole of the 26th; nor daring this time was any effective means employed for replenishing the stock of coal in the Hornet, though she was short about 50 tons. On the morning of the 27th the Bittern rejoined the flag, reporting having fallen in with two strange vessels, one a paddle steamer, while on the rendezvous in the Straits of La Perouse; she had, however, seen nothing of our allies. On the afternoon of the 27th the Hornet steamed over to Castries Bay, with Commodore Elliot on board, the other vessels continuing at anchor. Had she found the bay reoccupied by Russian vessels (which she did not), we cannot understand what object her mission would have served, for she could only have returned and intimated the fact to the Admiral, the enemy being meantime warned to prepare for an attack or again to execute his escape. She returned on the morning of the 29th without having seen anything, and having executed a very imperfect reconnaissance of the head of the gulf, which was pronounced unnavigable. The Admiral, without more minute surveying, appeared now for the first time (if we may judge of his thoughts by his proceedings) to take it for granted that the enemy could not have escaped to the northward, but must have passed his squadron, and got out of the Gulf of Tartary to the southward. He at once weighed and ran down the gulf under all sail. On the 1st of July he fell in with the French frigates Sybille and Constantine, put the Spartan and Hornet under the orders of Commodore Elliot, of the Sybille, and gave him a roving commission to proceed, along with the French ships, through the Straits of La Perouse and thence to the Amoor settlements, to Port Ayan, or Okhotsk - in fact, wherever he chose, while he himself retained to Hakodade in the Winchester, with the Bittern In company.

"Many make sufficiently bold to doubt whether the proceedings of Admiral Stirling during this, or, indeed, last season, have been such as to reflect that credit on himself and honour on his flag which were to be looked for. During the whole of last season no ship belonging to his command were to the northward of the parallel of Nangasaki, which is about 3° North, while it was well known that there was no Russian settlement to the southward of 52°. All he had to show for the summer work of about 14 vessels under his immediate direction was a convention with the Governor of Nangasaki, which, be it good, bad, or indifferent, is believed to be more in the province of Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary than of the naval Commander-in-Chief, particularly in time of war. Whether his preparations during the winter for the spring campaign displayed the required foresight or resulted in the completeness, efficiency, and earliest despatch of his vessels is a point on which one who has wintered in Hongkong is better qualified to pronounce an opinion; but a sad improvidence has been apparent to all who have sailed with him in reference to coal, that most important munition of modern warfare; and, had his squadron been in action, the want of a depôt of other malériel of war would have been seriously felt. The scattered state of his squadron, during April and May is, perhaps, more defensible; but is will never cease to be regretted that the force under Commodore Elliot was not stronger or was not more efficiently backed. Had the Spartan, instead of cruising uselessly about the Kurile Islands, accompanied the Sybille, the Russian squadron would in all human probability have now been in an English port as prizes, instead of being safely ensconced behind impassable sandbanks and fortifications, as they certainly are.

