THE progression of nautical science ends at NAVAL TACTICS; a science, which, however humanity may deplore the necessity of it, is essential to the protection of a maritime nation.
The art of war at sea is limited by the possibilities of navigation; and it is therefore much less capable of that variety of stratagem which belongs to the hostility of armies. But, although the naval warrior cannot place his fleet in ambush, nor at all times press the foe in their weakest part, let it not be supposed that contrivance and surprise are excluded from this mode of battle. No: on the contrary, they are often the protection of inferior force, and frequently end the contest of equal powers. Of this too we may be assured, that, inasmuch as the knowledge of what is possible to be accomplished may lead an enemy to discover the intention of an evolution in its very commencement; so much greater must be the talents and more acute the ingenuity of him, who can devise and execute an unexpected manoeuvre. To do this, belongs alone to genius: it cannot be learned from books; for the moment of invention is the moment of execution.
Of what use then, it may be asked, are books of naval tactics? They teach the elements of that science; without a knowledge of which, no man is an officer, and no officer adequate to a command.
M. Morogues is the most copious author upon this subject, and his system is the practice of the present day. Of his work, therefore, a more full translation now first appears, with every subsequent improvement on the same basis, correctly methodized.
But M. Bourde de Villehuet has, in his Manoeuvrier, endeavoured to shew that a particular order of sailing, which he calls the order of convoy, is the best adapted to the purposes of naval arrangements. We have not therefore omitted, secondly, to give the system of that gentleman.
And the Viscount de Grenier having suggested an art of naval war, upon principles at once new, bold, and ingenious, his work will form the third division of this Treatise.
Thus all that is known may now be found in a form more systematically digested than heretofore; more complete as a whole, and more distinct in the parts.
FLEETS are generally divided into three squadrons; and, if numerous, these squadrons are subdivided into three divisions. The squadrons are denominated the van, the center, and the rear; and the divisions of each squadron bear the like denomination. In general, the center squadron is commanded by the admiral (who, indeed, directs the whole); the van by the vice-admiral; and the rear by the rear-admiral. The three squadrons of a fleet ought to be equal, in number and force, in order that one may be able as effectually to oppose the enemy as another.
The business of such fleets, denominated NAVAL TACTICS, consists of evolutions, which are to preserve their own safety and produce injury to the enemy, in every possible situation. Nothing great can be effected without order; and therefore it is, that various dispositions for fleets have been devised, applicable to their different objects of either protecting commerce, crossing an ocean, or engaging an enemy. Tacticians have said, that there are five orders of sailing, one order of battle, and one order of retreat; and, as this system seems most usually practised, we in this first division of the subject, confine ourselves to the elucidation of that system; and shall hereafter give whatever deviations from it have been suggested by writers of originality and genius.
Before we enter upon discussing the different orders, it is necessary to be correctly understood with regard to what is meant by the starboard and larboard lines of bearing, the manoeuvre in succession, the line a-breast, and the bow-and-quarter line.
THE STARBOARD AND LARBOARD LINES OF BEARING
ARE the two close-hauled lines, the wind being in any given point. If upon either of these lines a fleet be ranged, whatever course they steer, they will, by hauling their wind, or by tacking together, be found in order of battle; i.e. close-hauled on either the starboard or larboard tack. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 1.] Thus, for instance, the ships on the E N E line are on the larboard line of bearing, as well as larboard tack; for it will be readily seen, that, if they haul their wind together, they will be in order of battle on the larboard tack. But the ships on the W N W line are on the starboard line of bearing, though running on the larboard tack; and, when they tack together, they will be in order of battle on the starboard tack. Hence we see, that ships may be on one tack, but different line of bearing; and, accordingly as they are ranged for thus readily forming the order of battle, they are said to be either In line of bearing for the starboard tack, or In line of bearing for the larboard tack.
MANOEUVRE IN SUCCESSION
IS performed by a fleet, when, ranged in one of the orders of sailing, and standing on the same line, the same manoeuvre is successively performed by every ship, as she arrives at the wake of the van ship of the whole fleet (if in one line), or of the van ship of her particular division (if divided into squadrons). So that a fleet tacks or veers, bears away or comes to the wind, in succession, when all the ships of every line execute, one after another, the same manoeuvre on the same point of the wake of the leading ship. In all successive movements great attention should be paid to the ship a-head.
THE LINE A-BREAST
IS formed when the ships sides are all parallel to each other, on a line which crosses their keels at right angles. This line is most commonly used with the wind right aft, so that the line forms a perpendicular with the direction of the wind.
THE BOW-AND-QUARTER LINE
IS formed by ships being ranged on the bow and quarter of each other. This will always be the case, when the whole fleet, being in order of battle, have either tacked or borne away together. In Tactics, pl. I. fig. 1. the ships on the W N W line are in bow-and-quarter line; for it is evident that, upon re-tacking, they would form in order of battle: and those which are bearing away on the E N E line are likewise in bow-and-quarter line, and would equally form in order of battle, upon hauling their wind.
THE ORDERS OF SAILING.
THERE are five orders of sailing. To judge which is the best, we should consider in which the course of the fleet is the least impeded, and from which the order of battle can be most easily and quickly formed. Upon this principle, experience determines in favour of the fifth order, which is accordingly in most general practice. Of the others, however, we shall give explanations, so that correct ideas may be entertained of their relative advantages and defects; and we shall likewise explain such of their manoeuvres as are ever practised.
FIRST ORDER OF SAILING.
THE fleet is ranged on one of the lines of bearing, steering at the same time their proper course. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 2.]
This order extends the fleet too much, rendering a communication between the van and rear difficult to be preserved. When ships do not steer in the wake of each other, they cannot so commodiously
preserve the line; and the motions of a fleet, thus extended, are rather slow. This form can only be of service when in sight of an enemy, for the execution of some particular evolutions, and for the more readily forming in order of battle.
THE SECOND ORDER OF SAILING.
THE fleet is ranged on a line perpendicular to the direction of the wind, steering at the same time their proper course. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 3.]
This is by no means preferable to the first; because, possessing all its defects, it has this additional one, that each headmost ship, in tacking, is in great danger of falling on-board her next a-stern, especially if the line is somewhat close.
THE THIRD ORDER OF SAILING.
THE whole fleet is ranged on the sides of an obtuse angle of 135 degrees, formed by two lines upon a wind, the admiral making the angular point to leeward: and thus the fleet may continue on any course.
This order, which is not without defects, is preferable to the other two. It collects the ships
closer together, but still gives too great an extent for the sailing form of a fleet. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 4.]
THE FOURTH ORDER OF SAILING.
THE fleet is divided into six columns; two for the van, two for the center, and two for the rear. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 5.] Each commanding officer is in the middle, a-head, and to leeward, of his two columns. The commanders, ranged upon the two close-hauled lines, have their squadrons astern of them, upon two lines parallel to the direction of the wind; the first ships of each column being, with respect to the commander of their squadron, the one on his starboard, the other on his larboard quarter. The distance of the columns should be such as to permit the fleet to reduce itself easily to the third order of sailing, to pass from that to the order of battle.
The deficiency of this order would be easily seen, if the fleet were in sight of an enemy. It requires too much time to reduce it to order of battle; a movement which ought to be executed with promptitude and facility. It is, besides, liable to be broken in sailing; because it is difficult for the ships to preserve their proper bearings with each other.
THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING.
THE fleet is divided into three columns, each of which is ranged on a line parallel with that close-hauled line upon which they are to form the order of battle. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 6.] Regularly, the van guard forms the weather column, commanded by the vice-admiral; the center division,
commanded by the admiral, forms the center column; and the rear-guard, commanded by the rear-admiral, is the lee column. But this disposition of the columns is sometimes changed, to answer particular purposes.
Two things are principally to be observed, to keep this order regular; the columns and the vessels should preserve their proper distances.
The commanders of each division, and each second, third, &c. ship are to keep themselves reciprocally a-breast of each other; each likewise observing, with regard to her immediate leader, the distance prescribed by the admiral.
The distance between the columns will be correct, if the first ship of one column and the last ship of the next column form an angle of 22° 30', or two points, with the line on which they are moving.
This order is more practised, because it unites in itself the advantages of all the others, without their defects. The fleet, thus collected closer together, can better observe signals, and is more readily changed into order of battle.
In this order, the divisions, observing the same arrangement, may be formed in two or three columns, if the fleet be very large. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 7.] Each chief of a division will then place himself at a little distance before, in the middle, and at the head of his division.
The ships, in this as in the other orders, may keep their proper course.
A PRINCIPLE FOR REGULATING THE DISTANCE OF THE COLUMNS.
TO determine what ought to be the distance between the columns, their length must be known. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 8.] Then raise C G perpendicular to C F, making them equal to each other, in order to draw F G, that you may make F H = C F; and thus you will have G H as the distance of the columns. So that the lines A E and B F, being drawn from the rear of the weather column to the van of the leeward column A D, will be perpendicular to the direction of the wind W.
SINCE the van C and the rear E are equally to windward, E C is perpendicular to the direction of the wind W; and the angle B F C = E C F, is 22°. 30'; therefore E C F is also the half of the angle C F G of the right-angled isosceles triangles C G F: therefore the triangles B H F and B C F are similar and equal, and the line B C is equal to B H or H G.
IT follows, that to have the distance of the columns of which the length is known, the square of the length of one column must be taken, and then doubled, in order to have the square of the hypotheneuse F G of the right-angled isosceles triangle G C F; then, from that sum take the square root by decimals, in order to come as near it as possible; and, taking from that root the length of one column, what remains then be the distance between the columns.
Example. In the figure there are 4 ships in a column, at 100 fathoms distance from each other, and 46 fathoms are allowed for the length of each ship from the jib-boom end to the fly of the ensign; so that every column will be 484 fathoms long, the square of which will be 234256, and the double 468512. The nearest square root of that is 684, from which taking 484, there will remain 200 fathoms for the distance requisite between the columns.
But the following rule is, though perhaps not so critically accurate as the preceding, sufficiently near for general practice, and less complex.
The distance between the columns may be found by multiplying the length of one column by 5, and dividing the product by 12. Thus, suppose the length to be 484 fathoms; that multiplied by 5 is 2420; and, divided by 12, gives 201 fathoms for the distance between the columns.
If the distance between the columns be previously given, the necessary length of them may be found in the same manner; by multiplying that distance by 12 and dividing by 5. This is only the inverse of the preceding method.
But, when the columns are already formed, although not upon the preceding principle, their lengths and distance from each other may be thus found.
TO FIND THE LENGTH OF A COLUMN.
ADD together the intervals between the ships and lengths of all the ships in that column. Thus, suppose 15 ships in a column:
|14 Intervals at 100 fathoms each
|15 Ships at 46 fathoms each
|Length of the column.
TO FIND THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE COLUMNS.
TAKE the bearings of the leading ship of one column with the sternmost ship of the next column. This may be called the angle of position; and, suppose it were 33°. 45', or three points, it may be thus solved by trigonometry.
|As the co-sine of the angle of position, 33°. 45',
|Is to the sine of 33°. 45,
|So is the length of the column (2090 fathoms)
|To the distance between the columns, 1396 fathoms
Or it may be thus worked by the Table of Difference of Latitude and Departure. Use the angle of position, 34° nearly, as a course; the length of a column, as Difference of Latitude; and the distance between the columns will be as the Departure.
THE ORDER OF BATTLE.
IT has been found that there is no mode of preserving order in battles at sea, but by keeping upon a line not quite close-hauled, a-head of each other, and under very moderate sail. The distance between each ship varies, according to circumstances, from one-third of a cable's length to about 100
fathoms. [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 9.] The fire ships must be distributed, some a-breast of the van, center, and rear, at a convenient distance to windward, if the enemy be to leeward; or to leeward, if the enemy be to windward; and in a line with some frigates a-head and a-stern of them. Beyond these a third parallel line is formed of the hospital ships, transports, &c. with frigates a-head and a-stern.
The line upon a wind is chosen for the order of battle; because, if the fleet to windward were ranged on any other line, the enemy might gain the wind of it: and, if he should not even seek to obtain that advantage, he could nevertheless choose the time and distance for engaging. The fleet to leeward, being ranged parallel to the enemy, can more readily avail itself of any shift of wind and oversight of the enemy to gain the wind; which, if it should not accomplish, it must still keep on that line, extending itself the length of the enemy's, to prevent the being forereached, as well as to avoid engaging, if necessary. The van is regularly commanded by the vice-admiral, and forms the head of the line to windward; the center is commanded by the admiral; and the rear, which is commanded by the rear-admiral, closes the line to leeward. This disposition is sometimes altered, to suit the purposes of particular evolutions.
THE ORDER OF RETREAT.
THIS form (the inverse of the third order of sailing) is practised only in the presence of an enemy by an inferior fleet to leeward, when, either beaten or obliged to avoid an action, it makes choice of this disposition, rather than either of the orders of sailing; because from this order it can more easily recover the line of battle; the frigates, fire ships, transports, &c. are more completely protected; and the whole is more connectedly under the command of the admiral. [Tactics, pl. II. fig. 10.]
The fleet is ranged on the two sides of the obtuse angle of 135 degrees, forming two lines upon a wind. The admiral forms the angular point to windward, and in the middle of his fleet: the fire ships, transports, frigates, &c. are placed between the two wings to leeward. The course of a retreat is generally before the wind; but the fleet may go more or less large, according to the exigency of the moment.
TO FORM AND MANOEUVRE THE DIFFERENT ORDERS, WITHOUT CHANGING
FROM OR INTO ANOTHER ORDER.
TO FORM THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING.
IF the fleet is in no prescribed order, and it is intended to form the order of sailing in three columns, the three leading ships of the divisions are to take their posts a-breast and to leeward of each other, keeping their wind under an easy sail. Then the ships of each squadron, making sail, will range themselves in their respective stations, a-stern of their immediate leaders, and keep the
same course as they.
TO TACK THE COLUMNS IN SUCCESSION.
THE ships of the lee columns having more distance to run before they can recover their position, must go about first, in succession. When the center leader finds himself a-breast of the leader to leeward of him, or at right angles with the close-hauled line on the other tack, upon which the lee leader is now moving, he tacks; and is followed in succession by his division. The weather column, paying the same regard to the center column, manoeuvres in the same manner. [Tactics, pl. II. fig. 11.] In this evolution the weather column still continues to windward.
Should the columns have closed too much during this evolution, or be too far asunder, either of which may happen from the inequality of ships sailing, the order may be recovered either by the lee or windward column bearing away so as to make an angle of 22°. 30, or two points, between the sternmost ship of the weather column and the leader of the lee column.
