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Title: A History of Sea Power
Author: Stevens, William Oliver, 1878-1955, Westcott, Allan F. (Allan Ferguson), 1882-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A History of Sea Power" ***




Professors in the United States Naval Academy

With Maps, Diagrams, and Illustrations

New York
George H. Doran Company


This volume has been called into being by the absence of any brief
work covering the evolution and influence of sea power from the
beginnings to the present time. In a survey at once so comprehensive
and so short, only the high points of naval history can be touched.
Yet it is the hope of the authors that they have not, for that
reason, slighted the significance of the story. Naval history is
more than a sequence of battles. Sea power has always been a vital
force in the rise and fall of nations and in the evolution of
civilization. It is this significance, this larger, related point
of view, which the authors have tried to make clear in recounting
the story of the sea. In regard to naval principles, also, this
general survey should reveal those unchanging truths of warfare
which have been demonstrated from Salamis to Jutland. The tendency
of our modern era of mechanical development has been to forget the
value of history. It is true that the 16" gun is a great advance
over the 32-pounder of Trafalgar, but it is equally true that the
naval officer of to-day must still sit at the feet of Nelson.

The authors would acknowledge their indebtedness to Professor F.
Wells Williams of Yale, and to the Classical Departments of Harvard
and the University of Chicago for valuable aid in bibliography.
Thanks are due also to Commander C. C. Gill, U. S. N., Captain T. G.
Frothingam, U. S. N. R., Dr. C. Alphonso Smith, and to colleagues of
the Department of English at the Naval Academy for helpful criticism.
As to the "References" at the conclusion of each chapter, it should
be said that they are merely references, not bibliographies. The
titles are recommended to the reader who may wish to study a period
in greater detail, and who would prefer a short list to a complete



United States Naval Academy,
  _June_, 1920.


           1. THE PERSIAN WAR
           1. THE PUNIC WARS
           2. THE IMPERIAL NAVY
     V  THE NAVIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES [_Continued_]:
     X  RISE OF ENGLISH SEA POWER [_continued_]:
   XII  NAPOLEONIC WARS [_Continued_]:
  XIII  NAPOLEONIC WARS [_Concluded_]:
           THE FIRST YEAR
  XVII  THE WORLD WAR [_Continued_]:
 XVIII  THE WORLD WAR [_Concluded_]:


CHART OF A. D. 1589




Civilization and sea power arose from the Mediterranean, and the
progress of recent archeological research has shown that civilizations
and empires had been reared in the Mediterranean on sea power long
before the dawn of history. Since the records of Egypt are far
better preserved than those of any other nation of antiquity, and
the discovery of the Rosetta stone has made it possible to read
them, we know most about the beginnings of civilization in Egypt.
We know, for instance, that an Egyptian king some 2000 years before
Christ possessed a fleet of 400 fighting ships. But it appears
now that long before this time the island of Crete was a great
naval and commercial power, that in the earliest dynasties of Egypt
Cretan fleets were carrying on a commerce with the Nile valley.
Indeed, the Cretans may have taught the Egyptians something of the
art of building sea-going ships for trade and war.[1] At all events,
Crete may be regarded as the first great sea power of history, an
island empire like Great Britain to-day, extending its influence
from Sicily to Palestine and dominating the eastern Mediterranean
for many centuries. From recent excavations of the ancient capital
we get an interesting light on the old Greek legends of the Minotaur
and the Labyrinth, going back to the time when the island kingdom
levied tribute, human as well as monetary, on its subject cities
throughout the Ægean.

[Footnote 1: It is interesting to note that the earliest empires,
Assyria and Egypt, were not naval powers, because they arose in rich
river valleys abundantly capable of sustaining their inhabitants.
They did not need to command the sea.]

On this sea power Crete reared an astonishingly advanced civilization.
Until recent times, for instance, the Phœnicians had been credited
with the invention of the alphabet. We know now that 1000 years
before the Phœnicians began to write the Cretans had evolved a
system of written characters--as yet undeciphered--and a decimal
system for numbers. A correspondingly high stage of excellence
had been reached in engineering, architecture, and the fine arts,
and even in decay Crete left to Greece the tradition of mastery
in laws and government.

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN SHIP

From Torr, _Ancient Ships_.]

The power of Crete was already in its decline centuries before
the Trojan War, but during a thousand years it had spread its own
and Egyptian culture over the shores of the Ægean. The destruction
of the island empire in about 1400 B.C. apparently was due to some
great disaster that destroyed her fleet and left her open to invasion
by a conquering race--probably the Greeks--who ravaged her cities
by sword and fire. On account of her commanding position in the
Mediterranean, Crete might again have risen to sea power but for
the endless civil wars that marked her subsequent history.

The successor to Crete as mistress of the sea was Phœnicia. The
Phœnicians, oddly enough, were a Semitic people, a nomadic race
with no traditions of the sea whatever. When, however, they migrated
to the coast and settled, they found themselves in a narrow strip
of coast between a range of mountains and the sea. The city of Tyre
itself was erected on an island. Consequently these descendants of
herdsmen were compelled to find their livelihood upon the sea--as
were the Venetians and the Dutch in later ages--and for several
hundred years they maintained their control of the ocean highways.

The Phœnicians were not literary, scientific, or artistic; they
were commercial. Everything they did was with an eye to business.
They explored the Mediterranean and beyond for the sake of tapping
new sources of wealth, they planted colonies for the sake of having
trading posts on their routes, and they developed fighting ships for
the sake of preserving their trade monopolies. Moreover, Phœnicia
lay at the end of the Asiatic caravan routes. Hence Phœnician ships
received the wealth of the Nile valley and Mesopotamia and distributed
it along the shores of the Mediterranean. Phœnician ships also
uncovered the wealth of Spain and the North African coast, and,
venturing into the Atlantic, drew metals from the British Isles.
According to Herodotus, a Phœnician squadron circumnavigated Africa
at the beginning of the seventh century before Christ, completing
the voyage in three years. We should know far more now of the extent
of the explorations made by these master mariners of antiquity
were it not for the fact that they kept their trade routes secret
as far as possible in order to preserve their trade monopoly.

In developing and organizing these trade routes the Phœnicians
planted colonies on the islands of the Mediterranean,--Sicily,
Sardinia, Corsica, and Malta. They held both shores of the Straits
of Gibraltar, and on the Atlantic shores of Spain established posts
at Cadiz and Tarshish, the latter commonly supposed to have been
situated just north of Cadiz at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River.
Cadiz was their distributing point for the metals of northern Spain
and the British Isles. The most famous colony was Carthage, situated
near the present city of Tunis. Carthage was founded during the first
half of the ninth century before Christ, and on the decay of the
parent state became in turn mistress of the western Mediterranean,
holding sway until crushed by Rome in the Punic Wars.

Of the methods of the Phœnicians and their colonists in establishing
trade with primitive peoples, we get an interesting picture from
Herodotus,[1] who describes how the Carthaginians conducted business
with barbarous tribes on the northern coast of Africa.

[Footnote 1: HISTORY, translated by Geo. Rawlinson, vol. III, p.


"When they (the Carthaginian traders) arrive, forthwith they unload
their wares, and having disposed them in orderly fashion on the
beach, leave them, and returning aboard their ships, raise a great
smoke. The natives, when they see the smoke, came dawn to the shore,
and laying out to view so much gold as they think the wares to be
worth, withdraw to a distance. The Carthaginians upon this come
ashore and look. If they think the gold enough, they take it up and
go their way; but if it does not seem sufficient they go aboard
their ships once more and wait patiently. Then the others approach
and add to the gold till the Carthaginians are satisfied. Neither
party deals unfairly with the other; for the Carthaginians never
touch the gold till it comes up to the estimated value of their
goods, nor do the natives ever carry off the goads till the gold
has been taken away."

In addition to the enormous profits of the carrying trade the Phœnicians
had a practical monopoly of the famous "Tyrian dyes," which were in
great demand throughout the known world. These dyes were obtained
from two kinds of shellfish together with an alkali prepared from
seaweed. Phœnicians were also pioneers in the art of making glass.
It is not hard to understand, therefore, how Phœnicia grew so
extraordinarily rich as to rouse the envy of neighboring rulers,
and to maintain themselves the traders of Tyre and Sidon had to
develop fighting fleets as well as trading fleets.

Early in Egyptian history the distinction was made between the
"round" ships of commerce and the "long" ships of war. The round
ship, as the name suggests, was built for cargo capacity rather
than for speed. It depended on sail, with the oars as auxiliaries.
The long ship was designed for speed, depending on oars and using
sail only as auxiliary. And while the round ship was of deep draft
and rode to anchor, the shallow flat-bottomed long ships were drawn
up on shore. The Phœnicians took the Egyptian and Cretan models
and improved them. They lowered the bows of the fighting ships,
added to the blunt ram a beak near the water's edge, and strung
the shields of the fighting men along the bulwarks to protect the
rowers. To increase the driving force and the speed, they added a
second and then a third bank of oars, thus producing the "bireme" and
the "trireme." These were the types they handed down to the Greeks,
and in fact there was little advance made beyond the Phœnician war
galley during all the subsequent centuries of the Age of the Oar.

About the beginning of the seventh century before Christ the Phœnicians
had reached the summit of their power on the seas. Their extraordinary
wealth tempted the king of Assyria, in 725 B.C., to cross the mountain
barrier with a great army. He had no difficulty in overrunning the
country, but the inhabitants fled to their colonies. The great
city of Tyre, being on an island, defied the invader, and finally
the Assyrian king gave up and withdrew to his own country. Having
realized at great cost that he could not subdue the Phœnicians
without a navy, he set about finding one. By means of bribes and
threats he managed to seduce three Phœnician cities to his side.
These furnished him sixty ships officered by Phœnicians, but manned
by Assyrian crews.

With this fleet an attack was made on Tyre, but such was the contempt
felt by the Tyrians for their enemy that they held only twelve ships
for defense. These twelve went out against the sixty, utterly routed
them, and took 500 prisoners. For five years longer the Assyrian
king maintained a siege of Tyre from the mainland, attempting to
keep the city from its source of fresh water, but as the Tyrians
had free command of the sea, they had no difficulty in getting
supplies of all kinds from their colonies. At the end of five years
the Assyrians again returned home, defeated by the Phœnician control
of the sea. When, twenty years later, Phœnicia was subjugated by
Assyria, it was due to the lack of union among the scattered cities
and colonies of the great sea empire. Widely separated, governed
by their own princes, the individual colonies had too little sense
of loyalty for the mother country. Each had its own fleets and its
own interests; in consequence an Assyrian fleet was able to destroy
the Phœnician fleets in detail. From this point till the rise of
Athens as a sea power, the fleets of Phœnicia still controlled the
sea, but they served the plans of conquest of alien rulers.

As a dependency of Persia, Phœnicia enabled Cambyses to conquer
Egypt. However, when the Phœnician fleet was ordered to subjugate
Carthage, already a strong power in the west, the Phœnicians refused
on the ground of the kinship between Carthage and Phœnicia. And
the help of Phœnicia was so essential to the Persian monarch that
he countermanded the order. Indeed the relation of Phœnicia to
Persia amounted to something more nearly like that of an ally than
a conquered province, for it was to the interests of Persia to
keep the Phœnicians happy and loyal.

When, in 498 B.C., the Greeks of Asia and the neighboring islands
revolted, it was due chiefly to the loyalty of the Phœnicians that the
Persian empire was saved. Thereafter, the Persian yoke was fastened
on the Asiatic Greeks, and any prospect of a Greek civilization
developing on the eastern shore of the Ægean was destroyed.

[Illustration: GREEK WAR GALLEY

From Torr, _Ancient Ships_.]

But on the western shore lay flourishing Greek cities still independent
of Persian rule. Moreover, the coastal towns like Corinth and Athens
were developing considerable power on the sea, and it was evident
that unless European Greece were subdued it would stand as a barrier
between Persia and the western Mediterranean. Darius perceived the
situation and prepared to destroy these Greek states before they
should become too formidable. The story of this effort, ending at
Salamis and Platea, and breaking for all time the power of Persia,
belongs in the subsequent chapter that narrates the rise and fall
of Athens as a sea power.

At this point, it is worth pausing to consider in detail the war
galley which the Phœnicians had developed and which they handed
down to the Greeks at this turning point in the world's history.
The bireme and the trireme were adopted by the Greeks, apparently
without alteration, save that at Salamis the Greek galleys were
said to have been more strongly built and to have presented a lower
freeboard than those of the Phœnicians. A hundred years later,
about 330 B.C., the Greeks developed the four-banked ship, and
Alexander of Macedon is said to have maintained on the Euphrates
a squadron of seven-banked ships. In the following century the
Macedonians had ships of sixteen banks of oars, and this was probably
the limit for sea-going ships in antiquity. These multiple banked
ships must have been most unhandy, for a reversal of policy set in
till about the beginning of the Christian era the Romans had gone
back to two-banked ships. In medieval times war galleys reverted
to a single row of oars on each side, but required four or five
men to every oar.


From Torr, _Ancient Ships_.]

At the time of the Persian war the trireme was the standard type of
warship, as it had been for the hundred years before, and continued
to be during the hundred years that followed. In fact, the name
trireme was used loosely for all ships of war whether they had two
banks of oars or three. But the fleets that fought in the Persian
war and in the Peloponnesian war were composed of three-banked ships,
and fortunately we have in the records of the Athenian dockyards
accurate information as to structural detail.

The Athenian trireme was about 150 feet in length with a beam of 20
feet. The beam was therefore only 2/15 of the length. (A merchant
ship of the same period was about 180 feet long with a beam of 1/4
its length.) The trireme was fitted with one mast and square sail,
the latter being used only when the wind was fair, as auxiliary
to the oars, especially when it needed to retire from battle. In
fact, the phrase "hoist the sail" came to be used colloquially
like our "turn tail" as a term for running away.

The triremes carried two sails, usually made of linen, a larger
one used in cruising and a smaller one for emergency in battle.
Before action it was customary to stow the larger sail on shore,
and the mast itself was lowered to prevent its snapping under the
shock of ramming.

The forward part of the trireme was constructed with a view to
effectiveness in ramming. Massive catheads projected far enough to
rip away the upper works of an enemy, while the bronze beak at the
waterline drove into her hull. This beak, or ram, was constructed
of a core of timber heavily sheathed with bronze, presenting three
teeth. Although the ram was the prime weapon of the ship, it often
became so badly wrenched in collision as to start the whole forward
part of the vessel leaking.

The rowers were seated on benches fitted into a rectangular structure
inside the hull. These benches were so compactly adjusted that
the naval architects allowed only two feet of freeboard for every
bank of oars. Thus the Roman quinquiremes of the Punic wars stood
only about ten feet above water. The covering of this rectangular
structure formed a sort of hurricane deck, standing about three
feet above the gangway that ran around the ship at about the level
of the bulwarks. This gangway and upper deck formed the platform
for the fighting men in battle. Sometimes the open space between
the hurricane deck and the gangway was fenced in with shields or
screens to protect the rowers of the uppermost bank of oars from
the arrows and javelins of the enemy.

The complement of a trireme amounted to about 200 men. The captain,
or "trierarch," commanded implicit obedience. Under him were a
sailing master, various petty officers, sailors, soldiers or marines,
and oarsmen.

The trireme expanded in later centuries to the quinquereme: upper
works were added and a second mast, but in essentials it was the
same type of war vessel that dominated the Mediterranean for three
thousand years--an oar driven craft that attempted to disable its
enemy by ramming or breaking away the oars. After contact the fighting
was of a hand to hand character such as prevailed in battles on
land. These characteristics were as true of the galley of Lepanto
(1571 A.D.) as of the trireme of Salamis (480 B.C.). Of the three
cardinal virtues of the fighting ship, mobility, seaworthiness,
and ability to keep the sea, or cruising radius, the oar-driven
type possessed only the first. It was fast, it could hold position
accurately, it could spin about almost on its own axis, but it was
so frail that it had to run for shelter before a moderate wind
and sea. In consequence naval operations were limited to the summer
months. As to its cargo capacity, it was so small that it was unable
to carry provisions to sustain its own crew for more than a few
days. As a rule the trireme was beached at night, with the crew
sleeping on shore, and as far as possible the meals were cooked
and eaten on shore. In the battle of Ægospotami (405 B.C.), for
example, the Spartans fell upon the Athenians when their ships
were drawn up on the beach and the crews were cooking their dinner.
Moreover, the factors of speed and distance were both limited by
the physical fatigue of the oarsmen. In the language of to-day,
therefore, the oar-driven man-of-war had a small "cruising radius."

This dependence on the land and this sensitiveness to weather are
important facts in ancient naval history. It is fair to say that
storms did far more to destroy fleets and naval expeditions than
battles during the entire age of the oar. The opposite extreme
was reached in Nelson's day. His lumbering ships of the line made
wretched speed and straggling formations, but they were able to
weather a hurricane and to keep the sea for an indefinite length
of time.

As a final word on the beginnings of navies, emphasis should be
laid on the enormous importance of these early mariners, such as
the Cretans and the Phœnicians, as builders of civilization. The
venturesome explorer who brought his ship into some uncharted port
not only opened up a new source of wealth but also established a
reciprocal relation that quickened civilization at both ends of
his route. The cargo ships that left the Nile delta distributed the
arts of Egypt as well as its wheat, and the richest civilization of
the ancient world, that of Greece, rose on foundation stones brought
from Egypt, Assyria, and Phœnicia. It may be said of Phœnicia herself
that she built-up her advanced culture on ideas borrowed almost
wholly from her customers. But control of the seas for trade involved
control of the seas for war, and behind the merchantman stood the
trireme. It is significant and appropriate that a Phœnician coin
that has come down to us bears the relief of a ship of war.

In contrast with these early sea explorers and sea fighters stand
the peoples of China and India. Having reached a high state of
culture at an early period, they nevertheless, sought no contact
with the world outside and became stagnant for thousands of years.
Indeed, among the Hindus the crossing of the sea was a crime to be
expiated only by the most agonizing penance. Hence these peoples
of Asia, the most numerous in the world, exercised no influence
on the development of civilization compared with a mere handful
of people in Crete or the island city of Tyre. And for the same
reason China and India ceased to progress and became for centuries
mere backwaters of history.

It is worth noting also that the Mediterranean, leading westwards
from the early developed nations of Asia Minor and Egypt, opened
a westward course to the advance of discovery and colonization,
and this trend continued as the Pillars of Hercules led to the
Atlantic and eventually to the new world. For every nation that
bordered the Mediterranean illimitable highways opened out for
expansion, provided it possessed the stamina and the skill to win
them. And in those days they were practically the only highways.
Frail as the early ships were and great as were the perils they
had to face, communications by water were far centuries faster
and safer than communications by land. Hence civilization followed
the path of the sea. Even in these early beginnings it is easy
to see that sea-borne commerce leads to the founding of colonies
and the formation of an empire whose parts are linked together
by trade routes, and finally, that the preservation of such an
empire depends an the naval control of sea. This was as true of
Crete and Phœnicia as it was later true of Venice, Holland, and


THE SEA KINGS OF CRETE, J. Baikie, 1910.
PHœNICIA, Story of the Nations Series, George Rawlinson, 1895.
THE SAILING SHIP, E. Keble Chatterton, 1909.
SHIPS AND THEIR WAYS OF OTHER DAYS, E. Keble Chatterton, 1913.
ANCIENT SHIPS, Cecil Torr, 1894.
ARCHEOLOGIE NAVALE, Auguste Jal, 1840.
  G. H. Buhmer, in Report of the U. S. National Museum, 1893.
  This article contains a complete bibliography on the subject of
  ancient ships.
SEA POWER AND FREEDOM (chap. 2), Gerard Fiennes, 1918.




In determining to crush the independence of the Greek cities of
the west, Darius was influenced not only by the desire to destroy a
dangerous rival on the sea and an obstacle to further advances by the
Persian empire, but also to tighten his hold on the Greek colonies of
Asia Minor. Helped by the Phœnician fleet and the treachery of the
Lesbians and Samians, he had succeeded in putting down a formidable
rebellion in 500 B.C. In this rebellion the Asiatic Greeks had
received help from their Athenian brethren on the other side of
the Ægean; indeed just so long as Greek independence flourished
anywhere there would always be the threat of revolt in the Greek
colonies of Persia. Darius perceived rightly that the prestige and
the future power of his empire depended on his conquering Greece.

In 492 he dispatched Mardonius with an army of invasion to subdue
Attica and Eretria, and at the same time sent forth a great fleet to
conquer the independent island communities of the Ægean. Mardonius
succeeded in overcoming the tribes of Thrace and Macedonia, but the
fleet, after taking the island of Thasus, was struck by a storm
that wrecked three hundred triremes with a loss of 20,000 lives. As
the broken remnants of the fleet returned to Asia, leaving Mardonius
with no sea communications, and harassed by increasing opposition,
he was compelled to retreat also. In 490 Darius sent out another
army under Mardonius, this time embarking it on a fleet of 600
triremes which succeeded in arriving safely at the coast of Attica
in the bay of Marathon. While the army was disembarking it was
attacked by Miltiades and utterly defeated. The second expedition,
therefore, came to nothing. But Marathon can hardly be called a
decisive battle because it merely postponed the invasion; it affected
in no way the communications of the Persians and it did not weaken
seriously their military resources.

The great savior of Greece at this crisis was the Athenian,
Themistocles. He foresaw the renewed efforts of the Persian king
to destroy Greece, and realized also that the most vital point in
the coming conflict would be the control of the sea. Accordingly
he urged upon the Athenians the necessity of building a powerful
fleet. In this policy he was aided by one of those futile wars
so characteristic of Greek history, a war between Athens and the
island of Ægina. In order to overcome the Æginetans, who had a
large fleet, the Athenians were compelled to build a larger one,
and by the time this purpose was accomplished rumors came that
the Persian king was getting ready another invasion of Greece.

_Campaign of Salamis_

The third attempt was undertaken ten years after the second, in
the year 480, under Xerxes, the successor to Darius. This time the
very immensity of the forces employed was to overcome all opposition
and all misfortunes. An army, variously estimated at from one to
five million men, crossed the Hellespont on a bridge of boats to
invade the peninsula from the north, while a fleet of 1200 triremes
was assembled to insure the command of the sea.

Against the unlimited resources of the Persian empire and the unity
of plan represented by Xerxes and his generals, the Greeks had
little to offer. They possessed the two advantages of the defensive,
knowledge of the terrain and interior lines,[1] but their resources
were small and their spirit divided. Greece in those days was, as
was later said of Italy, "merely a geographical expression." The
various cities were mutually jealous and hostile, and it took a great
common danger to bring them even into a semblance of coöperation.
Even during this desperate crisis the cities of western Greece,
counting themselves reasonably safe from invasion, declined to
send a ship or a man for the common cause.

[Footnote 1: "'Interior Lines' conveys the meaning that from a
central position one can assemble more rapidly on either of two
opposite fronts than the enemy can, and therefore utilize force
more effectively." NAVAL STRATEGY, A. T. Mahan, p. 32.]


The Persian army advanced without opposition as far as the pass of
Thermopylæ, which guarded the only road into the rest of Greece.
Twelve days after the army had started on its march the great fleet
crossed the Ægean to establish contact with the army and bring
supplies. The army was checked by the valor of Leonidas, and the
Persian fleet was intercepted by a Greek fleet which stood guard
over the channel leading to the Gulf of Lamia, thus protecting the
sea flank of Leonidas. The Persian fleet, after crossing the open
sea safely, made its base at Sepias preparatory to the attack on
the Greek fleet. The latter numbered only about 380 vessels to some
1200 of their enemy and the prospects for the Persian cause looked
bright indeed. But as the very number of the Persian ships made it
impossible to beach all of them for the night a large proportion
of them were anchored, lying in eight lines, prows toward the sea.
At dawn a northeast gale fell upon them, and, according to the
Greek accounts, wrecked 400 triremes, together with an uncounted
number of transports. Meanwhile the Greek ships had taken refuge
under the lee of the island of Eubœa, and the news of the Persian
disaster was signaled to them by the watchers on the heights.


As soon as the weather moderated the Greeks returned to their position
in the straits near Artemisium, and during the next three days the
two fleets fought stubbornly but without advantage to either side.
During the second day a southerly gale caught a flying squadron
of some 200 triremes, that had been dispatched round the island of
Eubœa to catch the Greeks in the rear, and not one of the Persian
ships survived. The Greek rear guard squadron of fifty brought
the welcome news to the main fleet and served as a much needed
reënforcement. Although the Persian armada had lost about half
its force in three days by storms, the odds were still so heavily
against the Greeks that they found themselves in constant peril
of having their flanks turned in this open sea fighting.

On the afternoon of the third day the pass of Thermopyæ was forced,
thanks to the treachery of a Greek and the contemptible policy of
the Spartan government which steadily refused the plea of Leonidas
for reënforcements. With Thermopyæ taken there was no further reason
for the Greek fleet to try to hold the straits north of Eubœa,
and during the night it retired unobserved. The following day the
Persian fleet advanced and brought to the army the supplies which
it sorely needed.

With the fall of Thermopyæ and the contact established between his
army and his fleet, Xerxes found his route open for the invasion
of Attica. Since there was no possibility of opposing him on land,
the population of the province was removed and Athens left to its
fate. Themistocles, who was in command of the Athenian division of
the Greek fleet, now urged the assembling of the fleet at Salamis,
partly to cover the withdrawal of the Athenians and partly to assist
in the defense of the Isthmus of Corinth, which was to be the next
stand of the Greeks. The advice was adopted and the fleet assembled
off the town of Salamis. Athenian refugees had crowded into the town
and from the heights above they watched the smoke of their burning
city. Their own future and the future of Athenian civilization hung
on the long lines of triremes drawn up on the shore.

A glance at the map of the region of Salamis shows the advantages
offered by the position for the defensive. The fighting off Artemisium
had shown the peril of attacking a greatly superior force in the open
because of the danger of being outflanked. In the narrow straits
between Salamis and the mainland the Greek line of battle would
rest its flanks on the opposite shores. But it is one thing to
choose a position and another to get the enemy to accept battle in
that position. If the Persians ignored the Greek fleet and moved to
the Isthmus, the Greeks would be caught in an awkward predicament. To
regain touch with the Greek army, the fleet would be then compelled
to come out of the straits and fight at a disadvantage in the open.
There was only one chance of defeating the Persian fleet and that
was to make it fight in the narrow waters of the strait where numbers
would not count so heavily. Everything depended on bringing this
to pass.

Nor could the Greeks wait indefinitely for the Persians. Already
the incorrigible jealousies of rival cities had almost reached the
point of disintegrating the fleet. Although the commander in chief
was the Spartan general Eurybiades, the whole Spartan contingent
was on the point of deserting in a body to its own coasts. The
situation was saved by Themistocles. Having wrung from his allies
a reluctant consent to stop at Salamis temporarily to cover the
withdrawal of the Athenian populace, the story is that he secretly
dispatched a messenger to Xerxes to say that if he would attack
at once he could crush the entire naval forces of the Greeks at a
blow, but if he delayed the Greeks would scatter. Acting on this
advice, Xerxes landed troops on the island of Psyttaleia, dispatched
a squadron to block the western outlet of Salamis Straits, and
proceeded to move the main body of his fleet to attack the Greeks
by way of the eastern channel. The preparations were made during
the night and were not completed till dawn of the day of battle,
September 20, 480 B.C.

The debates in the allied fleet came to an end with the appearance
of the Persians. The shrewd plan of Themistocles had succeeded.
The Greeks would have to fight with their backs to the wall, but
they would fight with better chance of success than under any other

The Greek force consisted of about 380 vessels. Of these, Athens
contributed 180, Sparta and the rest of the Peloponnesus were
represented by 89 and the remainder were made up of squadrons from
the island states. Some of these island contingents contained a
type of ship different from the triremes, the penteconter. This was
a galley with only one bank of oars, but these were long sweeps,
each manned by five oarsmen. The penteconter was an early prototype
of the galley of the Christian era.

The Persians had been reduced by this time to about 600 ships,
although there had been numerous reënforcements since the disaster
at Cape Sepias. The fleet was "Persian" only in name, for, except
for bands of Persian archers on some of the ships, it was composed
of elements levied from each of the subject nations that followed
the sea. Indeed Persia is a curious example in history of a nation
with a purely artificial sea power, for its navy was composed of
aliens entirely. Thus the squadron that was sent to blockade the
western end of the straits was Egyptian, the right wing of the fleet
as it advanced to the attack was composed of Phœnicians, and the
center and left was made up of Cyprians, Cilicians, Samothracians,
and Ionians, the latter only recently in rebellion against Persia
and at that time welcoming help from Athens in a cause in which
Athens herself was now involved. Apparently there was no compunction
felt on this account, for the Ionians distinguished themselves by
gallant fighting against their Greek brethren. Nevertheless, it
is not hard to imagine difficulties involved in the task of making
a unit of such an assortment of peoples. The fleet was commanded
by a Persian, Prince Ariabignes, brother of Xerxes.

At daybreak the Persian triremes drew up in three lines on each
side of the island of Psyttaleia and advanced into the straits.
But the narrowing waters of the channel made it necessary to reduce
the front and bear to the left. Consequently all formation was
lost, and the Persian triremes poured into the narrows "in a
stream,"--to quote the phrase of the tragedian Æschylus, who fought
on an Athenian trireme in this battle and describes it in one of
his plays.

Facing the invader was a smaller array of ships but a better ordered
line of battle. On the Greek left was the Athenian division opposing
the advancing triremes of Phœnicia; on the right was the Spartan
division facing the Greeks of Asia Minor. The two fleets rushed toward
each other, but just before contact the Persians found themselves
embarrassed by their very number of ships. As may be seen by the
map, they had an awkward turn to make in entering the narrows. At
this point, just opposite the peninsula of Salamis, the straits
are only about 2000 yards wide, making it impossible for more than
80 or 90 triremes to advance abreast. As a result the Phœnician
wing of the line was extended considerably in advance of the rest,
forced ahead by the pressure of ships behind. Although, as a matter
of fact, the Spartan wing also was somewhat in advance of the rest of
the Greek line, the first shock of battle came between the Phœnicians
and the Athenians.

[Illustration: After Grundy, _The Great Persian War._


  1 The Original Position
  2 The Advance
  3 The Contact]

This initial advantage offered by an exposed wing was immediately
seized upon. While the Athenians bore the frontal attack, the Æginetans
on their right fell upon the Phœnicians' flank. This double attack
on the Persian right wing eventually proved the turning point of
the battle. The Phœnicians, however, had the reputation of being
the foremost sea fighters in the world, and they bore themselves
well. Similarly the Asiatic Greeks proved themselves foemen worthy
of their brethren from the Peloponnesus, and the fight was maintained
with great ferocity all along the line. The inhabitants of Athens
who had been removed to Salamis blackened the shores on one side of
the Strait, as anxious watchers of the tremendous spectacle. Opposite
them on the slope of Mt. Ægaleos sat Xerxes himself, surrounded by
his staff, a less anxious spectator but no less interested in the

About seven o'clock a fresh westerly wind arose, as it does at
this day in that region, and as it did some years later during a
battle won by an Athenian admiral in the Gulf of Corinth.[1] This
wind blows every morning with considerable violence for about two
hours; and in this battle it must have tended to make the bows of
the Persian ships pay off--thus exposing their sides to the Greek
rams--and drift back upon the galleys that were crowding forward
from the rear in the attempt to get into the battle.

[Footnote 1: The Battle of the Corinthian Gulf: v. p. 43]

The Greeks pressed their advantage, using their rams to sink an
adversary or disable her by cutting away her oars. Where the mêlée
was too close for such tactics they tried to take their enemy by
boarding. On every Greek trireme was a specially organized boarding
party consisting of 36 men--18 marines, 14 heavily armed soldiers,
and four bowmen; and the Greeks seem to have been superior to their
enemy at close quarters. On the Persian side the superiority lay in
their archers and javelin throwers. Toward the end of the battle,
for instance, a Samothracian trireme performed a remarkable feat.
Having been disabled by an Æginetan ship, the Samothracian cleared the
decks of her assailant with arrows and javelins and took possession.
Although the invaders seem to have fought with the greatest courage
and determination, the disadvantage of confusion at the outset of
the battle, augmented by the head wind, told decisively against
them. They were unable to take advantage of their superiority in ships
on account of the narrowness of the channel, and indeed found that
the very multitude of their ships only added to their difficulties.

The retreat began with the flower of the Persian fleet, the Phœnician
division. Caught at the opening of the battle with the Athenians in
front and the Æginetans on the left flank, they were never able to
extricate themselves, although they fought stubbornly. The foremost
ships, many in a disabled condition, began to retreat; others backed
water to make way for them; the rearmost finding it impossible to
reach the battle at all, withdrew out of the straits; and soon the
retreat became general. As the Phœnicians withdrew, the Athenians
and the Æginetans fell upon the center of the Persian line, and the
rout became general with the Greeks in full pursuit. The latter
pressed their enemy as far as the island of Psyttaleia, thus cutting
off the Persian force on the island from their communications.
Whereupon Aristides, the Athenian, led a force in boats from Salamis
to the island and put to death every man of the Persian garrison.
The Persian ships fled to their base at Phaleron, while the Greeks
returned to their base at Salamis.

The battle of Salamis was won, but at the moment neither side realized
its decisive character. The Greeks had lost 40 ships; the Persians
had lost over 200 sunk, and an indeterminate number captured.
Nevertheless, the latter could probably have mustered a considerable
force for another attack--which the Greeks expected--if their morale
had not been so badly shaken. Their commander, Ariabignes, was
among the killed, and there was no one else capable of reorganizing
the shattered forces. Xerxes, fearing for the safety of his bridge
over the Hellespont, gave orders for his ships to retire thither to
protect it, and the very night after the battle found the remains
of the Persian fleet in full flight across the Ægean.

The news reached the Greeks at noon of the following day and they
set out in pursuit, but having gone as far as Andros without coming
up with the enemy, they paused for a council of war. The Athenians
urged the policy of going on and destroying the bridge over the
Hellespont, but they were voted down by their allies, who preferred
to leave well enough alone.

It is customary to speak of the victory of the Greeks at Salamis
as due to their superior physique and fighting qualities. This
superiority may be claimed for the Greek soldiers at Marathon and
Platæ, where the Persian army was actually Persian. The Asiatic
soldier, forced into service and flogged into battle, was indeed
no match for the virile and warlike Greek. But at Salamis it was
literally a case of Greek meeting Greek, except in the case of the
Phœnicians--who had the reputation of being the finest seafighters
in the world--and it is not easy to see how the battle was won by
sheer physical prowess. There is no evidence to show any lack of
either courage or fighting ability on the Persian side. The decisive
feature of the battle was the fatal exposure of the Phœnician wing
at the very outset. However, it is worth noting that the invaders
had been maneuvering all night and were tired--especially the
oarsmen--when called upon to enter battle against an enemy that
was fresh. In that respect there was undoubtedly some advantage
to the Greeks, but it can hardly have been of prime importance.

The immediate results of the victory at Salamis were soon apparent.
The all-conquering Persian army suddenly found itself in a critical
situation. Cut off from its supplies by sea, it had to retreat or
starve, for the country which it occupied was incapable of furnishing
supplies for a host so enormous. Xerxes left an army of occupation in
Thessaly consisting of 300,000 men under Mardonius, but the rest were
ordered to get back to Persia as best they could. A panic-stricken
rout to the Hellespont began, and for the next forty-five days
a great host, that had never been even opposed in battle, went
to pieces under famine, disease, and the guerilla warfare of the
inhabitants of the country it traversed, and it was only a broken
and demoralized remnant of the great army that survived to see the
Hellespont. This great military disaster was due entirely to the
fact that Salamis had deprived Xerxes of the command of the sea.
Indeed, if the advice of Themistodes had been taken and the Greek
fleet had proceeded to the Hellespont and held the position, not even
a remnant of the retreating army would have survived. It happened
that the bridge had been carried away by storms and the army had to
be ferried over by the ships of the beaten and demoralized Persian
fleet, an operation which would have been impossible in the face
of the victorious Greeks.

Xerxes still held to the idea of conquering Greece; but the chance
was gone. Mardonius, it is true, remained in Thessaly with an army,
but it was no longer an army of millions. The Greeks assembled an
army of about 100,000 men and in the battle of Platæa the following
year utterly defeated it. On the same day the Greeks destroyed
what was left of the Persian fleet in the battle of Mycale, on
the coast of Asia Minor. This, strictly speaking, was not a naval
battle at all, for the Persians had drawn their ships up on shore
and built a stockade around them. The Greeks landed their crews,
took the stockade by storm and burnt the ships. These later victories
were the direct consequences of the earlier victory of Salamis.

Another phase of the Persian plan of conquering the Greeks must not
be overlooked. Xerxes had stirred up Carthage to undertake a naval
and military expedition against the Greeks of Sicily, in order that
all the independent Greek states might be crushed simultaneously.
Again the weather came to the rescue, for the greater part of the
Carthaginian fleet was wrecked by storms. The survivors of the
expedition laid siege to the city of Himera, but were eventually
driven back to their ships in rout with the loss of their general.
Thus the Greek civilization of Sicily was saved at the same time
as that of Athens.

East and west, therefore, the grandiose plan of the Persian despot
fell in ruin, and with it fell the prestige and the power of the
empire. The Ionians revolted and joined Athens as allies, and the
control of the Ægean passed from Persia to Athens. With this loss
of sea power began the decline of Persia as a world power.

The significance of this astounding defeat of the greatest military
and naval power of the time lies in the fact that European, or
more particularly Greek, civilization was spared to develop its
own individuality. Had Xerxes succeeded, the paralyzing régime of
an Asiatic despotism would have stifled the genius of the Greek
people. Self-government would never have had its beginnings in
Greece, and a subjugated Athens would never have produced the "Age
of Pericles." In the two generations following Salamis, Athens
made a greater original contribution to literature, philosophy,
science, and art than any other nation in any two centuries of
its existence.

For the fact that this priceless heritage was left to later ages
the world is indebted chiefly to the Greeks who fought at Salamis.
The night before that battle the cause of Greece seemed doomed
beyond hope. The day after, the invaders began a retreat that ended
forever their hopes of conquest. This amazing change of fortune was
due to the fact that the success of the Persian invasion depended
on the control of the sea. Hence the Greeks, though unable to muster
an army large enough to meet the Persian host on land, defeated
it disastrously by winning a victory on the sea.


After Salamis, Athens rose to a commanding position among the Greek
states. Her period of supremacy was brief, lasting less than 75
years, but while it endured it rested on her triremes. In the middle
of the fifth century she had 100,000 men in her navy, practically
as many as Great Britain in her fleet before 1914. Although the
period of Athenian supremacy was short-lived, it is interesting
because it produced a great naval genius, Phormio, and because
it wrecked itself as Persian sea power had done, in an attempt at
foreign conquest.

Scarcely had the Persian invasion come to an end when bickering broke
out among the various Greek states, much of it directed against Athens.
She had small difficulty, however, in maintaining her ascendancy in
northern Greece on account of her superiority on the sea, and it
was during the half century after Salamis that Athens arose to
her splendid climax as the intellectual and artistic center of
the world.

[Illustration: After Shepherd's _Historical Atlas._


In 431 began the Peloponnesian War. Its immediate cause was the
help given by Athens to Corcyra (Corfu) in a war against Corinth.
Corinth called on Sparta for help, and in consequence northern and
southern Greece were locked in a mortal struggle. The Athenians
had a naval base at Naupaktis on the Gulf of Corinth, and in 429,
two years after war broke out, the Athenian Phormio found himself
supplied with only twenty triremes with which to maintain control
of that important waterway. At the same time Sparta was setting in
motion a large land and water expedition with the object of sweeping
Athenian influence from all of western Greece and of obtaining
control of the Gulf of Corinth. A fleet from Corinth was to join
another at Leukas, one of the Ionian Islands, and then proceed to
operate on the northern coast of the gulf while an army invaded
the province.


As it happened, the army moved off without waiting for the coöperation
of the fleet and eventually went to pieces in an ineffectual siege of
an inland city. When the fleet started out from Corinth it numbered
47 triremes. As this was more than twice the number possessed by
Phormio, the Corinthian admiral evidently counted on being secure
from attack. Accordingly he used some of his triremes as transports
and started on his journey without taking the precaution to train
his oarsmen or practice maneuvers. But as he skirted along the
southern coast he was surprised to see the Athenian ships moving in
a parallel course as if on the alert for an opportunity to attack.
When the Corinthian ships bore up from Patræ to cross to the Ætolian
shore, the Athenian column steered directly toward them. At this
threat the Corinthian fleet turned away and put in at Rhium, a
point near the narrowest part of the strait, in order to make the
crossing under cover of night. The Corinthian admiral made the same
fatal mistake committed by the commander of the Spanish Armada
2000 years later in a similar undertaking, that of trying to avoid
an enemy on the sea rather than fight him before carrying out an
invasion of the enemy's coast. This ignominious conduct on the
part of the Corinthian admiral was partly due to the fact that he
was encumbered with his transports, but chiefly to the fact that
he knew that in fighting qualities his men were no match for the
Athenians. The latter had no peers on the sea at that time. Since
Salamis they had progressed far in naval science and efficiency
and were filled with the confidence that comes from knowledge and


Corinthian Formation and Circling Tactics of Phormio.]

All night Phormio watched his enemy and at dawn surprised him in
mid-crossing. On seeing Phormio advance to the attack, the Corinthian
drew up his squadron in a defensive position, ranging his vessels
in concentric circles, bows outward, like the spokes of a wheel.
In the center of this formation he placed his transports, together
with five of his largest triremes to assist at any threatened spot.
The formation suggests a leader of infantry rather than an admiral;
moreover, it revealed a fatal readiness to give up the offensive
to an enemy force less than half his own.

At any rate there was no lack of decision on the part of Phormio.
He advanced rapidly in line ahead formation, closed in near the
enemy's prows as if he intended to strike at any moment and circled
round the line. The Corinthian triremes, having no headway and
manned by inexperienced rowers, began crowding back on one another
as they tried to keep in position for the expected attack. Then the
same early morning wind that had embarrassed the Persian ships at
Salamis sprang up and added to the confusion of fouling ships and
clashing oar blades. Choosing his opening, Phormio flew the signal
for attack and rammed one of the flagships of the Corinthian fleet.
The Athenians fell upon their enemy and almost at the first blow
routed the entire Corinthian force. In addition to those triremes
that were sunk outright, twelve remained as prizes with their full
complement of crews, and the rest scattered in flight. Phormio
returned in triumph to Naupaktis with the loss of scarcely a man.

So humiliating a defeat had to be avenged, and Sparta organized
a new expedition. This time a fleet of 77 triremes was collected.
Meanwhile Phormio had sent to Athens the news of his victory together
with an urgent plea for reënforcements. Unfortunately the great
Pericles was dying and the government had fallen into weak and
unscrupulous hands. Consequently while 20 triremes were ordered to
the support of Phormio, political intrigue succeeded in diverting
this squadron to carry out a futile expedition to Crete, and Phormio
was left to contest the control of the gulf against a fleet of 77
with nothing more than his original twenty.

It is interesting to observe what strategy Phormio adopted in this
difficult situation. In the campaign of Salamis, Themistocles chose
the narrow waters of the strait as the safest position for a fleet
outnumbered by the enemy, because of the protection offered to the
flanks by the opposite shores. But Phormio, commanding a fleet about
one-fourth that of his adversary, chose the open sea. Apparently
his decision was based on the fact that the superiority of the
Athenian ship lay in its greater speed and skill in maneuvering.
Unable to cope with his adversary in full force, he might by his
superior mobility beat him in detail. Accordingly, he boldly took
the open sea.

For about a week the two fleets lay within sight of each other,
with Phormio trying to draw his enemy out of the narrows into open
water and his adversary attempting to crowd him into a corner against
the share. Finally the Peloponnesian, realizing that Phormio would
have to defend his base, and hoping to force him to fight at a
disadvantage, moved upon Naupaktis. As this port was undefended,
Phormio was compelled to return thither.

The Peloponnesian fleet advanced in line of four abreast with the
Spartan admiral and the twenty Spartan triremes--the best in the
fleet--in the lead. At the signal from the admiral the column swung
"left into line" and bore down in line abreast upon the Athenians
who were ranging along the shore in line ahead. The object of the
maneuver was to cut the Athenians off from the port and crowd them
upon the shore. The latter, however, developed such a burst of
speed that eleven of the twenty succeeded in reaching Naupaktis;
the remaining nine drove ashore and their crews escaped. Apparently
the victory of the Spartan was as complete as it was easy. But while
the rest of the fleet busied itself with the deserted Athenian
triremes on the share, the Spartan squadron continued in the pursuit
of the eleven Athenian ships that were heading for Naupaktis. Ten
of the eleven reached port and drew up in a position of defense.
The eleventh, less speedy than the rest, was being overhauled by
the Spartan flagship which was pushing the pursuit far in advance
of the rest of the squadron. The captain of the Athenian ship,
seeing this situation, determined on a bold stroke. Instead of
pushing on into the harbor he pulled round a merchant ship that lay
anchored at the mouth, and rammed his pursuer amidships, disabling
her at a blow. The Spartan admiral promptly killed himself and the
rest of the ship's company were too panic stricken to resist.

At this disaster the rest of the Spartan squadron hesitated, dropped
oars or ran into shallow water. Seeing his opportunity, Phormio
dashed out of the harbor with his ten triremes and fell upon the
Spartans. In spite of the ridiculous disparity of forces, this
handful of Athenian ships pressed their attack so gallantly that
they destroyed the Spartan advance wing and then, catching the
rest of the fleet in disorder, routed the main body as well. By
nightfall Phormio had rescued eight of the nine Athenian triremes
that had fallen into the hands of the enemy and sent the scattered
remnants of the Peloponnesian fleet in full flight towards Corinth.
This battle of Naupaktis remains one of the most brilliant naval
victories in history, a victory won against overwhelming odds by
quick decision and superb audacity.

Only a half century separates Salamis from the battle of the Corinthian
Gulf and the battle of Naupaktis, but during that period there had
been a great advance in naval science.

As far as naval tactics are concerned, Salamis was merely a fight
between two mobs of ships, except that when opportunity offered,
a vessel used her ram. Otherwise the only difference from land
fighting was the fact that the combatants stood on floating platforms.
But in the Peloponnesian war we see not only the birth of naval
tactics but a very high development, especially as revealed in
these two victories of Phormio.

With the development of a naval science rose also a naval profession.
At Salamis Themistocles was a politician and Eurybiades was a soldier;
it happened that they were made fleet commanders for the emergency.
Phormio was a naval officer by profession, and he won by genius
combined with superior efficiency in the personnel under his command.
In his courage, resourcefulness, in the spirit he inspired, and
the high pitch of skill he developed among his officers and men,
he is an ideal type for every later age. Little is known of his
life and character beyond the story of these two exploits, but
they are sufficient to give him the name of the first great admiral
of history.

His exploits illustrate, too, at the very outset of naval history,
the vital truth that the man counts more than the machine. In these
later days, when the tendency is to measure naval power merely by
counting dreadnoughts, and to settle all hypothetical combats by
the proportion of strength at a given point on the game board, it
is well to remember that the most overwhelming victories have been
won by the skill and audacity of a great leader, which overcame
odds that would be reckoned by the experts as insuperable.

The Peloponnesian war dragged on with varying fortunes for ten
years. The Athenians were regularly successful on the sea and
unsuccessful on land. They seem to have laid an unwise dependence
on their navy for a state situated on the mainland with land
communications open to the enemy. They attempted to make an island
of their state by withdrawing into the city of Athens the entire
population of Attica, leaving open to the invader the rest of the
province. The repeated ravaging of Attica by Peloponnesian armies
weakened both the resources and the morale of the Athenians, and
the crowding of the inhabitants into the city resulted in frightful
mortality from the plague. At the same time the naval expeditions
sent out to harry the coast of the Peloponnesus accomplished nothing
of real advantage.

In 421 a truce was agreed upon between Athens and Sparta, which
was to last fifty years. Both sides were sorely weakened by the
protracted struggle and neither had gained any real advantage over
the other. Without waiting to recuperate from the losses of the
war, Athens embarked in 415 on an ambitious plan of conquering
Syracuse, and gaining all of Sicily as an Athenian colony. In the
event of success Athens would have a western outpost for the eventual
control of the Mediterranean, as she already had an eastern outpost
in Ionia, which gave her control of the Ægean.

In the light of the event it is customary to refer to this expedition
as the climax of folly, and yet it is clear that if the commander
in chief had not wasted time in interminable delays the Athenians
might easily have won their objective. At first the Syracusans felt
hopeless because of the large army and fleet dispatched against
them, and the great naval prestige of their enemy, but as delay
succeeded delay, assistance arrived from Corinth and Sparta, and
the besieged citizens took heart. The siege dragged on for the
greater part of two years, with the offensive gradually slipping
from the Athenians to the Syracusans, till finally the invaders
found their troops besieged on shore and their ships bottled up
in the harbor by a line of galleys anchored across the entrance.
The Syracusans knew that they were no match for the Athenians on
the open sea, but with a fleet crowded into a harbor with no room
for maneuvering, the problem was not essentially different from
that of fighting on land. They built a fleet of ships with specially
strengthened bows for ramming and erected catapults for throwing
heavy stones on the decks of the enemy. Meanwhile, the Athenian
ships had deteriorated from lack of opportunity to refit and their
crews had been heavily reduced by disease. In a pitched battle
between the two fleets in the harbor, the Athenians were worsted.
Shortly after as the Athenians were attempting to break through
the barrier and escape, they were again attacked by the Syracusans.
There was no room for maneuvering; the Athenian ships were jammed
together in a mass in which all advantage of numbers was lost.
Moreover, against the deadly rain of huge stones the Athenians had
no defense whatever.

The result was an overwhelming victory for the Syracusans. Out
of 110 triremes the Athenians lost fifty. The besieging army went
to pieces in attempting a retreat across the island, and the whole
expedition came to a tragic end. This defeat of the Athenian fleet
in the harbor of Syracuse was the ruin of Athens. When the news
reached Greece, many of her dependencies revolted, the Peloponnesian
war had broken out anew, and she had no strength left to hold her
own. The deathblow was given when a Spartan admiral destroyed all
that was left of the Athenian navy at Ægospotami in the year 405.
Thereafter Athens was merely a conquered province, permitted to
keep a fleet of only twelve ships, and watched by a garrison of
Spartan soldiers in the citadel.

The downfall of Athenian sea power at Syracuse may be compared
with the downfall of Persian sea power at Salamis. Just as the
latter prevented the spread of an Asiatic form of civilization
in Europe and gave Greek civilization a chance to develop, so the
former put an end to the extension of a strong Hellenic power in
Italy and left opportunity for the rise of the civilization of


HISTORY OF GREECE, Ernst Curtius, 1874.
HISTORY OF GREECE, George Grote, 1856.
THE GREAT PERSIAN WAR, G. B. Grundy, 1901.
HISTORY OF THE PERSIAN WARS, Herodotus, ed. and transl. by Geo.
  Rawlinson, 1862.
HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR, Thucydides, ed. and transl.
  by Jowett.




When peoples have migrated in the past, they have frequently changed
their habits to conform to new topographical surroundings. We have
seen that the Phœnicians, originally a nomadic people, became a
seafaring race because of the conditions of the country they settled
in; and on the other hand, at a later period, the Vikings who overran
Normandy or Britain forsook the sea and became farmers. The popular
idea that a race follows the sea because of an "instinct in the blood
of the race" has little to stand on. When, however, the colonists
from Phœnicia settled Carthage and founded an empire, they continued
the traditions of their ancestors and built up their power on a
foundation of ships. This was due to the conditions--topographical
and geographical--which surrounded them, and which were much like
those of the mother country. Carthage possessed the finest harbor
on the coast of Africa, situated in the middle of the Mediterranean,
where all the trade routes crossed. To counteract these attractions
of the sea there was nothing but the arid and mountainous character
of the interior. It was inevitable, therefore, that the Carthaginians,
like their ancestors, should build an empire of the sea.

As early as the sixth century B.C. Carthage had established her
power so securely in the western Mediterranean as to be able to
set down definite limits beyond which Rome agreed not to go. Thus
the opening sentence of a treaty between the two nations in 509
B. C. ran as follows:

"Between the Romans and their allies and the Carthaginians and
their allies there shall be peace and alliance upon the conditions
that neither the Romans nor their allies shall sail beyond the
Fair Promontory[1] unless compelled by bad weather or an enemy;
and in case they are forced beyond it they shall not be allowed
to take or purchase anything except what is barely necessary for
refitting their vessels or for sacrifice, and they shall depart
within five days."[2]

[Footnote 1: A cape on the African coast about due north from

[Footnote 2: GENERAL HISTORY, Polybius, Bk. III, chap. 3.]

A second and a third treaty emphasized even mare strongly the
Carthaginian dictatorship over the Mediterranean.


It was inevitable, therefore, that as Rome expanded her interests
should come in collision with those of Carthage. The immediate
causes of the Punic wars are of no consequence for our purpose;
the two powers had rival interests in Sicily, and the clash of
these brought on the war in the year 264 B.C. There followed a
mortal struggle between Rome and Carthage that extended through
three distinct wars and a period of aver a hundred years.

When the two nations faced each other in arms, Carthage had the
advantage of prestige and the greatest navy in the world. Her weaknesses
lay in the strife of political factions and the mercenary character
of her forces. Her officers were usually Carthaginians, but it was
considered beneath the dignity of a Carthaginian to be a private.
The rank and file, therefore, were either hired or pressed into
service from the subject provinces. In the case of Xanthippus,
who defeated Regulus in the first Punic war, even the commanding
officer was a Spartan mercenary. These troops would do well so
long as campaigns promised plunder but would became disaffected
if things went wrong.

The Romans, on the other hand, had only a small navy and no naval
experience; their strength lay in their legionaries. And in further
contrast with their enemy they had none but Romans in their forces,
or allies who were proud of fighting on the side of Rome. Consequently
they fought in the spirit of intense patriotism which could stand
the moral strain of defeat and even disaster. On land there was
no better fighter than the Roman soldier. At sea, however, all
the advantage lay with the Carthaginian, and it soon became clear
that if the Romans were to succeed they would have to learn to
fight on water.

For the first three years Carthaginian fleets raided the coasts of
Sicily and Italy with impunity. Finally, in desperation, Rome set
about the creation of a fleet, and the story is that a Carthaginian
quinquereme that had been wrecked an the coast was taken as a model,
and while the ships were building, rowers were trained in rowing
machines set up an shore. The first contact with the enemy was not
encouraging. The new fleet, which was constructed in two months,
consisted of 100 quinqueremes and 30 triremes. Seventeen of these
while on a trial cruise were blockaded in the harbor of Messina
by twenty Carthaginian ships, and the Roman commander was obliged
to surrender after his crews had landed and escaped.

The next encounter was a different story. The Romans, realizing
their ignorance of naval tactics and their superiority in land
fighting, determined to make the next naval battle as nearly as
possible like an engagement of infantry. Accordingly the ships
were fitted with boarding gangways with a huge hooked spike at the
end, like the beak of a crow, which gave them their name, "corvi"
or "crows."[1]

[Footnote 1: The following is the description in Polybius of what
they were like and how they were worked.

"They [the Romans] erected on the prow of every vessel a round pillar
of wood, of about twelve feet in height, and of three palms breadth
in diameter, with a pulley at the top. To this pillar was fitted a
kind of stage, eighteen feet in length and four feet broad, which
was made ladder-wise, of strong timbers laid across, and cramped
together with iron: the pillar being received into an oblong square,
which was opened for that purpose, at the distance of six feet
within the end of the stage. On either side of the stage lengthways
was a parapet, which reached just above the knee. At the farthest
end of this stage or ladder was a bar of iron, whose shape was
somewhat like a pestle; but it was sharpened at the bottom, or
lower point; and on the top of it was a ring. The whole appearance
of this machine very much resembled those that are used in grinding
corn. To the ring just mentioned was fixed a rope, by which, with
the help of the pulley that was at the top of the pillar, they
hoisted up the machines, and, as the vessels of the enemy came near,
let them fall upon them, sometimes on their prow, and sometimes
on their sides, as occasion best served. As the machine fell, it
struck into the decks of the enemy, and held them fast. In this
situation, if the two vessels happened to lie side by side, the
Romans leaped on board from all parts of their ships at once. But
in case that they were joined only by the prow, they then entered
two and two along the machine; the two foremost extending their
bucklers right before them to ward off the strokes that were aimed
against them in front; while those that followed rested the boss
of their bucklers upon the top of the parapet on either side, and
thus covered both their flanks." GENERAL HISTORY, Book 1.]

Armed with this new device, the Consul Duilius took the Roman fleet
to sea to meet an advancing Carthaginian fleet and encountered
it off the port of Mylæ (260 B.C.). The Carthaginians had such
contempt for their enemy that they advanced in irregular order,
permitting thirty of their ships to begin the battle unsupported
by the rest of the fleet. One after the other the Carthaginian
quinqueremes were grappled and stormed, for once the great _corvus_
crashed down on a deck all the arts of seamanship were useless.
Before the day was over the Carthaginians had lost 14 ships sunk
and 31 captured, a total of half their fleet, and the rest had
fled in disorder towards Carthage.

The unexpected had happened, as it so frequently does in history.
The amateurs had beaten the professionals, not by trying to achieve
the same efficiency but by inventing something new that would make
that efficiency useless. Thus, as we nave seen, the Syracusans,
who were no match for the Athenians in the open sea, destroyed
the sea power of Athens by bottling up her fleet in a harbor and
bombarding it with catapults. It is an instance such as we shall
see recurring throughout naval history, in which the power of a
great fleet is largely or completely neutralized by a new or device
in the hands of the nation with the smaller navy.

The significance of Mylæ lay in the fact that a new naval power
had arisen, that henceforth Rome must be reckoned with on the sea.
The victory served to encourage the Romans to enlarge their navy,
and with it to press the war into the enemy's territory. Soon after
Mylæ they gained possession of the greater part of Sicily, and in
the year 256 they dispatched a fleet to carry the offensive into
Africa. This Roman fleet of 330 ships met, just off Ecnomus, on
the southern coast of Sicily, a Carthaginian fleet of 350, and a
great battle took place, interesting for the grand scale on which
it was fought and the tactics employed.

The Romans, an seeing their enemy, assumed a formation hitherto
unknown in tactics at sea. Their first and second squadrons formed
the sides of an acute-angled triangle; the third squadron formed
the base of the triangle, towing the transports, and the fourth
squadron brought up the rear, covering the transports. The whole
formed a compact wedge, pushing forward like a great spear head
to pierce the enemy's line.

Admirable as this formation was, the Carthaginians were no less
skillful in their tactics for destroying it. Instead of keeping
an unbroken line to receive the attack, they stationed their left
wing at same distance from the center so as to overlap the Roman
right, and their right wing in column ahead, so as to overlap the
Roman left. As the Romans advanced, the Carthaginian center purposely
gave way, drawing the advance wings of their enemy away from the
transports and the two squadrons in the rear. Then they faced about
and attacked. Meanwhile the two Carthaginian squadrons on the flanks
swung round the Roman wedge, the left wing engaging the Roman third
squadron, which was hampered by the transports, and driving it
toward the shore. At the same time the Carthaginian right wing
attacked the fourth, or reserve, squadron from the rear and drove
it into the open sea. Thus the battle went on in three distinct
engagements, each separated by considerable distance from the others.
The outcome is thus narrated by Polybius:


"Because in each of these divisions the strength of the combatants
was nearly equal, the success was also for some time equal. But
in the progress of the action the affair was brought at last to
a decision: a different one, perhaps, from what might reasonably
have been expected in such circumstances. For the Roman squadron
that had begun the engagement gained so full a victory, that Amilcar
[the Carthaginian commander] was forced to fly, and the consul
Manlius brought away the vessels that were taken.

"The other consul, having now perceived the danger in which the
triarii[1] and the transports were involved, hastened to their
assistance with the second squadron, which was still entire. The
triarii, having received these succors, when they were Just upon
the point of yielding, again resumed their courage, and renewed
the fight with vigor: so that the enemy, being surrounded on every
side in a manner so sudden and unexpected, and attacked at once
both in the front and rear were at last constrained to steer away
to sea.

[Footnote 1: The rear guard, or fourth squadron.]

"About this time Manlius also, returning from the engagement, observed
that the ships of the third squadron were forced in close to the
shore, and there blocked up by the left division of the Carthaginian
fleet. He joined his forces, therefore, with those of the other
consul, who had now placed the transports and triarii in security,
and hastened to assist these vessels, which were so invested by
the enemy that they seemed to suffer a kind of siege. And, indeed,
they must have all been long before destroyed if the Carthaginians,
through apprehension of the _corvi_, had not still kept themselves
at distance, and declined a close engagement. But the consuls,
having now advanced together, surround the enemy, and take fifty
of their ships with all the men. The rest, being few in number,
steered close along the shore, and saved themselves by flight.


"Such were the circumstances of this engagement; in which the victory
at last was wholly on the side of the Romans. Twenty-four of their
ships were sunk in the action, and more than thirty of the
Carthaginians. No vessel of the Romans fell into the hands of the
enemy; but sixty-four of the Carthaginians were taken with their

[Footnote 2: Polybius's GENERAL HISTORY, Book I, Chap. 2.]

The battle of Ecnomus had no such decisive effect on history as
the battle of Salamis, but it was on a far greater scale and it
reveals an enormous advance in tactics. Three hundred thousand
men, rowers and warriors, were engaged, and nearly 700 ships. Up
to the battle of Actium, two centuries later, Ecnomus remained
the greatest naval action in history. Moreover, the tactics of the
rival fleets show a high degree of discipline and efficiency. The
Carthaginian plan of dividing their enemy's force and defeating it
by a concentrated attack on his transport division, was skillfully
carried out and came perilously near succeeding. Had the first
and second squadrons of the Carthaginians been able to carry out
their part of the plan and "contain" the corresponding advance
squadrons of the Romans, the result would have been an overwhelming
victory for Carthage, involving not only the destruction of the
Roman fleet but also the capture of the Roman army of invasion.

This victory left open the way for the advance into Africa. The
Romans had landed and marched almost to the gates of Carthage when
the army was destroyed by the skill of a Spartan, Xanthippus, and
Regulus, the Consul in command, was captured. This astonishing
catastrophe inflicted on the Roman legionaries was due to the use
of elephants, and offers a curious parallel to the effect of the
_corvi_ on the Carthaginian sailors. Such was the terror inspired
by these animals that the Roman soldier would not stand before
them until a year or two later, in Sicily, the Consul Cecilius
showed how they could not only be repulsed but turned back on their
own army by the use of javelins and arrows.

Nothing daunted by the loss of their army, Rome dispatched a fleet
of 350 ships to Africa to carry off the remnants of the defeated
army that were besieged in the city of Aspis. They were met by a
hastily organized Carthaginian fleet off the promontory of Hermæa
in a brief action in which the Romans were overwhelmingly victorious.
The latter took 114 vessels with their crews. The Roman expedition
continued on its course to Africa, rescued the besieged troops and
turned back in high feather toward Sicily. The Consuls in command
had been warned by the pilots not to attempt to skirt the southern
coast of Sicily at that season of the year, but the warning was
disregarded. Suddenly, as the fleet was approaching the shore it
was overwhelmed by a great gale, and out of 464 vessels only eighty

Frightful as this loss was in ships and men, Rome proceeded at
once to build another fleet, to the number of 250, which, with
characteristic energy, was made ready for service in three months.
This force also, after an ineffectual raid on the African coast,
fell victim to a storm on the way home with the loss of 150 ships.

Unwilling to relinquish the mastery of the sea that had been won
by an uninterrupted series of victories, Rome sent another fleet
to attack a Carthaginian force lying in the harbor of Drepanum.
As the Romans approached, the Carthaginians went out to meet them,
and so maneuvered as to force them to fight with an enemy in front
and the rocks and shoals of the coast in their rear. The Roman ships
were never able to extricate themselves from this predicament,
and the greater part were either taken or wrecked on the coast.
The Consul in command managed to escape with about thirty of his
vessels, but 93 were taken with their crews. This is the single
instance of a pitched battle between Roman and Carthaginian fleets
in which the victory went to Carthage, a victory due entirely to
better seamanship. The immediate result of this success was the
destruction of the Roman squadron lying in the port of Lilybæum
which was assisting the troops in the siege of that town.

Still another Roman fleet that had the temerity to anchor in an
exposed position was destroyed by a storm. "For so complete was
the destruction," writes Polybius, "that scarcely a single plank
remained entire."

Stunned by these disasters, the government at Rome gave up the idea
of contesting any further the command of the sea. The citizens, how
ever, were not willing to submit, and displayed a magnificent spirit
of patriotism in this the darkest period of the war. Individuals
of means, or groups of individuals, pledged each a quinquereme,
fully equipped, for a new fleet, asking reimbursement from the
government only in case of victory. By these private efforts a
force of 200 quinqueremes was constructed. At this time, as at the
very beginning, the model for the Roman ships was a prize taken
from the enemy.


Meanwhile the Carthaginians, confident that the Romans were finally
driven from the sea, had allowed their own fleet to disintegrate.
Accordingly when the astonishing news reached them that the Romans
were again abroad they were compelled to fill their ships with
raw levies of troops and inexperienced rowers and sailors. And,
since the Carthaginian troops who were besieging the city of Eryx
in Sicily were in need of supplies, a large number of transports
were sent with the fleet. The Carthaginian commander planned to
make a landing unobserved, leave his transports, exchange his raw
crews for some of the veterans before Eryx and then give battle
to the Roman fleet.

This program failed because of the initiative of the Roman Consul
commanding the new fleet. Having got word of the coming of the
Carthaginians and divining their plan, he braved an unfavorable
wind and a rough sea for the sake of forcing an action before they
could establish contact with their army. Accordingly he sought
out his enemy and met him (in the year 241 B.C.) off the island
of Ægusa, near Lilybæum. Almost at the first onset the Romans won
an overwhelming victory, capturing seventy and sinking fifty of
the Carthaginian force.

This final desperate effort of Rome was decisive. The Carthaginians
had no navy left, and their armies in Sicily were cut off from
all communications with their base. Accordingly ambassadors went
to Rome to sue for peace, and the great struggle that had lasted
without intermission for twenty-four years and reduced both parties
to the point of exhaustion, ended with a triumph for Rome through
a victory on the sea. By the treaty of peace Carthage was obliged
to pay a heavy indemnity and yield all claim to Sicily.

Whatever historical moral may be drawn from the story of the first
Punic war, the fact remains that a nation of landsmen met the greatest
maritime power in the world and defeated it on its own element. In
every naval battle save one the Romans were victors. It is true,
however, that in the single defeat off Drepanum and in the dreadful
disasters inflicted by storms, Rome lost through lack of knowledge
of wind and sea. No great naval genius stands above the rest, to
whom the final success can be attributed. Rome won simply through
the better fighting qualities of her rank and file and the stamina
of her citizens. To quote the phrase of a British writer,[1] Rome
showed the superior "fitness to win."

[Footnote 1: Fred Jane, HERESIES OF SEA POWER, _passim_.]

