صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


especially since he had very It was characteristic of the little interest in high quarters. distrust of steam at the AdBut Lyons, when Minister at miralty that the first fullAthens, kept in close touch powered steam line-of - battle with the navy, and must often ship sent to the Mediterranean have had Mends's merits spoken should be directed to make the of by his friends. The smart- passage out under sail, so that est commander in the Medi- no opportunity was given of terranean is bound to be known accustoming those on board to and talked of, and Mends the use of the engines. Mends thus reaped the fruit of his characteristically speaks of this labours in the Vanguard and as “very provoking"; but he Vengeance.

did his best with his sails, neverSo modest was Mends that theless, and made a very good he never would have thought passage out. of offering himself for the ap- The Agamemnon arrived in pointment but for the persist- the Sea of Marmora immediately ency of his wife in urging him after the destruction of the to at least make his claims Turkish squadron at Sinope, an known to Sir E. Lyons. Mends incident which in Mends's opinwas one of those men who, in- ion entailed “everlasting disstead of being, as Lord St grace on the Allies, who had Vincent declared all men were, timely warning of the impendspoilt for the service by his ing stroke.” This

remark, marriage, was all the better for recorded on the spot by one having a good wife to spur who had every means of know

ing what he wrote about, is of The first incident of the Ag- great weight as showing that amemnon's commission brought there is strong presumption for to the front Mends's knowledge the belief that the allied comas to steam engineering. When manders were not only cognison trial off the Eddystone Light- ant of the exposed position of house the blades of the screw the Turkish ships, but sanc suddenly broke off. “The mo- tioned their remaining in an mentary effect on the ship was open port within 180 miles of extraordinary; the masts seemed the powerful Russian fleet at inclined to jump out of her.” Sevastopol. This would have been quite Acute as Mends was, and enough for many a captain of freely as he writes to his wife the old school. Steam hence- criticising the operations, no forth and for ever would stand remark of his is recorded as to condemned. Mends was equal the necessity of either watching to the occasion: he wrote at or blockading the Russian fleet. once to the Admiralty pointing In the fifty years that had out that new blades could elapsed since Trafalgar the art be shipped on board, and that of naval war had been wellit was not necessary to delay or nigh forgotten. It is especially even to dock the ship. His ad- curious that Lyons, who as a vice was taken, and the ship was midshipman served in one of ready for sea in four days. Nelson's frigates detailed for

him on.

for sea.


[ocr errors]

the watch of the French fleet ineffective, and the Arethusa at Toulon, should never have did not lose a single man. so much as suggested that a Mends remained in the single steamer should be kept Arethusa until the middle of off Sevastopol to observe the the summer, and then, owing to Russians, who were fully ready a difference between Lyons and

War was not declared Symonds, he went back to the until April, and Mends was Agamemnon as flag-captain. fortunate enough to take part in At this time the allied fleets the first operation conducted by were waiting on the land forces the allied fleet. As a retaliatory at Varna : the expedition to the measure for firing on a flag of Crimea had been ordered from truce, Odessa was to be bom- home, but no steps had yet barded, and the Arethusa (into been taken to arrange for the which ship

Mends had embarkation and landing of the changed), though sailing expeditionary forces. Mends frigate, was detailed to take writes :part in the operations. It was

“Sir Edmund [Lyons] being in full rather a trying ordeal: all the accord with the Government by whom large ships, which, owing to be had been sent out, was the moving their draught of water, were un- spirit and genius of this great enterable to take part, acted as spec

prise ; but though he knew that de

tails were important to success, yet, tators; and Mends's Arethusa

as General Sir George Brown often was the only ship which had used to say, 'Lyons hates details,' no steam-pow

wer to assist her. consequently it fell to my lot to think His journal records :

out and arrange for the whole of the

embarkation, transport, and disem“We had a delightful working barkation on a hostile coast (down breeze, and the men being on their to the smallest detail) of that great mettle and working beautifully, I was army." able to handle the ship exactly as I wished. We stood in twice, tacked This entailed

immense close off the Mole, and engaged the amount of work; but all works on it in reverse : having on the second occasion got the range

board the Agamemnon set to accurately, we poured in a destructive

with a will, nothing daunted fire as we went about."