If this evolution is to be executed in the night, the weather column must tack first; [Tactics, pl. II. fig. 2.] and, in order to prevent the risk of one column passing through the rear of the other columns, the next column mat not tack till its leader is sensible that many ships of the columns immediately to windward are about. When about, the leaders make little sail, while their followers make successively a little more, in order to form their respective columns. But the columns which are first completely about, should either bring-to, and wait for the next, or should just keep steerage way. Thus the former weather column should wait for the center; and they both should then wait the arrival of the former lee column. In this evolution, it is to be observed, that the columns which were to windward are now to leeward.
As some risk may attend the execution of this at night, it is most advisable to tack the columns together, and sail in bow-and-quarter line; because, if it became necessary to re-tack, or if the wind were to change before the completion of this evolution, much confusion might ensue. By tacking together this would be avoided.
TO VEER THE COLUMNS IN SUCCESSION.
THE leader of the lee column [Tactics, pl. II. fig. 13.] veers round, and steers four points free upon the other tack, followed by the ships of that division; and, when he is clear of the stern-most ship of his division, he hauls up. The center and weather columns perform successively the same evolution, observing to continue standing on till they successively bring the point, at which the lee column began to veer, to bear in a right line to leeward of them. They likewise successively spring their luffs, when the point, at which the lee column hauled their wind, bears right to leeward.
Each column having the same distance to run, if the evolution be well executed, the leaders of the windward columns will find themselves, when they spring their luffs, exactly a-breast of the leader of the lee column, and so will all the other ships. But the making or shortening sail will, at all events, rectify the inequality of sailing.
TO TACK THE COLUMNS TOGETHER.
THIS evolution cannot be performed safely by all the ships at the same instant; nor yet is it necessary that one ship should finish going about, before her next puts in stays. But the sternmost ships of
the three columns put in stays together; and, when they are observed to be so, their seconds a-head immediately put their helm down; and so on through the whole fleet. Each column will then be in bow-and-quarter line.
TO PLY TO WINDWARD IN COLUMN.
THIS is best executed when the ships of the columns coincide with each other in the direction of the wind, [Tactics, pl. II. fig. 14.] and the evolution is thus performed. The three van ships of the columns tack at the same time; and the rest perform successively the same manoeuvre at the same point in the wake of their leaders a-head; so that there will be always three ships at the same instant in the act of going about.
The van ships of the lee columns, being exactly in the direction of the wind with the leading vessel of the weather column, it will be found, (if the distance between the columns be regulated by the principle before laid down,) that the van of the lee columns, now on the other tack, will never cross or intersect the rear of the weather file as it advances to tack. When the van of the lee column, after having got upon the other tack, finds the center ship of the weather column to bear about half a point to windward of her, the fleet will be tolerably well posted for working to windward in succession. When all the columns have got on the other tack, the order will still be preserved.
TO INTERCHANGE THE CENTER AND WEATHER COLUMNS.
THE weather and lee columns lie-to, or at most keep steerage way. [Tactics, pl. III. fig. 15.] The center column tacks together; and, forming a bow-and-quarter line, goes close-hauled to gain the wake of the weather column; it then re-tacks together, and stands on; while the weather column bears away to its new station in the center, and the lee column fills.
TO INTERCHANGE THE WEATHER AND LEE COLUMNS.
THE center column braces-to. [Tactics, pl. III. fig. 16.] The lee column stands on with a press of sail; and, when its sternmost ship can pass to windward of the van of the center column, (which will be when the center ship of the lee column is on a line, perpendicular to the direction of the wind, with the van of the center column,) the lee column tacks together, and stands on close-hauled till it comes on a line with the center column, when it goes large two points to get in the station of the late weather column; and then veers together, hauling the wind on the other tack. At the beginning, however, of this evolution, the weather column bears away together under little sail, and goes large six points on the other tack, so as to get into the wake of the center column. It then hauls to the former tack, going two points large, till it ranges up a-breast of the center column, when it braces-to, waiting for the new weather column.
TO INTERCHANGE THE CENTER AND LEE COLUMNS.
THE center and weather squadrons brace-to, or keep steerage-way, whichever is most convenient. [Tactics, pl. III. fig. 17.] The lee column tacks together, and presses sail, to gain the wake of the center column; which when they have effected, they re-tack together, and stand on. Then the center edges away under an easy sail, (steering, if it lay-to, eight points from the wind, and, if it kept steerage-way, only two points,) till it comes into the station of the lee column, where it hauls to the wind; while the weather column fills and stands on; and the order is re-established by shortening or making sail where requisite.
THE WEATHER COLUMN TO PASS TO LEEWARD.
THE weather column stands on under very little sail, while the center and lee columns tack together, and carry a press of sail till they reach the wake of the weather column; [Tactics, pl. III. fig. 18.] when they re-tack, and crowd sail till they come up with the weather column; which, having (when they gained its wake) borne away two points, gains its station to leeward, and either hauls to the wind, or braces-to till the new weather and center columns come up.
THE LEE COLUMN TO PASS TO WINDWARD.
THE weather and center columns brace-to, while that to leeward carries sail, [Tactics, pl. III. fig. 19.] and tacks in succession, as soon as the leading ship can weather the headmost ship of the weather column; and, when arrived upon the line on which the weather column is formed, re-tacks in succession, forms on the same line, and either braces-to or stands on under very little sail. If it braces-to, the two other columns bear away together two points, to put themselves a-breast of the column now to windward. If, however, the new weather column should stand on under easy sail, they need go large only one point to gain their proper stations.
PRACTICAL METHODS OF KEEPING SHIPS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE STATIONS IN
THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING, BY MEANS OF THE NAVAL SQUARE.
THE attention of the commanding officer of every ship is necessarily drawn to the preserving his ship in the station allotted to her, in whatsoever order the fleet may sail. This is greatly facilitated by a figure drawn on the quarter deck, which is called the NAVAL SQUARE, of which the construction is here explained.
Let the square ABCD [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 20.] be drawn upon the middle of the quarter deck; let the line E F be drawn in the direction of the keel, and draw also the two diagonals A C and D B. Now it will be found, that the angles D G E and C G E are each 135°, or 12 points, equal to the two courses close-hauled on a wind. Draw, therefore, the lines G H and G I, dividing these two angles in half; and those lines must shew the direction of the wind, when close-hauled, upon either tack. If
therefore, a ship is running in the direction F E upon the starboard tack, her close-hauled course upon the larboard tack will be in the direction of the semi-diagonal G C. And, if she be running in the direction of F E upon the larboard tack, her close-hauled course upon the starboard tack will be in the direction of the semi-diagonal G D.
But, to apply this more particularly to use in the order of sailing,
SUPPOSE THE FLEET IN THREE COLUMNS, CLOSE-HAULED ON EITHER TACK, THE COLUMNS BEING
A-BREAST OF EACH OTHER.
THE seconds of each ship a-head and a-stern should be in a direction with the line E F; and the ships that are to coincide in the next columns should bear in a line with A B or D C. But,
SUPPOSE THE FLEET, FROM THAT POSITION, IN THE ACT OF GOING ABOUT, THE COLUMNS TACKING IN SUCCESSION.
IN the directions before given for this evolution, the center leader is to tack, when he finds himself a-breast of the leader to leeward, or at right angles with the close-hauled line on the other tack. When, therefore, the leader to leeward bears from him in the direction of one of the diagonals B D or
A C, the center leader is then at the point where he is to heave in stays. [Tactics, pl. II. fig. 11.]
SUPPOSE THE FLEET IN THREE COLUMNS, CLOSE-HAULED; THE COLUMNS COINCIDING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE WIND, IN ORDER TO BEAT To WINDWARD WITH GREATER FACILITY. [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 21.]
THE coinciding ships in the columns must be kept in the direction of G H or G I, according to the tack and wind; while the ships of each column must be in the direction of E F.
SUPPOSE THE FLEET IN THREE COLUMNS IN ONE OF THE LINES OF BEARING, THE SHIPS BEING
CLOSE-HAULED ON THE OTHER TACK. (Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 22.]
THE ships of each column will be in the direction of one of the diagonals; while the coinciding ships in the other columns will be in the direction of the other diagonal. And this will equally be so, if the columns are in one line of bearing, and going four points large on the same tack.
TO FORM THE LINE OF BATTLE.
IF the fleet is in no previous order, but promiscuously scattered, the ship which is to lead runs to leeward of the whole, and then hauls the wind, upon the tack directed, carrying an easy sail. Each ship then makes sail, according to her distance, and chases the ship which is to be immediately a-head of her the line, and hauls in her wake, in the line on which the van ship is moving.
Each ship must carefully preserve the distance prescribed; but, should any of the fleet be so far removed from her second a-head as not to be able to chace her, without going out of her way to the line, she may then take her station discretionally in a line with the leaders, leaving a proper interval.
BEING IN LINE OF BATTLE, TO FORM THE LINE ON THE OTHER TACK, WITHOUT TACKING IN SUCCESSION.
THIS is performed by all the ships of the line veering together: the rear ship hauls her wind on the other tack and stands on, while all the others go two points free on the other tack, and haul up, as they successively gain the wake of the leading ship. Thus the rear of the line becomes the van. [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 23.]
THE LINE TO TACK IN SUCCESSION.
EITHER the headmost ship, which is going to heave in stays, should make a little more sail, or the ship which is next to tack in her wake should shorten sail a little, to increase the interval; for it often happens that one or two hundred fathoms are run over before the ship a-head has been able to fill her sails on the other tack. The exact moment when each ship should put her helm down, is when she opens the weather quarter of the ship she follows, and which has just got on the other tack. Such ships as have already performed the evolution must shorten sail, that the rest may come up, and close the line with the greatest expedition.
If a ship misses stays, she is immediately to fill again on the same tack, and make sail with all possible dispatch, taking care to keep as close as possible to the wind, and not to fall off to leeward. Thus she will get a-head and to windward of those which follow her; and they will perform successively their evolutions in the wake of the ships which are already on the other tack, only standing on a little further than they would have done, if the ship a-head had not missed stays. The ship that missed stays will return sooner to her station by making all possible sail to windward of the line.
THE LINE TO VEER IN SUCCESSION.
THE van ship of the line veers round, and steers four points free upon the other tack; [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 24] and, when she is clear of the rear ship of the line, she springs her luff, and gets closehauled. The rest follow, and haul in succession.
It is advisable, whenever it is necessary to spring your luff, not to give too much of the lee-helm, lest the ship should fly up too quick, and so be thrown a-stern. But, for greater caution in ships that gripe, ease off the mizen sheet; and, when the sails are trimmed and the ship under steering-command, haul aft the sheet again; but do not steer too near the wind.
THE LINE TO TACK AND RE-TACK TOGETHER.
IN tacking together, the sternmost ship of the line puts in stays; then her second a- head puts her helm down; and so on through the whole line, to prevent the ships a-head from falling on-board the ships a-stern.
The fleet will then be in bow-and-quarter line; from which, if tacking together, no ship must put in stays till the ship on her weather quarter is in the act of tacking.
THE LINE TO BEAR AWAY TOGETHER, PRESERVING THEIR BEARINGS FOR
THE rear begins this evolution; the sternmost ship bearing away first the number of points proposed; and so on, as quick as possible, to prevent falling on-board of each other.
TO PLY TO WINDWARD IN LINE OF BATTLE.
ALTHOUGH a large fleet cannot gain much by plying to windward, it is often necessary to be done; nor can it be so well effected as in line of battle, for it can tack and re-tack, all together or in succession, according to the exigency of circumstances. For example, if a fleet be turning to windward between two shores, the wind blowing right through the strait, it can stand on one tack only to a certain point, if the fleet tacks together; for the ships to leeward would soon find themselves close to the shore on one tack, while the ships to windward would experience the same inconvenience on the next tack; and thus a number of short tacks would be occasioned. But, if the fleet were to go about in succession, it will make longer boards, gain more to windward, and lose less time.
If the fleet have sea-room, or be turning on a coast with the wind parallel to the land, they will gain much more by all the ships going about together, by which the ships will be on one tack in bow-and-quarter line, and on the other in line of battle. Each ship going about at the same instant as the others, the fleet must get to windward as much as if a single ship was turning to windward.
TO INTERCHANGE THE CENTER AND VAN SQUADRONS.
THE rear brings-to; [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 25.] the van which is to form the center tacks and presses sail; and, when it has gained so far as to be ship to ship a-breast of the former center, (which has been standing-on, to gain the head of the line,) the van then re-tacks, and bears away a little to gain the wake of the new van. When the former van is in the act of re-tacking, the rear fills and stands on under an easy sail.
But this evolution will be more quickly executed thus: [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 26.] the van squadron bears away a little, and braces-to the main topsail; the center passes on to windward, edging away a little, to get a-head of the former van on the same line. The rear, coming on under an easy sail, edges away likewise, to obtain the wake of the new center squadron.
TO INTERCHANGE THE CENTER AND REAR SQUADRONS.
THE van brings-to, or just keeps steerage way. [Tactics, pl. V. fig. 27.] The center tacks and presses sail; and the rear stands on. When the center finds itself ship to ship a-breast of the new center, it either re-tacks or bears away, to take its station as rear. When the new center is come up, the van, if it brought to, fills and stands on.
But, if circumstances will not allow the center to tack; such as, if the fleet be in presence of an enemy to windward, or if no inconvenience will result from falling a little to leeward; the evolution may be quickly executed thus: [Tactic, pl. V. fig. 28.] The van stands on under easy sail, while the center bears away a little and braces-to, and the rear crowds sail to pass the center to windward, and get into the wake of the van. The van and center then edge away to gain the line with the new rear squadron, which then fills.
TO INTERCHANGE THE VAN AND REAR SQUADRONS.
THE van and center squadrons tack together, [Tactics, pl. V. fig. 29.] the van pressing sail: the rear stands on under an easy sail. When the center comes to be a-breast of the rear, it re-tacks together, and edges away into the wake of the new van; and when the former van finds itself a-breast of the center, it re-tacks together, and bears away into the rear of the line.
This evolution may be likewise executed thus: [Tactics, pl. V. fig. 30.] the van and center squadrons bear away a little, and brace-to; the van observing to bear away more to leeward than the center. The rear stands on to gain the head of the line; when the rear is come a-breast of the former van, the center fills; and, both standing on, form a-head of the new rear, by edging down upon the same line with it. By these means the fleet will fall more to leeward than in the following method.
The center squadron edges away, and then braces-to; [Tactics, pl. V. fig. 31.] the van, at same time, tacks together; and the rear makes sail to gain the van of the fleet, and forms on the line with the center. The center then fills; and the former van squadron, when a-breast of the center, veers to form the rear of the line.
THE VAN TO PASS AND FORM THE REAR.
THE center and rear move on; [Tactics, p1. V. fig. 32.] the van tacks together, and runs two points free, till it finds itself a-breast of the former rear. It then re-tacks together, bears away into the rear of the line, and hauls the wind. All the squadrons should carry a press of sail; but the van, which has to tack twice, should carry most.