_The Second Punic War_

In the first Punic war the prize was an island, Sicily. Naturally,
therefore, the fighting was primarily naval. The second Punic war
(218-202 B.C.) was essentially a war on land. Carthage, driven
from Sicily, turned to Spain and made the southern part of the
peninsula her province. Using this as his base, Hannibal marched
overland, crossed the Alps, and invaded Italy from the north. Had
he followed up his unbroken series of victories by marching on
the capital instead of going into winter quarters at Capua, it is
possible that Rome might have been destroyed and all subsequent
history radically changed. The Romans had no general who could
measure up to the genius of Hannibal, but their spirit was unbroken
even by the slaughter of Cannæ, and their allies remained loyal.
Moreover, Carthage, thanks to factional quarrels and personal
jealousies, was deaf to all the requests sent by Hannibal for
reënforcements when he needed them most. In the end, Scipio, after
having driven the Carthaginians out of Spain, dislodged Hannibal
from Italy by carrying an invasion into Africa. At the battle of
Zama the Romans defeated Hannibal and won the war.

It is difficult to see any significant use of sea power in this
second Punic war. Neither side seemed to realize what might be
done in cutting the communications of the other, and both sides
seemed to be able to use the sea at will. Of course due allowance
must be made for the limitations of naval activity. The quinquereme
was too frail to attempt a blockade or to patrol the sea lanes in
all seasons. Nevertheless both sides used the sea for the transport
of troops and the conveying of intelligence, and neither side made
any determined effort to establish a real control of the sea.[1]

[Footnote 1: For a distinguished opinion to the contrary, v. Mahan,
INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER UPON HISTORY, 14 ff. In this view, however,
Mahan is not supported by Mommsen (vol. II, p. 100). See also Jane,

_The Third Punic War_ (149-146 B.C.)

The third Punic war has no naval interest. Rome, not satisfied with
defeating her rival in the two previous wars, took a convenient
pretext to invade Carthage and destroy every vestige of the city.
With this the great maritime empire came to an end, and Rome became
supreme in the Mediterranean.


After the fall of Carthage no rival appeared to contest the sovereignty
of Rome upon the sea. The next great naval battle was waged between
two rival factions of Rome herself at the time when the republic
had fallen and the empire was about to be reared on its ruins. This
was the battle of Actium, one of the most decisive in the world's

The rivalry between Antony and Octavius as to who should control
the destinies of Rome was the immediate cause of the conflict.
In the parceling out of spoil from the civil wars following the
murder of Cæsar, Octavius had taken the West, Lepidus the African
provinces, and Antony the East. Octavius soon ousted Lepidus and
then turned to settle the issue of mastery with Antony. In this he
had motives of revenge as well as ambition. Antony had robbed him
of his inheritance from Cæsar, and divorced his wife, the sister of
Octavius, in favor of Cleopatra, with whom he had become completely
infatuated. In this quarrel the people of Rome were inclined to
support Octavius, because of their indignation over a reported
declaration made by Antony to the effect that he intended to make
Alexandria rather than Rome the capital of the empire and rule East
and West from the Nile rather than the Tiber. Both sides began
preparations for the conflict. Antony possessed the bulk of the
Roman navy and the Roman legions of the eastern provinces. To his
fleet he added squadrons of Egyptian and Phœnician vessels of war,
and to his army he brought large bodies of troops from the subject
provinces of the East. In addition he spent great sums of money by
means of his agents in Rome to arouse disaffection against Octavius.
At the outset he acted with energy and caused his antagonist the
gravest anxiety. It was clear also that Antony intended to take
the offensive. He established winter quarters at Patras, on the
Gulf of Corinth, during the winter of 32-31 B.C., billeting his
army in various towns on the west coast of Greece, and keeping
it supplied by grain ships from Alexandria. His fleet he anchored
in the Ambracian Gulf, a landlocked bay, thirty miles wide, lying
north of the Gulf of Corinth; it is known to-day as the Gulf of

Octavius, however, was equally determined not to yield the offensive
to his adversary, and boldly collected ships and troops for a movement
in force against Antony's position. His troops were also Roman
legionaries, experienced in war, but his fleet was considerably
less in numbers and the individual ships much smaller than the
quinqueremes and octiremes of Antony. The ships of Octavius were
mostly biremes and triremes. These disadvantages, however, were
offset by the fact that his admiral, Agrippa, was an experienced
sea-fighter, having won a victory near Mylæ during the civil wars,
and by the other fact that the crews under him, recruited from
the Dalmatian coast, were hardy, seafaring men. These were called
Liburni, and the type of ship they used was known as the _Liburna_.
This was a two-banked galley, but the term was already becoming
current for any light man of war, irrespective of the number of
banks of oars. In contrast with these Liburni, who divided their
days between fishing and piracy and knew all the tricks of fighting
at sea, the crews of Antony's great fleet were in many cases landsmen
who had been suddenly impressed into service.

As soon as Antony had moved his force to western Greece he seemed
paralyzed by indecision and made no move to avail himself of his
advantageous position to strike. He had plenty of money, while
his adversary was at his wit's end to find even credit. He had
the admiration of his soldiers, who had followed him through many
a campaign to victory, while Octavius had no popularity with his
troops, most of whom were reluctant to fight against their old
comrades in arms. And finally, Antony had a preponderating fleet
with which he could command the sea and compel his opponent to
fight on the defensive in Italian territory. All these advantages
he allowed to slip away.

During the winter of 32-31 one-third of Antony's crews perished
from lack of proper supplies and the gaps were filled by slaves,
mule-drivers, and plowmen--any one whom his captains could seize and
impress from the surrounding country. The following spring Agrippa
made a feint to the south by capturing Methone at the southern tip
of the Peloponnesus, thus threatening the wheat squadrons from
Egypt on which Antony depended. Next came the news that Octavius
had landed an army in Epirus and was marching south. Then Antony
realized that his adversary was aiming to destroy the fleet in the
Ambracian Gulf and hastened thither. He arrived with a squadron
ahead of his troops, at almost the same instant as Octavius, and if
Octavius had had the courage to attack the tired and disorganized
crews of Antony's squadron, Antony would have been lost. But by
dressing his crews in the armor of legionaries and drawing up his
ships in a position for fighting, with oars suspended, he "bluffed"
his enemy into thinking that he had the support of his troops.
When the latter arrived Antony established a great camp on Cape
Actium, which closes the southern side of the Gulf, and fortified
the entrance on that side.

Thereafter for months the two forces faced each other on opposite
sides of the Gulf, neither side risking more than insignificant
skirmishes. During this time Octavius had free use of the sea for
his supplies, while the heavier fleet of Antony lay idle in harbor.
Nevertheless, Octavius did not dare to risk all on a land battle, and
conducted his campaign in a characteristically timid and vacillating
manner which should have made it easy for Antony to take the aggressive
and win. But the famous lieutenant of Julius Cæsar was no longer the
man who used to win the devotion of his soldiers by his courage and
audacity. He was broken by debauchery and torn this way and that by
two violently hostile parties in his own camp. One party, called the
Roman, wanted him to come to an understanding with Octavius, or beat
him in battle, and go to Rome as the restorer of the republic. The
other party, the Egyptian, was Cleopatra and her following. Cleopatra
was interested in holding Antony to Egypt, to consolidate through
him a strong Egyptian empire, and she was not at all interested in
the restoration of Roman liberties. In Antony's desire to please
Cleopatra and his attempt to deceive his Roman friends into thinking
that he was working for their aims, may be seen the explanation
of the utter lack of strategy or consistent plan in his entire
campaign against Octavius.

At the beginning of July Antony apparently proposed a naval battle.
Instantly the suspicions of the Roman party were awakened. They
cried out that Antony was evidently going back to Egypt without
having won the decisive battle against Octavius on land, which
would really break the enemy's power, and without paying any heed
to the political problems at Rome. Such a furor was raised between
the two parties that Antony abandoned his plan and made a feint
toward the land battle in Epirus that the Romans wanted. Meanwhile
two of his adherents, one a Roman, the other a king from Asia Minor,
exasperated by the insolence of Cleopatra, deserted to Octavius.

August came and went without action or change in the situation.
Meanwhile as Antony's camp had been placed in a pestilential spot
for midsummer heat, he suffered great losses from disease. By this
time Cleopatra was interested in nothing but a return to Egypt.
Accordingly she persuaded Antony to order a naval battle without
asking anybody's advice, and he set the date August 29 for the
sally of his fleet. The Romans were amazed and protested, but in
vain. Preparations went on in such a way as to make it clear to the
observing that what Antony was planning was not so much a battle
as a return to Egypt. Vessels which he did not need outside for
battle he ordered burned, although such ships would usually be kept
as reserves to make up losses in fighting. Moreover, he astonished
the captains by ordering them to take out into action the big sails
which were always left ashore before a battle. Nor did his explanation
that they would be needed in pursuit satisfy them. It appeared also
that he was employing trusted slaves at night to load the Egyptian
galleys with all of Cleopatra's treasure. Two more Roman leaders,
satisfied as to Antony's real intention, deserted to Octavius and
informed him of Antony's plans.

Meanwhile a heavy storm had made it impossible to attempt the action
on August 29 or several days after. On the 2d of September (31
B.C.) the sea became smooth again. Octavius and Agrippa drew out
their fleet into open water, about three-quarters of a mile from
the mouth of the gulf, forming line in three divisions. They waited
till nearly noon before Antony's fleet began to make its expected
appearance to offer battle. This also was formed in three divisions
corresponding to those of their enemy. The Egyptian division of
sixty ships under Cleopatra took up a safe position in the rear
of the center.

[Illustration: SCENE OF BATTLE OF ACTIUM, 31 B.C.]

There was a striking contrast in the types of ships in the opposing
ranks. The galleys of Octavius were low in the water, and nimble in
their handling; those of Antony were bulky and high, with five to
ten banks of oars, and their natural unhandiness was made worse by
a device intended to protect them against ramming. This consisted
of a kind of boom of heavy timbers rigged out on all sides of the
hull. In addition to the higher sides these ships supported towers
and citadels built upon their decks, equipped with every form of
the artillery of that day, especially catapults capable of hurling
heavy stones upon the enemy's deck.

Against such formidable floating castles, the light ships of Agrippa
and Octavius could adopt only skirmishing tactics. They rushed in
where they could shear away the oar blades of an enemy without
getting caught by the great grappling irons swung out from his
decks. They kept clear of the heavy stones from the catapults through
superior speed and ability to maneuver quickly, but they were unable
to strike their ponderous adversaries any vital blow. On the other
hand the great hulks of Antony were unable to close with them,
and though the air was filled with a storm of arrows, stones and
javelins, neither side was able to strike decisively at the other.
As at Salamis the opposite shores were lined with the opposing
armies, and every small success was hailed by shouts from a hundred
thousand throats on the one side and long drawn murmurs of dismay
from an equal host on the other.

In these waters a north wind springs up every afternoon--a fact
that Antony and Cleopatra had counted on--and as soon as the breeze
shifted the royal galley of Cleopatra spread its crimson sail and,
followed by the entire Egyptian division, sailed through the lines
and headed south. Antony immediately left his flagship, boarded
a quinquereme and followed. This contemptible desertion of the
commander in chief was not generally known in his fleet; as for the
disappearance of the Egyptian squadron, it was doubtless regarded
as a good riddance. The battle, therefore, went on as stubbornly
as ever.

Late in the afternoon Agrippa, despairing of harming his enemy by
ordinary tactics, achieved considerable success by the use of javelins
wrapped in burning tow, and fire rafts that were set drifting upon
the clumsy hulks which could not get out of their way. By this means
a number of Antony's ships were destroyed, but the contest remained
indecisive. At sunset Antony's fleet retired in some disorder to
their anchorage in the gulf. Octavius attempted no pursuit but
kept the sea all night, fearing a surprise attack or an attempted
flight from the gulf.

Meanwhile a flying wing of Octavius's fleet had been sent in pursuit
of Antony and Cleopatra, who escaped only after a rear guard action
had been fought in which two of Cleopatra's ships were captured.
The fugitives put ashore at Cape Tænarus, to enable Antony to send
a message to his general, Canidius, ordering him to take his army
through Macedonia into Asia. Then the flight was resumed to Alexandria.

On the morning of the 3d Octavius sent a message to the enemy's
camp announcing the fact of Antony's desertion and calling on the
fleet and army to surrender. The Roman soldiers were unwilling to
believe that their commander had been guilty of desertion, and
were confident that he had been summoned away on important business
connected with the campaign. Their general, however, did not dare
convey to them Antony's orders because they would betray the truth
and provoke mutiny. Consequently he did nothing. Certain Roman
senators and eastern princes saw the light and quietly went over
to the camp of Octavius. Several days of inaction followed, during
which the desertions continued and the rumor of Antony's flight
found increasing belief. On the seventh day, Canidius, who found
himself in a hopeless dilemma, also went over to Octavius. This
desertion by the commander settled the rest of the force. A few
scattered into Macedonia, but the great bulk of the army and all
that was left of the fleet surrendered. Nineteen legions and more
than ten thousand cavalry thus came over to Octavius and took service
under him. This was the real victory of Actium. In the words of
the Italian historian Ferrero, "it was a victory gained without
fighting, and Antony was defeated in this supreme struggle, not
by the valor of his adversary or by his own defective strategy
or tactics, but by the hopeless inconsistency of his double-faced
policy, which, while professing to be republican and Roman, was
actually Egyptian and monarchical."

The story of the naval battle of Actium is a baffling problem to
reconstruct on account of the wide divergence in the accounts.
For instance, the actual number of ships engaged is a matter of
choice between the extremes of 200 to 500 on a side. And the
consequences were so important to Octavius and to Rome that the
accounts were naturally adorned afterwards with the most glowing
colors. Every poet who lived by the bounty of Augustus in later
years naturally felt inspired to pay tribute to it in verse. But the
actual naval battle seems to have been of an indecisive character.
For that matter, even after the wholesale surrender of Antony's
Roman army and fleet, neither Anthony nor Octavius realized the
importance of what had happened. Antony had recovered from worse
disasters before, and felt secure in Alexandria. Octavius at first
followed up his advantage with timid and uncertain steps. Only
after the way was made easy by the hasty submission of the Asiatic
princes and the wave of popularity and enthusiasm that was raised
in Rome by the news of the victory, did Octavius press the issue
to Egypt itself. There the war came to an end with the suicide
of both Antony and Cleopatra.

As in the case of the indecisive naval battle off the capes of
the Chesapeake, which led directly to the surrender of Cornwallis,
an action indecisive in character may be most decisive in results.
Actium may not have been a pronounced naval victory but it had
tremendous consequences. As at Salamis, East and West met for the
supremacy of the western world, and the East was beaten back. It
is not likely that the Egyptian or the Syrian would have dominated
the genius of the western world for any length of time, but the
defeat of Octavius would have meant a hybrid empire which would
have fallen to pieces like the empire of Alexander, leaving western
Europe split into a number of petty states. On the other hand,
Octavius was enabled to build on the consequences of Actium the
great outlines of the Roman empire, the influence of which on the
civilized world to-day is still incalculable. When he left Rome
to fight Antony, the government was bankrupt and the people torn
with faction. When he returned he brought the vast treasure of
Egypt and found a people united to support him. Actium, therefore,
is properly taken as the significant date for the beginning of the
Roman empire. Octavius took the name of his grand-uncle Cæsar,
the title of Augustus, and as "Imperator" became the first of the
Roman emperors.

The relation of the battle of Actium to this portentous change
in the fortunes of Octavius was formally recognized by him on the
scene where it took place. Nicopolis, the City of Victory, was
founded upon the site of his camp, with the beaks of the captured
ships as trophies adorning its forum. The little temple of Apollo on
the point of Actium he rebuilt on an imposing scale and instituted
there in honor of his victory the "Actian games," which were held
thereafter for two hundred years.

After the battle of Actium and the establishment of a powerful
Roman empire without a rival in the world, there follows a long
period in which the Mediterranean, and indeed all the waterways
known to the civilized nations, belonged without challenge to the
galleys of Rome. Naval stations were established to assist in the
one activity left to ships of war, the pursuit of pirates, but
otherwise there was little or nothing to do. And during this long
period, indeed, down to the Middle Ages, practically nothing is
known of the development in naval types until the emergence of the
low, one- or two-banked galley of the wars between the Christian
and the Mohammedan. The first definite description we have of warships
after the period of Actium comes at the end of the ninth century.

There was some futile naval fighting against the Vandals in the days
when Rome was crumbling. Finally, by a curious freak of history,
Genseric the Vandal took a fleet out from Carthage against Rome,
and swept the Mediterranean. In the year 455, some six centuries
after Rome had wreaked her vengeance on Carthage, this Vandal fleet
anchored unopposed in the Tiber and landed an army that sacked
the imperial city, which had been for so long a period mistress
of the world, and had given her name to a great civilization.

During the four centuries in which the _Pax Romana_ rested upon
the world, it is easy to conceive of the enormous importance to
history and civilization of having sea and river, the known world
over, an undisputed highway for the fleets of Rome. Along these
routes, even more than along the military roads, traveled the
institutions, the arts, the language, the literature, the laws,
of one of the greatest civilizations in history. And ruthless as
was the destruction of Vandal and Goth in the city itself and in
the peninsula, they could not destroy the heritage that had been
spread from Britain to the Black Sea and from the Elbe to the upper
waters of the Nile.


HISTORY OF ROME, Theodor Mommsen, tr. by W. P. Dickson, 1867.
GENERAL HISTORY, Polybius, transl. by Hampton, 1823.
  Zemmern, 1909.
  ROMAINS, Paul Serre, 1888.
FLEETS OF THE FIRST PUNIC WAR, W. W. Tarn, in _Journal of
  Hellenic Studies_, 1907.
HERESIES OF SEA POWER (pp. 40-71), Fred Jane, 1906.
INFLUENCE OF SEA POWER ON HISTORY (pp. 15 ff.), A. T. Mahan, 1889.
For a complete bibliography of Roman sea power, v. INFLUENCE OF
  SEA POWER ON THE ROMAN REPUBLIC (Doctoral Dissertation),
  F. W. Clark, 1915.



The thousand years following the collapse of the Roman empire, a
period generally referred to as the Middle Ages, are characterized
by a series of barbarian invasions. Angles, Saxons, Goths, Visigoths,
Huns, Vandals, Vikings, Slavs, Arabs, and Turks poured over the
broken barriers of the empire and threatened to extinguish the last
spark of western and Christian civilization. Out of this welter
of invasions and the anarchy of petty kingdoms arose finally the
powerful nations that perpetuated the inheritance from Athens,
Rome, and Jerusalem, and developed on this foundation the newer
institutions of political and intellectual freedom that have made
western civilization mistress of the world. For this triumph of
West over East, of Christianity over barbarism, we have to thank
partly the courage and genius of great warriors and statesmen who
arose here and there, like Alfred of England and Martel of France,
but chiefly the Eastern Empire, with its capital at Constantinople,
which stood through this entire epoch as the one great bulwark against
which the invasions dashed in vain. In this story of defense, the
Christian fleets won more than one Salamis, as we shall see in
the course of this chapter.

In the year 328 A.D. the Emperor Constantine the Great moved his
capital to Byzantium and named it "New Rome." In honor of its founder,
however, the name was changed soon to "Constantinople," which it
has retained ever since. It may seem strange that after so many
glorious centuries Rome should have been deprived of the honor of
being the center of the great empire which bore its own name, but
in the fourth century the city itself had no real significance.
All power rested in the person of the Emperor himself, and wherever
he went became for the time being the capital for all practical
purposes. At this time the empire was already on the defensive and
the danger lay in the east. Constantine needed a capital nearer
the scene of future campaigns, nearer his weakest frontier, the
Danube, and nearer the center of the empire. Byzantium not only
served these purposes but also possessed natural advantages of a
very high order. It was situated where Europe and Asia meet, it
commanded the waterway between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean,
and it was a natural citadel. Whoever captured the city must needs
be powerful by land and sea. Under the emperor's direction the new
capital was greatly enlarged and protected by a system of massive
walls. Behind these walls the city stood fast for over a thousand
years against wave after wave of barbarian invasion.

Of the wars with the Persians, the Vandals, and the Huns nothing
need be said here, for they do not involve the operations of fleets.
The city was safe so long as no enemy appeared with the power to
hold the sea. That power appeared in the seventh century when the
Arabs, or "Saracens," as they were called in Europe, swept westward
and northward in the first great Mohammedan invasion.

Most migrations are to be explained by the pressure of enemies,
or the lack of food and pasturage in the countries left behind,
or the discovery of better living conditions in the neighboring
countries. But the impulse behind the two tremendous assaults of
Islam upon Europe seems to have been religious fanaticism of a
character and extent unmatched in history. The founder of the Faith,
Mohammed, taught from 622 to 632. He succeeded in imbuing his followers
with the passion of winning the world to the knowledge of Allah
and Mohammed his prophet. The unbeliever was to be offered the
alternatives of conversion or death, and the believer who fell in
the holy wars would be instantly transported to Paradise. Men who
actually believe that they will be sent to a blissful immortality
after death are the most terrible soldiers to face, for they would
as readily die as live. In fact Cromwell's "Ironsides" of a later
day owed their invincibility to very much the same spirit. At all
events, by the time of Mohammed's death all Arabia had been converted
to his faith and, fired with zeal, turned to conquer the world.
Hitherto the tribes of Arabia were scattered and disorganized,
and Arabia as a country meant nothing to the outside world. Now
under the leadership of the Prophet it had become a driving force
of tremendous power. Mohammedan armies swept over Syria into Persia.
In 637, only five years after Mohammed's death, Jerusalem surrendered,
and shortly afterwards Egypt was conquered. Early in the eighth
century the Arabs ruled from the Indus on the east, and the Caucasus
on the north, to the shores of the Atlantic on the west. Their
empire curved westward along the coast of northern Africa, through
Spain, like one of their own scimitars, threatening all Christendom.
Indeed, the Arab invasion stands unparalleled in history for its
rapidity and extent.


The one great obstacle in the way was the Christian, or Roman,
empire with its center at Constantinople. Muaviah, the Emir of
Syria, was the first to perceive that nothing could be done against
the empire until the Arabs had wrested from it the command of the
sea. Accordingly he set about building a great naval armament.
In 649 this fleet made an attack on Cyprus but was defeated. The
following year, however, it took an important island, Aradus, off
the coast of Syria, once a stronghold of the Phœnicians, and sacked
it with savage barbarity. An expedition sent from Constantinople to
recover Alexandria was met by this fleet and routed. This first naval
victory over the Christians gave the Saracens unbounded confidence in
their ability to fight on the sea. They sailed into the Ægean, took
Rhodes, plundered Cos, and returned loaded with booty. Muaviah,
elated with these successes, planned a great combined land and
water expedition against the Christian capital.

At this point it is worth pausing to consider what the fighting
ship of this period was like. As we have seen in the preceding
chapter the Roman navy sank into complete decay. At the end of the
fourth century there was practically no imperial navy in existence.
The conquest of the Vandals by Belisarius in the sixth century
involved the creation of a fleet, but when that task was over the
navy again disappeared until the appearance of the Arabs compelled
the building of a new imperial fleet. The small provincial squadrons
then used to patrol the coasts were by no means adequate to meet
the crisis.

The warships of this period were called "dromons," a term that
persists even in the time of the Turkish invasion eight centuries
later. The word means "fast sailers" or "racers." The dromon was
not the low galley of the later Middle Ages but a two-banked ship,
probably quite as large as the Roman quinquereme, carrying a complement
of about 300 men. Amidships was built a heavy castle or redoubt of
timbers, pierced with loopholes for archery. On the forecastle
rose a kind of turret, possibly revolving, from which, after Greek
fire was invented, the tubes or primitive cannon projected the
substance on the decks of the enemy. The dromon had two masts, lateen
rigged, and between thirty and forty oars to a side.

There were two classes of dromons, graded according to size, and a
third class of ship known as the "pamphylian," which was apparently
of a cruiser type, less cumbered with superstructure. In addition
there were small scout and dispatch boats of various shapes and

Both Christian and Saracen fought with these kinds of warships.
Apparently the Arabs simply copied the vessels they found already
in use by their enemies, and added no new device of their own.


In 655 Muaviah started his great double invasion against Constantinople.
He sent his fleet into the Ægean, while he himself with an army
tried to force the passes of the Taurus mountains. Before the Arab
fleet had gone far it met the Christian fleet, commanded by the
Emperor himself, off the town of Phaselis on the southwestern coast
of Asia Minor. A great battle followed. The Christian emperor,
Constantine II, distinguished himself by personal courage throughout
the action, but the day went sorely against the Christians. At last
the flagship was captured and he himself survived only by leaping
into a vessel that came to his rescue while his men fought to cover
his escape. It was a terrible defeat, for 20,000 Christians had been
killed and the remnants of their fleet were in full retreat. But
the Saracens had bought their victory at such a price that they
were themselves in no condition to profit by it, and the naval
expedition went no further. Meanwhile Muaviah had not succeeded
in forcing the Taurus with his army, so that the grand assault
came to nothing after all.

The following year the murder of the Caliph brought on a civil
war among the Saracens, in consequence of which Muaviah arranged
a truce with Constantine. The latter was thus enabled to turn his
attention to the beating back of the Slavs in the east and the
recovery of imperial possessions in the west, notably the city
and province of Carthage. During the last of these campaigns he
was killed by a slave.

The death of this energetic and able ruler seemed to Muaviah the
opportunity to begin fresh operations against the Christian empire.
Three great armies invaded the territory of the Cross. One plundered
Syracuse, another seized and fortified a post that threatened the
existence of Carthage, a third pushed to the shores of the Sea of
Marmora. These were, however, only preliminary to the grand assault
on the capital itself.

In 673 a great Arab armada forced the Hellespont and captured Cyzicus.
With this as a base, the fleet landed an army on the northern shore
of the Sea of Marmora. By these means Constantinople was invested
by land and sea. But the great walls proved impregnable against
the attacks of the army, and the Christian fleet, sheltered in
the Golden Horn, was able to sally out from time to time and make
successful raids on detachments of the Saracen ships. This state
of affairs continued for six months, after which Muaviah retired
with his army to Cyzicus, leaving a strong naval guard to hold
the straits.

The next spring Muaviah again landed his army on the European side
and besieged the city for several months. The second year's operations
were no more successful than the first, and again the Arab force
retired to Cyzicus for the winter.

The Arab commander was determined to stick it out until he had
forced the surrender of the city by sheer exhaustion, but his plan
had a fatal error. During the winter months the land blockade was
abandoned, with the result that supplies for the next year's siege
were readily collected for the beleaguered city. Emperor and citizens
alike rose to the emergency with a spirit of devotion that burned
brighter with every year of the siege. Meanwhile the Christians
of the outlying provinces of Syria and Africa were also fighting
stubbornly and with considerable success against the enemy. The
year 676 passed without any material change in the situation.


During the siege a Syrian architect named Callinicus is said to
have come to Constantinople with a preparation of his own invention,
"Greek fire," which he offered the Emperor for use against the Saracen.
This, according to one historian, "was a semi-liquid substance,
composed of sulphur, pitch, dissolved niter, and petroleum boiled
together and mixed with certain less important and more obscure
substances.... When ejected it caught the woodwork which it fell
and set it so thoroughly on fire that there was no possibility
of extinguishing the conflagration. It could only be put out, it
is said, by pouring vinegar, wine, or sand upon it."[1]

[Footnote 1: THE ART OF WAR, Oman, p. 546.]

Constantine IV, the Emperor, was quick to see the possibilities
of the innovation and equipped his dromons with projecting brass
tubes for squirting the substance upon the enemy's ships. These are
sometimes referred to as "siphons," but it is not clear just how
they were operated. One writer[2] is of the opinion that something
of the secret of gunpowder had been obtained from the East and that
the substance was actually projected by a charge of gunpowder;
in short, that these "siphons" were primitive cannon. In addition
to these tubes other means were prepared for throwing the fire.
Earthenware jars containing it were to be flung by hand or arbalist,
and darts and arrows were wrapped with tow soaked in the substance.

[Footnote 2: THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE, Foord, p. 139.]

The Christian fleet was no match for the Saracen in numbers, but
Constantine pinned his faith on the new invention. Accordingly,
during the fourth year of the siege, 677, he boldly led his fleet
to the attack. We have no details of this battle beyond the fact
that the Greek fire struck such terror by its destructive effect that
the Saracens were utterly defeated. This unexpected blow completed
the growing demoralization of the besiegers. The army returned
to the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, and the survivors of the
fleet turned homewards. Constantine followed up his victory with
splendid energy. He landed troops on the Asiatic shore, pursued
the retreating Arabs and drove the shattered remnant of their army
back into Syria. The fleet was overtaken by a storm in the Ægean and
suffered heavily. Before the ships could reassemble, the Christians
were upon them and almost nothing was left of the great Saracen
armada. Thus the second great assault on Constantinople was shattered
by the most staggering disaster that had ever befallen the cause
of Islam.

The Christian empire once more stood supreme, and that supremacy
was attested by the terms of peace which the defeated Muaviah was
glad to accept. There was to be a truce of thirty years, during
which the Christian emperor was to receive an annual tribute of
3000 pounds of gold, fifty Arab horses and fifty slaves.

It is unfortunate that there was no Herodotus to tell the details
of this victory, for it was tremendously important to European
civilization. Western Europe was then a welter of barbarism and
anarchy, and if Constantinople had fallen, in all probability the
last vestige of Roman civilization would have been destroyed. Moreover,
the battle is of special interest from a tactical point of view
because it was won by a new device, Greek fire, which was the most
destructive naval weapon up to the time when gunpowder and artillery
took its place. Indeed this substance may be said to have saved
Christian civilization for several centuries, for the secret of
its composition was carefully preserved at Constantinople and the
Arabs never recovered from their fear of it.

The victory did not, however, mark the crisis of the struggle.
In the half century that followed, Constantinople suffered from
weak or imbecile emperors while the Caliphate gained ground under
able rulers and generals. In the first fifteen years of the eighth
century the Saracens reached the climax of their power. Under a
great general, Muza, they conquered Spain and spread into southern
France. It was he who conceived the grandiose plan of conquering
Christendom by a simultaneous attack from the west and from the
east, converging at the city of Rome. One army was to advance from
Asia Minor and take Constantinople; another was to cross the Pyrenees
and overrun the territory of the Franks. Had the enterprise been
started at the time proposed there could have been little opposition
in the west, for the Franks were then busy fighting each other,
but luckily Muza fell into disgrace with the Caliph at this time
and his great project was undertaken by less able hands and on
a piecemeal plan.

The eastern line of invasion was undertaken first in the year 717.
A fleet of warships and transports to the number of 1800 sailed
to the Hellespont, carrying about 80,000 troops, while a great
army collected at Tarsus and marched overland toward the same
destination. Meanwhile two more fleets were being prepared in the
ports of Africa and Egypt, and a third army was being collected
to reënforce the first expedition. This army was to be under the
personal command of the Caliph himself. The third attack on the
Christian capital was intended to be the supreme effort.

Fortunately, the ruler of Constantinople at this hour of peril
was a man of ability and energy, Leo III; but the empire had sunk
so low as a result of the misrule of his predecessors that his
authority scarcely extended beyond the shores of the Sea of Marmora,
and his resources were at a low ebb. The navy on which so much
depended was brought to a high point of efficiency, but it was so
inferior in numbers to the Saracen armada that he dared not attempt
even a defense of the Dardanelles.

For the Arabs all went well at first. Unopposed they transported a
part of their army to the European shore, moved toward Constantinople
and invested it by land and sea. One detachment was sent to cover
Adrianople, which was occupied by a Christian garrison; the rest
of the force concentrated on the capital itself.

Meanwhile the Christian fleet lay anchored in the shelter of the
Golden Horn, protected by a boom of chains and logs. As the Saracen
ships came up to occupy the straits above the city they fell into
confusion in trying to stem the rapid current. Seeing his opportunity,
the emperor ordered the boom opened, and leading the way in his
flagship, he fell upon the huddle of Saracen vessels in the channel.
The latter could make little resistance, and before the main body of
the fleet could work up to the rescue, the Christians had destroyed
twenty and taken a number of prizes back to the Horn. Again Greek
fire had proved its deadly efficacy. Elated with this success,
Leo ordered the boom opened wide and, lying in battle order at
the mouth of the Horn, he challenged the Arab fleet to attack. But
such was the terror inspired by Greek fire that the Grand Vizier,
in spite of his enormous superiority in numbers, declined to close.
Instead he withdrew his dromons out of the Bosphorus and thereafter
followed the less risky policy of a blockade. This initial success
of the Christian fleet had the important effect of leaving open
the sea route to the Black Sea, through which supplies could still
reach the beleaguered city.

The Arabs then sat down to wear out the defenders by a protracted
siege on land and sea. In the spring of 718 the new army and the
two new fleets arrived on the scene. One of the latter succeeded,
probably by night, in passing through the Bosphorus and closing
the last inlet to the city. The situation for the defenders became
desperate. Many of the men serving on these new fleets, however,
were Christians. These took every opportunity to desert, and gave
important information to the emperor as to the disposition of the
Arab ships. Acting on this knowledge, Leo took his fleet out from
the shelter of the boom and moved up the straits against the African
and Egyptian squadrons that were blockading the northern exit. The
deserters guided him to where these squadrons lay, at anchor and
unprepared for action. What followed was a massacre rather than
a battle. The Christian members of the crews deserted wholesale
and turned upon their Moslem officers. Ship after ship was rammed
by the Christian dromons or set on fire by the terrible substance
which every Arab regarded with superstitious dread. Some were driven
ashore, others captured, many more sunk or burnt to the water's
edge. Of a total of nearly 800 vessels practically nothing was

Leo followed up this spectacular naval victory by transporting
a force from the garrison of the city to the opposite shore of
the Bosphorus, attacking the army encamped there and driving it
in rout. Meanwhile the Bulgarian chieftain had responded to Leo's
appeal and, relieving the siege of Adrianople, beat back the Saracen
army at that point with great slaughter. The fugitives of that army
served to throw into panic the troops encamped round the walls
of Constantinople, already demoralized by disease, the death of
their leaders, and the annihilation of the African and Egyptian
fleets in the Bosphorus.

The great retreat began. The Arab soldiers started back through
Asia Minor, but only 30,000 out of the original force of 180,000
lived to reach Tarsus. The fleet set sail for the Ægean, and as
in the similar retreat of a half century before, the Arabs were
overwhelmed by a storm with terrible losses. The Christian ships
picked off many survivors, and the Christians of the islands destroyed
others that sought shelter in any port. It is said that out of
the original armada of 1800 vessels only five returned to Syria!
Thus the third and supreme effort of the Saracen ended in one of
the greatest military disasters in history.

The service of the Christian fleet in the salvation of the empire
at this time is thus summarized by a historian:

"The fleet won most of the credit for the fine defense; it invariably
fought with admirable readiness and discipline, and was handled in
the most masterful manner. It checked the establishment of a naval
blockade at the very outset, and broke it when it was temporarily
formed in 718; it enabled the army to operate at will on either
shore of the Bosphorus, and it followed up the retreating Saracens
and completed the ruin of the great armament."[1]

[Footnote 1: THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE, Foard, p. 170.]

The winning stroke in this campaign was the tremendous naval victory
at the mouth of the Bosphorus, and this, even more emphatically
than Constantine's victory in 677, deserves to be called another
Salamis. Not only did it save the Christian empire but it checked
the Caliphate at the summit of its power and started it on its
decline. Not for thirty years afterwards was the Saracen able to
put any considerable fleet upon the sea.

It was ten years after the Arab defeat at Constantinople that the
armies of the west began the other part of Muza's project--the
conquest of the Franks. By this time the Frankish power was united
and able to present a powerful defense. In six bitterly contested
battles between Tours and Poitiers in 732 Charles Martel defeated
the Arabs in a campaign that may well be called the Marathon, or
better, the Platæa, of the Middle Ages, for it completed the work
done by the imperial navy at Constantinople. From this time forward
the power of the Saracen began to ebb by land and sea.

As it ebbed, the new cities of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice began to
capture the trade and hold the control of the sea that once had
been Saracen, until the Christian control was so well established
as to make possible the Crusades. Later, as we shall see, a second
invasion of Mohammedans, the Turks, ably assisted by the descendants
of the Arabs who conquered Spain, once more threatened to control
the Mediterranean for the cause of Islam. But the Persian Gulf
and the Indian Ocean, which fell into the hands of the Arabs as
soon as they took to the water, remained in Arab hands down to
the times of the Portuguese. In those waters, because they were
cut off from the Mediterranean, the Saracen had no competitor.
As early as the eighth century Ceylon was an Arab trading base,
and when the Portuguese explorers arrived at the end of the 15th
century they found the Arabs still dominating the water routes
of India and Asia, holding as they had held for seven centuries
a monopoly of the commerce of the east.

Of the Mediterranean during the struggle between Christian and
Saracen a recent English writer makes the following suggestive comment:

"The function of the Mediterranean has thus undergone a change.
In early times it had been a barrier; later, under the Phœnicians,
it became a highway, and to the Greeks a defense. We find that the
Romans made it a basis for sea power and subdued all the lands
on its margin. With the weakening of Rome came a weakening of sea
power. The Barbary states and Spain became Saracen only because
the naval power of the eastern empire was not strong enough to hold
the whole sea, but neither was the Saracen able to gain supreme
control. Thus the conditions were the same as in the earlier days
of the conflict between Rome and Carthage: the Mediterranean became
a moat separating the rivals, though first one and then the other
had somewhat more control. The islands became alternately Saracen
and Christian. Crete and Sicily were held for centuries before
they were regained by a Christian power."[1]

[Footnote 1: GEOGRAPHY AND WORLD POWER, Fairgrieve, p. 125.]

The victory of 718 saved Constantinople from any further peril
from the Arabs, but it was again in grave peril, two centuries
later, when a sudden invasion of Russians in great force threatened
to accomplish at a stroke what the Saracens had failed to do in three
great expeditions. The King of Kiev, one of the race of Vikings
that had fought their way into southern Russia, collected a huge
number of ships, variously estimated from one to ten thousand, and
suddenly appeared in the Bosphorus. Probably there were not more
than 1500 of these vessels all told and they must have been small
compared with the Christian dromons; nevertheless they presented an
appalling danger at that moment. The Christian fleet was watching
Crete, the army was in the east winning back territory from the
Arabs, and Constantinople lay almost defenseless. The great walls
could be depended an to hold off a barbarian army, but a fleet
was needed to hold the waterways; otherwise the city was doomed.

In the Horn lay a few antiquated dromons and a few others still on
the stocks. To Theophanes the Patrician was given this nucleus of
a squadron with which to beat back the Russians. Desperate and even
hopeless as the situation appeared, he went to work with the greatest
energy, patching up the old ships, and hurrying the completion of
the new. Meanwhile the invaders sent raiding parties ashore that
harried the unprotected country districts with every refinement
of cruelty. In order to make each ship count as much as possible
as an offensive unit, Theaphanes made an innovation by fitting out
Greek fire tubes on the broadsides as well as in the bows. This
may be noted as the first appearance of the broadside armament
idea, which had to wait six hundred years more before it became
finally established.

When the new ships had been completed and the old ones made serviceable,
Theophanes had exactly fifteen men of war. With this handful of
vessels, some hardly fit to take the sea, he set out from the Horn
and boldly attacked the Russian fleet that blocked the entrance to
the strait. Never was there a more forlorn hope. Certainly neither
the citizens on the walls nor the men on the ships had any expectation
of a return.

What followed would be incredible were it not a matter of history.
These fifteen ships were immediately swallowed up by the huge fleet
of the enemy, but under the superb leadership of Theophanes each
one fought with the fury of desperation. They had one hope, the
weapon that had twice before saved the city, Greek fire. The Russians
swarmed alongside only to find their ships taking fire with a flame
that water would not quench. Contempt of their feeble enemy changed
soon to a wild terror. There was but one impulse, to get out of
reach of the Christians, and the ships struggled to escape. Soon
the whole Russian fleet was in wild flight with the gallant fifteen
in hot pursuit. Some of these could make but slow headway because
of their unseaworthiness, but when all was over the Russians are
said to have lost two-thirds of their entire force. The invaders who
had been left on shore were then swept into the sea by reënforcements
that had arrived at Constantinople, and not a vestige was left
of the Russian invasion. Once more Greek fire and the Christian
navy had saved the empire; and for sheer audacity, crowned with a
victory of such magnitude, the feat of Theophanes stands unrivaled
in history.

From the tenth century on, Constantinople began to find her rivalries
in the west. The coronation of Charlemagne in 800 had marked the
final separation of the eastern and the western empire. As noted
above, the passing of the Saracens gave opportunity for the growth
of commercial city-states like Genoa, Pisa and Venice, and their
interests clashed not only with one another but also with those
of Constantinople.

The climax came in 1204 when Venice succeeded in diverting the
Fourth Crusade to an expedition of vengeance for herself, first
against the city of Zara and then against Constantinople. This
time the Eastern Empire had no fleet ready for defense and the
Venetian galleys filled the waters under the city walls. Many of
these galleys were fitted with a kind of flying bridge, a long
yard that extended from the mast to the top of the wall and stout
enough to bear a file of men that scrambled by this means to the
parapets. After many bloody repulses the city was finally captured,
and there followed a sack that for utter barbarity outdid anything
ever perpetrated by Arab or Turk. Thus the city that for nearly a
thousand years had saved Christian civilization was, by a hideous
irony of fate, taken and sacked by a Crusading army.

When the second Mohammedan invasion threatened Europe, Constantinople,
weak on land and impotent by sea, and deserted by the Christian
nations of the west, was unable to put up a strong resistance. At
last, in 1453, it was captured by the Turks, and became thereafter
the capital of the Moslem power. Great as this catastrophe was,
it cannot compare with what would have happened if the city had
fallen to the Saracen, the Hun, or the Russian during the dark
centuries when the nations of the west were scarcely in embryo.
In the 15th century they were strong enough to take up the sword
that Constantinople had dropped and draw the line beyond which
the Turk was not permitted to go.

Although it has been the fashion since Gibbon to sneer at the Eastern
Empire, it must be remembered with respect as the last treasure
house of the inheritance bequeathed by Rome and Greece during the
dark centuries of barbarian and Saracen. Even in its ruin it sent its
fugitives westward with the manuscripts of a language and literature
then little known, the Greek, and thereby added greatly to the
growing impetus of the Renaissance. It is significant also that
during its thousand years of life, as long as it kept its hold on
the sea it stood firm. When it yielded that, its empire dwindled
to a mere city fortress whose doom was assured long before it fell.


  Gibbon, ed. by J. B. Bury.



The city-state of Venice owed its origin to the very same barbarian
invasions that wrecked the old established cities of the Italian
peninsula. Fugitives from these towns in northern Italy and the
outlying country districts fled to the islets and lagoons for shelter
from the Hun, the Goth, and the Lombard. As the sea was the Venetians'
barrier from the invader, so also it had to be their source of
livelihood, and step by step through the centuries they built up
their commerce until they practically controlled the Mediterranean,
for trade or for war.

As early as 991 a Doge of Venice made a treaty with the Saracens
inaugurating a policy held thereafter by Venice till the time of
Lepanto; namely, to trade with Mohammedans rather than fight them.
The supreme passion of Venice was to make money, as it had been of
ancient Phœnicia, and to this was subordinated every consideration
of race, nationality, and religion. The first important step was
the conquest of the Dalmatian pirates at the beginning of the 11th
century. This meant the Venetian control of the Adriatic. When the
Crusades began, the sea routes to the Holy Land were in the hands
of the Venetians; indeed it was this fact that made the Crusades
possible. As the carrying and convoying agent of the Crusaders,
Venice developed greatly in wealth and power. With direct access to
the Brenner Pass, she became a rich distributing center for Eastern
goods to northern Europe. In all important Levantine cities there
was a Venetian quarter, Venetians had special trading privileges,
and many seaports and islands came directly under Venetian rule.


This rapid expansion naturally roused the jealousy of others. In
1171 Venice fought an unsuccessful war with Constantinople, and
yet continued to grow in wealth and power. In 1204, as we have
seen, Venice avenged herself by diverting the Fourth Crusade to
the siege and sack of her eastern rival. As the reward of that
nefarious exploit Venice received the greater part of the eastern
empire, and became the dominating power in the Mediterranean. During
the 13th and 14th centuries, however, she was compelled to fight
with her rebellious colonies and her new rivals, Genoa and Padua.
The wars with Genoa very nearly proved fatal to Venice, but just
when matters seemed most desperate she was saved by a naval victory
against a Genoese fleet in her own waters. In consequence of these
wars between Venice and Genoa both were heavy losers in wealth
and lives; Genoa never recovered from her defeat, but her rival
showed amazing powers of recuperation. She extended her territory
in Italy to include the important cities of Treviso, Padua, Vicenza,
and Verona, and in 1488 acquired the island of Cyprus in the Levant.
At this time the Venetian state owned 3300 ships, manned by 36,000
men, and stood at the height of her power.

Already, however, a new enemy had appeared who threatened not only
Venice but all Europe. This was the Ottoman Turk. The Turks were
not like the Arabs, members of the Indo-European family, but a
race from the eastern borders of the Caspian Sea, a branch of the
Mongolian stock. As these peoples moved south and west they came in
contact with Mohammedanism and became ardent converts. Eventually
they swept over Asia Minor, crossed the Dardanelles, took Adrianople,
and pushed into Serbia. Thus, when Constantinople fell in 1453 it
had been for some time a mere island of Christianity surrounded by
Moslems. Indeed it was only the civil wars among the Turks themselves
that held them back so long from the brilliant career of conquest
that characterized the 15th and early 16th centuries, for these
later followers of Mohammed had all the fanaticism of the Saracens.
Before the fall of Constantinople and the transfer of the Turkish
seat of government to that city, a corps of infantry was organized
that became the terror of the Christian world--the Janissaries. By
a grim irony of the Sultan, who created this body of troops, these
men were exclusively of Christian parentage, taken as children either
in the form of a human tribute levied on the Christian population
of Constantinople, or as captives in the various expeditions in
Christian territory. The Janissaries were brought up wholly to a
military life, they were not permitted to marry, and their lives
were devoted to fighting for the Crescent. For a long time they
were invincible in the open field.

The first half of the 16th century saw the Turks in Persia, in the
east, and at the gates of Vienna in the west. For a time they got
a foothold in Italy by seizing Otranto. They had conquered Egypt
and Syria, penetrated Persia, and in Arabia gained the support of
the Arabs for the Turkish sultan as the successor to the Caliphs.
Constantinople, therefore, became not only the political capital
for the Turkish empire but the religious center of the whole Moslem
world. Moreover, the Arab states on the southern borders of the
Mediterranean acknowledged the suzerainty of the Turkish ruler.

This fact was of great importance, for it enabled the Turks to become
masters of the inland sea. In 1492 the greater part of the Moors--the
descendants of the Arab conquerors of Spain--were expelled from the
Peninsula by the conquest of Granada. This event was hailed with
joy throughout Christendom, but it had an unexpected and terrible
consequence. Flung back into northern Africa, and filled with hatred
because of the persecution they had endured, these Moors embarked
on a career of piracy directed against Christians. In making common
cause with the Turks they supplied the fleets that the Turkish
power needed to carry out its schemes of conquest. Apparently the
Turks had never taken to salt water as the Arabs had done, but in
these Moorish pirates they found fighters on the sea well worthy
to stand comparison with their peerless fighters on land, the
Janissaries. Between 1492 and 1580, the date of Ali's death, there
was a period in which the Moorish corsairs were supreme. It produced
three great leaders, each of whom in turn became the terror of the
sea: Kheyr ed Din, known as Barbarossa, Dragut, and Ali. It is a
curious fact that the first and third were of Christian parentage.

So long as the Turk invaded Christian territory by land alone,
the Venetians were unconcerned. They made what treaties they could
for continuing their trade with communities that had fallen into
the conquerors' hands. But when the Turk began to spread out by
sea it was inevitable that he must clash with the Venetian, and so
there was much fighting. Yet even after a successful naval campaign
the emissary of Venice was obliged to come before the Sultan, cap
in hand, to beg trading privileges in Turkish territory. Everything
in Venetian policy was subordinated to the maintenance of sufficient
friendly relations with the Turk to assure a commercial monopoly in
the Levant. Although the Moslem peril grew more and more menacing,
Venice remained unwilling to join in any united action for the
common good of Europe.

Of course Venice was not alone in this policy. In 1534 Francis
the First, for example, in order to humiliate his rival, Charles
V, secretly sent word to Barbarossa of the plans being made against
him. Indeed France showed no interest in combating the Turk even
at the time when he was at the summit of his power. But Venice, as
the dominating naval power, had the means of checking the Turkish
invasion if she had chosen to do so. Instead she permitted the
control of the Mediterranean to slip from her into the hands of
the Moslems with scarcely a blow.

The leading part in the resistance to the Moslem sea power was
taken by Spain under Charles V. He had, as admiral of the navy,
Andrea Doria, the Genoese, the ablest seaman on the Christian side.
Early in his career he had captured a notorious corsair; later
in the service of Spain, he defeated the Turks at Patras (at the
entrance to the Gulf of Corinth), and again at the Dardanelles.
These successes threatened Turkish supremacy on the Mediterranean,
and Sultan Soliman "the Magnificent," the ruler under whom the
Turkish empire reached its zenith, summoned the Algerian corsair
Barbarossa and gave him supreme command over all the fleets under
the Moslem banner. At this time, 1533, Barbarossa was seventy-seven
years old, but he had lost none of his fire or ability. On the
occasion of being presented to the Sultan, he uttered a saying
that might stand as the text for all the writings of Mahan: "Sire,
he who rules on the sea will shortly rule on the land also."

The following year Barbarossa set out from Constantinople with
a powerful fleet and proceeded to ravage the coast of Italy. He
sacked Reggio, burnt and massacred elsewhere on the coast without
opposition, cast anchor at the mouth of the Tiber and if he had
chosen could have sacked Rome and taken the Pope captive. He then
returned to Constantinople with 11,000 Christian captives.

Charles V was roused by this display of corsair power and barbarity
to collect a force that should put an end to such raids. Barbarossa
had recently added Tunis to his personal domains, and the great
expedition of ships and soldiers which the emperor assembled was
directed against that city. Despite the warning given by the King
of France, Barbarossa was unable to oppose the Christian host with
a force sufficiently strong to defend the city. The Christians
captured it and the chieftain escaped only by a flight along the
desert to the port of Bona where he had a few galleys in reserve.
With these he made his way to Algiers before Andrea Doria could
come up with him. The Christians celebrated the capture of Tunis by
a massacre of some 30,000 inhabitants and returned home, thanking
God that at last Barbarossa was done for. Indeed, with the loss
of his fleet and his newly acquired province it seemed as if the
great pirate was not likely to give much trouble, but the Christians
had made the mistake of leaving the work only half done.

In 1537, two years after the fall of Tunis, the Sultan declared war
on Venice. The Turkish fleet, although led by the Sultan Soliman
himself, was defeated by the Venetians off Corfu. Doria, in the
service of Charles V, caught and burned ten richly laden Turkish
merchant ships and then defeated a Turkish squadron. The prestige
of the Crescent on the sea was badly weakened by these events,
but suddenly Barbarossa appeared and raided the islands of the
Archipelago and the coasts of the Adriatic with a savagery and
sweep unmatched by anything in his long career. He arrived in the
Golden Horn laden with booty, and delivered to his master, the
Sultan, 18,000 captives.

This exploit changed the complexion of affairs. During the winter
of 1537-1538 the naval yards of Constantinople were busy with the
preparations for a new fleet which should take the offensive against
the Venetians and the Christians generally. In the spring Barbarossa
got out into the Archipelago and, raiding at will, swept up another
batch of prisoners to serve as galley slaves for the new ships.
Meanwhile the Mediterranean states nerved themselves for a final
effort. Venice contributed 81 galleys, the Pope sent 36, and Spain,
30. Later the Emperor sent 50 transports with 10,000 soldiers,
and 49 galleys, together with a number of large sailing ships.
Venice also added 14 sailing ships of war, or "nefs," and Doria
22; these formed a special squadron. The Venetian nefs were headed
by Condalmiero in his flagship the _Galleon of Venice_, the most
formidable warship in the Mediterranean, and the precursor of a
revolution in naval architecture and naval tactics.

[Illustration: 16TH CENTURY GALLEY]

Although the sailing ship was coming more and more into favor because
of the discoveries across the Atlantic, the galley was the man
of war of this period. The dromons of the Eastern empire, with
their stout build and two banks of oars, had given way to a long,
narrow vessel with a single bank of oars which had been developed
by men who lived on the shores of the sheltered lagoons of the
Adriatic. The prime characteristic of this type was its mobility.
For the pirate whose business it was to lie in wait and dash out
on a merchantman, this quality of mobility--independence of wind
and speed of movement--was of chief importance. Similarly, in order
to combat the pirate it was necessary to possess the same
characteristic. Of course, as in all the days of rowed ships, this
freedom of movement was limited by the physical exhaustion of the
rowers. In the ships of Greek and Roman days these men had some
protection from the weapons of the enemy and from the weather,
but in the 16th century galley, whether Turkish or Christian, they
were chained naked to their benches day and night, with practically
nothing to shelter them from the weather or from the weapons of
an enemy. So frightful were the hardships of the life that the
rowers were almost always captives, or felons who worked out their
sentences on the rowers' bench. An important difference between
the galley of this period and the earlier types of rowed ship is
the fact that in the galley there was but one row of oars on a
side, but these oars were very long and manned by four or five men

A typical galley was about 180 feet over all with a beam of 19
feet and a depth of hold of about 7-1/2 feet. A single deck sloped
from about the water line to a structure that ran fore and aft
amidships, about six feet wide, which served as a gangway between
forecastle and poop and gave access to the hold. The forecastle
carried the main battery of guns, and was closed in below so as to
provide quarters for the fighting men. The poop had a deck house
and a smaller battery; this deck also was closed in, furnishing
quarters for the officers. There were two or three masts, lateen
rigged, adorned in peace or war with the greatest profusion of
banners and streamers. Indeed huge sums of money were expended on
the mere ornament of these war galleys, particularly in the elaborate
carvings that adorned the stern and prow.

In the conflict of Christian and Moslem, when Constantinople was
the capital of Christendom, Greek fire on two critical occasions
routed the Saracens. This substance was never understood in western
Europe, and for centuries the secret was carefully preserved in
the eastern capital. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,
it was used by the Moslem against the Christian, but the discovery
of gunpowder soon made the earlier substance obsolete. In the 16th
century cannon had already reached considerable dimensions, but in
a naval battle between galleys these weapons were not used after
the first volley or so. The tactics were little different from
those of the day of the trireme, consisting simply of ramming, and
fighting at close quarters with arquebus, bows, pike, and sword.

Twenty feet from the bows of every galley projected her metal beak,
and all her guns pointed forward; hence in the naval tactics of
the period everything turned on a head-on attack. The battle line,
therefore, was line abreast. For the same reasons a commander had
to fear an attack on his flank, and he maneuvered usually to get
at least one flank protected by the shore. The battle line in the
days of the galley could be dressed as accurately as a file of
soldiers, but the fighting was settled in a close mêlée in which
all formation was lost from the moment of collision between the
two fleets.

_The Campaign of Prevesa_

Such were the men of war and the tactics common to Christian and
corsair during the 16th century. While the Christians were slowly
collecting their armada, Barbarossa, with a force of 122 galleys,
set out to catch his enemy in detail if he could. Pirate as he
was, the old ruffian had a clear strategic grasp of what he might
do with a force that was inferior to the fleet collecting against
him. The Christians were to mobilize at Corfu. The Papal squadron
had collected in the Gulf of Arta, and Barbarossa made for it. By
sheer luck just before he arrived it had moved to the rendezvous.
If he had followed it up immediately, he might have crushed both
the Papal and Venetian contingents, because Doria and the Spanish
fleet had not yet arrived; but apparently he felt uncertain as
to just how far off these reënforcements were and therefore did
not attempt the stroke. Instead, he took up a defensive position
in the Gulf of Arta, exactly where Antony had collected his fleet
before the battle of Actium.

In September (1538) the Christian fleet under Doria left Corfu and
crossed to the Gulf. Barbarossa had drawn up his force in battle
array inside the entrance, under the guns of the Turkish fortress
at Prevesa. Since this entrance is obstructed by a bar with too
little water for Doria's heavier ships, he lay outside. Thus the
two fleets faced each other, each waiting for the other to make
the next move. For the first time in their careers the greatest
admiral on the Christian side was face to face with the greatest on
the Moslem side. Both were old men, Doria over seventy and Barbarossa
eighty-two. The stage was set for another decisive battle on the scene
of Actium. The town of Prevesa stood on the site of Octavius's camp,
and again East and West faced each other for the mastery of the sea.
With the vastly greater strength of the Christian fleet, and the
known skill of its leader, everything pointed to an overwhelming
victory for the Cross. What followed is one of the most amazing
stories in history.

Having the interior lines and the smooth anchorage, Barbarossa
had only to watch his enemy go to pieces in the open roadstead
in trying to maintain a blockade. His officers, however, scorned
such a policy, and, being appointees of the Sultan and far from
subordinate in spirit to their chief, they were finally able to
force his hand and compel him to offer battle to the Christians
by leaving the security of the gulf and the fortress and going
out into the open, exactly where Doria wanted him. Accordingly
on the 27th of September, the Turkish fleet sailed out to offer
battle. It happened that Doria had gone ten miles away to Sessola
for anchorage, and the _Galleon of Venice_ lay becalmed right in
the path of the advancing fleet. Condalmiero sent word for help,
and Doria ordered him to begin fighting, assuring him that he would
soon be reënforced.

The Turkish galleys, advancing in a crescent formation, soon enveloped
the lonely ship. Her captain ordered his crew to lie down on her
deck while he alone stood, in full armor, a target to the host of
Moslems who pushed forward in their galleys anxious for the honor
of capturing this great ship. Condalmiero ordered his gunners to
hold their fire until the enemy were within arquebus range. Then
the broadsides of the galleon blazed and the surrounding galleys
crumpled and sank. A single shot weighing 120 pounds sank a galley
with practically all on board. The signal to retreat was given
and speedily obeyed.

Thereafter there were to be no more rushing tactics. Barbarossa
organized his galleys in squadrons of twenty, which advanced, one
after the other, delivered their fire, and retired. All the rest
of the day, from about noon till sunset, this strange conflict
between the single galleon and the Turkish fleet went on. The ship
was cumbered with her fallen spars; she had lost thirteen men killed
and forty wounded. The losses would have been far greater but for
the extraordinarily thick sides of the galleon. After sundown the
Turkish fleet appeared to be drawing up in line for the last assault.
On the _Galleon of Venice_ there was no thought of surrender; the
ammunition was almost spent and the men were exhausted with their
tremendous efforts, but they stood at their posts determined to
defend their ship to the last man.

Then, to their astonishment Barbarossa drew off, sending some of
his galleys to pursue and cut off certain isolated Christian units,
but leaving the field to the Venetian galleon. Meanwhile, during all
that long, hot afternoon the great fleet of Andrea Doria, instead
of pressing forward to the relief of the _Galleon of Venice_ and
crushing Barbarossa with its great superiority in numbers, was
going through strange parade maneuvers about ten miles away. Doria's
explanation was that he was trying to decoy Barbarossa out into
deeper water where the guns of the nefs could be used, but there is
no other conclusion to be reached than that Doria did not want to
fight. Fortune that day offered him everything for an overwhelming
victory, one that might have ranked with the decisive actions of the
world's history, and he threw it away under circumstances peculiarly
disgraceful and humiliating. Never did commander in chief so richly
deserve to be shot on his own deck. The following day as a fair
wind blew for Corfu, Doria spread sail and retired from the gulf,
while Barbarossa, roaring with laughter, called on his men to witness
the cowardice of this Christian admiral.

The victory lay with Barbarossa. With a greatly inferior force
he had challenged Doria and attacked. Doria had not only declined
the challenge but fled back to Corfu. No wonder the Sultan ordered
the cities of his domain to be illuminated. Barbarossa's prizes
included two galleys and five nefs, but he, too, had failed in
an inexplicable fashion in drawing off from the assault on the
_Galleon of Venice_ at the end of the day's fighting. It is with
her, with the gallant Condalmiero and his men, that all the honor of
the day belongs. Nothing in the adventurous 16th century surpasses
their splendid, disciplined valor on this occasion.

The astonishing powers of resistance and the deadly effect of the
broadsides of the _Galleon of Venice_ displayed in a long and successful
fight against an entire fleet of galleys should have had the effect
of making a revolution in naval architecture fifty years before
that change actually occurred. But men of war of those days were
built after the models of Venetian architects, and the latter clung
doggedly to the galley. They overlooked the great defensive and
offensive powers of the galleon displayed in this story and saw
only the fact that she was becalmed and unable to move.

Doria's failure left conditions in the Mediterranean as bad as
ever. Barbarossa died at the age of ninety, but one of the last
acts of his life was to ransom a follower of his, Dragut, Pasha
of Tripoli, who had served under him at Prevesa and, having been
captured two years later, served four years as a galley slave on
the ship of Gian Andrea Doria, the grandnephew and heir of Andrea
Doria. Dragut soon assumed the leadership laid down by Barbarossa,
his master, fighting first the elder Doria and then his namesake
with great skill and audacity. For years the Knights of Malta had
been a thorn in the side of the Moslems who roamed the sea, and
in 1565 a gigantic effort was made by the Sultan, together with
his tributaries from the Barbary states, to wipe out this naval
stronghold. The siege that followed was distinguished by the most
reckless courage and the most desperate fighting on both sides. It
extended from May 18 to September 8, costing the Christians 8000
and the Moslems 30,000 lives. In the midst of the siege Dragut
himself was slain, and the conduct of the siege fell into less
capable hands. Finally the Turks withdrew.

The death of Soliman the Magnificent, in 1566, brought to the head
of the Turkish state a ruler known by the significant name, Selim
the Drunkard. Weak and debauched as he was, nevertheless he aspired
to add to the Turkish dominions as his father had done. Accordingly,
he informed Venice that she must evacuate Cyprus. Previous to this
time Venice had succeeded, by means of heavy bribes to the Sultan's
ministers, in keeping her hold on this important island, but this
policy only tempted further arrogance on the part of the Turk.
Further, the time was propitious for such a stroke because Venice
was impoverished by bad harvests and the loss of her naval arsenal
by fire, Spain was occupied in troubles with the Moors, and France,
torn with civil war, wanted to keep peace with the Sultan at any
price. During the terrible siege of Malta Venice had remained neutral;
now that the danger came home to her she cried for help, and not
unnaturally there were those who sneered at her in this crisis
and bade her save herself.

The Pope, however, had long been anxious to organize a league of
Christian peoples to win back the Mediterranean to the Cross and draw
a line beyond which the Crescent should never pass. In this plight
of Venice he saw an opportunity, because hitherto the persistent
neutrality or the unwillingness of the Venetians to fight the Turk to
the finish had been one of the chief obstacles to concerted action.
He therefore pledged his own resources to Venice and attempted
to collect allies by the appeal to the Cross. The results were
discouraging, but a force of Spanish, Papal, and Venetian galleys
was finally collected and after endless delays dispatched to the
scene in the summer of 1570.

Meanwhile the Turks had been pressing their attack on Cyprus and
were besieging the city of Nicosia. If the Christians had been
moved by any united spirit they could have relieved Nicosia and
struck a heavy blow at the Turkish fleet, which lay unready and
stripped of its men in the harbor. But Gian Doria, who inherited
from his great uncle his great dislike of Venetians, and who probably
had secret instructions from his master, Philip II, to help as
little as possible, succeeded in blocking any vigorous move on the
part of the other commanders. Finally, after a heated quarrel, he
sailed back to Sicily with his entire fleet, and the rest followed.
The allies had gone no nearer Cyprus than the port of Suda in Crete.
The whole expedition, therefore, came to nothing.

In September Nicosia fell to the Turk, who then turned to the conquest
of Famagusta, the last stronghold of the Venetians on the island.
Bragadino, the commander of the besieged forces, fought against
desperate odds with a courage and skill worthy of the best traditions
of his native city, hoping to repulse the Turks until help could
arrive. But Doria's defection in 1570 decided the fate of the city
the following year. After fifty-five days of siege, with no resources
left, Bragadino was compelled, on August 4, 1571, to accept an offer
of surrender on honorable terms. The Turkish commander, enraged
at the loss of 50,000 men, which Bragadino's stubborn defense had
cost, no sooner had the Venetians in his power than he massacred
officers and men and flayed their commander alive. This news did
not reach the Christians, however, until their second expedition
was almost at grips with the Turks at Lepanto.

_The Campaign of Lepanto_

Undismayed by the failure of his first attempt, Pope Pius had
immediately gone to work to reorganize his Holy League. He had
to overcome the mutual hatred and mistrust that lay between Spain
and Venice, aggravated by the recent conduct of Doria, but neither
the Pope nor Venice could do without the help of Spain. There was
much bickering between the envoys in the Papal chambers, and it
was not till February, 1571, that the terms of the new enterprise
were agreed upon. By this contract no one of the powers represented
was to make a separate peace with the Porte. The costs were divided
into six parts, of which Spain undertook three, Venice, two, and
the Pope, one. Don Juan, the illegitimate brother of Philip II, was
to be commander in chief. Although only twenty-four, this prince
had won a military reputation in suppressing the Moorish rebellion
in Spain, and, having been recognized by Philip as a half brother,
he had a princely rank that would subordinate the claims of all the
rival admirals. Finally, the rendezvous was appointed at Messina.

The aged Venetian admiral, Veniero, had been compelled by the situation
in the east to divide his force into two parts, one at Crete, and
the other under himself at Corfu. By the time he received orders
to proceed to the rendezvous, he learned that Ali, the corsair
king of Algiers, known better by his nickname of "Uluch" Ali, was
operating at the mouth of the Adriatic with a large force. To reach
Messina with his divided fleet, Veniero ran the risk of being caught
by Ali and destroyed in detail, but the situation was so critical
that he took the risk and succeeded in slipping past the corsair
undiscovered. In permitting this escape, and in fact in allowing
all the other units of the Christian fleet to assemble at Messina,
Ali missed a golden opportunity to destroy the whole force before
it ever collected. Instead, he continued his ravages on the coasts
of the Adriatic, bent only on plunder. He carried his raids almost
to the lagoons of Venice itself, and indeed might have attacked
the city had he not been hampered by a shortage of men.

Although the Turks were having their own way, unopposed, and the
situation was growing daily more critical, the Christian fleet was
slow in assembling. For a whole month Veniero waited in Messina
for the arrival of Don Juan and the Spanish squadrons. Philip,
apparently, used one pretext after another to delay the prince,
and once on his way Don Juan had to tarry at every stage of the
journey to witness ceremonial fêtes held in his honor. Philip acted
in good faith as far as his preparations went, but he wanted to
save his galleys for use against the Moors of the Barbary coast,
which was nearer the ports of Spain, and was indifferent to the
outcome of the quarrel between Venice and the Porte. Undoubtedly
Doria and the other Spanish officers were fully informed of their
royal master's desires in this expedition as in the one of the
year before. They were to avoid battle if they could.

