English Port Cities: ° Bristol ° Chester ° Dartmouth ° Falmouth ° Gravesend ° Harwich ° Hull Docks: Bessemer Steamer ° Liverpool ° London (Billingsgate) ° Newcastle-Upon-Tyne ° Plymouth ° Southampton ° Portsmouth ° Weymouth ° Woolwich (The Hulks)
Great Britain: Portsmouth
In May 1757, troops had gathered at Portsmouith ready for embarkation. The attack was a sizable operation. The fleet under Admiral George Anson consisted of 22 ships of the line and 8 frigates, while the amphibious landing force consisted of some 150 vessels of various kinds under the command of Captain Richard Howe, and a land force of 13,000 under Charles Spencer, the 3rd Duke of Marlborough. Even before a diversionary landing was launched, the British navy had already scored two significant naval successes in continental waters.
At the end of February, Admiral Henry Osborne had cornered parts of the Toulouse fleet in the Spanish port of Cartagena and defeated a relief force capturing two French ships of the line, while in April Hawki had severely mauled a French convey destined for Canada in the Basque Roads. Both LeHavre and Caen seemed under threat, but on the last day of June the fleet anchored off Cherbourg and made preparations to land troops there. Gale force winds made Howe change his mind and the fleet returned home without any further landings.
England's major ports, such as London, Portsmouth and Plymouth were linked with the Royal Navy, but were also considered "market towns." Peddlers travelled from village to village selling their wares. They either travelled on foot, carrying their wares, or by using a cart or wagon, even pulled by the peddler or a horse. Men skilled in various trades travelled mending tin pots, sharpening knives, acting as at catchers, rag and bone men, sellers of chapbooks and cheap repository tracts, etc. They were joined by "camp-followers," which included gypsies and people skilled in the arts of telling folk tales, poetry, and singing.
Goods shipped in and out of world ports to and from London, Chester, Bristol, Yarmouth, Southampton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (coal), Hull, Portsmouth, Harwich, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Falmouth, "Dover Castle," and Liverpool.
The first reference to Portsmouth as a naval station was made in 286 A.D., when a sea captain named Carausius, who had been sent by Rome to suppress piracy, became a master pirate himself. He assumed Imperial power and even had his own coinage minted. He was eventually killed by a rival, and then Rome sent a great force to crush the rebellion. This was accomplished, and then, realizing the commanding position of Portchester, the Romans developed it as a naval station.
August 10, 1874, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
London, August 8th: There was a serious riot in Portsmouth tonight in consequence of the pier authorities closing the thoroughfare. A mob of several thousand destroyed the obstruction, when the police charged on them repeatedly, aud many poiicemen and rioters were severely injured. A renewal of the riotiug is feared.
November 22, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Single-handed and Alone at Sea
The Captain of a small vessel called the Catherine bound from Cork to Portsmouth, England, with a cargo of butter has just met with a singular adventure at sea. The crew consisted of but three hands, the Captain and two seamen. The Catherine left Cork on the 2d of October, and when about twenty-five miles from Queenstown, the two men were engaged in shifting jibs. While so employed a sea struck them, carried them away, and no more was seen of them. The same wave awept the Captain off the vessel, which was then left without a hand. Fortunately, however, another wave washed him Into the rigging, and he succeeded in reaching the deck. Throughout the very heavy weather which prevailed during the succeeding days, the Captain stuck, single-handed, to his post, and brought his vessel safely iuto Portsmouth harbor on the afternoon of Ootobbr 6th .
October 19, 1875, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California
EASTERN NEWS. The Polar Ships Heard From.
New York, October 18. — The Herald's special from Portsmouth, England, regarding the Polar expedition, says that Captain Fanes' expedition had crossed the Melville bay July 27th, and proceeded Northward. Letters left on Carry Fire Island by Fanes and brought to Portsmouth by the Pandora, say that two Government ships, the Alert and Discovery, reached the island July 27th, and proceeded on their way up Smith's Sound, after short delay. The weather was unusually favorable, the sea being open, and the expedition met with no serious impediment. Captain Fanes stated that all hands were in excellent health and spirits, and he anticipated a favorable passage.
June 19, 1888, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Preparations are being made at Portsmouth, England, for immediately laying down the keel of the Vulcan, which will be the longest ship in the Navy -- 375 feet -- as an improved torpedo depostship, with repairing workshops on board.