But the more ready way to perform this is the following. [Tactics, pl. V. fig. 33.] The van squadron edges a little away, and braces-to; the other two squadrons, crowding sail, stand on till they get a-head of the new rear; and then edge away a little, to form on the line; after which the rear fills.
THE REAR TO PASS AND FORM THE VAN.
THE van and center squadrons tack together; the rear stands on, pressing sail. [Tactics, pl. VI. fig. 34.] When the former van finds itself ship to ship a-breast of the former rear, the van and center re-tack together; and, while they bear away for the rear of the line, the new van shortens sail.
A second method, more expeditious, is this: [Tactics, pl. VI. fig. 35.] The van and center bear away a little and brace-to; the rear makes sail, passes a-head of both, and then edges away to form on the same line.
TO FORM THE ORDER OF RETREAT.
IF the fleet be promiscuously scattered, the order of retreat is formed in the following manner.
The admiral, or the ship he appoints to make the angular point, runs to leeward and brings-to., The rest, as they are destined in the line, run to take their stations to leeward, taking care to preserve themselves in their respective lines of bearing. For example: [Tactics, pl. VI. fig. 36.] the wind being N, the admiral brings-to W N W, starboard tack. The ships of one wing will form on his larboard bow, with their main masts bearing W S W and E N E; and the ships of the other wing will bring-to a-stern of the angular ship, with their main masts bearing W N W and E S E. When the fleet bears away before the wind, the ships will find themselves two points before each other's beams, ready to form for either tack; for the ships on the admiral's starboard bow will be in the line of bearing for the larboard tack, while those on his larboard bow will be in line of bearing for the starboard tack.
TO CHANGE FROM ONE ORDER TO ANOTHER.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIRST ORDER OF SAILING, (THE SHIPS BEING CLOSE-
HAULED,) TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER TACK.
THIS is effected by all tacking together; but it must be observed, that no ship is to put in stays till the ship on her weather quarter is in the act of tacking.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIRST ORDER OF SAILING, (THE SHIPS RUNNING
LARGE,) TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME TACK.
ALL the ships spring their luffs together, or at least immediately after the ship next to windward.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIRST ORDER OF SAILING, (THE SHIPS BEING IN BEARING FOR ONE TACK, AND RUNNING CLOSE-HAULED ON THE OTHER,) TO THE LINE OF BATTLE, WITHOUT CHANGING THE TACK.
THE last ship of the rear, which by this evolution will become the first of the van, stands-on, pressing sail; [Tactics, pl. IV. fig. 23.] while the rest, in succession, steer for the main masts of their respective leaders, or merely bear away two points, and they will sail into the wake of the vessels a-head; when they haul up, and make sail accordingly.
TO CHANGE FROM THE SECOND ORDER OF SAILING, (THE SHIPS RUNNING
LARGE OR BEFORE THE WIND,) TO THE LINE OF BATTLE.
ALL the ships of the fleet haul up together on the tack directed, [Tactics, pl. VI. fig. 37.] presenting their heads on the line upon which they are ranged. The leading ship then hauls her wind, and is followed in succession by the rest. To prevent the ships being too near each other, the ships make sail as they haul their wind; or their seconds a-stern shorten sail, to open the order.
If a fleet were ranged upon any other line, whatever, than that which is peculiar to the second order of sailing, these directions would equally apply for forming the line therefrom.
TO CHANGE FROM THE THIRD ORDER OF SAILING, (THE SHIPS RUNNING
LARGE OR BEFORE THE WIND,) TO THE LINE OF BATTLE.
THE angular ship and that wing of the fleet, which is in bearing for the tack on which the line is to be formed, spring their luffs together, and stand-on. [Tactics, pl. VI. fig. 38.] The ships of the other wing haul up together; move on perpendicular to the wind; and form in each other's wake, when they haul up for the line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME TACK, THE WEATHER COLUMN FORMING THE VAN, AND THE LEE COLUMN THE REAR.
THE weather column brings-to; [Tactics, pl. VII. fig. 39.] the center and lee columns tack together, and go away two points free. When the center column has gained the wake of the van,
it re-tacks together, and brings to. When the lee column has gained the rear of the line, it re-tacks together, and then all stand on.
If it be intended to form the line a-head of the column to leeward, [Tactics, pl. VII. fig. 40.] the lee column brings to, or only keeps steerage way. The center makes an easy sail two points free, to get a-head of the rear squadron; while the van presses sail also two points free, to get a-head of the center division.
The two preceding evolutions have their advantages in different circumstances: but the most general mode is the following.
The center brings to, or only keeps steerage way; [Tactics, pl. VII. fig. 41.] The weather column bears away two points, and places itself a-head of the center. The lee column tacks together, and runs close-hauled under a press of sail, to gain the wake of the center, when it re-tacks together, and completes the line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME
TACK, THE CENTER AND LEE COLUMNS INTERCHANGING.
THE lee column stands on under an easy sail, keeping as close as possible to the wind. [Tactics, pl. VII. fig. 42.] The center brings to until it can bear down into the wake of the new center squadron; or it may veer round, and go under easy sail six points large on the other tack, and so gain the rear of the line. The weather column will, from the beginning, bear away two points under a press of sail, to reach the head of the line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME
TACK, THE WEATHER AND CENTER COLUMNS INTERCHANGING.
THE center column stands on. [Tactics, pl. VIII. fig. 43.] The lee column tacks together, and goes under a press of sail, from a little to two points large, so as just to gain the rear of the line; which when accomplished, it re-tacks together, while the weather column, bearing away eights points, will occupy the station left vacant by the new van squadron.
If the line is to be formed a-head of the lee column, [Tactics, pl. VIII. fig. 44.] that squadron must bring to. The center squadron will bear away together one point, and carry sail to gain the head of the line; and the weather squadron will bear away together three points under an easy sail to gain the wake of the new van squadron.
This evolution is particularly expedient when the ships of the rear squadron are very wide apart, or when some of them are very far a-stern, as it gives them time to come up, and form at their regular distances.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME
TACK, THE WEATHER COLUMN PASSING TO THE REAR.
THE lee column brings to, or keeps only steerage way, as close to the wind as possible. [Tactics,
pl. VIII. fig. 45.] The center column bears away together two points, and forms on the line a-head of
the new center squadron. The weather column, veering together, and going seven points free on the other tack, will gain its station in the rear under an easy sail.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME
TACK, THE WEATHER AND LEE COLUMNS INTERCHANGING.
THE lee column stands on under a press of sail. [Tactics, pl. VIII. fig. 46.] The center column bears away two points, with very little sail, to get into the wake of the new van squadron; while the weather column, bearing away eight points, and making also little sail, will gain the rear of the line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE SAME
TACK, THE LEE COLUMN PASSING TO THE VAN.
THE lee column stands on, carrying sail. [Tactics, pl. VIII. fig. 47.] The center column bears away together eight points, under very little sail, to gain the rear of the line. The weather column bears away together three points, under an easy sail. When the weather and center columns are in the wake of the new van squadron they spring their luffs.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE
THE weather column begins the evolution by tacking in succession. [Tactics, pl. IX. fig. 48.] The center and lee columns stand on, till their respective leaders can tack in the wake of the line, when they tack in succession.
The two columns to leeward must carry an easy sail, lest they draw too near the rear of the weather column. Should that, however, be the case, let the leader of the center column be careful, and keep somewhat to leeward of the sternmost ship of the weather column; and the leader of the lee column must act in the same manner by the center column: or they may stand on beyond the wake of the column immediately to windward of them respectively, and tack to windward. They may then take their stations, and form the line with facility.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER
TACK, THE CENTER AND LEE COLUMNS INTERCHANGING.
THE weather column tacks in succession, under very little sail; [Tactics, pl. IX. fig. 49.] the center column brings to, and the lee column stands on under a press of sail. When the lee leader has gained the wake of the line, he tacks, and is followed in succession by his division. The center column is to fill
and stand on, when its first ship and the last ship of the lee column bear from each other in a line perpendicular to the direction of the wind, or when the center ship of the lee column passes a-head of the center column. These two bearings will of course occur at the same instant, if the ships manoeuvre with precision.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER
TACK, THE WEATHER AND CENTER COLUMNS INTERCHANGING.
THE weather column brings to. [Tactics, pl. IX. fig. 50.] The center, carrying sail, stands on, and tacks in succession, when its leader is far enough to pass on the other tack at some distance ahead of the weather column; which fills when the last ship of the new van has got into her station; and tacks in succession, when the weather leader is in the wake of the van squadron. The lee column stands on, and tacks in succession in the same line with the van; but the lee column must not come up too fast, that a sufficient interval may be left for the weather column to occupy. After this evolution, which is liable to open the order too much, the admiral will probably make the signal for closing the line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER
TACK, THE WEATHER COLUMN PASSING TO THE REAR.
THE weather column brings to. [Tactics, pl. IX. fig. 51.] The other columns make sail, and stand on, till they can pass on the other tack a-head of the column brought-to; when they tack in succession. When both columns have passed the weather column, it fills, tacks in succession, and forms the rear.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER
TACK, THE WEATHER AND LEE COLUMNS INTERCHANGING.
THE weather column brings to. [Tactics, pl. IX. fig. 52.] The lee column presses sail, and tacks in succession, when its leader can pass a-head of the weather leader. The center column, which brought to likewise, or else merely kept steerage way, fills, when its leading ship and the last ship of the lee column bear, from each other, in a line perpendicular to the direction of the wind. The weather column manoeuvres in the same manner as the center, in order to take its station as the rear guard of the line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER TO THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER
TACK, THE LEE COLUMN PASSING TO THE VAN.
THE weather and center columns bring to. [Tactics, pl. IX. fig. 53.] The lee column presses
sail; tacking in succession when it can pass a-head of the weather column; and, when the last ship
of this new van has passed to windward of the former weather column, the van squadron lessees sail, to give time for the other columns to form. The weather and center columns fill at the same time, to gain the wake of the line; when they tack in succession.
OF MANOEUVERING IN THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING IN SIX OR NINE
WHEN fleets are numerous, their order of sailing is usually in six or nine columns, instead of three; that is, the van is divided into two or three columns, and so are the center and rear. If the fleet be in six columns, the admirals place themselves a-breast of each other, [Tactics, pl. I. fig. 7.] somewhat a-head and in the middle of the interval of their respective columns; or, if the fleet be in nine columns, they place themselves at the head of their respective center columns. But, in either case, each squadron must manoeuvre itself in the same manner as if it were an order in three columns. It is therefore here unnecessary to enter into a more particular detail of them. We need only add, that, if the fleet be in three columns, it is easily formed in six or nine columns, if the ships which are to form the first columns of each squadron bring to, and the others bear away successively two points, or to leeward of the ships of their respective first column: and, if the fleet be in six or nine columns, it may be reduced to three, by each squadron of two or three columns manoeuvering in the same manner, as if it were a separate fleet in two or three columns changing to the line of battle.
In order to shew the relative extent which is occupied by a fleet in three columns and in six, let us suppose a fleet of 60 ships. If divided into three columns of 20 ships each, distant from each other's main masts one cable's length, the length of a column will be 19 cables nearly, and the distance between the columns must be 8 cables: consequently the front of the order will be 16 cables, and the whole extent occupied by the fleet will be 304 squared cables. The same fleet divided into 6 columns of 10 ships each, will have its columns 9 cables long; and the columns being distant from each other 3 1/4 cables, the whole front will be 18 3/4 cables, and the whole extent occupied by the fleet will be only 109 squared cables. The fleet is thus in a more connected form in six than in three columns: nor is this the only advantage; for the last ship of the lee column being, in the latter case, farther a-stern than in the former, it follows that it must be more to leeward. For large fleets, therefore, this form of six or nine columns is well adapted; since their stations will be easily preserved, the signals better seen, and less time will be consumed in evolutions, particularly in reducing it to the order of battle.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIRST ORDER OF SAILING,
CLOSE-HAULED ON THE OTHER TACK.
ALL the ships tack together, by which their tack and line of bearing will be different; that is, they will be in bearing to form the line on the tack which they have left. The sternmost ship of the line puts first in stays; and, when she is observed to be so, her second a-head immediately puts the helm down; and so on through the whole line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIRST ORDER OF SAILING,
RUNNING LARGE ON THE SAME TACK.
ALL the ships bear away together the number of points directed by the admiral, observing to keep themselves in line of bearing for the tack they are on. The sternmost ship bears away first, and so on as quick as possible, to prevent being too near each other.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIRST ORDER OF SAILING,
IN BEARING FOR THE LINE ON THE OTHER TACK.
THE leader bears away four points to leeward, followed in succession by the rest. [Tactics, pl. X. fig. 54.] When the sternmost ship has bore away, the whole haul up, and they will be in bearing for the line on the other tack.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE SECOND ORDER OF SAILING,
RUNNING BEFORE THE WIND.
THE whole bear away together ten points, [Tactics, pl. X. fig. 55.] and so proportion their sailing from the head to the rear of the line, that, when the headmost ship, which first presses sail, shall come a-breast of the second ship, the second ship adapts her sail to keep in this bearing; and so on all through; each observing to keep the ship that immediately preceded her in the evolution in a line with herself, perpendicular to the direction of the wind. This will rather close the line; but, if it be desired to preserve the same distance between the ships as there was when in line of battle, they must bear away only nine points, observing still the directions for keeping a-breast of each other.
In the second order of sailing the ships are ranged on a line perpendicular to the direction of the wind; but, if it be intended to form a line a-breast upon any other line, the number of points which the fleet must bear away may be known thus: add to 8, (being one fourth of the points on the compass,) one half of the number of points between that on which the ships are ranged, and that on which they are intended to be ranged. For instance, suppose a fleet ranged on the W N W line in order of battle is to be formed in line a-breast on the S W line. Between W N W and S W are 6 points, of which the half, 3, added to 8, gives 11 points, which the fleet is to bear away to form on the S W line.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE THIRD ORDER OF SAILING
SO AS TO RE-FORM THE LINE, UPON EITHER TACK.
ALL the ships bear away together ten points. [Tactics, pl. X. fig. 56.] One half of the line, from the head to the center ship inclusive, carry an equal degree of sail, in order to preserve their line
of bearing: but the remainder of the ships carry sail in succession, and only in such degrees as will form and preserve them on that close-hauled line upon which they were not running before this evolution.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING
ON THE SAME TACK.