On August 25 Don Juan arrived at Messina and was joyously received
by the city and the fleet. Nevertheless, it was the 12th of September
before the decision was finally reached to seek out the Turkish
fleet and offer battle. Fortunately Don Juan was a high-spirited
youth who shared none of his brother's half-heartedness; he went
to work to organize the discordant elements under his command into
as much of a unit as he could, and to imbue them with the idea of
aggressive action. In this spirit he was seconded by thousands
of young nobles and soldiers of fortune from Spain and Italy, who
had flocked to his standard like the knight errants of the age of
chivalry, burning to distinguish themselves against the infidel.
Among these, oddly enough, was a young Spaniard, Cervantes, who
was destined in later years to laugh chivalry out of Europe by
his immortal "Don Quixote."

In order to knit together the three elements, Spanish, Venetian,
and Papal, Don Juan so distributed their forces that no single
squadron could claim to belong to any one nation. As the Venetian
galleys lacked men, he put aboard them Spanish and Italian infantry.
Before leaving Messina, he had given every commander written
instructions as to his cruising station and his place in the battle
line. The fighting formation was to consist of three squadrons of
the line and one of reserve. The left wing was to be commanded
by the Venetian Barbarigo; the center, by Don Juan himself, in the
flagship _Real_, with Colonna, the Papal commander on his right and
Veniero, the Venetian commander, on his left, in their respective
flagships. The right wing was intrusted to Doria, and the reserve,
amounting to about thirty galleys, was under the Spaniard, Santa
Cruz. In front of each squadron of the line two Venetian galleasses
were to take station in order to break up the formation of the
Turkish advance. The total fighting force consisted of 202 galleys,
six galleasses, and 28,000 infantrymen besides sailors and oarsmen.

The Venetian galleasses deserve special mention because they attracted
considerable attention by the part they subsequently played in
the action. Sometimes the word was applied to any specially large
galley, but these represented something different from anything
in either Christian or Turkish fleets. They were an attempt to
reach a combination of galleon and galley, possessing the bulk,
strength, and heavy armament of the former, together with the oar
propulsion of the latter to render them independent of the wind.
But like most, if not all, compromise types, the galleass was
short-lived. It was clumsy and slow, being neither one thing nor
the other. Most of the time on the cruise these galleasses had
to be towed in order to keep up with the rest of the fleet. It
is interesting to note that, despite the example of the _Galleon
of Venice_ at Prevesa, there was not a single galleon in the whole

On September 16 the start from Messina was made. The fleet crossed
to the opposite shore of the Adriatic, creeping along the coast and
in the lee of the islands after the manner of oar driven vessels
that were unable to face a fresh breeze or a moderate sea. Delayed
by unfavorable winds, it was not till October 6 that it arrived
at the group of rocky islets lying just north of the opening of
the Gulf of Corinth, or Lepanto[1] where the Turkish fleet was
known to be mobilized. Meanwhile trouble had broken out among the
Christians. Serious fighting had taken place between Venetians and
Spaniards, and Veniero, without referring the case to Don Juan,
had hanged a Spanish soldier who had been impudent to him, thus
enraging the commander in chief. In a word, the various elements
were nearly at the point of fighting each other before the object
of their crusade was even sighted.

[Footnote 1: Lepanto is the modern name of Naupaktis, the naval
base of Athens in the gulf. It had been a Venetian stronghold,
but fell to the Turks in 1499. The name Lepanto is given to both
the town and the gulf.]

At dawn of the 7th the lookout on the _Real_ sighted the van of
the Turkish fleet coming out to the attack, and this news had a
salutary effect. Don Juan called a council of war, silenced those
like Doria who still counseled avoiding battle, and then in a swift
sailing vessel went through the fleet exhorting officers and men
to do their utmost. The sacrament was then administered to all,
the galley slaves freed from their chains, and the standard of
the Holy League, the figure of the Crucified Savior, was raised
to the truck of the flagship.

As the Christians streamed down from the straits to meet their
enemy, they faced a serious peril. The Turks were advancing in
full array aided by a wind at their backs; the same wind naturally
was against the Christians, who had to toil at their oars with great
labor to make headway. If the wind held there was every prospect
that the Turks would be able to fall upon their enemy before Don
Juan could form his line of battle. Fortunately, toward noon the
wind shifted so as to help the Christians and retard the Turks.
This shift just enabled most of the squadrons to fall into their
appointed stations before the collision. Two of the galleasses,
however, were not able to reach their posts in advance of the right
wing before the mêlée began, and the right wing itself, though it
had ample time to take position, kept on its course to the south,
leaving the rest of the fleet behind. To Turk and Christian alike
this move on the part of Doria meant treachery, for which Doria's
previous conduct gave ample color, but there was no time to draw
back or reorganize the line.

The Turkish force, numbering 222 galleys, swept on to the attack,
also in three divisions, stretched out in a wide crescent. The
commander in chief, Ali Pasha, led the center, his right was commanded
by Sirocco, the Viceroy of Egypt, and his left by "Uluch" Ali. This
arrangement should have brought Ali, the greatest of the Moslem
seafighters of his day, face to face with Doria, the most celebrated
admiral in Christendom. The two opposing lines swung together with a
furious plying of oars and a tumult of shouting. The four galleasses
stationed well in front of the Christian battle line opened an
effective fire at close quarters on the foremost Turkish galleys
as they swept past. In trying to avoid the heavy artillery of these
floating fortresses, the Turks fell into confusion, losing their
battle array almost at the very moment of contact, and masking
the fire of many of their ships. This was an important service
to the credit of the galleasses, but as they were too unwieldy to
maneuver readily they seem to have taken no further part in the

The first contact took place about noon between Barbarigo's and
Sirocco's squadrons. The Venetian had planned to rest his left
flank so close to the shore as to prevent the Turks from enveloping
it, but Sirocco, who knew the depth of water better, was able to
pour a stream of galleys between the end of Barbarigo's line and
the coast so that the Christians at this point found themselves
attacked in front and rear. For a while it looked as if the Turks
would win, but the Christians fought with the courage of despair.
There was no semblance of line left; only a mêlée of ships laid
so close to each other as to form almost a continuous platform
over which the fighting raged hand to hand. Both the leaders fell.
Barbarigo was mortally wounded, and Sirocco was killed when his
flagship was stormed. The loss of the Egyptian flagship and commander
seemed to decide the struggle at this point. The Christian slaves,
freed from the rowers' benches, were supplied with arms and joined
in the fighting with the fury of vengeance on their masters. A
backward movement set in among the Turkish ships; then many headed
for the shore to escape.

Meanwhile, shortly after the Christian left had been engaged the
two centers crashed together. Such was the force of the impact
that the beak of Ali Pasha's galley drove as far as the fourth
rowing bench of the _Real_. Instantly a fury of battle burst forth
around the opposing flagships. Attack and counter attack between
Spanish infantry and Turkish Janissaries swayed back and forth
across from one galley to another amid a terrific uproar. Once
the _Real_ was nearly taken, but Colonna jammed the bows of his
galley alongside and saved the situation by a counter attack. On
the other side of the flagship Veniero was also at one time in
grave peril but was saved by the timely assistance of his comrades.
Though wounded in the leg, this veteran of seventy fought throughout
the action as stoutly as the youngest soldier.

The prompt action of Colonna turned the tide in the center, for
after clearing the Turks from the deck of the _Real_, the Christians,
now reënforced, made a supreme effort that swept the length of
Ali Pasha's galley and left the Turkish commander in chief among
the slain. In fighting of this character no quarter was given;
of the 400 men on the Turkish flagship not one was spared. Don
Juan immediately hoisted the banner of the League to the masthead
of the captured ship. This sign of victory broke the spirit of
the Turks and nerved the Christians to redoubled efforts. As on
the left wing so in the center the offensive now passed to the
allies. Thus after two hours' fighting the Turks were already beaten
on left and center, though fighting still went on hotly in tangled
and scattered groups of ships.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF LEPANTO, OCT. 7. 1571

Formation of the two fleets just before contact, about 11 a. m.]

On the Christian right, however, the situation was different. Doria
had from the beginning left the right center "in the air" by sailing
away to the south. He explained this singular conduct afterwards by
saying that he noticed Ali moving seaward as if to try an enveloping
movement round the Christians' southern flank, and therefore moved
to head him off. However plausible this may be, the explanation did
not satisfy Doria's captains, who obeyed his signals with indignant
rage. At all events Ali had a considerably larger force than Doria,
and after the latter had drawn away so far as to create a wide
gap between his own squadron and the center, Ali suddenly swung
his galleys about in line and fell upon the exposed flank, leaving
Doria too far away to interfere. The Algerian singled out a detached
group of about fifteen galleys, among which was the flagship of
the Knights of Malta. No Christian flag was so hated as the banner
of this Order, and the Turks fell upon these ships with shouts
of triumph. One after another was taken and it began to look as
if Ali would soon roll up the entire flank and pluck victory from

But Santa Cruz, who was still laboring through the straits when
the battle began, was now in a position to help. After an hour's
fighting with all the advantage on Ali's side, Santa Cruz arrived
with his reserve squadron and turned the scale. By this time, too,
Doria managed to reach the scene with a part of his squadron. Thus
Ali found himself outnumbered and in danger of capture. Signaling
retreat, he collected a number of his galleys and, boldly steering
through the field of battle, escaped to lay at the feet of the
Sultan the captured flag of the Knights of Malta. Some thirty-five
others of his force made their way safely back to Lepanto.

The fighting did not end till evening. By that time the Christians
had taken 117 galleys and 20 galliots, and sunk or burnt some fifty
other ships of various sorts. Ten thousand Turks were captured and
many thousands of Christian slaves rescued. The Christians lost
7500 men; the Turks, about 30,000. It was an overwhelming victory.

As far as the tactics go, Lepanto was, like Salamis, an infantry
battle on floating platforms. It was fought and won by the picked
infantrymen of Spain and Italy; the day of seamanship had not yet
arrived. For the conduct of the most distinguished admiral on the
Christian side, Gian Andrea Doria, little justification can be
found. Even if we accept his excuse at its face value, the event
proved his folly. It is strange that in this, the supreme victory
of the Cross over the Crescent on the sea, a Doria should have
tarnished his reputation so foully, even as his great-uncle Andrea
had tarnished his in the battle of Prevesa. It seems as if in both, as
Genoese, the hatred of Venice extinguished every other consideration
of loyalty to Christendom.

What were the consequences of Lepanto, and in what sense can it
be called a decisive battle? The question at first seems baffling.
Overwhelming as was the defeat of the Turks, Ali had another fleet
ready the next spring and was soon ravaging the seas again. Twice
there came an opportunity for the two fleets to meet for another
battle, but Ali declined the challenge. After Lepanto he seemed
unwilling, without a great superiority, to risk another close action
and contented himself with a "fleet in being." In this new attitude
toward the Christians lies the hint to the answer. The significance
of Lepanto lies in its moral effect. Never before had the Turkish
fleet been so decisively beaten in a pitched battle. The fame of
Lepanto rang through Europe and broke the legend of Turkish
invincibility on the sea.

The material results, it must be admitted, were worse than nothing
at the time. In 1573 Don Juan was amazed and infuriated to learn
that Venice, contrary to the terms of the Holy League, had secretly
arranged a separate peace with the Sultan. The terms she accepted
were those of a beaten combatant. Venice agreed to the loss of
Cyprus, paid an indemnity of 300,000 ducats, trebled her tribute
for the use of Zante as a trading post, and restored to the Turk
all captures made on the Albanian and Dalmatian coast. Apparently
the Venetian had to have his trade at any price, including honor.
At this news Don Juan tore down the standard of the allies and
raised the flag of Castile and Aragon. In two years and after a
brilliant victory, the eternal Holy League, which was pledged to
last forever, fell in pieces.

As for Venice, her ignoble policy brought her little benefit. She
steadily declined thereafter as a commercial and naval power. Her
old markets were in the grip of the Turk, and the new discoveries of
ocean routes to the east--beyond the reach of the Moslem,--diverted
the course of trade away from the Mediterranean, which became,
more and more, a mere backwater of the world's commerce. In fact,
it was not until the cutting of the Suez Canal that the inland
sea regained its old time importance.

In the long unsuccessful struggle of Christian against the Turk
Venice must bear the chief blame, for she had the means and the
opportunity to conquer if she had chosen the better part. And yet
the story of this chapter shows also that the rest of Christendom
was not blameless. If Christians in the much extolled Age of Faith
had shown as much unity of spirit as the Infidels, the rule of the
Turk would not have paralyzed Greece, the Balkans, the islands of
the Ægean, and the coasts of Asia Minor for nearly five centuries.


  la Gravière, 1888.
By the same author, DORIA ET BARBEROUSSE, 1886.
  Prescott, 1858.
  contains a full bibliography.
THE NAVY OF VENICE, Alethea Wiel, 1910.
THE EASTERN QUESTION (chap. V.), J. A. R. Marriott, 1917.
BARBARY CORSAIRS, Story of the Nations Series, Lane-Poole, 1890.
DRAKE AND THE TUDOR NAVY (Introduction), J. S. Corbett, 1898.
GEOGRAPHY AND WORLD POWER, James Fairgrieve, 1917.




From the days of the Phœnicians to the close of the 15th century,
all trade between Europe and Asia crossed the land barrier east of
the Mediterranean. Delivered by Mohammedan vessels at the head of
the Persian Gulf or the ports of the Red Sea, merchandise followed
thence the caravan routes across Arabia or Egypt to the Mediterranean,
quadrupling in value in the transit. Intercourse between East and
West, active under the Romans, was again stimulated by the crusades
and by Venetian traders, until in the 14th and the 15th centuries
the dyes, spices, perfumes, cottons, muslins, silks, and jewels
of the Orient were in demand throughout the western world. This
assurance of a ready market and large profits, combined with the
capture of Constantinople by the Turks (1453), their piratical
attacks in the Mediterranean which continued unchecked until Lepanto,
and their final barring of all trade routes through the Levant,
revived among nations of western Europe the old legends of all-water
routes to Asia, either around Africa or directly westward across
the unknown sea.

With the opening of ocean routes and the discovery of America,
a rivalry in world trade and colonial expansion set in which has
continued increasingly down to the present time, forming a dominant
element in the foreign policies of maritime nations and a primary
motive for the possession and use of navies. The development of
overseas trade, involving the factors of merchant shipping, navies,
and control of the seas, is thus an integral part of the history
of sea power. The great voyages of discovery are also not to be
disregarded, supplying as they did the basis for colonial claims,
and illustrating at the same time the progress of nautical science
and geographical knowledge.

[Illustration: CROSS-STAFF]

The art of navigation, though still crude, had by the 15th century
so advanced that the sailor was no longer compelled to skirt the
shore, with only rare ventures across open stretches of sea. The
use of the compass, originating in China, had been learned from the
Arabs by the crusaders, and is first mentioned in Europe towards
the close of the 12th century. An Italian in England, describing a
visit to the philosopher Roger Bacon in 1258, writes as follows:
"Among other things he showed me an ugly black stone called a magnet
... upon which, if a needle be rubbed and afterward fastened to
a straw so that it shall float upon the water, the needle will
instantly turn toward the pole-star; though the night be never so
dark, yet shall the mariner be able by the help of this needle to
steer his course aright. But no master-mariner," he adds, "dares
to use it lest he should fall under the imputation of being a
magician."[1] By the end of the 13th century the compass was coming
into general use; and when Columbus sailed he had an instrument
divided as in later times into 360 degrees and 32 points, as well as
a quadrant, sea-astrolabe, and other nautical devices. The astrolabe,
an instrument for determining latitude by measuring the altitude of
the sun or other heavenly body, was suspended from the finger by a
ring and held upright at noon till the shadow of the sun passed the
sights. The cross-staff, more frequently used for the same purpose
by sailors of the time, was a simpler affair less affected by the
ship's roll; it was held with the lower end of the cross-piece
level with the horizon and the upper adjusted to a point on a line
between the eye of the observer and the sun at the zenith. By these
various means the sailor could steer a fixed course and determine
latitude. He had, however, as yet no trustworthy means of reckoning
longitude and no accurate gauge of distance traveled. The log-line
was not invented until the 17th century, and accurate chronometers
for determining longitude did not come into use until still later.
A common practice of navigators, adopted by Columbus, was to steer
first north or south along the coast and then due west on the parallel
thought to lead to the destination sought.

[Footnote 1: Dante's tutor Brunetto Latini, quoted in THE DISCOVERY
OF AMERICA, Fiske, Vol. I, p. 314.]


With the revival of classical learning in the Renaissance, geographical
theories also became less wildly imaginative than in the medieval
period, the charts of which, though beautifully colored and highly
decorated with fauna and flora, show no such accurate knowledge
even of the old world as do those of the great geographer Ptolemy,
who lived a thousand years before. Ptolemy (200 A.D.), in company
with the majority of learned men since Aristotle, had declared
the earth to be round and had even estimated its circumference
with substantial accuracy, though he had misled later students
by picturing the Indian Ocean as completely surrounded by Africa,
which he conceived to extend indefinitely southward and join Asia
on the southeast, leaving no sea-route open from the Atlantic. There
was another body of opinion of long standing, however, which outlined
Africa much as it actually is. Friar Roger Bacon, whose interest
in the compass has already been mentioned, collected statements of
classical authorities and other evidence to show that Asia could
be reached by sailing directly westward, and that the distance was
not great; and this material was published in Paris in a popular
_Imago Mundi_ of 1410. In general, the best geographical knowledge
of the period, though it underestimated the distance from Europe
westward to Asia and was completely ignorant of the vast continents
lying between, gave support to the theories which the voyages of
Diaz, Vasco da Gama, and Columbus magnificently proved true.

When the best sailors of the time were Italians, and when astronomical
and other scientific knowledge of use in navigation was largely
monopolized by Arabs and Jews, it seems strange that the isolated
and hitherto insignificant country of Portugal should have taken,
and for a century or more maintained primacy in the great epoch
of geographical discovery. The fact is explained, not so much by
her proximity to the African coast and the outlying islands in the
Atlantic, as by the energetic and well-directed patronage which
Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460) extended to voyages of
exploration and to the development of every branch of nautical
art. The third son of John the Great of Portugal, and a nephew on
his mother's side of Henry IV of England, the prince in 1415 led
an armada to the capture of Ceuta from the Moors, and thereafter,
as governor of the conquered territory and of the southern province
of Portugal, settled at Saigres near Cape St. Vincent. On this
promontory, almost at the western verge of the known world, Henry
founded a city, Villa do Iffante, erected an observatory on the
cliff, and gathered round him the best sailors, geographers and
astronomers of his age.


Under this intelligent stimulus, Portuguese navigators within a
century rounded the Cape of Good Hope, opened the sea route to
the Indies, discovered Brazil, circumnavigated the globe, and made
Portugal the richest nation in Europe, with a great colonial empire
and claims to dominion over half the seas of the world. Portuguese
ships carried her flag from Labrador (which reveals its discoverers
in its name) and Nova Zembla to the Malay Archipelago and Japan.

It is characteristic of the crusading spirit of the age that Prince
Henry's first ventures down the African coast were in pursuance of
a vague plan to ascend one of the African rivers and unite with
the legendary Christian monarch Prester John (Presbyter or Bishop
John, whose realm was then supposed to be located in Abyssinia) in
a campaign against the Turk. But crusading zeal changed to dreams
of wealth when his ships returned from the Senegal coast between
1440 and 1445 with elephants' tusks, gold, and negro slaves. The
Gold Coast was already reached; the fabled dangers of equatorial
waters--serpent rocks, whirlpools, liquid sun's rays and boiling
rivers--were soon proved unreal; and before 1480 the coast well
beyond the Congo was known.

The continental limits of Africa to southward, long clearly surmised,
were verified by the voyage of Bartolomeo Diaz, in 1487. Diaz rounded
the cape, sailed northward some 200 miles, and then, troubled by
food shortage and heavy weather, turned backward. But he had blazed
the trail. The cape he called _Tormentoso_ (tempestuous) was renamed
by his sovereign, João II, Cape _Bon Esperanto_--the Cape of Goad
Hope. The Florentine professor Politian wrote to congratulate the
king upon opening to Christianity "new lands, new seas, new worlds,
dragged from secular darkness into the light of day."

It was not until ten years later that Vasco da Gama set out to
complete the work of Diaz and establish contact between east and
west. The contour of the African coast was now so well understood
and the art of navigation so advanced that Vasco could steer a
direct course across the open sea from the Cape Verde Islands to
the southern extremity of Africa, a distance of 3770 miles (more
than a thousand miles greater than that of Columbus' voyage from
the Canaries to the Bahamas), which he covered in one hundred days.
After touching at Mozambique, he caught the steady monsoon winds
for Calicut, on the western coast of the peninsula of India, then a
great _entrepôt_ where Mohammedan and Chinese fleets met each year
to exchange wares. Thwarted here by the intrigues of Mohammedan
traders, who were quick to realize the danger threatening their
commercial monopoly, he moved on to Cannanore, a port further north
along the coast, took cargo, and set sail for home, reaching the
Azores in August of 1499, with 55 of his original complement of
148 men. They came back, in the picturesque words of the Admiral,
"With the pumps in their hands and the Virgin Mary in their mouths,"
completing a total voyage of 13,000 miles. The profits are said
to have been sixty-fold.

The ease with which in the next two decades Portugal extended and
consolidated her conquest of eastern trade is readily accounted
for. She was dependent indeed solely upon sea communications, over
a distance so great as to make the task seem almost impossible.
But the craft of the east were frail in construction and built for
commerce rather than for warfare. The Chinese junks that came to
India are described as immense in size, with large cabins for the
officers and their families, vegetable gardens growing on board,
and crews of as many as a thousand men; but they had sails of matted
reed that could not be lowered, and their timbers were loosely
fastened together with pegs and withes. The Arab ships, according
to Marco Polo, were also built without the use of nails. Like the
Portuguese themselves, the Arab or Mohammedan merchants belonged
to a race of alien invaders, little liked by the native princes
who retained petty sovereignties along the coast. But the real
secret of Portuguese success lay in the fact that their rivals were
traders rather than fighters, who had enjoyed a peaceful monopoly for
centuries, and who could expect little aid from their own countries
harassed by the Turk. The Portuguese on the other hand inherited
the traditions of Mediterranean seamanship and warfare, and, above
all, were engaged in a great national enterprise, led by the best
men in the land, with enthusiastic government support.

After Vasco's return, fleets were sent out each year, to open the
Indian ports by either force or diplomacy, destroy Moslem merchant
vessels, and establish factories and garrisons. In 1505 Francisco de
Almeida set sail with the largest fleet as yet fitted out (sixteen
ships and sixteen caravels), an appointment as Viceroy of Cochin,
Cannanore, and Quilon, and supreme authority from the Cape to the
Malay Peninsula. Almeida in the next four years defeated the Mohammedan
traders, who with the aid of Egypt had by this time organized to
protect themselves, in a series of naval engagements, culminating
on February 3, 1509, in the decisive battle of Diu.

Mir Hussain, Admiral of the Gran Soldan of Egypt and commander in
chief of the Mohammedan fleet in this battle, anchored his main
force of more than a hundred ships in the mouth of the channel
between the island of Diu and the mainland, designing to fall back
before the Portuguese attack towards the island, where he could
secure the aid of shore batteries and a swarm of 300 or more foists
and other small craft in the harbor. Almeida had only 19 ships
and 1300 men, but against his vigorous attack the flimsy vessels
of the east were of little value. The battle was fought at close
quarters in the old Mediterranean style, with saber, cutlass, and
culverin; ramming, grappling, and boarding. Before nightfall Almeida
had won. This victory ensured Portugal's commercial control in
the eastern seas.

Alfonso d'Albuquerque, greatest of the Portuguese conquistadores,
succeeded Almeida in 1509. Establishing headquarters in a central
position at Goa, he sent a fleet eastward to Malacca, where he set
up a fort and factory, and later fitted out expeditions against
Ormuz and Aden, the two strongholds protecting respectively the
entrances to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The attack on Aden
failed, but Ormuz fell in 1515. Albuquerque died in the same year
and was buried in his capital at Goa. His successor opened trade and
founded factories in Ceylon. In 1526 a trading post was established
at Hugli, near the mouth of the Ganges. Ormuz became a center for
the Persian trade, Malacca for trade with Java, Sumatra, and the
Spice Islands. A Portuguese envoy, Fernam de Andrada, reached Canton
in 1517--in the first European ship to enter Chinese waters--and
Pekin three years later. Another adventurer named Mendez Pinto spent
years in China and in 1548 established a factory near Yokohama,
Japan. Brazil, where a squadron under Cabral had touched as early
as 1502, was by 1550 a prosperous colony, and in later centuries
a chief source of wealth. Mozambique, Mombassa, and Malindi, on
the southeastern coast of Africa, were taken and fortified as
intermediate bases to protect the route to Asia. The muslins of
Bengal, the calicoes of Calicut, the spices from the islands, the
pepper of Malabar, the teas and silks of China and Japan, now found
their way by direct ocean passage to the Lisbon quays.

A few strips along the African coast, tenuously held by sufferance
of the great powers, and bits of territory at Goa, Daman, and Diu
in India, are the twentieth century remnants of Portugal's colonial
empire. The greater part of it fell away between 1580 and 1640, when
Portugal was under Spanish rule. But her own system of colonial
administration, or rather exploitation, was if possible worse than
Spain's. Her scanty resources of man power were exhausted in colonial
warfare. The expulsion of Protestants and Jews deprived her of
elements in her population that might have known how to utilize
wealth from the colonies to build up home trade and industries.
Her situation was too distant from the European markets; and the
raw materials landed at Lisbon were transshipped in Dutch bottoms
for Amsterdam and Antwerp, which became the true centers of
manufacturing and exchange. Cervantes, in 1607, could still speak
of Lisbon as the greatest city in Europe,[1] but her greatness was
already decaying; and her fate was sealed when Philip of Spain
closed her ports to Dutch shipping, and Dutch ships themselves
set sail for the east.


But the period of Portugal's maritime ascendancy cannot be left
without recording, even if in barest outline, the circumnavigation
of the globe by Fernão da Magalhães, or Magellan, who, though he
made this last voyage of his under the Spanish flag, was Portuguese
by birth and had proved his courage and iron resolution under Almeida
and Albuquerque in Portugal's eastern campaigns. Seeking a westward
passage to the Spice Islands, the five vessels of 75 to 100 tons
composing his squadron cleared the mouth of the Guadalquivir on
September 20, 1519. They established winter quarters in the last
of March at Port St. Julian on the coast of Patagonia. Here, on
Easter Sunday, three of his Spanish captains mutinied. Magellan
promptly threw a boat's crew armed with cutlasses aboard one of
the mutinous ships, killed the leader, and overcame the unruly
element in the crew. The two other ships he forced to surrender
within 24 hours. One of the guilty captains was beheaded and the
other marooned on the coast when the expedition left in September.
Five weeks were now spent in the labyrinths of the strait which has
since borne the leader's name. "When the capitayne Magalianes,"
so runs the contemporary English translation of the story of the
voyage, "was past the strayght and sawe the way open to the other
mayne sea, he was so gladde thereof that for joy the teares fell
from his eyes."

He had sworn he would go on if he had to eat the leather from the
ships' yards. With three vessels--one had been shipwrecked in the
preceding winter and the other deserted in the straits--they set out
across the vast unknown expanse of the Pacific. "In three monethes
and xx dayes they sailed foure thousande leagues in one goulfe
by the sayde sea called Pacificum.... And havying in this tyme
consumed all their bysket and other vyttayles, they fell into such
necessitie that they were in forced to eate the pouder that remayned
thereof being now full of woormes.... Theyre freshe water was also
putryfyed and become yellow. They dyd eate skynnes and pieces of
lether which were foulded about certeyne great ropes of the shyps."
On March 6, 1521, they reached the Ladrones, and ten days later, the
Philippines, even these islands having never before been visited by
Europeans. Here the leader was killed in a conflict with the natives.
One ship was now abandoned, and another was later captured by the
Portuguese. Of the five ships that had left Spain with 280 men,
a single vessel, "with tackle worn and weather-beaten yards," and 18
gaunt survivors reached home. "It has not," writes the historian
John Fiske of this voyage, "the unique historic position of the
first voyage of Columbus, which brought together two streams of
human life that had been disjoined since the glacial period. But
as an achievement in ocean navigation that voyage of Columbus sinks
into insignificance beside it.... When we consider the frailness
of the ships, the immeasurable extent of the unknown, the mutinies
that were prevented or quelled, and the hardships that were endured,
we can have no hesitation in speaking of Magellan as the prince
of navigators."[1]

[Footnote 1: THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA, Vol. II, p. 210.]


It is generally taken for granted that the great movement of the
Renaissance, which spread through western Europe in the 15th and
the 16th centuries, quickening men's interest in the world about
them rather than the world to come, and inspiring them with an
eagerness and a confident belief in their own power to explore
its hidden secrets, was among the forces which brought about the
great geographical discoveries of the period. Its influence in
this direction is evident enough in England and elsewhere later on;
but, judging by the difficulties of Columbus in securing support,
it was not in his time potent with those in control of government
policy and government funds. The Italian navigator John Cabot and
his son Sebastian made their voyages from England in 1498 and 1500
with very feeble support from Henry VII, though it was upon their
discoveries that England later based her American claims. Even in
Spain there seems to have been little eagerness to emulate the
methods by which her neighbor Portugal had so rapidly risen to
wealth and power.

But the influence of revived classical information on geographical
matters was keenly felt; and the idea of a direct westerly passage
to India was suggested, not only by Portugal's monopoly of the
Cape route, but by classical authority, generally accepted by the
best geographers of the time. The _Imago Mundi_ of 1410, already
mentioned, embodying Roger Bacon's arguments that the Atlantic washed
the shores of Asia and that the voyage thither was not long, was a
book carefully studied by Columbus. Paul Toscanelli, a Florentine
physicist and astronomer, adopting and developing this theory, sent
in 1474 to Alfonso V of Portugal a map of the world in which he
demonstrated the possibilities of the western route. The distance
round the earth at the equator he estimated almost exactly to be
24,780 statute miles, and in the latitude of Lisbon 19,500 miles;
but he so exaggerated the extent of Europe and Asia as to reduce
the distance between them by an Atlantic voyage to about 6500 miles,
putting the east coast of China in about the longitude of Oregon.
This distance he still further shortened by locating Cipango (Japan)
far to the eastward of Asia, in about the latitude of the Canary
Islands and distant from them only 3250 miles.

With all these opinions Columbus was familiar, for the list of his
library and the annotations still preserved in his own handwriting,
show that he was not an ignorant sailor, nor yet a wild visionary,
but prepared by closest study for the task to which he gave his
later years. His earlier career, on the other hand, had supplied
him with abundant practical knowledge. Born in Genoa, a mother
city of great seamen, probably in the year 1436, he had received
a fair education in Latin, geography, astronomy, drafting, and
other subjects useful to the master-mariner of those days. He had
sailed the Mediterranean, and prior to his great adventure, had
been as far north as Iceland, and on many voyages down the African
coast. Following his brother Bartholomew, who was a map-maker in
the Portuguese service, he came about 1470 to Lisbon, even then a
center of geographical knowledge and maritime activity. Probably
as early as this time the idea of a western voyage was in his mind.

Skepticism may account for Portugal's failure to listen to his
proposals; and her interest was already centered in the route around
Africa under her exclusive control. The tale of his years of search
for assistance is well known. Indeed, while the fame of Columbus
rests rightly enough upon his discovery of a new world, of whose
existence he had never dreamed and which he never admitted in his
lifetime, his greatness is best shown by his faith in his vision,
and the steadfast energy and fortitude with which he pushed towards
its practical accomplishment, during years of vain supplication, and
amid the trials of the voyage itself. He had actually left Granada,
when Isabella of Spain at last agreed to support his venture. In
the contract later drawn up he drove a good bargain, contingent
always upon success; he was to be admiral and viceroy of islands
and continents discovered and their surrounding waters, with control
of trading privileges and a tenth part of the wealth of all kinds

With the explorations of Columbus on his first and his three later
voyages (in 1496, 1498, and 1502) we are less concerned than with
the first voyage itself as an illustration of the problems and
dangers faced by the navigator of the time, and with the effect of
the discovery of the new world upon Spain's rise as a sea power.
The three caravels in which he sailed were typical craft of the
period. The _Santa Maria_, the largest, was like the other two, a
single-decked, lateen-rigged, three-masted vessel, with a length
of about 90 feet, beam of about 20 feet, and a maximum speed of
perhaps 6-1/2 knots. She was of 100 tons burden and carried 52
men. The _Pinta_ was somewhat smaller. The _Niña_ (Baby) was a
tiny, half-decked vessel of 40 tons. Heavily timbered and seaworthy
enough, the three caravels were short provisioned and manned in
part from the rakings of the Palos jail.

Leaving Palos August 3, 1492, Columbus went first to the Canaries,
and thence turned his prow directly westward, believing that he
was on the parallel that touched the northern end of Japan. By
a reckoning even more optimistic than Toscanelli's, he estimated
the distance thither to be only 2500 miles. Thence he would sail
to Quinsay (Hang Chow), the ancient capital of China, and deliver
the letter he carried to the Khan of Cathay. The northeast trade
winds bore them steadily westward, raising in the minds of the
already fear-stricken sailors the certainty that against these
head winds they could never beat back. At last they entered the
vast expanse of the Sargasso Sea, six times as large as France,
where they lay for a week almost becalmed, amid tangled masses of
floating seaweeds. To add to their perplexities, they had passed
the line of no variation, and the needle now swung to the left of the
pole-star instead of the right. On the last day of the outward voyage
they were 2300 miles to the westward according to the information
Columbus shared with his officers and men; according to his secret
log they were 2700 miles from the Canaries, and well beyond the
paint where he had expected to strike the islands of the Asiatic
coast. The mutinous and panic-stricken spirit of his subordinates,
the uncertainty of Columbus himself, turned to rejoicing when at
2:00 A.M. of Friday, October 12, a sailor on the _Pinta_ sighted
the little island of the Bahamas, which, since the time of the
Vikings, was the first land sighted by white men in the new world.


The three vessels cruised southward, in the belief, expressed by
the name Indian which they gave the natives, that they were in
the archipelago east of Asia. Skirting the northern coast of Cuba
and Hayti, they sought for traces of gold, and information as to
the way to the mainland. The _Santa Maria_ was wrecked on Christmas
Day; the _Pinta_ became separated; Columbus returned in the
little _Ninã_, putting in first at the Tagus, and reaching Palos
on March 15, 1493.

Though his voyage gave no immediate prospect of immense profits,
yet it was the general belief that he had reached Asia, and by a
route three times as short as that by the Cape of Good Hope. The
Spanish court celebrated his return with rejoicing. Appealing to
the Pope, at this time the Spaniard Rodrigo Bargia, King Ferdinand
lost no time in securing holy sanction for his gains. A Papal bull
of May 3, 1493, conferred upon Spain title to all lands discovered
or yet to be discovered in the western ocean. Another on the day
following divided the claims of Spain and Portugal by a line running
north and south "100 leagues west of the Azores and the Cape Verde
Islands" (an obscure statement in view of the fact that the Cape
Verdes lie considerably to the westward of the other group), and
granted to Spain a monopoly of commerce in the waters "west and
south" (again an obscure phrase) of this line, so that no other
nation could trade without license from the power in control. This
was the extraordinary Papal decree dividing the waters of the world.
Small wander that the French king, Francis I, remarked that he
refused to recognize the title of the claimants till they could
produce the will of Father Adam, making them universal heirs; or
that Elizabeth, when a century later England became interested
in world trade, disputed a division contrary not only to common
sense and treaties but to "the law of nations." The Papal decree,
intended merely to settle the differences of the two Catholic states,
gave rise to endless disputes and preposterous claims.

The treaty of Tordesillas (1494) between Spain and Portugal fixed
the line of demarcation more definitely, 370 miles west of the
Cape Verde Islands, giving Portugal the Brazilian coast, and by
an additional clause it made illegitimate trade a crime punishable
by death. Another agreement in 1529 extended the line around to
the Eastern Hemisphere, 17 degrees east of the Moluccas, which, if
Spain had abided by it, would have excluded her from the Philippines.
After Portugal fell under Spanish rule in 1580, Spain could claim
dominion over all the southern seas.

[Illustration: CHART OF A.D. 1589

Showing Papal line of Demarcation]

The enthusiasm and confident expectation with which Spain set out
to exploit the discoveries of Columbus's first voyage changed to
disappointment when subsequent explorations revealed lands of
continental dimensions to be sure, but populated by ignorant savages,
with no thoroughfare to the ancient civilization and wealth of
the East, and no promise of a solid, lucrative commerce such as
Portugal had gained. Mines were opened in the West Indies, but it
was not until the conquest of Mexico by Cortez (1519-1521) laid open
the accumulated wealth of seven centuries that Spain had definite
assurance of the treasure which was to pour out of America in a
steadily increasing stream. The first two vessels laden with Mexican
treasure returned in 1523. Ten years later the exploration and
conquest of Peru by Pizarro trebled the influx of silver and gold.
The silver mines of Europe were abandoned. The Emperor Charles, as
Francis I said, could fight his European campaigns on the wealth
of the Indies alone.

But between Spain and her "sinews of war" lay 3000 miles of ocean.
To hold the colonies themselves, to guard the plate fleets against
French, Dutch, and English raiders, to protect her own coastline
and maintain communications with her possessions in Italy and the
Low Countries, to wage war against the Turk in the Mediterranean,
Spain felt the need of a navy. Indeed, in view of these varied
motives for maritime strength, it is surprising that Spain depended
so largely on impressed merchant vessels, and had made only the
beginnings of a royal navy at the time of the Grand Armada.[1]
Not primarily a nation of traders or sailors, she had, by grudging
assistance to the greatest of sea explorers, fallen into a rich
colonial empire, to secure and make the most of which called for
sea power.

[Footnote 1: "For the kings of England have for many years been
at the charge to build and furnish a navy of powerful ships for
their own defense, and for the wars only; whereas the French, the
Spaniards, the Portugals, and the Hollanders (till of late) have
had no proper fleet belonging to their princes or state." Sir Walter

It is possible, however, to lay undue stress on the factor just
mentioned in accounting for both the rise and the decay of Spain.
Her ascendancy in Europe in the 16th century was due chiefly to
the immense territories united with her under Charles the Fifth
(1500-1558), who inherited Spain, Burgundy, and the Low Countries,
and added Austria with her German and Italian provinces by his
accession to the imperial throne. Under Charles's powerful leadership
Spain became the greatest nation in Europe; but at the same time her
resources in men and wealth were exhausted in the almost constant
warfare of his long reign. The treasures of America flowed through
the land like water, in the expressive figure of a German historian,
"not fertilizing it but laying it waste, and leaving sharper dearth
behind."[2] The revenues of the plate fleet were pledged to German
or Genoese bankers even before they reached the country, and were
expended in the purchase of foreign luxuries or in waging imperial
wars, rather than in the encouragement of home agriculture, trade,
and industry. While the vast possessions of church and nobility
escaped taxation, the people were burdened with levies on the movement
and sale of commodities and on the common necessities of life.
Prohibition of imports to keep gold in the country was ineffectual,
for without the supplies brought in by Dutch merchantmen Spain would
have starved, and Philip II often had to connive in violations
of his own restrictions. Prohibition of exports to keep prices
down was an equally Quixotic measure, the chief effect of which
was to kill trade. Spain could not supply the needs of her own
colonies, and in fact illustrates the truth that a nation cannot,
in the end, profit greatly by colonies unless it develops industries
to utilize their raw materials and supply their demands.

[Footnote 2: DAS ZEITALTER DER FUGGER, Vol. II, p. 150.]

For some time before the Armada Spain was on the downward path,
as a result of the conditions mentioned. On the other hand, while
the Armada relieved England of a terrible danger and dashed Spain's
hope of domination in the north, it was not of itself a fatal blow.
The war still continued, with other Spanish expeditions organized on
a grand scale, and ended in 1604, so far as England was concerned,
with that country's renunciation of trade to the Indies and aid
to the Dutch.

But even if Spain's rise and decline were not primarily a result
of sea power, still, taking the term to include the extension of
shipping and maritime trade as well as the employment of naval
forces in strictly military operations, there are lessons to be
drawn from the use or neglect of sea power by both sides in Spain's
long drawn-out struggle with Holland and England.



THE EXPANSION OF EUROPE, a History of the Foundations of the
  Modern World, by Prof. W. C. Abbot, 1918.
SHIPS AND THEIR WAYS OF OTHER DAYS, E. Keble Chatterton, 1906.
THE DAWN OF NAVIGATION, Thomas G. Ford, U. S. Naval Institute
  Proceedings, Vol. XXXIII., 1-3.
THE DAWN OF MODERN GEOGRAPHY, 2 vols., C. Raymond Beazley, 1904.


  PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR, C. Raymond Beazley, 1895.
VASCO DA GAMA AND HIS SUCCESSORS, 1460-1580, K. G. Jayne, 1910.


SPAIN IN AMERICA, E. G. Bourne, American Nation Series, 1909.
SPAIN, Martin Hume, Cam. Modern Hist. Series, 1898.



The first sea-farers in the storm-swept waters of the north, at
least in historic times, were the Teutonic tribes along the North
Sea and the Baltic. On land the Teutons held the Rhine and the
Danube against the legions of Rome, spread later southward and
westward, and founded modern European states out of the wreckage
of the Roman Empire. On the sea, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in the
5th century began plundering the coasts of what is now England,
and, after driving the Celts into mountain fastnesses, established
themselves in permanent control.

_The Vikings_

These Teutonic voyagers were followed toward the close of the 8th
century by their Scandinavian kindred to the northward, the
Vikings--superb fighting men and daring sea-rovers who harried
the coasts of western Europe for the next 200 years. There were no
navies to stop them. "These sea dragons," exclaimed Charlemagne,
"will tear my kingdom asunder!" In England no king before Alfred
had a navy; and Alfred was compelled to organize a strong sea force
to bring the invaders to terms.

Elsewhere the Vikings met little opposition. Wherever they found
lands that attracted them, they conquered and settled dawn. Thus
Normandy came into being. They swept up the rivers, burning and
looting where they pleased, from the Elbe to the Rhone. They carried
their raids as far south as Sicily and the Mediterranean coast of
Africa, and as far north and west as Iceland, Greenland, and the
American continent. In the east, by establishing a Viking colony
at Nishni Novgorod, they laid the foundations of the Russian empire,
and their leader, Rus, gave it his name. Following river courses,
others penetrated inland as far as Constantinople, where, being
bought off by the emperor, they took service as imperial guards.

Their extraordinary voyages were made in boats that resemble so
closely Greek and Roman models--even Phœnician, for that matter--as
to suggest that the Vikings learned their ship-building from
Mediterranean traders who forced their way into the Baltic in very
early times. For example, the Viking method of making a rib in
three parts is identical with the method of the Greeks and Romans.
The chief points of difference are that Viking ships were sharp
at both ends--like a canoe, were round-bottomed instead of flat,
and had one steering oar instead of two. The typical Viking ship
was only about 75 feet in length; but a royal vessel--the _Dragon_
of the chief--sometimes attained a length of 300 feet, with sixty
pairs of oars.

If the Vikings had had national organization under one head, they
might well have laid the rest of Europe under tribute. In the 11th
century, Cnut, a descendant of the Vikings, ruled in person over
England, Denmark, and Norway. But their ocean folk-wanderings seem
to have ended as suddenly as they began, and the effects were social
rather than political. Where they settled, they brought a strain
of the hardiest racial stock in Europe to blend with that of the
conquered peoples.

_The Hanseatic League_

During the Middle Ages, peaceful trading gradually gained the upper
hand over piracy and conquest. From the Italian cities the wares
of the south and the Orient came over the passes of the Alps and
down the German rivers, where trading cities grew up to act as
carriers of merchandise and civilization among the nations of the
north. The merchant guilds of these cities, banded together in
the Hanseatic League, for at least three centuries dominated the
northern seas.

Perhaps the most extensive commercial combination ever formed for
the control of sea trade, the Hanseatic League began with a treaty
between Lübeck and Hamburg in 1174, and at the height of its power
in the 14th and 15th centuries it included from 60 to 80 cities,
of which Lübeck, Cologne, Brunswick, and Danzig were among the
chief. The league cleared northern waters of pirates, and used
embargo and naval power to subdue rivals and promote trade. It
established factories or trading stations from Nishni Novgorod to
Bergen, London, and Bruges. From Russia it took cargoes of fats,
tallows, wax, and wares brought into Russian markets from the east;
from Scandinavia, iron and copper; from England, hides and wool; from
Germany, fish, grain, beer, and manufactured goods of all kinds.
The British pound sterling (Österling) and pound avoirdupois, in
fact the whole British system of weights and coinage, are legacies
from the German merchants who once had their headquarters in the
Steelyard, London.

In the early 15th century the league attempted to shut Dutch ships
from the Baltic trade by restricting their cargoes to wares produced
in their own country, and by coercing Denmark into granting the
league special privileges on the route through the Sound. This
policy, culminating in the destruction of the Dutch grain fleet
in 1437, led to a naval struggle which extended over four years
and ended in a truce by which the Dutch secured the freedom of the
Baltic. It was a typical naval war for sea control and commercial
advantage, in which the Dutch as a rule seem to have got the better,
and in which the legend first made its appearance of a Dutch admiral
sweeping the seas with a broom nailed to his mast.

From this time the power of the Hansa declined. This was partly
because the free cities came more and more under the rule of German
princes with no interest in, or knowledge of, commerce; partly
because of rivalry arising from the union of the Scandinavian states
(1397) and the growth of England, France, and the Low Countries
to national strength and commercial independence; and partly also
because of the decline of German fisheries when the herring suddenly
shifted from the Baltic to the North Sea. Underlying these varied
causes, however, and significant of the far-reaching effect of
changing trade-routes upon the progress and prosperity of nations,
was the fact that, when the Mediterranean trade route was closed
by the Turks, and also the route through Russia by Ivan III, the
German cities were side-tracked. Antwerp and Amsterdam were not
only more centrally located for the distribution of trade, but
also much nearer for Atlantic traffic--an advantage which Germany
has ever since keenly envied.

Long before the rise of the Low Countries as a maritime power,
Ghent and Bruges had enjoyed an early preëminence owing to their
development of cloth manufacture, and the latter city as a terminus
for the galleys of Venice and Genoa. After the silting up of the
port of Bruges (1432), Antwerp grew in importance, and in the 16th
century became the chief market and money center of Europe. Its
inhabitants numbered about 100,000, with a floating population
of upwards of 50,000 more. It contained the counting-houses of
the great bankers of Europe--the Fuggers of Germany, the Pazzi
of Florence, the Dorias of Genoa. Five thousand merchants were
registered on the Bourse, as many as 500 ships often left the city
in a single day, and two or three thousand more might be seen anchored
in the Scheldt or lying along the quays.[1] Amsterdam by 1560 was
second to Antwerp with a population of 40,000, and forged ahead
after the sack of Antwerp by Spanish soldiers in 1576 and the Dutch
blockade of the Scheldt during the struggle with Spain.

II, Ch. XII.]

This early prosperity of the Netherland cities may be attributed
less to aggressive maritime activity than to their flourishing
industries, their natural advantages as trading centers at the
mouths of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse, and the privileges of
self-government enjoyed by the middle classes under the House of
Burgundy and even under Charles the Fifth. Charles taxed them
heavily--his revenues from the Low Countries in reality far exceeded
the treasure he drew from America; but he was a Fleming born, spoke
their language, and accorded them a large measure of political and
religious freedom. The grievances which after his death led to
the Dutch War of Independence, are almost personified in the son
who succeeded him in 1555--Philip II, a Spaniard born and bred,
who spoke no Flemish and left Brussels for the last time in 1573,
dour, treacherous, distrustful, fanatical in religion; a tragic
character, who, no doubt with great injustice to the Spanish, has
somehow come to represent the character of Spain in his time.

_The Dutch Struggle for Freedom_

The causes of the long war in the Netherlands, which began in 1566
and ended with their independence 43 years later, is best explained
in terms of general principles rather than specific grievances.
"A conflict in which the principle of Catholicism with unlimited
royal autocracy as Spain recognized it, was opposed to toleration
in the realm of religion, with a national government according to
ancient principles and based on ancient privileges,"--so the Dutch
historian Blok sums up the issues at stake. The Prince of Orange,
just before he was cut down by an assassin, asserted in his famous
_Defense_ three fundamental principles: freedom to worship God;
withdrawal of foreigners; and restoration of the charters, privileges,
and liberties of the land. The Dutch fought for political, religious,
and also for economic independence. England gave aid, not so much
for religious motives as because she saw that her political safety
and commercial prosperity hinged on the weakening of Spain.

Resembling our American Revolution in the character of the struggle
as well as the issues at stake--though it was far more bloody and
desperate--the Dutch War of Independence was fought mainly within
the country itself, with the population divided, and the Spanish
depending on land forces to maintain their rule; but, as in the
American war, control of the sea was a vital factor. For munitions,
supplies, gold, for the transport of the troops themselves, Spain
had to depend primarily on the sea. It is true one could continue
on Spanish territory from Genoa, which was Spain's watergate into
Italy, across the Mont Cenis Pass, and through Savoy, Burgundy,
Lorraine, and Luxembourg to Brussels, and it was by this route that
Parma's splendid army of 10,000 "Blackbeards" came in 1577. But
this was an arduous three months' march for troops and still more
difficult for supplies. To cross France was as a rule impossible;
when Don Juan of Austria went to Flanders for the brief period of
leadership ended by his death of camp fever in 1578, he passed
through French territory disguised as a Moorish slave. By the sea
route, upon which Spain was after all largely dependent, and the
complete control of which would have made her task infinitely easier,
she was constantly exposed to Huguenot, Dutch, and English privateers.
These gentry cared little whether or not their country was actually
at war with Spain, but took their letters of marque, if they carried
them, from any prince or ruler who would serve their turn.

With this opportunity to strike at Spanish communications, it will
appear strange that the Dutch should not have immediately seized
their advantage and made it decisive. One curious difficulty lay
in the fact that throughout the war Dutch shipping actually carried
the bulk of Spanish trade and drew from it immense profits. Even
at the close of the century, while the war was still continuing,
nine-tenths of Spain's foreign trade and five-sixths of her home
trade was in foreign--and most of it in Dutch--hands. Hence any
form of sea warfare was sure to injure Dutch trade. The Revolution,
moreover, began slowly and feebly, with no well-thought-out plan of
campaign, and could not at once fit out fully organized forces to
cope with those of Spain. The Dutch early took to commerce warfare,
but it was at first semi-piratical, and involved the destruction
of ships of their own countrymen.

The Sea Beggars--_Zee Geuzen_ or _Gueux der Mer_--made their
appearance shortly after the outbreak of rebellion. "_Vyve les
geus par mer et par terre,_" wrote the patriot Count van Brederode
as early as 1566. The term "beggar" is said to have arisen from a
contemptuous remark by a Spanish courtier to Margaret of Parma, when
the Dutch nobles presented their grievances in Brussels. Willingly
accepting the name, the patriots applied it to their forces both
by land and by sea. Letters of marque were first issued by Louis
of Nassau, brother of William of Orange, and in 1569 there were
18 ships engaged, increased in the next year to 84. The bloody
and licentious De la Marek, who wore his hair and beard unshorn
till he had avenged the execution of his relative, Egmont, was
a typical leader of still more wild and reckless crews. It was
no uncommon practice to go over the rail of a merchant ship with
pike and ax and kill every Spaniard on board. In 1569 William of
Orange appointed the Seigneur de Lumbres as admiral of the beggar
fleet, and issued strict instructions to him to secure better order,
avoid attacks on vessels of friendly and neutral states, enforce
the articles of war, and carry a preacher on each ship. The booty
was to be divided one-third to the Prince for the maintenance of
the war, one-third to the captains to supply their vessels, and
one-third to the crews, one-tenth of this last share going to the
admiral in general command.


The events of commerce warfare, though they often involve desperate
adventures and hard fighting, are not individually impressive, and
the effectiveness of this warfare is best measured by collective
results. On one occasion, when a fleet of transports fell into the
hands of patriot forces off Flushing in 1572, not only were 1000
troops taken, but also 500,000 crowns of gold and a rich cargo, the
proceeds of which, it is stated, were sufficient to carry on the whole
war for a period of two years. Again it was fear of pirates (Huguenot
in this case) that in December of 1568 drove a squadron of Spanish
transports into Plymouth, England, with 450,000 ducats ($960,000)
aboard for the pay of Spanish troops. Elizabeth seized the money
(on the ground that it was still the property of the Genoese bankers
who had lent it and that she might as well borrow it as Philip),
and minted it into English coin at a profit of £3000. But Alva at
Antwerp, with no money at all, was forced to the obnoxious "Hundreds"
tax--requiring a payment of one per cent on all possessions, five
per cent on all real estate transfers, and 10 per cent every time
a piece of merchandise was sold--a typical tax after the Spanish
recipe, which, though not finally enforced to its full extent, aroused
every Netherlander as a fatal blow at national prosperity. To return
to the general effect of commerce destruction, it is estimated
that Spain thus lost annually 3,000,000 ducats ($6,400,000), a sum
which of course meant vastly more then than now. When the Duke
of Alva retired from command in 1578, the pay of Spanish troops
was 6,500,000 ducats in arrears.

Among the exploits of organized naval forces, the earliest was the
capture of Brill, by which, according to Motley, "the foundations
of the Dutch republic were laid." Driven out of England by Elizabeth,
who upon the representations of the Spanish ambassador ordered her
subjects not to supply the Beggars with "meat, bread or beer,"
a fleet of 25 vessels and 300 or 400 men left Dover towards the
end of March, 1572, with the project of seizing a base on their
own coast. On the afternoon of April 1, they appeared off the town
of Brill, located on an island at the mouth of the Meuse. The
magistrates and most of the inhabitants fled; and the Beggars battered
down the gates, occupied the town, and put to death 13 monks and
priests. When Spanish forces attempted to recapture the city, the
defenders opened sluice gates to cut off the northern approach,
and at the same time set fire to the boats which had carried the
Spanish to the island. The Spanish, terrorized by both fire and
water, waded through mud and slime to the northern shore. During
the same week Flushing was taken, and before the end of June the
Dutch were masters of nearly the entire Zealand coast.

In the north the Spanish at first found an able naval leader in
Admiral Bossu, himself a Hollander, who for a time kept the coast
clear of Beggars. In October, 1573, however, 30 of his ships were
beaten in the Zuyder Zee by 25 under Dirkzoon, who captured five
of the Spanish vessels and scattered the rest with the exception
of the flagship. The latter, a 32-gun ship terrifyingly named the
_Inquisition_ and much stronger than any of the others on either
side, held out from three o'clock in the afternoon until the next
morning. Three patriot vessels closed in on her, attacking with
the vicious weapons of the period--pitch, boiling oil, and molten
lead. By morning the four combatants had drifted ashore in a tangled
mass. When Bossu at last surrendered, 300 men, out of 382 in his
ship's complement, were dead or disabled.

Though not yet able to stand up against Spanish infantry, the Dutch
in naval battles were usually successful. In the Scheldt, January
29, 1574, 75 Spanish vessels were attacked by 64 Dutch under Admiral
Boisot. After a single broadside, the two fleets grappled, and in
a two-hour fight at close quarters eight of the Spanish ships were
captured, seven destroyed, and 1200 Spaniards killed. The Spanish
commander, Julian Romero, escaped through a port-hole, is said to
have remarked afterwards, "I told you I was a land fighter and no
sailor; give me a hundred fleets and I would fare no better."

In September following, Admiral Boisot brought some of his victorious
ships and sailors to the relief of Leyden, whose inhabitants and
garrison had been reduced by siege to the very last extremities.
The campaign that followed was typical of this amphibious war.
Boisot's force, with those already an the scene, numbered about
2500, equipped with some 200 shallow-draft boats and row-barges
mounting an average of ten guns each. Among them was the curious
_Ark of Delft_, with shot-proof bulwarks and paddle-wheels turned
by a crank. As a result of ruthless flooding of the country, ten
of the fifteen miles between Leyden and the outer dyke were easily
passed; but five miles from the city ran the Landscheidung or inner
dyke, which was above water, and beyond this an intricate system
of canals and flooded polders, with forts and villages held by a
Spanish force four times as strong. The most savage fighting on
decks, dykes, and bridges marked every step forward; the Dutch in
their native element attacking with cutlass, boathook and harpoon,
while the superior military discipline of the Spanish could not
come in play. But at least 20 inches of water were necessary to
float the Dutch vessels, and it was not until October 3 that a
spring tide and a heavy northwest gale made it possible to reach the
city walls. In storm and darkness, terrified by the rising waters,
the Spanish fled. The relief of the city marked a turning-point in
the history of the revolt.

During the six terrible years of Alva's rule in the Netherlands
(1567-1573) the Dutch sea forces contributed heavily toward the
maintenance of the war, assured control of the Holland and Zealand
coasts, and more than once, as at Brill and Leyden, proved the
salvation of the patriot cause. Holland and Zealand, the storm-centers
of rebellion, were not again so devastated, though the war dragged
on for many years, maintained by the indomitable spirit of William
of Orange until his assassination in 1584, and afterward by the
military skill of Maurice of Nassau and the aid of foreign powers.
The seven provinces north of the Scheldt, separating from the Catholic
states of the south, prospered in trade and industry as they shook
themselves free from the stifling rule of Spain. By a twelve-year
truce, finally ratified in 1609, they became "free states over
which Spain makes no pretensions," though their independence was
not fully recognized until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The
war, while it ruined Antwerp, increased the prosperity of Holland
and Zealand, which for at least twenty years before the truce were
busily extending their trade to every part of the world.

_Growth of Dutch Commerce_

The story of this expansion of commerce is a striking record. The
grain and timber of the Baltic, the wines of France and Spain,
the salt of the Cape Verde Islands, the costly wares of the east,
came to the ports of the Meuse and Zuyder Zee. In 1590 the first
Dutch traders entered the Mediterranean, securing, eight years
later, the permission of the Sultan to engage in Constantinople
trade. In 1594 their ships reached the Gold Coast, and a year later
four vessels visited Madagascar, Goa, Java, and the Moluccas or
Spice Islands. A rich Zealand merchant had a factory at Archangel
and a regular trade into the White Sea. Seeking a reward of 25,000
florins offered by the States for the discovery of a northeast
passage, Jacob van Heimskirck sailed into the Arctic and wintered
in Nova Zembla; Henry Hudson, in quest of a route northwestward,
explored the river and the bay that bear his name and died in the
Polar Seas.

Statistics, while not very trustworthy and not enlightening unless
compared with those for other nations, may give some idea of the
preponderance of Dutch shipping. At the time of the truce she is
said to have had 16,300 ships, about 10,000 of which were small
vessels in the coasting trade. Of the larger, 3000 were in the
Baltic trade, 2000 in the Spanish, 600 sailed to Italy, and the
remainder to the Mediterranean, South America, the Far East, and
Archangel. The significance of these figures may be made clearer by
citing Colbert's estimate that at a later period (1664) there were
20,000 ships in general European carrying trade, 16,000 of which
were Dutch. Throughout the 17th century Dutch commerce continued to
prosper, and did not reach its zenith until early in the century

In the closing years of the 16th century several private companies
were founded in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Zealand to engage in eastern
trade. These were combined in 1602 into the United East Indies
Company, which sent large fleets to the Orient each year, easily
ousted the Portuguese from their bases on the coast and islands,
and soon established almost a monopoly, leaving to England only a
small share of trade with Persia and northwest India. The relative
resources invested by English and Dutch in Eastern ventures is
suggested by the fact that the British East Indies Company founded in
1600 had a capital of £80,000, while the Dutch Company had £316,000.
By 1620 the shares of the Dutch company had increased to three
times their original value, and they paid average dividends of 18
per cent for the next 200 years.

In this Dutch conquest of eastern trade, like that of the Portuguese
a century earlier, we have an illustration of what has since been a
guiding principle in the history of sea power--a national policy of
commercial expansion sturdily backed by foreign policy and whenever
necessary by naval force. The element of national policy is evident
in the fact that Holland--and England until the accession of James I
in 1603--preferred war rather than acceptance of Spanish pretensions
to exclusive rights in the southern seas. The Dutch, like the
Portuguese, saw clearly the need of political control. They made
strongholds of their trading bases, and gave their companies power
to oust competitors by force. As a concession to Spanish pride,
the commerce clause in the Truce of 1609 was made intentionally
unintelligible--but the Dutch interpreted it to suit themselves.
As for the element of force, every squadron that sailed to the
east was a semi-military expedition. The Dutch seaman was sailor,
fighter, and trader combined. The merchant was truly, in the phrase
of the age, a "merchant adventurer," lucky indeed and enriched
if, after facing the perils of navigation in strange waters, the
possible hostility of native rulers, and the still greater danger
from European rivals, half his ships returned. The last statement
is no hyperbole; of 9 ships sent to the East from Amsterdam in
1598, four came back, and just half of the 22 sent out from the
entire Netherlands.

From time to time, either to maintain the blockade of the Scheldt
and assist in operations on the Flanders coast, or to protect their
trade and strike a direct blow at Spain, the Dutch fitted out purely
naval expeditions. One of the most effective, from the standpoint
of actual fighting, was that led by van Heimskirck, already famous
for Arctic exploration and exploits in the Far East. In 1607 he
took 21 converted merchantmen and 4 transports to the Spanish coast
to protect Dutch vessels from the east and the Mediterranean.
Encountering off Gibraltar an enemy force of 11 large galleons
and as many galleys under Alvarez d'Avila, a veteran of Lepanto,
he destroyed half the Spanish force and drove the rest into port,
killing about 2000 Spanish and coming out of the fight with the
loss of only 100 men. Heimskirck concentrated upon the galleons
and came to close action after the fashion which seems to have
been characteristic of the Dutch in naval engagements throughout
the war. "Hold your fire till you hear the crash," he cried, as
he drove his prow into the enemy flagship; and the battle was won
after a struggle yard-arm to yard-arm. Bath admirals were killed.

Portugal, broken by the Spanish yoke, could offer little resistance
in the Far East. In 1606 a Dutch fleet of 12 ships under Matelieff
de Jonge laid siege to Malacca, and gave up the attempt only after
destroying 10 galleons sent to relieve the town. Matelieff then
sailed to the neighboring islands, and established the authority
of the company at Bantam, Amboyna, Ternate, and other centers of

Other fleets earlier and later promoted the interests of the company
by the same means. English traders, with scanty government encouragement
from the Stuart kings, were not as yet dangerous rivals. A conflict
occurred with them in 1611 off Surat; and at Amboyna in 1623 the
Dutch seized the English Company's men, tortured ten of them, and
broke up the English base. For more than a century Holland remained
supreme in the east; she has retained her colonial empire down to
the 20th century; and she did not surrender her commercial primacy
until exhausted by the combined attacks of England and France.
Less successful than England in the development of colonies, she
has stood out as the greatest of trading nations.


_The Vikings_

THE VIKING AGE, H. F. Du Chaillu, 1889.

_The Hansa_

THE HANSA TOWNS, H. Zimmerman, 1889.
HISTORY OF COMMERCE, Clive Day, 1913 (bibliography).

_Dutch Sea Power_

MOTLEY'S RISE OF THE DUTCH REPUBLIC (still the best source in English
  for political and naval history of the period).
  Putnam, 1898-1912.
THE SEA BEGGARS, Dingman Versteg, 1901.
  Naval Institute Proceedings, January, 1919.



By reason of England's insularity, it is an easy matter to find
instances from even her early history of the salutary or fatal
influence of sea power. Romans, Saxons, Danes swept down upon England
from the sea. By building a fleet, King Alfred, said to have been
the true father of the British navy, kept back the Danes. It was
the dispersion of the English fleet by reason of the lateness of
the season that enabled William the Conqueror, in the small open
vessels interestingly pictured in the Bayeux tapestry, to win a
footing on the English shore.

But during the next three centuries, with little shipping and little
trade save that carried on by the Hansa, with no enemy that dangerously
threatened her by sea, England had neither the motives nor the
national strength and unity to develop naval power. She claimed,
it is true, dominion over the narrow waters between her and her
possessions in France, and also over the "four seas" surrounding
her; and as early as 1201 an ordinance was passed requiring vessels
in these waters to lower sails ("vail the bonnet") and also to
"lie by the lee" when so ordered by King's ships. But though these
claims were revived in the 17th century against the Dutch, and
though the requirement that foreign vessels strike their topsails
to the British flag remained in the Admiralty Instructions until
after Trafalgar, they were at this time enforced chiefly to rid
the seas of pirates--the common enemies of nations. During this
period there were a few "king's ships," the sovereign's personal
property, forming a nucleus around which a naval force of fishing
and merchant vessels could be assembled in time of war. The Cinque
Ports, originally Dover, Sandwich, Hastings, Romney and Hythe, long
enjoyed certain trading privileges in return for the agreement
that when the king passed overseas they would "rigge up fiftie and
seven ships" (according to a charter of Edward I) with 20 armed
soldiers each, and maintain them for 15 days.

An attack in 1217 by such a fleet, under the Governor of Dover
Castle, affords perhaps the earliest instance of maneuvering for
the weather-gage. The English came down from the windward and, as
they scrambled aboard the enemy, threw quicklime into the Frenchmen's
eyes. At Sluis, in 1340, to take another instance of early English
naval warfare, Edward III defeated a large French fleet and a number
of hired Genoese galleys lashed side by side in the little river
Eede in Flanders. Edward came in with a fair wind and tide and fell
upon the enemy as they lay aground at the stem and unmanageable.
This victory gave control of the Channel for the transport of troops
in the following campaign. But like most early naval combats, it
was practically a land battle over decks, and, although sanguinary
enough, it is from a naval stand paint interesting chiefly for
such novelties as a scouting force of knights on horseback along
the shore.

The beginnings of a permanent and strong naval establishment, as
distinct from merchant vessels owned by the king or in his service,
must be dated, however, from the Tudors and the period of national
rehabilitation following the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) and
the War of the Roses (1455-1485). One reason for this was that
the employment of artillery on shipboard and the introduction of
port-holes made it increasingly difficult to convert merchant craft
into dependable men-of-war. Henry VIII took a keen interest in
his navy, devoted the revenues of forfeited church property to
its expansion, established the first Navy Board (1546), and is
even credited with the adoption of sailing vessels as the major
units of his fleet.

_From Oar to Sail_

The use of heavy ordnance, already mentioned, as well as the increasing
size and efficiency of sail-craft that came with the spread of
ocean commerce and navigation, naturally pointed the way to this
transition in warfare from oar to sail. The galley was at best a
frail affair, cumbered with oars, benches and rowers, unable to
carry heavy guns or withstand their fire. Once sailing vessels had
attained reasonable maneuvering qualities, their superior strength
and size, reduced number of non-combatant personnel, and increased
seaworthiness and cruising radius gave them a tremendous superiority.
That the change should have begun in the north rather than in the
Mediterranean, where naval and military science had reached its
highest development, must be attributed not only to the rougher
weather conditions of the northern seas, and the difficulty of
obtaining slaves as rowers, but also to the fact that the southern
nations were more completely shackled by the traditions of galley

[Illustration: GALLEON]

Yet for the new type it was the splendid trading vessels of Venice
that supplied the design. For the Antwerp and London trade, and in
protection against the increasing danger from pirates, the Venetians
had developed a compromise between the war-galley and the round-ship
of commerce, a type with three masts and propelled at least primarily
by sails, with a length about three times its beam and thus shorter
and more seaworthy than the galley, but longer, lower and swifter
than the clumsy round-ship. To this new type the names _galleass_ and
_galleon_ were bath given, but in English and later usage _galleass_
came to be applied to war vessels combining oar and sail, and _galleon_
to either war or trading vessels of medium size and length and
propelled by sail alone.

