March 9th 1854
Sailing of the Baltic Fleet
The Baltic Fleet took its departure from Spithead on Saturday, Sir Charles NAPIER, the commander, after receiving the address from the Corporation of Portsmouth, embarked on board the SPRIGHTLY tender, which conveyed the gallant Admiral with his family and friends, to Spithead.
Thousands cheered until the SPRIGHTLY left the harbour, and at 1 o’clock the first gun was fired from the flagship of the commander-in-chief, followed by the whole fleet, announcing her Majesty’s approach. The effect was thrilling, the heavy guns shook the houses and all was excitement.
The FAIRY, with the royal standard at the main, followed by the ELFIN and BLACK EAGLE, steamed through Spithead, passing between the ships of war, each man manning the rigging and cheering.
Her Majesty having passed to the east of the Spit, made signal for the Admirals and Captains to repair on board the FAIRY, where her Majesty received them and kept them but a few minutes. The commanding officers then took leave of the Queen and returned to their respective ships.
At 1.45 the signal was made, “Put to sea,” within a few minutes the TRIBUNE, 31, Screw, cantered around, and had topsails sheeted home, and was fairly under weigh, followed in succession, at about 20 ships lengths apart, by the fleet.
The FAIRY, accompanied the division for several miles, then stopped, the Queen then, with a regular flotilla of boats and steamers around her yacht, saw ship after ship, under easy sail, pass by to fight the battles of the country.
Each crew again mounted the rigging to give her a round of parting hurrahs, and topgallantsails were lowered, that mark of respect that the navy receives from the Mercantile marine.
When the DUKE OF WELLINGTON approached the Royal Yacht, the rest of the fleet were already dim and faint in the distance. Though under no press of canvas, the brisk west wind had carried them well out to sea, the ROYAL GEORGE fitly closing in the receding line with her huge hull and splendid sails.
The crew of the flagship had now to give their farewell cheers, they sprang up the rigging with astonishing rapidity, not stopping at the crosstrees, but mounting upwards until the most adventurous had reached the summit, for the honour of possessing, of which they struggled.
The farewell hurrahs from the DUKE OF WELLINGTON will long run in the ears of those who heard them. Her Majesty waved her handkerchief towards the mighty ship as she departed and for a long time after the fleet had gone, the Royal Yacht remained motionless, as if the illustrious occupants desired to ponder over a spectacle calculated to impress them so profoundly.
The flagship of Sir Charles NAPIER was quickly in the wake of the fleet, then came the last ship, the LEOPARD, with the flag of Rear Admiral PLUMRIDGE, blue at the mizen. She got under way at 3.30, in 20 mins, being under steam, with trysails and jibset, passed the Royal Yacht. The Queen instantly returned to Osborne and landed at 4.30.
At 3.30pm on Sunday the 1st Division of the Baltic Fleet arrived at Dover in straggling order, as soon as they cleared the Nab, they commenced exercising and manoeuvring, but a dense fog prevented their rapid progress to the Downs, and they hove to off at Hastings all Saturday night. Their progress to Dover was slow, little order kept as each ship gave the other a wide berth, for the sake of safety, on account of the fog.
As they appeared off Dover the whole fleet was under steam, the commander-in-chief gave the signal to close and the fleet assumed a position of two lines, the commander-in-chief leading the weather line, in this position they proceeded to the Downs, where the CRESSY,  Capt WARREN, awaited their arrival, and who saluted the vice-admiral on arrival, and shifted his ensign from white to blue.
The fleet anchored in the Downs at 4.30 where they will be joined by the EURYALUS, , screw, from Sheerness, and the DAUNTLESS, screw, from Portsmouth.
The following is the correct list of Admiral Sir Charles NAPIER’S fleet :-
Ships of the line.
DUKE OF WELLINGTON, screw, , 1,000 men, flag, of the commander-in-chief, Sir Charles NAPIER. K.C.B, with Commodore SEYMOUR as Capt of the fleet and Capt GORDON as flag Capt.
NEPTUNE, sailing, , 970 men, flagship of the 2nd in command, Rear Admiral CORRY, and Capt HUTTON, flag Capt.
ROYAL GEORGE, screw, , 900 men, Capt CODRINGTON. C.B.
ST JEAN D’ACRE, screw, , 900 men, Capt Hon H. KEPPEL.
PRINCESS ROYAL, screw, , 800 men, Capt Lord C. PAGET.
PRINCE REGENT, sailing, , 820 men, Capt H. SMITH. C.B.
MONARCH, sailing, , 750 men, Capt ERSKINE
CRESSY, screw, , 750 men, Capt WARREN.
BOSCAWEN, sailing, , 636 men, Capt GLANVILLE
EDINBURGH, screw, , 600 men, flagship of the 3rd in command Rear Admiral CHADS. C.B. with Capt HEWLETT as flag Capt.
BLENHEIM, screw, , 600 men, Capt Hon F. PELHAM.
HOGUE, screw, , 600 men, Capt W. RAMSAY.
AJAX, screw, , 600 men, Capt WARDEN.
IMPERIEUSE, screw, , 530 men, 360hp, Capt WATSON. C.B.
EURYALUS, screw, , 530 men, 400hp, Capt G. RAMSAY
ARROGANT, screw, , 450 men, 360hp, Capt YELVERTON.
AMPHION, screw, , 330 men, 300hp, Capt KEY
LEOPARD,  300 men, 560hp, Capt GIFFORD.
ODIN, paddle, , 270 men, 560hp, Capt F. SCOTT.
MAGICIENNE, paddle, , 220 men, 400hp, Capt T. FISHER.
VALOROUS, paddle, , 220 men, 400hp, Capt BUCKLE.
BULLDOG, paddle, , 160 men, 500hp, Capt W. K. HALL.
GORGON, paddle, , 160 men, 320hp, Com A. CUNNING.
Formed a splendid fleet of 23 ships, 13 Line-of-Battle ships, of which 4 are 3 deckers, and of the 13, 9 have screw machinery of 4,180hp.
The smaller vessels are all steamers. The paddle steamers are most powerful vessels.
Total force of 1st division, 23 ships, 1326 guns, 13,326 men, 8,340hp.
In the Mediterranean we have 32 ships, 1,282 guns, and 12,740 men.
The London and Limerick Co’s screw steam-ship HOLYROOD, P.C. LOVETT, Commander, passed through the Downs at 4.30pm pm Monday, and fell in with the Baltic Fleet.
The hire of the HIMALAYA steamer alone, for the conveyance of troops amounts to £17,000 a month, whilst others are engaged at £14,000 and £12,000 and various sums of corresponding magnitude.
The Admiralty, have stationed ten brigs of war off the east coast of Scotland to protect it from privateers during the continuance of war.
2 French frigates are expected on the Tyne to make arrangements for the supply of coal to the Baltic Fleet.
Copyright 2002 / To date