TO perform this evolution, and at the same time keep to windward as much as possible, the van and center tack together, [Tactics, pl. X. fig. 57.] and run close-hauled in bow-and-quarter line. The rear keeps her tack on an easy sail. The center re-tacks, when it is ship to ship a-breast of the rear. The van stands on till the center and rear come up, and then it re-tacks; and all the columns regulate their distances.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE SAME TACK, THE CENTER SQUADRON FORMING TO LEEWARD, AND THE REAR FORMING THE CENTER COLUMN.
THE van tacks together, [Tactics, pl. X. fig. 8.] and goes away two points free, to gain the distance of the center. The center bears away eight points under an easy sail. When the van is ship for ship with the center, and of course in its wake, the van re-tacks. The rear stands on to occupy the center station; and, when the new lee column is ship to ship a-breast of the new center, its springs its luff.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE SAME TACK, THE CENTER FORMING THE WEATHER COLUMN, AND THE VAN SQUADRON BECOMING THE CENTER.
THE van brings to, and serves as a mark for this evolution. [Tactics, pl. XI. fig. 59.] The center tacks together, and carries sail close-hauled, until the leader has the center ship of the van division, which is brought-to, at right angles with the wind. He and his division then re-tack together; and they will find themselves rather farther to windward than necessary, but this is in their favour. In the mean time the rear squadron goes under an easy sail, one point from the point, in order to range up with the column which has brought to during this evolution: and, when the two columns in motion are drawn up a breast and on each side of the column, now the center, that column fills, and they regulate their distances.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING
ON THE SAME TACK, THE VAN COLUMN PASSING TO LEEWARD.
THE van brings to. [Tactics, pl. XI. fig. 6o.] The center tacks together and carries sail closehauled, until it comes ship to ship a-breast of the rear, (which has from the beginning stood under
an easy sail,) and then the center re-tacks together. When the rear is near passing to windward of the van, brought to from the first, the van fills and goes away under easy sail for a small time at right angles from the line; it hauls up, when its leader and the sternmost ship of the center column bear in a line perpendicular to the wind.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING, ON THE SAME TACK, THE VAN FORMING THE LEE COLUMN, AND THE REAR THE WEATHER COLUMN.
THE van bears away together under an easy sail, and goes away at right angles with the line ahead. [Tactics, pl. XI. fig. 61.] The center at the same time goes away two points free, and each ship steers for that ship of the van, respectively, which is to be a-breast of her when in column. The leader of the van must determine the distance, by not hauling up with his division until his ship and the sternmost ship of the center column (which is drawn up with him) are in a line at right angles with the wind. They both then stand on under an easy sail; while the rear, crowding sail, passes to windward of both.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE SAME TACK; THE REAR FORMING THE WEATHER COLUMN, THE VAN THE CENTER, AND THE CENTER FORMING THE LEE COLUMN.
THE van brings to, or goes under an easy sail. [Tactics, pl. XI. fig. 62.] The center goes off together two points free, to pass to leeward of the van and get a-breast of it. When a-breast of the van, it goes away also two points free with the center. The rear pressing sail, and not altering its course, passes to windward of the other columns, which spring their luffs when they are a-breast of the new weather column.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE OTHER TACK, WITHOUT CHANGING THE DISPOSITION OF THE SQUADRONS.
THE van tacks in succession. [Tactics, pl. XI. fig. 63.] The leader of the center tacks when the leader of the van is passing him exactly to windward, and his division follows him. The rear manoeuvres in the same way, with respect to the center.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE OTHER TACK, THE CENTER SQUADRON FORMING THE LEE COLUMN, AND THE REAR THE CENTER.
THE van and center tack at the same time in succession, the van carrying sail, to get up and range with the center. [Tactics, pl. XI. fig. 64.] When the sternmost ship of the center has tacked, that
column brings to, or carries a very easy sail. The rear, having stood on, tacks in succession at that point of the line; when the leaders of the new van and lee columns bear, from the rear leader, an equal number of points to windward and to leeward. He is then followed by his division; and, when he has got a-breast of the two leading ships of the van and lee columns, the evolution is compleated.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE OTHER TACK, THE CENTER SQUADRON FORMING TO WINDWARD, AND THE VAN IN THE CENTER.
THE van tacks in succession; [Tactics, pl. XII. fig. 65.] and, when about, keeps just on steerage way. The center carries sail, and tacks, either when the center ship of the division has passed the sternmost of the van which tacked before it, or when the leader of the new weather column has the sternmost ship of the new center column in a line at right angles with the wind. When he is about, his division follows, carrying sail to gain the distance a-breast of the new center. The rear tacks in succession, when the first ship of the division is a-breast of the sternmost ship of the center: it then adapts its sail to the other columns.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE OTHER TACK, THE VAN SQUADRON FORMING TO LEEWARD, THE CENTER TO WINDWARD, AND THE REAR IN THE CENTER.
THE van makes sail and tacks in succession; [Tactics, pl. XII. fig. 66.] when about, the column brings to or carries a very easy sail. The leader of the center column, which is now to form to windward, tacks as soon as the last of his column passes a-stern of the new lee column, and is followed in succession by his division. The leader of the rear, which is to form the center column, tacks, either when a-breast of the leader of the windward column, or when his center ship passes astern of the lee column, or when he has the center ship of the lee column in a line at right angles with the wind. When the rear has tacked, the lee column fills; and all the columns make proper sail for regulating the order.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE OTHER TACK, THE VAN SQUADRON FORMING TO LEEWARD, AND THE REAR TO WINDWARD.
THE van tacks in succession, carrying sail; [Tactics, pl. XII. fig. 67.] and, when the column is about, it must bring to or shorten sail, to allow the other columns time to form. The center and rear then carry sail, and tack in succession. The center tacks, when its leader has the center of the lee column in a line at right angles with the wind, or when its center passes a-stern of the lee column. When the center is about, it regulates itself by the lee column, either by bringing to or
making equal sail; and thus both wait for the rear to pass to windward. The rear tacks, when its leader has the first ship of the lee column in a line at right angles with the wind, or when its center ship passes a-stern of the last ship of the center column.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING ON THE OTHER TACK; THE REAR SQUADRON FORMING TO WINDWARD, THE VAN SQUADRON AS CENTER COLUMN, AND THE CENTER SQUADRON TO LEEWARD.
THE van and center tack in succession; [Tactics, pl. XII. fig. 68.] and bring to or go under easy sail. The rear, which is to be to windward, carries sail; and tacks in succession when its leader has the headmost ship of the lee column in a line at right angles with the wind, or when its center ship passes a-stern of the center column. The columns then make proper sail to regulate their distances.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE ORDER OF RETREAT.
THE leader bears away four points, and is followed in succession by one half of the line to the center included. When the center has bore away, the order of retreat is formed.
TO CHANGE FROM THE ORDER OF RETREAT TO THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING.
THE most simple method is to pass to the line a-head, and thence to form the columns. But, if the fleet be somewhat dispersed, it may be performed thus. [Tactic, pl. XII. fig. 69.] It must bring-to, on the line perpendicular to the direction of the wind, as in the second order of sailing; and, to effect this, the two extreme ships of the wings having brought to on that line, as soon as the other ships gain their respective stations on that line, they bring to in the same tack. After which, the ships all filling at the same time, the leaders of the columns haul their wind upon the proper tack, while the other ships of the columns run large two points till they respectively gain the points at which their leaders spring their luffs, when they haul in succession. The lee column having less distance to run, carries very easy sail; the center and weather columns increase theirs, in proportion to their distances. According to the tack which the fleet is to take, in the order of sailing, the van squadron will be either to windward or to leeward.
TO CHANGE FROM THE ORDER OF RETREAT TO THE LINE OF BATTLE.
THE leader of the wing which is to form the head of the line hauls the wind, [Tactics, pl. XII. fig. 70.] and that wing follows in succession, steering in each other's wakes. The other wing goes
four points from the wind together, on the same tack, and thus runs parallel to the wing which first began the evolution. They haul up together when they arrive in the wake of the line.
If the fleet which retreats is attacked only on one wing, the wing attacked is to heave to the wind six points, on the same side as the enemy; and the van ship is at the same time to haul close by the wind on the same tack; while the ships of the other wing shall come all together to the wind on their line, in order to veer in succession at the angular point, in the wake of the wing attacked.
TO CHANGE AND REFORM UPON SHIFTS OF WIND.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING TO THE LINE OF BATTLE,
WHEN THE WIND SHIFTS FORWARD.
IF THE WIND COMES FORWARD BUT INCONSIDERABLY, the change may be made in the third mode recommended under the head of " To change from the fifth order to the line of battle on the same tack, the weather " column forming the van, and the lee column the rear."
BUT, IF THE WIND SHOULD CHANGE TWO OR THREE POINTS, [Tactics, pl. XIII. fig. 71.] the leader
of the column to windward goes about and keeps under an easy sail, and the rest of his column carrying sail, but keeping on the same tack, go away together in bow-and-quarter line, to gain their leader's wake, where they tack in succession. The center-leader will tack somewhat to windward of the wake of the weather column, in order to tack clear of it. The leader of the lee column acts in the same manner with regard to the center column; and, as the two last columns will naturally be to windward of the van, they edge away and form a-stern of it. If it be intended to continue the first tack, the leader of the weather column must re-tack soon after his first tack, and be followed by the line.
IF THE WIND COMES FORWARD THREE POINTS OR MORE, as the fleet would run too far to leeward by manoeuvering as in the preceding evolution, [Tactics, pl. XIII. fig. 72.] the whole may go about together; and the leader of the weather column (the ship which is to lead the line) goes away two points free, carrying sail to gain ahead of his division, while the ships of his division keep their wind under an easy sail, to get successively into the wake of their leader; when they make sail and follow him. The van leader continues his course large, until he brings the leewardmost ship of the fleet to bear from him, in the direction of the close-hauled line on the tack upon which they are moving, when he hauls up and continues under an easy sail, (or, if necessary, re-tacks,) followed in succession by the fleet. The leaders of the center and lee columns go away free two points from the beginning of the evolution, as the leader of the van did; and they form in his wake when they spring their luffs, followed by their respective divisions, to complete the line of battle.
TO CHANGE FROM THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING TO THE LINE OF BATTLE,
WHEN THE WIND COMES AFT.
SHOULD THE WIND COME AFT EIGHT POINTS EXACTLY, the columns, when hauled up after their
leaders, will find themselves in line: [Tactics, pl. XIII. fig. 73.] but, as this would close the line too much, the weather column must press sail after their leader; the center should move on under less sail; and the lee column merely keep steerage way; to give room for the divisions to form astern of each other at the proper distances.
IF THE WIND COME AFT LESS THAN EIGHT POINTS, the leader of the weather column hauls
his wind, and is followed in succession by his column. [Tactics, pl. XIIs. fig. 74.] At the same time the leaders of the other two columns haul their wind and press sail; standing on, till by tacking they can fetch the point, where the weather leader hauled his wind, when they respectively re-tack in succession, and form a-stern of each other.
But, if the line is to be formed a-head of the lee column, (which is sometimes particularly convenient for closing the order when too open, provided no inconvenience or danger is expected from the falling so far to leeward,) the center and lee columns bring to. [Tactics, pl. XIII. fig. 75.] Then the weather leader bears away two, four, six, or even eight points, and runs down to leeward, till he brings the van ship of the lee column to bear from him in the direction of the closehauled line, when he springs his luff: the ships of his division follow in succession. When the rear of the weather column has passed in the direction of the close-hauled line a-head of the van ship of the center, the center column fills, bears away, and, manoeuvering as the van column did, forms a-stem of it. The lee column fills when the last ship of the center has passed.
IF THE WIND COME AFT MORE THAN EIGHT POINTS, the line may be formed, preserving the regular order of the columns, thus: [Tactics, pl. XIII. fig.76.] The center and lee columns bring to. The leader of the weather column hauls his wind, and his division bear down, and form successively in his and each other's wake. The leader of the center fills, when the last ship of the weather column bears from him, on the point upon which they will sail when close-hauled: he then, making proper sail, may go down at right angles with that bearing, and haul up when he gets into the wake of the van division; his ships follow him. The lee column manoeuvres with regard to the center, in the same manner as the center did with regard to the van.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE ORDER OF RETREAT, THE
WIND COMING FORWARD.
THIS may be done (whether the wind come forward or aft) by first re-forming the line of battle, and then changing from that to the order of retreat. This is the most certain but not the shortest method; it has however this advantage, that it does not so quickly communicate the intention to the enemy. But, as this double manoeuvre would require some considerable time, and as circumstances will not always permit it, this evolution may be executed in the following manner.
The fleet in line having fallen off, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 77.] the leader of the van goes four
points free, while the rest of the ships stand on together close-hauled, in order to gain the wake of the
leader and each other's respectively. When the center ship has arrived at the angular point, that is, in the wake of his second a-head, that wing is formed. The other wing will be easily formed, if (the first wing continuing to sail four points free) the ships of the other wing bear away four points free together, they running on parallel courses with the first wing. The ships of the wing now forming must adapt their sail to place themselves on the proper line of bearing; which will be effected, when each first, second, third, &c. ship of one wing bears, from the corresponding ship in the other wing, in a line perpendicular to the direction of the wind.
If the admiral should wish to shape his course immediately when the angular ship is arrived at her proper station, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 78.] the rear wing will not have time to form with the regularity recommended in the preceding manner; but it must be effected by making or shortening sail, as may best suit each ship in running for her proper station.
TO CHANGE FROM THE LINE OF BATTLE TO THE ORDER OF RETREAT, THE
WIND COMING AFT.
IF THE WIND DRAWS AFT FROM ONE TO FOUR POINTS, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 79.] the leader of the van goes under very little sail four points free: the ships which are to compose his wing follow, under similar sail, and form in his and each other's wakes. The rest of the line, from the center ship to the sternmost, (which have also stood on the same course,) as soon as the center ship is in her proper station, go large together as many points as the change of wind may require; and they observe to carry sail, in proportion to their distance from the angular ship, the sternmost ship carrying most of all. The number of points which they are to go large may be always thus known: subtract, from 8 points, half the number of points which the wind has shifted; so, if the wind has come aft 4 points, deduct 2 from 8, and the remainder, 6, is the number of points they are to go large.
IF THE WIND SHOULD COME AFT MORE THAN FOUR POINTS, this evolution may be expeditiously performed, by all the ships of the line bearing away before the wind, and ranging themselves, in the second order of sailing, on the line perpendicular to the direction of the wind; from that the order of retreat may be afterwards formed.
TO RE-FORM THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING, THE WIND COMING FORWARD.
IF THE WIND DOES NOT ALTER MORE THAN SIX POINTS, and it is intended to keep on the same
tack, each column, considered as a single unconnected line, may manoeuvre in the same way as in re-forming the line of battle; that is, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 80.] the columns having brought to, the leader of each will bear away a certain number of points, according as the wind has changed; and this number may be known by deducting from eight half the number of points the wind has shifted: thus, if the wind has come forward two points, the leader runs seven points free, and continues so to do till he brings the sternmost ship of his column to bear from him on the close-hauled line. The other ships observe to fill and run large one after the other, as their immediate seconds a-head come to bear from them respectively on the close-hauled line. The ships of each column haul their wind when they are all ranged upon the close-hauled line a-head of the sternmost ship.