"Passing over the lengthened delays, of which we cannot receive a satisfactory account, his division of his force on the 1st of July appears singularly injudicious. While denying most strongly that he had insufficient evidence to prove that the enemy had got beyond his reach from his position in Jonquiere Bay, it may be admitted, for the sake of illustration, that they had effected their escape by passing to the southward of all the squadron and going down the Gulf of Tartary. Such a case being presupposed, the probabilities are to be calculated on. We take them to be as follows: - The probable time of the enemy's escape from Castries Bay was the 26th or 27th of May. Strong southerly gales were experienced by the Bittern in the Gulf of Tartary during this time and till the 6th or 7th of June. The Russians could therefore have barely had time to beat 400 miles south, and pass through the Straits of La Perouse before the arrival of the Winchester and consort in that narrow passage. Is it likely they would continue to beat to the southward after getting out of the supposed cul-de-sac in which they had placed themselves? Or would they not at once take advantage of a fair wind and run to the strongest of their settlements to leeward, - that is, somewhere in the Sea of Okhotsk? The latter must strike every one as the most obvious and judicious course for them to pursue; and it must be equally evident that a force far superior to their known strength was requisite to destroy them when supported by land batteries, or to cut them out when placed in a harbour protected by natural or artificial bars and shallows. Nevertheless we find the Admiral reducing his force by the withdrawal of the Winchester, 50, and Bittern, 12, and despatching a squadron, under his second in command, numbering only 160, guns and 1,400 men, while he is (or should be) perfectly aware that the Russians have efficient land defences for all their settlements, and at Ayan are said to muster about 5,000 soldiers. Admiral Stirling's reasons for proceeding to the southward in person may, in like manner, be speculated on. He may have considered that where the Admiralty had thought so young a captain as Elliot of the Sybille worthy of a commodore's rank it was his place to assign him the post of honour and danger. But why, then, withdraw the Winchester, the most powerful ship of the station? If all flagships are merely Admirals' floating-houses, to accompany them as the shell does the snail, then the sooner these officers shift their flags into steam yachts the better, for surely it is a needless expense converting the heaviest ship of the fleet into an Admiralty house. He may have though his presence demanded in China, but this is an idle supposition, for it may be safely asserted that he will non bestow much, if any, of his time there till the hot season is over, - that is, about October. Lastly, he may have considered that the enemy had really gone to the south, and that, he was taking the post of danger; if so, he wilfully risked his two vessels in a most unjustifiable manner. It is believed, however, that the Admiral's knight-errantry (supposing that he ever had so mercurial a spirit) has, at the age of 65 or 66, been so far expended as to deter him from seeking so unequal a combat. All circumstantial evidence goes to prove that he believed the enemy had got into the Sea of Okhotsk; and we have the facts vouched for that what he thought the most probable scene of action was committed to his second in command, and that with a force much weaker than it might have been, and totally inadequate to effect the destruction of even the squadron seen, if the Russ placed himself in a sheltered position, as he invariably has been found to do."

Tu 30 October 1855

(from our own correspondent.)


Her Majesty's line-of-battle ship Monarch arrived with Admiral Bruce on board at this port on the 12th inst. from a cruise in the north, and sails tomorrow for Valparaiso, the Admiral accompanying. The President sailed yesterday for Vancouver, The Amphitrite remains here till relieved by the Trincomalee from Vancouver.

In my last letter, of the 5th inst., I stated that the news brought by the Amphitrite, Captain Frederick (which arrived here on the 21st of August), from the North Pacific, led to the belief that the allied squadrons from China and India were cruising In the Bay of Tartary at or about the period the Amphitrite was on her way to the Amoor.

Intelligence of the movements of these squadrons has just reached us. You will probably be already, or before this letter reaches you, in possession of the information from China. But, in case you should not, I will relate the story as we have it. The American schooner Caroline E. Foote, which arrived at San Francisco the day before yesterday from Japan, brings the news. This is the vessel which took the captain and crew of the Russian frigate Diana, which was lost In the earthquake, in December last, at Simoda (Japan), from that port to Petropaulovski. She carried Captain Dasoffiki, nine officers, and 150 of the crew to Petropaulovski, who, finding the place abandoned, took passage in the American brig William Penn for parts unknown to the people of the Caroline E. Foote.

This latter vessel reports that when the inhabitants of Petropaulovski left the place, on the 16th of April, they had to saw a channel through the ice in the harbour to enable the frigate Aurora, the armed transport Dwina, a corvette, a bark, and a brig to put to sea. It is said that this squadron was discovered by one of the vessels of the allies lying in the Bay of Castre (or Castries), a place on the mainland in the Gulf of Tartary, lying between the islands of Jesso and Nyphon. The English steamer then ran down to Hakodadi (coast of Japan), to communicate with the rest of the fleet, leaving two frigates to blockade the port until reinforced by the allies. In the mean time, however, the Russians succeeded in evading the two frigates and got clear off, so that when the fleet arrived it found the harbour empty.

For several reasons, not necessary to occupy space with the detail of, the officers of the English squadron here doubted the correctness of the story, but yesterday another vessel, the sloop Kamchadell, arrived at San Francisco direct from the Gulf of Tartary, which confirms the news. As I have no time to see any of the people of this vessel, I give her account as published to-day in one of the San Francisco papers:-

