Powder magazine & powder monkeys
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Tagged: Powder monkey
Where was the powder kept on board a large sloop? Would the powder monkeys have to go right down there, or would the ammunition be passed up on pulleys as in a ship of the line? Also, at what stage in the firing of the gun would they run to fetch the powder – while it was being sponged, or earlier before it fired?
A large sloop in the Georgian RN would keep powder in the magazine, aka the powder room, which was aft in the hold (frigates and above had it forward). There was an adjacent filling room with shelves for storing filled cartridges, and tools. The hold was very dark so to limit the risk of explosion the candles used were kept in the light room, which was a glass compartment between the two. Attached is a diagram of the cutter Alert of 1777, which will give you the general idea.
The boys would go to the magazine as required, with wooden or metal cartridge cases. If the ship was in action, the supply would be as nearly continuous as possible, so would be prepared when the ship cleared for action.
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