IF THE WIND COMES FORWARD FROM SIX TO TWELVE POINTS, the order is re-formed by changing the tack, and by proceeding as if the wind had come a-head while on that tack. The weather column then becomes the lee column, and the lee column is consequently to windward.
Should the wind shift more than twelve points, the tack being changed, the wind may then be said to come aft.
TO RE-FORM THE FIFTH ORDER OF SAILING, THE WIND COMING AFT.
IF THE WIND COMES AFT BUT A LITTLE, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 81.] and the admiral does not choose the fleet to run close-hauled chequerwise, but prefers the re-forming of the order, it is thus performed: the weather column shortens sail, the center column may preserve its headway, but the lee column must carry a press of sail: the leader of the weather column hauls his wind; and the leaders of the center and lee columns, preserving their distances, imperceptibly gather to the wind, by keeping a-breast of the leader of the weather column. The ships of each column, having equal headway with their respective leaders, will then get successively into their respective wakes. When the order is thus recovered, the distances must be corrected.
IF THE WIND COMES AFT CONSIDERABLY, and it is not intended to change the tack, the weather column brings to; [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 82.] the lee column makes sail, and steers at right angles with the new close-hauled line. When the leader of the lee column has the leader of the weather column four points to windward of the close-hauled line, he hauls close, and is followed in succession by the ships of his column. The center column manoeuvres as the lee column did; taking care, however, to go under very easy sail, so as not to reach the point where it is to haul close, before the lee leader has done so: the center must then continue under very easy sail, or may bring to, if necessary, to wait till the lee column is a-breast of it. When the leader of the center and lee columns are got a-breast of the weather column, brought to, that column fills; its leader keeps his wind; and his other ships, running large, bear down in each other's waters, and form.
By this evolution, which is short and devoid of confusion, the fleet will fall very little to leeward; and the ships may with great ease regain their proper stations.
IF THE WIND SHIFTS EXACTLY FOUR POINTS AFT, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 83.] the leader of the lee column hauls his wind, and the ships follow him. The center and weather columns veer round, rear to van, and continue to steer so, till their van (now the rear) is a-breast of the van of the lee column; the center then veers round to its former tack, and hauls its wind in succession: the weather column does the same, when in the same bearing with the lee leader, and the order is reformed.
This evolution may be performed in a more immediate way, by the center and weather columns bringing to, instead of veering round; but as, in this latter mode, the columns will be too close, the intervals must be opened by steerage, the lee columns bearing away. Unless the wind shifts exactly four points aft, the first mode will not be practicable; but the latter will.
IF THE WIND SHIFTS EXACTLY EIGHT POINTS AFT, [Tactics, pl. XIV. fig. 84.] the weather column brings to; the other columns keep on their course (which is now quartering); and, when the leader of the center column finds he is two points to leeward of the weather leader, he and his column bring also to the wind, and lie to. The lee column acts in the same manner; but, when the lee leader has brought the leaders of the weather and center columns in a line with him, (or
two points to windward of him,) he hauls his wind, and stands on, followed by his column: the other columns fill, stand on, and form, as the lee columns draw up with them.
TO RE-FORM THE LINE OF BATTLE, THE WIND COMING FORWARD.
THE most disadvantageous change of wind that can happen to a fleet in line of battle is, when it comes forward; because the order is then oftentimes but with difficulty re-formed, particularly if the enemy be in sight.
IF THE WIND COMES FORWARD FROM ONE TO SIX POINTS, [Tactics, pl. XV. Fig. 85.] and it is
intended to keep the fleet on the same tack, each ship having fallen off, the whole line brings to, except the headmost ship, which immediately bears away a certain number of points. This number of points is known, by deducting from 8 (being one fourth of the compass) one half of the points which the wind has changed: thus, if the wind has come forward 4 points, deduct 2 from 8, and 6 points will remain, as the number which the ships are to run large. The headmost ship then, having fallen off, and bore away, the ship which follows her fills and bears away, as soon as she brings her leader to bear on the close-hauled line; all the ships of the line proceed successively in the same manner: and, at length, they altogether haul their wind in the wake of their leader, when they get upon the close-hauled line with the sternmost ship, which then fills and stands on close-hauled, not being under the necessity of bearing away.
If the fleet do not bring to, it may be executed thus: [Tactics, pl. XV. fig. 86.] The ships fall off: the headmost ship, having bore away the certain number of points before mentioned, (or else steering on a course perpendicular to the new close-hauled line, upon which the order is to be reformed,) will haul her wind when the sternmost ship shall bear from her on the close-hauled line. In the mean time every ship, keeping her wind, will successively place herself in the wake of her second a-head, and follow her manoeuvres in bearing away and springing her luff. The sternmost ship will, at length, find herself in line of battle, without bearing away at all. This is an expeditious and convenient method of re-forming the line, especially when the line is not formed in close order.
A third method.-The van ship may get on the other tack, [Tactics, pl. XV. fig. 87.] while the rest of the ships stand on together, and tack in succession in the wake of their respective seconds ahead; and the headmost ship may commence the re-tacking in succession, before the whole line has completely tacked. The headmost ships must, however, observe to lessen sail, while the sternmost must proportion theirs to the distance they have to run. This evolution is not calculated for execution in the presence of an enemy, if near; because it would expose the line to be cut and traversed.
A fourth method.-[Tactics, pl. XV. fig. 88.] The whole line tack together, and go in bow-and-quarter line; the rear ships observing to press sail, and the headmost ships lessening theirs, till the fleet is on the close-hauled line of bearing for the other tack; when they re-tack together. The order will probably be too open, and therefore attention must be paid to the distances, after the fleet have re-tacked.
A fifth method.-All the fleet are to veer round at the same time, having their heads towards the exact opposite point of the compass from their former course. Then the rear ship, which is now become the van, is to veer and haul close by the wind on the same tack as she did before, the rest of the ships performing the same manoeuvre in succession. This evolution soon re-forms the line, but it
inverts the van and rear: it may however be performed in urgent circumstances, such as to get abreast of an enemy who wishes to avoid an engagement, to double a cape in plying to windward, or to avoid some danger.
IF THE WIND COMES EXACTLY FOUR POINTS A-HEAD, the whole fleet is to veer round till the
heads of all the ships come upon the other tack to the point exactly opposite to their former course; and the rear ship (now become the van) is to run four points large upon that tack, the rest of the fleet follow in succession; and, when the last ship (the former van) is got in the wake of the head-most in the line, all the fleet is to veer together, and the order will be re-formed on the former tack.
To RE-FORM THE LINE OF BATTLE ON THE OTHER TACK IN A SHIFT OF WIND FROM ONE TO
SIX POINTS FORWARD, all the ships of the fleet are to veer round, till their heads come to the opposite point of the compass from their former course; and then the rear ship (now the van) is to haul close by the wind on that tack: the other ships haul in succession. This would place the fleet more to windward than the preceding; and from this they might pass, by veering in succession, to the line of battle on the former tack.
IF THE WIND COMES A-HEAD MORE THAN SIX POINTS AND LESS THAN TWELVE, the fleet, changing the tack, will manoeuvre in the same way as if it had come a-head not more than six points. In this situation, if two fleets are in sight, the advantage of the weather gage will be gained by the fleet that was before to leeward. But,
To RE-FORM THE ORDER OF BATTLE UPON THE SAME TACK, WHEN THE WIND SHIFTS
EIGHT POINTS FORWARD, the ships are to veer round all together, till their heads are on the point of the compass opposite to their former course. [Tactics, pl. XV. fig. 89] Then the rear ship, having become the van, is to haul close by the wind on the same board: all the other ships are to haul in succession, and range in the wake of the leading ship.
IF THE WIND CHANGES A-HEAD TWELVE POINTS EXACTLY, the fleet need only change their tack, and the order is not disturbed: but, if it were necessary to preserve the tack, the fleet must veer round together, and haul their wind in succession on the first tack.
Should the wind change more than twelve points, it cannot then be said to come forward.
TO RE-FORM THE LINE OF BATTLE, THE WIND COMING AFT.
IF THE WIND HAS SHIFTED BUT A LITTLE, the leader hauls his wind, while the seconds go under an easy sail, steering a little large for the main mast of the preceding ship.
If it be intended to change the tack, the whole fleet tack together; and then the sternmost, becoming the leader, hauls up, and the rest bear down, steering for each other's main masts, and forming respectively a-stern.
IF THE WIND comes AFT FOUR POINTS, the whole tack together; and the line is re-formed on the other tack immediately. By this, however, the van becomes the rear; an expedient necessary on many occasions to save time and keep to windward. Indeed if it change only two or three points, the fleet may, by tacking together, and springing their luffs in succession after the van ship, (which was before the rear,) be readily re-formed on the other tack.
IF THE WIND COMES AFT MANY POINTS, the leader of the van hauls his wind; the rest stand on large (as they must necessarily find themselves upon the changing of the wind); and, as they arrive in the wake of their leaders, they severally haul up. This evolution, which is very simple, is advantageous to a fleet having the lee gage, and wishing to engage with or come nearer to the enemy; it may even sometimes gain the wind, by all the ships crowding sail as they spring their luffs.
IF THE WIND CHANGES SIXTEEN POINTS, all the ships brace about for the other tack immediately; by which means the fleet will be sailing four points large: then the ships tacking or veering instantly altogether, the order of battle will be re-formed on the same tack as they were before the shift of wind. This evolution is advantageous, both because it is quickly executed, and because it keeps the fleet as much to windward as possible. But, if keeping to windward be not an object, the whole fleet shift the tack, brace about, and fill: the leading ship hauls close, makes sail, and the rest follow in succession.
TO RE-FORM THE ORDER OF RETREAT, THE WIND CHANGING.
IF THE WIND CHANGES BUT LITTLE, the order is easily recovered, if the ships of both wings keep reciprocally a-breast of each other on a line, perpendicular to the direction of the wind, and in line of bearing with the angular ship.
IF THE WIND CHANGES MUCH, BUT WITHOUT BLOWING WITHIN THE ANGLE FORMED BY THIS
ORDER, [Tactics, pl. XV. fig. 90.] the leader of the lee wing hauls his wind, (doubling his wing outwards,) and is followed in succession by the ships of that wing. The ships of the weather wing stand altogether for the angular ship; and thus the ships of the weather wing, as they successively arrive at the angular point, will bear away after the lee wing; and haul in succession at the point where the lee wing began the evolution. When the leader observes that the center ship is right a-stern, he bears away four points, and is followed in succession by his wing: and, when that center ship is arrived at the angular point of the present lines of bearing, the evolution is completed. This evolution, as well as the next, is performed merely by the whole following the leading ship; and the whole stopping on the arrival of the center ship at the angular point.
IF THE WIND CHANGES SO CONSIDERABLY AS TO BLOW WITHIN THE ANGLE FORMED BY THIS
ORDER, [Tactics, pl. XV. fig. 91.] the lee leader hauls his wind on the tack which he can take soonest; and the fleet, standing on their respective lines of bearing, move in the wake of the lee leader. When the leader perceives that the center ship has gained the line right a-stern of him, he bears away four points, and is followed by his wing when the center ship is arrived at the angular point of the present lines of bearing, the evolution is completed; and the proper course may be directory shaped.
IF THE WIND CHANGES EXACTLY SIXTEEN POINTS, although the necessity of re-forming the order of retreat can scarcely occur, it may be done in either of the two following ways. First: the fleet veer round, head and stern; the admiral brings to at the angular point, while the two wings run right before the wind, to bring to successively on their respective lines of bearing, and consequently to leeward of the admiral: the ships near the extremities of the wings must carry more sail, according to the distance they have to run. The second method of performing it is this: [Tactics,
pl. XV. fig. 92.] The fleet all fall off (suppose to port); the ships of the wing on the larboard side of the admiral haul close to the wind with all sails set, and bear away four points in succession in the wake of their leader; while the ships of the starboard wing run four points large on their own line, till they haul their wind in succession in the wake of the first wing, which is now moving off: so that, when the last ship of the starboard wing of the former order shall have hauled close, (the center ship being consequently on the angular point of the present lines of bearing,) the evolution is compleated; but the starboard wing is now become the larboard.
IN WHAT THE FORCE OF A FLEET CONSISTS.
THE principal strength of a fleet consists in good order and discipline. Thence result an exact observance of signals and a prompt execution of manoeuvres.
A line of battle is strong in proportion to its close order, provided a proper regard is paid to the leaving of sufficient room for working the ships. If the ships of a line are not so close as those of the enemy, many of them must have to sustain the fire of two ships; and of course a dangerous inferiority will thereby arise.
Many advantages result from large ships and heavy metal. First, in case of boarding, large ships possess a manifest superiority from their height, which facilitates to them the execution of this manoeuvre, while it impedes the execution of it by a smaller ship upon a larger. Secondly, in heavy seas and bad weather, the large ships can more commodiously and with greater safety use their lower tier of guns than small ships can: and, if the roughness of the weather should compel both to keep their lower tier close, still the three-decked ship will have the advantage of two tiers to one, as it before had three to two. The same advantage they likewise have, in case of the upper deck being incumbered by shattered rigging, &c. in the use of their middle deck guns. Large ships too have greater solidity, resisting better the attack, and living better in tempestuous weather. In general, large ships sail better than small, notwithstanding the prejudice of opinion in favour of the latter; but such preference should be understood only in light airs of wind, and in the quickness of their movements; for, in stiff gales, when the seas begin to rise, large ships will obviously have the advantage. Fireships succeed less against large than small ships; because the heavier metal of the first is more likely to sink them than those of the latter; and because the larger boats of the great ships are more likely to succeed in towing them safely off.
A fleet that is composed of a greater number of large ships, though fewer in number, need not be so closely arranged as that of the enemy: for, though less numerous, it may yet be stronger. A fleet whose line is not so close works, in some circumstances, more easily than the closer fleet; and, if less numerous, its movements are quicker, the signals better observed, the order more exactly kept, and the whole less liable to separation. As the smaller fleet is more easily worked, it follows, of course, that
a shift of wind cannot disorder or embarrass it so much as a more numerous fleet: and it also follows, that it can work with greater ease and expedition to or from the enemy, may keep at a greater distance from or approach higher to a shore, and with less hazard.