"The sloop Kamchadell, Captain Carleton, arrived here yesterday, from the Gulf of Tartary. Captain Carleton and the crew of the Kamchadell were formerly of the brig William Penn, well known on this coast. About six months ago the Penn sailed from San Francisco to Petropaulovski, with a general cargo. She was there when the schooner Caroline E. Foote arrived with a large number of the officers and crew of the Russian frigate Diana, which was wrecked at Simoda last winter, in consequence of an earthquake taking place in the harbour. The Penn was chartered by the Russians to convey the Diana's crew from Petropaulovski to the river Amoor, and accordingly she received on board the passengers of the Foote. She immediately proceeded to her destination. Near the end of May, when within 10 miles of the Russian fleet, then lying in the Bay of Castre, the Penn, while rounding to, struck on a coral reef near the entrance of the bay. Castre or Castrie Bay does not lie on the east side of the Gulf of Tartary, on the island of Jesso, as was stated yesterday, but on the mainland of Mantchooria, on the west side of the gulf, somewhere about latitude 48°.
It being night when the Penn struck, no assistance could be obtained; but in the morning boats from the Russian ships came to her assistance, and took off the crew and passengers. These numbered 180 persons. The brig was a total loss.
"Captain Carleton confirms the news as to the Russian and English fleets brought by the Foote, given yesterday in the Chronicle, but with some differences which we are not yet authorized to publish. The Russian fleet consisted of the frigate Aurora, the corvette Ohetus, and the transports Dwina, Bycaul, and Arteeis.
"After Captain Carleton and his crew reached the shore in safety the Russian Admiral Zataika treated them with much kindness and respect. He presented Captain Carleton with the sloop Kamchadell to convey himself and officers back to San Francisco. This vessel is only 35 tons burden, - but a small craft in which to cross the North Pacific. Captain Carleton speaks in the highest terms of the generous treatment which he received from the officers of the Russian fleet at Castre. It appears that other Americans who have landed or been wrecked in the Gulf of Tartary have always received the like liberal and kind reception from the Russians with whom they have happened to meet in that quarter."

The Kamchadell brings also an account of the loss of 14 whale ships in the North Pacific.

To return to the Caroline E. Foote. She reports that on the 27th of June, being the day she sailed from Hakodadi, the British steamers Encounter, from Petropaulovski, and the Styx, with the Tartar in tow, had arrived at that port, all short of coal, of which they were expecting supplies from Hongkong.

We 2 July 1856Letters have been received at Plymouth from the Monarch, 84. Captain George E. Patey, flag of Rear-Admiral Henry W. Bruce, dated from the Pacific, May 6; officers and crew all well.
Sa 22 November 1856

From the London Gazette of Friday, Nov. 21.

DISTRIBUTION OF NAVAL PRIZE MONEY. This Gazette contains a notice that the distribution of the proceeds arising from the sale of the Russian vessel Sitka, captured on the 7th of September, 1854, by Her Majesty's ships President, Pique, and Virago, in company with his Imperial Majesty's ships La Forte, I'Eurydice, and L’Obligado, will commence on the 11th of December next. The following are the shares due to an individual in the same classes: -