The Spanish found the galleon useful in the Atlantic carrying trade,
but, as shown at Lepanto, they retained the galley in warfare;
whereas Henry VIII of England was probably the first definitely
to favor sail for his men-of-war. An English navy list of 1545
shows four clumsy old-fashioned "great-ships" of upwards of 1000
tons, but second to these a dozen newer vessels of distinctly galleon
lines, lower than the great-ships, flush-decked, and sail-driven.
Though in engagements with French galleys during the campaign of
1545 these were handicapped by calm weather, they seem to have
held their own both in battle and in naval opinion. Of the royal
ships at the opening of Elizabeth's reign (1558), there were 11
large sailing vessels of 200 tans and upwards, and 10 smaller ones,
but only two galleys, and these "of no continuance and not worth
repair."[1] In comment on these figures, it should be added that
there were half a hundred large ships available from the merchant
service, and also that pinnaces and other small craft still combined
oar and sail.

[Footnote 1: DRAKE AND THE TUDOR NAVY, Corbett, Vol. I, p. 133.]

In England the superiority of sail propulsion was soon definitely
recognized, and discussion later centered on the relative merits
of the medium-sized galleon and the big "great-ship." The
characteristics of each are well set forth in a contemporary naval
treatise by Sir William Monson: the former with "flush deck fore and
aft, sunk and low in the water; the other lofty and high-charged,
with a half-deck, forecastle, and copperidge-heads [athwortship
bulkheads where light guns were mounted to command the space between
decks]." The advantages of the first were that she was speedy and
"a fast ship by the wind" so as to avoid boarding by the enemy,
and could run in close and fire effective broadsides between wind
and water without being touched; whereas the big ship was more
terrifying, more commodious, stronger, and could carry more and
heavier guns. Monson, like many a later expert, suspended judgment
regarding the two types; but Sir Walter Raleigh came out strongly
for the smaller design. "The greatest ships," he writes, "are the
least serviceable...., less nimble, less maniable; 'Grande navi
grande fatiga,' saith the Spaniard. A ship of 600 tons will carry
as good ordnance as a ship of 1200 tons; and though the greater
have double her number, the lesser will turn her broadsides twice
before the greater can wind once." And elsewhere: "The high charging
of ships makes them extreme leeward, makes them sink deep in the
water, makes them labor, and makes them overset. Men may not expect
the ease of many cabins and safety at once in sea-service."[1]

[Footnote 1: WORKS, Oxford ed. 1829, Vol. VIII, p. 338.]

These statements were made after the Armada; but the trend of English
naval construction away from unwieldy ships such as used by the Spanish
in the Armada, is clearly seen in vessels dating from 1570-1580--the
_Foresight, Bull,_ and _Tiger_ (rebuilt from galleasses), the
_Swiftsure, Dreadnought, Revenge,_ and others of names renowned
in naval annals. These were all of about the dimensions of the
_Revenge,_ which was of 440 tons, 92 feet over all, 32 feet beam,
and 15 feet from deck to keel. That is to say, their length was
not more than three times their beam, and their beam was about
twice their depth in the hold--the characteristic proportions of
the galleon type.

The progressiveness of English ship construction is highly significant,
for to it may be attributed in large measure the Armada victory.
Spain had made no such advances; in fact, until the decade of the
Armada, she hardly had such a thing as a royal navy. The superiority
of the English ships was generally recognized. An English naval
writer in 1570 declared the ships of his nation so fine "none of
any other region may seem comparable to them"; and a Spaniard some
years later testified that his people regarded "one English ship
worth four of theirs."

Though not larger than frigates of Nelson's time, these ships were
crowded with an even heavier armament, comprising guns of all sizes
and of picturesque but bewildering nomenclature. According to
Corbett,[1] the ordnance may be divided into four main classes
based on caliber, the first two of the "long gun" and the other
two of the carronade or mortar type.

[Footnote 1: DRAKE AND THE TUDOR NAVY, Vol. I, p. 384.]

I. Cannon proper, from 16 to 28 caliber, of 8.5-inch bore and 12
feet in length, firing 65-pound shot. The demi-cannon, which was
the largest gun carried on ships of the time, was 6.5 inches by
9 feet and fired 30-pound shot.

II. Culverins, 28 to 34 caliber long guns, 5 inches by 12 feet,
firing 17-pound shot. Demi-culverins were 9-pounders. Slings, bases,
sakers, port-pieces, and fowlers belonged to this class.

III. Perriers, from 6 to 8 caliber, firing stone-balls, shells,
fire-balls, etc.

IV. Mortars, of 1.5 caliber, including petards and murderers.

The "great ordnance," or cannon, were muzzle-loading. The secondary
armament, mounted in tops, cageworks, bulkheads, etc., were
breech-loading; but these smaller pieces fell out of favor as time
went on owing to reliance on long-range fire and rareness of boarding
actions. Down to the middle of the 19th century there was no great
improvement in ordnance, save in the way of better powder and boring.
Even in Elizabeth's day the heaviest cannon had a range of three

These advances in ship design and armament were accompanied by
some changes in naval administration. In 1546 the Navy Board was
created, which continued to handle matters of what may be termed
civil administration until its functions were taken over by the
Board of Admiralty in the reorganization of 1832. The chief members
of the Navy Board, the Treasurer, Comptroller, Surveyor of Ships,
Surveyor of Ordnance, and Clerk of Ships, were in Elizabethan times
usually experienced in sea affairs. To John Hawkins, Treasurer from
1578 to 1595, belongs chief credit for the excellent condition of
ships in his day. The Lord High Admiral, a member of the nobility,
exercised at least nominal command of the fleet in peace and war. For
vice admiral under him a man of practical experience was ordinarily
chosen. On shipboard, the only "gentleman" officers were the captains;
the rest--masters, master's mates, pilots, carpenters, boatswains,
coxswains, and gunners--were, to quote a contemporary description,
"mechanick men that had been bred up from swabbers." But owing
to the small proportion of soldiers on board, the English ships
were not like those of Spain, which were organized like a camp,
with the soldier element supreme and the sailors "slaves to the

_The Political Situation_

The steps taken to build up the navy in the decade or more preceding
the Armada were well justified by the political and religious strife
in western Europe and the dangers which on all sides threatened the
English realm. France, the Netherlands, and Scotland were torn by
religious warfare. In England the party with open or secret Catholic
sympathies was large, amounting to perhaps half the population,
the strength of whose loyalty to Elizabeth it was difficult to
gage. Since 1568 Elizabeth had held captive Mary Queen of Scots,
driven out of her own country by the Presbyterian hierarchy, and
a Catholic with hereditary claims to the English throne. Before
her death, Philip of Spain had conspired with her to assassinate
the heretic Elizabeth; after Mary's execution in 1587 he became
heir to her claims and entered the more willingly upon the task
of conquering England and restoring it to the faith. For years,
in fact, there had been a state of undeclared hostility between
England and Spain, and acts which, with sovereigns less cautious
and astute than both Elizabeth and Philip, would have meant war.
In 1585 Elizabeth formed an alliance with the Netherlands, and sent
her favorite, Leicester, there as governor-general, and Sir Philip
Sidney as Governor of Flushing, which with two other "cautionary
towns" she took as pledges of Dutch loyalty. The motives for this
action are well stated in a paper drawn up by the English Privy
Council in 1584, presenting a situation interesting in its analogy
to that which faced the United States when it entered the World

"The conclusion of the whole was this: Although her Majesty should
thereby enter into the war presently, yet were she better to do
it now, while she may make the same out of her realm, having the
help of the people of Holland, and before the King of Spain shall
have consummated his conquest of those countries, whereby he shall
be so provoked by pride, solicited by the Pope, and tempted by the
Queen's own subjects, and shall be so strong by sea; and so free
from all other actions and quarrels--yea, shall be so formidable
to all the rest of Christendom, as that her Majesty shall no wise
be able, with her own power, nor with the aid of any other, neither
by land nor sea, to withstand his attempts, but shall be forced
to give place to his insatiable malice, which is most terrible
to be thought of, but miserable to suffer."

These were the compelling reasons for England's entry into the
war. The aid to Holland and the execution of Mary, on the other
hand, were sufficient to explain Philip's attempted invasion. The
grievance of Spain owing to the incursions of Hawkins and Drake
into her American possessions, and England's desire to break Spain's
commercial monopoly, were at the time relatively subordinate, though
from a naval standpoint the voyages are interesting in themselves
and important in the history of sea control and sea trade.

_Hawkins and Drake_

John Hawkins was a well-to-do ship-owner of Plymouth, and as already
stated, Treasurer of the Royal Navy, with a contract for the upkeep
of ships. His first venture to the Spanish Main was in 1562, when
he kidnapped 300 negroes on the Portuguese coast of Africa and
exchanged them at Hispanola (Haiti), for West Indian products,
chartering two additional vessels to take his cargo home. Though
he might have been put to death if caught by either Portugal or
Spain, his profits were so handsome by the double exchange that
he tried it again in 1565, this time taking his "choice negroes
at £160 each" to Terra Firme, or the Spanish Main, including the
coasts of Venezuela, Colombia, and the Isthmus. When the Spanish
authorities, warned by their home government, made some show of
resistance, Hawkins threatened bombardment, landed his men, and
did business by force, the inhabitants conniving in a contraband
trade very profitable to them.

On his third voyage he had six vessels, two of which, the _Jesus
of Lubeck_ and the _Minion_, were Queen's ships hired out for the
voyage. The skipper of one of the smaller vessels, the _Judith_,
was Francis Drake, a relative and protégé of the Hawkins family,
and then a youth of twenty-two. On September 16, 1567, after a
series of encounters stormier than ever in the Spanish settlements,
the squadron homeward bound was driven by bad weather into the
port of Mexico City in San Juan de Ulua Bay. Here, having a
decided superiority over the vessels in the harbor, Hawkins secured
the privilege of mooring and refitting his ships inside the island
that formed a natural breakwater, and mounted guns on the island
itself. To his surprise next morning, he beheld in the offing 13
ships of Spain led by an armed galleon and having on board the
newly appointed Mexican viceroy. Hawkins, though his guns commanded
the entrance, took hostages and made some sort of agreement by
which the Spanish ships were allowed to come in and moor alongside.
But the situation was too tense to carry off without an explosion.
Three days later the English were suddenly attacked on sea and
shore. They at once leaped into their ships and cut their cables,
but though they hammered the Spanish severely in the fight that
followed, only two English vessels, the _Minion_ and the _Judith_,
escaped, the _Minion_ so overcrowded that Hawkins had to drop 100 of
his crew on the Mexican coast. Drake made straight for Plymouth,
nursing a bitter grievance at the alleged breach of faith, and
vowing vengeance on the whole Spanish race. "The case," as Drake's
biographer, Thomas Fuller, says, "was clear in sea-divinity, and
few are such infidels as not to believe doctrines which make for
their own profit."[1]

[Footnote 1: THE HOLY STATE, Bk. II, Ch. XXII.]

In the next three years, following the example of many a French
Huguenot privateersman before him, and forsaking trade for semi-private
reprisal (in that epoch a few degrees short of piracy), he made
three voyages to the Spanish Indies. On the third, in 1572, he
raided Nombre de Dios with fire and sword. Then, leaguing himself
with the mixed-breed natives or cameroons, he waylaid a guarded
mule-train bearing treasure across the Isthmus, securing 15 tons of
silver which he buried, and as much gold as his men could stagger
away under. It was on this foray that he first saw the Pacific
from a height of the Cordilleras, and resolved to steer an English
squadron into this hitherto unmolested Spanish sea.

The tale of Drake's voyage into the Pacific and circumnavigation
of the globe is a piratical epic, the episodes of which, however,
find some justification in the state of virtual though undeclared
hostilities between England and Spain, in the Queen's secret sanction,
and in Spain's own policy of ruthless spoliation in America. Starting
at the close of 1577 with five small vessels, the squadron was
reduced by shipwreck and desertion until only the flagship remained
when Drake at last, on September 6 of the next year, achieved his
midwinter passage of the Straits of Magellan and bore down, "like
a visitation of God" as a Spaniard said, upon the weakly defended
ports of the west coast. After ballasting his ship with silver from
the rich Potosi mines, and rifling even the churches, he hastened
onward in pursuit of a richly laden galleon nicknamed _Cacafuego_--a
name discreetly translated _Spitfire_, but which, to repeat a joke
that greatly amused Drake's men at the time, it was proposed to
change to _Spitsilver_, for when overtaken and captured the vessel
yielded 26 tons of silver, 13 chests of pieces of eight, and gold
and jewels sufficient to swell the booty to half a million pounds

For 20 years the voyage across the northern Pacific had been familiar
to the Spanish, who had studied winds and currents, laid down routes,
and made regular crossings. Having picked up charts and China pilots,
and left the whole coast in panic fear, Drake sailed far to the
northward, overhauled his ship in a bay above San Francisco, then
struck across the Pacific, and at last rounded Good Hope and put
into Plymouth in September of the third year. It suited Elizabeth's
policy to countenance the voyage. She put the major part of the
treasure into the Tower, took some trinkets herself, knighted Drake
aboard the _Golden Hind_, and when the Spanish ambassador talked
war she told him, in a quiet tone of voice, that she would throw
him into a dungeon.

This red-bearded, short and thickset Devon skipper, bold of speech
as of action, was now the most renowned sailor of England, with a
name that inspired terror on every coast of Spain. It was inevitable,
therefore, that when Elizabeth resolved upon open reprisals in
1585, Drake should be chosen to lead another, and this time fully
authorized, raid on the Spanish Indies. Here he sacked the cities
of San Domingo and Carthagena, and, though he narrowly missed the
plate fleet, brought home sufficient spoils for the individuals
who backed the venture. In the year 1587 with 23 ships and orders
permitting him to operate freely on Spain's home coasts, he first
boldly entered Cadiz, in almost complete disregard of the puny
galleys guarding the harbor, and destroyed some 37 vessels and
their cargoes. Despite the horrified protests of his Vice Admiral
Borough (an officer "of the old school" to be found in every epoch)
at these violations of traditional methods, he then took up a position
off Saigres where he could harry coastwise commerce, picked up the
East Indiaman _San Felipe_ with a cargo worth a million pounds
in modern money, and even appeared off Lisbon to defy the Spanish
Admiral Santa Cruz. Thus he "singed the King of Spain's beard,"
and set, in the words of a recent biographer, "what to this day
may serve as the finest example of how a small, well-handled fleet,
acting on a nicely timed offensive, may paralyze the mobilization
of an overwhelming force."[1]

[Footnote 1: DRAKE AND THE TUDOR NAVY, Corbett, Vol. II, p. 108.]

_The Grand Armada_

At the time of this Cadiz expedition Spanish preparations for the
invasion of England were already well under way, Philip being now
convinced that by a blow at England all his aims might be secured--the
subjugation of the Netherlands, the safety of Spanish America,
the overthrow of Protestantism, possibly even his accession to
the English throne. As the secret instructions to Medina Sidonia
more modestly stated, it was at least believed that by a vigorous
offensive and occupation of English territory England could be forced
to cease her opposition to Spain. For this purpose every province
of the empire was pressed for funds. Pope Sixtus VI contributed
a million gold crowns, which he shrewdly made payable only when
troops actually landed on English soil. Church and nobility were
squeezed as never before. The Cortes on the eve of the voyage voted
8,000,000 ducats, secured by a tax on wine, meat, and oil, the
common necessities of life, which was not lifted for more than two
hundred years.

To gain control of the Channel long enough to throw 40,000 troops
ashore at Margate, and thereafter to meet and conquer the army
of defense--such was the highly difficult objective, to assure
the success of which Philip had been led to hope for a wholesale
defection of English Catholics to the Spanish cause. Twenty thousand
troops were to sail with the Armada; Alexander Farnese, Duke of
Parma, was to add 17,000 veterans from Flanders and assume supreme
command. With the Spanish infantry once landed, under the best
general in Europe, it was not beyond reason that England might become
a province of Spain.

What Philip did not see clearly, what indeed could scarcely be
foreseen from past experience, was that no movement of troops should
be undertaken without first definitely accounting for the enemy
fleet. The Spanish had not even an open base to sail to. With English
vessels thronging the northern ports of the Channel, with 90 Dutch
ships blockading the Scheldt and the shallows of the Flanders coast,
it would be necessary to clear the Channel by a naval victory,
and maintain control until it was assured by victory on land. The
leader first selected, Santa Cruz--a veteran of Lepanto--at least
put naval considerations uppermost and laid plans on a grand scale,
calling for 150 major ships and 100,000 men, 30,000 of them sailors.
But with his death in 1587 the campaign was again thought of primarily
from the army standpoint. The ships were conceived as so many
transports, whose duty at most was to hold the English fleet at
bay. Parma was to be supreme. To succeed Santa Cruz as naval leader,
and in order, it is said, that the gray-haired autocrat Philip
might still control from his cell in the Escorial, the Duke of
Medina Sidonia was chosen--an amiable gentleman of high rank, but
consciously ignorant of naval warfare, uncertain of purpose, and
despondent almost from the start. Medina had an experienced Vice
Admiral in Diego Flores de Valdes, whose professional advice he
usually followed, and he had able squadron commanders in Recalde,
Pedro de Valdes, Oquendo, and others; but such a commander-in-chief,
unless a very genius in self-effacement, was enough to ruin a far
more auspicious campaign.

Delayed by the uncertain political situation in France, even more
than by Drake's exploits off Cadiz, the Armada was at last, in
May of 1588, ready to depart. The success of the Catholic party
under the leadership of the Duke of Guise gave assurance of support
rather than hostility on the French flank. There were altogether
some 130 ships, the best of which were 10 war galleons of Portugal
and 10 of the "Indian Guard" of Spain. These were supported by
the Biscayan, Andalusian, Guipuscoan, and Levantine squadrons of
about 10 armed merchantmen each, four splendid Neapolitan galleasses
that gave a good account of themselves in action, and four galleys
that were driven upon the French coast by storms and took no part
in the battle--making a total (without the galleys) of about 64
fighting ships. Then there were 35 or more pinnaces and small craft,
and 23 _urcas_ or storeships of little or no fighting value. The
backbone of the force was the 60 galleons, large, top-lofty vessels,
all but 20 of them from the merchant service, with towering poops
and forecastles that made them terrible to look upon but hard to
handle. On board were 8,000 sailors and 19,000 troops.

Dispersed by a storm on their departure from Lisbon, the fleet
again assembled at Corunna, their victuals already rotten, and
their water foul and short. Medina Sidonia even now counseled
abandonment; but religious faith, the fatalistic pride of Spain,
and Philip's dogged fixity of purpose drove them on. Putting out
of Corunna on July 22, and again buffeted by Biscay gales, they
were sighted off the Lizard at daybreak of July 30, and a pinnace
scudded into Plymouth with the alarm.


For England the moment of supreme crisis had come, Elizabeth's
policy of paying for nothing that she might expect her subjects
to contribute had left the royal navy short of what the situation
called for, and the government seems also, even throughout the
campaign, to have tied the admirals to the coast and kept them from
distant adventures by limited supplies of munitions and food. But
in the imminent danger, the nobility, both Catholic and Protestant,
and every coastwise city, responded to the call for ships and men.
Their loyalty was fatal to Philip's plan. The royal fleet of 25
ships and a dozen pinnaces was reënforced until the total craft of
all descriptions numbered 197, not more than 140 of which, however,
may be said to have had a real share in the campaign. For a month
or more a hundred sail had been mobilized at Plymouth, of which
69 were greatships and galleons. These were smaller in average
tonnage than the Spanish ships, but more heavily armed, and manned
by 10,000 capable seamen. Lord Henry Seymour, with Palmer and Sir
William Winter under him, watched Parma at the Strait of Dover,
with 20 ships and an equal number of galleys, barks and pinnaces.
The Lord High Admiral, Thomas Howard of Effingham, a nobleman of 50
with some naval experience and of a family that had long held the
office, commanded the western squadron, with Drake as Vice Admiral
and John Hawkins as Rear Admiral. The _Ark_ (800 tons), _Revenge_
(500), and _Victory_ (800) were their respective flagships. Martin
Frobisher in the big 1100-ton _Triumph_, Lord Sheffield in the
_White Bear_ (1000), and Thomas Fenner in the _Nonpareil_ (500)
were included with the Admirals in Howard's inner council of war.
"Howard," says Thomas Fuller, "was no deep-seaman, but he had
skill enough to know those who had more skill than himself and
to follow their instructions." As far as as possible for a
commoner, Drake exercised command.

[Illustration: From Pigafetta's _Discorso sopro l'Ordinanza dell'
Armata Catholico_ (Corbett's _Drake_, Vol. II, p. 213).


On the morning of the 31st the Armada swept slowly past Plymouth
in what has been described as a broad crescent, but which, from a
contemporary Italian description, seems to have been the "eagle"
formation familiar to galley warfare, in line abreast with wide
extended wings bent slightly forward, the main strength in center
and guards in van and rear. Howard was just completing the arduous
task of warping his ships out of the harbor. Had Medina attacked at
once, as some of his subordinates advised, he might have compelled
Howard to close action and won by superior numbers. But his orders
suggested the advisability of avoiding battle till he had joined with
Parma; and for the Duke this was enough. As the Armada continued its
course, Howard fell in astern and to windward, inflicting serious
injuries to two ships of the enemy rear.

[Illustration: From Hale's _Story of the Great Armada._


A week of desultory running battle ensued as the fleets moved slowly
through the Channel; the English fighting "loose and large," and
seeking to pick off stragglers, still fearful of a general action,
but taking advantage of Channel flaws to close with the enemy and
sheer as swiftly away; the Spanish on the defensive but able to
avoid disaster by better concerted action and fleet control. Only
two Spanish ships were actually lost, one of them Pedro de Valdes'
flagship _Neustra Señora del Rosario_, which had been injured in
collision and surrendered to Drake without a struggle on the night
of August 1, the other the big _San Salvador_ of the Guipuscoan
squadron, the whole after part of which had been torn up by an
explosion after the fighting on the first day. But the Spanish
inferiority had been clearly demonstrated and they had suffered
far more in morale than in material injuries when on Sunday, August
7, they dropped anchor in Calais roads. The English, on their part,
though flushed with confidence, had seen their weakness in organized
tactics, and now divided their fleet into four squadrons, with
the flag officers and Frobisher in command.

It betrays the fatuity of the Spanish leader, if not of the whole
plan of campaign, that when thus practically driven to refuge in
a neutral port, Medina Sidonia thought his share of the task
accomplished, and wrote urgent appeals to Parma to join or send
aid, though the great general had not enough flat-boats and barges
to float his army had he been so foolhardy as to embark, or the
Dutch so benevolent as to let him go. But the English, now reënforced
by Seymour's squadron, gave the Duke little time to ponder his next
move. At midnight eight fire hulks, "spurting flames and their
ordnance exploding," were borne by wind and tide full upon the
crowded Spanish fleet. Fearful of _maquinas de minas_ such as had
wrought destruction a year before at the siege of Antwerp, the
Spanish made no effort to grapple the peril but slipped or cut cables
and in complete confusion beat off shore.

At dawn the Spanish galleons, attempting with a veering wind from
the southward and westward to form in order off Gravelines, were set
upon in the closest approach to a general engagement that occurred
in the campaign. While Howard and several of his ships were busy
effecting the capture of a beached galleass, Drake led the attack
in the _Revenge_, seeking to force the enemy to leeward and throw
the whole body upon the shallows of the Flanders coast. With splendid
discipline, the Spanish weather ships, the flagship _San Martin_
among them, fought valiantly to cover the retreat. But it was an
unequal struggle, the heavier and more rapid fire of the English
doing fearful execution on decks crowded with men-at-arms. Such
artillery combat was hitherto unheard of. Though warned of the new
northern methods, the Spanish were obsessed by tradition; they were
prepared for grappling and boarding, and could they have closed,
their numbers and discipline would have told. Both sides suffered
from short ammunition; but the Armada, with no fresh supplies, was
undoubtedly in the worse case. "They fighting with their great
ordnance," writes Medina Sidonia, "and we with harquebus fire and
musketry, the distance being very small." Six-inch guns against
bows and muskets tells the tale.

A slackening of the English pursuit at nightfall after eight hours'
fighting, and an off-shore slant of wind at daybreak, prevented
complete disaster. One large galleon sank and two more stranded
and were captured by the Dutch. These losses were not indeed fatal,
but the remaining ships staggering away to leeward were little
more than blood-drenched wrecks. Fifteen hundred had been killed
and wounded in the day's action, and eleven ships and some eight
thousand men sacrificed thus far in the campaign. The English,
on the other hand, had suffered no serious ship injuries and the
loss of not above 100 men. In the council held next day beyond the
Straits of Dover, only a few of the Spanish leaders had stomach
for further fighting; the rest preferred to brave the perils of a
return around the Orkneys rather than face again these defenders
of the narrow seas. Before a fair wind they stood northward, Drake
still at their heels, though by reason of short supplies he left
them at the Firth of Forth.

In October, fifty ships, with 10,000 starved and fever-stricken
men, trailed into the Biscay ports of Spain. Torn by September
gales, the rest of the Armada had been sunk or stranded on the rough
coasts of Scotland and Ireland. "The wreckers of the Orkneys and the
Faroes, the clansmen of the Scottish isles, the kernes of Donegal
and Galway, all had their part in the work of murder and robbery.
Eight thousand Spaniards perished between the Giant's Causeway and
the Blaskets. On a strand near Sligo an English captain numbered
eleven hundred corpses which had been cast up by the sea."[1]

[Footnote 1: HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE, Green, Vol. II, p. 448.]

"Flavit Deus, et dissipati sunt"--"The Lord sent His wind, and
scattered them." So ran the motto on the English medal of victory.
But storms completed the destruction of a fleet already thoroughly
defeated. Religious faith, courage, and discipline had availed
little against superior ships, weapons, leadership, and nautical
skill. "Till the King of Spain had war with us," an Englishman
remarked, "he never knew what war by sea meant."[2] It might be
said more accurately that the battle gave a new meaning to war
by sea.

[Footnote 2: Sir Wm. Monson, NAVAL TRACTS, Purchas, Vol. III, p.

From the standpoint of naval progress, the campaign demonstrated
definitely the ascendancy of sail and artillery. For the old galley
tactics a new system now had to be developed. Since between sailing
vessels head-on conflict was practically eliminated, and since
guns mounted to fire ahead and astern were of little value save
in flight or pursuit, the arrangement of guns in broadside soon
became universal, and fleets fought in column, or "line ahead,"
usually close-hauled on the same or opposite tacks. While these
were lessons for the next generation, there is more permanent value
in the truth, again illustrated, that fortune favors the belligerent
quicker to forsake outworn methods and to develop skill in the use
of new weapons. The Spanish defeat illustrates also the necessity
of expert planning and guidance of a naval campaign, with naval
counsels and requirements duly regarded; and the fatal effect of
failure to concentrate attention on the enemy fleet. It is doubtful,
however, whether it would have been better, as Drake urged, and as
was actually attempted in the month before the Armada's arrival, if
the English had shifted the war to the coast of Spain. The objections
arise chiefly from the difficulties, in that age, of maintaining
a large naval force far from its base, all of which the Spanish
encountered in their northward cruise. It is noteworthy that, even
after the brief Channel operations, an epidemic caused heavy mortality
in the English fleet. Finally, the Armada is a classic example
of the value of naval defense to an insular nation. In the often
quoted words of Raleigh, "To entertain the enemy with their own
beef in their bellies, before they eat of our Kentish capons, I
take it to be the wisest way, to do which his Majesty after God
will employ his good ships at sea."

Upon Spain, already tottering from inherent weakness, the Armada
defeat had the effect of casting down her pride and confidence
as leader of the Catholic world. Though it was not until three
centuries later that she lost her last colonies, her hold on her
vast empire was at once shaken by this blow at her sea control.
While she maintained large fleets until after the Napoleonic Wars,
she was never again truly formidable as a naval power. But the victory
lifted England more than it crushed Spain, inspiring an intenser
patriotism, an eagerness for colonial and commercial adventure, an
exaltation of spirit manifested in the men of genius who crowned
the Elizabethan age.

_The Last Years of the War_

The war was not ended; and though Philip was restrained by the
rise of Protestant power in France under Henry of Navarre, he was
still able to gather his sea forces on almost as grand a scale. In
the latter stages of the war the naval expeditions on both sides
were either, like the Armada, for the purpose of landing armies on
foreign soil, or raids on enemy ports, colonies and commerce. Thus
Drake in 1589 set out with a force of 18,000 men, which attacked
Corunna, moved thence upon Lisbon, and lost a third or more of
its number in a fruitless campaign on land. Both Drake and the
aged Hawkins, now his vice admiral, died in the winter of 1595-96
during a last and this time ineffective foray upon the Spanish
Main. Drake was buried off Puerto Bello, where legend has it his
spirit still awaits England's call--

  "Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder's running low.
  If the Dons sight Devon, I'll leave the port of Heaven,
An' drum them up the Channel as we drummed them long ago."[1]

[Footnote 1: DRAKE'S DRUM, Sir Henry Newbolt.]

We are still far from the period when sea control was thought of
as important in itself, apart from land operations, or when fleets
were kept in permanent readiness to take the sea. It is owing to
this latter fact that we hear of large flotillas dispatched by
each side even in the same year, yet not meeting in naval action.
Thus in June of 1596 the Essex expedition, with 17 English and
18 Dutch men-of-war and numerous auxiliaries, seized Cadiz and
burned shipping to the value of 11,000,000 ducats. There was no
naval opposition, though Philip in October of the same year had
ready a hundred ships and 16,000 men, which were dispersed with
the loss of a quarter of their strength in a gale off Finisterre.
Storms also scattered Philip's fleet in the next year; in 1598,
Spanish transports landed 5,000 men at Calais; and England's fears
were renewed in the year after that by news of over 100 vessels
fitting out for the Channel, which, however, merely protected the
plate fleet by a cruise to the Azores. As late as 1601, Spain landed
3500 troops in Ireland.

But if these major operations seem to have missed contact, there
were many lively actions on a minor scale, the well-armed trading
vessels of the north easily beating off the galley squadrons guarding
Gibraltar and the routes past Spain. Among these lesser encounters, the
famous "Last Fight of the Revenge," which occurred during operations
of a small English squadron off the Azores in 1591, well illustrates
the fighting spirit of the Elizabethan Englishman and the ineptitude
which since the Armada seems to have marked the Spaniard at sea.
In Drake's old flagship, attacked by 15 ships and surrounded by
a Spanish fleet of 50 sail, a bellicose old sea-warrior named Sir
Richard Grenville held out from nightfall until eleven the next
day, and surrendered only after he had sunk three of the enemy,
when his powder was gone, half his crew dead, the rest disabled,
and his ship a sinking wreck. "Here die I, Richard Grenville," so
we are given his last words, "with a joyful and a quiet mind, for
that I have ended my life as a good soldier ought to do, who has
fought for his country and his queen, his honor and his religion."

The naval activities mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraphs
had no decisive effect upon the war, which ended, for England at
least, with the death of Elizabeth in 1603 and the accession of
James Stuart of Scotland to the English throne. James at once adopted
a policy of _rapprochement_ with Spain, which while it guaranteed
peace during the 22 years of his reign, was by its renunciation of
trade with the Indies, aid to the Dutch, and leadership of Protestant
Europe, a sorry sequel to the victory of fifteen years before.

The Armada nevertheless marks the decadence of Spanish sea power.
With the next century begins a new epoch in naval warfare, an age
of sail and artillery, in which Dutch, English, and later French
fleets contested for the sea mastery deemed essential to colonial
empire and commercial prosperity.


DRAKE AND THE TUDOR NAVY, Sir Julian Corbett, 2 vols., 1898.
THE SUCCESSORS OF DRAKE, Sir Julian Corbett, 1900.
ARMADA PAPERS, Sir John Knox Laughtun, 2 vols., Navy Records
  Society, 1894.
LA ARMADA INVENCIBLE, Captain Fernandez Duro, 1884.
  by M. Oppenheim, 1896.
A HISTORY OF THE ROYAL NAVY, William Laird Clowes, Vol. 1., 1897.
  United Service Magazine, June, 1918.



In the Dutch Wars of the 17th century the British navy may be said
to have caught its stride in the march that made Britannia the
unrivaled mistress of the seas. The defeat of the Armada was caused
by other things besides the skill of the English, and the steady
decline of Spain from that point was not due to that battle or to
any energetic naval campaign undertaken by the English thereafter.
In fact, save for the Cadiz expedition of 1596, in which the Dutch
coöperated, England had a rather barren record after the Armada
campaign down to the middle of the 17th century. During that period
the Dutch seized the control of the seas for trade and war. They
appropriated what was left of the Levantine trade in the Mediterranean,
and contested the Portuguese monopoly in the East Indies and the
Spanish in the West. Indeed the Dutch were at this time freely
acknowledged to be the greatest sea-faring people of Europe.[1]

[Footnote 1: "Dutch exports reached a figure in the 17th century,
which was not attained by the English until 1740. Even the Dutch
fisheries, which employed over 2000 boats, were said to be more
valuable than the manufactures of France and England combined."
A HISTORY OF COMMERCE, Clive Day, p. 194.]

When the Commonwealth came into power in England the new government
turned its attention to the navy, which had languished under the
Stuarts. A great reform was accomplished in the bettering of the
living conditions for the seamen. Their pay was increased, their
share of prize money enlarged, and their food improved. At the
same time, during the years 1648-51, the number of ships of the
fleet was practically doubled, and the new vessels were the product
of the highest skill in design and honest work in construction. The
turmoil between Roundhead and Royalist had naturally disorganized
the officer personnel of the fleet. Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles
I, had taken a squadron of seven Royalist ships to sea, hoping to
organize, at the Scilly Islands or at Kinsdale in Ireland, bases
for piratical raids on the commerce of England, and it was necessary
to bring him up short. Moreover, Ireland was still rebellious,
Barbados, the only British possession in the West Indies, was held
for the King, and Virginia also was Royalist. To establish the
rule of the Commonwealth Cromwell needed an efficient fleet and
an energetic admiral.

For the latter he turned to a man who had won a military reputation
in the Civil War second only to that of the great Oliver himself,
Robert Blake, colonel of militia. Blake was chosen as one of three
"generals at sea" in 1649. As far as is known he had never before
set foot on a man of war; he was a scholarly man, who had spent ten
years at Oxford, where he had cherished the ambition of becoming
a professor of Greek. At the time of his appointment he was fifty
years old, and his entire naval career was comprised in the seven
or eight remaining years of his life, and yet he so bore himself
in those years as to win a reputation that stands second only to
that of Nelson among the sea-fighters of the English race.

Blake made short work of Rupert's cruising and destroyed the Royalist
pretensions to Jersey and the Scillies. One of his rewards for
the excellent service rendered was a position in the Council of
State, in which capacity he did much toward the bettering of the
condition of the sailors, which was one of the striking reforms
of the Commonwealth. His test, however, came in the first Dutch
War, in which he was pitted against Martin Tromp, then the leading
naval figure of Europe.

In the wars with Spain, English and Dutch had been allies, but
the shift of circumstances brought the two Protestant nations into
a series of fierce conflicts lasting throughout the latter half
of the 17th century. The outcome of these was that England won
the scepter of the sea which she has ever since held. The main
cause of the war was the rivalry of the two nations on the sea.
There were various other specific reasons for bad feeling on both
sides, as for instance a massacre by the Dutch of English traders
at Amboyna in the East Indies, during the reign of James I, which
still rankled because it had never been avenged. The English on
their side insisted on a salute to their men of war from every
ship that passed through the Channel, and claimed the rights to
a tribute, of all herrings taken within 30 miles off the English

Cromwell formulated the English demands in the Navigation Act of
1651. The chief of these required that none but English ships should
bring cargoes to England, save vessels of the country whence the
cargoes came. This was frankly a direct blow at the Dutch carrying
trade, one to which the Dutch could not yield without a struggle.

For this struggle the Netherlanders were ill prepared. The Dutch
Republic was a federation of seven sovereign states, lacking a strong
executive and torn by rival factions. Moreover, her geographical
position was most vulnerable. Pressed by enemies on her land frontiers,
she was compelled to maintain an army of 57,000 men in addition to
her navy. As the resources of the country were wholly inadequate
to support the population, her very life depended on the sea. For
the Holland of the 17th century, as for the England of the 20th, the
fleets of merchantmen were the life blood of the nation. Unfortunately
for the Dutch, this life blood had to course either through the
Channel or else round the north of Scotland. Either way was open
to attacks by the British, who held the interior position. Further,
the shallows of the coasts and bays made necessary a flat bottomed
ship of war, lighter built than the English and less weatherly
in deep water.

In contrast the British had a unity of government under the iron
hand of Cromwell, they had the enormous advantage of position,
they were self-sustaining, and their ships were larger, stouter
and better in every respect than those of their enemies. Hence,
although the Dutch entered the conflict with the naval prestige
on their side, it is clear that the odds were decidedly against

_The First Dutch War_


The fighting did not wait for a declaration of war. Blake met Tromp,
who was convoying a fleet of merchantmen, off Dover on May 19,
1652. On coming up with him Blake fired guns demanding the required
salute. Tromp replied with a broadside. Blake attacked with his
flagship, well ahead of his own line, and fought for five hours with
Tromp's flagship and several others. The English were outnumbered
about three to one, and Blake might have been annihilated had not
the English admiral, Bourne, brought his squadron out from Dover
at the sound of the firing and fallen upon Tromp's flank. As the
Dutch Admiral's main business was to get his convoy home, he fell
back slowly toward the coast of France, both sides maintaining a
cannonade until they lost each other in the darkness. Apparently
there was little attempt at formation after the first onset; it
was close quarters fighting, and only the wild gunnery of the day
saved both fleets from enormous losses. As it was, Blake's flagship
was very severely hammered.

Following this action, Tromp reappeared with 100 ships, but failed
to keep Blake from attacking and ruining the Dutch herring fisheries
for that year. This mistake temporarily cost Tromp his command.
He was superseded by DeWith, an able man and brave, but no match
for Blake. On September 28, 1652, Blake met him off the "Kentish
Knock" shoal at the mouth of the Thames. In order to keep the weather
gage, which would enable him to attack at close quarters, Blake
took the risk of grounding on the shoal. His own ship and a few
others did ground for a time, but they served as a guide to the
rest. In the ensuing action Blake succeeded in putting the Dutch
between two fires and inflicting a severe defeat. Only darkness
saved the Dutch from utter destruction.

The effect of this victory was to give the English Council of State
a false impression of security. In vain Blake urged the upkeep of
the fleet. Two months later, November 30, 1652, Tromp, now restored
to command, suddenly appeared in the Channel with 80 ships and a
convoy behind him. Blake had only 45 and these only partly manned,
but he was no man to refuse a challenge and boldly sailed out to
meet him. It is said that during the desperate struggle--the "battle
of Dungeness"--Blake's flagship, supported by two others, fought
for some time with twenty of the Dutch. As Blake had the weather
gage and retained it, he was able to draw off finally and save his
fleet from destruction. All the ships were badly knocked about and
two fell into the hands of the enemy. Blake came back so depressed
by his defeat that he offered to resign his command, but the Council
of State would not hear of such a thing, handsomely admitted their
responsibility for the weakness of the fleet, and set at work to
refit. Meanwhile for the next three months the Channel was in Tromp's
hands. This is the period when the legend describes him as hoisting
a broom to his masthead.

By the middle of February the English had reorganized their fleet
and Blake took the sea with another famous Roundhead soldier, Monk,
as one of his divisional commanders. At this time Tromp lay off
Land's End waiting for the Dutch merchant fleet which he expected
to convoy to Holland. On the 18th the two forces sighted each other
about 15 miles off Portland. Then followed the "Three Days' Battle,"
or the battle of Portland, one of the most stubbornly contested
fights in the war and its turning point.

In order to be sure to catch Tromp, Blake had extended his force
of 70 or 80 ships in a cross Channel position. Under cover of a
fog Tromp suddenly appeared and caught the English fleet divided.
Less than half were collected under the immediate command of Blake,
only about ten were in the actual vicinity of his flagship, and
the rest were to eastward, especially Monk's division which he
had carelessly permitted to drift to leeward four or five miles.
As the wind was from the west and very light, Monk's position made
it impossible for him to support his chief for some time. Tromp saw
his opportunity to concentrate on the part of the English fleet
nearest him, the handful of ships with Blake. The latter had the
choice of either bearing up to make a junction with Monk and the
others before accepting battle or of grappling with Tromp at once,
trusting to his admirals to arrive in time to win a victory. It
was characteristic of Blake that he chose the bolder course.

The fighting began early in the afternoon and was close and furious
from the outset. Again Blake's ship was compelled to engage several
Dutch, including Tromp's flagship. De Ruyter, the brilliant lieutenant
of Tromp, attempted to cut Blake off from his supports on the north,
and Evertsen steered between Blake and Penn's squadron on the south.
(See diagram 1.) Blake's dozen ships might well have been surrounded
and taken if his admirals had not known their business. Penn tacked
right through Evertsen's squadron to come to the side of Blake,
and Lawson foiled de Ruyter by bearing away till he had enough
southing to tack in the wake of Penn and fall upon Tromp's rear
(diagram 2). Evertsen then attempted to get between Monk and the
rest of the fleet and two hours after the fight in the center began
Monk also was engaged. When the lee vessels of the "red" or center
squadron came on the scene about four o'clock, they threatened to
weather the Dutch and put them between two fires. To avoid this
and to protect his convoy, Tromp tacked his whole fleet together--an
exceedingly difficult maneuver under the circumstances--and drew
off to windward. Darkness stopped the fighting for that day. All
night the two fleets sailed eastward watching each other's lights,
and hastily patching up damages.

[Illustration: Based on diagram of Mahan's in Clowes, _The Royal
Navy_, Vol. II, p. 180-1.


Morning discovered them off the Isle of Wight, with the English
on the north side of the Channel. As Tromp's chief business was to
save his convoy and as the English force was now united, he took
a defensive position. He formed his own ships in a long crescent,
with the outward curve toward his enemy, and in the lee of this
line he placed his convoy. The wind was so light that the English
were unable to attack until late. The fighting, though energetic,
had not proved decisive when darkness fell.

The following day, the 20th, brought a fresh wind that enabled
the English to overhaul the Dutch, who could not move faster than
the heavily laden merchantmen, and force a close action. Blake
tried to cut off Tromp from the north so as to block his road home.
Vice Admiral Penn, leading the van, broke through the Dutch battle
line and fell upon the convoy, but Blake was unable to reach far
enough to head off his adversary before he rounded Cape Gris Nez
under cover of darkness and found anchorage in Calais roads. That
night, favored by the tide and thick weather, Tromp succeeded in
carrying off the greater part of his convoy unobserved. Nevertheless
he had left in Blake's hand some fifty merchantmen and a number
of men of war variously estimated from five to eighteen. At the
same time the English had suffered heavily in men and ships. On
Blake's flagship alone it is said that 100 men had been killed
and Blake and his second in command, Deane, were both wounded, the
former seriously.

The result of this three days' action was to encourage the English
to press the war with energy and take the offensive to the enemy's
own coast. English crews had shown that they could fight with a
spirit fully equal to that of the Dutch, and English ships and
weight of broadside, as de Ruyter frankly declared to his government,
were decidedly superior. The fact that the shallow waters of the
Dutch coast made necessary a lighter draft man of war than that
of the English proved a serious handicap to the Dutch in all their
conflicts with the British. Both fleets were so badly shot up by
this prolonged battle that there was a lull in operations until

In that month Tromp suddenly arrived off Dover and bombarded the
defenses. The English quickly took the sea to hunt him down. As
Blake was still incapacitated by his wound, the command was given
to Monk. The latter, with a fleet of over a hundred ships, brought
Tromp to action on June 2 (1653) in what is known as the "Battle
of the Gabbard" after a shoal near the mouth of the Thames, where
the action began. Tromp was this time not burdened with a convoy
but his fleet was smaller in numbers than Monk's and, as he well
knew, inferior in other elements of force. Accordingly, he adapted
defensive tactics of a sort that was copied afterwards by the French
as a fixed policy. He accepted battle to leeward, drawing off in a
slanting line from his enemy with the idea of catching the English
van as it advanced to the attack unsupported by the rest of the
fleet, and crippling it so severely that the attack would not be
pressed. As it turned out, a shift of the wind gave him the chance
to fall heavily upon the English van, but a second shift gave back
the weather gage to the English and the two fleets became fiercely
engaged at close quarters. Blake, hearing the guns, left his sick
bed and with his own available force of 18 ships sailed out to join
battle. The sight of this fresh squadron flying Blake's flag, turned
the fortune of battle decisively. The Dutch escaped destruction
only by finding safety in the shallows of the Flemish coast, where
the English ships could not follow.

After this defeat the Dutch were almost at the end of their resources
and sued far peace, but Cromwell's ruthless demands amounted to
a practical loss of independence, which even a bankrupt nation
could not accept. Accordingly, every nerve was strained to build
a fleet that might yet beat the English. The latter, for their
part, were equally determined not to lose the fruits of their hard
won victories. Since Blake's active share in the battle of the
Gabbard aggravated his wound so severely that he was carried ashore
more nearly dead than alive, Monk retained actual command.

Monk attempted to maintain a close blockade of the Dutch coast
and to prevent a junction between Tromp's main fleet at Flushing
and a force of thirty ships at Amsterdam. In this, however, he was
outgeneraled by Tromp, who succeeded in taking the sea with the
greatest of all Dutch fleets, 120 men of war. The English and the
Dutch speedily clashed in the last, and perhaps the most furiously
contested, battle of the war, the "Battle of Scheveningen." The
action began at six in the morning of July 30, 1653. Tromp had the
weather gage, but Monk, instead of awaiting his onslaught, tacked
towards him and actually cut through the Dutch line. Tromp countered
by tacking also, in order to keep his windward position, and this
maneuver was repeated three times by Tromp and Monk, and the two
great fleets sailed in great zigzag courses down the Dutch coast a
distance of forty miles, with bitter fighting going on at close
range between the two lines. Early in the action the renowned Tromp
was killed, but his flag was kept flying and there was no flinching
on the part of his admirals. About one o'clock a shift of the wind
gave the weather gage to the English. Some of the Dutch captains
then showed the white feather and tried to escape. This compelled
the retirement of DeWith, who had succeeded to the command, and
who, as he retreated, fired on his own fugitives as well as on
the English. As usual in those battles with the Dutch, the English
had been forced to pay a high price for their victory. Their fleet
was so shattered that they were obliged to lift the blockade and
return home to refit. But for the Dutch it was the last effort.
Again they sued for peace. Cromwell drove a hard bargain; he insisted
on every claim England had ever made against the Netherlands before
the war, but on this occasion he agreed to leave Holland her

Thus in less than two years the First Dutch War came to an end. In
the words of Mr. Hannay,[1] the English historian, its "importance
as an epoch in the history of the English Navy can hardly be
exaggerated. Though short, for it lasted barely twenty-two months,
it was singularly fierce and full of battles. Yet its interest is
not derived mainly from the mere amount of fighting but from the
character of it. This was the first of our naval wars conducted
by steady, continuous, coherent campaigns. Hitherto our operations
on the sea had been of the nature of adventures by single ships
and small squadrons, with here and there a great expedition sent
out to capture some particular port or island."

[Footnote 1: A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ROYAL NAVY, Vol. I, p. 217.]

As to the intensity of the fighting, it is worth noting that in this
short period six great battles took place between fleets numbering
as a rule from 70 to 120 ships on a side. By comparison it may be
remarked that at Trafalgar the total British force numbered 27
ships of the line and the Allies, 33. Nor were the men of war of
Blake and Tromp the small types of an earlier day. In 1652 the
ship of the line had become the unit of the fleet as truly as it
was in 1805. It is true that Blake's ships were not the equal of
Nelson's huge "first rates," because the "two-decker" was then
the most powerful type. The first three-decker in the English navy
was launched in the year of Blake's death, 1657. The fact remains,
however, that these fleet actions of the Dutch Wars took place
on a scale unmatched by any of the far better known engagements
of the 18th or early 19th century.

A curious naval weapon survived from the day when Howard drove
Medina Sidonia from Calais roads, the fireship, or "brander." This
was used by both English and Dutch. Its usefulness, of course, was
confined to the side that held the windward position, and even
an opponent to leeward could usually, if he kept his head, send
out boats to grapple and tow the brander out of harm's way. In the
battle of Scheveningen, however, Dutch fireships cost the English
two fine ships, together with a Dutch prize, and very nearly destroyed
the old flagship of Blake, the _Triumph_. She was saved only by
the extraordinary exertions of her captain, who received mortal
injury from the flames he fought so courageously.

This First Dutch War is interesting in what it reveals of the advance
in tactics. Tromp well deserves his title as the "Father of Naval
Tactics," and he undoubtedly taught Blake and Monk a good deal by
the rough schooling of battle, but they proved apt pupils. From
even the brief summary of these great battles just given, it is
evident that Dutch and English did not fight each other in helter
skelter fashion. In fact, there is revealed a great advance in
coördination over the work of the English in the campaign of the
Armada. These fleets worked as units. This does not mean that they
were not divided into squadrons. A force of 100 ships of the line
required division and subdivision, and considerable freedom of
movement was left to division and squadron commanders under the
general direction of the commander in chief, but they were all
working consciously together. Just as at Trafalgar Nelson formed
his fleet in two lines (originally planned as three) and allowed
his second in command a free hand in carrying out the task assigned
him, so Tromp and Blake operated their fleets in squadrons--Tromp
usually had five--and expected of their subordinates responsibility
and initiative. All this is in striking contrast with the practice
that paralyzed tactics in the latter 17th and 18th centuries, which
sacrificed everything to a rigid line of battle in column ahead,
and required every movement to emanate from the commander in chief.

Although details about the great battles of the First Dutch War
are scanty, there is enough recorded to show that both sides used
the line ahead as the normal battle line. It is equally clear,
however, that they repeatedly broke through each other's lines
and aimed at concentration, or destroying in detail. These two
related principles, which had to be rediscovered toward the end of
the 18th century, were practiced by Tromp, de Ruyter, and Blake.
Their work has not the advantage of being as near our day as the
easy, one-sided victories over the demoralized French navy in the
Revolutionary and Napoleonic era, but the day may come when the
British will regard the age of Blake as the naval epoch of which
they have the most reason to be proud. Then England met the greatest
seamen of the day led by one of the greatest admirals of history
and won a bitterly fought contest by virtue of better ships and
the spirit of Cromwell's "Ironsides."

_Porto Farina and Santa Cruz_

Nor did the age of Blake end with the First Dutch War. As soon
as the admiral was able to go aboard ship, Cromwell sent him with
a squadron into the Mediterranean to enforce respect for the
Commonwealth from the Italian governments and the Barbary states.
He conducted his mission with eminent success. Although the Barbary
pirates did not course the sea in great fleets as in the palmy
days of Barbarossa, they were still a source of peril to Christian
traders. Blake was received civilly by the Dey of Algiers but
negotiations did not result satisfactorily. At Tunis he was openly
flouted. The Pasha drew up his nine cruisers inside Porto Farina
and defied the English admiral to do his worst. Blake left for a
few days to gain the effect of surprise and replenish provisions.
On April 4, 1655, he suddenly reappeared and stood in to the attack.

The harbor of Porto Farina was regarded as impregnable. The entrance
was narrow and the shores lined with castles and batteries. As Blake
foresaw, the wind that took him in would roll the battle smoke upon
the enemy. In a short time he had silenced the fire of the forts
and then sent boarding parties against the Tunisian ships, which
were speedily taken and burnt. Then he took his squadron out again,
having destroyed the entire Tunisian navy, shattered the forts, and
suffered only a trifling loss. This exploit resounded throughout
the Mediterranean. Algiers was quick to follow Tunis in yielding
to Blake's demands. It is characteristic of this officer that he
should have made the attack on Tunis entirely without orders from
Cromwell, and it is equally characteristic of the latter that he
was heartily pleased with the initiative of his admiral in carrying
out the spirit rather than the letter of his instructions.

Meanwhile Cromwell had been wavering between a war against France
or Spain. The need of a capture of money perhaps influenced him to
turn against Spain, for this country still drew from her western
colonies a tribute of gold and silver, which naturally would fall a
prey to the power that controlled the sea. One month after Blake's
exploit at Tunis, another English naval expedition set out to the
West Indies to take Santo Domingo. Although Jamaica was seized and
thereafter became an English possession, the expedition as a whole
was a disgraceful failure, and the leaders, Penn and Venables, were
promptly clapped by Cromwell into the Tower on their return. This
stroke against Spain amounted to a declaration of war, and on Blake's
return to England he was ordered to blockade Cadiz. One detachment
of the plate fleet fell into the hands of his blockading ships and
the silver ingots were dispatched to London. Blake continued his
blockade in an open roadstead for six months, through autumn and
winter, an unheard of thing in those days and exceedingly difficult.
Blake was himself ill, his ships were not the copper-bottomed ones
of a hundred years later, and there was not, as in later days, an
English base at Gibraltar. But he never relaxed his vigilance.

In April (1657) he learned that another large plate fleet had arrived
at Santa Cruz, Teneriffe. Immediately he sailed thither to take or
destroy it. If Porto Farina had been regarded as safe from naval
attack, Santa Cruz was far more so. A deep harbor, with a narrow,
funnel entrance, and backed by mountains, it is liable to dead
calms or squally bursts of wind from the land. In addition to its
natural defenses it was heavily fortified. Blake, however, reckoned
on coming in with a flowing tide and a sea breeze that, as at Porto
Farina, would blow his smoke upon the defenses. He rightly guessed
that if he sailed close enough under the castles at the harbor
entrance their guns could not be sufficiently depressed to hit
his ships, and as he saw the galleons and their escorts lined up
along the shore he perceived also that they were masking the fire
of their own shore batteries. For the most difficult part of his
undertaking, the exit from the harbor, he trusted to the ebbing
tide with the chance of a shift in the wind in his favor.

Early on the morning of April 20th (1657) he sailed in. As he had
judged, the fire of the forts did little damage. By eight o'clock
the English ships were all at their appointed stations and fighting.
During the entire day Blake continued his work of destruction till
it was complete, and at dusk drifted out on the ebb. Some writers
mention a favoring land breeze that helped to extricate the English,
but according to Blake's own words, "the wind blew right into the
bay." In spite of this head wind the ships that were crippled were
warped or towed out and not one was lost. The English suffered
in the entire action only 50 killed and 120 wounded, and repairs
were so easily made that Blake returned to his blockading station
at once.

This was the greatest of Blake's feats as it also was his last.
All who heard of it--friend or enemy--pronounced it as without
parallel in the history of ships. A few months later Blake was
given leave to return home. He had long been a sick man, but his
name alone was worth a fleet and Cromwell had not been able to spare
him. As it happened, he did not live long enough to see England
again. Cromwell, who knew the worth of his faithful admiral, gave
him a funeral of royal dignity and interment in Westminster Abbey.

Blake never showed, perhaps, great strategic insight--Tromp and
de Ruyter were his superiors there, as was also Nelson--but he,
more than any other, won for England her mastery of the sea, and
no other can boast his record of great victories. These he won
partly by skill and forethought but chiefly by intrepidity. We
can do no better than leave his fame in the words of the Royalist
historian, Clarendon--a political enemy--who says: "He quickly made
himself signal there (on the sea) and was the first man who declined
the old track ... and disproved those rules that had long been in
practice, to keep his ships and men out of danger, which had been
held in former times a point of great ability and circumspection,
as if the principal requisite in the captain of a ship had been
to come home safe again. He was the first man who brought ships
to contemn castles on shore, which had been thought ever very
formidable.... He was the first that infused that proportion of
courage into the seamen by making them see what mighty things they
could do if they were resolved, and taught them to fight in fire
as well as on water. And though he hath been very well imitated
and followed, he was the first that drew the copy of naval courage
and bold resolute achievement."

The chaos that followed the death of the Protector resulted in
Monk's bringing over the exiled Stuart king--Charles II. Thereafter
Round Head and Royalist served together in the British navy. An
important effect of the Restoration was organization of a means of
training the future officers of the fleet. The Navy as a profession
may be said to date from this time, in contrast with the practice of
using merchant skippers and army officers, which had prevailed to
so great a degree hitherto. Under the new system "young gentlemen"
were sent to sea as "King's Letter Boys"--midshipmen--to learn
the ways of the navy and to grow up in it as a preparation for
command. This was an excellent reform but it resulted in making
the navy the property of a social caste from that day to this,
and it made promotion, for a century and more, largely subject to
family influence.

Another effect of the Restoration was to break down the fighting
efficiency of the fleet as it had been in the days of Blake. The
veterans of the First Dutch War fought with their old time courage
and discipline, but the newer elements did not show the same devotion
and initiative. The effect on the material was still worse, for
the fleet became a prey to the cynical dishonesty that Charles
II inspired in every department of his government.

_The Second Dutch War_

Five years after Charles II became king, England was involved in
another war with the Netherlands. There was still bad feeling between
the two peoples, and trading companies in the far east or west
kept up a guerilla warfare which flooded both governments with
complaints. The chief cause seems to have been the desire of the
English Guinea Company to get rid of their Dutch competitors who
persistently undersold them in the slave markets of the West Indies.
Before there was any declaration of war an English squadron was sent
out to attack the Dutch company's settlement on the West African
coast. After this it crossed the Atlantic and took New Amsterdam,
which thereafter became New York. The Dutch retaliated by sending
out one of their squadrons to retake their African post and threaten
the Atlantic colonies. In March, 1665, war was declared.

In this conflict the relative strengths of the two navies were about
the same as in the previous war. The Dutch had made improvements
in their ships, but they still suffered from the lack of unity
in organization and spirit. The first engagement was the battle
of Lowestoft, on June 3, 1665. The English fleet was under the
personal command of the Duke of York, later James II; the Dutch
were led by de Ruyter. The two forces numbered from 80 to 100 ships
each, and strung out as they were, must have extended over nearly
ten miles of sea. The Duke of York formed his fleet in the pattern
that he set by his own "Fighting Instructions," which governed the
tactics of all navies thereafter for a hundred years, namely, the
entire force drawn up in single line. This line bore down abreast
toward the enemy until it reached gunshot, then swung into line
ahead and sailed on a course parallel to that of the enemy. De
Ruyter arranged his fleet accordingly, and the two long lines passed
each other on opposite tacks three times, cannonading furiously
at close range. This meant that the force was distributed evenly
along the enemy's line and as against an evenly matched force these
tactics could result, as a rule, only in mere inconclusive artillery
duels which each side would claim as victories. In the battle of
Lowestoft, however, several of the captains in the Dutch center
flinched at the third passing and bore up to leeward, leaving a
wide gap in de Ruyter's line. The English broke through at this
point and hammered the weakened Dutch line in the center with a
superior force. This was the decisive point in the battle and de
Ruyter was forced to retreat. The Dutch would have suffered even
greater loss than they did had it not been for the masterly fashion
in which Cornelius Tromp--son of the famous Martin Tromp--covered
the retreat.

The defeat of the Dutch was due to the bad conduct of the captains
in the center, four of whom were shot by order of de Ruyter and
others dismissed from the service. It is interesting to note that
while the first half of the battle was fought on the formal lines
that were soon to be the cast iron rule of conduct for the British
navy, and led to nothing conclusive; the second half was characterized
by the breaking of the enemy's line, in the older style of Blake,
and led to a pronounced victory.

At this time Louis XIV had pledged himself to give aid to the
Netherlands in case of attack by a third Power. But when the Dutch
and his own ministers called on him to make good his promise he
offered more promises and no fulfillment. The rumor of an approaching
French squadron which was to make junction with de Ruyter, who had
now been placed in command of the Dutch fleet, caused the English
government to make the grave mistake of detaching Prince Rupert
with 20 ships to look for the mythical French force. This division
left Monk, who was again in command of the fleet, with only 57
ships. Hearing that de Ruyter was anchored on the Flanders coast,
Monk went out to find him. De Ruyter left his anchorage to meet the
English, and on June 1, 1666, the two forces met in mid-Channel,
between Dunkirk and the Downs. As the Dutch force heavily outnumbered
him--nearly two to one--Monk might have been expected to avoid
fighting, but he acted in the spirit of Blake. Having the windward
position he decided that he could strike the advanced division
under Tromp and maul it severely before the rest of the Dutch could
succor it. Accordingly he boldly headed for the enemy's van. When
Monk attacked he had only about 35 ships in hand, for the rest were
straggling behind too far to help. Thus began the famous "Four
Days' Battle," characterized by Mahan as "the most remarkable, in
some of its aspects that has ever been fought upon the ocean."[1]


The fighting was close and furious and in its unparalleled duration
numbers were bound to tell. On the third day Monk retreated to
the Thames, but on being joined by Rupert's squadron immediately
sallied forth to do battle again. On this day, June 4, the Dutch
succeeded in cutting through his formation and putting him between
two fires. Indeed Monk escaped destruction only by breaking through
his ring of enemies and finding refuge in the Thames. The Dutch had
won a great victory, for the English had lost some twenty ships
and 5000 in killed and wounded. But Monk was right in feeling a
sense of pride in the fight that he had made against great odds.
The losses that he had inflicted were out of all proportion to the
relative strength of the two forces. Unfortunately the new spirit
that was coming into the navy of the Restoration was evidenced by
the fact that a number of English captains, finding the action too
hot for them, deserted their commander in chief. On the Dutch side
de Ruyter's handling of his fleet was complicated by the conduct
of Cornelius Tromp. This officer believed that he, not de Ruyter,
should have been made commander of the Dutch fleet and in this
action as in the next, acted with no regard for his chief's orders.

As a consequence of the Four Days' Battle, Dutchmen again controlled
the Channel and closed the mouth of the Thames to trade. The English
strained every nerve to create a fleet that should put an end to
this humiliating and disastrous situation. The preparations were
carried out with such speed that on July 22 (1666), Monk and Rupert
anchored off the end of the Gunfleet shoal with a fleet of about
80 ships of the line and frigates. On the 25th the English sighted
de Ruyter, with a fleet slightly larger in numbers, in the broad
part of the Thames estuary. Monk, forming his fleet in the long
line ahead, sailed to the attack. The action that followed is called
the "Battle of St. James's Day" or the "Gunfleet."

[Illustration: THE THAMES ESTUARY]

Whether or not Monk was influenced by his princely colleague it
is impossible to say, but the tactics of this engagement do not
suggest the Monk of earlier battles. He followed the "Fighting
Instructions" and in spite of them won a victory, but it might
have been far more decisive. The English bore down in line abreast,
then formed line ahead on reaching gunshot, the van, center, and
rear, engaging respectively the Dutch van, center, and rear. In these
line ahead attacks the rear usually straggled. Tromp, commanding
the Dutch rear, saw his chance to attack Smith, commanding the
English rear, before his squadron was in proper formation. Smith
retreated, and Tromp, eager to win a victory all by himself, abandoned
the rest of the Dutch fleet and pursued Smith. Thus the action
broke into two widely separated parts. The English van and center
succeeded in forcing the corresponding Dutch divisions to retreat,
and if Monk had turned to the help of Smith he might have taken
or destroyed all of the 39 ships in Tromp's division. Instead,
he and Rupert went careering on in pursuit of the enemy directly
ahead of them. Eventually de Ruyter's ships found refuge in shallow
water and then Monk turned to catch Tromp. But the latter proved too
clever for his adversaries and slipped between them to an anchorage
alongside of de Ruyter.

Although the victory was not nearly so decisive as it should have
been with the opportunity offered, nevertheless it served the need
of the hour. De Ruyter was no longer able to blockade the Thames and
the Straits of Dover. And Monk, following up his success, carried
the war to the enemy's coast, where he burned a merchant fleet
of 160 vessels in the roadstead of the island of Terschelling,
and destroyed one of the towns. Early in 1666 active operations
on both sides dwindled down, and Charles, anxious to use naval
appropriations for other purposes, allowed the fleet to fall into
a condition of unreadiness for service. One of the least scandals in
this corrupt age was the unwillingness or inability of the officials
to pay the seamen their wages. In consequence large numbers of
English prisoners in Holland actually preferred taking service
in the Dutch navy rather than accepting exchange, on the ground
that the Dutch government paid its men while their own did not.

Early in June, 1667, de Ruyter took advantage of the condition of
the English fleet by inflicting perhaps the greatest humiliation on
England that she has ever suffered. Entering the Thames unopposed,
he was prevented from attacking London only by unfavorable wind and
tide. He then turned his attention to the dockyards of Chatham and
burnt or captured seven great ships of the line, besides numerous
smaller craft, carried off the naval stores at Sheerness, and then
for the next six weeks kept a blockade on the Thames and the eastern
and southern coasts of England. This mortifying situation continued
until the signing of the "Peace of Breda" concluded the war.

_The Third Dutch War_

Less than five years later Charles again made war on the Netherlands.
For this there was not the shadow of excuse, but Louis XIV saw
fit to attack the Dutch, and Charles was ever his willing vassal.
The English began hostilities without any declaration of war by
a piratical attack on a Dutch convoy.

At this juncture Holland was reduced to the last extremity. Attacked
on her land frontiers by France, then the dominating military power,
and on her sea frontiers by England, the strongest naval power, she
seemed to have small chance to survive. But her people responded
with a heroism worthy of her splendid history. They opened their
dykes to check the armies of invasion and strained every nerve to
equip a fleet large enough to cope with the combined navies of
France and England. In this Third Dutch War four great naval battles
were fought: that of Solebay, May 28, 1672, the two engagements
off Schooneveldt, May 28 and June 4, 1673, and that of the Texel,
August 11, 1673.

In all of these the honors go to the Dutch and their great admiral,
de Ruyter. Since these actions did not restore the Netherlands to
their old-time position or check the ascendancy of England, they
need not be discussed individually here. The outstanding feature
of the whole story is the surpassing skill and courage of de Ruyter
in the face of overwhelming odds. In this war he showed the full
stature of his genius as never before, and won his title as the
greatest seaman of the 17th century. After his death one must wait
till the day of Suffren and Nelson to find men worthy to rank with

In this campaign de Ruyter showed his powers not only as a tactician
but as a strategist. In the words of Mahan, the Dutch "made a strategic
use of their dangerous coast and shoals, upon which were based their
sea operations. To this they were forced by the desperate odds under
which they were fighting; but they did not use their shoals as a
mere shelter,--the warfare they waged was the defensive-offensive.
When the wind was fair for the allies to attack, de Ruyter kept
under cover of his islands, or at least on ground where the enemy
dared not follow; but when the wind served so that he might attack
in his own way he turned and fell upon them."[1] That is, instead of
accepting the tame rôle of a "fleet in being" and hiding in a safe
harbor, de Ruyter took and held the sea, always on the aggressive,
always alert to catch his enemy in a position of divided forces
or exposed flank and strike hard. His master, Martin Tromp, is
regarded as the father of the line ahead formation for battle, but
he undoubtedly taught de Ruyter its limitations as well as its
advantages, and there is no trace of the stupid formalism of the
Duke of York's regulations in de Ruyter's brilliant work.