From these facts, therefore, we may conclude, that a fleet, composed of a greater number of capital ships, will be found to be of greater force than a more numerous fleet of smaller ships. Effective power does not consist wholly in numbers; although a certain proportion of second and third rate ships are highly necessary for a line of battle.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FLEETS TO WINDWARD AND TO
AS fleets never engage but in opposite lines close to the wind, one of the lines must necessarily be to windward of the other. Each of these situations possesses advantages and disadvantages; what are peculiar to either we shall here discuss.
THE ADVANTAGES OF THE FLEET TO WINDWARD. The fleet which has the weather gage of the
other, has the advantage of determining the time and distance of the action; they may board if they think proper, and follow the enemy close whenever he gives way; they may easily traverse the enemy's line, send fireships to their disabled vessels, and detachments to cut off the van or rear of the fleet to leeward; finally, they are never annoyed by the fire or smoak, as the wind carries it to the enemy.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF THE FLEET TO WINDWARD are an inability to quit the fight, when once
engaged, without being obliged to pass through the enemy's line, which is extremely dangerous; because, being already very much injured since they are obliged to fly, they must expect to be still more so; and, as they have no longer in their power to form the order of retreat, this manoeuvre is absolutely a desperate one. If the fleet to windward tack all together in order to get off, the line to leeward may do the same, after having raked the weather ships in stays, and follow them on the other tack, with the advantage of having gained the wind of the center and rear divisions of the flying line. If it blows fresh, it is seldom that weather ships have their lower deck guns sufficiently elevated; whence it results that the ship being a little inclined on her side, the guns often run out again at their ports, after being fired, which very much retards the service of the artillery, since the guns are obliged to be bowsed in again every time for loading: and oftentimes they can make no use at all of their lower tier. Another disadvantage is, that such of the ships as are so disabled as to be obliged to quit the line, cannot easily do it, because in veering, for want of being able to tack, they fall between the two lines, where they are raked a-head, and by that means compleatly put in disorder. But, should they be fortunate enough to be able to finish their evolution, it is still very difficult for them, disabled as they are, to get to windward of their line; and very often they fall foul of the next ships a-stern of them, which have it scarcely in their power to prevent that accident, on account of the fire and smoak, especially if the line is much contracted: and, should these perceive it, and try to avoid being run foul of by sailing back on their next ship a-stern, and so on thus successively; it might happen, that from one to the other a great part of the fleet being obliged to manoeuvre, their fire would lessen, and very often cease, by their covering each other; when the disorder increases, and all is lost, if the enemy take advantage of this critical moment.
But these inconveniences may be partly prevented, by having the disabled ships quickly towed out of the line by the boats of the fleet, which, for that very purpose, should always be hoisted out from each ship before the engagement begins. Otherwise, if the ships in the weather line, not being too close, have the necessary space to observe what passes a-head of them, and to manoeuvre, they ought to range themselves to leeward of the disabled vessel, in order to cover her, and approach nearer to the enemy; all the other ships bearing up also together to preserve the line.
THE ADVANTAGES OF THE FLEET TO LEEWARD. The fleet on the lee gage have the advantage of serving with facility and effect their lower deck guns, in all weathers proper for fleets to come to action: they can quit the engagement at pleasure: their disabled ships are at liberty to leave their stations without difficulty, if necessity requires it; thus they find themselves under cover by the rest, where they may soon be assisted by the frigates. In this position, they can form the order of retreat with more promptitude, or continue the action as long as convenient. In short, the lee line of battle can also, if superior in number, double the enemy, by making some of the ships in the van or rear to tack, and put one of the extremities of the enemy's line between two fires; and, if they are formed in time, they may cannonade the enemy while bearing down to the attack.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF THE FLEET To LEEWARD. Its disadvantages are, being very much annoyed by the smoak, and a continued shower of fire from the wads falling on board, repelled by the wind; which, if not attended to, may be productive of very great accidents. The ships of the line to leeward cannot attempt to board those of the other, whatever may be their inclination for it: they can hardly do more than accept the battle, without being able to determine either time or distance. It is but with a great deal of difficulty they can avoid being boarded, or prevent their line being broken, if the weather ships are bent upon doing it; and their fire-ships very seldom are of use.
A general rule for the adoption of either the weather or lee gage cannot be laid down. Accident often ends our choice; but the strength of his fleet, the object of his enterprize, the state of the weather, and various other circumstances, will regulate the conduct of a commander in chief in his preference of one to the other.
TO DISPUTE THE WEATHER GAGE WITH THE ENEMY.
BEING in line of battle and to leeward of an enemy of whom you wish to get the weather gage, your fleet is to be kept on the opposite tack to that of the enemy; because, in that position, they will be obliged to edge very much away, should they be inclined to come to action, and, by that means, they may lose the advantage of the wind.
If your enemy persists in keeping to windward, without coming to action, they will be obliged to keep upon the same tack with you, to prevent your getting into their wake, or doubling them by passing a-head and to windward, unless the whole of the weather fleet be absolutely excellent sailers, which is very rare, though not impossible. However, as fleets in general sail nearly upon an equality, it will be impossible for the lee fleet to force the other to action, without a shift of wind; which is a very common event, which every succeeding instant may bring about.
The lee fleet may turn to windward, and pursue the enemy according to the principles of chasing,
by tacking all at the same time, as soon as the center ship brings the middle vessel of the weather line
exactly on her beam, in order to join them by the shortest means possible, without, however, deviating from the order of battle, or sailing on one line.
IF THE WEATHER FLEET BE IN ORDER OF BATTLE, AND THE WIND DRAW A-HEAD, the lee fleet,
if they be a-head and in order of battle, ought to box off on the same tack as before, in order to tack in succession in the wake one of another, to restore the order of battle, drawing at the same time a great deal to windward: this manoeuvre may even be the means of weathering the enemy, if the wind should shift much: for, they have no other method to regain the order of battle, without losing much ground; though they will always lose a great deal with respect to the position of the enemy to leeward.
IF THE LEE FLEET BE A-STERN, AND THE WIND SHIFTS AFT, WHILE THEY ARE ON THE CONTRARY TACK WITH THE ENEMY IN ORDER OF SAILING ON ONE LINE, the lee fleet ought to tack
or veer all together, and at the same instant; because this shift of wind will be a-head for all the ships, in respect to their tacks then on board, and a-stern in respect to the order of battle. When the van ship is full on the other tack, as well as all the rest in their former order of battle, she shall haul by the wind, while the rest of the fleet run large on their first line of battle as many points as the wind has shifted aft, to get into her wake successively, and restore the order of battle while approaching the enemy, by which they may gain the wind of him, or else double him if the shift has been great: for, the only means they have of restoring the line of battle is by the van ship hauling by the wind, and the rest coming into her wake in succession. If the shift of wind was four points, the fleet to leeward would be obliged still to perform the same manoeuvre, that they might go about, after a certain time, successively to windward of the enemy, who could only in the mean time have tacked all together, to bring their fleet suddenly in a line of battle on the other board.
IF, WHEN THE WIND SHIFTS AFT, THE LEE FLEET IS A-STERN IN ORDER OF BATTLE, AND THE ENEMY BE ON THE OTHER TACK IN THE ORDER OF SAILING, the leading ship must haul close to
the wind immediately, while the other vessels will in succession bear away as many points as the wind has shifted, in order to perform the same manoeuvre and restore the line of battle. By observing this mode of maneuvering, you will approach the enemy, and gain as much to windward of him as possible, or get even the weather gage of him entirely, if the wind has shifted considerably. The rear ship of the fleet to leeward may immediately keep close to this new wind on the same board, while all the rest of the fleet, after having tacked together and at the same time, will come and place themselves close by the wind in her wake, where they are again to tack successively, in order to follow their rear ship, which is now become the leader, and which may break the enemy's line, or at least gain the wind of him, But, to be able to go through this evolution, you must have nothing to fear from the enemy; for, the fleet will be obliged to go about twice before the order of battle can be restored. The weather fleet ought to keep their wind as close as possible, holding the enemy always exactly to leeward of them, by keeping on the same tack as he; and if the wind shifts a little, and becomes favourable to the enemy which is to leeward, the weather ships are then to keep exactly their wind, without caring for the preservation of the line, unless the two fleets be absolutely very near one another.
TO AVOID COMING TO ACTION WHEN TO WINDWARD.
THE weather fleet (unless the wind changes) having it always in their power to preserve their advantage, can but with difficulty be forced to action; because they may always hold the board on which they most recede from the enemy; while the fleet to leeward must run in the order of sailing on one line, or in order of battle on the other tack, until their admiral have the center ship, or admiral, of the weather line, right a-breast of him, and perpendicular to his course, in order to tack all together and follow the weather fleet by the principles of chasing. For, if the lee fleet stand on one tack till they can weather the retreating fleet, they will soon be out of sight, since fleets in general sail nearly with equal celerity.
The weather fleet may fly off in order of battle on the starboard or larboard tack, while the lee fleet pursues them in the same manner, that is to say, in order of battle likewise and on either tack. But when they come to go about, they are to hold the order of sailing. If the lee fleet is so much superior to the weather fleet, as to be able to form a detachment of fine sailing ship, in a sufficient number to attempt any thing, let it be done; then this squadron is to chase the flying enemy to windward, in the same manner as one single ship chases another over which she has the advantage in sailing; while the remaining part of the superior fleet will use every possible effort to get to windward, as we said before.
By this manoeuvre, the detachment of the swift-going vessels having joined the enemy, will harrass and disturb their movements, besides keeping them in sight of the rest of the fleet, which will then have the superiority in sailing; for, when you are engaged in an action, or when some of your ships are disabled, it is impossible to manoeuvre properly unless such ships be abandoned; and then it becomes impossible to get out of sight of a superior fleet which takes that resolution.
If the constancy of the winds could be depended upon, the weather fleet might, with impunity, preserve their advantage in presence of the enemy, were he not sufficiently strong to detach a squadron of superior sailers. But, as nothing is more frequent and common than the variation of the wind, it is always best to keep as far as possible out of sight of a powerful adversary, when you do not find yourself absolutely in a situation to fight: and, on the contrary, the fleet inclined to come to action ought to keep in sight and as near as possible, keeping always on the same board as the enemy, in order to catch the opportunity of the first shift of wind to force him to battle.
TO AVOID COMING TO ACTION WHEN TO LEEWARD.
THE lee fleet, which is wishing as much as possible to avoid an engagement, ought to form the order of retreat, to fly from the enemy if they are in view of him, and run on the same tack as their chaser. But, if he is yet out of sight, and they have intelligence of his approach by their frigates, which are looking out, they may run large from the hostile fleet, without confining themselves to keep the wind exactly aft, unless they be in the order of retreat.
There are circumstances when the lee fleet may run with the wind aft, without assuming the order of retreat; as, for example, when they wish to gain time, or come to action upon the enemy persisting obstinately in his pursuit of them. These extraordinary cases excepted, a fleet never
ought to fly before the enemy, without being in the order of retreat, as the rear is then in the best situation to extricate themselves in case of accident.
TO FORCE THE ENEMY TO ACTION WHEN YOU ARE TO LEEWARD.
IT has already been made evidently appear that, when you are in presence of the enemy, an engagement is almost unavoidable. The lee fleet, which is wishing to come at any rate to action, have therefore, in that case, need of nothing but patience; for, in keeping always on the same tack with the weather fleet, and taking care to have them so exactly a-breast as to prevent the least danger of losing sight of them, you are ready to take advantage of the first favourable shift of wind to make the attack.
Night is certainly the time when an alteration of course may best be attempted. But, the lee fleet is to have frigates on the look out, which, by signals, will continually give notice of the manoeuvre and course of the retreating fleet to windward, which, by these means, is always exposed to be pursued without being able to get off unseen, and must, sooner or later, be compelled to come to action, unless they can get into some port, or a gale of wind should come to rescue them by dispersing both fleets, and thus furnish the means of retreating in a storm.
TO BEAR DOWN ON THE ENEMY AND FORCE HIM TO ACTION.
IF the lee fleet keep close to the wind in order of battle, with the design of bringing the weather line to action, the fleet to windward are to stand on in the same manner till they are a-breast of the enemy; then, they are all together, and at the same time, to bear away, and steer exactly so as to bring their respective opponents, in the adverse line, on the same point of the compass with them, observing the principles of chasing, which are to be observed by every chaser to windward. Thus the fleets will soon be near enough to begin the action; and the bow of each ship being presented to her opponent, in the order of sailing, will be easily changed for the line of battle, by all the ships hauling close to the wind together, in the moment which precedes the beginning of the action.
The fleet to leeward, inclined to engage, might bring to, to prevent losing time; as, by this manoeuvre, less time will be requisite for the weather fleet to join them: then they will fill as soon as the action begins, because it is more favourable to a lee line to be advancing a-head; since, if a ship be disabled in the weather line (which is obliged to follow with the top-sails full), she will infallibly drop, and run foul of the next vessel a-stern of her, covered with fire and smoak, which may be productive of great disorder.
As the lee fleet fill and stand on close by the wind, it is necessary that the weather line should be abreast and parallel to the other, before they bear away to come within the requisite distance for
action; in order that the van ship of the weather fleet should always keep to windward of the leading ship of the lee line, and be guarded against such a shift of wind as might come a-head; which would not be the case if they were a-stern of the van ship in the lee fleet, which, as well as the rest of the line, would be able then to double them to windward, by tacking in succession.
Another reason for the weather line being right a-breast of the enemy to leeward, and for every ship steering on the same point in approaching her opponent in the leeward line of battle, is, that the fleets may be placed exactly parallel to each other; for, as the weather line must not be a-stern, because of the risk of the winds coming more forward, neither must they be a-head of the line to leeward, lest the wind should come more aft; for then, the lee fleet keeping close by the wind in the wake of their leading ship, might, by this shift, be as far to windward as the opposing fleet, or even get the weather gage of them.
But, if the weather fleet keep exactly a-breast of the other, they will always be in a situation to preserve their advantage, without exposing themselves. It is, notwithstanding, certain that those ships keeping more away than the line to leeward, will find themselves, when come within gun-shot, in a very disagreeable situation, with respect to the enemy's ships, which will have it then in their power to rake them as they bear down. This may occasion much disorder among the ships of the weather line, which for that moment have it not in their power to fire their whole broadside at the enemy, who has the advantage of beginning the action.
If the lee fleet bear away four points, to move their order of battle on the other tack and avoid the action, filing off in succession in the wake of the van ship; the weather line, by bearing away all together eight points, cannot fail (both fleets being supposed to sail equally) to pass through the middle of their line, and force them to fight with disadvantage, if their extent be double the distance between the two fleets; for, if they be less numerous, they will not be so soon engaged, because it will be more difficult to cut off any part of them than if the line had four leagues extent, and the distance between the fleets only two. A fleet, whose extent should not exceed two miles, would (supposing an equality of sailing) be able to file off in one half of the time the other would take to join them; but the weather fleet would still have approached them two miles.