 ₤. s. d. ₤. s. d.
Flag share266 12 4Fifth class10 6 5
Captains, each211 1 5Sixth class9 5 8
Commanders, each103 10 9Seventh class6 3 10
Second class36 2 3Eighth class3 1 11
Third class28 17 10Ninth class2 1 3
Forth class18 11 6Tenth class1 0 7
Ma 20 April 1857A letter from the Pacific squadron, dated the 27th of February, gives the following movements on that station -
"The Monarch, 84, flag, is at Valparaiso. Rear-Admiral Bruce arrived at Callao by the mail steamer Lima, and hoisted his flag in the President, 50, Captain Frederick. The latter leaves to-morrow (the 28th) for England, when the Tribune, 31, Captain Harry Edgell, will hoist the Admiral's flag until the arrival of the Monarch. The Tribune had just returned from the Chinchas, where she had made herself popular, protecting all mercantile interests. All the ladies of the place attended the Church service on board with their families. The Tribune got up a play, which went off well; then the American merchant fleet gave a grand banquet to her captain and officers on board a 2,000-ton clipper ship, at which 260 sat down to a banquet. Toasts and speeches followed, and dancing wound up the evening. The 22d. - Washington's birthday, the frigates saluted and dressed ship. On the 23d the Tribune left. On passing through the English merchant fleet they all dressed ship and saluted; it was quite a gala day. The Tribune returned the salutes, and the American merchant ships returned the salute for Washington's birthday. The Esk, 20, is at Panama; the Havannah, 22, en route to Valparaiso; the Alarm, 26, gone to San Blas for freight; the Brisk steamsloop sailed for England; the Pearl, 20, at the Chinchas.”
Tu 30 June 1857The sailing frigate President, 50, Captain Frederick, arrived at Spithead yesterday from the Pacific station, to be paid off. She sailed from Callao February 28, Valparaiso March 28, and Rio May 12, on which latter day the Retribution, 28, Captain Barker, left Rio for the Pacific, after towing the President out of the river. She met with heavy weather off the Horn and Falklands, and has fore and main yards carried away, and waist nettings, &c. She brought 39 invalids from the Pacific and Rio squadrons.
Fr 3 July 1857The President, 50, Captain C. Frederick (1854), has gone into harbour at Chatham for the purpose of being stripped and paid off into ordinary. She has been commissioned for upwards of three years.
Ma 6 July 1857The President, 50, Captain C. Frederick, is partially stripped at Chatham, and as soon as her stores are removed she will be paid off out of commission.
We 8 July 1857The President is to be paid off at Chatham on Saturday next.
Sa 10 October 1857The Ganges sailing vessel, 84, Captain Fulford, flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Baynes, C.B., Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, will be paid advance at Spithead this day, and sail early next week for her station, to relieve the Monarch, 84, Captain Patey, flag of Rear-Admiral Bruce. The Ganges, after being nearly four months fitting out, has at length got her complement of crew within a dozen or so. She has been fitted with Clifford's boat-lowering gear.
We 26 May 1858Her Majesty’s ship Monarch, 84, sailing two-decker, Captain Patey, flag of Vice-Admiral H.W. Bruce, late Commander-in-chief on the Pacific station, arrived in St. Helen's-roads, off Spithead, yesterday morning, from Valparaiso and Rio. The weather was so bad, blowing a whole gale, that the ship made no nearer approach to Spithead all day, and the only communication made with her was by the steam vessel Pigmy, which was sent out with letters to Admiral Bruce and the officers. Mr. Martin, the admiral’s secretary, landed by the Pigmy and proceeded to the Admiralty forthwith with despatches. The Pigmy will go out again as soon as the weather moderates. The Monarch has been four years and a-quarter in commission, and will now be paid off. The Monarch sailed from Valparaiso on the 7th of February; Rio on the 29th of March. The Madagascar and Wasp were the only men-of-war at the latter port. The Industry steam transport was to leave Rio on the day after the Monarch. The yellow fever still raged very fearfully among the shipping at Rio, but it was on the decrease. Several of the merchant vessels there were completely denuded of their officers and crews by its ravages. The Monarch consequently made as brief a stay at Rio as possible. The lstamboul screw steamer left Rio for England on the 23d of March. Captain Harris, British Chargé d’Affaires at Chili, his wife, family, and suite, have come home in the Monarch. Mr. John Parish Robertson, who embarked on board the Monarch at Valparaiso for England, died at Rio on the day after the Monarch's arrival there. She brings also 41 naval invalids from the Pacific squadron, and three distressed British subjects.
Th 27 May 1858The Monarch, 84, Captain Patey, flag of Vice-Admiral H.W. Bruce, got up to Spithead yesterday morning from St. Helen's Roads. Admiral Bruce was expected to strike his flag last night at sunset, and the ship- was to go to the eastward to be paid off.
Fr 28 May 1858The Monarch, 84, Captain Patey, sailed yesterday afternoon from Spithead for Sheerness to be paid off.
Ma 31 May 1858On Friday last the steam vessels African and Adder left Sheerness and proceeded to the Downs to tow the Monarch 84 guns, flag ship, Vice-Admiral Henry Bruce, to Sheerness. She is to be paid off on the 9th of June next. This ship, since leaving Plymouth Sound on the 7th of January, 1855, has sailed over 77,000 miles, although as near as possible she has been at anchor one-half of her period of commission. The Monarch, when in lat. 50.3S and long. 49.2W. sighted an iceberg on the 5th of March, distant about seven miles, which by calculation, must have been over 500 foot above the level of the sea. The thermometer fell 7°, while the ship remained to leeward of the iceberg.
Ma 7 June 1858The Admiralty have postponed paying off the Monarch, 84 guns, Captain George E. Patey, at Sheerness, until the 12th. inst.


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