At this time he had no worthy opponent. As Monk was dead, the Duke of
York had again assumed active command with Rupert as his lieutenant.
Although the Duke was honestly devoted to the navy he was dull-witted,
and in spite of the advantage of numbers and the dogged courage of
officers and men which so often in English history has made up for
stupid leadership, he was wholly unable to cope with de Ruyter's
genius. As for the French navy, their ships were superb, the best
in Europe, but their officers had no experience and apparently
small desire for close fighting. At all events, despite the odds
against him, de Ruyter defeated the allies in all four battles,
prevented their landing an army of invasion, and broke up their
attempt to blockade the coast.

The war was unpopular in England and as it met with ill success
it became more so. After the battle of the Texel, in 1673, active
operations died down to practically nothing, and at the beginning
of the year England made peace. By this time Holland had managed
to find other allies on the Continent--Spain and certain German
states--and while she had to continue her struggle against Louis
XIV by land she was relieved of the menace of her great enemy on
the sea. Fifteen years later, by a curious freak of history, a
Dutch prince became King William III of England, and the two old
enemies became united in alliance. But the Netherlands had exhausted
themselves by their protracted struggle. They had saved their
independence, but after the close of the 17th century they ceased
to be a world power of any consequence.

The persistent enmity of the French king for the Dutch gained nothing
for France but everything for England. Unwittingly he poured out his
resources in money and men to the end that England should become
the great colonial and maritime rival of France. As a part of her
spoils England had gained New York and New Jersey, thus linking her
northern and southern American colonies, and she had taken St. Helena
as a base for her East Indies merchantmen. She had tightened her
hold in India, and by repeatedly chastising the Barbary pirates had
won immunity for her traders in the Mediterranean. At the beginning
of the Second Dutch War Monk had said with brutal frankness, "What
matters this or that reason? What we want is more of the trade
which the Dutch have." This, the richest prize of all, fell from
the hands of the Dutch into those of the English. During the long
drawn war which went on after the English peace of 1674, while
Holland with her allies fought against Louis XIV, the great bulk
of the Dutch carrying trade passed from the Dutch to the English
flag. The close of the 17th century, therefore, found England fairly
started on her career as an ocean empire, unified by sea power.
Her navy, despite the vices it had caught from the Stuart régime,
had become firmly established as a permanent institution with a
definite organization. By this time every party recognized its
essential importance to England's future.

Nevertheless, whatever satisfaction may be felt by men of English
speech in this rapid growth of England's power and prestige as
a result of the three wars with the Dutch, one cannot avoid the
other side of the picture. A people small in numbers but great
in energy and genius was hounded to the point of extinction by
the greed of its powerful neighbors. Peace-loving, asking merely
to be let alone, the only crime of the Dutch was to excite the
envy of the English and the French.


See next chapter, page 221.



The effect of the expulsion of James II from the throne of England
coupled with the accession of the Dutch prince, William of Orange,
was to make England change sides and take the leadership in the
coalition opposed to Louis XIV. From this time on, for over 125
years, England was involved in a series of wars with France. They
began with the threat of Louis to dominate Europe and ended with
the similar threat on the part of Napoleon. In all this conflict
the sea power of England was a factor of paramount importance. Even
when the fighting was continental rather than naval, the ability
of Great Britain to cut France off from her overseas possessions
resulted in the transfer of enormous tracts of territory to the
British Empire. During the 18th century, the territorial extent
of the expire grew by leaps and bounds, with the single important
loss of the American colonies. And even this brought no positive
advantage to France for it did not weaken her adversary's grip
on the sea.

_The War of the League of Augsburg_

The accession of William III was the signal for England's entry
into the war of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697) against France,
and the effort of the French king to put James II back again upon
the English throne. By this time the French navy had been so greatly
strengthened that at the outset it outnumbered the combined fleets of
the English and the Dutch. It boasted the only notable admiral of this
period, Tourville, but it missed every opportunity to do something
decisive. It failed to keep William from landing in England with an
army; it failed also to keep the English from landing and supplying
an army in Ireland, where they raised the siege of Londonderry and
won the decisive victory of the Boyne. On the other hand the British
navy was handled with equal irresolution and blindness in strategy.
It accomplished what it did in keeping communications open with
Ireland through the mistakes of the French, and its leaders seemed
to be equally unaware of the importance of winning definitely the
control of the sea.


If the naval strategy on both sides was feeble the tactics were
equally so. The contrast between the fighting of Blake, Monk, Tromp
and de Ruyter and that of the admirals of this period is striking.
For example, on May 1, 1689, the English admiral Herbert and the
French admiral Châteaurenault fought an indecisive action in Bantry
Bay, Ireland. After considerable powder had been shot away without
the loss of a ship on either side, the French went back to protect
their transports in the bay; Herbert also withdrew, and was made
Earl of Torrington for his "victory." This same officer commanding
a Dutch and English fleet encountered the French under Tourville
off Beachy Head on the south coast of England (July 10, 1690).
It is true that Tourville's force was stronger, but Torrington
acted with no enterprise and was thoroughly beaten. At the same
time the French admiral showed lack of push in following up his
victory, which might have been crushing. By this time the line
ahead order of fighting had become a fetich on both sides. The
most noted naval battle of this war is that of La Hogue (May 29,
1692), which has been celebrated as a great British victory. In
this action an allied fleet of 99 were opposed to a French fleet
of 44 under Tourville. Tourville offered battle under such odds
only because he had imperative orders from his king to fight the
enemy. During the action the French did not lose a single ship, but
in the four days' retreat the vessels became separated in trying
to find shelter and fifteen were destroyed or taken. This was a
severe blow to the the French navy but by no means decisive. The
subsequent inactivity of the fleet was due to the demands of the
war on land.

As the war became more and more a continental affair, Louis was
compelled to utilize all his resources for his military campaigns.
For this reason the splendid fleet with which he had begun the
war gradually disappeared from the sea. Some of these men of war
were lent to great privateersmen like Jean Bart and Du Guay Trouin,
who took out powerful squadrons of from five to ten ships of the
line, strong enough to overcome the naval escorts of a British
convoy, and ravaged English commerce. In this matter of protecting
shipping the naval strategy was as vacillating and blind as in
everything else. Nevertheless no mere commerce destroying will
serve to win the control of the sea, and despite the losses in
trade and the low ebb to which English naval efficiency had sunk,
the British flag still dominated the ocean routes while the greater
part of the French fleet rotted in port.

In this war of the League of Augsburg, Louis XIV was fighting
practically all Europe, and the strain was too great for a nation
already weakened by a long series of wars. By the terms of peace
which he found himself obliged to accept, he lost nearly everything
that he had gained by conquest during his long reign.

_Wars of the Spanish and the Austrian Succession_

After a brief interval of peace war blazed out again over the question
whether a French Bourbon should be king of Spain,--the War of the
Spanish Succession, 1702-1713. England's aim in this war was to
acquire some of the Spanish colonies in America and to prevent
any loss of trading privileges hitherto enjoyed by the English
and the Dutch. But as it turned out nothing of importance was
accomplished in the western hemisphere except by the terms of peace.
The French and Spanish attempted no major operations by sea. But
the English navy captured Minorca, with its important harbor of
Port Mahon, and Rooke, with more initiative than he had ever shown
before in his career, took Gibraltar (August 4, 1704). These two
prizes made Great Britain for the first time a Mediterranean power,
and the fact that she held the gateway to the inland sea was of
great importance in subsequent naval history.

In addition to these captures the terms of peace (the Treaty of
Utrecht) yielded to England from the French Newfoundland, the Hudson
Bay territory, and Nova Scotia. All that the French had left on the
eastern coast of Canada was Cape Breton Island, with Louisburg,
which was the key to the St. Lawrence. As for commercial privileges,
England had gained from the Portuguese, who had been allies in
the war, a practical monopoly of their carrying trade; and from
France she had taken the entire monopoly of the slave trade to
the Spanish American colonies which had been formerly granted by
Spain to France. Holland got nothing out of the war as affecting
her interests at sea,--not even a trading post. Her alliance with
Great Britain had become as some one has called it, that of "the
giant and the dwarf." At the conclusion of the War of the Spanish
Succession, to quote the words of Mahan, "England was _the_ sea
power; there was no second."

In this war as in the preceding, French privateersmen made great
inroads on British commerce, and some of these privateering operations
were conducted on a grand scale. For example, Du Guay Trouin took
a squadron of six ships of the line and two frigates, together
with 2000 troops, across the Atlantic and attacked Rio Janeiro.
He had little difficulty in forcing its submission and extorting
a ransom of $400,000. The activities of the privateers led to a
clause in the treaty of peace requiring the French to destroy the
fortifications of the port of Dunkirk, which was notorious as the
nest of these corsairs.

The War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-1748, was another of the
dynastic quarrels of this age, with France and Spain arrayed against
England. It has no naval interest for our purposes here. The peace
of 1748, however, leaving things exactly as they were when the war
began, settled none of the existing grudge between Great Britain
and France. Eight years later, hostilities began again in the Seven
Years' War, 1756-1763, in which Great Britain entered on the side
of Prussia against a great coalition of Continental powers headed
by France.

_The Seven Years' War_

The naval interest of this war is centered in the year 1759, when
France, having lost Louisburg on account of England's control of
the sea, decided to concentrate naval and military forces on an
invasion of England. Before the plans for this projected thrust
were completed, Quebec also had fallen to the British. The attempted
invasion of 1759 is not so well known as that of Napoleon in 1805,
but it furnished the pattern that Napoleon copied and had a better
chance of success than his. In brief, a small squadron under the
famous privateer Thurot was to threaten the Scotch and Irish coasts,
acting as a diversion to draw off the British fleet. Meanwhile
the squadron at Toulon was to dodge the British off that port,
pass the Straits and join Conflans, who had the main French fleet
at Brest. The united forces were then to cover the crossing of
the troops in transports and flatboats to the English coast.

This plan was smashed by Admiral Hawke in one of the most daring
feats in British naval annals. Thurot got away but did not divert
any of the main force guarding the Channel. The Toulon fleet also
eluded the English for a time but went to pieces outside the Straits
largely on account of mismanagement on the part of its commander.
The remnants were either captured or driven to shelter in neutral
ports by the English squadron under Boscawen. On November 9, a
heavy gale and the necessities of the fleet compelled Hawke to lift
his blockade of Brest and take shelter in Torbay, after leaving
four frigates to watch the port. On the 14th, Conflans, discovering
that his enemy was gone, came out, with the absurd idea of covering
the transportation of the French army before Hawke should appear
again. That very day Hawke returned to renew the blockade, and
learning that Conflans had been seen heading southeast, decided
rightly that the French admiral was bound for Quiberon Bay to make
an easy capture of a small British squadron there under Duff before
beginning the transportation of the invading army.

For five days pursuer and pursued drifted in calms. On the 19th
a stiff westerly gale enabled Hawke to overtake Conflans, who was
obliged to shorten sail for fear of arriving at his destination in
the darkness. The morning of the 20th found the fleets in sight
of each other but scattered. All the forenoon the rival admirals
made efforts to gather their units for battle. A frigate leading
the British pursuit fired signal guns to warn Duff of the enemy's
presence, and the latter, cutting his cables, was barely able to
get out in time to escape the French fleet and join Hawke. Conflans
then decided that the English were too strong for him, and abandoning
his idea of offering battle, signaled a general retreat and led
the way into Quiberon Bay.

Hawke instantly ordered pursuit. The importance of this signal
can be realized only by taking into account the tremendous gale
blowing and the exceedingly dangerous character of the approach to
Quiberon Bay, lined as it was with sunken rocks. Hawke had little
knowledge of the channels but he reasoned that where a French ship
could go an English one could follow, and the perils of the entry
could not outweigh in his mind the importance of crushing the navy
of France then and there. The small British superiority of numbers
which Conflans feared was greatly aggravated by the conditions
of his flight. The slower ships in his rear were crushed by the
British in superior force and the English coming alongside the
French on their lee side were able to use their heaviest batteries
while the French, heeled over by the gale, had to keep their lowest
tier of ports closed for fear of being sunk. One of their ships tried
the experiment of opening this broadside and promptly foundered.

Darkness fell on a scene of wild confusion. Two of the British
vessels were lost on a reef, but daylight revealed the fact that
the French had scattered in all directions. Only five of their
ships had been destroyed and one taken, but the organization and
the morale were completely shattered. The idea of invasion thus
came to a sudden end in Quiberon Bay. The daring and initiative
of Hawke in defying weather and rocks in his pursuit of Conflans
is the admirable and significant fact of this story, for the actual
fighting amounted to little. It is the sort of thing that marked
the spirit of the Dutch Wars and of Blake at Santa Cruz, and is
strikingly different from the tame and stupid work of other admirals,
English or French, in his own day.

The Seven Years' War ended in terms of the deepest humiliation
for France--a "Carthaginian peace." She was compelled to renounce
to England all of Canada with the islands of the St. Lawrence, the
Ohio valley and the entire area east of the Mississippi except
New Orleans. Spain, which had entered the war on the side of France
in 1761, gave up Florida in exchange for Havana, captured by the
English, and in the West Indies several of the Lesser Antilles
came under the British flag. It is hardly necessary to point out
that the loss of these overseas possessions on such a tremendous
scale was due to the ability of the British navy to cut the
communications between them and the mother country.

Naval administration in England at this time was corrupt, and the
admirals, with the notable exception of Hawke, were lacking in
enterprise; they were still slaves to the "Fighting Instructions."
But in all these respects the French were far worse, and the British
government never lost sight of the immense importance of sea power.
Its strategy was sound.

_The War of American Independence_

The peace of 1763 was so humiliating that every patriotic Frenchman
longed for the opportunity of revenge. This offered itself in the
revolt of the American colonies against the North Ministry in 1775.
From the outset French neutrality as regards the American rebels
was most benevolent; nothing could be more pleasing to France than
to see her old enemy involved in difficulties with the richest and
most populous of her colonies. For the first two or three years
France gave aid surreptitiously, but after the capture of Burgoyne
in 1777, she decided to enter the war openly and draw in allies
as well. She succeeded in enlisting Spain in 1779 and Holland the
year following. The entrance of the latter was of small military
value, perhaps, but at all events France so manipulated the rebellion
in the colonies as to bring on another great European war. In this
conflict for the first time she had no enemies to fight on the
Continent; hence she was free to throw her full force upon the
sea, attacking British possessions in every quarter of the world.
The War of the American Revolution became therefore a maritime war,
the first since the conflicts with the Dutch in the 17th century.

While Paul Jones was in Paris waiting for his promised command,
he forwarded to the Minister of Marine a plan for a rapid descent
in force on the American coast. If his plan had been followed and
properly executed the war might have been ended in America at one
blow. But this project died in the procrastination and red tape of
the Ministry of Marine, and a subsequent proposal for an attack
on Liverpool dwindled into the mere commerce-destroying cruise
which is memorable only for Jones's unparalleled fight with the
_Serapis_. Eventually the navy of France was thrown into the balance
to offset that of Great Britain, and it is largely to this fact
that the United States owes its independence; men and munitions
came freely from overseas and on one momentous occasion, the Battle
of the Virginia Capes, the French navy performed its part decisively
in action. But on a score of other occasions it failed pitiably on
account of the lack of a comprehensive strategic plan and the want
of energy and experience on the part of the commanding officers.

It is true that the French navy had made progress since the Seven
Years' War. In 1778, it possessed 80 good line of battle ships.
To this force, a year later, Spain was able to contribute nearly
sixty. But England began the war with 150. Thus even if the French
and Spanish personnel had been as well trained and as energetic
as the British they would have had a superior force to contend
with, particularly as the allied fleet was divided between the
ports of Spain and France, and under dual command. But in efficiency
the French and Spanish navies were vastly inferior to the British.
Spanish efficiency may be dismissed at the outset as worthless. For
the French officer the chief requisite was nobility of birth. The
aristocracy of England furnished the officers for its service also,
but in the French navy, considerations of social grade outweighed
those of naval rank, a condition that never obtained in the British.
In consequence, discipline--the principle of subordination animated
by the spirit of team work--was conspicuously wanting in the French
fleets. Individual captains were more concerned about their own
prerogatives than about the success of the whole. This condition
is illustrated by the conduct of the captains under Suffren in
the Bay of Bengal, where the genius of the commander was always
frustrated by the wilfulness of his subordinates. Finally in the
matter of tactics the French were brought up on a fatally wrong
theory, that of acting on the defensive, of avoiding decisive action,
of saving a fleet rather than risking it for the sake of victory.
Hence, though they were skilled in maneuvering, and ahead of the
British in signaling, though their ships were as fine as any in
the world, this fatal error of principle prevented their taking
advantage of great opportunities and sent them to certain defeat
in the end.

Thus it is clear that the sea power of France and Spain was not
formidable if the English had taken the proper course of strategy.
This should have been to bottle up French and Spanish fleets in
their own ports from Brest to Cadiz. Such a policy would have left
enough ships to attend to the necessities of the army in America
and the pursuit of French and American privateers, and accomplished
the primary duty of preventing the arrival of French squadrons and
French troops on the scene of war. Here the British government
made its fatal mistake. Instead of concentrating on the coast of
France and Spain, it tried to defend every outlying post where
the flag might be threatened. Thus the superior English fleet was
scattered all over the world, from Calcutta to Jamaica, while the
French fleets came and went at will, sending troops and supplies
to America and challenging the British control of the sea. Had the
French navy been more efficient and energetic in its leadership
France might have made her ancient enemy pay far more dearly for
her strategic blunder. As it was, England lost her colonies in

Instead of the swift stroke on the American coast which Paul Jones
had contemplated, a French fleet under d'Estaing arrived in the
Delaware about five months after France had entered the war and
after inexcusable delays on the way. In spite of the loss of precious
time he had an opportunity to beat an inferior force under Howe
at New York and seize that important British base, but his
characteristic timidity kept him from doing anything there. From
the American coast he went to the West Indies, where he bungled
every opportunity of doing his duty. He allowed St. Lucia to fall
into British hands and failed to capture Grenada. Turning north
again, he made a futile attempt to retake Savannah, which had fallen
to the English. Then at the end of 1779, at about the darkest hour
of the American cause, he returned to France, leaving the colonists
in the lurch. D'Estaing was by training an infantry officer, and
his appointment to such an important naval command is eloquent of
the effect of court influence in demoralizing the navy. "S'il avait
été aussi marin que brave," was the generous remark of Suffren on
this man. It is true that on shore, where he was at home, d'Estaing
was personally fearless, but as commander of a fleet, where he was
conscious of inexperience, he showed timidity that should have
brought him to court martial.

In March, 1780, the French fleet in the West Indies was put under
the command of de Guichen, a far abler man than d'Estaing, but
similarly indoctrinated with the policy of staying on the defensive.
His rival on the station was Rodney, a British officer of the old
school, weakened by years and illness, but destined to make a name
for himself by his great victory two years later. In many respects
Rodney was a conservative, and in respect to an appetite for prize
money he belonged to the 16th century, but his example went a long
way to cure the British navy of the paralysis of the Fighting
Instructions and bring back the close, decisive fighting methods
of Blake and de Ruyter.

In this same year in which Rodney took command of the West Indies
station, a Scotch gentleman named Clerk published a pamphlet on
naval tactics which attracted much attention. It is a striking
commentary on the lack of interest in the theory of the profession
that no British naval officer had ever written on the subject. This
civilian, who had no military training or experience, worked out
an analysis of the Fighting Instructions and came to the conclusion
that the whole conception of naval tactics therein contained was
wrong, that decisive actions could be fought only by concentrating
superior forces on inferior. One can imagine the derision heaped
on the landlubber who presumed to teach admirals their business,
but there was no dodging the force of his point. Of course the
mathematical precision of his paper victories depended on the enemy's
being passive while the attack was carried out, but fundamentally
he was right. The history of the past hundred years showed the
futility of an unbroken line ahead, with van, center, and rear
attempting to engage the corresponding divisions of the enemy.
Decisive victories could be won only by close, concentrated fighting.
It may be true, as the British naval officers asserted, that they
were not influenced by Clerk's ideas, but the year in which his
book appeared marks the beginning of the practice of his theory
in naval warfare.

At the time of the American Revolution the West Indies represented
a debatable ground where British interests clashed with those of
her enemies, France, Spain, and Holland. It was very rich in trade
importance; in fact, about one fourth of all British commerce was
concerned with the Caribbean. Moreover, it contained the rival
bases for operations on the American coast. Hence it became the
chief theater of naval activity. Rodney's business was to make the
area definitely British in control, to protect British possessions
and trade and to capture as much as possible of enemy possessions
and trade. On arriving at his station in the spring of 1780, he
sought de Guichen. The latter had shown small enterprise, having
missed one opportunity to capture British transports and another
to prevent the junction of Rodney's fleet with that of Parker who
was awaiting him. Even when the junction was effected, the British
total amounted to only 20 ships of the line to de Guichen's 22,
and the French admiral might still have offered battle. Instead
he followed the French strategy of his day, by lying at anchor
at Fort Royal, Martinique, waiting for the British to sail away
and give him an opportunity to capture an island without having
to fight for it.

Rodney promptly sought him out and set a watch of frigates off
the port. When de Guichen came out on April 15 (1780) to attend
to the convoying of troops, Rodney was immediately in pursuit,
and on the 17th the two fleets were in contact. Early that morning
the British admiral signaled his plan "to attack the enemy's rear,"
because de Guichen's ships were strung out in extended order with
a wide gap between rear and center. De Guichen, seeing his danger,
wore together and closed the gap. This done, he again turned northward
and the two fleets sailed on parallel courses but out of gunshot.

[Illustration: THE WEST INDIES]

About eleven 0' clock, some four hours after his first signal,
Rodney again signaled his intention to engage the enemy, and shortly
before twelve he sent up the order, "for every ship to bear down
and steer for her opposite in the enemy's line, agreeable to the
21st article of the Additional Fighting Instructions." Rodney had
intended to concentrate his ships against their _actual_ opposites at
the time,--the rear of the French line, which was still considerably
drawn out; but the captain of the leading ship interpreted the
order to mean the _numerical_ opposites in the enemy's line, after
the style of fighting provided for by the Instructions from time
immemorial. Rodney's first signal informing the fleet that he intended
to attack the enemy's rear meant nothing to his captain at this
time. Accordingly he sailed away to engage the first ship in the
French van, followed by the vessels immediately astern of him,
and thus wrecked the plan of his commander in chief.

Nothing could illustrate better the hold of the traditional style
of fighting on the minds of naval officers than this blunder, though
it is only fair to add that there was some excuse in the ambiguity
Of the order. Rodney was infuriated and expressed himself with
corresponding bitterness. He always regarded this battle as the one
on which his fame should rest because of what it might have been
if his subordinates had given him proper support. The interesting
point lies in the fact that he designed to throw his whole force
on an inferior part of the enemy's force--the principle of
concentration. In a later and much more famous battle, as we shall
see, Rodney departed still further from the traditional tactics
by "breaking the line," his own as well as that of the French,
and won a great victory.

Meanwhile there occurred another operation not so creditable. Rodney
had spent a large part of his life dodging creditors, and it was
due to the generous loan of a French gentleman in Paris that he
did not drag out the years of this war in the Bastille for debt.
When Holland entered the war he saw an opportunity to make a fortune
by seizing the island of St. Eustatius, which had been the chief
depot in the West Indies for smuggling contraband into America.
To this purpose he subordinated every other consideration. The
island was an easy prize, but the quarrels and lawsuits over the
distribution of the booty broke him down and sent him back to England
at just the time when he was most needed in American waters, leaving
Hood in acting command.

In March, 1781, de Grasse sailed from Brest with a fleet of 26
ships of the line and a large convoy. Five of his battleships were
detached for service in the East, under Suffren, of whom we shall
hear more later. The rest proceeded to the Caribbean. On arriving
at Martinique de Grasse had an excellent opportunity to beat Hood,
who had an inferior force; but like his predecessors, d'Estaing and
de Guichen, he was content to follow a defensive policy, excusing
himself on the ground of not exposing his convoy. While at Cape
Haitien he received messages from Rochambeau and Washington urging
his coöperation with the campaign in America. To his credit be
it said that on this occasion he acted promptly and skillfully,
and the results were of great moment.

At this time the British had subdued Georgia and South Carolina,
and Cornwallis was attempting to carry the conquest through North
Carolina. In order to keep in touch with his source of supplies
the sea, however, he was compelled to fall back to Wilmington.
From there, under orders from General Clinton, he marched north
to Yorktown, Virginia, where he was joined by a small force of
infantry. Washington and Rochambeau had agreed on the necessity of
getting the coöperation of the West Indies fleet in an offensive
directed either at Clinton in New York or at Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Rochambeau preferred the latter alternative, because it involved
fewer difficulties, and the message to de Grasse was accompanied
by a private memorandum from him to the effect that he preferred
the Chesapeake as the scene of operations. Accordingly de Grasse
sent the messenger frigate back with word of his intention to go to
Chesapeake Bay. He then made skillful arrangements for the transport
of all available troops, and set sail with every ship he could
muster, steering by the less frequented Old Bahama Channel in order
to screen his movement.


On August 30 (1781) de Grasse anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, just inside
the Chesapeake Capes, with 28 ships of the line. The two British
guard frigates were found stupidly at anchor inside the bay; one
was taken and the other chased up the York river. De Grasse then
landed the troops he had brought with him, and these made a welcome
reënforcement to Lafayette, who was then opposing Cornwallis. At
the same time Washington was marching south to join Lafayette,
and word had been sent to the commander of a small French squadron
at Newport to make junction with de Grasse, bringing the siege
artillery necessary to the operations before Yorktown. Thus the
available farces were converging on Cornwallis in superior strength,
and his only route for supplies and reënforcements lay by sea.
All depended on whether the British could succeed in forcing the
entrance to Chesapeake Bay.

Hood, with 14 ships of the line, had followed on the trail of de
Grasse, and as it happened looked into Chesapeake Bay just three
days before the French admiral arrived. Finding no sign of the
French, Hood sailed on to New York and joined Admiral Graves, who
being senior, took command of the combined squadrons. As it was
an open secret at that time that the allied operations would be
directed at Cornwallis, Graves immediately sailed for the Capes,
hoping on the way to intercept the Newport squadron which was known
to be bound far the same destination. On reaching the Capes, September
5, he found de Grasse guarding the entrance to the bay with 24 ships
of the line, the remaining four having been detailed to block the
mouths of the James and York rivers. To oppose this force Graves
had only 19 ships of the line, but he did not hesitate to offer

In de Grasse's mind there were two things to accomplish: first,
to hold the bay, and secondly, to keep the British occupied far
enough at sea to allow the Newport squadron to slip in. Of course
he could have made sure of both objects and a great deal more by
defeating the British fleet in a decisive action, but that was not
the French naval doctrine. The entrance to the Chesapeake is ten
miles wide but the main channel lies between the southern promontory
and a shoal called the Middle Ground three miles north of it. The
British stood for the channel during the morning and the French,
taking advantage of the ebbing tide at noon, cleared the bay, forming
line of battle as they went. As they had to make several tacks to
clear Cape Henry, the ships issued in straggling order, offering
an opportunity for attack which Graves did not appreciate. Instead
he went about, heading east an a course parallel to that of de
Grasse, and holding the windward position. When the two lines were
nearly opposite each other the British admiral ware down to attack.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF THE VIRGINIA CAPES, SEPT. 5, 1781

(After diagram in Mahan's _Major Operations in the War of American
Independence,_ p. 180.)]

Graves's method followed the orthodox tradition exactly, and with
the unvarying result. As the attacking fleet bore down in line ahead
at an angle, the van of course came into action first, unsupported for
some time by the rest. As the signal for close action was repeated,
this angle was made sharper, and in attempting to close up the line
several ships got bunched in such a way as to mask their fire.
Meanwhile the rear, the seven ships under Hood, still trailing
along in line ahead, never got into the action at all. Graves had
signaled for "close action," but Hood chose to believe that the
order for line ahead still held until the signal was repeated,
whereupon he bore down. As the French turned away at the same time,
to keep their distance, Hood contributed nothing to the fighting
of the day. At sunset the battle ended. The British had lost 90
killed and 246 wounded; the French, a total of 200. Several of the
British ships were badly damaged, one of which was in a sinking
condition and had to be burned. The two fleets continued on an
easterly course about three miles apart, and for five days more
the two maneuvered without fighting. Graves was too much injured by
the first day's encounter to attack again and de Grasse was content
to let him alone. Graves still had an opportunity to cut back and
enter the bay, taking a position from which it would have been
hard to dislodge him and effecting the main object of the expedition
by holding the mouth of the Chesapeake. But this apparently did not
occur to him. De Grasse, who had imperiled Washington's campaign
by cruising so far from the entrance, finally returned on the 11th,
and found that the Newport squadron had arrived safely the day
before. When Graves saw that the French fleet was now increased to
36 line-of-battle ships, he gave up hope of winning the bay and
returned to New York, leaving Cornwallis to his fate. A little
over a month later, October 19, the latter surrendered, and with
his sword passed the last hope of subduing the American revolution.

This battle of the Capes, or Lynnhaven, has never until recent
times been given its true historical perspective, largely because
in itself it was a rather tame affair. But as the historian Reich[1]
observes, "battles, like men, are important not for their dramatic
splendor but for their efficiency and consequences.... The battle
off Cape Henry had ultimate effects infinitely more important than
Waterloo." Certainly there never was a more striking example of
the "influence of sea power" on a campaign. Just at the crisis of
the American Revolution the French navy, by denying to the British
their communications by sea, struck the decisive blow of the war.
This was the French _revanche_ for the humiliation of 1763.


The British failure in this action was due to a dull commander
in chief carrying out a blundering attack based on the Fighting
Instructions. Blame must fall also on his second in command, Hood,
who, though a brilliant officer, certainly failed to support his
chief properly when there was an obvious thing to do. Perhaps if
the personal relations between the two had been more cordial Hood
would have taken the initiative. But in those days the initiative
of a subordinate was not encouraged, and Hood chose to stand on
his dignity.

Although the war was practically settled by the fall of Yorktown,
it required another year or so to die out. In this final year a
famous naval battle was fought which went far toward establishing
British predominance in the West Indies, and which revealed something
radically different in naval tactics from the practice of the time.

In the spring of 1782, Rodney was back in command of the West Indian
station, succeeding Hood, who continued to serve as commander of a
division. The British base was Gros Islet Bay in Santa Lucia. De
Grasse was at Fort Royal, Martinique, waiting to transport troops
to Santo Domingo, where other troops and ships were collected. There,
joining with a force of Spaniards from Cuba, he was to conduct a
campaign against Jamaica. It was Rodney's business to break up this
plan. During a period of preparation on both sides, reënforcements
joined the rival fleets, that of the British amounting to enough to
give Rodney a marked superiority in numbers. Moreover his ships
were heavier, as he had five 3-deckers to the French one, and about
200 more guns. The superiority of speed, as well, lay with Rodney
because more of his ships had copper sheathing. A still further
advantage lay in the fact that he was not burdened with the problem
of protecting convoys and transports as was de Grasse. Thus, in the
event of conflict, the advantages lay heavily with the British.

On the morning of April 8, the English sentry frigate off Fort
Royal noted that the French were coming out, and hastened with
the news to Rodney at Santa Lucia. The latter put to sea at once.
He judged rightly that de Grasse would steer for Santo Domingo, in
order to get rid of his transports at their destination as soon
as possible, and on the morning of the 9th he sighted the French
off the west coast of the island of Dominica. On the approach of
the English fleet, de Grasse signaled his transports to run to
the northwest, while he took his fleet on a course for the channel
between the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe. As the British would
be sure to pursue the fleet, this move would enable the convoy to

The channel toward which de Grasse turned his fleet is known as
the Saints' Passage from a little group of islands, "les isles des
Saintes," lying to the north of it. In the course of the pursuit,
Hood, with the British van division of nine ships, had got ahead of
the rest and offered a tempting opening for attack in superior force.
If de Grasse had grasped his opportunity he might have inflicted a
crushing blow on Rodney and upset the balance of superiority. But
the lack of aggressiveness in the French doctrine was again fatal
to French success. De Grasse merely sent his second in command
to conduct a skirmish at long range--and thus threw his chance

The light winds and baffling calms kept both fleets idle for a day.
On the 11th de Grasse tried to work his fleet through the channel
on short tacks. Just as he had almost accomplished his purpose he
discovered several of his vessels still so far to westward as to
be in danger of capture. In order to rescue these he gave up the
fruits of laborious beating against the head wind and returned.
The following morning, April 12 (1782), discovered the two fleets
to the west of the strait and so near that the French could no
longer evade battle. The French came down on the port tack and the
British stood toward them, with their admiral's signal flying to
"engage to leeward." When the two lines converged to close range,
the leading British ship shifted her course slightly so as to run
parallel with that of the French, and the two fleets sailed past each
other firing broadsides. So far the battle had followed traditional
line-ahead pattern.

Just as the leading ship of the British came abreast of the rearmost
of the French, the wind suddenly veered to the southward, checking
the speed of the French ships and swinging their bows over toward
the English line. At best a line of battle in the sailing ship
days was an uneven straggling formation, and the effect of this
flaw of wind, dead ahead, was to break up the French line into
irregular groups separated by wide gaps. One of these opened up
ahead as Rodney's flagship, the _Formidable_, forged past the French
line. His fleet captain, Douglas, saw the opportunity and pleaded
with Rodney to cut through the gap. "No," he replied, "I will not
break my line." Douglas insisted. A moment later, as the _Formidable_
came abreast of the opening, the opportunity proved too tempting
and Rodney gave his consent. His battle signal, "engage the enemy
to leeward," was still flying, but the _Formidable_ luffed up and
swung through the French line followed by five others. The ship
immediately ahead of the _Formidable_ also cut through a gap, and
the sixth astern of the flagship went through as well, followed by
the entire British rear. As each vessel pierced the broken line
she delivered a terrible fire with both broadsides at close range.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF THE SAINTS' PASSAGE, APRIL 12, 1782

After diagram in Mahan's _Influence of Sea Power Upon History_,
p. 486.]

The result of this maneuver was that the British fleet found itself
to windward of the French in three groups, while the French ships
were scattered to leeward and trying to escape before the wind,
leaving three dismasted hulks between the lines. An isolated group
of six ships in the center, including de Grasse's _Ville de Paris_,
offered a target for attack, but the wind was light and Rodney
indolent in pursuit. Of these, one small vessel was overhauled
and the French flagship was taken after a heroic defense, that
lasted until sunset, against overwhelming odds. De Grasse's efforts
to reform his fleet after his line was broken had met with failure,
for the van fled to the southwest and the rear to the northwest,
apparently making little effort to succor their commander in chief
or retrieve the fortunes of the day.

Rodney received a peerage for this day's work but he certainly
did not make the most of his victory. Apparently content with the
five prizes he had taken, together with the person of de Grasse,
he allowed the bulk of the French fleet to escape when he had it in
his power to capture practically all. On this point his subordinate,
Hood, expressed himself with great emphasis:

"Why he (Rodney) should bring the fleet to because the _Ville de
Paris_ was taken, I cannot reconcile. He did not pursue under easy
sail, so as never to have lost sight of the enemy, in the night,
which would clearly and most undoubtedly have enabled him to have
taken almost every ship the next day.... Had I had the honor of
commanding his Majesty's noble fleet on the 12th, I may, without
much imputation of vanity, say the flag of England should now have
graced the sterns of _upwards_ of twenty sail of the enemy's ships
of the line."[1]

[Footnote 1: Quoted by Mahan, THE ROYAL NAVY (Clowes), Vol. III,
p. 535.]

Sir Charles Douglas, who had been responsible for Rodney's breaking
the line, warmly agreed with Hood's opinion on this point. Nevertheless,
although the victory was not half of what it might have been in younger
hands, it proved decisive enough to shatter the naval organization
of the French in the West Indies. It stopped the projected campaign
against Jamaica and served to write better terms for England in
the peace treaty of January 20, 1783.

Tactically this battle has become famous for the maneuver of "breaking
the line," contrary to the express stipulations of the Fighting
Instructions. Certainly the move was not premeditated. Rodney may
well be said to have been pushed into making it, and two of his
captains made the same move on their own initiative. Indeed it
is quite likely that, after the event, too much has been made of
this as a piece of deliberate tactics, for the sudden shift of
wind had paid off the bows of the French ships so that they were
probably heading athwart the course of the British line, and the
British move was obviously the only thing to do. But the lesson of
the battle was clear,--the decisive effect of close fighting and
concentrated fire. In the words of Hannay, "It marked the beginning
of that fierce and headlong yet well calculated style of sea fighting
which led to Trafalgar and made England undisputed mistress of the
sea."[1] It marked, therefore, the end of the Fighting Instructions,
which had deadened the spirit as well as the tactics of the British
navy for over a hundred years.

[Footnote 1: Rodney (ENGLISH MEN OF ACTION SERIES), p. 213.]

The tactical value of "breaking the line" is well summarized by
Mahan in the following passage:

"The effect of breaking an enemy's line, or order-of-battle, depends
upon several conditions. The essential idea is to divide the opposing
force by penetrating through an interval found, or made, in it,
and then to concentrate upon that one of the fractions which can
be least easily helped by the other. In a column of ships this
will usually be the rear. The compactness of the order attacked,
the number of the ships cut off, the length of time during which
they can be isolated and outnumbered, will all affect the results.
A very great factor in the issue will be the moral effect, the
confusion introduced into a line thus broken. Ships coming up toward
the break are stopped, the rear doubles up, while the ships ahead
continue their course. Such a moment is critical, and calls for
instant action; but the men are rare who in an unforeseen emergency
can see, and at once take the right course, especially if, being
subordinates, they incur responsibility. In such a scene of confusion
the English, without presumption, hoped to profit by their better
seamanship; for it is not only 'courage and devotion,' but skill,
which then tells. All these effects of 'breaking the line' received
illustration in Rodney's great battle in 1782."[1]


Before we leave the War of American Independence mention should
be made of Commodore Suffren who, as we have seen, left de Grasse
with five ships of the line to conduct a campaign in the Indian
Ocean in the spring of 1781. His purpose was to shake the British
hold on India, which had been fastened by the genius of Clive in
the Seven Years' War. But the task given to Suffren was exceedingly
difficult. His squadron was inadequate--for instance, he had only
two frigates for scout and messenger duty--and he had no port that
he could use as a base in Indian waters. To conduct any campaign
at all he was compelled to live off his enemy and capture a base.
These were risky prospects for naval operations several thousand
miles from home, and for the faintest hope of success required an
energy and initiative which had never before appeared in a French
naval commander. In addition to these handicaps of circumstance Suffren
soon discovered that he had to deal with incorrigible slackness
and insubordination in his captains.

In spite of everything, however, Suffren achieved an amazing degree
of success. He succeeded in living off the prizes taken from the
British, and he took from them the port of Trincomalee for a base. He
fought five battles off the coast of India against the British Vice
Admiral Hughes, in only one of which was the latter the assailant,
and in all of which Suffren bore off the honors. He was constantly
hampered, however, by the inefficiency and insubordination of his
captains. On four or five occasions, including an engagement at the
Cape Verde Islands on his way to India, it was only this misconduct
that saved the British from the crushing attack that Suffren had
planned. Unfortunately for him his victories were barren of result,
for the terms of peace gave nothing in India to the French which
they had not possessed before. As Trincomalee had belonged to the
Dutch before the British captured it, this port was turned back
to Holland.

Nevertheless Suffren deserves to be remembered both for what he
actually accomplished under grave difficulties and what he might
have done had he been served by loyal and efficient subordinates.
Among all the commanders of this war he stands preeminent for naval
genius, and this eminence is all the more extraordinary when one
realizes that his resourcefulness, tenacity, aggressiveness, his
contempt of the formal, parade tactics of his day, were notoriously
absent in the rest of the French service. Such was the admiration
felt for him by his adversaries that after the end of the war,
when the French squadron arrived at Cape Town on its way home and
found the British squadron anchored there, all the British officers,
from Hughes down, went aboard the French flagship to tender their

[Footnote 1: "If ever a man lived who justified Napoleon's maxim
that war is an affair not of men but of a man, it was he. It was
by his personal merit that his squadron came to the very verge of
winning a triumphant success. That he failed was due to the fact
that the French Navy... was honeycombed by the intellectual and moral
vices which were bringing France to the great Revolution--corruption,
self-seeking, acrid class insolence, and skinless, morbid vanity."--THE
ROYAL NAVY, David Hannay, II, 287.]

Although the War of American Independence was unsuccessfully fought
by Great Britain and she was compelled to recognize the independence
of her rebellious colonies, she lost comparatively little else by the
terms of peace. As we have seen, her hold in India was unchanged.
The stubborn defense of Gibraltar throughout the war, aided by
occasional timely relief by a British fleet, saved that stronghold
for the English flag. To Spain England was forced to surrender
Florida and Minorca. France got back all the West Indian islands
she had lost, with the exception of Tobago, but gained nothing
besides. The war therefore did not restore to France her colonial
empire of former days or make any change in the relative overseas
strength of the two nations. Despite the blunders of the war no
rival sea power challenged that of Great Britain at the conclusion
of peace.

Meanwhile, just before the war and during its early years, an English
naval officer was laying the foundation for an enormous expansion
of the British empire in the east. This was James Cook, a man who
owed his commission in the navy and his subsequent fame to nothing
in family or political influence, but to sheer genius. Of humble
birth, he passed from the merchant service into the navy and rose
by his extraordinary abilities to the rank of master. Later he
was commissioned lieutenant and finally attained the rank of post
captain.[1] Such rank was hardly adequate recognition of his great
powers, but it was unusually high for a man who was not born a

[Footnote 1: Full captain's rank, held only by a captain in command
of a vessel of at least 20 guns.]

At the end of the Seven Years' War he distinguished himself, by
his work in surveying and sounding an the coasts of Labrador and
Newfoundland, as a man of science. In consequence, he was detailed
to undertake expeditions for observing the transit of Venus and
for discovering the southern continent which was supposed to exist
in the neighborhood of the Antarctic circle. In the course of this
work Cook practically established the geography of the southern half
of the globe as we know it to-day. And by his skill and study of
the subject he conquered the great enemy of exploring expeditions,
scurvy. Thirty years before, another British naval officer, Anson,
had taken a squadron into the Pacific and lost about three-fourths
of his men from this disease. When the war of the American Revolution
broke out, Cook was abroad on one of his expeditions, but the French
and American governments issued orders to their captains not to
molest him on account of his great service to the cause of scientific
knowledge. Unfortunately he was killed by savages at the Sandwich
Islands in 1779.

The bearing of his work on the British empire lies chiefly in his
careful survey of the east coast of Australia, which he laid claim
to in the name of King George, and the circumnavigation of New
Zealand, which later gave title to the British claim on those islands.
Thus, while the American colonies in the west were winning their
independence, another territory in the east, far more extensive,
was being brought under British sway, destined in another century
to become important dominions of the empire. The Dutch had a claim
of priority in discovery through the early voyages of Tasman, but
they attempted no colonization and Dutch sea power was too weak
to make good a technical claim in the face of England's navy.

Finally, when the results of a century of wars between France and
England are summarized, we find that France had lost all her great
domain in America except a few small islands in the West Indies.
In brief, it is due to British control of the sea during the 18th
century that practically all of the continent north of the Rio
Grande is English in speech, laws, and tradition.

This control of the sea exercised by England was not the gift of
fortune. It was a prize gained, in the main, by wise policy in
peace and hard fighting in war. France had the opportunity to wrest
from England the control of the sea as England had won it from
Holland, for France at the close of the 17th century dominated
Europe. In population and in wealth she was superior to her rival.
But the arrogance of her king kept her embroiled in futile wars on
the Continent, with little energy left for the major issue, the
conquest of the sea. Finally, when the war of American Independence
left her a free hand to concentrate on her navy as against that of
England, France lost through the fatal weakness of policy which
corrupted all her officers with the single brilliant exception of
Suffren. The French naval officer avoided battle on principle,
and when he could not avoid it he accepted the defensive. To the
credit of the English officer be it said that, as a rule, he sought
the enemy and took the aggressive; he had the "fighting spirit."
This difference between French and British commanders had as much
to do with the ultimate triumph of England on the sea as anything
else. It retrieved many a blunder in strategy and tactics by sheer
hard hitting.

The history of the French navy points a moral applicable to any
service and any time. When a navy encourages the idea that ships
must not be risked, that a decisive battle must be avoided because
of what might happen in case of defeat, it is headed for the same
fate that overwhelmed the French.


THE ROYAL NAVY (vols. II, III), W. L. Clowes et al., 1903.
ADMIRAL BLAKE, English Men of Action Series, David Hannay, 1909.
RODNEY, English Men of Action Series, David Hannay, 1891.
MONK, English Men of Action Series, Julian Corbett, 1907.
THE GRAVES PAPERS, F. E. Chadwick, 1916.
FROM HOWARD TO NELSON, ed. by J. K. Laughton, 1899.
  Mahan, 1913.
SEA KINGS OF BRITAIN, Geoffrey Callender, 1915.



Ten years after the War of American Independence, British sea power
was drawn into a more prolonged and desperate conflict with France.
This time it was with a France whose navy, demoralized by revolution,
was less able to dispute sea control, but whose armies, organized
into an aggressive, empire-building force by the genius of Napoleon,
threatened to dominate Europe, shaking the old monarchies with
dangerous radical doctrines, and bringing all Continental nations
into the conflict either as enemies or as allies. The dismissal
of the French envoy from England immediately after the execution
of Louis XVI (Jan. 21, 1793) led the French Republic a week later
to a declaration of war, which continued with but a single
intermission--from October, 1801, to May, 1803--through the next
22 years.

The magnitude of events on land in this period, during which French
armies fought a hundred bloody campaigns, overthrew kingdoms, and
remade the map of Europe, obscures the importance of the warfare
on the sea. Yet it was Great Britain by virtue of her navy and
insular position that remained Napoleon's least vulnerable and
most obstinate opponent, forcing him to ever renewed and exhausting
campaigns, reviving continental opposition, and supporting it with
subsidies made possible by control of sea trade. In Napoleon's own
words the effect of this pressure is well summarized: "To live
without ships, without trade, without colonies, is to live as no
Frenchman can consent to do." The Egyptian campaign, conceived as
a thrust at British sources of wealth in the East, and defeated
at the Nile; the organization of the northern neutrals against
England, overthrown at Copenhagen; the direct invasion of the British
Isles, repeatedly planned and thwarted at St. Vincent, Camperdown,
and Trafalgar; the final and most nearly successful effort to ruin
England by closing her continental markets and thus, in Napoleon's
phrase, "defeating the sea by the land"--these were the successive
measures by which he sought to shake the grip of sea power.

The following narrative of these events is in three divisions:
the first dealing with the earlier engagements of the First of
June and Camperdown, fought by squadrons based on home ports; the
second with the war in the Mediterranean and the rise of Nelson as
seen in the campaigns of St. Vincent, the Nile, and Copenhagen;
the third with the Trafalgar campaign and the commercial struggle
to which the naval side of the war was later confined. The career
of Nelson is given an emphasis justified by his primacy among naval
leaders and the value of his example for later times.

The effect of land events in obscuring the naval side of the war,
already mentioned, is explained not merely by their magnitude, but
by the fact that, though Great Britain was more than once brought
to the verge of ruin, this was a consequence not of the enemy's power
on the sea, but of his victories on land. Furthermore, the slow
process which ended in the downfall of Napoleon and the reduction of
France to her old frontiers was accomplished, not so conspicuously
by the economic pressure of sea power, as by the efforts of armies
on battlefields from Russia to Spain. On the sea British supremacy
was more firmly established, and the capacities of France and her
allies were far less, than in preceding conflicts of the century.

_The French Navy Demoralized_

The explanation of this weakness of the French navy involves an
interesting but somewhat perplexing study of the influences which
make for naval growth or decay. That its ineffectiveness was due
largely to an inferior national instinct or genius for sea warfare,
as compared with England, is discredited by the fact that the disparity
was less obvious in previous wars; for, as Lord Clowes has insisted,
England won no decisive naval victory against superior forces from
the second Dutch War to the time of Nelson. The familiar theory
that democracy ruined the French navy will be accepted nowadays
only with some qualifications, especially when it is remembered
that French troops equally affected by the downfall of caste rule
were steadily defeating the armies of monarchical powers. It is
true, however, that navies, as compared with armies, are more
complicated and more easily disorganized machines, and that it
would have taxed even Napoleonic genius to reorganize the French
navy after the neglect, mutiny, and wholesale sweeping out of trained
personnel to which it was subjected in the first furies of revolution.
Whatever the merits of the officers of the old régime, selected as
they were wholly from the aristocracy and dominated by the defensive
policy of the French service, three-fourths of them were driven out
by 1791, and replaced by officers from the merchant service, from
subordinate ratings, and from the crews. Suspicion of aristocracy
was accompanied in the navy by a more fatal suspicion of skill. In
January, 1794, the regiments of marine infantry and artillery, as
well as the corps of seamen-gunners, were abolished on the ground
that no body of men should have "the exclusive privilege of fighting
the enemy at sea," and their places were filled by battalions of
the national guard. Figures show that as a result, French gunnery
was far less efficient than in the preceding war.

The strong forces that restored discipline in the army had more
difficulty in reaching the navy; and Napoleon's gift for discovering
ability and lifting it to command was marked by its absence in
his choice of leaders for the fleets. Usually he fell back on
pessimistic veterans of the old régime like Brueys, Missiessy, and
Villeneuve. An exception, Allemand, showed by his cruise out of
Rochefort in 1805 what youth, energy, and daring could accomplish
even with inferior means. Considering the importance of leadership
as a factor in success, we may well believe that, had a French
Nelson, or even a Suffren, been discovered in this epoch, history
would tell a different tale. If further reasons for the decadence
of the navy are needed, they may be found in the extreme difficulty
of securing naval stores and timber from the Baltic, and in the
fact that, though France had nearly three times the population of
the British Isles, her wealth, man-power, and genius were absorbed
in the war on land.

Aside from repulsion at the violence of the French revolution and
fear of its contagion, England had a concrete motive for war in
the French occupation of the Austrian Netherlands and the Scheldt,
the possession of which by an ambitious maritime nation England has
always regarded as a menace to her safety and commercial prosperity.
"This government," declared the British Ministry in December, 1792,
"will never view with indifference that France shall make herself,
directly or indirectly, sovereign of the Low Countries or general
arbitress of the rights and liberties of Europe."

In prosecuting the war, Great Britain fought chiefly with her main
weapon, the navy, leaving the land war to her allies. A contemporary
critic remarked that she "worked with her navy and played with her
army"; though the latter did useful service in colonial conquests
and in Egypt, the two expeditionary forces to the Low Countries in
1793 and 1799 were ill-managed and ineffective. The tasks of the
fleet were to guard the British Isles from raids and invasion,
to protect British commerce in all parts of the world, and, on
the offensive, to seize enemy colonies, cut off enemy trade, and
coöperate in the Mediterranean with allied armies. To accomplish
these aims, which called for a wide dispersion of forces, the British
naval superiority over France was barely adequate. According to
the contemporary naval historian James, the strength of the two
fleets at the outbreak of war was as follows:

           Ships of the               Aggregate
               line         Guns      broadsides
British         115        8,718        88,957
French           76        6,002        73,057

Of her main fighting units, the ships-of-the-line, England could put
into commission about 85, which as soon as possible were distributed
in three main spheres of operation: in the Mediterranean and its
western approaches, from 20 to 25; in the West Indies, from 10 to
12; in home waters, from the North Sea to Cape Finisterre, from
20 to 25, with a reserve of some 25 more in the home bases on the
Channel. Though this distribution was naturally altered from time
to time to meet changes in the situation, it gives at least an
idea of the general disposition of the British forces throughout
the war. France, with no suitable bases in the Channel, divided
her fleet between the two main arsenals at Brest and Toulon, with
minor squadrons at Rochefort and, during the Spanish alliance,
in the ports of Spain.

_Distant Operations_

In the West Indies and other distant waters, France could offer
but little effective resistance, and operations there may hence
be dismissed briefly, but with emphasis on the benefit which naval
control conferred upon British trade, the main guaranty of England's
financial stability and power to keep up the war. Fully one-fifth
of this trade was with the West Indies. Consequently, both to swell
the volume of British commerce and protect it from privateering,
the seizure of the French West Indian colonies--"filching the sugar
islands," as Sheridan called it--was a very justifiable war measure,
in spite of the scattering of forces involved. Hayti was lost to
France as a result of the negro uprising under Toussaint l'Ouverture.
Practically all the French Antilles changed hands twice in 1794,
the failure of the British to hold them arising from a combination
of yellow fever, inadequate forces of occupation, and lax blockade
methods on the French coast, which permitted heavy reënforcements
to leave France. General Abercromby, with 17,000 men, finally took
all but Guadaloupe in the next year. As Holland, Spain, and other
nations came under French control, England seized their colonies
likewise--the Dutch settlements at the Cape of Good Hope and Ceylon
in 1795; the Moluccas and other Dutch islands in the East Indies in
1796; Trinidad (Spanish) in 1797; Curaçao (Dutch) in 1800; and the
Swedish and Danish West Indies in 1801. By the Treaty of Amiens in
1802 all these except Trinidad and Ceylon were given back, and had
to be retaken in the later period of the war, Guadaloupe remaining
a privateers' nest until its final capture in 1810. Though French
trade was ruined, it was impossible to stamp out privateering,
which grew with the growth of British commerce which it preyed
upon, and the extent of which is indicated by the estimate that
in 1807 there were from 200 to 300 privateers on the coasts of
Cuba and Hayti alone. As for the captured islands, Great Britain
in 1815 retained only Malta, Heligoland, and the Ionian Islands in
European waters; Cape Colony, Mauritius, and Ceylon on the route
to the East; and in the Caribbean, Demerara on the coast, Santa
Lucia, Trinidad, and Tobago--some of them of little intrinsic value,
but all useful outposts for an empire of the seas.

In the Channel and Bay of Biscay, the first year of war passed
quietly. Lord Howe, commanding the British Channel fleet, had behind
him a long, fine record as a disciplinarian and tactician; he had
fought with Hawke at Quiberon Bay, protected New York and Rhode
Island against d'Estaing in 1778, and later thrown relief into
Gibraltar in the face of superior force. Now 68 years of age, he
inclined to cautious, old-school methods, such as indeed marked
activities on both land and sea at this time, before Napoleon had
injected a new desperateness into war. Both before and after the
"Glorious First of June" the watch on the French coast was merely
nominal; small detachments were kept off Brest, but the main fleet
rested in Portsmouth throughout the winter and took only occasional
cruises during the remainder of the year.

_The Battle of the First of June_

Though there had been no real blockade, the interruption of her
commerce, the closure of her land frontiers, and the bad harvest
of 1793, combined to bring France in the spring following to the
verge of famine, and forced her to risk her fleet in an effort to
import supplies from overseas. On April 11 an immense flotilla
of 120 grain vessels sailed from the Chesapeake under the escort
of two ships-of-the-line, which were to be strengthened by the
entire Brest fleet at a rendezvous 300 miles west of Belleisle.
Foodstuffs having already been declared subject to seizure by both
belligerents, Howe was out on May 2 to intercept the convoy. A
big British merchant fleet also put to sea with him, to protect
which he had to detach 8 of his 34 ships, but with orders to 6 of
these that they should rejoin his force on the 20th off Ushant.
Looking into Brest on the 19th, Howe found the French battle fleet
already at sea. Not waiting for the detachment, and thus losing its
help in the battle that was to follow, he at once turned westward
and began sweeping with his entire fleet the waters in which the
convoy was expected to appear.

The French with 26 ships-of-the-line--and thus precisely equal to
Howe in numbers--had left Brest two days before. The crews were
largely landsmen; of the flag officers and captains, not one had
been above the grade of lieutenant three years before, and nine of
them had been merchant skippers with no naval experience whatever.
On board were two delegates of the National Convention, whose double
duties seem to have been to watch the officers and help them command.
To take the place of experience there was revolutionary fervor,
evidenced in the change of ship-names to such resounding appellations
as _La Montagne, Patriote, Vengeur du Peuple, Tyrannicide_, and
_Revolutionnaire_. There was also more confidence than was ever felt
again by French sailors during the war. "Intentionally disregarding
subtle evolutions," said the delegate Jean Bon Saint Andree, "perhaps
our sailors will think it more appropriate and effective to resort
to the boarding tactics in which the French were always victorious,
and thus astonish the world by new prodigies of valor." "If they
had added to their courage a little training," said the same
commissioner after the battle, "the day might have been ours."

The commander in chief, Villaret de Joyeuse, who had won his lieutenancy
and the esteem of Suffren in the American war, was no such scorner
of wary tactics. Thus when the two fleets, more by accident than
calculation on either side, came in contact on the morning of May
28, 1794, about 400 miles west of Ushant, it would have been quite
possible for him to have closed with the British, who were 10 miles
to leeward in a fresh southerly wind. But his orders were not to
fight unless it were essential to protect the convoy, and since
this was thought to be close at hand, he first drew away to the
eastward, with the British in pursuit.

The chase continued during the remainder of this day and the day
following, with partial engagements and complicated maneuvering,
the net result of which was that in the end Howe, in spite of the
superior sailing qualities of the French ships, had kept in touch
with them, driven his own vessels through their line to a windward
position, and forced the withdrawal of four units, with the loss of
but one of his own. Two days of thick weather followed, during which
both fleets stood to the northwest in the same relative positions,
the French, very fortunately indeed, securing a reënforcement of
four fresh ships from detachments earlier at sea.

Now 26 French to 25 British, the two fleets on the morning of the
final engagement were moving to westward on the still southerly wind,
in two long, roughly parallel lines. Confident of the individual
superiority of his ships, the British admiral had no wish for further
maneuvering, in which his own captains had shown themselves none
too reliable and the enemy commander not unskilled. Possibly also
he feared the confusion of a complicated plan, for it was notorious
(as may be verified by looking over his correspondence) that Howe
had the greatest difficulty in making himself intelligible with
tongue or pen. His orders were therefore to bear up together toward
the enemy and attack ship to ship, without effort at concentration,
and with but one noteworthy departure from the time-honored tactics
in which he had been schooled. This was that the battle should be
close and decisive. The instructions were that each ship should
if possible break through the line astern of her chosen opponent,
raking the ships on each side as she went through, and continue
the action to leeward, in position to cut off retreat. "I don't
want the ships to be bilge to bilge," said Howe to the officers
of his flagship, the _Queen Charlotte_, "but if you can lock the
yardarms, so much the better; the battle will be the quicker decided."
The approach was leisurely, nearly in line abreast, on a course
slightly diagonal to that of the enemy. At 10 A. M. the _Queen
Charlotte_, in the center of the British line, shoved past just
under the stern of Villaret's flagship, the _Montagne_, raking
her with a terrible broadside which is said to have struck down
300 of her men. As was likely to result from the plan of attack,
the ships in the van of the attacking force were more closely and
promptly engaged than those of the rear; only six ships actually
broke through, but there was hot fighting all along the line.

Famous among the struggles in the mêlée was the epic three-hour
combat of the _Brunswick_, next astern of Howe, and the _Vengeur_,
both 74's. With the British vessel's anchors hooked in her opponent's
port forechannels, the two drifted away to leeward, the _Brunswick_
by virtue of flexible rammers alone able to use her lower deck guns,
which were given alternately extreme elevation and depression and
sent shot tearing through the _Vengeur's_ deck and hull; whereas
the _Vengeur_, with a superior fire of carronades and musketry,
swept the enemy's upper deck. When the antagonists wrenched apart,
the _Brunswick_ had lost 158 of her complement of 600 men. The
_Vengeur_ was slowly sinking and went down at 6 P. M., with a loss
of 250 killed and wounded and 100 more drowned. "As we drew away,"
wrote a survivor, "we heard some of our comrades still offering
prayers for the welfare of their country; the last cries of these
unfortunates were, 'Vive la République!' They died uttering them."

Out of the confusion, an hour after the battle had begun, Villaret
was able to form a column of 16 ships to leeward, and though ten of
his vessels lay helpless between the lines, three drifted or were
towed down to him and escaped. Howe has been sharply criticized
for letting these cripples get away; but the battered condition
of his fleet and his own complete physical exhaustion led him to
rest content with six prizes aside from the sunken _Vengeur_. The
criticism has also been made that he should have further exerted
himself to secure a junction with the detachment on convoy duty,
which on May 19 was returning and not far away. If he had at that
time held his 32 ships between Brest and Rochefort, with scouts
well distributed to westward, he would have been much more certain
to intercept both Villaret's fleet and the convoy, which would have
approached in company, and both of which, with the British searching
in a body at sea, stood a good chance of escape. Howe's hope, no
doubt, was to meet the convoy unguarded. The latter, protected by
fog, actually crossed on May 30 the waters fought over on the 29th,
and twelve days later safely reached the French coast. Robespierre
had told Villaret that if the convoy were captured he should answer
for it with his life. Hence the French admiral declared years later
that the loss of his battleships troubled him relatively little.
"While Howe amused himself refitting them, I saved the convoy,
and I saved my head."

[Illustration: BATTLE OF THE FIRST OF JUNE, 1794

Based on diagram in Mahan's _Influence of Sea Power upon the French
Revolution,_ Vol. I, p. 136.]

Though the escape of the convoy enabled the French to boast a "strategic
victory," the First of June in reality established British prestige
and proved a crushing blow to French morale. A British defeat,
on the other hand, might have brought serious consequences, for
within a year's time the Allied armies, including the British under
the Duke of York, were driven out of Holland, the Batavian Republic
was established in league with France (February, 1795), and both
Spain and Prussia backed out of the war. Austria remained England's
only active ally.

During the remainder of 1794 and the year following only minor or
indecisive encounters occurred in the northern theater of war, lack
of funds and naval supplies hampering the recovery of the French
fleet from the injuries inflicted by Howe. Ill health forcing the
latter's retirement from sea duty, he was succeeded in the Channel by
Lord Bridport, who continued his predecessor's easy-going methods
until the advent of Jervis in 1798, instituted a more rigorous
régime. It was not yet recognized that the wear and tear on ships
and crews during sea duty was less serious than the injurious effect
of long stays in port upon sea spirit and morale.

_French Projects of Invasion_

With their fleets passive, the French resorted vigorously to commerce
warfare, and at the same time kept England constantly perturbed by
rumors, grandiose plans, and actual undertakings of invasion. That
these earlier efforts failed was due as much to ill luck and bad
management as to the work of Bridport's fleet. Intended, moreover,
primarily as diversions to keep England occupied at home and sicken
her of the war, they did not altogether fail of their aim. Some
of these projects verged on the ludicrous, as that of corraling
a band of the criminals and royalist outlaws that infested France
and dropping them on the English coast for a wild campaign of murder
and pillage. Fifteen hundred of these _Chouans_ were actually landed
at Fishguard in February of 1798, but promptly surrendered, and
France had to give good English prisoners in exchange for them on
the threat that they would be turned loose again on French soil.

Much more serious was General Hoche's expedition to Ireland of
the winter before. Though Hoche wished to use for the purpose the
army of over 100,000 with which he had subdued revolt in the Vendée,
the Government was willing to venture a force of only 15,000, which
set sail from Brest, December 15, 1796, in 17 ships-of-the-line,
together with a large number of smaller war-vessels and transports.
Heavy weather and bad leadership, helped along by British frigates
with false signals, scattered the fleet on the first night out. It
never again got together; and though a squadron with 6,000 soldiers
on board was actually for a week or more in the destination, Bantry
Bay, not a man was landed, and by the middle of January nearly all of
the flotilla was back in France. The British squadron under Colport,
which had been on the French coast at the time of the departure, had
in the meanwhile been obliged to make port for supplies. Bridport
with the main fleet left Portsmouth, 250 miles from the scene of
operations, four days after news of the French departure. During
the whole affair neither he nor Colport took a single prize.

Even so small a force cöoperating with rebellion in Ireland might
have proved a serious annoyance, though not a grave danger. Invasion
on a grand scale, which Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy
and the peace with Austria (preliminaries at Loeben, April, 1797)
now made possible, was effectually forestalled by two decisive
victories at sea. Bonaparte, who was to lead the invasion, did not
minimize its difficulties. "To make a descent upon England without
being master of the sea," he wrote at this time, "is the boldest and
most difficult operation ever attempted." Yet the flotilla of small
craft necessary was collected, army forces were designated, and in
February of 1798 Bonaparte was at Dunkirk. All this served no doubt
to screen the Egyptian preparations, which amid profound secrecy
were already under way. The Egyptian campaign was an indirect blow
at England; but the direct blow would certainly have been struck
had not the naval engagements of Cape St. Vincent (February, 1797)
and Camperdown (October, 1797) settled the question of mastery
of the sea by removing the naval support of Spain and Holland on
the right and left wings.

_The Battle of Camperdown_

Admiral Duncan's victory of Camperdown, here taken first as part
of the events in northern waters, is noteworthy in that it was
achieved not only against ever-dangerous opponents, but with a
squadron which during the preceding May and June had been in the
very midst of the most serious mutiny in the history of the British
navy. In Bridport's fleet at Portsmouth this was not so much a
mutiny as a well organized strike, the sailors it is true taking
full control of the ships, and forcing the Admiralty and Parliament
to grant their well justified demands for better treatment and better
pay. Possibly a secret sympathy with their grievances explains the
apparent helplessness of the officers. The men on their part went
about the business quietly, and even rated some of their former
officers as midshipmen, in special token of esteem. At the Nore,
however, and in Duncan's squadron at Yarmouth, the mutiny was marked
by bloodshed and taint of disloyalty, little surprising in view of
the disaffected Irish, ex-criminals, impressed merchant sailors,
and other unruly elements in the crews. In the end 18 men were
put to death and many others sentenced.

Duncan faced the trouble with the courage but not the mingling of
fair treatment and sharp justice which marked its suppression by
that great master of discipline, Jervis, in the fleet off Spain.
On his own ship and another, Duncan drew up the loyal marines under
arms, spoke to the sailors, and won their allegiance, picking one
troublesome spirit up bodily and shaking him over the side. But
the rest of the squadron suddenly sailed off two days later to
join the mutineers at the Nore, where all the ships were then in
the hands of the crews. With his two faithful ships, Duncan made
for the Texel, swearing that if the Dutch came out he would go
down with colors flying. Fortunately he was rejoined before that
event by the rest of his squadron, the mutinous ships having been
either retaken by the officers or voluntarily surrendered by the

[Illustration: BATTLE OF CAMPERDOWN, OCTOBER 11, 1797, ABOUT 12:30

British, 16 of the line; Dutch, 15 of the line.]