October 16, 1890, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Embarked for India
London, Oct. 15. — The detachment of the East Surrey Regiment that was recently ordered from Guernsey to India and which at first refused to obey, sailed from Portsmouth for India to-day. The embarkation was marked by no disorder. The men stated that they objected to doing foreign service and willfully misbehaved, thinking they would be punished in England, and preferring to do punishment to doing service in India.
May 10, 1896, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
THE GREAT DOCKYARDS OF EUROPE.
By. Lieut. W. R. Hamilton, U.S.A.
THE failure of Congress to pass appropriations for the construction of a Government dockyard on the Pacific Coast, of greater extent than that of Mare Island, has awakened the curiosity of many people as to why these institutions should require so much money and take such a long time to complete. A modern steamship is undoubtedly the highest point of man's mechanical excellence and skill, and of all steamships, the modern man-of-war is the most costly and complicated. It is necessarily complicated since it is built to fight with, and to fight successfully against masses of animated men and steel, and it must also insure the safety of the men who are within it. And to make it a protection against the armor piercing projectiles thrown out from guns with immense velocity and power requires that it should be covered itself with an armor of material so hard and firm and elastic that the steel of the Toledo or Damascus swords areas nothing to it.
Then this immense mass must be swiftly propelled and made to stop quickly and to turn about very short, to move in every direction, and it must have within itself the means of generating all the necessary power. It must for safety be divided into many partitions, and yet so arranged that while the apertures between apartments can be quickly opened, they may be as quickly closed in danger. There must be perfect communication between all parts of this wonderful machine, so that like the arms or feet on the body obeying the will the various members of the ship answer instantaneously to the brain of the commander. And within itself must be the means of self-sustenance for a considerable time, while added to all the foregoing requisites is the most important of all, that of being able to fight by every means, with either guns, torpedoes or its own impact.
To manufacture such a wonder requires many machines and very costly ones, many buildings for making the various parts, much land for the storage of material and much space to build the monster itself in. A brief description of the principal dockyards of Europe will throw some light on this question of expense. It must be remembered that in the ship-building establishments in America it is impossible to build a modern battleship short of two years, and when therefore it is asked of Congress that money shall be given for eight or ten such vessels it will require with our present facilities four or five years to complete the work.
Of course, at the head of all powers England stands with her dockyards as with her navy. Not only has she the greatest number, but she has the largest, the best equipped, and can turn out the greatest number of warships and in the quickest time. Some of them are situated abroad in her colonial possessions, but they are for the purpose of repair, while the great ones for building are all in Great Britain. They are at Pembroke, Devonport and Keyham. Portsmouth, Chatham and Sheerness.
On these dockyards there has been an immense amount of money spent — many times over the value of them as they stand, which is estimated at $140,000,000. In building them much of the labor has been done by convicts, so that the cost might be put down as low as possible. Here are employed as many men as In the entire United States army— 26,000— and these men are paid over $8,000,000 a year in wages.
The greatest of all the dockyards belonging to the Government is that of Portsmouth. It contains 300 acres, has over 6000 employes, five building slips for vessels of the largest size and fifteen drydocks of varying sizes from the largest to the smallest. These drydocks and basins are all connected with wide and deep canals and basins in which many vessels may be laid for repairs. The dockyard at Chatham is the second in the Kingdom, has about 5400 employes and covers over 100 acres.
The map in The Call gives in detail the Portsmouth yards with their various buildings, basins and docks. It was at this yard that the Collingwood, the Camperdown, the Colossus, the Edinburgh and many other of the greatest and finest of Britain's ships were built This great yard is considered the headquarters or general rendezvous of the British fleet. It was founded by Henry VII, and was a very important naval station even in the early Plantagenet times. The Sheriff of Southampton was ordered to cause the docks at Portsmouth to be inclosed with a strong wall, in the manner in which the archdeacon of Taunton would point out, for the preservation of the King's ships and galleys.
In 1540 the area of the yard seems to have been about eight acres and fronted on the harbor on a portion of what is now known as the King's Stairs. Cromwell added two acres to It and Charles III added eighteen. Between 1667 and 1710 thirty acres were reclaimed from mud flats and additional ground bought from the town, so that by 1712 it comprised ninety acres, but about 1840 the growth of a steam navy occasioned additional land, and from that time to this there has been a steady growth in size and capacity.
