Reply To: Where was the magazine on a sloop of war during Napoleonic Wars?

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1500 – 1830 Where was the magazine on a sloop of war during Napoleonic Wars? Reply To: Where was the magazine on a sloop of war during Napoleonic Wars?

Nicholas Blake

    In 1793-1815 the RN also used parchment and paper cartridges: parchment cartridges do not last more than three weeks; paper is more durable and less expensive, Shipboard Life and Organisation, 30, quoting R&I, 1790, p. 102, art. VII. Flannel cartridges were universally introduced instead of paper by order 3 Jan 1816, ADM 7/226.

    Damp in magazines was considered a problem. Here is Trotter:
    The air in the store-rooms there situated [in the foremost part of the ship], especially the gunner’s, becomes so foul as frequently to be scarcely respirable, and every thing in them decayed or rotten. The powder too is greatly injured by the humidity and foulness of the air and causes the manufacturer to be blamed for its bad quality, where the diminution of its strength has arisen from the want of due attention to it in the magazine, where seldom any pains are taken to correct the air, and where sometimes the powder remains during a whole year without the barrels containing it being changed in their position.’ Trotter, Medicina Nautica, 1804, in NRS 97, p. 278

    I have an order given by Captain Keats in the Superb (74) in 1801, which must have been hair-raising:

    A gentle Fire is to be kept by day in the Magazine forward, during which time Two Tubs and Four fire Buckets filled with water are to be kept in it and Swabs damped; — The Fire engine hose pointed down [inserted: the engine filled with water] and great concern must be taken to prevent the Fire being so brisk as to heat the Stove or Funnel so much as to endanger it’s communicating Fire.
    A Midshipman, a Corporal or Master at Arms, Two Marine Centinels, and Two Gunners are to be constantly watching the Fire in the Magazine, are to be relieved every two hours & visited twice a watch at least by a Lieut. & frequently by the Gunner. The Magazine must be frequently swept, the Racks scrubbed, and all dust arising therefrom must be damped and very carefully taken up.’

    ADM 80/141, out-letters f133; similar order dated 16 Jul 1802, f148