The whole affair, among the ships in Thames mouth, was over in a
month's time, from mid-May to mid-June, so quickly that the enemy had
little chance to seize the advantage. The Dutch, driven willy-nilly
into alliance with France and not too eager to embark upon desperate
adventures in the new cause, were nevertheless not restrained from
action by any kind feeling for England, who had seized their ships
and colonies and ruined their trade. When at last, during a brief
withdrawal of Duncan, their fleet under Admiral de Winter attempted
a cruise, it was in a run-down condition. Aside from small units,
it consisted of 15 ships (4 of 74 guns, 5 of 68, 2 of 64, and 4
under 60), against Duncan's stronger force of 16 (7 of 74, 7 of 64
and 2 of 50). The Dutch ships were flat-bottomed and light-draft for
navigation in their shallow coastal waters, and generally inferior
to British vessels of similar rating, even though the latter were
left-overs from the Channel Fleet.

On the morning of the Battle of Camperdown, October 11, 1797, the
Dutch were streaming along their coast on a northwest wind bent on
return into the Texel. Pressing forward in pursuit, Duncan when
in striking distance determined to prevent the enemy's escape into
shallow water by breaking through their line and attacking to leeward.
The signal to this effect, however, was soon changed to "Close
action," and only the two leading ships eventually broke through.
The two British divisions--for they were still in cruising formation
and strung out by the pursuit--came down before the wind. Onslow,
the second in command, in the _Monarch_, struck the line first
at 12:30 and engaged the Dutch _Jupiter_, fourth from the rear.
Eighteen minutes later Duncan in the _Venerable_ closed similarly
to leeward of the _Staten Generaal_, and afterward the _Vrijheid_,
in the Dutch van.

The two leaders were soon supported--though there was straggling
on both sides; and the battle that ensued was the bloodiest and
fiercest of this period of the war. The British lost 825 out of a
total of 8221 officers and men,[1] more than half the loss occurring
in the first four ships in action. The British ships were also
severely injured by the gruelling broadsides during the onset,
but finally took 11 prizes, all of them injured beyond repair.
Though less carefully thought out and executed, the plan of the
attack closely resembles that of Nelson at Trafalgar. The head-on
approach seems not to have involved fatal risks against even such
redoubtable opponents as the Dutch, and it insured decisive results.

[Footnote 1: As compared with this loss of 10%, the casualties
in Nelson's three chief battles were as follows: Nile, 896 out of
7401, or 12.1%; Copenhagen, 941 out of 6892, or 13.75%; Trafalgar,
1690 out of 17,256, or 9.73%.]

Duncan's otherwise undistinguished career, and the somewhat unstudied
methods of his one victory, may explain why he has not attained the
fame which the energy displayed and results achieved would seem
to deserve. "He was a valiant officer," writes his contemporary
Jervis, "little versed in subtleties of tactics, by which he would
have been quickly confused. When he saw the enemy, he ran down upon
them, without thinking of a fixed order of battle. To conquer,
he counted on the bold example he gave his captains, and the event
completely justified his hopes."

Whatever its tactical merits, the battle had the important strategic
effect of putting the Dutch out of the war. The remnants of their fleet
were destroyed in harbor during an otherwise profitless expedition
into Holland led by the Duke of York in 1799. By this time, when
naval requirements and expanding trade had exhausted England's
supply of seamen, and forced her to relax her navigation laws,
it is estimated that no less than 20,000 Dutch sailors had left
their own idle ships and were serving on British traders and

[Footnote 1: For references, see end of Chapter XIII, page 285.]



In the Mediterranean, where the protection of commerce, the fate
of Italy and all southern Europe, and the exposed interests of
France gave abundant motives for the presence of a British fleet,
the course of naval events may be sufficiently indicated by following
the work of Nelson, who came thither in 1793 in command of the
_Agamemnon_ (64) and remained until the withdrawal of the fleet at
the close of 1796. Already marked within the service, in the words
of his senior, Hood, as "an officer to be consulted on questions
relative to naval tactics," Nelson was no doubt also marked as
possessed of an uncomfortable activity and independence of mind.
Singled out nevertheless for responsible detached service, he took
a prominent part in the occupation of Corsica, where at the siege
of Calvi he lost the sight of his right eye, and later commanded
a small squadron supporting the left flank of the Austrian army
on the Riviera.

In these latter operations, during 1795 and 1796, Nelson felt that
much more might have been done. The Corniche coast route into Italy,
the only one at first open to the French, was exposed at many points
to fire from ships at sea, and much of the French army supplies as
well as their heavy artillery had to be transported in boats along
the coast. "The British fleet could have prevented the invasion
of Italy," wrote Nelson five years later, "if our friend Hotham
[who had succeeded Hood as commander in chief in the Mediterranean]
had kept his fleet on that coast."[1] Hotham felt, perhaps rightly,
that the necessity of watching the French ships at Toulon made this
impossible. But had the Toulon fleet been destroyed or effectually
crippled at either of the two opportunities which offered in 1795, no
such need would have existed; the British fleet would have dominated
the Mediterranean, and exercised a controlling influence on the
wavering sympathies of the Italian states and Spain. At the first
of these opportunities, on the 13th and 14th of March, Hotham said
they had done well enough in capturing two French ships-of-the-line.
"Now," remarked Nelson, whose aggressive pursuit had led to the
capture, "had we taken 10 sail and allowed the 11th to escape,
when it had been possible to have got at her, I should not have
called it well done." And again of the second encounter: "To say how
much we wanted Lord Hood on the 13th of July, is to say, 'Will you
have all the French fleet, or no action?'" History, and especially
naval history, is full of might-have-beens. Aggressive action
establishing naval predominance might have prevented Napoleon's
brilliant invasion and conquest of Italy; Spain would then have
steered clear of the French alliance; and the Egyptian campaign
would have been impossible.

[Footnote 1: DISPATCHES, June 6, 1800.]

The succession of Sir John Jervis to the Mediterranean command
in November, 1795, instituted at once a new order of things, in
which inspiring leadership, strict discipline, and closest attention
to the health of crews, up-keep vessels, and every detail of ship
and fleet organization soon brought the naval forces under him to
what has been judged the highest efficiency attained by any fleet
during the war. Jervis had able subordinates--Nelson, Collingwood
and Troubridge, to carry the list no further; but he may claim a
kind of paternal share in molding the military character of these

Between Jervis and Nelson in particular there existed ever the
warmest mutual confidence and admiration. Yet the contrast between
them well illustrates the difference between all-round professional
and administrative ability, possessed in high degree by the older
leader, and supreme fighting genius, which, in spite of mental
and moral qualities far inferior, has rightly won Nelson a more
lasting fame. As a member of parliament before the war, as First
Lord of the Admiralty from 1801 to 1803, and indeed in his sea
commands, Jervis displayed a breadth of judgment, a knowledge of
the world, a mastery of details of administration, to which Nelson
could not pretend. In the organization of the Toulon and the Brest
blockades, and in the suppression of mutiny in 1797, Jervis better
than Nelson illustrates conventional ideals of military discipline.
When appointed to the Channel command in 1799 he at once adopted
the system of keeping the bulk of the fleet constantly on the enemy
coast "well within Ushant with an easterly wind." Captains were to
be on deck when ships came about at whatever hour. In port there
were no night boats and no night leave for officers. To one officer
who ventured a protest Jervis wrote that he "ought not to delay
one day his intention to retire." "May the discipline of the
Mediterranean never be introduced in the Channel," was a toast on
Jervis's appointment to the latter squadron. "May his next glass
of wine choke the wretch," was the wish of an indignant officer's
wife. Jervis may have been a martinet, but it was he, more than
any other officer, who instilled into the British navy the spirit
of war.

In the Mediterranean, however, he arrived too late. There, as in
the Atlantic, the French Directory after the experiments of 1794
and 1795 had now abandoned the idea of risking their battleships;
and while these still served effectively in port as a fleet in
being, their crews were turned to commerce warfare or transport
flotilla work for the army. Bonaparte's ragged heroes were driving
the Austrians out of Italy. Sardinia made peace in May of 1796.
Spain closed an offensive and defensive alliance with the French
Republic in August, putting a fleet of 50 of the line (at least
on paper) on Jervis's communications and making further tenure
of the Mediterranean a dangerous business. By October, 26 Spanish
ships had joined the 12 French then at Toulon. Even so, Jervis with
his force of 22 might have hazarded action, if his subordinate Mann,
with a detached squadron of 7 of these, had not fled to England.
Assigning to Nelson the task of evacuating Corsica and later Elba,
Jervis now took station outside the straits, where on February 13,
1797, Nelson rejoined his chief, whose strength still consisted
of 15 of the line.

_The Battle of Cape St. Vincent_

The Spanish fleet, now 27, was at this time returning to Cadiz,
as a first step toward a grand naval concentration in the north. A
stiff Levanter having thrown the Spanish far beyond their destination,
they were returning eastward when on February 14, 1797, the two
fleets came in contact within sight of Cape St. Vincent. In view
of the existing political situation, and the known inefficiency of
the Spanish in sea fighting, Jervis decided to attack. "A victory,"
he is said to have remarked, "is very essential to England at this

As a fresh westerly wind blew away the morning fog, the Spanish
were fully revealed to southward, running before the wind, badly
scattered, with 7 ships far in advance and thus to leeward of the
rest. After some preliminary pursuit, the British formed in a single
column (Troubridge in the _Culloden_ first, the flagship _Victory_
seventh, and Nelson in the _Captain_ third from the rear), and
took a southerly course which would carry them between the two
enemy groups. As soon as they found themselves thus separated,
the Spanish weather division hauled their wind, opened fire, and
ran to northward along the weather side of the British line; while
the lee division at first also turned northward and made some effort
to unite with the rest of their company by breaking through the
enemy formation, but were thrown back by a heavy broadside from
the _Victory_. Having accomplished his first purpose, Jervis had
already, at about noon, hoisted the signal to "tack in succession,"
which meant that each ship should continue her course to the point
where the _Culloden_ came about and then follow her in pursuit
of the enemy weather division. This critical and much discussed
maneuver appears entirely justified. The British by tacking in
succession kept their column still between the parts of the enemy,
its rear covering the enemy lee division, and the whole formation
still in perfect order and control, as it would not have been had
the ships tacked simultaneously. Again, if the attack had been
made on the small group to leeward, the Spanish weather division
could easily have run down into the action and thus brought their
full strength to bear.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF CAPE ST. VINCENT, FEBRUARY 14, 1797

BRITISH: 15 ships, 1232 guns.  SPANISH: 27 ships, 2286 guns.]

But against an enemy so superior in numbers more was needed to keep
the situation in hand. Shortly before one o'clock, when several
British vessels had already filled away on the new course, Nelson
from his position well back in the column saw that the leading
ships of the main enemy division were swinging off to eastward
as if to escape around the British rear. Eager to get into the
fighting, of which his present course gave little promise, and
without waiting for orders, he wore out of the column, passed between
the two ships next astern, and threw himself directly upon the three
big three-deckers, including the flagship _Santisima Trindad_ (130
guns), which headed the enemy line. Before the fighting was over, his
ship was badly battered, "her foretopmast and wheel shot away, and
not a sail, shroud or rope left";[1] but the _Culloden_ and other
van ships soon came up, and also Collingwood in the _Excellent_
from the rear, after orders from Jervis for which Nelson had not
waited. Out of the mêlée the British emerged with four prizes,
Nelson himself having boarded the _San Nicolas_ (80), cleared her
decks, and with reënforcements from his own ship passed across
her to receive the surrender of the _San Josef_ (112). The swords
of the vanquished Spanish, Nelson says, "I gave to William Fearney,
one of my bargemen, who placed them with the greatest _sangfroid_
under his arm."

[Footnote 1: Nelson's DISPATCHES, Vol. II, p. 345.]

For Nelson's initiative (which is the word for such actions when
they end well) Jervis had only the warmest praise, and when his
fleet captain, Calder, ventured a comment on the breach of orders,
Jervis gave the tart answer, "Ay, and if ever you offend in the
same way I promise you a forgiveness beforehand." Jervis was made
Earl St. Vincent, and Nelson, who never hid his light under a bushel,
shared at least in popular acclaim. It was not indeed a sweeping
victory, and there is little doubt that had the British admiral
so chosen, he might have done much more. But enough had been
accomplished to discourage Spanish naval activities in the French
cause for a long time to come. They were hopelessly outclassed;
but in their favor it should be borne in mind that their ships
were miserably manned, the crews consisting of ignorant peasants
of whom it is reported that they said prayers before going aloft,
and with whom their best admiral, Mazzaredo, had refused to sail.
Moreover, they were fighting half-heartedly, lacking the inspiration
of a great national cause, without which victories are rarely won.

The defeat of the Spanish, as Jervis had foreseen, was timely.
Mantua had just capitulated; British efforts to secure an honorable
peace had failed; consols were at 51, and specie payments stopped
by the Bank of England; Austria was on the verge of separate
negotiations, the preliminaries of which were signed at Loeben on
April 18; France, in the words of Bonaparte, could now "turn all
her forces against England and oblige her to a prompt peace."[1]
The news of St. Vincent was thus a ray of light on a very dark
horizon. Its strategic value, along with the Battle of Camperdown,
has already been made clear.

[Footnote 1: CORRESPONDENCE, III, 346.]

The British fleet, after refitting at Lisbon, took up a blockade
of the Spanish at Cadiz which continued through the next two years.
Discontent and mutiny, which threatened with each fresh ship from
home, was guarded against by strict discipline, careful attention to
health and diet, and by minor enterprises which served as diversions,
such as the bombardment of Cadiz and the unsuccessful attack on Santa
Cruz in the Canary Islands, July 24-25, 1797, in which Nelson lost
his right arm.

[Illustration: THE NILE CAMPAIGN, MAY-AUGUST 1798]

_The Battle of the Nile_

Nelson's return to the Cadiz blockade in May, 1798, after months
of suffering in England, was coincident with the gathering of a
fresh storm cloud in the Mediterranean, though the direction in
which it threatened was still completely concealed. While Sicily,
Greece, Portugal and even Ireland were mentioned by the British
Admiralty as possible French objectives, Egypt was apparently not
thought of. Yet its strategic position between three continents
remained as important as in centuries past, controlling the trade
of the Levant and threatening India by land or sea. "The time is
not far distant," Bonaparte had already written, "when we shall feel
that truly to destroy England we must take possession of Egypt."
In point of fact the strength of England rested not merely on the
wealth of the Indies, but on her merchant fleets, naval control,
home products and manufactures, in short her whole industrial and
commercial development, too strong to be struck down by a blow in
this remote field. Still, if the continued absence of a British
fleet from the Mediterranean could be counted on, the Egyptian
campaign was the most effective move against her that offered at
the time. It was well that the British Admiralty rose to the danger.
Jervis, though he pointed out the risks involved, was directed to
send Nelson with an advance squadron of 3 ships, later strengthened
to 14, to watch the concentration of land and naval forces at Toulon.
"The appearance of a British fleet in the Mediterranean," wrote
the First Lord, Spencer, in urging the move, "is a condition on
which the fate of Europe may be stated to depend."

Before a strong northwest wind the French armada on May 19 left
Toulon--13 of the line, 13 smaller vessels, and a fleet of transports
which when joined by contingents from Genoa, Corsica, and Civita
Vecchia brought the total to 400 sail, crowded with over 30,000
troops. Of the fighting fleet there is the usual tale of ships
carelessly fitted out, one-third short-handed, and supplied with
but two months' food--a tale which simply points the truth that
the winning of naval campaigns begins months or years before.

The gale from which the French found shelter under Sardinia and
Corsica fell later with full force on Nelson to the westward of
the islands. His flagship the _Vanguard_ lost her foremast and
remaining topmasts, while at the same time his four frigates, so
essential in the search that followed, were scattered and failed
to rejoin. Having by extraordinary exertions refitted in Sardinia
in the short space of four days, he was soon again off Toulon,
but did not learn of the enemy's departure until May 31, and even
then he got no clue as to where they had gone. Here he was joined
on June 7 by the promised reënforcements, bringing his squadron
to 13 74's and the _Leander_ of 50 guns.

The ensuing search continued for two months, until August 1, the
date of the Battle of the Nile. During this period, Nelson appears
to best advantage; in the words of David Hannay, he was an "embodied
flame of resolution, with none of the vulgar bluster that was to
appear later."

Moving slowly southward, the French flotilla had spent ten days
in the occupation of Malta--the surrender of which was chiefly
due to French influence among the Knights of St. John who held the
island--and departed on June 19 for their destination, following
a circuitous route along the south side of Crete and thence to
the African coast 70 miles west of Alexandria.

Learning off Cape Passaro on the 22d of the enemy's departure from
Malta, Nelson made direct for Alexandria under fair wind and press
of sail. He reached the port two days ahead of Bonaparte, and finding
it empty, at once set out to retrace his course, his impetuous
energy betraying him into what was undoubtedly a hasty move. The
two fleets had been but 60 miles apart on the night of the 25th.
Had they met, though Bonaparte had done his utmost by organization
and drill to prepare for such an emergency, a French disaster would
have been almost inevitable, and Napoleon, in the amusingly partisan
words of Nelson's biographer Southey, "would have escaped those
later crimes that have incarnadined his soul." Nelson had planned
in case of such an encounter to detach three of his ships to attack
the transports.

The trying month that now intervened, spent by the British fleet
in a vain search along the northern coast of the Mediterranean,
a brief stop at Syracuse for water and supplies, and return, was
not wholly wasted, for during this time the commander in chief
was in frequent consultation with his captains, securing their
hearty support, and familiarizing them with his plans for action
in whatever circumstances a meeting might occur. An interesting
reference to this practice of Nelson's appears in a later
characterization of him written by the French Admiral Décres to
Napoleon. "His boastfulness," so the comment runs, "is only equalled
by his ineptitude, but he has the saving quality of making no pretense
to any other virtues than boldness and good nature, so that he is
accessible to the counsels of those under him." As to who dominated
these conferences and who profited by them we may form our own
opinion. It was by such means that Nelson fostered a spirit of
full coöperation and mutual confidence between himself and his
subordinates which justified his affectionate phrase, "a band of

The result was seen at the Nile. If rapid action lost the chance
of battle a month before, it did much to insure victory when the
opportunity came, and it was made possible by each captain's full
grasp of what was to be done. "Time is everything," to quote a
familiar phrase of Nelson; "five minutes may spell the difference
between victory and defeat." It was two in the afternoon when the
British, after looking into Alexandria, first sighted the French
fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay, and it was just sundown when the
leading ship _Goliath_ rounded the _Guerrier's_ bows. The battle
was fought in darkness. In the face of a fleet protected by shoals
and shore batteries, with no trustworthy charts or pilots, with ships
still widely separated by their varying speeds, a less thoroughly
drilled force under a less ardent leader would have felt the necessity
of delaying action until the following day. Nelson never hesitated.
His ships went into action in the order in which they reached the

The almost decisive advantage thus gained is evident from the confusion
which then reigned in Aboukir Bay. In spite of the repeated letters
from Bonaparte urging him to secure his fleet in Alexandria harbor,
in spite of repeated soundings which showed this course possible,
the French Admiral Brueys with a kind of despondent inertia still
lay in this exposed anchorage at the Rosetta mouth of the Nile.
Mortars and cannon had been mounted on Aboukir point, but it was
known that their range did not cover the head of the French line.
The frigates and scout vessels that might have given more timely
warning were at anchor in the bay. Numerous water parties were
on shore and with them the ships' boats needed to stretch cables
from one vessel to another and rig gear for winding ships, as had
been vaguely planned. At a hurried council it was proposed to put
to sea, but this was given up for the sufficient reason that there
was no time. The French were cleared for action only on the out-board
side. Their admiral was chiefly fearful of attack in the rear, a
fear reasonable enough if his ships had been sailing before the
wind at sea; but at anchor, with the Aboukir batteries ineffective
and the wind blowing directly down the line, attack upon the van
would be far more dangerous, since support could less easily be
brought up from the rear.

[Illustration: COAST MAP

From Alexandria to Rosetta Mouth of the Nile]

It was on the head of the line that the attack came. Nelson had
given the one signal that "his intention was to attack the van
and center as they lay at anchor, according to the plan before
developed." This plan called for doubling, two ships to the enemy's
one. With a fair wind from the north-northwest Captain Foley in
the _Goliath_ at 6 p.m. reached the _Guerrier_, the headmost of
the thirteen ships in the enemy line. Either by instant initiative,
or more likely in accordance with previous plans in view of such an
opportunity, he took his ship inside the line, his anchor dragging
slightly so as to bring him up on the quarter of the second enemy
vessel, the _Conquérant_. The _Zealous_, following closely,
anchored on the bows of the _Guerrier_; the _Orion_ engaged inside
the fifth ship; the _Theseus_ inside the third; and the _Audacious_,
passing between the first two of the enemy, brought up on the
_Conquérant's_ bow. With these five engaged inside, Nelson in the
_Vanguard_ and the two ships following him engaged respectively
outside the third, fourth and fifth of the enemy. Thus the concentration
on the van was eight to five.

About a half hour later the _Bellerophon_ and the _Majestic_
attacked respectively the big flagship _Orient_ (110) in the
center and the _Tonnant_ (80) next astern, and against these superior
antagonists suffered severely, losing in killed and wounded 390
men divided about equally between them, which was nearly half the
total loss of 896 and greater than the total at Cape St. Vincent.
Both later drifted almost helpless down the line. The _Culloden_
under Troubridge, a favorite of both Jervis and Nelson, had
unfortunately grounded and stuck fast on Aboukir shoal; but the
_Swiftsure_ and the _Alexander_ came up two hours after the battle
had begun as a support to the ships in the centre, the _Swiftsure_
engaging the _Orient_, and the _Alexander_ the _Franklin_ next
ahead, while the smaller _Leander_ skillfully chose a position
where she could rake the two. By this time all five of the French
van had surrendered; the _Orient_ was in flames and blew up about
10 o'clock with the loss of all but 70 men. Admiral Brueys, thrice
wounded, died before the explosion. Of the four ships in the rear,
only two, the _Guillaume Tell_ under Admiral Villeneuve and the
_Généreux_, were able to cut their cables next morning and get
away. Nelson asserted that, had he not been incapacitated by a
severe scalp wound in the action, even these would not have escaped.
Of the rest, two were burned and nine captured. Among important
naval victories, aside from such one-sided slaughters as those of
our own Spanish war, it remains the most overwhelming in history.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF THE NILE]

The effect was immediate throughout Europe, attesting dearly the
contemporary importance attached to sea control. "It was this battle,"
writes Admiral de la Gravière, "which for two years delivered over
the Mediterranean to the British and called thither the squadrons
of Russia, which shut up our army in the midst of a hostile people
and led the Porte to declare against us, which put India beyond
our reach and thrust France to the brink of ruin, for it rekindled
the hardly extinct war with Austria and brought Suvaroff and the
Austro-Russians to our very frontiers."[1]

[Footnote 1: GUERRES MARITIMES, II, 129.]

The whole campaign affords an instance of an overseas expedition
daringly undertaken in the face of a hostile fleet (though it should
be remembered that the British were not in the Mediterranean when
it was planned), reaching its destination by extraordinary good
luck, and its possibilities then completely negatived by the
reëstablishment of enemy naval control. The efforts of the French
army to extricate itself northward through Palestine were later
thwarted partly by the squadron under Commodore Sidney Smith, which
captured the siege guns sent to Acre by sea and aided the Turks in
the defense of the fortress. In October of 1799 Bonaparte escaped
to France in a frigate. French fleets afterwards made various futile
efforts to succor the forces left in Egypt, which finally surrendered
to an army under Abercromby, just too late to strengthen the British
in the peace negotiations of October, 1801.

Nelson's subsequent activities in command of naval forces in Italian
waters need not detain us. Physically and nervously weakened from
the effects of his wound and arduous campaign, he fell under the
influence of Lady Hamilton and the wretched court of Naples, lent
naval assistance to schemes of doubtful advantage to his country,
and in June of 1800 incurred the displeasure of the Admiralty by
direct disobedience of orders to send support to Minorca. He returned
to England at the close of 1800 with the glory of his victory somewhat
tarnished, and with blemishes on his private character which
unfortunately, as will be seen, affected also his professional

_The Copenhagen Campaign_

Under the rapid scene-shifting of Napoleon, the political stage
had by this time undergone another complete change from that which
followed the battle of the Nile. Partly at least as a consequence
of that battle, the so-called Second Coalition had been formed by
Great Britain, Russia, and Austria, the armies of the two latter
powers, as already stated, carrying the war again to the French
frontiers. It required only the presence of Bonaparte, in supreme
control after the _coup d'état_ of the Eighteenth _Brumaire_
(9 Nov., 1799), to turn the tide, rehabilitate the internal
administration of France, and by the victories of Marengo in June
and Hohenlinden in December of 1800 to force Austria once more to
a separate peace. Paul I of Russia had already fallen out with his
allies and withdrawn his armies and his great general, Suvaroff,
a year before. Now, taken with a romantic admiration for Napoleon,
and angry when the British, after retaking Malta, refused to turn
it over to him as Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, he was
easily manipulated by Napoleon into active support of the latter's
next move against England.

This was the Armed Neutrality of 1800, the object of which, from
the French standpoint, was to close to England the markets of the
North, and combine against her the naval forces of the Baltic.
Under French and Russian pressure, and in spite of the fact that
all these northern nations stood to suffer in one way or another
from rupture of trade relations with England, the coalition was
accomplished in December, 1800; Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark
pledging themselves to resist infringements of neutral rights,
whether by extension of contraband lists, seizure of enemy goods
under neutral flag, search of vessels guaranteed innocent by their
naval escort, or by other methods familiar then as in later times.
These were measures which England, aiming both to ruin the trade
of France and to cut off her naval supplies, felt bound to insist
upon as the belligerent privileges of sea power.

To overcome this new danger called for a mixture of force and diplomacy,
which England supplied by sending to Denmark an envoy with a 48-hour
ultimatum, and along with him 20 ships-of-the-line, which according
to Nelson were "the best negotiators in Europe." The commander in
chief of this squadron was Sir Hyde Parker, a hesitant and mediocre
leader who could be trusted to do nothing (if that were necessary),
and Nelson was made second in command. Influence, seniority, a clean
record, and what-not, often lead to such choices, bad enough at
any time but indefensible in time of war. Fortunately for England,
when the reply of the Danish court showed that force was required,
the two admirals virtually changed places with less friction than
might have been expected, and Nelson "Lifted and carried on his
shoulders the dead weight of his superior,"[1] throughout the ensuing


When the envoy on March 23 returned to the fleet, then anchored in
the Cattegat, he brought an alarming tale of Danish preparations,
and an air of gloom pervaded the flagship when Nelson came aboard
for a council of war. Copenhagen, it will be recalled, is situated
on the eastern coast of Zealand, on the waterway called the Sound
leading southward from the Cattegat to the Baltic. Directly in
front of the city, a long shoal named the Middle Ground separates
the Sound into two navigable channels, the one nearer Copenhagen
known as the King's Deep (_Kongedyb_). The defenses of the Danish
capital, so the envoy reported, were planned against attack from
the northward. At this end of the line the formidable Trekroner
Battery (68 guns), together with two ships-of-the-line and some
smaller vessels, defended the narrow entrance to the harbor; while
protecting the city to the southward, along the flats at the edge
of the King's Deep, was drawn up an array of about 37 craft ranging
from ships-of-the-line to mere scows, mounting a total of 628 guns,
and supported at some distance by batteries on land. Filled with
patriotic ardor, half the male population of the city had volunteered
to support the forces manning these batteries afloat and ashore.

Nelson's plan for meeting these obstacles, as well as his view of
the whole situation, as presented at the council, was embodied in
a memorandum dated the following day, which well illustrates his
grasp of a general strategic problem. The Government's instructions,
as well as Parker's preference, were apparently to wait in the
Cattegat until the combined enemy forces should choose to come
out and fight. Instead, the second in command advocated immediate
action. "Not a moment," he wrote, "should be lost in attacking the
enemy; they will every day and hour be stronger." The best course,
in his opinion, would be to take the whole fleet at once into the
Baltic against Russia, as a "home stroke," which if successful
would bring down the coalition like a house of cards. If the Danes
must first be dealt with, he proposed, instead of a direct attack,
which would be "taking the bull by the horns," an attack from the
rear. In order to do so, the fleet could get beyond the city either
by passing through the Great Belt south of Zealand, or directly
through the Sound. Another resultant advantage, in case the five
Swedish sail of the line or the 14 Russian ships at Revel should
take the offensive, would be that of central position, between
the enemy divisions.

"Supposing us through the Belt," the letter concludes, "with the
wind northwesterly, would it not be possible to either go with
the fleet or detach ten Ships of three and two decks, with one
Bomb and two Fireships, to Revel, to destroy the Russian squadron
at that place? I do not see the great risk of such a detachment,
and with the remainder to attempt the business at Copenhagen. The
measure may be thought bold, but I am of the opinion that the boldest
measures are the safest; and our Country demands a most vigorous
assertion of her force, directed with judgment."

Here was a striking plan of aggressive warfare, aimed at the heart of
the coalition. The proposal to leave part of the fleet at Copenhagen
was indeed a dangerous compromise, involving divided forces and
threatened communications, but was perhaps justified by the known
inefficiency of the Russians and the fact that the Danes were actually
fought and defeated with a force no greater than the plan provided.
In the end the more conservative course was adopted of settling
with Denmark first. Keeping well to the eastern shore, the fleet
on March 30 passed into the Sound without injury from the fire of
the Kronenburg forts at its entrance, and anchored that evening
near Copenhagen.

Three days later, on April 2, 1801, the attack was made as planned,
from the southward end of the Middle Ground. Nelson in the _Elephant_
commanded the fighting squadron, which consisted of seven 74's,
three 64's and two of 50 guns, with 18 bomb vessels, sloops, and
fireships. The rest of the ships, under Parker, were anchored at
the other end of the shoal and 5 miles north of the city; it seems
they were to have coöperated, but the south wind which Nelson needed
made attack impossible for them. Against the Danish total of 696
guns on the ships and Trekroner fortification, Nelson's squadron
had 1014, but three of his main units grounded during the approach
and were of little service. There was no effort at concentration,
the British when in position engaging the whole southern part of
the Danish line. "Here," in the words of Nelson's later description,
"was no maneuvering; it was downright fighting"--a hotly contested
action against ships and shore batteries lasting from 10 a. m., when
the _Elephant_ led into position on the bow of Commodore Fischer's
flagship _Dannebroge_, until about one.

In the midst of the engagement, as Nelson restlessly paced the
quarterdeck, he caught sight of the signal "Leave off action" flown
from Sir Hyde's flagship. Instead of transmitting the signal to the
vessels under him, Nelson kept his own for "Close action" hoisted.
Colonel Stewart, who was on board at the time, continues the story as
follows: "He also observed, I believe to Captain Foley, 'You know,
Foley, I have only one eye--I have a right to be blind sometimes';
and then with an archness peculiar to his character, putting the
glass to his blind eye, he exclaimed, 'I really do not see the
signal.'" It was obeyed, however, by the light vessels under Captain
Riou attacking the Trekroner battery, which were suffering severely,
and which could also more easily effect a retreat.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN, APRIL 2, 1801]

Shortly afterward the Danish fire began to slacken and several
of the floating batteries surrendered, though before they could
be taken they were frequently remanned by fresh forces from the
shore. Enough had been accomplished; and to end a difficult
situation--if not to extricate himself from it--Nelson sent the
following summons addressed "To the brothers of Englishmen, the
Danes": "Lord Nelson has orders to spare Denmark when no longer
resisting; if the firing is continued on the part of Denmark, Lord
Nelson will be obliged to set fire to the floating batteries he
has taken, without having the power of saving the brave Danes who
have defended them."

A truce followed, during which Nelson removed his ships. Next day
he went ashore to open negotiations, while at the same time he
brought bomb vessels into position to bombard the city. The cessation
of hostilities was the more readily agreed to by the Danes owing
to the fact that on the night before the battle they had received
news, which they still kept concealed from the British, of the
assassination of the Czar Paul. His successor, they knew, would be
forced to adopt a policy more favorable to the true interests of
Russian trade. The league in fact was on the verge of collapse. A
fourteen weeks' armistice was signed with Denmark. On April 12 the
fleet moved into the Baltic, and on May 5, Nelson having succeeded
Parker in command, it went on to Revel, whence the Russian squadron
had escaped through the ice to Kronstadt ten days before. On June
17 a convention was signed with Russia and later accepted by the
other northern states, by which Great Britain conceded that neutrals
might engage in trade from one enemy port to another, with the
important exception of _colonial_ ports, and that naval stores
should not be contraband; whereas Russia agreed that enemy goods
under certain conditions might be seized in neutral ships, and
that vessels under naval escort might be searched by ships-of-war.
In the meantime, Nelson, realizing that active operations were
over with, resigned his command.

In the opinion of the French naval critic Gravière, the campaign
thus ended constitutes in the eyes of seamen Nelson's best title to
fame--"_son plus beau titre gloire._"[1] Certainly it called forth
the most varied talents--grasp of the political and strategical
situation; tact and force of personality in dealing with an inert
commander in chief; energy in overcoming not only military obstacles
but the doubts and scruples of fellow officers; aggressiveness in
battle; and skill in negotiations. In view of the Czar's murder--of
which the British Government would seem to have had an inkling
beforehand--it may be thought that less strenuous methods would
have served. On the contrary, however, hundreds of British merchant
vessels had been seized in northern ports, trade had been stopped,
and the nation was threatened with a dangerous increment to her
foes. Furthermore, after a brief interval of peace, Great Britain
had to face ten years more of desperate warfare, during which nothing
served her better than that at Copenhagen the northern neutrals
had had a sharp taste of British naval power. Force was needed.
That it was employed economically is shown by the fact that, when a
renewal of peace between France and Russia in 1807 again threatened
a northern confederation, Nelson's accomplishment with 12 ships
was duplicated, but this time with 25 of the line, 40 frigates,
27,000 troops, the bombardment of Copenhagen, and a regular land

[Footnote 1: GUERRES MARITIMES, Vol. II, p. 43.]

Upon Nelson's return to England, popular clamor practically forced
his appointment to command the Channel defense flotilla against
the French armies which were now once more concentrated on the
northern coast. This service lasted for only a brief period until
the signing of peace preliminaries in October, 1801.

During the eight years of hostilities thus ended Great Britain, it
is true, had been fighting largely on the defensive, but on a line
of defense carried to the enemy's sea frontiers and comparable to
siege lines about a city or fortress, which, when once established,
thrust upon the enemy the problem of breaking through. The efforts
of France to pierce this barrier, exerted in various directions
and by various means, were, as we have seen, defeated by naval
engagements, which insured to England the control of the sea. During
this period, France lost altogether 55 ships-of-the-line, Holland
18, Spain 10, and Denmark 2, a total of 85, of which at least 50
were captured by the enemy. Great Britain lost 20, but only 5 by
capture. The British battle fleet at the close of hostilities had
increased to 189 capital ships; that of France had shrunk to 45.

For purposes of commerce warfare the French navy had suffered the
withdrawal of many of its smaller fighting vessels and large numbers
of its best seamen, attracted into privateering by the better promise
of profit and adventure. As a result of this warfare, about 3500
British merchantmen were destroyed, an average of 500 a year,
representing an annual loss of 2-1/2 per cent of all the ships of
British register. But in the meantime the French merchant marine
and commerce had been literally swept off the seas. In 1799 the
Directory admitted there was "not a single merchant ship on the seas
carrying the French flag." French imports from Asia, Africa, and
America in 1800 amounted to only $300,000, and exports to $56,000,
whereas England's total export and import trade had nearly doubled,
from 44-1/2 million pounds sterling in 1792 to nearly 78 million in
1800. It is true that, owing to the exigencies of war, the amount of
British shipping employed in this trade actually fell off slightly,
and that of neutrals increased from 13 to 34%. But the profits
went chiefly to British merchants. England had become the great
storehouse and carrier for the Continent, "Commerce," in the phrase
engraved on the elder Pitt's monument, "being united with and made
to flourish by war."[1]

[Footnote 1: Figures on naval losses from Gravière, GUERRES MARITIMES,
Vol. II, ch. VII, and on commerce, from Mahan, FRENCH REVOLUTION


See end of Chapter XIII, page 285.



The peace finally ratified at Amiens in March, 1802, failed to
accomplish any of the purposes for which England had entered the
war. France not only maintained her frontiers on the Scheldt and
the Rhine, but still exercised a predominant influence in Holland
and western Italy, and excluded British trade from territories
under her control. Until French troops were withdrawn from Holland,
as called for by the treaty, England refused to evacuate Malta.
Bonaparte, who wished further breathing space to build up the French
navy, tried vainly to postpone hostilities by threatening to invade
England and exclude her from all continental markets. "It will be
England," he declared, "that forces us to conquer Europe." The
war reopened in May of 1803.

With no immediate danger on the Continent and with all the resources
of a regenerated France at his command, Bonaparte now undertook
the project of a descent upon England on such a scale as never
before. Hazardous as he always realized the operation to be--it
was a thousand to one chance, he told the British envoys, that he
and his army would end at the bottom of the sea--he was definitely
committed to it by his own threats and by the expectation of France
that he would now annihilate her hereditary foe.

_Napoleon's Plan of Invasion_

An army of 130,000 men, with 400 guns and 20 days' supplies, was
to embark from four ports close to Boulogne as a center, and cross
the 36 miles of Channel to a favorable stretch of coast between
Dover and Hastings, distant from London some 70 miles. The transport
flotilla, as finally planned, was to consist of 2000 or more small
flat-bottomed sailing vessels with auxiliary oar propulsion-_chaloupes_
and _bateaux canonnières_, from 60 to 80 feet over all, not over 8
feet in draft, with from two to four guns and a capacity for 100
to 150 men. Large open boats (_péniches_) were also to be used,
and all available coast craft for transport of horses and supplies.
Shipyards from the Scheldt to the Gironde were soon busy building
the special flotilla, and as fast as they were finished they skirted
the shores to the points of concentration under protection of coast
batteries. Extensive harbor and defense works were undertaken at
Boulogne and neighboring ports, and the 120 miles from the Scheldt
to the Somme was soon bristling with artillery, in General Marmont's
phrase, "a coast of iron and bronze."

The impression was spread abroad that the crossing was to be effected
by stealth, in calm, fog, or the darkness of a long winter night,
without the protection of a fleet. Almost from the first, however,
Bonaparte seems to have had no such intention. The armament of the
flotilla itself proved of slight value, and he was resolved to
take no uncalled-for risks, on an unfamiliar element, with 100,000
men. An essential condition, which greatly complicated the whole
undertaking, became the concentration of naval forces in the Channel
sufficient to secure temporary control. "Let us be masters of the
Strait for 6 hours," Napoleon wrote to Latouche-Treville in command
of the Toulon fleet, "and we shall be masters of the world." In
less rhetorical moments he extended the necessary period to from
two to fifteen days.

Up to the spring of 1804 neither army nor flotilla was fully ready,
and thereafter the crossing was always definitely conditioned upon a
naval concentration. But the whole plan called for swift execution.
As time lapsed, difficulties multiplied. Harbors silted up, transports
were wrecked by storms, British defense measures on land and sea grew
more formidable, the Continental situation became more threatening.
The Boulogne army thus became more and more--what Napoleon perhaps
falsely declared later it had always been--an army concentrated
against Austria. To get a fleet into the Channel without a battle
was almost impossible, and once in, its position would be dangerous
in the extreme. Towards the end, in the opinion of the French student
Colonel Desbrière, Napoleon's chief motive in pressing for fleet
coöperation was the belief that it would lead to a decisive naval
action which, though a defeat, would shift from his own head the
odium of failure.

Whether this theory is fully accepted or not, the fact remains that
the only sure way of conquering England was by a naval contest.
Her first and main defense was the British fleet, which, spread out
to the limits of safety to watch French ships wherever harbored,
guarded not only against a concentration in the Channel, but against
incursions into other fields. The immediate defense of the coasts was
intrusted to flotillas of armed boats, over 700 in all, distributed
along the coast from Leith south-about to Glasgow, with 100 on the
coast of Ireland. Naval men looked upon these as of slight value,
a concession, according to Earl St. Vincent, to "the old women
in and out" (of both sexes) at home. The distribution of the main
battle squadrons varied, but in March, 1805, at the opening of the
Trafalgar campaign they were stationed as follows: Boulogne and the
Dutch forces were watched by Admiral Keith with 11 of the line and
150 smaller units scattered from the Texel to the Channel Islands.
The 21 French ships under Ganteaume at Brest, the strategic center,
were closely blockaded by Cornwallis, whose force, by Admiralty
orders, was not to fall below 18 of the line. A small squadron had
been watching Missiessy's 5 ships at Rochefort and upon his escape
in January had followed him to the West Indies. The 5 French and 10
Spanish at Ferrol and the 6 or more ready for sea at Cadiz were
held in check by forces barely adequate. In the Gulf of Lyons Nelson
with 13 ships had since May, 1803, stood outside the distant but
dangerous station of Toulon. Owing to the remoteness from bases,
a close and constant blockade was here impossible; moreover, it
was the policy to let the enemy get out in the hope of bringing
him to action at sea.


To effect a concentration in the Channel in the face of these obstacles
was the final aim of all Napoleon's varied naval combinations of
1804 and 1805--combinations which impress one with the truth of
Gravière's criticism that the Emperor lacked "_le sentiment exact
des difficultes de la marine_," and especially, one should perhaps
add, _de la marine française_. The first plan, the simplest and,
therefore, most promising, was that Latouche Treville with the
Toulon fleet should evade Nelson and, after releasing ships on
the way, enter the Channel with 16 of the line, while Cornwallis
was kept occupied by Ganteaume. This was upset by the death of
Latouche, France's ablest and most energetic admiral, in August
of 1804, and by the accession, two months later, of Spain and the
Spanish navy to the French cause. After many misgivings Napoleon
chose Villeneuve to succeed at Toulon. Skilled in his profession,
honest, and devoted, he was fatally lacking in self-confidence
and energy to conquer difficulties. "It is sad," wrote an officer
in the fleet, "to see that force which under Latouche was full of
activity, now without faith in either their leader or themselves."

The final plan, though still subject to modifications, was for
a concentration on a larger scale in the West Indies. Villeneuve
was to go thither, picking up the Cadiz ships on the way, join
the Rochefort squadron if it were still there, and wait 40 days
for the Brest fleet. Upon its arrival the entire force of 40 ships
was to move swiftly back to the Channel. It was assumed that the
British squadrons, in alarm for the colonies, would in the meantime
be scattered in pursuit.

_The Pursuit of Villeneuve_

Villeneuve put to sea in a rising gale on January 17, 1805, but
was soon back in port with damaged ships, the only effect being
to send Nelson clear to Egypt in search of him. A successful start
was made on March 30. Refusing to wait for 5 Spanish vessels at
Carthagena, Villeneuve with 11 sail reached Cadiz on April 9, picked
up one French vessel and two Spanish under Admiral Gravina, and
leaving 4 more to follow was off safely on the same night for the
West Indies.

From Gibraltar to the Admiralty in London, Villeneuve's appearance
in the Atlantic created a profound stir. His departure from Cadiz
was known, but not whither he had gone. The five ships on the Cadiz
blockade fell back at once to the Channel. A fast frigate from
Gibraltar carried the warning to Calder off Ferrol and to the Brest
blockade, whence it reached London on April 25. A convoy for Malta
and Sicily with 6000 troops under Gen. Craig--a pledge which Russia
called for before sending her own forces to southern Italy--was already
a week on its way and might fall an easy victim. In consequence of
an upheaval at the Admiralty, Lord Barham, a former naval officer
now nearly 80 years of age, had just begun his memorable 9 months'
administration as First Lord of the Admiralty and director of the
naval war. Immediately a whole series of orders went out to the
fleets to insure the safety of the troop ships, the maintenance of
the Ferrol blockade, an eventual strengthening of forces outside
the Channel, and the safety of the Antilles in case Villeneuve
had gone there.

Where was Nelson? His scout frigates by bad judgment had lost Villeneuve
on the night of March 31 east of Minorca, with no clue to his future
course. Nelson took station between Sardinia and the African coast,
resolved not to move till he "knew something positive." In the
absence of information, the safety of Naples, Sicily, and Egypt
was perhaps not merely an obsession on his part, but a proper
professional concern; but it is strange that no inkling should
have reached him from the Admiralty or elsewhere that a western
movement from Toulon was the only one Napoleon now had in mind.
It was April 18 before he received further news of the enemy, and
not until May 5 was he able to get up to and through the Straits
against steady head winds; even then he could not, as he said,
"run to the West Indies without something beyond mere surmise."
Definite reports from Cadiz that the enemy had gone thither reached
him through an Admiral Campbell in the Portuguese service, and were
confirmed by the fact that they had been seen nowhere to northward.
On the 12th, leaving the _Royal Sovereign_ (100) to strengthen
the escort of Craig's convoy, which had now appeared, he set out
westward with 10 ships in pursuit of the enemy's 18.

He reached Barbados on June 4, only 21 days after Villeneuve's
arrival at Martinique. The latter had found that the Rochefort
squadron--as a result of faulty transmission of Napoleon's innumerable
orders--was already back in Europe, and that the Brest squadron had
not come. In fact, held tight in the grip of Cornwallis, it was
destined never to leave port. But a reënforcement of 2 ships had
reached Villeneuve with orders to wait 35 days longer and in the
meantime to harry the British colonies. Disgruntled and despondent, he
had scarcely got troops aboard and started north on this mission when
he learned that Nelson was hot on his trail. The troops were hastily
thrown into frigates to protect the French colonies. Without other
provision for their safety, and in disregard of orders, Villeneuve
at once turned back for Europe, hoping the Emperor's schemes would
still be set forward by his joining the ships at Ferrol.

Nelson followed four days later, on June 13, steering for his old
post in the Mediterranean, but at the same time despatching the
fast brig _Curieux_ to England with news of the French fleet's
return. This vessel by great good fortune sighted Villeneuve in
mid-ocean, inferred from his northerly position that he was bound
for Ferrol, and reached Portsmouth on July 8. Barham at the Admiralty
got the news the next morning, angry that he had not been routed out
of bed on the arrival of the captain the night before. By 9 o'clock
the same morning, orders were off to Calder on the Ferrol station
in time so that on the 22d of July he encountered the enemy, still
plowing slowly eastward, some 300 miles west of Cape Finisterre.

As a result of admirable communication work and swift administrative
action the critic of Nelson at Cape St. Vincent now had a chance
to rob the latter of his last victory and end the campaign then
and there. His forces were adequate. Though he had only 14 ships
to 20, his four three-deckers, according to the estimates of the
time, were each worth two of the enemy 74's, and on the other hand,
the 6 Spanish ships with Villeneuve could hardly be counted for
more than three. In the ensuing action, fought in foggy weather,
two of the Spanish were captured and one of Calder's three-deckers
was so injured that it had to be detached. The two fleets remained
in contact for three days following, but neither took the aggressive.
In a subsequent court martial Calder was reprimanded for "not having
done his utmost to renew the said engagement and destroy every
ship of the enemy."


On July 27 the Allied fleet staggered into Vigo, and a week later,
after dropping three ships and 1200 sick men, it moved around to
Corunna and Ferrol. Instead of being shaken down and strengthened
by the long cruise, it was, according to the commander's plaintive
letters, in worse plight than when it left Toulon. Nevertheless,
ten days later he was ready to leave port, with 29 units, 14 of them
raw vessels from Ferrol, and 11 of them Spanish. If, as Napoleon
said, France was not going to give up having a navy, something
might still be done. His orders to Villeneuve were to proceed to
Brest and thence to Boulogne. "I count," he ended, "on your zeal
in my service, your love of your country, and your hatred of that
nation which has oppressed us for 40 generations, and which a little
preseverance on your part will now cause to rëenter forever the
ranks of petty powers."[1]

[Footnote 1: Orders of 26 July, Desbrière, PROJETS, Vol. V, p. 672.]

Such were Villeneuve's instructions, the wisdom or sincerity of
which it was scarcely his privilege to question (though it may
be ours). In passing judgment on his failure to execute them it
should be remembered that two months later, to avoid the personal
disgrace of being superseded, he took his fleet out to more certain
disaster than that which it now faced in striking northward from
Corunna. "_Un poltron du tête et non de la cœur_"[2] the French
Admiral was handicapped throughout by a paralyzing sense of the
things he could not do.

[Footnote 2: Gravière II, 136.]

If he had sailer northward he would have found the British fleet
divided. Nelson, it is true, after returning to Cadiz had fallen
back from Gibraltar to the Channel, where he left his eleven ships
with the Brest squadron in remarkable condition after more than two
years at sea. Calder had also joined, bringing Cornwallis' total
strength to 39. These stood between the 21 French at Brest and
the 29 at Ferrol. But on August 16 Cornwallis divided his forces,
keeping 18 (including 10 three-deckers) and sending Calder back to
the Spanish coast with the rest. Napoleon called this a disgraceful
blunder (_insigne bêtise_), and Mahan adds, "This censure was just."
Sir Julian Corbeh says it was a "master stroke... in all the campaign
there is no movement--not even Nelson's chase of Villeneuve--that
breathes more deeply the true spirit of war." According to Napoleon,
Villeneuve might have "played prisoners' base with Calder's squadron
and fallen upon Cornwallis, or with his 30 of the line have beaten
Calder's 20 and obtained a decisive superiority."

So perhaps a Napoleonic admiral. Villeneuve left Ferrol on August
13 and sailed northwest on a heavy northeast wind till the 15th.
Then, his fixed purpose merely strengthened by false news from a
Danish merchantman of 25 British in the vicinity, he turned before
the wind for Cadiz. As soon as he was safely inside, the British
blockaders again closed around the port.

_The Battle of Trafalgar_

After twenty-five days in England, Nelson took command off Cadiz
on September 28, eager for a final blow that would free England for
aggressive war. There was talk of using bomb vessels, Congreve's
rockets, and Francis's (Robert Fulton's) torpedoes to destroy the
enemy in harbor, but it soon became known that Villeneuve would
be forced to put to sea. On October 9, Nelson issued the famous
Memorandum, or battle plan, embodying what he called "the Nelson
touch," and received by his captains with an enthusiasm which the
inspiration of the famous leader no doubt partly explains. This
plan, which had been formulating itself in Nelson's mind as far
back as the pursuit of the French fleet to the West Indies, may
be regarded as the product of his ripest experience and genius;
the praise is perhaps not extravagant that "it seems to gather
up and coördinate every tactical principle that has ever proved

[Footnote 1: Corbett. THE CAMPAIGN OF TRAFALGAR, p. 349.]

[Illustration: NELSON'S VICTORY

Built in 1765. 2162 tons.]

Though the full text of the Memorandum will repay careful study,
its leading principles may be sufficiently indicated by summary.
Assuming 40 British ships to 46 of the enemy (the proportions though
not the numbers of the actual engagement), it provides first that
"the order of sailing is to be the order of battle, placing the
fleet in two lines of 16 ships each, with an advanced squadron of
8 of the fastest sailing two-decked ships." This made for speed
and ease in maneuvering, and was based on the expressed belief
that so many units could not be formed and controlled in the
old-fashioned single line without fatal loss of time. The ships
would now come into action practically in cruising formation, which
was commonly in two columns. The only noteworthy change contemplated
was that the flagships of the first and second in command should
shift from first to third place in their respective columns, and
even this change was not carried out. Perhaps because the total
force was smaller than anticipated, the advance squadron was merged
with the two main divisions on the night before the battle, and
need not be further regarded. Collingwood, the second in command,
was given freedom of initiative by the provision that "after my
intentions are made known to him he will have entire direction
of his line."

The plan next provides, first for attack from to leeward, and second
for attack from to windward. In either case, Collingwood's division
was to bring a superior force to bear on 12 ships of the enemy rear,
while Nelson would "cut two, three or four ships ahead of their
center so far as to ensure getting at their commander in chief."
"Something must be left to chance... but I look with confidence
to a victory before the van of the enemy can succor their rear."
And further, "no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship
alongside that of an enemy."

Of the attack from the windward a very rough diagram is given, thus:


But aside from this diagram, the lines of which are not precisely
straight or parallel in the original, and which can hardly be reconciled
with the instructions in the text, there is no clear indication that
the attack from the windward (as in the actual battle) was to be
delivered in line abreast. What the text says is: "The divisions
of the British fleet will be brought nearly within gunshot of the
enemy's center. The signal will most probably then be given for the
lee line to bear up together, to set all their sails, even steering
sails, in order to get as quickly as possible to the enemy's line
and to cut through." Thus, if we assume a convergent approach in
column, there was to be no slow deployment of the rear or leeward
division into line abreast to make the attack of all its ships
simultaneous; rather, in the words of a captain describing what
really happened, they were simply to "scramble into action" at
best speed. Nor is there any suggestion of a preliminary shift
from line ahead in the case of Nelson's division. Though endless
controversy has raged over the point, the prescribed approach seems
to have been followed fairly closely in the battle.

The concentration upon the rear was not new; in fact, it had become
almost conventional, and was fully anticipated by the enemy. More
originality lay in the manner of "containing" the center and van.
For this purpose, in the first place, the approach was to be at
utmost speed, not under "battle canvas" but with all sail spread.
In the second place, the advance of Nelson's division in column,
led by the flagship, left its precise objective not fully disclosed
to the enemy until the last moment, and open to change as advantage
offered. It could and did threaten the van, and was finally directed
upon the center when Villeneuve's presence there was revealed.
Finally, the very serious danger of enemy concentration upon the head
of the column was mitigated not only by the speed of the approach,
but by the concentration there of three heavy three-deckers. The
plan in general had in view a particular enemy, superior in numbers
but weak in gunnery, slow in maneuver, and likely to avoid decisive
action. It aimed primarily at rapidity of movement, but combined
also the merits of concentration, simplicity, flexibility, and

In this discussion of the scheme of the battle, around which interest
chiefly centers, the actual events of the engagement have been
in some measure anticipated, and may now be told more briefly.
Driven to desperation by the goadings of Napoleon and the news
that Admiral Rosily was approaching to supersede him, Villeneuve
at last resolved to put to sea. "The intention of His Majesty,"
so the Minister of Marine had written, "is to seek in the ranks,
wherever they may be found, officers best suited for superior command,
requiring above all a noble ambition, love of glory, decision of
character, and unbounded courage. His Majesty wishes to destroy that
circumspection which is the reproach of the navy; that defensive
system which paralyzes our fleet and doubles the enemy's. He counts
the loss of vessels nothing if lost with honor; he does not wish
his fleet blockaded by an enemy inferior in strength; and if that
is the situation at Cadiz he advises and orders you to attack."

The Allied fleet worked out of Cadiz on the 19th of October and
on the 20th tacked southward under squally westerly winds. On the
21st, the day of the battle, the wind was still from the west, light
and flawy, with a heavy swell and signs of approaching storm. At dawn
the two fleets were visible to each other, Villeneuve about 9 miles
northeast and to leeward of the British and standing southward from
Cape Trafalgar. The French Admiral had formed his main battle line
of 21 ships, French and Spanish intermingled, with the _Santisima
Trinidad_ (128) in the center and his flagship _Bucentaure_ next;
the remaining 12 under the Spanish Admiral Gravina constituted
a separate squadron stationed to windward to counter an enemy
concentration, which was especially expected upon the rear.

As the British advance already appeared to threaten this end of
their line, the Allied fleet wore together about 9 o'clock, thus
reversing their order, shifting their course northward, and opening
Cadiz as a refuge. The maneuver, not completed until an hour later,
left their line bowed in at the center, with a number of ships slightly
to leeward, while Gravina's squadron mingled with and prolonged
the rear in the new order.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR, OCT. 21, 1805

Position of ships about noon, when _Royal Sovereign_ opened fire.

(From plan by Capt. T. H. Tizard, R.N., British Admiralty Report,

The change, though it aroused Nelson's fear lest his quarry should
escape, facilitated his attack as planned, by exposing the enemy rear
to Collingwood's division. As rapidly as the light airs permitted,
the two British columns bore down, Nelson in the _Victory_ (100)
leading the windward division of 12 ships, closely followed by
the heavy _Neptune_ and _Téméraire_, while Collingwood in the
freshly coppered and refitted _Royal Sovereign_ set a sharp pace
for the 15 sail to leeward. Of the forty ships Nelson had once
counted on, some had not come from England, and a half dozen others
were inside the straits for water. While the enemy were changing
course, Collingwood had signaled his division to shift into a line
of bearing, an order which, though rendered almost ineffective by
his failure to slow down, served to throw the column off slightly
and bring it more nearly parallel to the enemy rear. (See plan.)
Both commanders clung to the lead and pushed ahead as if racing
into the fray, thus effectually preventing deployment and leaving
trailers far behind. Nelson went so far as to try to jockey his
old friend out of first place by ordering the _Mars_ to pass him,
but Collingwood set his studding sails and kept his lead. Possibly
it was then he made the remark that he wished Nelson would make no
more signals, as they all knew what they had to do, rather than
after Nelson's famous final message: "England expects that every
man will do his duty."

Nelson, uncertain of Villeneuve's place in the line and anxious to
prevent escape northward, steered for a gap ahead of the _Santisima
Trinidad_, as if to threaten the van. But at 12:00 noon, as the
first shots were fired at the _Royal Sovereign_, flags were broken
from all ships, and Villeneuve's location revealed. Swinging to
southward under heavy fire, the _Victory_ passed under the stern
of the _Bucentaure_ and then crashed into the _Redoutable_, which
had pushed close up to the flagship. The relative effectiveness
of the gunnery in the two fleets is suggested by the fact that
the _Victory_ while coming in under the enemy's concentrated fire
had only 50 killed and wounded, whereas the raking broadside she
finally poured into the _Bucentaure's_ stern is said to have swept
down 400 men. Almost simultaneously with the leader, the _Téméraire_
and _Neptune_ plunged into the line, the former closing with the
_Bucentaure_ and the latter with the _Santisima Trinidad_ ahead.
Other ships soon thrust into the terrific artillery combat which
centered around the leaders in a confused mingling of friend and

At about 12:10, nearly half an hour before the _Victory_ penetrated
the Allied line, the _Royal Sovereign_ brought up on the leeward
side of the _Santa Ana_, flagship of the Spanish Admiral Alava,
after raking both her and the _Fougueux_ astern. The _Santa Ana_
was thirteenth in the actual line, but, as Collingwood knew, there
were 16, counting those to leeward, among the ships he had thus
cut off for his division to subdue. As a combined effect of the
light breeze and the manner of attack, it was an hour or more before
the action was made general by the advent of British ships in the
rear. All these suffered as they closed, but far less than those
near the head of the line. Of the total British casualties fully
a third fell upon the four leading ships--_Victory, Téméraire,
Royal Sovereign_ and _Belleisle_.

Not until about three o'clock were the shattered but victorious
British in the center threatened by the return of the ten ships in
the Allied van. Culpably slow, however hindered by lack of wind,
several of these joined stragglers from Gravina's division to leeward;
the _Intrépide_, under her brave skipper Infernet, set an example all
might well have followed by steering straight for the _Bucentaure_,
and surrendered only to overwhelming odds; five others under Rear
Admiral Dumanoir skirted to windward and escaped with the loss of
one of their number, cut off by two British late-comers, _Spartiate_
and _Minotaur_.

"Partial firing continued until 4:30, when a victory having been
reported to the Right Honorable Lord Viscount Nelson, he died of
his wound." So reads the _Victory's_ log. The flagship had been
in deadly grapple with the _Redoutable_, whose complement, like
that of many another French and Spanish ship in the action, showed
that the decadence of their navies was not due to lack of fighting
spirit in the rank and file. Nelson was mortally wounded by a musket
shot from the mizzen-top soon after the ships closed. In his hour
of supreme achievement death came not ungraciously, giving final
assurance of the glory which no man ever faced death more eagerly
to win.

Of the Allied fleet, four fled with Dumanoir, but were later engaged
and captured by a British squadron near Corunna. Eleven badly battered
survivors escaped into Cadiz. Of the 18 captured, 11 were wrecked or
destroyed in the gales that swept the coast for several days after
the battle; three were recaptured or turned back to their crews
by the prize-masters, and only four eventually reached Gibraltar.

[Illustration: TRAFALGAR, ABOUT 12:30

From plan attached to report of Capt. Prigny, Villeneuve's Chief
of Staff (Deshrière, _Trafalgar_, App. p. 128.)]

The Trafalgar victory did not indeed reduce France to terms, and
it thus illustrates the limitations of naval power against an enemy
not primarily dependent upon the sea. But it freed England from
further threat of invasion, clinched her naval predominance, and
opened to her the prospect of taking a more aggressive part in
the land war. Even this prospect was soon temporarily thrust into
the background. On the very day of Trafalgar Napoleon's bulletins
announced the surrender of 60,000 Austrians at Ulm, and the Battle
of Austerlitz a month later crushed the Third Coalition. The small
British contingents in Germany and southern Italy hastened back to
their transports. It was only later, when France was approaching
exhaustion, that British forces in the Spanish peninsula and elsewhere
took a conspicuous part in the Continental war.

_The Continental System_

England's real offensive strength lay not in her armies but in
her grip on Europe's intercourse with the rest of the world. And
on the other hand, the only blow that Napoleon could still strike
at his chief enemy was to shut her from the markets of Europe--to
"defeat the sea by the land." This was the aim of his Continental
System. It meant a test of endurance--whether he could force France
and the rest of Europe to undergo the tremendous strain of commercial
isolation for a sufficient period to reduce England to ruin.

The Continental System came into being with Napoleon's famous Berlin
Decree of November, 1806, which, declaring a "paper" blockade of the
British Isles, put all trade with England under the ban. Under this
decree and later supplementary measures, goods of British origin,
whatever their subsequent ownership, were confiscated or destroyed
wherever French agents could lay hands on them; and neutral vessels
were seized and condemned for entering British ports, accepting
British convoy, or even submitting to British search.

England's chief retaliatory measure was the Orders in Council of
November, 1807. Her object in these orders and later modifications
was not to cut off trade with the Continent, but to control it to
her own profit and the injury of the enemy--in short, "no trade
except through England." The orders aimed to compel the aid of
neutrals by excluding neutral ships from the Continent unless they
should first enter British ports, pay British dues, and (as would
be an inevitable consequence) give covert assistance in carrying
on British trade.

The Continental System reached its greatest efficiency during the
apogée of Napoleon's power in 1809 and 1810. To check forbidden
traffic, which continued on an enormous scale, he annexed Holland
to his empire, and threw a triple cordon of French troops along
Germany's sea frontier. As a result, in the critical year of 1811
goods piled up in British warehouses, factories closed, bankruptcies
doubled, and her financial system tottered.[1] But to bar the tide
of commerce at every port from Trieste to Riga was like trying
to stem the sea. At each leak in the barrier, sugar, coffee, and
British manufactures poured in, and were paid for at triple or
tenfold prices, not in exports, but in coin. Malta, the Channel
Islands, and Heligoland (seized by England from Denmark in 1807)
became centers of smuggling. The beginning of the end came when
the Czar, tired of French dictation and a policy ruinous to his
country, opened his ports, first to colonial products (December,
1810), and a year later to all British wares. Six hundred vessels,
brought under British convoy into the Baltic, docked at Libau,
and caravans of wagons filled the roads leading east and south.

[Footnote 1: In spite of this crisis, British trade showed progressive
increase in each half decade from 1800 to 1815, and did not fall off
again until the five years after the war. The figures (in millions
of pounds sterling) follow: 1801-05, 61 million; 1806-10, 67 million;
1811-15, 74 million; 1816-20, 60 million.--Day, HISTORY OF COMMERCE,
p. 355.]

In June of 1812 Napoleon gathered his "army of twenty nations" for
the fatal Russian campaign. Now that they had served their purpose,
England on June 23 revoked her Orders in Council. The Continental
System had failed.

_The War of 1812_

In the same month, on June 18, the United States declared war on
Great Britain. Up to 1807 her commerce and shipping, in the words
of President Monroe, had "flourished beyond example," as shown by
the single fact that her re-export trade (in West Indies products)
was greater in that year than ever again until 1915.[1] Later they
had suffered from the coercion of both belligerents, and from her
own futile countermeasures of embargo and non-intercourse. Her
final declaration came tardily, if not indeed unwisely as a matter
of practical policy, however abundantly justified by England's
commercial restrictions and her seizure of American as well as
British seamen on American ships. An additional motive, which had
decisive weight with the dominant western faction in Congress,
was the hope of gaining Canada or at least extending the northern

[Footnote 1: United States exports rose from a value of 56 million
dollars in 1803 to 108 million in 1807; then fell to 22 million in
1808, and after rising to about 50 million before the war, went
down to 6 million in 1814.--_Ibid._, p 480.]

A subordinate episode in the world conflict, the War of 1812 cannot
be neglected in naval annals. The tiny American navy retrieved
the failures of American land forces, and shook the British navy
out of a notorious slackness in gunnery and discipline engendered
by its easy victories against France and Spain.

In size the British Navy in 1812 was more formidable than at any
earlier period of the general war. Transport work with expeditionary
forces, blockade and patrol in European waters, and commerce protection
from the China Sea to the Baltic had in September, 1812, increased
the fleet to 686 vessels in active service, including 120 of the
line and 145 frigates. There were 75 in all on American stations,
against the total American Navy of 16, of which the best were the fine
44-gun frigates _Constitution, President_ and _United States_.
In the face of such odds, and especially as England's European
preoccupations relaxed, the result was inevitable. After the first
year of war, while a swarm of privateers and smaller war vessels
still took heavy toll of British commerce, the frigates were blockaded
in American ports and American commerce was destroyed.

But before the blockade closed down, four frigate actions had been
fought, three of them American victories. In each instance, as will
be seen from the accompanying table, the advantage in weight of
broadside was with the victor. The American frigates were in fact
triumphs of American shipbuilding, finer in lines, more strongly
timbered, and more heavily gunned than British ships of their class.
But that good gunnery and seamanship figured in the results is
borne out by the fact that of the eight sloop actions fought during
the war, with a closer approach to equality of strength, seven
were American victories. The British carronades that had pounded
French ships at close range proved useless against opponents that
knew how to choose and hold their distance and could shoot straight
with long 24'S.

                  |          |    |Wt. of|    |Casu- |
     Ship[1]      |Commander |Guns|broad-|Crew|alties|  Place and date
                  |          |    |side  |    |      |
Constitution[2]   |Hull      | 54 |  684 |456 |  14  |750 miles east of
                  |          |    |      |    |      | Boston, Aug. 19,
Guerrière (Brit.) |Dacres    | 49 |  556 |272 |  79  | 1812.
United States[2]  |Decatur   | 54 |  786 |478 |  12  |Off Canary Islands,
Macedonian (Brit.)|Carden    | 49 |  547 |301 | 104  | Oct. 25. 1812.
Constitution[2]   |Bainbridge| 52 |  654 |475 |  34  |Near Bahia, Dec.
Java (Brit.)      |Lambert   | 49 |  576 |426 | 150  | 29, 1812.
Chesapeake        |Lawrence  | 50 |  542 |379 | 148  |Off Boston, June 1,
Shannon (Brit.)[2]|Broke     | 52 |  550 |330 |  83  | 1813.

[Footnote 1: The figures are from Roosevelt's NAVAL WAR OF 1812,
in which 7% is deducted for the short weight of American shot.]

[Footnote 2: Victorious.]

"It seems," said a writer in the London _Times_, "that the Americans
have some superior mode of firing." But when Broke with his crack
crew in the _Shannon_ beat the _Chesapeake_ fresh out of port, he
demonstrated, as had the Americans in other actions, that the
superiority was primarily a matter of training and skill.