If the lee fleet bear away four points all together, being of equal extent with the line to windward, and their distance from each other equal to half the length of one of the files, should the weather fleet bear away at the same time eight points, they will approach very near, it is true, the stern-most of the retreating fleet; but they will not have it in their power to cut any of that fleet off, even with an equality of sailing: so that the only advantage gained by this manoeuvre will be an ability of attacking the rear, and bringing it to action.
If the van ship and the rest of the weather fleet had a sufficient velocity to keep the center ship of the lee line on the same point of bearing; in that case, the leading ship may break through the enemy's line about the middle ship of the center division; for, supposing the fleets in order of battle, on the starboard tack, steering East with the wind at S S E, being at two leagues distance from each other, both the files being four leagues in extent; the lee line bearing away altogether four points large, will run N E, while that to windward, bearing away all together eight points, will steer North, the van ship of which will keep the center division of the lee line on the point of bearing N W: as she is supposed to be able to continue in this position, it follows, the van of the weather file must close the center of the flying line to leeward, after having run four leagues. The time and distance necessary to cut off a retreating fleet may always be known, according to the last supposition; because,
by the bearing of the two ships from the van to the center, we have the basis of a triangle which will be completely formed by the two courses steered by these two ships, and in which two angles and one side at least will always be known; which is full sufficient to find the rest, and consequently to judge the distance to be run before closing the enemy.
Should the lee fleet get upon the other tack, and run large, still preserving the order of battle, they will be still sooner closed, and forced to action by the weather fleet, who have only to keep away from eight to nine points on the same tack, or run right before the wind.
The weather fleet can always force the lee one to action, whatever movements they make: for, if they run with the wind right aft, in order of battle, they cannot (supposing an equality of sailing) avoid being closed, or broken nearly about the center by the weather line, which has only to steer two points on each tack nearer the wind than the retreating fleet. So that the rear of the weather fleet, having bore away no more than eight points, will find, at the end of a certain time, to have approached extremely near the center of the retreating fleet, and, in a short time more, will be able to bring their rear to action.
The weather fleet have yet another advantage; because, as their ships have the wind on the quarter, they sail with greater celerity than those of the lee fleet, which run before the wind. The lee fleet being absolutely determined to fly, has therefore no other expedient left to prolong time, but to combat in the order of retreat, right before the wind, or on the same course as the pursuing fleet; for, other advantages are not to be relied on, if pursued by a victorious foe.
If, from all that has been said, it results that it is not possible for a fleet of equal force to avoid an action, how then must it be with one much inferior? The more numerous has nothing to do but to form a detachment of superior sailors, which will chase strait before them and begin the action, while some others approach to finish it. Whence we may conclude that, when in presence of too powerful an enemy, it will never be possible to avoid an action, if he is determined to come to one.
TO DOUBLE THE ENEMY WHEN SUPERIOR TO HIM, AND TO LEEWARD OF
THE lee fleet, having the superiority in number, ought to endeavour to range exactly a-breast and parallel to the weather file, so that the van or rear may extend beyond their line, in order to overreach them, by tacking in succession to double to windward their van or rear, and bring them between two fires. Provided this manoeuvre be properly executed, it will be impossible for the ships in the weather line, thus pressed, to continue long in their posts; for, there is no vessel closely attacked by two others of equal force which can long resist being overcome; since it is always in the power of one of them to get into such a position as to be able, without much danger on her side, to destroy the enemy in a very short time.
But whether the most advantageous evolution is to double the van or the rear, is necessary to be considered; for both the one and the other have, in reality, so considerable an advantage, that either of them may in a very little time determine the fate of a battle.
If the fleet with which you are engaged be to windward, either the van or their rear may be doubled; but the van may with the greatest facility; because, if they are engaged by the ships a-breast of
them, those which are advanced a-head will be able, by making all sail, to get on the perpendicular to the direction of the wind with the van of the enemy, and tack in succession to gain the wind of them on the other board, thus keeping them to leeward: and, when they are come sufficiently to windward, they are again to go about, in order to keep the two head-most ships of the enemy's line continually under their fire. If there be two or three ships to tack in succession and gain the wind of the enemy, they may edge down on the van of the weather line at pleasure, keeping themselves
little to windward of it; and, as that van-guard is already engaged by the other ships a-breast on the other side, she must necessarily be soon disabled. If they bear away, they must drop upon the line with which they are engaged to leeward, while the ships to windward still continue to cannonade them. If they attempt going about, in order to attack more closely the ships to windward, they will be raked, while in stays, by their opponents to leeward and to windward, who pouring into them whole broadsides, which they cannot return, must absolutely compleat their disorder. If they make sail in order to frustrate the design of the ships inclined to double, those with which they are engaged abreast to leeward have only to perform the same manoeuvre, and keep them under their fire; while the others, after having harassed them as much as possible, will do their best to perform the same manoeuvre on the succeeding ships.
The captains defined to double the enemy ought to be men of known ability as well as of approved courage. They should not be ordered upon that expedition but in weather fit for sailing at the rate of three knots an hour: and, for the greater promptitude and certainty of success, none but the best going ships are to be employed in that sort of manoeuvre.
If any of the ships in the van of the weather line happen to be disabled in their masts or yards, as will most probably be the case after having been between two fires, they will drop a-stern and run foul of the next which follows, and these again of their subsequent comrades; at last, disorder will become prevalent, by ships running foul of each other, or manoeuvring to avoid the same accident; so that the order of battle will be broke, while, on the other hand, the line to leeward is preserved with all the advantage possible. The ships which have gained the wind of the enemy will, by continuing their manoeuvre, augment the confusion, engaging, however, no more than they like: and if, by chance or misfortune, they should be crippled, it will not certainly be an easy matter for them to extricate themselves. But as they may, on the other tack, drop astern to windward of the enemy's line, or veer again like him, they must extricate themselves as well as they can, and always advantageously enough, if, by doubling the van-guard, they are able to throw it into disorder.
If the rear of the lee fleet be extended beyond the stern-most ship of the weather line, they will be obliged, is they want to double the rear of the enemy to windward, to make sail and tack in succession; in which manoeuvre, the head-most ship of those defined for this service is to go about first: then, continuing to keep up a brisk cannonade as they come to the wind, they will go and heave about again a little to windward of the rear of the enemy, in order to bring their stem ships between two fires; and, should they have the good fortune to oblige them to bear away, they must go on successively from one ship to another, as long as they find they succeed in forcing them to give way. Should disorder take place in the rear of the weather fleet, it will not be near so prejudicial to the enemy as if it had happened in the van; on the contrary, it may turn out to be of some advantage to them. But the vessels combating to windward can easily withdraw from the fight, by backing a-stern, when they find themselves too hard pressed.
Ships dismasted, or even deprived of the use of a topsail in the weather line, cannot, without great risk, retire from the order of battle (when under necessity to do so), nor pass to windward of their rear, in order to refit; for, vessels so circumstanced cannot stay; and even if they could, their stern would be for a great while exposed to the enemy, who, in that position, would soon render them motionless, by compleatly destroying the little rigging they had left.
If such ships be obliged to veer, that manoeuvre making them approach nearer the enemy, they cannot avoid presenting their head to their opponent, a situation so dangerous, that little more is wanting to compleat their total destruction. But, supposing them able to finish their evolution, they will not have it in their power to pass to windward of their second a-stern, without running foul of her: for the distance of one hundred fathoms between the ships is not sufficient to give a disabled vessel, which has dropt above fifty fathoms to leeward in veering, sufficient time to gain to windward the distance necessary to pass a-head of the ship which immediately follows. Nothing but boats can therefore assist her, by towing, to get under cover: and yet that will not be executed without undergoing a very heavy fire from the enemy. If it be a van ship which is disabled, being doubled to windward by one or two of the lee line, it will be impossible for her to disengage herself: for, the two ships which have gained the wind of her will not leave her, nor suffer her to receive the least assistance from the boats or frigates which may be sent to her relief; and should the fleet she belongs to bear away and pass to leeward of her, which is the only manoeuvre they have to execute in these circumstances, the disabled ship will be sacrificed, they being unable, without the utmost difficulty, to give her the smallest assistance; for, every ship is engaged by the opponent which is a-breast of her, and the least remission of their fire, by fighting on the other side to assist, as they pass, the disabled ship, would give the lee enemy a decided advantage.
TO DOUBLE THE ENEMY WHEN TO WINDWARD OF HIM.
THE ships of the weather line, having extended their van beyond that of the lee line, are to veer, in order to bring the head-most ships of the enemy's line between two fires. But, let them do as they will, there never can result so much advantage from this manoeuvre as when doubling a fleet to windward, because the disabled ships can always veer with facility. True it is, they cannot fail becoming at the same time the prey of the enemy; for, both those which have doubled them, and those with which they are engaged a-breast in the weather line, will always have it in their power jointly to press as close upon them as they think proper.
If the ships which have doubled the van of the lee fleet, with which they are engaged, be disabled, they will be obliged, as they cannot make sail, to pass along the lee line; and they cannot escape being totally destroyed, if they do not bear away before the wind to get out of gun-shot; during which manoeuvre they cannot avoid being still in a very disagreeable situation.
Should the stern-most ships of the weather fleet be disabled, in doubling the enemy's rear, they have only, if they want to extricate themselves, to drop a-stern, and let the two fleets advance a-head; and, after having refitted themselves, they will re-assume their posts.
It has been proposed, to avoid being doubled by a fleet superior in numbers, to leave spaces in the length of the line, or to place the ships at such a distance from each other, as to render the length
of the inferior line equal to that of the superior. But neither of these manoeuvres, nor any other of the sort which might be contrived on that subject, will ever be of service, if the opponents possess skill and ability; for these will always dispose their ships in such a manner, that several ships of the inferior fleet will receive the fire of many at once, and will consequently be obliged soon to give way.
TO FORCE OR TRAVERSE THE ENEMY's LINE.
THIS is a manoeuvre the lee fleet may execute to gain the advantage of the wind. It is performed by the van ship, if within gun-shot, tacking when she and the center ship of the weather line are on a perpendicular to the direction of the wind: then all the lee fleet tack in succession, and thus may pass through the center of the enemy's line, or perhaps a little more towards the enemy's van, and go about again in succession to windward of him. But as he will not be long, without doubt, before he performs the same manoeuvre, he will thus be able to regain the wind, if you do not force him to give way under your fire before his evolution is finished. The enemy to windward may even cause his van ship to tack, as well as the rest of the van-guard to follow in succession, as soon as the leading ship of lee fleet shall have passed through his line and be ready to go about, by which means he will bring them between two fires. This manoeuvre, well executed, might perhaps give no little trouble to the ship attempting to force the line.
This evolution may be performed with advantage, if, by some accident or fault in the manoeuvring, the center division of the weather line be separated from their van or rear. For example, when the center division to windward is incumbered with disabled ships, then those of the center division to leeward are, with all sails set, to tack in succession, and force with promptitude through the weather fleet, to augment their disorder, leaving their own van division to engage that of the enemy on the other tack.
TO PREVENT THE LINE BEING FORCED.
WHEN the lee fleet go about in succession, in order to traverse the enemy, the whole line to windward are to tack together and at the same time, to get upon the same board as the enemy, who will neither be able to join nor to traverse them
To perform this evolution with advantage, you must let some of the van ships of the traversing fleet pass to windward, then go all rapidly about, in order to put and keep them between two fires; thus you may succeed in destroying them, without their own fleet being able to give them any effectual assistance.
It is easy to perceive, from what has been laid, that there is little occasion to fear being traversed, as such a manoeuvre may turn to be more prejudicial than advantageous to those who perform it. Nevertheless, it may and ought to be put in practice when the weather fleet leave such vacancies between their divisions as to allow some ships of the lee fleet to be inactive. In this case, the ships
which are without opponents a-breast of them are made to tack, with all sails sets, in succession, and pass through these intervals of the weather line, in order to double the center division, or any other part of it, and bring it between two fires; while the other ships which are a-breast, and on the other side of it, cannonade from to leeward.
TO BRING A FLEET TO AN ANCHOR.
A CONSIDERABLE fleet ought to anchor in three parallel lines, at the proper distance which the length of the columns generally require. The ships being a hundred fathoms from each other, in the line of their head-most ship, which is to be on one of the close-hauled lines of bearing; the van and rear of the columns are to correspond with each other exactly in the direction of the wind, that they may with ease get under way, and form the order of battle with facility, so as to be able to dispute the weather gage with the enemy, if there should come one. As this evolution is to be performed in moderate weather, the fleet being in order on three columns, they are all at the same time to bring their ships head to wind under their topsails, and let go their anchors together, clewing up the topsails, with all possible dispatch, head to wind; putting the foot of the sails in the tops, and loosening the sheets before hauling them down; then veering away an equal quantity of cable, to preserve their distances.
When it blows so fresh as to require the topsails being reefed, two cables length distance may be kept between the ships, and even three if it be likely to blow hard.
If the fleet do not exceed twenty ships, they may anchor on one of the lines of bearing, or parallel to the coast, in places where trade winds are common, provided they blow in the direction of the land; for, in all cases, they must be in a condition to get under way at the first sight of the enemy, whose approach is never to be waited for at anchor; because, if it be dangerous for a single ship, it must be still more so for a fleet, the movements of which are interrupted by the difficulty there is in getting with celerity under way ships which are moored, and which, in that case, are not much able mutually to support one another, as it is absolutely requisite in a fleet.
TO GET A FLEET UNDER WAY.
ALL the fleet being short a-peek, the lee column is to get under way first, and bring to all at the same time, just as they find themselves after casting. The center column is then to perform the same manoeuvre, and cast likewise as soon as the other column is brought to; and both columns will remain in that same position of lying to as the lee column, till the weather column which is still a-peek, having weighed, should be also under way.
The three columns may often be got under way all at once: but, to execute this, the fleet must all act together, and with equal ardour; for the weather ships must not at any rate be under way before the lee ones.
If it be necessary to get immediately in order of battle, the weather columns are at once to bear away two points together, that they may take their posts in the line of battle a-head of the lee column.
If the fleet be moored on a line, and head to wind, the rear ship may get under way first, and haul immediately by the wind; the others in succession, from the rear to the van, can easily take their station in her wake, so that the rear ship will become leader.
If the fleet be moored in a line head to wind, they may all get under way at the same time; but the van ship is to bring to, while the rest, casting the other way, would stand on by the wind on the same tack on which they have cast, and come to tack successively in her wake, to form the order of battle.
If you wished to be more to windward, the fleet having all at the same time got under way, and cast all on the same tack, the van ship might heave about under an easy sail; and all the rest, continuing close hauled on the same tack they got under way, will come, in succession, in his wake, when they are to stay. Observe, at the same time, the rear ships are to carry all possible sail.