At present the system of docks and basins begins with a tidal basin, entered from the harbor by an opening 100 yards wide and having a depth at low tide of thirty feet. There is a deep dock and two locks at the head of this basin with twenty eight feet of water at low tide. The locks are themselves splendid docks, capable of receiving the heaviest warships from the tidal basin. They lead to the repairing basin, which is an artificial pond or lake with twenty-two acres and thirty-five feet of water at high tide. This depth of water can be made permanent by the closing of the lock gates. From this basin lead out four other basins or docks with a depth of thirty feet of water. There Is a rigging basin of fourteen acres and a pentagon-shaped fitting-out basin of fourteen acres, on one side of which is an immense coaling station.
There are other basins and docks, and around all are immense fortifications. Inside are the many storehouses and various shops and mills, while a complete network of railways connects all parts of the yard with the docks and basins, and the whole with the neighboring railroads to all parts of the kingdom, so that iron or coal can be taken from the mills and furnaces clone to the mines and in the course of a few hours brought without change to the side of the ship in which it is to be used.
The Pembroke dockyard is the best adapted for building operations. It comprises some seventy-seven acres and has eleven building-slips, which are covered by substantial shiphouses. It has, however, but one dock and no basins, and but few slips and stores, and cannot be used as a fitting-out station. The dockyards at Keyham and Devonport are really one. They contain in the aggregate 140 acres and are connected by a tunnel, through which a railway has been laid, and locomotives belonging to the yards transfer men and material from one yard to the other. The building-slips and most of the drydocks are in Devonport, while the shops and fitting-out basins are in the Keyham yard. A curiosity to be seen in Devonport is a huge floating platform in the drydock and intended to be submerged and used to float out vessels while under repair. All the other dockyards in Great Britain are secondary to those mentioned, excepting, of course, several belonging to private firms.
The principal dockyards belonging to foreign powers are as follows: Germany — Kiel, Dantzic, Wilhelmshafen. Russia — Cronstadt, St. Petersburg, Nicholaieff and Sebastopol. Austria — Pola and Trieste. Denmark — Copenhagen. France — Cherbourg, Brest. L'Orient, Toulon and Rochefort. Spain — Cadiz, Cartagena. Italy — Naples, Spezzia and Castellamare.
The yard at Vilhelmshafen is on the North Sea, while Kiel and Dantzic are on the Baltic. That of Kiel is the most important, and most of Germany's great ships have been built there. Over $24,000,000 has been spent on this yard, with its basins, locks and docks. The great North Sea canal, the magnificent harbor of Kiel, ten miles long and very deep, and the splendid fortifications surrounding the yards, make this one of the best located and best adapted yards in the world.
In Russia the dockyards of St. Petersburg and Cronstadt are on the Baltic, the others on the Black Sea. A new yard is being built which promises to eclipse all the others. It is in the province of Circassia and fifty miles from the Black Sea, on the straits joining that body to the sea of Azof.
The most important of the French dockyards is that of L'Orient, in the northern part of the Bay of Biscay. Its environment resembles that of Portsmouth, N. H. There is also a large military station here, and the entire yard is about 120 acres in extent. Cherbourg is the most imposing of the French dockyards. It has a number of basins and drydocks, but it is an artificial port and has a very exposed situation. A very extensive breakwater with strong fortifications protects it from the sea, while it is also fortified by land approaches. The yard possesses no natural situation or advantages, and owes its origin to Napoleon I, under whose direction many of the present works were begun and prosecuted in the face of enormous difficulties. The yard contains 260 acres, has eleven slips, eight drydocks and three basins, besides numerous shops and buildings. The basins are excavated from solid rock, and are faced and coped with massive granite. The slips have permanent shiphouses The quays, basins and slips which characterize the French yards are all of such permanent and massive character that if duplicated in the United States would cost us not less than $300,000,000.
It will thus be seen from the foregoing details the value the powers of Europe place on their dockyards. Yet in our country, outside of several private yards, the entire cost of our dockyards may be placed at $10,000,000. There is in all the world no place more fit by natural advantages than the harbor and surroundings of San Francisco for a dockyard. And it would pay the Government over and over again to erect drydocks of the largest size, with basins and building slips at Mare Island, which can be absolutely protected from any outside enemy. The coal of Wellington and Puget Sound, and the iron of California, with the timber, are all so convenient that without a change it can be brought right to this yard and converted into ships of war. A large Government foundry for supplying both army and navy with high-power guns should be erected under the same conditions at Benicia Arsenal, and there is but little doubt that the first real war we have will see the accomplishment of these two projects.
March 7, 1899, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.