On the Great Lakes America's naval efforts should have centered,
for here was her main objective and here she was on equal terms.
Both sides were tremendously hampered in communications with their
main sources of supply. But with an approach from the sea to Montreal,
the British faced no more serious obstacle in the rapids of the St.
Lawrence above than did the Americans on the long route up the
Mohawk, over portages into Oneida Lake, and thence down the Oswego
to Ontario, or else from eastern Pennsylvania over the mountains to
Lake Erie. The wilderness waterways on both sides soon saw the
strange spectacle of immense anchors, cables, cannon, and ship
tackle of all kinds, as well as armies of sailors, shipwrights,
and riggers, making their way to the new rival bases at Sackett's
Harbor and Kingston, both near the foot of Lake Ontario.

Of the whole lake and river frontier, Ontario was of the most vital
importance. A decisive American victory here, including the capture
of Kingston, would cut enemy communications and settle the control
of all western Canada. Kingston as an objective had the advantage
over Montreal that it was beyond the direct reach of the British
navy. The British, fully realizing the situation, made every effort
to build up their naval forces on this lake, and gave Commodore Yeo,
who was in command, strict orders to avoid action unless certain
of success. On the other hand, the American commander, Chauncey,
though an energetic organizer, made the mistake of assuming that his
mission was also defensive. Hence when one fleet was strengthened by
a new ship it went out and chased the other off the lake, but there
was little fighting, both sides engaging in a grand shipbuilding
rivalry and playing for a sure thing. Naval control remained unsettled
and shifting throughout the war. It was fortunate, indeed, says
the British historian, James, that the war ended when it did, or
there would not have been room on the lake to maneuver the two
fleets. The _St. Lawrence_, a 112-gun three-decker completed at
Kingston in 1814, was at the time the largest man-of-war in the

Possibly a growing lukewarmness about the war, manifested on both
sides, prevented more aggressive action. But it did not prevent two
brilliant American victories in the lesser theaters of Lake Erie
and Lake Champlain. Perry's achievement on Lake Erie in building
a superior flotilla in the face of all manner of obstacles was even
greater than that of the victory itself. The result of the latter,
won on September 10, 1813, is summed up in his despatch: "We have
met the enemy and they are ours--2 ships, 2 brigs, 1 schooner, and
1 sloop." It assured the safety of the northwestern frontier.

On Lake Champlain Macdonough's successful defense just a year later
held up an invasion which, though it would not have been pushed
very strenuously in any case, might have made our position less
favorable for the peace negotiations then already under way. In
this action, as in the one on Lake Erie, the total strength of each
of the opposing flotillas, measured in weight of broadsides (1192
pounds for the British against 1194 far the Americans), was about
that of a single ship-of-the-line. But the number of units employed
raised all the problems of a squadron engagement. Macdonough's
shrewd choice of position in Plattsburg Bay, imposing upon the
enemy a difficult approach under a raking fire, and his excellent
handling of his ships in action, justify his selection as the ablest
American naval leader developed by the war.

At the outbreak of the American War, France and England had been
engaged in a death grapple in which the rights of neutrals were
trampled under foot. Napoleon, by his paper blockade and confiscations
on any pretext, had been a more glaring offender. But America's
quarrel was after all not with France, who needed American trade,
but with England, a commercial rival, who could back her restrictions
by naval power. Once France was out of the war, the United States
found it easy to come to terms with England, whose commerce was
suffering severely from American privateers.[1] At the close of the
war the questions at issue when it began had dropped into abeyance,
and were not mentioned in the treaty terms.

[Footnote 1: According to figures cited in Mahan's WAR OF 1812, (Vol.
II, p. 224), 22 American naval vessels took 165 British prizes, and
526 privateers took 1344 prizes. In the absence of adequate motives
on either side for prolonging the war, these losses, though not
more severe than those inflicted by French cruisers, were decisive
factors for peace.]

The view taken of the aggressions of sea power in the Napoleonic
Wars will depend largely on the view taken regarding the justice of
the cause in which it fought. It saved the Continent from military
conquest. It preserved the European balance of power, a balance
which statesmen of that age deemed essential to the safety of Europe
and the best interests of America and the rest of the world. On
the other hand, but for the sacrifices of England's land allies,
the Continental System would have forced her to make peace, though
still undefeated at sea. Even if her territorial accessions were
slight, England came out of the war undisputed "mistress of the
seas" as she had never been before, and for nearly a century to come
was without a dangerous rival in naval power and world commerce.


For general history of the period see: HISTORIES OF THE BRITISH NAVY
by Clowes (Vols. V, VI, 1900) and Hannay (1909), Mahan's INFLUENCE
OF 1812 (1905), Chevalier's HISTOIRE DE LA MARINE FRANçAISE
(1885), Callender's SEA KINGS OF BRITAIN (Vol. III, 1911),
and Maltzahn's NAVAL WARFARE (tr. Miller, 1908).

Among biographies: Mahan's and Laughton's lives of Nelson, Anson's
LIFE OF JERVIS (1913), Clark Russell's LIFE OF COLLINGWOOD (1892),
and briefer sketches in FROM HOWARD TO NELSON, ed. Laughton (1899).

For the Trafalgar campaign see:

British Admiralty blue-book on THE TACTICS OF TRAFALGAR (with
bibliography, 1913), Corbett's CAMPAIGN OF TRAFALGAR (1910), Col.

PREPONDERANCE (1913), and Professor Clive Day's HISTORY OF COMMERCE
(revised edition, 1911, with bibliography).



During the 19th century, from 1815 to 1898, naval power, though
always an important factor in international relations, played in
general a passive rôle. The wars which marked the unification of
Germany and Italy and the thrusting back of Turkey from the Balkans
were fought chiefly on land. The navy of England, though never
more constantly busy in protecting her far-flung empire, was not
challenged to a genuine contest for mastery of the seas. In the
Greek struggle for independence there were two naval engagements
of some consequence--Chios (1822), where the Greeks with fireships
destroyed a Turkish squadron and gained temporary control of the
Ægean, and Navarino (1827), in which a Turkish force consisting
principally of frigates was wiped out by a fleet of the western
powers. But both of these actions were one-sided, and showed nothing
new in types or tactics. In the American Civil War control of the
sea was important and even decisive, but was overwhelmingly in the
hands of the North. Hence the chief naval interest of the period
lies not so much in the fighting as in the revolutionary changes in
ships, weapons, and tactics--changes which parallel the extraordinary
scientific progress of the century; and the engagements may be
studied now, as they were studied then, as testing and illustrating
the new methods and materials of naval war.

_Changes in Ships and Weapons_

Down to the middle of the 19th century there had been only a slow
and slight development in ships and weapons for a period of nearly
300 years. A sailor of the Armada would soon have felt at home in
a three-decker of 1815. But he would have been helpless as a child
in the fire-driven iron monsters that fought at Hampton Roads. The
shift from sail to steam, from oak to iron, from shot to shell, and
from muzzle-loading smoothbore to breech-loading rifle began about
1850; and progress thereafter was so swift that an up-to-date ship
of each succeeding decade was capable of defeating a whole squadron
of ten years before. Success came to depend on the adaptability
and mechanical skill of personnel, as well as their courage and
discipline, and also upon the progressive spirit of constructors
and naval experts, faced with the most difficult problems, the
wrong solution of which would mean the waste of millions of dollars
and possible defeat in war. Every change had to overcome the spirit
of conservatism inherent in military organizations, where seniority
rules, errors are sanctified by age, and every innovation upsets
cherished routine. Thus in the contract for Ericsson's _Monitor_
it was stipulated that she should have masts, spars, and sails!

The first successful steamboat for commerce was, as is well known,
Robert Fulton's flat-bottomed side-wheeler _Clermont_, which in
August, 1807, made the 150 miles from New York to Albany in 32
hours. During the war of 1812 Fulton designed for coast defense
a heavily timbered, double-ender floating battery, with a single
paddle-wheel located inside amidships. On her trial trip in 1815
this first steam man-of-war, the U. S. S. _Fulton_, carried 26 guns
and made over 6 knots, but she was then laid up and was destroyed
a few years later by fire. Ericsson's successful application of
the screw propeller in 1837 made steam propulsion more feasible
for battleships by clearing the decks and eliminating the clumsy
and exposed side-wheels. The first American screw warship was the
U. S. S. _Princeton_, of 1843, but every ship in the American Navy
at the outbreak of the Civil War had at least auxiliary sail rig.
Though by 1850 England had 30 vessels with auxiliary steam, the
_Devastation_ of 1869 was the first in the British service to use
steam exclusively. Long after this time old "floating museums"
with sail rig and smoothbores were retained in most navies for
motives of economy, and even the first ships of the American "White
Squadron" were encumbered with sails and spars.

[Illustration: EARLY IRONCLADS]

Progress in ordnance began about 1822, when explosive shells, hitherto
used only in mortars, were first adopted for ordinary cannon with
horizontal fire. At the time of the Crimean War shells were the
usual ammunition for lower tier guns, and at Sinope in 1853 their
smashing effect against wooden hulls was demonstrated when a Russian
squadron destroyed some Turkish vessels which fired only solid
shot. The great professional cry of the time, we are told, became
"For God's sake, keep out the shell."[1]

[Footnote 1: Custance, THE SHIP OF THE LINE IN BATTLE, p. 9.]

In 1851 Minié rifles supplanted in the British army the old smoothbore
musket or "Brown Bess," with which at ranges above 200 yards it was
difficult to hit a target 11 feet square. This change led quickly
to the rifling of heavy ordnance as well. The first Armstrong rifles
of 1858--named after their inventor, Sir William Armstrong, head
of the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich--included guns up to 7-inch
diameter of bore. The American navy, however, depended chiefly
on smoothbores throughout the Civil War.

Breech-loading, which had been used centuries earlier, came in
again with these first rifles, but after 1865 the British navy
went back to muzzle-loading and stuck to it persistently for the
next 15 years. By that time the breech-loading mechanism had been
simplified, and its adoption became necessary to secure greater length
of gun barrel, increased rapidity of fire, and better protection for
gun-crews. About 1880 quick-fire guns of from 3 to 6 inches, firing
12 or 15 shots a minute, were mounted in secondary batteries.

As already suggested, the necessity for armor arose from the smashing
and splintering effect of shell against wooden targets and the
penetrating power of rifled guns. To attack Russian forts in the
Crimea, the French navy in 1855 built three steam-driven floating
batteries, the _Tonnant, Lave_, and _Dévastation_, each protected
by 4.3-inch plates and mounting 8 56-lb. guns. In the reduction of
the Kinburn batteries, in October of the same year, these boats
suffered little, but were helped out by an overwhelming fire from
wooden ships, 630 guns against 81 in the forts.

The French armored ship _Gloire_ of 1859 caused England serious worry
about her naval supremacy, and led at once to H. M. S. _Warrior_,
like the _Gloire_, full rigged with auxiliary steam. The _Warrior's_
4.5-inch armor, extending from 6 feet below the waterline to 16 feet
above and covering about 42 per cent of the visible target, was
proof against the weapons of the time. At this initial stage in
armored construction, naval experts turned with intense interest
to watch the work of ironclads against ships and forts in the
American Civil War.

_The American Civil War_

The naval activities of this war are too manifold to follow in
detail. For four years the Union navy was kept constantly occupied
with the tasks of blockading over 3000 miles of coast-line, running
down enemy commerce destroyers, cooperating with the army in the
capture of coast strongholds, and opening the Mississippi and other
waterways leading into the heart of the Confederacy. To make the
blockade effective and cut off the South from the rest of the world,
the Federal Government unhesitatingly applied the doctrine of
"continuous voyage," seizing and condemning neutral ships even when
bound from England to Bermuda or the Bahamas, if their cargo was
ultimately destined for Southern ports. The doctrine was declared
inapplicable when the last leg of the journey was by land,[1] doubtless
because there was little danger of heavy traffic across the Mexican
frontier. Blockade runners continued to pour goods into the South
until the fall of Fort Fisher in 1865; but as the blockade became
more stringent, it crippled the finances of the Confederacy, shut
out foodstuffs and munitions, and shortened, if it did not even
have a decisive effect in winning the war.

[Footnote 1: Peterhoff Case, 1866 (5 Wall, 28).]

To meet these measures the South was at first practically without
naval resources, and had to turn at once to new methods of war. Its
first move was to convert the steam frigate _Merrimac_, captured
half-burned with the Norfolk Navy Yard, into an ironclad ram. A
casemate of 4 inches of iron over 22 inches of wood, sloping 35
degrees from the vertical, was extended over 178 feet, or about
two-thirds of her hull. Beyond this structure the decks were awash.
The _Merrimac_ had an armament of 6 smoothbores and 4 rifles, two
of the latter being pivot-guns at bow and stern, and a 1500-lb.
cast-iron beak or ram. With her heavy load of guns and armor she
drew 22 feet aft and could work up a speed of barely 5 knots.

Faced with this danger, the North hurriedly adopted Ericsson's
plan for the _Monitor_,[2] which was contracted for on October
4, 1861, and launched after 100 days. Old marlin-spike seamen
pooh-poohed this "cheesebox on a raft." As a naval officer said,
it might properly be worshiped by its designer, for it was an image
of nothing in the heavens above, or the earth beneath, or the waters
under the earth. It consisted of a revolving turret with 8-inch
armor and two 11-inch smoothbore guns, set on a raft-like structure
142 feet in length by 41-1/2 feet in beam, projecting at bow, stern,
and sides beyond a flat-bottomed lower hull. Though unseaworthy,
the _Monitor_ maneuvered quickly and drew only 10-1/2 feet. She
was first ordered to the Gulf, but on March 6 this destination
was suddenly changed to the Chesapeake.

[Footnote 2: So called by Ericsson because it would "admonish"
the South, and also suggest to England "doubts as to the propriety
of completing four steel-clad ships at three and one-half millions

The South in fact won the race in construction and got its ship
first into action by a margin of just half a day. At noon on March
8, with the iron-workers still driving her last rivets, the _Merrimac_
steamed out of Norfolk and advanced ponderously upon the three sail
and two steam vessels then anchored in Hampton Roads.

In the Northern navy there had been much skepticism about the ironclad
and no concerted plan to meet her attack. Under a rain of fire
from the Union ships, and from share fortifications too distant
to be effective, the _Merrimac_ rammed and sank the sloop-of-war
_Cumberland_, and then, after driving the frigate _Congress_ aground,
riddled her with shells. Towards nightfall the Confederate vessel
moved dawn stream, to continue the slaughter next day.

About 12 o'clock that night, after two days of terrible buffeting
on the voyage down the coast, the little _Monitor_ anchored on
the scene lighted up by the burning wreck of the _Congress_. The
first battle of ironclads began next morning at 8:30 and continued
with slight intermission till noon. It ended in a triumph, not
for either ship, but for armor over guns. The _Monitor_ fired 41
solid shot, 20 of which struck home, but merely cracked some of
the _Merrimac's_ outer plates. The _Monitor_ was hit 22 times by
enemy shells. Neither craft was seriously harmed and not a man was
killed on either side, though several were stunned or otherwise
injured. Lieut. Worden, in command of the _Monitor_, was nearly
blinded by a shell that smashed in the pilot house, a square iron
structure then located not above the turret but on the forward

The drawn battle was hailed as a Northern victory. Imagination
had been drawing dire pictures of what the _Merrimac_ might do. At
a Cabinet meeting in Washington Sunday morning, March 9, Secretary
of War Stanton declared: "The _Merrimac_ will change the course of
the war; she will destroy _seriatim_ every naval vessel; she will
lay all the cities on the seaboard under contribution. I have no
doubt that the enemy is at this minute on the way to Washington, and
that we shall have a shell from one of her guns in the White House
before we leave this room." The menace was somewhat exaggerated. With
her submerged decks, feeble engines, and general awkwardness, the
_Merrimac_ could scarcely navigate in Hampton Roads. In the first
day's fighting her beak was wrenched off and a leak started, two
guns were put out of action, and her funnel and all other top-hamper
were riddled. As was shown by Farragut in Mobile Bay, and again by
Tegetthoff at Lissa, even wooden vessels, if in superior numbers,
might do something against an ironclad in an aggressive mêlée.

Both the antagonists at Hampton Roads ended their careers before
the close of 1862; the _Merrimac_ was burned by her crew at the
evacuation of Norfolk, and the _Monitor_ was sunk under tow in a
gale off Hatteras. But turret ships, monitors, and armored gunboats
soon multiplied in the Union navy and did effective service against
the defenses of Southern harbors and rivers. Under Farragut's energetic
leadership, vessels both armored and unarmored passed with relatively
slight injury the forts below New Orleans, at Vicksburg, and at the
entrance to Mobile Bay. Even granting that the shore artillery was
out of date and not very expertly served, it is well to realize that
similar conditions may conceivably recur, and that the superiority
of forts over ships is qualified by conditions of equipment and

Actually to destroy or capture shore batteries by naval force is
another matter. As Ericsson said, "A single shot will sink a ship,
while 100 rounds cannot silence a fort."[1] Attacks of this kind
against Fort McAllister and Charleston failed. At Charleston, April
7, 1863, the ironclads faced a cross-fire from several forts, 47
smoothbores and 17 rifles against 29 smoothbores and 4 rifles in
the ships, and in waters full of obstructions and mines.

[Footnote 1: Wilson, IRONCLADS IN ACTION, Vol. I, p. 91.]

The capture of Fort Fisher, commanding the main entrance to Wilmington,
North Carolina, was accomplished in January, 1865, by the combined
efforts of the army and navy. The fort, situated on a narrow neck
of land between the Cape Fear River and the sea, had 20 guns on
its land face and 24 on its sea face, 15 of them rifled. Against
it were brought 5 ironclads with 18 guns, backed up by over 200
guns in the rest of the fleet. After a storm of shot and shell
for three successive days, rising at times to "drum-fire," the
barrage was lifted at a signal and troops and sailors dashed forward
from their positions on shore. Even after this preparation the
capture cost 1000 men. As at Kinhurn in the Crimean War, the
effectiveness of the naval forces was due less to protective armor
than to volume of fire.

_Submarines and Torpedoes_

In the defense of Southern harbors, mines and torpedoes for the
first time came into general use, and the submarine scored its
first victim. Experiments with these devices had been going on
for centuries, but were first brought close to practical success
by David Bushnell, a Connecticut Yankee of the American Revolution.
His tiny submarine, resembling a mud-turtle standing on its tail,
embodied many features of modern underwater boats, including a
primitive conning tower, screw propulsion (by foot power), a vertical
screw to drive the craft down, and a detachable magazine with 150
pounds of gunpowder. The _Turtle_ paddled around and even under
British men-of-war off New York and New London, but could not drive
a spike through their copper bottoms to attach its mine.

Robert Fulton, probably the greatest genius in nautical invention,
carried the development of bath mines and submarines much further.
His _Nautilus_, so-called because its collapsible sail resembled
that of the familiar chambered nautilus, was surprisingly ahead of
its time; it had a fish-like shape, screw propulsion (by a two-man
hand winch), horizontal diving rudder, compressed air tank, water
tank filled or emptied by a pump, and a torpedo[1] consisting of
a detachable case of gunpowder. A lanyard ran from the torpedo
through an eye in a spike, to be driven in the enemy hull, and
thence to the submarine, which as it moved away brought the torpedo
up taut against the spike and caused its explosion. Fulton interested
Napoleon in his project, submerged frequently for an hour or more,
and blew up a hulk in Brest harbor. But the greybeards in the French
navy frowned on these novel methods, declaring them "immoral" and
"contrary to the laws of war."

[Footnote 1: This name, coined by Fulton, was from the _torpedo
electricus_, or cramp fish, which kills its victim by electric

[Illustration: BUSHNELL'S TURTLE]

Later the British Government entered into negotiations with the
inventor, and in October, 1804, used his mines in an unsuccessful
attack an the French flotilla of invasion at Boulogne. Only one
pinnace was sunk. Fulton still maintained that he could "sweep
all military marines off the ocean."[2] But Trafalgar ended his
chances. As the old Admiral Earl St. Vincent remarked, "Pitt [the
Prime Minister] would be the greatest fool that ever existed to
encourage a mode of war which they who command the sea do not want
and which if successful would deprive them of it." So Fulton took
£15,000 and dropped his schemes.

[Footnote 2: Letter to Pitt, Jan. 6, 1806.]

[Illustration: FULTON'S NAUTILUS]

Much cruder than the _Nautilus_, owing to their hurried construction,
were the Confederate "Davids" of the Civil War. One of these launches,
which ran only semi-submerged, drove a spar torpedo against the
U. S. S. _New Ironsides_ off Charleston, but it exploded on the
rebound, too far away. The C. S. S. _Hunley_ was a real submarine,
and went down readily, but on five occasions it failed to emerge
properly, and drowned in these experiments about 35 men. In August,
1864, running on the surface, it sank by torpedo the U. S. Corvette
_Housatonic_ off Charleston, but went down in the suction of the
larger vessel, carrying to death its last heroic crew.

By the end of the century, chiefly owing to the genius and patient
efforts of two American inventors, John P. Holland and Simon Lake,
the submarine was passing from the experimental to the practical
stage. Its possibilities were increased by the Whitehead torpedo
(named after its inventor, a British engineer established in Fiume,
Austria), which came out in 1868 and was soon adopted in European
navies. With gyroscopic stabilizing devices and a "warmer" for the
compressed air of its engine, the torpedo attained before 1900
a speed of 28 knots and a possible range of 1000 yards. Its first
victim was the Chilean warship _Blanco_, sunk in 1891 at 50 yards
after two misses. Thornycroft in England first achieved speed for
small vessels, and in 1873 began turning out torpedo boats. Destroyers
came in twenty years later, and by the end of the century were
making over 30 knots.

Long before this time the lessons of the Civil War had hastened the
adoption of armor, the new ships ranging from high-sided vessels
with guns in broadside, as in the past, to low freeboard craft
influenced by the _Monitor_ design, with a few large guns protected
by revolving turrets or fixed barbettes, and with better provision
for all-around fire. Ordnance improved in penetrating power, until
the old wrought-iron armor had to be 20 inches thick and confined
to waterline and batteries. Steel "facing" and the later plates of
Krupp or Harveyized steel made it possible again to lighten and
spread out the armor, and during the last decade of the century
it steadily increased its ascendancy over the gun.

_The Battle of Lissa_

The adoption of armor meant sacrifice of armament, and a departure
from Farragut's well-tried maxim, "The best protection against the
enemy's fire is a well-sustained fire from your own guns." Thus
the British _Dreadnought_ of 1872 gave 35% of its displacement to
armor and only 5% to armament. Invulnerability was secured at the
expense of offensive power. That aggressive tactics and weapons
retained all their old value in warfare was to receive timely
illustration in the Battle of Lissa, fought in the year after the
American war. The engagement illustrated also another of Farragut's
pungent maxims to the effect that iron in the ships is less important
than "iron in the men"--a saying especially true when, as with the
Austrians at Lissa, the iron is in the chief in command.

In 1866 Italy and Prussia attacked Austria in concert, Italy having
secured from Bismarck a pledge of Venetia in the event of victory.
Though beaten at Custozza on June 24, the Italians did their part
by keeping busy an Austrian army of 80,000. Moltke crushed the
northern forces of the enemy at Sadowa on July 3, and within three
weeks had reached the environs of Vienna and practically won the
war. Lissa was fought on July 20, just 6 days before the armistice.
This general political and military situation should be borne in
mind as throwing some light on the peculiar Italian strategy in
the Lissa campaign.

Struggling Italy, her unification under the House of Piedmont as
yet only partly achieved, had shown both foresight and energy in
building up a fleet. Her available force on the day of Lissa consisted
of 12 armored ships and 16 wooden steam vessels of same fighting
value. The ironclads included 7 armored frigates, the best of which
were the two "kings," _Re d'Italia_ and _Re di Portogallo_, built
the year before in New York (rather badly, it is said), each armed
with about 30 heavy rifles. Then there was the new single-turret
ram _Affondatore_, or "Sinker," with two 300-pounder 10-inch rifles,
which came in from England only the day before the battle. Some
of the small protected corvettes and gunboats were of much less
value, the _Palestro_, for instance, which suffered severely in
the fight, having a thin sheet of armor over only two-fifths of
her exposed hull.

The Austrian fleet had the benefit of some war experience against
Denmark in the North Sea two years before, but it was far inferior
and less up-to-date, its armored ships consisting of 7 screw frigates
armed chiefly with smoothbores. Of the wooden ships, there were
7 screw frigates and corvettes, 9 gunboats and schooners, and 3
little side-wheelers--a total of 19. The following table indicates
the relative strength:

        |Armored | Wooden |Small craft|  Total |  Rifles  |Total w't
        |--------|--------|-----------|--------|----------|of metal
        |No.|Guns|No.|Guns| No.| Guns |No.|Guns|No.|Weight|
Austria |  7| 176|  7| 304| 12 |  52  | 22| 532|121| 7,130| 23,538
Italy   | 12| 243| 11| 382|  5 |  16  | 28| 641|276|28,700| 53,236

Thus in general terms the Italians were nearly twice as strong
in main units, could fire twice as heavy a weight of metal from
all their guns, and four times as heavy from their rifles. Even
without the _Affondatore_, their advantage was practically as great
as this from the beginning of the war.

With such a preponderance, it would seem as if Persano, the Italian
commander in chief, could easily have executed his savage-sounding
orders to "sweep the enemy from the Adriatic, and to attack and
blockade them wherever found." He was dilatory, however, in assembling
his fleet, negligent in practice and gun drill, and passive in his
whole policy to a degree absolutely ruinous to morale. War was
declared June 20, and had long been foreseen; yet it was June 25
before he moved the bulk of his fleet from Taranto to Ancona in
the Adriatic. Here on the 27th they were challenged by 13 Austrian
ships, which lay off the port cleared for action for two hours, while
Persano made no real move to fight. It is said that the Italian
defeat at Custozza three days before had taken the heart out of
him. On July 8 he put to sea for a brief three days' cruise and
went through some maneuvers and signaling but no firing, though
many of the guns were newly mounted and had never been tried by
their crews.

At this time Napoleon III of France had already undertaken mediation
between the hostile powers. In spite of the orders of June 8, quoted
above, which seem sufficiently definite, and urgent orders to the
same effect later, Persano was unwilling to take the offensive,
and kept complaining of lack of clear instructions as to what he
should do. He was later convicted of cowardice and negligence;
but the campaign he finally undertook against Lissa was dangerous
enough, and it seems possible that some secret political maneuvering
was partly responsible for his earlier delay.[1]

[Footnote 1: In July Persano wrote to the Deputy Boggio: "Leave the
care of my reputation to me; I would rather be wrongly dishonored
than rightly condemned. Patience will bring peace; I shall be called
a traitor, but nevertheless Italy will have her fleet intact, and
that of Austria will be rendered useless." Quoted in Bernotti,

It is significant at least that the final proposal to make a descent
upon the fortified island of Lissa came not from Persana but from
the Minister of Marine. On July 15 the latter took up the project
with the fleet chief of staff, d'Amico, and with Rear Admiral Vacca,
but not until later with Persano. All agreed that the prospect
of a truce allowed no time for a movement against Venice or the
Austrian base at Pola, but that they should strike a swift stroke
elsewhere. Lissa commanded the Dalmatian coast, was essential to
naval control in the Adriatic, and was coveted by Italy then as
in later times. It would be better than trying to crush the enemy
fleet at the risk of her own if she could enter the peace conference
with possession of Lissa a _fait accompli_.

Undertaken in the face of an undefeated enemy fleet, this move has
been justly condemned by naval strategists. But with a less alert
opponent the coup might have succeeded. Tegetthoff, the Austrian
commander, was not yet 41 years of age, but had been in active
naval service since he was 18, and had led a squadron bravely in
a fight with the Danes two years before off Heligoland. He had
his heterogeneous array of fighting craft assembled at Pola at
the outbreak of war. "Give me everything you have," he told the
Admiralty when they asked him what ships he wanted; "I'll find
some use for them." His crews were partly men of Slav and Italian
stock from the Adriatic coast, including 600 from Venice; there
is no reason for supposing them better than those of Persano. The
influence of their leader, however, inspired them with loyalty and
fighting spirit, and their defiance of the Italians at Ancona on
June 27 increased their confidence. When successive cable messages
from Lissa satisfied him that the Italian fleet was not attempting
a diversion but was actually committed to an attack on the island,
Tegetthoff set out thither on July 19 with his entire fighting
force. His order of sailing was the order of battle. "Every captain
knew the admiral's intention as well as the admiral himself did;
every officer knew what had to be done, and every man had some
idea of it, and above all knew that he had to fight."[1]

[Footnote 1: Laughton, STUDIES IN NAVAL HISTORY, Tegetthoff, p. 164.]

In the meantime the Italian drive on Lissa had gone ahead slowly.
The island batteries were on commanding heights and manned by marines
and artillerymen resolved to fight to the last ditch. During the
second day's bombardment the _Affondatore_ appeared, and also some
additional troops needed to complete the landing force. Two-thirds
of the guns on shore were silenced that day, and if the landing
operations had been pushed, the island captured, and the fleet
taken into the protected harbor of St. Giorgio, Tegetthoff would
have had a harder problem to solve. But as the mist blew away with
a southerly wind at 10 o'clock on the next day, July 20, the weary
garrison on the heights of the island gave cheer after cheer as
they saw the Austrian squadron plunging through the head seas at
full speed from the northeastward, while the Italian ships hurriedly
drew together north of the island to meet the blow.

The Austrians advanced in three successive divisions, ironclads,
wooden frigates, and finally the smaller vessels, each in a wedge-shaped
formation (shown by the diagram), with the apex toward the enemy.
The object was to drive through the Italian line if possible near
the van and bring on a close scrimmage in which all ships could
take part, ramming tactics could be employed, and the enemy would
profit less by their superiority in armor and guns. Like Nelson's at
Trafalgar, Tegetthoff's formation was one not likely to be imitated,
but it was at least simple and well understood, and against a passive
resistance it gave the results planned.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF LISSA, JULY 20, 1866]

"_Ecco i pescatori!_" (Here come the fishermen), cried Persana,
with a scorn he was far from actually feeling. The Italians were
in fact caught at a disadvantage. One of their best ships, the
_Formidabile_, had been put _hors de combat_ by the batteries
on the day before. Another, coming in late from the west end of
the island, took no part in the action. The wooden ships, owing
to the cowardice of their commander, Albini, also kept out of the
fight, though Persano signaled desperately to them to enter the
engagement and "surround the enemy rear." With his remaining ironclads
Persano formed three divisions of three ships each and swung across
the enemy's bows in line ahead. Just at the critical moment, and
for no very explicable motive, he shifted his flag from the _Re
d'Italia_ in the center to the _Affondatore_, which was steaming
alone on the starboard side of the line. The change was not noted
by all his ships, and thus caused confusion of orders. The delay
involved also left a wider gap between van and center, and through
this the Austrians plunged, Tegetthoff in his flagship _Erzherzog
Ferdinand Max_ leading the way.

Here orderly formation ended, and only the more striking episodes
stand out in a desperate close combat, during which the black ships
of Austria and the gray of Italy rammed or fired into each other
amid a smother of smoke and spray. The Austrian left flank and
rear held up the Italian van; the Austrian ironclads engaged the
Italian center; and the wooden ships of the Austrian middle division,
led by the 92-gun _Kaiser_, smashed into the Italian rear. Of all
the Austrian ships, the big _Kaiser_, a relic of other days, saw
the hardest fighting. Twice she avoided the _Affondatore's_ ram,
and she was struck by one of her 300-pound projectiles. Then the
_Re di Portogallo_ bore down, but Petz, the _Kaiser's_ captain,
rang for full speed ahead and steered for the ironclad, striking
a glancing blow and scraping past her, while both ships poured in
a heavy fire. The _Kaiser_ soon afterward drew out of the action,
her foremast and funnel down, and a bad blaze burning amidships.
Altogether she fired 850 rounds in the action, or about one-fifth
of the total fired by the Austrians, and she received 80 hits,
again one-fifth of the total. Of the 38 Austrians killed and 138
wounded in the battle, she lost respectively 24 and 75.

The _Kaiser's_ combat, though more severe, was typical of what
was going on elsewhere. The Italian gunboat _Palestro_ was forced
to withdraw to fight a fire that threatened her magazines. The
_Re d'Italia_, which was at first supposed by the Austrians to be
Persano's flagship, was a center of attack and had her steering
gear disabled. As she could go only straight ahead or astern, the
Austrian flagship seized the chance and rammed her squarely amidships
at full speed, crashing through her armor and opening an immense
hole. The Italian gunboat heeled over to starboard, then back again,
and in a few seconds went down, with a loss of 381 men.

This spectacular incident practically decided the battle. After
an hour's fighting the two squadrons drew apart about noon, the
Austrians finally entering St. Giorgio harbor and the Italians
withdrawing to westward. During the retreat the fire on the _Palestro_
reached her ammunition and she blew up with a loss of 231 of her
crew. Except in the two vessels destroyed, the Italian losses were
slight--8 killed and 40 wounded. But the armored ships were badly
battered, and less than a month later the _Affondatore_ sank in a
squall in Ancona harbor, partly, it was thought, owing to injuries
received at Lissa.

For a long time after this fight, an exaggerated view was held
regarding the value of ramming, line abreast formation, and bow
fire. Weapons condition tactics, and these tactics of Tegetthoff
were suited to the means he had to work with. But they were not
those which should have been adopted by his opponents; nor would
they have been successful had the Italians brought their broadsides
to bear on a parallel course and avoided a mêlée. What the whole
campaign best illustrates--and the lesson has permanent interest--is
how a passive and defensive policy, forced upon the Italian fleet
by the incompetence of its admiral or otherwise, led to its
demoralization and ultimate destruction. After a long period of
inactivity, Persano weakened his force against shore defenses before
he had disposed of the enemy fleet, and was then taken at a
disadvantage. His passive strategy was reflected in his tactics.
He engaged with only a part of his force, and without a definite
plan; "A storm of signals swept over his squadron" as it went into
action. What really decided the battle was not the difference in
ships, crews, or weapons, but the difference in aggressiveness
and ability of the two admirals in command.

_The Battle of the Yalu_

Twenty-eight years elapsed after Lissa before the next significant
naval action, the Battle of the Yalu, between fleets of China and
Japan. Yet the two engagements may well be taken together, since
at the Yalu types and tactics were still transitional, and the
initial situation at Lissa was duplicated--line abreast against
line ahead. The result, however, was reversed, for the Japanese
in line ahead took the initiative, used their superior speed to
conduct the battle on their own terms, and won the day.

Trouble arose in the Far East over the dissolution of the decrepit
monarchy of Korea, upon which both Japan and China cast covetous
eyes. As nominal suzerain, China in the spring of 1894 sent 2000
troops to Korea to suppress an insurrection, without observing
certain treaty stipulations which required her to notify Japan. The
latter nation despatched 5000 men to Chemulpo in June. Hostilities
broke out on July 25, when four fast Japanese cruisers, including the
_Naniwa Kan_ under the future Admiral Togo, fell upon the Chinese
cruiser _Tsi-yuen_ and two smaller vessels, captured the latter
and battered the cruiser badly before she got away, and then to
complete the day's work sank a Chinese troop transport, saving
only the European officers on board.

After this affair the Chinese Admiral Ting, a former cavalry officer
but with some naval experience, favored taking the offensive, since
control of the sea by China would at once decide the war. But the
Chinese Foreign Council gave him orders not to cruise east of a
line from Shantung to the mouth of the Yalu. Reverses on land soon
forced him to give all his time to troop transportation, and this
occupied both navies throughout the summer.

On September 16, the day before the Battle of the Yalu, the Chinese
battleships escorted transports with 5000 troops to the mouth of
the Yalu, and on the following morning they were anchored quietly
outside the river. "For weeks," writes an American naval officer
who was in command of one of the Chinese battleships, "we had
anticipated an engagement, and had had daily exercise at general
quarters, etc., and little remained to be done.... The fleet went
into action as well prepared as it was humanly possible for it
to be with the same officers and men, handicapped as they were
by official corruption and treachery ashore."[1] As the midday
meal was in preparation, columns of black smoke appeared to
southwestward. The squadron at once weighed anchor, cleared for
action, and put on forced draft, while "dark-skinned men, with
queues tightly coiled around their heads, and with arms bare to the
elbow, clustered along the decks in groups at the guns, waiting to
kill or be killed." Out of the smoke soon emerged 12 enemy cruisers
which, with information of the Chinese movements, had entered the
Gulf intent on battle.

[Footnote 1: Commander P. N. McGiffin, THE BATTLE OF THE YALU,
_Century Magazine_, August, 1895, pp. 585-604.]

The forces about to engage included the best ships of both nations.
There were 12 on each side, excluding 4 Chinese torpedo boats, and
10 actually in each battle line. The main strength of the Chinese
was concentrated in two second-class battleships, the _Ting-yuen_
and the _Chen-yuen_, Stettin-built in 1882, each of 7430 tons, with
14-inch armor over half its length, four 12-inch Krupp guns in two
barbettes, and 6-inch rifles at bow and stern. The two barbettes
were _en echelon_ (the starboard just ahead of the port), in such a
way that while all four guns could fire dead ahead only two could bear
on the port quarter or the starboard bow. These ships were designed
for fighting head-on; and hence to use them to best advantage Admiral
Ting formed his squadron in line abreast, with the _Ting-yuen_ and
_Chen-yuen_ in the center. The rest of the line were a "scratch
lot" of much smaller vessels--two armored cruisers (_Lai-yuen_ and
_King-yuen_) with 8 to 9-inch armored belts; three protected
cruisers (_Tsi-yuen, Chi-yuen_, and _Kwang-ping_) with 2 to 4-inch
armored decks; on the left flank the old corvette _Kwang-chia_;
and opposite her two other "lame ducks" of only 1300 tons, the
_Chao-yung_ and _Yang-wei_. Ting had properly strengthened his
center, but had left his flanks fatally weak. On board the flagship
_Ting-yuen_ was Major von Hannekin, China's military adviser, and
an ex-petty officer of the British navy named Nichols. Philo N.
McGiffin, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, commanded
the _Chen-yuen_.

The Japanese advanced in column, or line ahead, in two divisions.
The first, or "flying squadron," was led by Rear Admiral Tsuboi
in the _Yoshino_, and consisted of four fast protected cruisers.
Four similar ships, headed by Vice Admiral Ito in the _Matsushima_,
formed the chief units of the main squadron, followed by the older
and slower ironclads, _Fuso_ and _Hiyei_. The little gunboat
_Akagi_ and the converted steamer _Saikio Maru_ had orders not
to engage, but nevertheless pushed in on the left of the line.
Aside from their two battleships, the Chinese had nothing to compare
with these eight new and well-armed cruisers, the slowest of which
could make 17-1/2 knots.

In armament the Japanese also had a marked advantage, as the following
table, from Wilsan's _Ironclads in Action_, will show:

      |SHIPS |         GUNS                |SHOTS IN 10 MINUTES
      |      |      |  Large   |Small q. f.|       | Weight of
      |Number|6-inch|quick fire|and machine|Number |   metal
China |  12  |  40  |    2     |    130    |   33  |   4,885
Japan |  10  |  34  |   66     |    154    |  185  |  11,706

The smaller quick-fire and machine guns proved of slight value
on either side, but the large Japanese quick-firers searched all
unprotected parts of the enemy ships with a terrific storm of shells.
After the experience of July 25, the Chinese had discarded much
of their woodwork and top hamper, including boats, thin steel
gun-shields, rails, needless rigging, etc., and used coal and sand
bags an the upper decks; but the unarmored ships nevertheless suffered
severely. From the table it is evident that the Japanese could
pour in six times as great a volume of fire. The Chinese had a
slight advantage in heavier guns, and their marksmanship, it is
claimed, was equally accurate (possibly 10% hits on each side), but
their ammunition was defective and consisted mostly of non-bursting
projectiles. They had only 15 rounds of shell for each gun.

During the approach the Japanese steered at first for the enemy
center, thus concealing their precise objective, and then swung to
port, with the aim of attacking on the weaker side of the Chinese
battleships (owing to their barbette arrangement) and on the weaker
flank of the line. In the meantime the Chinese steamed forward at
about 6 knots and turned somewhat to keep head-on, thus forcing the
Japanese to file across their bows. At 12.20 p.m. the _Chen-yuen_
and _Ting-yuen_ opened at 5800 yards on Tsuboi's squadron, which
held its fire until at 3000 yards or closer it swung around the
Chinese right wing.

The main squadron followed. Admiral Ito has been criticized for thus
drawing his line across the enemy's advance, instead of attacking
their left flank. But he was previously committed to the movement,
and executed it rapidly and for the most part at long range. Had
the Chinese pressed forward at best speed, Lissa might have been
repeated. As it was, they cut off only the _Hiyei_. To avoid ramming,
this old ironclad plunged boldly between the _Chen-yuen_ and
_Ting-yuen_. She was hit 22 times and had 56 killed and wounded,
but managed to pull through.

Before this time the _Chao-yung_ and _Yang-wei_ on the right
flank of the Chinese line had crumpled under a heavy cross-fire
from the flying squadron. These ships had wooden cabins on deck
outboard, and the whole superstructure soon became roaring masses
of flames. Both dropped out of line and burned to the water's edge.
The two ships on the opposite flank had seized an early opportunity
to withdraw astern of the line, and were now off for Port Arthur
under full steam, "followed," writes McGiffin, "by a string of
Chinese anathemas from our men at the guns."

[Illustration: BATTLE OF THE YALU, SEPT. 17, 1894]

The Japanese van turned to port and was thus for some time out
of action. The main division turned to starboard and circled the
Chinese rear. Of the 6 Chinese ships left in the line, the four
smaller seem now to have moved on to southward, while both Japanese
divisions concentrated on the two battleships _Chen-yuen_ and
_Ting-yuen_. These did their best to keep head to the enemy, and
stood up doggedly, returning slowly the fire of the circling
cruisers. Tsuboi soon turned away to engage the lighter vessels.
Finally, at 3.26, as the _Matsushima_ closed to about 2000 yards,
the _Chen-yuen_ hit her fairly with a last remaining 12-inch shell.
This one blow put Ito's flagship out of action, exploding some
ammunition, killing or wounding 50 or more men, and starting a
dangerous fire. The Japanese hauled off, while according to Chinese
accounts the battleships actually followed, but at 4.30 came again
under a severe fire. About 5.30, when the Chinese were practically
out of ammunition, Ito finally withdrew and recalled his van.

Of the other Chinese ships, the _Chi-yuen_ made a desperate attempt
to approach the Japanese van and went down at 3.30 with screws
racing in the air. The _King-yuen_, already on fire, was shot to
pieces and sunk an hour later by the _Yoshino's_ quick-firers.
As the sun went down, the _Lai-yuen_ and _Kwang-ping_, with two
ships from the river mouth, fell in behind the battleships and
staggered off towards Port Arthur, unpursued. The losses on the
two armored ships had been relatively slight--56 killed and
wounded. The Japanese lost altogether 90 killed and 204 wounded,
chiefly on the _Matsushima_ and _Hiyei_.

Though China saved her best ships from the battle, her fighting
spirit was done for. The battleships were later destroyed by Japanese
torpedo operations after the fall of Wei-hai-wei. Her crews had on
the whole fought bravely, handicapped as they were by their poor
materials and lack of skill. For instance, when McGiffin called
for volunteers to extinguish a fire on the _Chen-yuen's_ forecastle,
swept by enemy shells, "men responded heartily and went to what
seemed to them certain death." It was at this time that the commander
himself, leading the party, was knocked over by a shell explosion
and then barely escaped the blast of one of his own 12-inch guns
by rolling through an open hatch and falling 8 feet to a pile of
débris below.

In the way of lessons, aside from the obvious ones as to the value
of training and expert leadership and the necessity of eliminating
inflammables in ship construction, the battle revealed on the one
hand the great resisting qualities of the armored ship, and on
the other hand the offensive value of superior gunfire. Admiral
Mahan said at the time that "The rapid fire gun has just now fairly
established its position as the greatest offensive weapon in naval
warfare."[1] Another authority has noted that, both at Lissa and
the Yalu, "The winning fleet was worked in divisions, as was the
British fleet in the Dutch wars and at Trafalgar, and the Japanese
fleet afterwards at Tsushima." Remarking that experiments with
this method were made by the British Channel Fleet in 1904, the
writer continues: "The conception grew out of a study of Nelson's
Memorandum. Its essence was to make the fleet flexible in the hands
of the admiral, and to enable any part to be moved by the shortest
line to the position where it was most required."[2]

[Footnote 1: LESSONS FROM THE YALU FIGHT, _Century Magazine_, August,
1895, p. 630.]

[Footnote 2: Custance, THE SHIP OF THE LINE IN BATTLE, p. 103.]

By the Treaty of Shimonoseki (April 17, 1895) which closed the war,
Japan won Port Arthur and the Liao-tung Peninsula, the Pescadores
Islands and Formosa, and China's withdrawal from Korea. But just as
she was about to lay hands on these generous fruits of victory,
they were snatched out of her grasp by the European powers, which
began exploiting China for themselves. Japan had to acquiesce and
bide her time, using her war indemnity and foreign loans to build
up her fleet. The Yalu thus not only marks the rise of Japan as
a formidable force in international affairs, but brings us to a
period of intensified colonial and commercial rivalry in the Far
East and elsewhere which gave added significance to naval power
and led to the war of 1914.


Aside from those already cited see:
THE STORY OF THE GUNS, J. E. Tennant, 1864.
THE BRITISH NAVY, Sir Thomas Brassey, 1884.
CLOWES' HISTORY OF THE ROYAL NAVY, Vol. VII (p. 20, bibliography).
THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN NAVAL WAR, Journal of the United Service
  Institution, Vol. XI, pp. 104ff.



Even more significant in its relation to sea power than the revolution
in armaments during the 19th century was the extraordinary growth
of ocean commerce. The total value of the world's import and export
trade in 1800 amounted in round numbers to 1-1/2 billion dollars,
in 1850 to 4 billion, and in 1900 to nearly 24 billion. In other
words, during a period in which the population of the world was not
more than tripled, its international exchange of commodities was
increased 16-fold. This growth was of course made possible largely
by progress in manufacturing, increased use of steam navigation,
and vastly greater output of coal and iron.[1] At the end of the
Napoleonic wars England was the only great commercial and industrial
state. At the close of the century, though with her colonies she
still controlled one-fourth of the world's foreign trade, she faced
aggressive rivals in the field. The United States after her Civil
War, and Germany after her unification and the Franco-Prussian
War, had achieved an immense industrial development, opening up
resources in coal and iron that made them formidable competitors.
Germany in particular, a late comer in the colonial field, felt
that her future lay upon the seas, as a means of securing access on
favorable terms to world markets and raw materials. Other nations
also realized that their continued growth and prosperity would
depend upon commercial expansion. This might be accomplished in a
measure by cheaper production and superior business organization,
but could be greatly aided by political means--by colonial activity,
by securing control or special privileges in unexploited areas
and backward states, by building up a merchant fleet under the
national flag. Obviously, since the seas join the continents and
form the great highways of trade, this commercial and political
expansion would give increased importance to naval power.

[Footnote 1: Coal production increased during the century from
11.6 million tons to 610 million, and pig iron from half a million
tons to 37 million. Figures from Day, HISTORY OF COMMERCE, Ch.

Admiral Mahan, an acute political observer as well as strategist,
summed up the international situation in 1895 and again in 1897 as
"an equilibrium on the [European] Continent, and, in connection
with the calm thus resulting, an immense colonizing movement in
which all the great powers were concerned."[1] Later, in 1911, he
noted that colonial rivalries had again been superseded by rivalries
within Europe, but pointed out that the European tension was itself
largely the product of activities and ambitions in more distant
spheres. In fact the international developments of recent times,
whether in the form of colonial enterprises, armament competition,
or actual warfare, find a common origin in economic and commercial
interests. Commerce and quick communications have drawn the world
into closer unity, yet by a kind of paradox have increased the
possibilities of conflict. Both by their common origin and by their
far-reaching consequences, it is thus possible to connect the story
of naval events from the Spanish-American to the World War, and to
gather them up under the general title, "rivalry for world power."


To this rivalry the United States could hardly hope or desire to
remain always a passive spectator, yet, aside from trying to stabilize
the western hemisphere by the Monroe Doctrine, she cherished down
to the year 1898 a policy of isolation from world affairs. During
the first half of the 19th century, it is true, her interests were
directed outward by a flourishing merchant marine. In 1860 the
American merchant fleet of 2,500,000 tons was second only to Great
Britain's and nearly equal to that of all other nations combined.
But its decay had already begun, and continued rapidly. The change
from wood to iron construction enabled England to build cheaper
ships; and American shipping suffered also from lack of government
patronage, diversion of capital into mare profitable projects of
Western development, and loss of a third of its tonnage by destruction
or shift to foreign register during the Civil War. At the outbreak
of that war 72 per cent of American exports were carried in American
bottoms; only 9 per cent in 1913. Thus the United States had reached
the unsatisfactory condition of a nation with a large and rapidly
growing foreign commerce and an almost non-existent merchant marine.

[Footnote 1: NAVAL STRATEGY, p. 104.]

This was the situation when the nation was thrust suddenly and
half unwillingly into the main stream of international events by
the Spanish-American War. Though this war made the United States
a world power, commercial or political aggrandizement played no
part in her entry into the struggle. It arose solely from the
intolerable conditions created by Spanish misrule in Cuba, and
intensified by armed rebellion since 1895. Whatever slight hope
or justification for non-intervention remained was destroyed by
the blowing up of the _U. S. S. Maine_ in Havana harbor, February
15, 1898, with the loss of 260 of her complement of 354 officers
and men. Thereafter the United States pushed her preparations for
war; but the resolution of Congress, April 19, 1898, authorizing
the President to begin hostilities expressly stated that the United
States disclaimed any intention to exercise sovereignty over Cuba,
and after its pacification would "leave the government and control
of the island to its people."

It was at once recognized that the conflict would be primarily
naval, and would be won by the nation that secured control of the
sea. The paper strength of the two navies left little to choose,
and led even competent critics like Admiral Colomb in England to
prophesy a stalemate--a "desultory war." Against five new American
battleships, the _Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon_ and _Texas_,
the first four of 10,000 tons, and the armored cruisers _Brooklyn_
and _New York_ of 9000 and 8000 tans, Spain could oppose the
battleship _Pelayo_, a little better than the _Texas_ and five
armored cruisers, the _Carlos V, Infanta Maria Teresa, Almirante
Oquendo_, and _Vizcaya_, each of about 7000 tons, and the somewhat
larger and very able former Italian cruiser _Cristobal Colon_.
Figures and statistics, however, give no idea of the actual weakness
of the Spanish navy, handicapped by shiftless naval administration,
by dependence on foreign sources of supply, and by the incompetence
and lack of training of personnel. Of the squadron that came to
Cuba under Admiral Cervera, the _Colon_ lacked two 10-inch guns
for her barbettes, and the _Vizcaya_ was so foul under water that
with a trial speed of 18-1/2 knots she never made above 13--Cervera
called her a "buoy." There was no settled plan of campaign; to
Cervera's requests for instructions came the ministerial reply
that "in these moments of international crisis no definite plans
can be formulated."[1] The despairing letters of the Spanish Admiral
and his subordinates reveal how feeble was the reed upon which
Spain had to depend for the preservation of her colonial empire.
The four cruisers and two destroyers that sailed from the Cape
Verde Islands on April 29 were Spain's total force available. The
_Pelayo_ and the _Carlos V_, not yet ready, were the only ships of
value left behind.

[Footnote 1: Bermejo to Cervera, April 4, 1898.]

On the American naval list, in addition to the main units already
mentioned, there were six monitors of heavy armament but indifferent
fighting value, a considerable force of small cruisers, four converted
liners for scouts, and a large number of gunboats, converted yachts,
etc., which proved useful in the Cuban blockade. Of these forces
the majority were assembled in the Atlantic theater of war. The
_Oregon_ was on the West Coast, and made her famous voyage of 14,700
miles around Cape Horn in 79 days, at an average speed of 11.6
knots, leaving Puget Sound on March 6 and touching at Barbados in
the West Indies an May 18, just as the Spanish fleet was steaming
across the Caribbean. The cruise effectively demonstrated the danger
of a divided navy and the need of an Isthmian canal. Under Commodore
Dewey in the Far East were two gunboats and four small cruisers,
the best of them the fast and heavily armed flagship _Olympia_,
of 5800 tons.

_The Battle of Manila Bay_


With this latter force the first blow of the war was struck on May
1 in Manila Bay. Dewey, largely through the influence of Assistant
Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt, had been appointed to the eastern
command the autumn before. On reaching his station in January, he
took his squadron to Hong Kong to be close to the scene of possible
hostilities. On February 25 he received a despatch from Roosevelt,
then Acting Secretary: "Keep full of coal. In the event of declaration
of war Spain, your duty will be to see that Spanish squadron does
not leave the Asiatic coast, and then offensive operations in the
Philippine Islands." On April 25 came the inspiring order: "Proceed
at once to Philippine Islands. Commence operations particularly
against the Spanish fleet. You must capture vessels or destroy. Use
utmost endeavor." The Commodore had already purchased a collier and
a supply ship for use in addition to the revenue cutter _McCulloch_,
overhauled his vessels and given them a war coat of slate-gray, and
made plans for a base at Mirs Bay, 30 miles distant in Chinese
waters, where he would be less troubled by neutrality rules in time
of war. On April 22 the _Baltimore_ arrived from San Francisco
with much-needed ammunition. On the 27th Consul Williams joined
with latest news of preparations at Manila, and that afternoon
the squadron put to sea.

On the morning of the 30th it was off Luzon, and two ships scouted
Subig Bay, which the enemy had left only 24 hours before. At 12 that
night Dewey took his squadron in column through the entrance to Manila
Bay, just as he had steamed past the forts on the Mississippi with
Farragut 35 years before. Only three shots were fired by the guns
on shore. The thoroughness of Dewey's preparations, the rapidity
of his movements up to this point, and his daring passage through a
channel which he had reason to believe strongly defended by mines
and shore batteries are the just titles of his fame. The entrance to
Manila is indeed 10 miles wide and divided into separate channels by
the islands Corregidor, Caballo, and El Fraile. The less frequented
channel chosen was, as Dewey rightly judged, too deep for mining
except by experts. Yet the Spanish had news of his approach the
day before; they had 17 guns, including 6 modern rifles, on the
islands guarding the entrance; they had plenty of gunboats that
might have been fitted out as torpedo launches for night attack.
It does not detract from the American officer's accomplishment
that he drew no false picture of the obstacles with which he had
to deal.

At daybreak next morning, having covered slowly the 24 miles from
the mouth of the bay up to Manila, the American ships advanced
past the city to attack the Spanish flotilla drawn up under the
Cavite batteries 6 miles beyond. Here was what an American officer
described as "a collection of old tubs scarcely fit to be called
men-of-war." The most serviceable was Admiral Montojo's flagship
_Reina Cristina_, an unarmored cruiser of 3500 tons; the remaining
half dozen were older ships of both wood and iron, some of them
not able to get under way. They mounted 31 guns above 4-inch to
the Americans' 53. More serious in prospect, though not in reality,
was the danger from shore batteries and mines. The United States
vessels approached in column, led by the _Olympia_, which opened
fire at 5.40. In the words of Admiral Dewey's report, "The squadron
maintained a continuous and precise fire at ranges varying from 5000
to 2000 yards, countermarching in a line approximately parallel
to that of the Spanish fleet. The enemy's fire was vigorous, but
generally ineffective. Three runs were made from the eastward and
three from the westward, so that both broadsides were brought to
bear." One torpedo launch which dashed out was sunk and another
driven ashore. The _Cristina_ moved out as if to ram, but staggered
back under the _Olympia's_ concentrated fire. At 7.35, owing to a
mistaken report that only 15 rounds of ammunition were left for the
5-inch guns, the American squadron retired temporarily, but renewed
action at 11.16 and ended it an hour later, when the batteries were
silenced and "every enemy ship sunk, burned or deserted."

[Illustration: BATTLE OF MANILA, MAY 1, 1898]

As reported by Admiral Montojo, the Spanish lost 381 men. The American
ships were hit only 15 times and had 7 men slightly injured. Volume
and accuracy of gunfire won the day. Somewhat extravagant language
has been used in describing the battle, which, whatever the perils
that might naturally have been expected, was a most one-sided affair.
But it is less easy to overpraise Admiral Dewey's energetic and
aggressive handling of the entire campaign.

Manila thereafter lay helpless under the guns of the squadron,
and upon the arrival and landing of troops surrendered on August
13, after a merely formal defense. In the interim, Spain sent out
a relief force under Admiral Camara consisting of the _Pelaya,
Carlos V_ and other smaller units, before encountering which Dewey
planned to leave Manila and await the arrival of two monitors then
on their way from San Francisco. After getting through the Suez
Canal, Camara was brought back (July 8) by an American threat against
the coast of Spain.

Soon after the battle a number of foreign warships congregated
at Manila, including 5 German ships under Admiral von Diedrichs,
a force superior to Dewey's, and apparently bent on learning by
persistent contravention all the rules of a blockaded port. The
message finally sent to the German Admiral is reticently described
by Dewey himself, but is said to have been to the effect that, if
the German admiral wanted a fight, "he could have it right now."
On the day of the surrender of Manila the British and the Japanese
ships in the harbor took a position between the American and the
German squadrons. This was just after the seizure of Kiao-chau,
at a time when Germany was vigorously pushing out for "a place in
the sun." But for the American commander's quiet yet firm stand,
with British support, the United States might have encountered
more serious complications in taking over 127,000 square miles of
archipelago in the eastern world, with important trade interests,
a lively insurrection, and a population of 7 million.

_The Santiago Campaign_

In the Atlantic, where it was the American policy not to carry
their offensive beyond Spain's West Indies possessions, events
moved more slowly. Rear Admiral Sicard, in command of the North
Atlantic squadron based on Key West, was retired in March for physical
disability and succeeded by William T. Sampson, who stepped up
naturally from senior captain in the squadron and was already
distinguished for executive ability and knowledge of ordnance. Sampson's
first proposal was, in the event of hostilities, a bombardment of
Havana, a plan approved by all his captains and showing a confidence
inspired perhaps by coastal operations in the Civil War; but this
was properly vetoed by the Department on the ground that no ships
should be risked against shore defenses until they had struck at
the enemy's naval force and secured control of the sea. An earlier
memorandum from Secretary Long, outlining plans for a blockade
of Cuba, had been based on suggestions from Rear Admiral (then
Captain) Mahan,[1] and his strategic insight may have guided this
decision. On April 22, Sampson, now acting rear admiral, placed
his force off Havana and established a close blockade over 100
miles on the northern coast.

[Footnote 1: Goode, WITH SAMPSON THROUGH THE WAR, p. 19.]

The problem for American strategy was now Cervera's "fleet in
being,"--inferior in force but a menace until destroyed or put out
of action--which, as before stated, left the Cape Verde Islands
on April 29, for a destination unknown. A bombardment of cities on
the American coast or a raid on the North Atlantic trade routes
was within the realm of possibilities. Difficulties of coaling
and an inveterate tendency to leave the initiative to the enemy
decided the Spanish against such a project. But its bare possibility
set the whole east coast in a panic, which has been much ridiculed,
but which arose naturally enough from a complete lack of instruction
in naval matters and from lack of a sensible control of the press.
The result was an unfortunate division of the fleet. A so-called
Flying squadron under Commodore Schley, consisting of the _Brooklyn,
Massachusetts, Texas,_ and 3 small cruisers, was held at Hampton
Roads; whereas, if not thus employed, these ships might have blockaded
the south side of Cuba from the beginning of the war. A northern
patrol squadron, of vessels not of much use for this or any other
purpose, was also organized to guard the coast from Hampton Roads

On May 4, with Cervera still at large, Sampson lifted his guard of
Havana--unwisely in the opinion of Mahan--and took his best ships,
the _New York, Indiana, Iowa,_ and two monitors, to reconnoiter San
Juan, Porto Rico, where it was thought the missing fleet might
first appear. Just as he was bombarding San Juan, on the morning
of May 12, the Navy Department received a cable from Martinique
announcing Cervera's arrival there. Havana and Cienfuegos (on the
south side of Cuba and connected with Havana by rail) were considered
the only two ports where the Spanish fleet could be of value to
the forces on the island; and from these two ports both American
squadrons were at this time a thousand miles away. Schley hastened
southward, left Key West on the 19th, and was off Cienfuegos by
daylight on the 21st. It was fairly quick work; but had the Spanish
fleet moved thither at its usual speed of 6 knots from its last
stopping-place, it would have got there first by at least 12 hours.
The Spanish admiral, finding no coal at Martinique, had left a
crippled destroyer there and moved on to the Dutch island of Curaçao,
where on the 14th and 15th he secured with difficulty about 500
tons of fuel. Thence, in all anxiety, he made straight for the
nearest possible refuge, Santiago, where he put in at daybreak on
the 19th and was soon receiving congratulations on the completion
of a successful cruise.

[Illustration: WEST INDIES

Movements in the Santiago campaign.]

By the next day Sampson, having hurried back from San Juan and
coaled, was again in force off Havana. There he received news of
Cervera's arrival in Santiago. Since Havana could not be uncovered,
he sent instructions to Schley--at first discretionary, and then,
as the reports were confirmed, more imperative--to blockade the
eastern port. Though the commander of the Flying Squadron received
the latter orders on the 23d, he had seen smoke in Cienfuegos harbor
and still believed he had Cervera cornered there. Accordingly he
delayed until evening of the next day. Then, after reaching Santiago,
he cabled on the 27th that he was returning to Key West to coal,
though he had a collier with him and stringent orders to the contrary;
and it was not until the 29th that he actually established the
Santiago Blockade. Sampson, his superior in command (though not
his senior in the captains' list), later declared his conduct at
this time "reprehensible"[1]--possibly too harsh a term, for the
circumstances tried judgment and leadership in the extreme. Cervera
found Santiago destitute of facilities for refitting. Yet the fact
remains that he had 10 days in which to coal and get away. "We
cannot," writes Admiral Mahan, "expect ever again to have an enemy
so inept as Spain showed herself to be."[1*]

[Footnote 1: Letter to Secretary, July 10, 1898, SAMPSON-SCHLEY
DOCUMENTS, p. 136: "Had the commodore left his station at that
time he probably would have been court-martialed, so plain was
his duty.... This reprehensible conduct I cannot separate from
his subsequent conduct, and for this reason I ask you to do him
ample justice on this occasion." A court of inquiry later decided
that Commodore Schley's service up to June 1 was characterized
by "vacillation, dilatoriness, and lack of enterprise."]

[Footnote 1*: LESSONS OF THE WAR WITH SPAIN, p. 157.]

The "bottling up" of Cervera cleared the situation, and the navy
could now concentrate on a task still difficult but well defined.
Sampson brought his force to Santiago on June 1, and assumed immediate
command. A close blockade was instituted such as against adequate
torpedo and mine defenses would have been highly dangerous even
at that day. Three picket launches were placed about a mile off
shore, three small vessels a mile further out, and beyond these
the 5 or 6 major units, under steam and headed toward the entrance
in a carefully planned disposition to meet any attempt at escape.
At night a battleship stood in and played its searchlight directly
on the mouth of the channel. The latter was six miles in length,
with difficult turns, and at the narrowest point only 300 feet
wide. Lieut. Hobson's gallant effort on June 3 to sink the collier
_Merrimac_ across the channel had made its navigation even more
difficult, though the vessel did not lie athwart-stream. Mine barriers
and batteries on the high hills at the harbor mouth prevented forcing
the channel, but the guns were mostly of ancient type and failed to
keep the ships at a distance. On the other hand, bombardments from
the latter did little more than to afford useful target practice.

The despatch of troops to Santiago was at once decided upon, and
the subsequent campaign, if it could be fully studied, would afford
interesting lessons in combined operations. On June 22, 16,000 men
under General Shafter landed at Daiquiri, 15 miles east of Santiago,
in 52 boats provided by the fleet, though the War Department had
previously stated that the general would "land his own troops."[2]
"It was done in a scramble," writes Col. Roosevelt; and there was
great difficulty in getting the skippers of army transports to bring
their vessels within reasonable distance of the shore. Since the sole
object of the campaign was to get at and destroy the enemy fleet,
the navy fully expected and understood that the army would make its
first aim to advance along the coast and capture the batteries at
the entrance, so that the mines could be lifted and the harbor
forced. Army authorities declare this would have involved division
of forces on both sides of the channel and impossibilities of
transportation due to lack of roads. But these difficulties applied
also in a measure to the defenders, and might perhaps have been
surmounted by full use of naval aid.

[Footnote 2: Goode, WITH SAMPSON THROUGH THE WAR, p. 182.]

Instead, the army set out with some confidence to capture the city
itself. El Caney and San Juan Hill were seized on July 2 after
a bloody struggle in which the Spanish stuck to their defenses
heroically and inflicted 1600 casualties. By their own figures the
Spanish on this day had only 1700 men engaged, though there were
36,500 Spanish troops in the province and 12,000 near at hand. In
considerable discouragement, Shafter now spoke of withdrawal, and
urged Sampson "immediately to force the entrance"[1]--in spite of
the fact that the main purpose in sending troops had been to avoid
this very measure. In view of threatening foreign complications
and the impossibility of replacing battleships, it was imperative
not to risk them against mines.

[Footnote 1: _Ibid._, p. 190.]

Food conditions were serious in Santiago, but Cervera was absolutely
determined not to assume responsibility for taking his fleet out to
what he regarded as certain slaughter. A night sortie, with ships
issuing one by one out of an intricate channel into the glare of
searchlights, he declared more difficult than one by day. Fortunately
for the Americans, in view of the situation ashore, the decision was
taken out of his hands, and Governor General Blanco from Havana
peremptorily ordered him to put to sea. The time of his exit, Sunday
morning, July 3, was luckily chosen, for Sampson, in the _New York_,
was 10 miles to eastward on his way to a conference with Shafter,
and the _Massachusetts_ was at Guantanamo for coal. The flagship
_Maria Teresa_ led out at 9.35, followed 10 minutes later by the
_Vizcaya_, and then by the _Colon, Oquendo_, and the destroyers
_Furor_ and _Pluton_, each turning westward at top speed.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF SANTIAGO, JULY 3, 1898]

Simultaneously the big blockaders crowded toward them and opened a
heavy fire, while stokers shoveled desperately below to get up steam.
To the surprise of other vessels, Schley's ship, the _Brooklyn_,
after heading towards the entrance, swung round, not with the enemy,
but to starboard, just sliding past the _Texas'_ bow. This much
discussed maneuver Schley afterward explained as made to avoid
blanketing the fire of the rest of the squadron. The _Oregon_,
which throughout the blockade had kept plenty of steam, "rushed
past the _Iowa_," in the words of Captain Robley Evans, "like an
express train," in a cloud of smoke lighted by vicious flashes from
her guns. In ten minutes the _Maria Teresa_ turned for shore, hit
by 30 projectiles, her decks, encumbered with woodwork, bursting
into masses of flame. The concentration upon her at the beginning
had shifted to the _Oquendo_ in the rear, which ran ashore with
guns silenced 5 minutes after the leader.

