Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

offers sufficient chance of success to be always attempted when the opportunity occurs. Fourth, a single torpedo cutter, of inferior quality, is sufficient to surprise a vessel at anchor at night; a day attack against a vessel under way requires the co-operation of several torpedo boats of special construction. Fifth, under all circumstances, where such boats, formed into flotillas, have to attack one or more vessels, the attack should be simultaneous. Sixth, the use of divergent torpedoes in boats should be rejected. Seventh, in a dark night, or with a rough sea, spar torpedoes can be usefully employed for attacking a vessel at anchor, in a strong current, or one which may be supposed to be without good exterior defenses. Eighth, Whitehead torpedoes should be employed in preference, on a clear night, where the sea is smooth, or the current feeble, and when the vessel is supposed to be protected by obstructions. Ninth, against a vessel under way both of these systems of torpedoes can be employed, according to circumstances; it would therefore seem proper to embody in the flotillas intended for harbor and coast defense spar-bearing and torpedo-firing launches. Tenth, whenever circumstances will permit, a vessel at anchor should guarantee herself against the attacks of torpedo-boats, not only by good exterior and interior vigilance, but also by obstructions secured to her spars, or by obstacles independent of her hull, or even by using a combination of the two methods. Eleventh, a vessel under way may sometimes be protected by swinging booms and nets.

In closing this article it is scarcely necessary to state that we do not pretend to establish any fixed rules or principles for the use of the torpedo. The weapon is such a new one in warfare that time and circumstances may greatly modify its uses; in the meanwhile we should conscientiously study the actions in which the torpedo has already figured, and profit by the lessons taught by the seamen who first used the arm in actual engagement.

THE TRAINING SHIP MINNESOTA.

Additional remarks of Lieut. B. Noyes on Lieut. Comd’r Chadwick's paper, particularly treating of the system and routine, as carried out on board the Training Ship Minnesota.

In a general way the system on board the Minnesota is as follows: There have been many changes, and will be more, with the experience of the officers, and the present plan, of course, is not satisfactory to all, but it works fairly well.

Boys, accompanied by parents or guardians, appear on board and are sent to the Captain's office. He converses with the boys first, endeavoring to discover their general disposition and antecedents, if they are determined to become sailors, if they come with the idea of becoming officers, and of their own free will; and endeavors to deter those who come with false ideas and bad character. The parent or guardian goes before the clerk, who is Notary Public, and makes oath that he is the lawful parent or guardian, what the boy’s age is, and consents to his apprenticeship. By far the greater per cent. of boys who come and stay is from the larger cities. Of a draft of twenty odd from the West, I think not one remains, all having obtained their discharge or deserted. Of colored boys we have very few, and they are of moderate intelligence.

Having gone through the legal forms of apprenticeship orders are sent to the medical officer to examine physically, to the officer of the deck to send over the mast head, and to the Chaplain who examines mentally, according to the form No. 5, the last being with a view to

find out whether the boy be a dull, stupid one, or not. When examined

by the foregoing the papers are sent to the office, and, if successful, the recruit is sent to the ship's writer, who gives him a slip with his watch, division and gun numbers; thence he goes to the Master-at-arms who puts on his slip his mess and ship number and takes him to the Paymaster's office, where he gets his outfit of clothing, which is examined, as to fit and quality, by the officer of the primary division. The clothing is then marked and put in his bag; he is then taken to the Captain of the after-guard, (in which part of the ship they all begin) who shows

him his billet, how to lash up his hammock, tells him where to come in the morning to wash, &c. The next morning he begins his routine at quarters, where the orders (No. 3) are read to him. The general idea of a ship's company is followed in laying out the routine, having the after guard and Company