by the visitation of cholera, The onlookers were delighted, which, however, never got a all except the nervous old Ad firm hold of the Agamemnon, miral, who made the signal for in great measure owing to the Arethusa's recall , which Mends wise sanitary measures enforced

by her captain. He writes, as reluctantly obeyed. His con

the work proceeds :duct, however, stirred the blood of the seamen of the old school, “My head has never been so taxed and he was not only the hero

as on this occasion. The providing of the hour, but received the probably, of an enemy of 25,000 men,

for the disembarkation, in the face, personal congratulations of

the arrangements for anchoring the many of the French officers, fleet, the plan to get the troops, guns, who fell on his neck and em- horses, everything disembarked as braced him, much to his em

rapidly as is required, is an underbarrassment.

taking of no ordinary nature.
The return fire
Six thousand men

were embarked from the shore was wild and this morning. . . . Some of the noisy


on 66

declaimers were going on last even- “The rapid ascent of the Zouaves ing, and

particularly so, against up the almost precipitous hillside to the possibility of embarking 10,000 the edge of the height was wonderful in a day. I said it provoked me

and beautiful. They rolled over to hear it, as I was satisfied I could the Russians so rapidly with their embark 20,000 in a day.”

deadly fire that the Russian advance

was soon checked, and a retreat comMends's forecast was fully menced. We saw friends falling fast,

but Russians faster, until they were justified by the event, as we

out of sight.” shall presently see.


progress of the expeditionary force On visiting the French portion when einbarked was extremely of the battlefield, he records :slow, the whole distance tra- “The field was strewed with dead, versed was only 250 miles, and wounded, and dying. . . . Where the

Russians made a stand round a small this occupied the French nine fort against the French, the dead and days and the British seven. wounded were so thick that you were Part of this delay was evi- obliged to pick your way and step dently due to the apathy of

over them. Dundas, on whom Mends in his The letters are outspoken in letters animadverts freely. See- their criticism of our own forces. ing that there were over 400 The military officers are very vessels employed, the great gentlemanly, very slow, but they majority being unarmed trans- fight like Englishmen.” In the ports, the Russian fleet missed first week of October, before a splendid opportunity in not there was any thought of the sailing out to attack them. winter troubles, when speaking Once arrived at the place of of the defence of Balaclava, he disembarkation, great prompti- writes: “The fact is, strange tude was shown in getting the as it may appear, little is done men ashore.

In twelve hours that the navy does not take the some 25,000 British infantry initiative in. Sir Edmund does and twenty-eight guns were not fail to put in the spur landed; the French also landed where Horse-Guard apathy and nearly as many men in the same formality block the way to the time. On the other hand, the front.” On October 13 he notes horses, baggage, stores, and that information has been reammunition were not all landed ceived of an impending attack for another three days, the on Balaclava ; yet, as is well beach being at times unap- known, on the 25th, when the proachable owing to the heavy attack took place, the works for surf; and but for the special its defence were of the feeblest. provision of large boats and There is a vivid description of pontoons, owing to Mends's fore- the gallant part taken by the sight, the delay would have been Agamemnon in the attack on the greater.

sea front of the harbour forts, Mends obtained an excellent but nothing material is added view of the battle of the Alma, to Kinglake's account. Mends's and altogether contradicts King- comment is very sound : “Thus lake so far as the action of the ends the naval attack upon French was concerned. He Sebastopol for the present, nor writes :

do I think another will be tried,

[ocr errors]




so futile are the efforts of ships

"Admiral Dundas is the man, the against batteries unless they, for by him,'are some officers of high

head of all ; under him, and applied

, can get very close to them.”

rank quite unfitted for the arduous The account of the very serious and important duty of conducting so damage to the Agamemnon's superba service. "On one of these spars and rigging shows that rests the responsibility for the serious the Russians fired

too high,

losses sustained during that severe otherwise the ship must have gale. I myself said to Sir Edmund,

were quitting the anchorbeen very badly, if not fatally, age of Balaclava in consequence of injured. As it was, she was the threatening appearance of the repaired without leaving her weather, Would it not be well, sir,

to signalise to Captain station. Much of the Agamem- approach of bad weather and the non's immunity is attributed to necessity for sending the transports the accuracy of her fire, which to sea ?' The admiral's reply was : disturbed the laying of the 'I cannot do it; it is entirely his guns on shore.