TO PUT A FLEET IN A POSITION OF DEFENCE IN A ROAD-STEAD.
WHEN a road-stead is sufficiently spacious, and the entrance not too much extended, the ships are to be moored with springs, in two parallel lines from the entrance to the bottom of the bay; the van ship so near the land that it should be impossible for the enemy to pass between them and the shore, and he may be obliged to pass between the two lines, the van ships of which must be supported by good batteries on shore, at the two extremities of the boom, which they must take care to have constructed from one side to the other, when possible, or only before the ships, if it cannot be done otherwise. Besides this, there should be gun-boats destined to post themselves a-head or a-stern of the ships attempting to force the port. There are also to be fire-ships moored within the points, that they may be to windward of the enemy after they have got into the port, supposing them to have been able to force the entrance,
THE EXERCISE OF THE GREAT GUNS.
IN order to render seamen expert in the use of artillery, they are frequently practised in the following exercise; which is here introduced, because, without skill in annoying an enemy, the most able manoeuvres may fail in their desired objects.
Upon beating to arms (every person having immediately repaired to his quarters) the midshipman, commanding a number of guns, is to see that they are not without every necessary article, as (at every gun) a spunge, powder-horn, with it's priming wires, and a sufficient quantity of powder, shot, crow, handspec, bed, quoin, train-tackle, &c. sending, without delay, for a supply-of any thing that may be missing; and, for the greater certainty of not overlooking any deficiency, he is to give strict orders to each captain under him, to make the like examination at his respective gun, and to take care that every requisite is in a serviceable condition, which he is to report accordingly. And, for the still more certain and speedy account being taken upon these occasions, the midshipman is to give each man his charge at quarters, (as expressed in the form of the monthly report) who is to search for his particular implements, and, not finding them, is immediately to acquaint his captain, that, upon his report to the midshipman, they may be replaced.
The man who takes care of the powder is to place himself on the opposite side of the deck from that where we engage, except when fighting both sides at once, when he is to be amid-ships. He is not to suffer any other man to take a cartridge from him but he who is appointed to serve the gun with that article, either in time of a real engagement, or at exercise.
Lanthorns are not to brought to quarters in the night, until the midshipman gives his orders for so doing to the person he charges with that article. Every thing being in its place, and not the least lumber in the way of the guns, the exercise begins with,
1st. SILENCE.-At this word every one is to observe a silent attention to the officers.
2d. CAST LOOSE YOUR GUNS.-The muzzle lashing is to be taken off from the guns; and, being coiled up in a small compass, is to be made fast to the eye-bolt above the port. The lashing-tackles at the same time to be cast loose, and the middle of the breeching, seized to the thimble of the pomillion. The spunge to be taken down, and, with the crow, handspec, &c. laid upon the deck, by the gun.
When prepared for engaging an enemy, the seizing within the clinch of the breeching is to be cut, that the gun may come sufficiently within-board for loading, and that the force of the recoil may be more spent before it acts upon the breeching.
3d. LEVEL YOUR GUNs.-The breech of your metal is to be raised so as to admit the foot of the bed's being placed upon the axle-tree of the carriage, with the quoin upon the bed, both their ends being even one with the other.
When levelled for firing, the bed is to be lashed to the bolt which supports the inner end of it, that it may not be thrown out of its place by the violence of the gun's motion, when hot with frequent discharges.
4th. TAKE OUT YOUR TOMPIONS.-The tompion is to be taken out of the gun's mouth, and left hanging by it's laniard.
5th. RUN OUT YOUR GUNS.-With the tackles hooked to the upper bolts of the carriage, the gun is to bowsed out as close as possible, without the assistance of crows or handspecs; taking care at the same time to keep the breeching clear of the trucks, by hauling it through the rings; it is then to be bent so as to run clear when the gun is fired. When the gun is out, the tackle-falls are to be laid along-side the carriages in neat fakes, that when the gun, by recoiling, overhauls them, they may not be subject to get foul, as they would if in a common coil.
6th. the cartridge is to be pierced with the priming wire, and the vent filled with powder, the pan also is to be filled; and the flat space, having a score through it at the end of the pan, is to be covered, and this part of the priming is to be bruised with the round part of the horn. The apron is to be laid over, and the horn hung up out of danger from the flash of the priming.
7th. POINT YOUR GUNS.-At this command the gun is, in the first place, to be elevated to the height of the object, by means of the side-sights; and then the person pointing is to direct his fire by the upper-sight, having a crow on one side and a handspec on the other, to heave the gun by his direction till he catches the object.
The men who heave the gun for pointing are to stand between the ship's side and their crows or handspecs, to escape the injury they might otherwise receive from their being struck against them, or splintered by a shot; and the man who attends the captain with a match is to bring it at the word, "POINT YOUR GUNS;" and, kneeling upon one knee opposite the train-truck of the carriage, and at such a distance as to be able to touch the priming, is to turn his head from the gun, and keep blowing gently upon the lighted match to keep it clear from ashes. And, as the missing of an enemy in action, by neglect or want of coolness, is most inexcusable, it is particularly recommended to have
the people thoroughly instructed in pointing well, and taught to know the ill consequences of not taking proper means to hit their mark; wherefore they should be made to elevate their guns to the utmost nicety, and then to point with the same exactness; and, having caught the object through the upper-sight, at the word,
8th. FIRE.-The match is instantly to be put to the bruised part of the priming; and, when the gun is discharged, the vent is to be closed, in order to smother any spark of fire that may remain in the chamber of the gun; and the man who spunges is immediately to place himself by the muzzle of the gun in readiness.
9th. SPUNGE YOUR GUN.-The spunge is to be rammed down to the bottom of the chamber, and then twisted round, to extinguish effectually any remains of fire; and, when drawn out, to be struck against the out-side of the muzzle, to shake off any sparks or scraps of the cartridge that may have come out with it; and next, it's end is to be shifted ready for loading; and while this is doing, the man appointed to provide a cartridge is to go to the box, and by the time the spunge is out of the gun, he is to have it ready.
10th. LOAD WITH CARTRIDGE.-The cartridge (with the bottom end first, seam-downwards, and a wad after it) is to be put into the gun, and thrust a little way within the mouth, when the rammer is to be entered; the cartridge is then to be forcibly rammed down, and the captain at the same time is to keep his priming-wire in the vent, and, feeling the cartridge, is to give the word home, when the rammer is to be drawn, and not before. While this is doing, the man appointed to provide a shot is to provide one (or two, according to the order at that time) ready at the muzzle, with a wad likewise, and when the rammer is drawn, at the word,
11th. SHOT YOUR GUNS,-The shot and wad upon it are to be put into the gun, and thrust a little way down, when the rammer is to be entered as before. The shot and wad are to be rammed down to the cartridge, and there have a couple of forcible strokes, when the rammer is to be drawn, and laid out of the way of the guns and tackles, if the exercise or action is continued; but if it is over, the spunge is to be secured in the place it is at all times kept in.
12th. PUT IN YOUR TOMPIONS.-The tompions to be put into the muzzle of the cannon.
13th. HOUSE YOUR GUNS.-The seizing is to be put on again upon the clinched end of the breeching, leaving it no slacker than to admit of the guns being housed with ease. The quoin is to be taken from under the breech of the gun, and the bed, full resting upon the bolt, within the carriage, thrust under, till the foot of it falls off the axle-tree, leaving it to rest upon the end which projects out from the foot. The metal is to be let down upon this. The gun is to be placed exactly square, and the muzzle is to be close to the wood, in it's proper place for passing the muzzle lashings.
14th. SECURE YOUR GUNs.-The muzzle lashings must first be made secure, and then with one tackle (having all it's parts equally tight with the breeching) the gun is to be lashed. The other tackle is to be bowsed tight, and by itself made fast, that it may be ready to cast off for lashing a second breeching.
Care must be taken to hook the first tackle to the upper bolt of the carriage, that it may not other-wise obstruct the reeving of the second breeching, and to give the greater length to the end part of the fall.
No pains must be spared in bowsing the lashing very tight, that the gun may have the least play that is possible, as their being loose may be productive of very dangerous consequences.
The quoin, crow, and handspec, are to be put under the gun, the powder-horn hung up in it's place, &c.
Being engaged at any time when there is a large swell, a rough sea, or in squally weather, &c. as the ship may be liable to be suddenly much heeled, the port-tackle fall is to be kept clear, and (whenever the working of the gun will admit of it) the man charged with that office is to keep it in his hand; at the same time the muzzle lashing is to be kept fast to the ring of the port, and being hauled tight, is to be fastened to the eye-bolt over the port-hole, so as to be out of the gun's way, in firing, in order to haul it in at any time of danger.
This precaution is not to be omitted, when engaging to the windward, any more than when to the leeward, those situations being very subject to alter at too short a warning.
A train-tackle is always to be made use of with the lee-guns, and the man stationed to attend it is to be very careful in preventing the gun's running out at an improper time.
EPITOME OF A GENERAL ENGAGEMENT.
THE whole oeconomy of a naval engagement may be arranged under the following heads, viz. the PREPARATION; the ACTION; and the REPAIR, or refitting for the purposes of navigation.
The PREPARATION is begun by issuing an order to clear the ship for action, which is repeated by the boatswain and his mates at all the hatchways, or stair-cases, leading to the different batteries. As the cannon cannot be worked while the hammocs are suspended in their usual situations, it becomes necessary to remove them as quick as possible. By this circumstance a double advantage is obtained: the batteries of cannon are immediately cleared of an incumbrance, and the hammocs are converted into a sort of parapet, to prevent the execution of small shot on the quarter-deck, tops, and fore-castle. At the summons of the boatswain, Up all hammocs! every sailor repairs to his own; and, having stowed his bedding properly, he cords it firmly with a lashing, or line, provided for that purpose. He then carries it to the quarter-deck, poop, or fore-castle, or wherever it may be necessary. As each side of the quarter-deck and poop is furnished with a double net-work, supported by iron cranes fixed immediately above the gunnel, or top of the ship's side, the hammocs thus corded are firmly stowed by the quarter-master between the two parts of the netting, so as to form an excellent barrier. The tops, waist, and fore-castle, are then fenced in the same manner.
Whilst these offices are performed below, the boatswain and his mates are employed in securing the sail-yards, to prevent them from tumbling down when the ship is cannonaded, as she might thereby be disabled, and rendered incapable of attack, retreat, or pursuit. The yards are now like-wise secured by strong chains, or ropes, additional to those by which they are usually suspended. The boatswain also provides the necessary materials to repair the rigging, wherever it may be damaged by the shot of the enemy; and to supply whatever parts of it may be entirely destroyed. The carpenter and his crew in the mean-while prepare his shot plugs and mauls, to close up any dangerous breaches that may be made near the surface of the water; and provide the iron-work necessary to refit the chain-pumps, in case their machinery should be wounded in the engagement. The gunner, with his mates and quarter-gunners, is busied in examining the cannon of the different batteries, to see that their charges are thoroughly dry and fit for execution: to have every thing ready for furnishing
the great guns and small arms with powder, as soon as the action begins: and to keep a sufficient number of cartridges continually filled, to supply the place of those expended in battle. The master and his mates are attentive to have the sails properly trimmed, according to the situation of the ship; and to reduce or multiply them, as occasion requires, with all possible expedition. The lieutenants visit the different decks, to see that they are effectually cleared of all incumbrance, so that nothing may retard the execution of the artillery; and to enjoin the other officers to diligence and alertness, in making the necessary dispositions for the expected engagement, so that every thing may be in readiness at a moment's warning.
When the hostile ships have approached each other to a competent distance, the drums beat to arms. The boatswain and his mates pipe, all hands to quarters! at every hatchway. All the persons appointed to manage the great guns immediately repair to their respective stations. The crows, handspecs, rammers, spunges, powder-horns, matches and train-tackles, are placed in order by the side of every cannon. The hatches are immediately laid, to prevent any one from deserting his post by escaping into the lower apartments. The marines are drawn up in rank and file, on the quarterdeck, poop and fore-castle. The lashings of the great guns are cast loose, and the tompions withdrawn. The whole artillery, above and below, is run out at the ports, and levelled to the pointblank range ready for firing.
The necessary preparations being completed, and the officers and crew ready at their respective stations, to obey the order, the commencement of the action is determined by the mutual distance and situation of the adverse ships, or by the signal from the commander in chief of the fleet or squadron. The cannon being levelled in parallel rows, projecting from the ship's side, the most natural order of battle is evidently to range the ships a-breast of each other, especially if the engagement is general. The most convenient distance is properly within the point-blank range of a musket, so that all the artillery may do effectual execution.
The ACTION usually begins by a vigorous cannonade, accompanied with the whole efforts of the swivel guns and the small-arms. The method of firing in platoons, or vollies of cannon at once, appears inconvenient in the sea-service, and perhaps should never be attempted, unless in the battering of a fortification. The sides and decks of the ship, although sufficiently strong for all the purposes of war, would be too much shaken by so violent an explosion and recoil. The general rule observed on this occasion throughout the ship, is to load, fire, and spunge the guns with all possible expedition, yet without confusion or precipitation. The captain of each gun is particularly enjoined to fire when the piece is properly directed to it's object, that the shot may not be fruitlessly expended. The lieutenants, who command the different batteries, traverse the deck to see that the battle is prosecuted with vivacity; and to exhort and animate the men to their duty. The midshipmen second these injunctions, and give the necessary assistance, wherever it may be required, at the guns committed to their charge. The gunner should be particularly attentive that all the artillery is sufficiently supplied with powder, and that the cartridges are carefully conveyed along the decks in covered boxes. The havock produced by a continuation of this mutual assault may be readily conjectured by the reader's imagination. The defeated ship having acknowledged the victor, by striking her colours, is immediately taken possession of by the conqueror, who secures her officers and crew as prisoners in his own ship and invests his principal officer with the command of the prize until a captain is appointed by the commander in chief.
The engagement being concluded, they begin the REPAIR: the cannon are secured by their breechings and tackles, with all convenient expedition. Whatever sails have been rendered unserviceable
are unbent; and the wounded masts and yards struck upon the deck, and fished or replaced by others. The standing rigging is knotted, and the running rigging spliced wherever necessary. Proper sails are bent in the room of those which have been displaced as useless. The carpenter and his crew are employed in repairing the breaches made in the ship's hull, by shot-plugs, pieces of plank, and sheet lead. The gunner and his assistants are busied in replenishing the allotted number of charged cartridges, to supply the place of those which have been expended, and in refitting whatever furniture of the cannon may have been damaged by the late action.
Such are the usual process and consequences of an engagement between two ships of war, which may be considered as descriptive of a general battle between fleets or squadrons. The latter, however, involves a greater variety of incidents, and necessarily requires more comprehensive skill and judgment in the commanding officer.