Division as a sort of introductory to the rest of the ship's company

and routine. Outside the foregoing the boys are watched and stationed precisely similar to an ordinary crew. There are at present about three hundred and twenty boys on board. They are divided into twelve gun's crews; and the Primary Division, variable in size but now about four gun's crews, numbered 13, 14, 15, and 16. The first six gun's crews from the Forecastle and Foretopmen, odd numbered guns Starboard, even Port watch; the second six the Main and Mizzen Topmen. There are about twenty boys in each crew. In all formations for instruction the gun's crews are used as the sections, and the boys again divided by the instructors, according to their merit in the particular branch. There are three Departments, Seamanship, Gunnery, and Studies, and extra instruction in signalling, boxing, broadsword, and the use of diving apparatus, an officer in charge of each and the navigator in general charge. Under each officer in charge are instructors; in seamanship two junior officers, two school-masters, and the petty officers; in gunnery two junior officers; and an effort is being made to instruct seamen apprentices who have returned from a cruise, and are willing to re-enlist. In signals, one officer, one school-master who attends to Boxing and Diving and one who attends to cutlass exercise. It has been found that, even in the winter, a man-of-war of the size of the Minnesota, requires one watch to be on hand to do the work; so all instruction is confined to one watch for the day, the watch on deck (weather permitting) being exercised in seamanship. The routine of instruction, (No. 6.), provides for three hours per week for “all hands” in general exercises, as ship's company, (excepting always the Primary Division) such exercise being Monday, great guns, Tuesday, drill as Battalion, ashore. There are seven hours instruction in gunnery, eight hours in seamanship, and eight in studies. For the Primary Division there is the same instruction but different exercise, the first few weeks being devoted, on general exercise days, to “setting up” facings, etc., in order to give the boys a good bearing and enable them to get around; then they have Howitzer Drill divided into three classes, senior, all the gun captains (who are also captain of tops,) middle class, all except the primary division boys who are Junior class. The Senior class boys have extra privileges, all recommended by divisional officers subject to approval of executive are not subject to same punishments, and cannot be deprived of position, except after warning and a repetition of offense. They also have choice of ships, if there be any, when drafted. It will be seen by the routine that as many hours are devoted to instruction in seamanship as to any other branch, and in summer the exercises, both general at colors and sunset, and by the watch on deck, when not at work, add very much more. The instruction in studies consists of geography, history, arithmetic, (through decimal fractions, I believe) and reading, writing and spelling for those deficient. All boys passing a certain examination are excused from studies. THE INSTRUCTION IN SEAMANSHIP.-The boys in each quarter watch (Gun Crews, No., 1, 3, 5, and primary division, 13, or 2, 4, 6, 14 or 7, 9, 11 and 15 or 8, 10, 12 and 16 are divided (each one) into sections according to merit in seamanship, and, once a month, changes are made at formation, when all the instructors are present, and, once a quarter, boys who wish are examined for a higher rating by all the departments. A glance at the section list shows a boy’s knowledge. The instructions for the winter consist in, first ; parts of ship and appliances—such as yards, masts, etc.; then in handwork, the ordinary work of knotting, making sennit, putting on straps, that a boy is first called upon to do when he goes on board a ship, there being a constant effort to give him practical rather than theoretical ideas; then marlinspike work, such as would be useful on going aboard the cruiser, then work on monkey yards, under cover, furling and getting yards ready for coming down and going up, then reefing parts of sails, reeving gear, standing rigging, etc., etc. There has been, this winter, much boating, rowing and sailing, and in the spring, work with the mizzen. In gunnery there is a lack of instructors, which we are endeavoring to supply by educating the seamen apprentices, as I have before said. The instruction consists in teaching parts and uses of implements, of guns, the manual drill, using dummy shell and cartridges, magazines, shot shell, howitzer drill, with a course of aiming drill, and practice at target for the senior class, who have a course of signals, boxing, and cutlass. There is a volunteer class of buglers—all calls for the ship being sounded by them, and we expect to send at least one bugler with a draft. All howitzer and boat drills are conducted by bugle signals. The instruction with cutlass is given by a schoolmaster assisted by a Corps of assistants (seamen apprentices.) There is a higher course of instruction in seamanship, gunnery and target practice for seamen apprentices who return for discharge.

Bag inspections occur twice a week, and one gun's crew of the watch on deck goes to the tailor for instruction in sewing. This inspection is considered very good, not only to keep the bags in order and clothing clean, but to teach habits of order. Each crew has two seamen (petty officers generally) in charge of the clothing of that crew and responsible for such. Boys outside the primary division are excused from inspection after proving themselves neat and orderly with their bags and clothing.

Bag inspection in the primary division is conducted more severely than in the others, that the boys may, at the outset, be taught proper habits with their clothing. Their clothing is all marked in precisely the same spot, rolled neatly, so that the number shows, and strapped twice. When bag inspection takes place the crews divide “as for casting loose,” open their bags, take out clothing and “lay out” on the bag, white pieces on one side, blue on the other, in order, number out, the seamen in charge inspect for dirty pieces, then the officer of the division passes along, corrects his clothing list, at a glance telling what is missing in the bags. The tailor goes with him, examines one day their ordinary suit, the next their mustering suit, for needed repairs; takes the names of those whose clothing needs it, and has it repaired that afternoon. The new ones get their stuff for clothing-stops, soap, and bag, and are shown how to make them; then the seamen show how to stow the bags when inspection is over. Boys are anxious to pass from the primary division, and can do so by answering the questions on No. 4 satisfactorily, and having gone through the course; and on transfer they are made second class boys. Each captain of a part of the ship has a small book in which he marks all of his boys once a month on their handiness aloft and general capability, which marks are considered in passing from one grade to another. Such is, in a general way, the system pursued on board the Minnesota. Boys are not allowed to remain long enough to obtain the best results, so we must content ourselves with what can be done in the time generally allotted, say a short year.

« EdellinenJatka »