own affair and the commander-inThe Albion

chief's.' I have always thought Sir suffered very much, because she Edmund wrong in this, entre nous ; slacked her own fire.”

he ought to have risked censure Writing on the general situa- for interference to save life and tion on shore on the day before property.” Balaclava, and a week before the Inkermann, he says :- And so twenty-one vessels were

dashed to pieces, entailing the “A certain degree of apathy and loss of everything that was very much ignorance prevails, made up for only by the desperate gallantry most wanted ashore ; and many of the troops, which ever covers the a poor soldier died owing to the faults of superiors, and on this they lack of warm clothing, which depend. Sir Edmund is virtu- went to the bottom of the sea ally commander-in-chief of the navy, because the naval commanderand an active adviser and participator in-chief was given his appointin the arrangements for the army, which latter ought not to be. ment owing to political services.

Mends's letters are full of simiAnd again :

lar instances of elderly inefficient "I wish I could recognise a little men being placed in positions for forethought in the preparations on

which they were entirely unshore to meet the winter. We sadly suited, whilst there was “much want a Wellington. My Lord Raglan talent, energy, and zeal in the is a charming private character, but subordinate branches which were no general whatever.”

never allowed free scope.” Those who require evidence of As the war went on matters poor Dundas's mismanagement improved, especially afloat. and incompetency will find it Lyons himself, though well on every page. Speaking es- over sixty, was no favourer pecially of the wretched want of old worn-out men, and he of forethought and seamanship, succeeded in getting young which permitted so many ves- men appointed to most of the sels to be exposed to the fury vacancies occurring, so that at of the winter gales anchored the close of the war the fleet in the open on

a lee shore, was in a far better state than Mends writes :

at its beginning. But the lesson of the Black Sea cam- the Transport Department. In paign is clear enough—namely, the good old days there was that constant weeding out is no service which stood in greater necessary, especially in the need of reform than the Transpiping times of peace, in order port service. Soldiers were that when war assails us we packed into ships entirely unmay not be as unprepared as fit for their reception, the food we were in 1854.

was bad, and the sanitary After the war Mends served arrangements worse. Disease on in the Mediterranean till and death followed as a matter 1857, when he accepted an of course. One of the few appointment which took him special arrangements for the away from active service preservation of the health and afloat, but still gave him efficiency of soldiers when afloat scope for his powers of or- was to provide them with an ganisation in connection with extra allowance of liquor. An the Naval Reserve and Coast- instance is recorded in which guard. The most unsatisfac- the supply of liquor ran short, tory system, or want of system, and the chronicler gravely narin manning our ships, of pick- rates: “The soldiers, through ing up men from anywhere, their being forced to drink was swept away after the water in so cold a climate, Crimean war; and whilst on having their limbs benumbed, the one hand

were so that they were scarcely fit entered for continuous service for service, five regiments were instead of for three years only, reduced to one thousand and a Reserve was also formed to thirty-five men.” Matters had supplement the continuous-ser- greatly improved at the time vice men.

This Reserve con- of the Crimean War, but there sisted partly of naval seamen, was still very much requiring who after a period afloat had reform when Mends took charge been drafted to the Coast- of the Transport Department guard, and partly of merchant in 1862. One of the first things

Both these classes that was carried out under his

to receive certain guidance was the building and amount of training annually equipment of the five wellin ships stationed at the vari- known Indian troopships of ous ports round the coasts, and the Serapis class. These vesMends took command of the sels were a great advance on first line - of - battleship sta- anything of the kind that had tioned at Liverpool for this been built previously, and it purpose.

was soon demonstrated that the Some of the most important rapid conveyance of troops in work that Mends performed well-designed, well-manned, and during his career was carried well-disciplined ships not only out during his last twenty conduced greatly to their efficyears of employment, during iency when landed, but was the whole of which time he was also quite as economical as the at the Admiralty in charge of shiftless system which it super





« السابقةمتابعة »