1857-03-18 Black Sea fleet

London Times, 18 March 1857, p. 10: ?? (Excerpt)

The 17 "equipages" of the Black Sea fleet that took part in the defence of Sebastopol have received from the Emperor flags with the Cross of St. George, and the inscription, "For the defence of Sebastopol."

Before he set off on his visit to Germany the Grand Duke Constantine carried out a great alteration in the organization of the fleet. Formerly it was divided into "divisions," each of which consisted of three "brigades;" the "divisions" were commanded by vice-admirals, the "brigades" by rear-admirals. According to the new arrangement introduced by the Grand Duke, the construction of brigades is given up, and the commanders of brigades are attached to the commanders of divisions. One result of this new arrangement is a greater concentration of the command and greater facility for action. Two exceptions from this general abolition of brigades are formed by the Caspian Brigade and the 10th Brigade of the Baltic Fleet, which, however, takes now the name of the "Light Brigade." Another of the Grand Duke's recent alterations in the organization of the Baltic Fleet consists in the abolition of the "equipage" of enginemen and stokers, and providing every crew with a separate "company" of machinists, as they are called. With great forethought and provision for the great increase of the steam fleet that is about to take place, it is also arranged that each vessel shall for the present bear on its books twice as many "machinists" as the ordinary complement requires. The Baltic fleet has already since the conclusion of peace received a reinforcement of 9 frigates, 14 corvettes, and 100 gunboats, all screw steamers; there are also more screw steamers spoken of as being built for the Russian Government in Bordeaux and in Liverpool; in Archangel, in Abo, and in Cronstadt, a still further number of light draught screw steamers are on the stocks, so that the Russians flatter themselves that they shall soon be a match for any enemy in their own waters. The naval department has contracted for 1,200,000 cwt. of English coals to be delivered this year for the use of the fleet in St. Petersburg, Cronstadt, Reval, Abo, and Archangel.

At Cronstadt there has been a new shooting gallery erected to enable the naval officers to keep up their shooting practice undisturbed by the rigour of the climate; and the Grand Duke himself drew up a carefully-considered set of regulations with regard to this shooting practice, so that it would seem impossible for any officer to escape complying with his intentions. One of the regulations here introduced is that every officer shall make use of his own firearms at the practices or at the shooting matches, and thus it is made in some degree a point of honour with them to procure good arms. It is believed at Cronstadt that the numerous alterations that have been made in the fleet of late are but the prelude to still more numerous changes. Not only is the Grand Duke Constantine himself now travelling about, and carefully profiting by every opportunity of seeing foreign maritime affairs, but also the Admirals Putiatin and Glasenappe, and a number of other naval officers of rank, are journeying about with like intent, and it has been observed that from time to time these coryphées of the fleet meet, and confer with their Imperial chef.

Provided by Stephen McLaughlin