Shortly before 11, the _Vizcaya_, with a torpedo ready in one of
her bow tubes, turned towards the _Brooklyn_, which had kept in
the lead of the American ships. A shell hitting squarely in the
_Vizcaya's_ bow caused a heavy explosion and she sheered away, the
guns of the _Brooklyn, Oregon_, and _Iowa_ bearing on her as she
ran towards the beach. The _Colon_, with a trial speed of 20 knots,
and 6 miles ahead of the _Brooklyn_ and _Oregon_, appeared to
stand a good chance of getting finally away. The _New York_, rushing
back toward the battle, was still well astern. But the _Colon's_
speed, which had averaged 13.7 knots, slackened as her fire-room
force played out; and shortly after 1 p.m. she ran shoreward, opened
her Kingston valves, and went down after surrender. She had been
hit only 6 times.

In the first stage of the fight the little yacht _Gloucester_,
under Lieutenant Commander Wainwright, had dashed pluckily upon
the two destroyers, which were also under fire from the secondary
batteries of the big ships. The _Furor_ was sunk and the _Plutón_
driven ashore.

There is hardly a record in naval history of such complete destruction.
Of 2300 Spaniards, 1800 were rescued as prisoners from the burning
wrecks or from the Cuban guerillas on shore, 350 met their death,
and the rest escaped towards Santiago. The American loss consisted
of one man killed and one wounded on the _Brooklyn_. This ship,
which owing to its leading position had been the chief enemy target,
received 20 hits from shells or fragments, and the other vessels
altogether about as many more. An examination of the half-sunken
and fire-scarred Spanish hulks showed 42 hits out of 1300 rounds
from the American main batteries, or 3.2 per cent, and 73 from
secondary batteries. Probably these figures should be doubled to
give the actual number, but even so they revealed the need of
improvement in gunnery.

Sampson was right when he stated earlier in the campaign that the
destruction of the Spanish fleet would end the war. Santiago surrendered
a fortnight later without further fighting. An expeditionary force
under General Miles made an easy conquest of Puerto Rico. On August
12, a protocol of peace was signed, by the terms of which the United
States took over Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines (upon payment
of 20 million dollars), and Cuba became independent under American
protection. The war greatly strengthened the position of the United
States in the Caribbean, and gave her new interests and responsibilities
in the Pacific. In the possession of distant dependencies the nation
found a new motive for increased naval protection and for more
active concern in international affairs.


At the time when the United States acquired the Philippines, the
Far East was a storm center of international disturbance. Russia,
with the support of Germany and France, had, as already noted,
combined to prevent Japan from fully exploiting her victory over
China. The latter country, however, had every appearance of a melon
ripe for cutting; and under guise of security for loans, indemnity
for injuries, railroad and treaty-port concessions, and special
spheres of influence, each European nation endeavored to mark out
its prospective share. Russia, in return for protecting China against
Japan, gained a short-cut for her Siberian Railway across Northern
Manchuria, with rail and mining concessions in that province and
prospects of getting hold of both Port Arthur and Kiao-chau. But,
at an opportune moment for Germany, two German missionaries were
murdered in 1897 by Chinese bandits. Germany at once seized Kiao-chau,
and in March, 1898, extorted a 99-year lease of the port, with
exclusive development privileges throughout the peninsula of Shantung.
"The German Michael," as Kaiser Wilhelm said at a banquet on the
departure of his fleet to the East, had "firmly planted his shield
upon Chinese soil"; and "the gospel of His Majesty's hallowed person,"
as Admiral Prince Heinrich asserted in reply, "was to be preached
to every one who will hear it and also to those who do not wish
to hear." "Our establishment on the coast of China," writes
ex-Chancellor van Bülow, "was in direct and immediate connection
with the progress of the fleet, and a first step into the field
of world politics... giving us _a place in the sun_ in Eastern

[Footnote 1: From London _Spectator_, Dec. 26, 1897, quoted in
p. 108.]


Thus forestalled at Kiao-chau, Russia at once pushed through a
25-year lease of Port Arthur, and proceeded to strengthen it as
a fortified port and naval base. England, though preoccupied with
the Boer War, took Wei-hai-wai as a precautionary measure, "for as
long a time as Port Arthur shall remain a possession of Russia."[1]
France secured a new base in southern China on Kwang-chau Bay, and
Italy tried likewise but failed. Aroused by the foreign menace,
the feeling of the Chinese masses burst forth in the summer of 1900
in the massacres and uprisings known as the Boxer Rebellion. In
the combined expedition to relieve the legations at Peking Japanese
troops displayed superior deftness, discipline, and endurance,
and gained confidence in their ability to cope with the armies of
European powers.

[Footnote 1: _Ibid._, III, 118.]

In the period following, Germany in Shantung and Russia in Manchuria
pursued steadily their policy of exploitation. Against it, the
American Secretary of State John Hay advanced the policy of the
_Open Door_, "to preserve Chinese territorial and administrative
entity... and safeguard for the world the principle of equal and
impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese Empire."[1] To this
the powers gave merely lip-service, realizing that her fixed policy
of isolation would restrain the United States from either diplomatic
combinations or force. "The open hand," wrote Hay in discouragement,
"will not be so convincing to the poor devils of Chinese as the
raised club,"[2] nor was it so efficacious in dealing with other
nations concerned. Japan, however, had strained every energy to
build up her army and navy for a conflict that seemed inevitable,
and was ready to back her opposition to European advances by force
if need be. In 1902 she protected herself against a combination of
foes by defensive alliance with England. She demanded that Russia
take her troops out of Manchuria and recognize Japanese predominance
in Korea. Russia hoped to forestall hostilities until she could
further strengthen her army and fleet in the East, but when the
transfer of ships reached the danger point, Japan declared war,
February 8, 1904, and struck viciously that same night.

[Footnote 1: NOTE TO THE EUROPEAN POWERS, July 3, 1900.]

[Footnote 2: Thayer, LIFE OF HAY, II, 369.]

As in the Spanish-American War, control of the sea was vital, since
Japan must depend upon it to move her troops to the continental
theater of war. Nor could she hold her army passive while awaiting
the issue of a struggle for sea control. Delay would put a greater
relative strain on her finances, and give Russia, handicapped by
long communications over the single-track Siberian Railway, a better
chance to mass in the East her troops and supplies. Japan's plan
was therefore to strike hard for naval advantage, but to begin
at once, in any event, the movement of troops overseas. At the
outbreak of war her fleet of 6 battleships and 6 armored cruisers,
with light cruiser and destroyer flotillas, was assembled at Sasebo
near the Straits of Tsushima, thoroughly organized for fighting
and imbued with the spirit of war. Japan had an appreciable naval
superiority, but was handicapped by the task of protecting her
transports and by the necessity--which she felt keenly--of avoiding
losses in battle which would leave her helpless upon the possible
advent of Russia's Baltic reserves.

Russia's main naval strength in the East consisted of 7 battleships
and 3 armored cruisers, presenting a combined broadside of 100
guns against Japan's 124. The support of the Black Sea fleet was
denied by the attitude of England, which would prevent violation
of the agreement restricting it from passing the Dardanelles. The
Baltic fleet, however, was an important though distant reserve
force, a detachment from which was actually in the Red Sea on its
way east at the outbreak of war.

Just as clearly as it was Japan's policy to force the fighting on
land, so it should have been Russia's to prevent Japan's movement
of troops by aggressive action at sea. This called for concentration
of force and concentration of purpose. But neither was evident in
the Russian plan of campaign, which betrayed confusion of thought
and a traditional leaning toward the defensive--acceptance on the
one hand of what has been called "fortress fleet" doctrine, that
fleets exist to protect bases and can serve this purpose by being
shut up in them; and on the other hand of exaggerated "fleet in
being" theory, that the mere presence of the Russian fleet, though
inactive, would prevent Japan's use of the sea. Thus in October,
1903, Witjeft, chief of the Port Arthur naval staff, declared that
a landing of Japanese troops either in the Liao-tung or the Korean
Gulf was "impossible so long as our fleet is not destroyed." Just
as Russia's total force was divided between east and west, so her
eastern force was divided between Vladivostok and Port Arthur, with
the Japanese in central position between. Three armored cruisers
were in the northern port, and 7 battleships in the other; and all
Russia's efforts after war broke out were vainly directed toward
remedying this faulty disposition before it began. The whole Russian
fleet in the East, moreover, was, it is said, badly demoralized and
unready for war, owing chiefly to bureaucratic corruption and to
the fact that not merely its strategical direction but its actual
command was vested in the Viceroy, Alexieff, with headquarters on

_Operations Around Port Arthur_

On January 3, 1904, Japan presented practically an ultimatum; on
February 6 broke off diplomatic relations; on February 8 declared
war; and on the same night--just as the Czar was discussing with
his council what should be done--she delivered her first blow. By
extraordinary laxity, though the diplomatic rupture was known,
the Port Arthur squadron remained in the outer anchorage, "with
all lights burning, without torpedo nets out, and without any guard
vessels."[1] Ten Japanese destroyers attacked at close quarters,
fired 18 torpedoes, and put the battleship _Tsarevitch_ and two
cruisers out of action for two months. It was only poor torpedo
work, apparently, that saved the whole fleet from destruction. A
Russian light cruiser left isolated at Chemulpa was destroyed the
next day. The transportation of troops to Korea and Southern Manchuria
was at once begun. Though not locked in by close blockade, and not
seriously injured by the frequent Japanese raids, bombardments,
and efforts to block the harbor entrance, the Port Arthur squadron
made no move to interfere.

[Footnote 1: Semenoff, RASPLATA, p. 45.]

Both fleets suffered from mines. Vice Admiral Makaroff, Russia's
foremost naval leader, who took command at Port Arthur in March,
went down with the _Petropavlosk_ on April 13, when his ship struck
a mine laid by the Japanese. On May 14, on the other hand, the
Russian mine-layer _Amur_ slipped out in a fog, spread her mines
in the usual path of Japanese vessels off the port, and thus on
the same day sank two of their best ships, the _Hatsuse_ and
_Yashima_. Mining, mine-sweeping, an uneventful Russian sortie
an June 23, progress of Japanese land forces down the peninsula
and close investment of Port Arthur--this was the course of events
down to the final effort of the Russian squadron on August 10.


By this time Japanese siege guns were actually reaching ships in
the harbor. Action of any kind, especially if it involved some
injury to the enemy navy, was better than staying to be shot to
pieces from the shore. Yet Makaroff's successor, Witjeft, painfully
and consciously unequal to his responsibilities, still opposed
an exit, and left port only upon imperative orders from above.
Scarcely was the fleet an hour outside when Togo appeared on the
scene. The forces in the Battle of August 10 consisted of 6 Russian
battleships and 4 cruisers, against 6 Japanese armored vessels and
9 cruisers; the combined large-caliber broadsides of the armored
ships being 73 to 52, and of the cruisers 55 to 21, in favor of
Togo's squadron. In spite of this superiority in armament, and of
fully a knot in speed, Togo hesitated to close to decisive range.
Five hours or more of complicated maneuvering ensued, during which
both squadrons kept at "long bowls," now passing each other, now
defiling across van or rear, without marked advantage for either

At last, at 5.40 p.m., the Japanese got in a lucky blow. Two 12-inch
shells struck the flagship _Tsarevitch_, killing Admiral Witjeft,
jamming the helm to starboard, and thus serving to throw the whole
Russian line into confusion. Togo now closed to 3000 yards, but
growing darkness enabled his quarry to escape. The battle in fact
was less one-sided than the later engagement at Tsushima. On both
sides the percentage of hits was low, about 1% for the Russians
and 6 or 7% for their opponents. Togo's flagship _Mikasa_ was hit
30 times and lost 125 men; the total Japanese loss was about half
that of the enemy--236 to 478.

Much might still have been gained, in view of the future coming of
the Baltic fleet, had the Russians still persisted in pressing onward
for Vladivostok; but owing to loss of their leader and ignorance of
the general plan, they scattered. The cruiser _Novik_ was caught and
sunk, another cruiser was interned at Shanghai, a third at Saigon,
and the _Tsarevitch_ at Kiao-chau. The rest, including 5 of the 6
battleships, fled back into the Port Arthur death-trap. Largely in
order to complete their destruction, the Japanese sacrificed 60,000
men in desperate assaults on the fortress, which surrendered January
2, 1905. As at Santiago, the necessity of saving battleships, less
easily replaced, led the Japanese to the cheaper expenditure of

On news of the Port Arthur sortie, the Vladivostok squadron, which
hitherto had made only a few more or less futile raids on Japanese
shipping, advanced toward Tsushima Straits, and met there at dawn
of August 14 a slightly superior force of 4 cruisers under Kamimura.
The better shooting of the Japanese soon drove the slowest Russian
ship, the _Rurik_, out of line; the other two, after a plucky fight,
managed to get away, with hulls and funnels riddled by enemy shells.

The complete annulment of Russia's eastern fleet in this first
stage of hostilities had enabled Japan to profit fully by her easier
communications to the scene of war. Its final destruction with the
fall of Port Arthur gave assurance of victory. The decisive battle
of Mukden was fought in March, 1905. Close to their bases, trained
to the last degree, inspired by success, the Japanese navy could
now face with confidence the approach of Russia's last fleet.

_Rojdestvensky's Cruise_

After a series of accidents and delays, the Baltic fleet under
Admiral Rojdestvensky--8 battleships, 5 cruisers, 8 destroyers, and
numerous auxiliaries--left Libau Oct. 18, 1904, on its 18,000-mile
cruise. Off the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, the ships fired into
English trawlers under the impression that they were enemy torpedo
craft, and thus nearly stirred England to war. Off Tangier some of
the lighter vessels separated to pass by way of Suez, and a third
division from Russia followed a little later by the same route.
Hamburg-American colliers helped Rojdestvensky solve his logistical
problem on the long voyage round Africa, and German authorities
stretched neutrality rules upon his arrival in Wahlfish Bay, for
the engrossment of Russia in eastern adventures was cheerfully
encouraged by the neighbor on her southern frontier. France also
did her best to be of service to the fleet of her ally, though
she had "paired off" with England to remain neutral in the war.

With the reunion of the Russian divisions at Nossi Bé, Madagascar,
January 9, 1905, came news of the fall of Port Arthur. The home
government now concluded to despatch the fag-ends of its navy,
though Rojdestvensky would have preferred to push ahead without
waiting for such "superfluous encumbrances" to join. Ships, as
his staff officer Semenoff afterward wrote, were needed, but not
"old flatirons and galoshes"; guns, but not "holes surrounded by
iron."[1] After a tedious 10 weeks' delay in tropical waters, the
fleet moved on to French Indo-China, where, after another month
of waiting, the last division under Nebogatoff finally joined--a
slow old battleship, 3 coast defense ironclads, and a cruiser.
Upon these, Rojdestvensky's officers vented their vocabulary of
invective, in which "war junk" and "auto-sinkers" were favorite

[Footnote 1: RASPLATA, p. 426.]

Having already accomplished almost the impossible, the armada of
50 units on May 14 set forth on the last stage of its extraordinary
cruise. Of three possible routes to Vladivostok--through the Tsugaru
Strait between Nippon and Yezo, through the Strait of La Perouse
north of Yezo, or through the Straits of Tsushima--the first was
ruled out as too difficult of navigation; the second, because it
would involve coaling off the coast of Japan. Tsushima remained.
To avoid torpedo attack, the Russian admiral planned to pass the
straits by day, and fully expected battle. But the hope lingered
in his mind that fog or heavy weather might enable him to pass
unscathed. He had been informed that owing to traffic conditions
on the Siberian railway, he could get nothing at Vladivostok in
the way of supplies. Hence, as a compromise measure which weakened
fighting efficiency, he took along 3 auxiliary steamers, a repair
ship, 2 tugs, and 2 hospital ships, the rest of the train on May
25 entering Shanghai; and he so filled the bunkers and piled even
the decks with fuel, according to Nebogatoff's later testimony,
that they went into action burdened with coal for 3,000 miles.[2]

[Footnote 2: Mahan, NAVAL STRATEGY, p. 412.]

[Illustration: ROJDESTVENSKY'S CRUISE, OCT. 18, 1904-MAY 27, 1905]

The main Russian fighting force entered the battle in three divisions
of 4 ships each: (1) the _Suvaroff_ (flagship), _Alexander III,
Borodino_ and _Orel_, each a new battleship of about 13,600 tons;
(2) the _Ossliabya_, a slightly smaller battleship, and three
armored cruisers; (3) Nebogatoff's division as given above, with the
exception of the cruiser. Then there was a squadron of 4 smaller
cruisers, 4 other cruisers as scouts, and 9 destroyers. The Japanese
engaged in two main divisions of 6 ships each (4 battleships and
8 armored cruisers), backed by four light cruiser divisions of 4
ships each. The Russian line had the advantage in heavy ordnance,
as will appear from the following table, but this was more than
compensated for by the enemy's superiority in 8-inch guns and
quick-firers, which covered the Russians with an overwhelming rain
of shells. Of guns in broadside, the Japanese ships-of-the-line
had 127 to 98; and the cruisers 89 to 43.

       |       |   MAIN BATTERIES    |   Q.F.
       |       |---------------------|------------
       | Ships | 12" | 10" | 9" | 8" |  6" | 4·7"
Japan  |   12  | 16  |  1  |    | 30 | 160 |
Russia |   12  | 26  | 15  |  4 |  3 |  90 |  20

On the basis of these figures, and the 50% superiority of the Japanese
in speed, the issue could hardly be in doubt. Admiral Togo, moreover,
had commanded his fleet in peace and war for 8 years, and had veteran
subordinates on whom he could depend to lead their divisions
independently yet in coordination with the general plan. Constant
training and target practice had brought his crews to a high degree
of skill. The Japanese shells were also superior, with fuses that
detonated their charges on the slightest contact with an explosive
force like that of mines. Between the enemy and their base, the
Japanese could wait quietly in home waters, while the Russian fleet
was worn out by its eight months' cruise. At best, the latter was
a heterogeneous assemblage of new ships hastily completed and old
ships indifferently put in repair, which since Nebogatoff joined
had had but one opportunity for maneuvers and had operated as a
unit for only 13 days.

On the night of May 26-27, as the Russian ships approached Tsushima
through mist and darkness, half the officers and men were at their
posts, while the rest slept beside the guns. Fragments of wireless
messages--"Last night" ... "nothing" ... "eleven lights" ... "but
not in line"--revealed enemy patrols in the waters beyond. Semenoff
on the _Suvaroff_ describes vividly "the tall, somewhat bent figure
of the Admiral on the side of the bridge, the wrinkled face of
the man at the wheel stooping over the compass, the guns' crews
chilled at their posts." In the brightly lighted engine-rooms,
"life and movement was visible on all sides; men were nimbly running
up and down ladders; there was a tinkling of bells and buzzing
of voices; orders were being transmitted loudly; but, on looking
more intently, the tension and anxiety--that same peculiar frame
of mind so noticeable on deck--could also be observed."[1]

[Footnote 1: THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA, p. 28.]

_The Battle of Tsushima_

At dawn (4.45) the Japanese scout _Sinano Maru_, which for an hour
or more had been following in the darkness, made them out clearly
and communicated the intelligence at once to Togo in his base at
Masampho Bay, on the Korean side of the straits, and to the cruiser
divisions off the Tsushima Islands. This was apparently the first
definite news that Togo had received for several days, and the fact
suggests that his scouting arrangements were not above criticism,
for it took fast steaming to get to the straits by noon. Cruiser
divisions were soon circling towards the Russians through the mist
and darting as swiftly away, first the 5th and 6th under Takeomi
and Togo (son of the admiral), then the 3d under Dewa, all reporting
the movements of the enemy fleet and shepherding it till the final
action began. Troubled by their activity, Rojdestvensky made several
shifts of formation, first placing his 1st and 2d divisions in
one long column ahead of the 3d, then at 11.20 throwing the 1st
division again to starboard, while the cruisers protected the
auxiliaries which were steaming between the lines in the rear.

This was the disposition when, shortly after one o'clock, the Japanese
main divisions appeared to northward about 7 miles distant, steaming
on a westerly course across the enemy's bows. Since morning Togo
had covered a distance of 90 miles. From his signal yards fluttered
the stirring message: "The fate of the empire depends upon to-day's
battle. Let every man do his utmost." Ordering all his cruisers to
circle to the Russian rear, and striking himself for their left
flank, which at the moment was the weaker, Togo first turned southward
as if to pass on opposite courses, and then at about two o'clock
led his two divisions around to east-northeast, so as to "cross
the T" upon the head of the enemy line.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA, MAY 27, 1905

  I Division (Togo)        II Division (Kamimura)
     Mikasa, B.S.              Idzumo
     Shikishima, B.S.          Iwate
     Asahi, B.S.               Adzumo
     Fuji, B.S.                Asama
     Nisshin, A.C.             Tokiwa
     Kasuga                    Yakumo

  I Division               II Division
     Suvaroff                  Ossliabya (flag)
     Alexander III
     Borodino             III Division

Just as Togo's flagship _Mikasa_ straightened on her new course,
nearly north of the _Suvaroff_, and 6400 yards distant, the _Suvaroff_
opened fire. It has been suggested that at this critical moment the
Russian admiral should have closed with the enemy, or, leading
his ships on a northwesterly course, laid his starboard broadsides
on the knuckle formed by the Japanese turn. But the position of
the enemy cruisers and destroyers, and worry over his transports,
guided his movements. Moreover, he had not yet completed an awkwardly
executed maneuver to get his ships back into single column with
the 1st division ahead. The _Ossliabya_ and other ships of the
2d division were thrown into confusion, and forced to slow down
and even stop engines. Under these difficulties, the _Suvaroff_
sheered more to eastward. As they completed their turn the Japanese
secured a "capping" position and could concentrate on the leading
ships of both the 1st and the 2d Russian divisions, 4 ships on
the _Suvaroff_ and 7 on the _Ossliabya_. Under this terrible fire
the _Ossliabya_ went down, the first modern battleship (in the
narrow sense of the word) ever sunk by gunfire, and the _Suvaroff_
a few moments later fell out of line, torn by shells, her forward
funnel down, and steering gear jammed. "She was so battered," wrote
a Japanese observer, "that scarcely any one would have taken her
for a ship."

With an advantage in speed of 15 knots to 9, the Japanese drew
ahead. The _Alexander_, followed by other Russian ships in much
confusion, about three o'clock made an effort to pass northward
across the enemy rear, but they were countered by the Japanese first
division turning west together and the 2d division in succession at
3.10. The first and decisive phase of the action thus ended. Both
fleets eventually resumed easterly and then southerly courses,
for considerable periods completely lost to each other in smoke
and haze.

Plunging through heavy seas from the southwest, the Japanese cruisers
had in the meantime punished the Russian rear less severely than
might have been expected. Two transports went down in flames, two
cruisers were badly damaged, and the high-sided ex-German liner
_Ural_ was punctured with shells. On the other hand, Dewa's flagship
_Kasagi_ was driven to port with a bad hole under water, and Toga's
old ship _Naniwa Kan_ had to cease action for repairs. Hits and
losses in fact were considerable in both the main and the cruiser
divisions of the Japanese, their total casualties numbering 465.
Late in the afternoon the Russian destroyer _Buiny_ came up to
the wreck of the _Suvaroff_, and lurched alongside long enough for
Rojdestvensky, wounded and almost unconscious, to be practically
thrown on board. He was captured with the destroyer next day. In
spite of her injuries, the _Suvaroff_ held off a swarm of cruisers
and destroyers until at last torpedoed at 7.20 p. m.

The Russian battleships had meanwhile described a large circle to
southward, and at 5 p. m. were again steaming north, accompanied
by some of their cruisers and train. Attacked once more between
6 and 7 o'clock, and almost incapable of defense, the _Alexander
III_ and _Borodino_ went down, making 4 ships lost out of the 5 new
vessels that had formed the backbone of Rojdestvensky's forces. In
the gathering darkness. Nebogatoff collected the survivors and
staggered northward.

Of slight value in the day engagement, 21 Japanese destroyers,
with about 40 torpedo boats which had sheltered under Tsushima
Island, now darted after the fleeing foe. In the fog and heavy
weather they were almost as great a menace to each other as to
the enemy. Russian ships without searchlights escaped harm. Of
three or perhaps four Russian vessels struck, all but the _Navarin_
stayed afloat until the next day. Admiral Custance estimates 8 hits,
or 9% of the torpedoes fired. There were at least 6 collisions
among the flotillas, and 4 boats destroyed.

On the morning of the 28th the remains of the Russian fleet were
scattered over the sea. Nebagatoff with 4 battleships and 2 cruisers
surrendered at 10.30. Of the 37 ships all told that entered Tsushima
Straits, only the following escaped: the cruisers _Oleg, Aurora_,
and _Jemschug_ reached Manila on June 3; a tug and a supply ship
entered Shanghai, and another transport with plenty of coal went
clear to Madagascar; only the fast cruiser _Almaz_ and two
destroyers made Vladivostok.

Among the lessons to be drawn from Tsushima, one of the clearest is
the weakening effect of divided purpose. With all honor to Admiral
Rojdestvensky for his courage and persistence during his cruise,
it is evident that at the end he allowed the supply problem to
interfere with his preparations for battle, and that he fought
"with one eye on Vladivostok." It is evident also that only by a
long period of training and operating as a unit can a collection
of ships and men be welded into an effective fighting force. Torpedo
results throughout the war, whether due to faulty materials or
unskilled employment, were not such as to increase the reliance upon
this weapon. The gun retained its supremacy; and the demonstrated
advantage conferred by speed and heavy armament in long range fighting
was reflected in the "all-big-gun" _Dreadnought_ of 1906 and the
battle cruisers of 1908.

Immediately after the Russian navy had been swept out of existence,
President Roosevelt offered to mediate, and received favorable replies
from the warring nations. By the treaty signed at Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, on September 5, 1905, Russia withdrew from Manchuria
in favor of China, recognized Japan's paramount position in Korea
(annexed by Japan in 1910), and surrendered to Japan her privileges
in Port Arthur and the Liao-tung Peninsula. In lieu of indemnity,
Japan after a long deadlock was induced by pressure on the part
of England and the United States to accept that portion of the
island of Saghalien south of the parallel of 50°. Thus the war
thwarted Russia's policy of aggressive imperialism in the East,
and established Japan firmly on the mainland at China's front door.
At the same time, by the military débâcle of Russia, it dangerously
disturbed the balance of power in Europe, upon which the safety
of that continent had long been made precariously to depend.


_Spanish-American War_

NOTES ON THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR (a series of publications issued
  by the Office of Naval Intelligence, U. S. Navy Department, 1900).
  Printing Office, 1899.
THE DOWNFALL OF SPAIN, H. W. Wilson, 1900.

_Russo-Japanese War_

  Morse, 1918.
THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA (1906), RASPLATA (1910), Captain Vladimir
JAPANESE OFFICIAL HISTORY, translated in U. S. Naval Institute
  Proceedings, July-August, September-October, 1914.
THE SHIP OF THE LINE IN BATTLE, Admiral Reginald Custance, 1912.
THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE, Debaters' Handbook Series,
  N. Y., 1916 (with bibliography).



The Russo-Japanese war greatly weakened Russia's position in Europe,
and left the Dual Alliance of France and Russia overweighted by the
military strength of the Teutonic Empires, Germany and Austria,
whether or not Italy should adhere to the Triple Alliance with
these nations. To Great Britain, such a disturbance of the European
balance was ever a matter of grave concern, and an abandonment
of her policy of isolation was in this instance virtually forced
upon her by Germany's rivalry in her own special sphere of commerce
and sea power.

The disturbing effect of Germany's naval growth during the two
decades prior to 1914 affords in fact an excellent illustration
of the influence of naval strength in peace as well as in war.
Under Bismarck Germany had pushed vigorously though tardily into
the colonial field, securing vast areas of rather doubtful value
in East and West Africa, and the Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall
Islands, and part of New Guinea in the Pacific. With the accession
of William II in 1888 and the dropping of the pilot, Bismarck,
two years later, she embarked definitely upon her quest for world
power. The young Kaiser read eagerly Mahan's _Influence of Sea
Power Upon History_ (1890), distributed it among the ships of his
still embryonic navy, and fed his ambition on the doctrines of
this epoch-making work.

Naval development found further stimulus and justification in the
rapid economic growth of Germany. In 1912 her industrial production
attained a value of three billion dollars, as compared with slightly
over four billion for England and seven billion for the United
States. Since 1893 her merchant marine had tripled in size and
taken second place to that of England with a total of over five
million tons. During the same period she surpassed France and the
United States in volume of foreign commerce, and in this respect
also reached a position second to Great Britain, with a more rapid
rate of increase. An emigration of 220,000 a year in the early
eighties was cut down to 22,000 in 1900.[1] To assure markets for
her manufactures, and continued growth in population and industry,
Germany felt that she must strive to extend her political power.

[Footnote 1: Figures from Priest, GERMANY SINCE 1840, p. 150 ff.]

Though Germany's commercial expansion met slight opposition even
in areas under British control, it undoubtedly justified measures
of political and naval protection; and it was this motive that was
advanced in the preface to the German Naval Bill of 1900, which
declared that, "To protect her sea trade and colonies ... Germany
must have a fleet so strong that a war, even with the greatest naval
power, would involve such risks as to jeopardize the position of that
power."[2] Furthermore, Germany's quest for colonies and points of
vantage such as Kiao-chau, her scheme for a Berlin-Bagdad railroad
with domination of the territories on the route, had parallel in
the activities of other nations. Unfortunately, however, Germany's
ambitions grew even more rapidly than her commerce, until her true
aim appeared to be destruction of rivals and domination of the

[Footnote 2: Hurd and Castle, GERMAN SEA POWER, Appendix II.]

The seizure of Kiao-chau in 1897-98 coincided with the appointment
of Admiral von Tirpitz as Imperial Minister of Marine. Under his
administration, the Naval Bill of 1900, passed in a heat of anglophobia
aroused by the Boer War, doubled the program of 1898, and contained
ingenious provisions by which the Reichstag was bound to steady
increases covering a long period of years, and by which the Navy
Department was empowered to replace worthless old craft, after 20
or 25 years' service, with new ships of the largest size. As the
armament race grew keener, this act was amended in the direction
of further increases, but its program was never cut down.

International crises and realignments marked the growing tension of
these years. In 1905 England extended for ten years her understanding
with Japan. By the _Entente Cordiale_ with France in 1904 and a
later settlement of outstanding difficulties with Russia, she also
practically changed the Dual Alliance into a Triple Entente, though
without positively binding herself to assistance in war. To the
agreement of 1904 by which England and France assured each other
a free hand in Egypt and Morocco, respectively, the Kaiser raised
strenuous objections, and forced the resignation of the anglophile
French Foreign Minister, Delcassé; but at the Algeciras Convention
of 1906, assembled to settle the Morocco question, Germany and
Austria stood virtually alone. Even the American delegates, sent
by President Roosevelt at the Kaiser's invitation, voted generally
with the Western Powers. When Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina
in 1909, the Kaiser shook the mailed fist to better effect than at
Algeciras, with the result that Russia had to accept this extension
of Austro-German influence in the Balkan sphere. Still again two years
later, when the German cruiser _Panther_ made moves to establish a
base at Agadir on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Europe approached
the verge of war; but Germany found the financial situation against
her, backed down, and eventually took a strip of land on the Congo
in liquidation of her Morocco claims.

For all her resolute saber-rattling in these years, Germany found
herself checkmated in almost every move. The Monroe Doctrine, for
which the United States showed willingness to fight in the Venezuela
affair of 1902, balked her schemes in the New World. In the Far
East she faced Japan; in Africa, British sea power. A "_Drang nach
Osten_," through the Balkans and Turkey toward Asia Minor, offered
on the whole the best promise; and it was in this quarter that
Austria's violent demands upon Serbia aroused Russia and precipitated
the World War.

Great Britain's foreign agreements, already noted, had as a primary
aim the concentration of her fleet in home waters. Naval predominance
in the Far East she turned over to Japan; in the western Atlantic,
to the United States (at least by acceptance of the Monroe Doctrine
and surrender of treaty rights to share in the construction of the
Panama Canal); and in the Mediterranean, to France, though England
still kept a strong cruiser force in this field. The old policy of
showing the flag all over the world was abandoned, 160 old ships
were sent to the scrap heap as unable "either to fight or to run
away," and 88% of the fleet was concentrated at home, so quietly
that it "was found out only by accident by Admiral Mahan."[1]

[Footnote 1: Admiral Fisher, MEMORIES, p. 185.]

These and other changes were carried out under the energetic régime
of Admiral Fisher, First Sea Lord from 1904 to 1910. The British
_Dreadnought_ of 1906, completed in 10 months, and the battle cruisers
of 1908--_Indefatigable, Invincible_ and _Indomitable_--came as
an unpleasant surprise to Germany, necessitating construction of
similar types and enlargement of the Kiel Canal. Reforms in naval
gunnery urged by Admiral Sir Percy Scott were taken up, and plans
were made for new bases in the Humber, in the Forth at Rosyth, and
in the Orkneys, necessitated by the shift of front from the Channel
to the North Sea. But against the technical skill, painstaking
organization, and definitely aggressive purpose of Germany, even more
radical measures were needed to put the tradition-ridden British
navy in readiness for war.

Naval preparedness was vital, for the conflict was fundamentally,
like the Napoleonic Wars, a struggle between land power predominant
on the Continent and naval power supreme on the seas. As compared
with France in the earlier struggle, Germany was more dependent
on foreign commerce, and in a long war would feel more keenly the
pressure of blockade. On the other hand, while the naval preponderance
of England and her allies was probably greater than 100 years before,
England had to throw larger armies into the field and more of her
shipping into naval service, and found her commerce not augmented
but cut down.

Indeed, Germany was not without advantage in the naval war. As
she fully expected, her direct sea trade was soon shut off, and
her shipping was driven to cover or destroyed. But Germany was
perhaps 80% self-supporting, was well supplied with minerals and
munitions, and could count on trade through neutral states on her
frontiers. Her shallow, well-protected North Sea coast-line gave
her immunity from naval attack and opportunity to choose the moment
in which to throw her utmost strength into a sortie. So long as her
fleet remained intact, it controlled the Baltic by virtue of an
interior line through the Kiel Canal, thus providing a strangle hold
on Russia and free access to northern neutrals. Only by dangerous
division of forces, or by leaving the road to England and the Atlantic
open, could the British fleet enter the Baltic Sea. England it is
true had a superior navy (perhaps less superior than was commonly
thought), and a position of singular advantage between Germany and
the overseas world. But for her the maintenance of naval superiority
was absolutely essential. An effective interference with her sea
communications would quickly put her out of the war.

The importance (for Germany as well as for England) of preserving
their main fighting fleets, may explain the wariness with which
they were employed. Instead of risking them desperately, both sides
turned to commerce warfare--the Western Powers resorting to blockade
and the Germans to submarines. Each of these forms of warfare played
a highly important part in the war, and the submarine campaign in
particular, calling for new methods and new instruments, seems
almost to have monopolized the naval genius and energies of the
two groups of belligerents. It may be noted, however, that but
for the cover given by the High Seas Fleet, the submarine campaign
could hardly have been undertaken; and but for the Grand Fleet,
it would have been unnecessary.

The naval strength of the various belligerents in July, 1914, appears
in the table on the following page.[1]

[Footnote 1: From table prepared by U. S. Office of Naval Intelligence,
July 1, 1916.]

               | Great |Ger-| U.S. |      |     |      |     |
Dreadnoughts   |   20  | 13 |  12  |   4  |   2 |  ..  |   3 |   3
Pre-dreadn'ts  |   40  | 20 |  21  |  18  |  13 |   7  |   8 |   6
Battle Cruisers|    9  |  4 |  ..  |  ..  |   2 |  ..  |  .. |  ..
Armored Cr's   |   34  |  9 |  10  |  20  |  13 |   6  |   9 |   2
Cruisers       |   74  | 41 |  14  |   9  |  13 |   9  |   6 |   5
Destroyers     |  167  |130 |  54  |  84  |  50 |  91  |  36 |  18
Submarines     |   78  | 30 |  44  |  64  |  13 |  30  |  19 |   6

Owing to new construction, these figures underwent rapid change.
Thus England added 4 dreadnoughts (2 built for Turkey) in August,
1914; the battle cruiser _Tiger_ in November; the dreadnought _Canada_
and 5 _Queen Elizabeths_ in 1915; and 5 _Royal Sovereigns_ in
1915-1916. In comparisons, full account is not always taken of
the naval support of England's allies; it is true, however, that
the necessity of protecting coasts, troop convoys, and commerce
prevented her from throwing her full strength into the North Sea.
Her capital ships were in two main divisions--the 1st or Grand
Fleet in the Orkneys, and the 2d fleet, consisting at first of
16 pre-dreadnoughts, in the Channel. Admiral Jellico[1] gives the
strength of the Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet, on
August 4, 1914, as follows:

[Footnote 1: THE GRAND FLEET, p. 31.]

       |       | Pre-  |        |        |          |     |
       |Dread- |Dread- | Battle | Light  |Destroyers| Air-|Cruisers
       |noughts|noughts|cruisers|cruisers|          |ships|
British|   20  |   8   |    4   |   12   |    42    |  .. |    9
German |   13  |  16   |    3   |   15   |    88    |   1 |    2

Of submarines, according to the same authority, England had 17 of
the D and E classes fit for distant operations, and 37 fit only for
coast defense, while Germany had 28 U boats, all but two or three
of which were able to cruise overseas. The British admiral's account
of the inferiority of the British navy in submarines, aircraft,
mines, destroyers, director firing (installed in only 8 ships in
1914), armor-piercing shells, and protection of bases, seems to
justify the caution of British operations, but is a severe indictment
of the manner in which money appropriated for the navy was used.

To open a war with England by surprise naval attack was no doubt
an element in German plans; but in 1914 this was negatived by the
forewarning of events on the Continent, by Germany's persistent delusion
that England would stay neutral, and by the timely mobilization of
the British fleet. This had been announced the winter before as
a practical exercise, was carried out according to schedule from
July 16 to July 23 (the date of Austria's ultimatum to Serbia),
and was then extended until July 29, at which date the Grand Fleet
sailed for Scapa Flow.

At midnight of August 4 the British ultimatum to Germany expired
and hostilities began. During the same night the Grand Fleet swept
the northern exit of the North Sea to prevent the escape of enemy
raiders, only one of which, the _Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse_, actually
reached the Atlantic in this first stage of the war. On a similar
sweep further south, the Harwich light cruiser and destroyer force
under Commodore Tyrwhitt sank by gunfire the mine layer _Königin
Luise_, which a trawler had reported "throwing things overboard";
but the next morning, August 6, the cruiser _Amphion_, returning
near the same position, was destroyed by two mines laid by her
victim of the day before. On the same date five cables were cut
leading from Germany overseas. From August 10 to 23 all British
forces were busy covering the transit of the first troops sent to
the Continent. Such, in brief summary, and omitting more distant
activities for the present, were the opening naval events of the

_The Heligoland Bight Action_

On the morning of August 28 occurred a lively action in Heligoland
Bight, which cost Germany 3 light cruisers and a destroyer, and
seemed to promise further aggressive action off the German shores.
The British plan called for a destroyer and light cruiser sweep
southward to a point about 12 miles west of Heligoland, and thence
westward, with submarines disposed off Heligoland as decoys, the
object being to cut off German destroyers and patrols. Commodore
Tyrwhitt's force which was to execute the raid consisted of the
1st and 3rd flotillas of 16 destroyers each, led by the new light
cruiser _Arethusa_, flagship (28.5 knots, two 6", six 4" guns),
and the _Fearless_ (25-4 knots, ten 4" guns). These were to be
supported about 50 miles to westward by two battle cruisers from
the Humber. This supporting force was at the last moment joined
by three battle cruisers under Admiral Beatty and 6 cruisers under
Commodore Goodenough from the Grand Fleet; but news of the accession
never reached Commodore Keyes of the British submarines, who was
hence puzzled later by the appearance of Goodenough's cruisers
on the scene.

[Illustration: HELIGOLAND BIGHT ACTION, AUG. 28, 1914]

The Germans, it appears, had got wind of the enemy plan, and arranged
a somewhat similar counter-stroke. As Commodore Tyrwhitt's flotillas
swept southward, they engaged and chased 10 German destroyers straight
down upon Heligoland. Here the _Arethusa_ and the _Fearless_ were
sharply engaged with two German light cruisers, the _Stettin_, and
the _Frauenlob_ (ten 4.1" guns each), until actually in sight of
the island. Both sides suffered, the _Frauenlob_ withdrawing to
Wilhelmshaven with 50 casualties, and the _Arethusa_ having her
speed cut down and nearly every gun put temporarily out of

Whipping around to westward, the flotillas caught the German destroyer
_V 187_, which at 9.10, after an obstinate resistance, was reduced to
a complete wreck enveloped in smoke and steam. As British destroyers
picked up survivors, they were driven off by the _Stettin_; but two
boats with British crews and German prisoners were rescued later by
the British submarine _E 4_, which had been lurking nearby.

Extraordinary confusion now developed from the fact that Commodore
Keyes in his submarine flotilla leader _Lurcher_ sighted through
the mist two of Goodenough's cruisers (which had chased a destroyer
eastward), and reported them as enemies. The call was picked up
by Goodenough himself, who brought his remaining four ships to
Keyes' assistance; but when these appeared, Keyes thought that
he had to deal with four enemies more! Tyrwhitt was also drawn
backward by the alarm. Luckily the situation was cleared up without
serious consequences.

German cruisers, darting out of the Ems and the Jade, were now
entering the fray. At 10.55 the _Fearless_ and the _Arethusa_ with
their flotillas were attacked by the _Stralsund_, which under a
heavy fire made off toward Heligoland. Then at 11.15 the _Stettin_
engaged once more, and five minutes later the _Mainz_. Just as
this last ship was being finished up by destroyer attack, and the
_Stettin_ and two fresh cruisers, _Köln_ and _Ariadne_, were
rushing to her assistance, Beatty's five battle cruisers appeared
to westward and rose swiftly out of the haze.

Admiral Beatty's opportune dash into action at this time, from
his position 40 miles away, was in response to an urgent call from
Tyrwhitt at 11.15, coupled with the fact that, as the Admiral states
in his report, "The flotillas had advanced only 2 miles since 8
a.m., and were only about 25 miles from two enemy bases." "Our high
speed," the report continues, "made submarine attack difficult,
and the smoothness of the sea made their detection fairly easy. I
considered that we were powerful enough to deal with any sortie
except by a battle squadron, which was unlikely to come out in
time, provided our stroke was sufficiently rapid."

The _Stettin_ broke backward just in the nick of time. The _Köln_
flagship of the German commodore, was soon staggering off in a
blaze, and was later sunk with her total complement of 380 officers
and men. The _Ariadne_, steaming at high speed across the bows of
the British flagship _Lion_, was put out of action by two well-placed
salvos. At 1.10 the _Lion_ gave the general signal "Retire."

From 20 to 40 miles slightly S. of W. from Heligoland.]

Though the German cruisers had fought hard and with remarkable
accuracy of fire, their movements had been tardy and not well concerted.
The British losses amounted altogether to only 33 killed and 40
wounded; while the enemy lost in killed, wounded, and prisoners
over 1000 men. Very satisfactory, from the British standpoint, was
the effect of the victory upon their own and upon enemy morale.

Encouragement of this kind was desirable, for German submarines
and mines were already beginning to take their toll. Off the Forth
on September 5, a single torpedo sank the light cruiser _Pathfinder_
with nearly all hands. This loss was avenged when a week later the
_E 9_, under Lieut. Commander Max Harton, struck down the German
cruiser _Hela_ within 6 miles of Heligoland. But on September 22,
at 6.30 a.m., a single old-type German craft, the _U 9_, dealt a
staggering blow. With a total of 6 torpedoes Commander Weddigen sank
first the _Aboukir_, and then in quick succession the _Hogue_
and the _Cressy_, both dead in the water at the work of rescue.
The loss of these rather antiquated vessels was less serious than
that of over 1400 trained officers and men. A shock to British
traditions came with the new order that ships must abandon injured
consorts and make all speed away.

In the bases at Rosyth and Scapa Flow, which at the outbreak of
war were totally unprotected against submarines and thought to
be beyond their reach, the Grand Fleet felt less secure than when
cruising on the open sea. Safer refuges were sought temporarily
on the west coast of Scotland and at Lough Swilly in the north
of Ireland, but even off this latter base on October 27, the big
dreadnought _Audacious_ was sunk by mines laid by the German auxiliary
cruiser _Berlin_. In view of the impending Turkish crisis, the loss
was not admitted by the Admiralty, though since pictures of the
sinking ship had actually been taken by passengers on the White
Star liner _Olympic_, it could not long remain concealed. Mines and
submarines had seemingly put the British navy on the defensive,
even if consolation could be drawn from the fact that troops and
supplies were crossing safely to France, the enemy had been held
up at the Marne, the German surface fleet was passive, and the
blockade was closing down.

_Escape of the "Göben" and the "Breslau"_

In distant waters Germany at the outbreak of the war had only ten
cruisers--_Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Emden, Nürnberg_, and _Leipzig_
in the Pacific, _Königsberg_ on the east coast of Africa,
_Karlsruhe_ and _Dresden_ in the West Indies, and _Göben_
and _Breslau_ in the Mediterranean. Within six months' time,
these, together with a few auxiliary cruisers fitted out abroad,
were either destroyed or forced to intern in neutral ports. Modern
wireless communication, difficulties of coaling and supply, and
the overwhelming naval strength of the Allies made the task of
surface raiders far more difficult than in previous wars. They
were nevertheless skillfully handled, and, operating in the wide
ocean areas, created a troublesome problem for the Western Powers.

The battle cruiser _Göben_ and the light cruiser _Breslau_
alone, operating under Admiral Souchon in Mediterranean waters,
accomplished ultimate results which would have easily justified
the sacrifice of ten times the number of ships lost by Germany in
distant seas. To hunt down these two vessels, and at the same time
contain the Austrian Navy, the Entente had in the Mediterranean
not only the bulk of the French fleet but also 3 battle cruisers, 4
armored cruisers, and 4 light cruisers of Great Britain. Early on
August 4, as he was about to bombard the French bases of Bona and
Philippeville in Algiers, Admiral Souchon received wireless orders
to make for the Dardanelles. Germany and England were then on the
very verge of war. Knowing the British ships to be concentrated near
Malta, and actually passing the _Indomitable_ and the _Invincible_ in
sullen silence as he turned eastward, the German commander decided
to put in at Messina, Sicily.

At the end of the 24 hours granted in this port, the prospects
for the German ships appeared so desperate that the officers, it
is said, made their final testaments before again putting to sea.
Slipping eastward through the Straits of Messina at twilight of
the 6th, they were sighted by the British scout _Gloucester_, which
stuck close at their heels all that night and until 4.40 p.m. the
next day. Then, under orders to turn back, and after boldly engaging
the _Breslau_ to check the flight, Captain Kelly of the _Gloucester_
gave up the pursuit as the enemy rounded the Morea and entered
the Greek Archipelago.

The escape thus apparently so easy was the outcome of lack of
coördination between French and British, slow and poor information
from the British Admiralty, and questionable disposition of the
British forces on the basis of information actually at hand. Prior
to hostilities, it was perhaps unavoidable that the British commander,
Admiral Milne, should be ignorant of French plans; but even on August
5 and 6 he still kept all his battle cruisers west and north of
Sicily to protect the French troop transports, though by this time
he might have felt assured that the French fleet was at sea. At
the time of the escape Admiral Troubridge with 4 armored cruisers
and a destroyer force barred the Adriatic; though he caught the
_Gloucester's_ calls, he was justified in not moving far from his
station without orders, in view of his inferior strength and speed.
Not until August 10 did British forces enter the Ægean; and at
5 p.m. that day the two German ships steamed uninvited up the
Dardanelles. Since the Turkish situation was still somewhat dubious,
Admiral Souchon had been ordered to delay his entrance; but on
the 10th, hearing British wireless signals steadily approaching
his position in the Greek islands, he took the decision into his
own hands. Germany had "captured Turkey," as an Allied diplomat
remarked upon seeing the ships in the Golden Horn.

In this affair the British, it is true, had many preoccupations--the
hostile Austrian fleet, the doubtful neutrality of Italy, the French
troop movement; the safety of Egypt and Suez. Yet the Admiralty were
well aware that the German Ambassador von Wangenheim was dominant
in Turkish councils and that the Turkish army was mobilized under
German officers. It seems strange, therefore, that an escape into
Constantinople was, in the words of the British Official History,
"the only one that had not entered into our calculations." The whole
affair illustrates the immense value political information may have
in guiding naval strategy. The German ships, though ostensibly
"sold" to the Turks, retained their German personnel. Admiral Souchon
assumed command of the Turkish Navy, and by an attack on Russian
ships in the Black Sea later succeeded in precipitating Turkey's
entrance into the war, with its long train of evil consequences
for the Western Powers.

_Coronel and the Falkland Islands_

In the Pacific the German cruisers were at first widely scattered,
the _Emden_ at Kiao-chau, the _Leipzig_ on the west coast of
Mexico, the _Nürnberg_ at San Francisco, and the armored cruisers
_Gneisenau_ and _Scharnhorst_ under Admiral von Spee in the Caroline
Islands. The two ships at the latter point, after being joined by
the _Nürnberg_, set out on a leisurely cruise for South America,
where, in view of Japan's entry into the war, the German Admiral may
have felt that he would secure a clearer field of operations and,
with the aid of German-Americans, better facilities for supplies.
After wrecking on their way the British wireless and cable station at
Fanning Island, and looking into Samoa for stray British cruisers,
the trio of ships were joined at Easter Island on October 14 by the
_Leipzig_ and also by the _Dresden_, which had fled thither from the
West Indies.

The concentration thus resulting seems of doubtful wisdom, for,
scattered over the trade routes, the cruisers would have brought
about greater enemy dispersion and greater injury to commerce; and,
as the later course of the war was to show, the loss of merchant
tonnage was even more serious for the Entente than loss of fighting
ships. It seems evident, however, that Admiral van Spee was not
attracted by the tame task of commerce destroying, but wished to
try his gunnery, highly developed in the calm waters of the Far
East, against enemy men-of-war.

In its present strength and position, the German "fleet in being"
constituted a serious menace, for to assemble an adequate force
against it on either side of Cape Horn would mean to leave the
other side dangerously exposed. It was with a keen realization of
this dilemma that Admiral Cradock in the British armored cruiser
_Good Hope_ left the Falklands on October 22 to join the _Monmouth,
Glasgow_, and auxiliary cruiser _Otranto_ in a sweep along the west
coast. The old battleship _Canopus_, with 12-inch guns, but only 12
knots cruising speed, was properly judged too slow to keep with the
squadron. It is difficult to say whether the failure to send Cradock
reënforcements at this time from either the Atlantic or the Pacific
was justified by the preoccupations in those fields. Needless to
say, there was no hesitation, _after_ Coronel, in hurrying ships to
the scene. On November 1, when the Admiralty Board was reorganized
with Admiral Fisher in his old place as First Sea Lord, orders
at once went out sending the _Defense_ to Cradock and enjoining
him not to fight without the _Canopus_. But these orders he never

The composition of the two squadrons now approaching each other
off the Chilean coast was as follows:

   Name      |      Type       |Displace-| Belt |       Guns         |Speed
             |                 |  ment   |armor |                    |
Scharnhorst  |Armored cruiser  |  11,600 |6-inch|8-8.2", 6-6"        | 23.5
Gneisenau    |Armored cruiser  |  11,600 |6-inch|8-8.2", 6-6"        | 23.5
Leipzig      |Protected cruiser|   3,250 |none  |10-4"               | 23
Nürnberg     |Light cruiser    |   3,450 |none  |10-4"               | 24
Dresden      |Light cruiser    |   3,600 |none  |10-4"               | 24
Good Hope    |Armored cruiser  |  14,000 |6-inch|2-9.2", 16-6", 14-3"| 24
Monmouth     |Armored cruiser  |   9,800 |4-inch|14-6", 8-3"         | 24
Glasgow      |Light cruiser    |   4,800 |none  |2-6", 10-4"         | 26.5
Canopus      |                 |         |      |                    |
(not engaged)|Coast defense    |  12,950 |6-inch|4-35 cal. 12", 12-6"| 16.5

Without the _Canopus_, the British had perhaps a slight advantage
in squadron speed, but only the two 9.2-inch guns of the _Good
Hope_ could match the sixteen 8.2-inch guns of the Germans. Each
side had information of the other's strength; but on the afternoon
of November 1, the date of the Battle of Coronel, each supposed
that only one enemy cruiser was in the immediate vicinity. Hence
there was mutual surprise when the two squadrons, spread widely
on opposite courses, came in contact at 4.40 p. m.

While concentrating and forming his squadron, Admiral Cradock must
have pondered whether he should fight or retreat. The _Canopus_ he
knew was laboring northward 250 miles away. It was highly doubtful
whether he could bring the enemy into action later with his slow
battleship in line. His orders were to "search and protect trade."
"Safety," we are told, "was a word he hardly knew." But his best
justification lay in the enemy's menace to commerce and in the
comment of Nelson upon a similar situation, "By the time the enemy
has beat our fleet soundly, they will do us no more harm that year."
It was perhaps with this thought that Admiral Cradock signaled to
the _Canopus_, "I am going to fight the enemy now."

At about 6 p.m. the two columns were 18,000 yards distant on southerly
converging courses. The British, to westward and slightly ahead, tried
to force the action before sunset, when they would be silhouetted
against the afterglow. Their speed at this time, however, seems
to have been held up by the auxiliary cruiser _Otranto_, which
later retreated southwestward, and their efforts to close were
thwarted by the enemy's turning slightly away. Admiral von Spee
in fact secured every advantage of position, between the British
and the neutral coast, on the side away from the sun, and on such
a course that the heavy seas from east of south struck the British
ships on their engaged bows, showering the batteries with spray
and rendering useless the lower deck guns.

At 7 o'clock the German ships opened fire at 11,260 yards. The
third salvo from the _Scharnhorst_ disabled the _Good Hope's_
forward 9.2-inch gun. The _Monmouth's_ forecastle was soon on fire.
It seems probable indeed that most of the injury to the British was
inflicted by accurate shooting in this first stage of the action.
On account of the gathering darkness, Admiral von Spee allowed the
range to be closed to about 5500 yards, guiding his aim at first
by the blaze on the Monmouth, and then for a time ceasing fire.
Shortly before 8 o'clock a huge column of flame shooting up between
the stacks of the _Good Hope_ marked her end. The _Monmouth_
sheered away to westward and then northward with a heavy list that
prevented the use of her port guns. An hour later, at 9.25, with
her flag still flying defiantly, she was sunk by the _Nürnberg_
at point blank range. The _Glasgow_, which had fought throughout
the action, but had suffered little from the fire of the German
light cruisers, escaped in the darkness.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF CORONEL, NOV. 1, 1914

From _Official British Naval History_, Vol. I.]

"It is difficult," writes an American officer, "to find fault with
the tactics of Admiral van Spee; he appears to have maneuvered so
as to secure the advantage of light, wind, and sea, and to have
suited himself as regards the range."[1] The _Scharnhorst_ was hit
twice, the _Gneisenau_ four times, and the German casualties
were only two men wounded.

[Footnote 1: Commander C. C. Gill, NAVAL POWER IN THE WAR, p. 51.]


This stinging blow and the resultant danger aroused the new Board
of Admiralty to energetic moves. Entering the Atlantic, the German
squadron might scatter upon the trade routes or support the rebellion
in South Africa. Again, it might double westward or northward in the
Pacific, or pass in groups of three, as permitted by American rules,
through the Panama Canal into the West Indies. Concerted measures
were taken against these possibilities. Despite the weakening of the
Grand Fleet, the battle cruisers _Invincible_ and _Inflexible_
under Admiral Sturdee, former Chief of Admiralty Staff, sailed on
November 11 for the Falkland Islands. Their destination was kept
a close secret, for had the slightest inkling of their mission
reached German ears it would at once have been communicated to von

After the battle, the German admiral moved slowly southward, coaling
from chartered vessels and prizes; and it was not until December
1 that he rounded the Horn. Even now, had he moved directly upon
the Falklands, he would have encountered only the _Canopus_, but he
again delayed several days to take coal from a prize. On December
7 the British battle cruisers and other ships picked up in passage
arrived at the island base and at once began to coal.

Their coming was not a moment too soon. At 7.30 the next morning,
while coaling was still in progress and fires were drawn in the
_Bristol_, the signal station on the neck of land south of the harbor
reported two strange vessels, which proved to be the _Gneisenau_ and
the _Nürnberg_, approaching from the southward. As they eased down
to demolish the wireless station, the _Canopus_ opened on them at
about 11,000 yards by indirect fire. The two ships swerved off,
and at 9.40, perceiving the dense clouds of smoke over the harbor
and what appeared to be tripod masts, they fell back on their main

Hull down, and with about 15 miles' start, the Germans, had they
scattered at this time might, most of them at least, have escaped,
as they certainly would have if their approach had been made more
cautiously and at a later period in the day. The British ships
were now out, with the fast _Glasgow_ well in the lead. In the
chase that followed, Admiral van Spee checked speed somewhat to
keep his squadron together. Though Admiral Sturdee for a time did
the same, he was able at 12.50 to open on the rear ship _Leipzig_
at 16,000 yards. At 1.20 the German light cruisers scattered to
southwestward, followed by the _Cornwall, Kent_, and _Glasgow_.
The 26-knot _Bristol_, had she been able to work up steam in time,
would have been invaluable in this pursuit; she was sent instead
to destroy three enemy colliers or transports reported off the

Between the larger ships the action continued at long range, for
the superior speed of the battle cruisers enabled Admiral Sturdee
to choose his distance, and his proper concern was to demolish the
enemy with his own ships unscathed. At 2.05 he turned 8 points
to starboard to clear the smoke blown down from the northwest and
reduce the range, which had increased to 16,000 yards. Admiral
von Spee also turned southward, and the stern chase was renewed
without firing until 2.45. At this point both sides turned to port,
the Germans now slightly in the rear and working in to 12,500 yards
to use their 5.9-inch guns.

At 3.15 the British came completely about to avoid the smoke, and
the Germans also turned, a little later, as if to cross their bows.
(See diagram.) The _Gneisenau_ and _Scharnhorst_, though fighting
gamely, were now beaten ships, the latter with upper works a "shambles
of torn and twisted iron," and holes in her sides through which could
be seen the red glow of flames. She turned on her beam-ends at 4.17
and sank with every man an board. At 6 o'clock, after a fight of
extraordinary persistence, the _Gneisenau_ opened her sea-cocks and
went down. All her 8-inch ammunition had been expended, and 600 of
her 850 men were disabled or killed. Some 200 were saved.

Against ships with 12-inch guns and four times their weight of
broadside the _Gneisenau_ and _Scharnhorst_ made a creditable
record of over 20 hits. The British, however, suffered no casualties
or material injury. While Admiral Sturdee's tactics are thus justified,
the prolongation of the battle left him no time to join in the light
cruiser chase, and even opened the possibility, in the rain squalls
of the late afternoon, that one of the armored cruisers might get
away. In spite of a calm sea and excellent visibility during most
of the action, the gunnery of the battle cruisers appears to have
been less accurate at long range than in the later engagement off
the Dogger Bank.


From _Official British Naval History_, Vol. I.

                   _British Squadron_
  _Name          Type               Guns         Speed_
Invincible   Battle Cruiser     8--12", 16--4"    26.5
Inflexible   Battle Cruiser     8--12", 16--4"    26.5
Carnarvon    Armored Cruiser    4--7.5", 6--6"    23.0
Cornwall     Armored Cruiser   14--6"             23.5
Kent         Armored Cruiser   14--6"             23.0
Bristol      Scout Cruiser      2--6", 10--4"     26.5
Glasgow      Scout Cruiser      2--6", 10--4"     26.5
Canopus      Coast Defense      4--12", 12--6"    16.5

                   _German Squadron_
Scharnhorst  Armored Cruiser    8--8.2", 6--6"    23.5
Gneisenau    Armored Cruiser    8--8.2", 6--6"    23.5
Leipzig      Protected Cruiser  10--4"            23.0
Nürnberg     Scout Cruiser      10--4"            24.0
Dresden      Scout Cruiser      10--4"            24.0]

Following similar tactics, the _Glasgow_ and _Cornwall_ overtook
and finally silenced the _Leipzig_ at 7 p.m., four hours after
the _Glasgow_ had first opened fire. Defiant to the last, like
the _Monmouth_ at Coronel, and with her ammunition gone, she sank
at 9.25, carrying down all but 18 of her officers and crew. The
_Kent_, stoking all her woodwork to increase steam, attained at
5 o'clock a position 12,000 yards from the _Nürnberg_, when the
latter opened fire. At this late hour a long range action was out
of the question. As the _Nürnberg_ slowed down with two of her
boilers burst, the _Kent_ closed to 3000 yards and at 7.30 finished
off her smaller opponent. The _Dresden_, making well above her
schedule speed of 24 knots, had disappeared to southwestward early
in the afternoon. Her escape entailed a long search, until, on
March 14, 1915, she was destroyed by the _Kent_ and _Glasgow_
off Juan Fernandez, where she had taken refuge for repairs.

_Cruise of the "Emden"_

Among the German cruisers other than those of Admiral van Spee's
squadron, the exploits of the _Emden_ are best known, and reminiscent
of the _Alabama's_ famous cruise in the American Civil War. It
may be noted, however, as indicative of changed conditions, that
the _Emden's_ depredations covered only two months instead of two
years. A 3600 ton ship with a speed of 25 knots, the _Emden_ left
Kiao-chau on August 6, met von Spee's cruisers in the Ladrones
on the 12th, and on September 10 appeared most unexpectedly on
the west side of the Bay of Bengal. Here she sank five British
merchantmen, all following the customary route with lights aglow.
On the 18th she was off the Rangoon River, and 6 days later across
the bay at Madras, where she set ablaze two tanks of the Burma Oil
Company with half a million gallons of kerosene. From September 26
to 29 she was at the junction of trade routes west of Ceylon, and
again, after an overhaul in the Chagos Archipelago to southward,
spent October 16-19 in the same profitable field. Like most raiders,
she planned to operate in one locality not more than three or four
days, and then, avoiding all vessels on her course, strike suddenly
elsewhere. During this period, British, Japanese, French, and Russian
cruisers--the Germans assert there were 19 at one time--followed
her trail.

The most daring adventure of Captain von Müller, the _Emden's_
skipper, was now carried out in the harbor of Penang, on the west
side of the Malay Peninsula. With an additional false funnel to
imitate British county-class cruisers, the _Emden_ at daybreak
of October 28 passed the picket-boat off the harbor unchallenged,
destroyed the Russian cruiser _Jemtchug_ by gunfire and two torpedoes,
and, after sinking the French destroyer _Mousquet_ outside, got
safely away. The Russian commander was afterward condemned for
letting his ship lie at anchor with open lights, with only an anchor
watch, and with strangers at liberty to visit her.

Steaming southward, the raider made her next and last appearance
on the morning of November 9 off the British cable and wireless
station on the Cocos Islands. As she approached, word was promptly
cabled to London, Adelaide, and Singapore, and--more profitably--was
wirelessed to an Australian troop convoy then only 45 miles away. The
_Emden_ caught the message, but nevertheless sent a party ashore,
and was standing outside when the armored cruiser _Sydney_ came
charging up. Against the _Emden's_ ten 4.1-inch guns, the _Sydney_
had eight 6-inch guns, and she was at least 4 knots faster. Outranged
and outdone in speed, the German ship was soon driven ashore in a
sinking condition, with a funnel down and steering gear disabled.
During her two months' activity thus ended, the _Emden_ had made
21 captures, destroying ships and cargoes to the value of over

The other German cruisers were also short-lived. The _Karlsrühe_,
after arming the liner _Kronprinz Wilhelm_ off the Bahamas (August
6) and narrowly escaping the _Suffolk_ and the _Bristol_ by
superior speed, operated with great success on the South American
trade routes. Her disappearance--long a mystery to the Allies--was
due to an internal explosion, just as she was about to crown her
exploits by a raid on the island of Barbados. The _Königsberg_,
on the east coast of Africa, surprised and sank the British light
cruiser _Pegasus_ while the latter lay at Mombasa, Zanzibar, making
repairs. She was later bottled up in the Rufigi River (October
30) and finally destroyed there (July 11, 1915) by indirect fire
from monitors, "spotted" by airplanes.

[Illustration: THE CRUISE OF THE EMDEN, SEPT. 1-NOV. 9, 1914]

Of the auxiliary cruisers, the _Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse_ was
sunk by the _Highflyer_ (August 26), and the _Cap Trafalgar_
went down after a hard fight with the _Carmania_ (September 14).
The _Prinz Eitel Friedrich_, which had entered the Atlantic with
von Spee, interned at Newport News, Virginia, in March, 1915, and
was followed thither a month later by the _Kronprinz Wilhelm_.

The results of this surface warfare upon commerce amounted to 69
merchant vessels, totaling 280,000 tons. With more strict concentration
upon commerce destruction, and further preparations for using German
liners as auxiliaries, the campaign might have been prolonged and made
somewhat more effective. But for the same purpose the superiority
of the submarine was soon demonstrated. To take the later surface
raiders: the _Wolf_ sank or captured 20 ships in 15 months at sea;
the _Seeadler_, 23 in 7 months; the _Möwe_ 15 in 2 months. But
many a submarine in one month made a better record than these.
The opening of Germany's submarine campaign, to be treated later,
was formally announced by her blockade proclamation of February
4, 1915.

_The Dogger Bank Action_

The strategic value of the battle cruiser, as a means of throwing
strength quickly into distant fields, was brought out in the campaign
against von Spee. As an outcome of German raids on the east coast of
England, its tactical qualities, against units of equal strength,
were soon put to a sharper trial. Aside from mere _Schrecklichkeit_--a
desire to carry the terrors of war to English soil--these raids had
the legitimate military objects of helping distant cruisers by
holding British ships in home waters, of delaying troop movements
to France, and of creating a popular clamor that might force a
dislocation or division of the Grand Fleet. The first incursion,
on November 3, inflicted trifling damage; the second, on December
16, was marked by the bombardment of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and
Whitby, in which 99 civilians were killed and 500 wounded. The
third, on January 24 following, brought on the Dogger Bank action,
the first encounter between battle cruisers, and one of the two
capital ship actions of the war.

At dawn on this date, the _Derfflinger, Seydlitz_ (flagship of
Admiral von Hipper), _Moltke_, and armored cruiser _Blücher_,
with 4 light cruisers and two destroyer flotillas, were moving
westward about midway in the North Sea on a line between Heligoland
and the scene of their former raids. Five battle cruisers under
Admiral Beatty were at the same time approaching a rendezvous with
the Harwich Force for one of their periodical sweeps in the southern
area. The Harwich Force first came in contact with the enemy about
7 a.m. Fortunately for the Germans, they had already been warned
of Beatty's approach by one of their light cruisers, and had just
turned back at high speed when the British battle cruisers made
them out to southeastward 14 miles away. The forces opposed were
as follows:

           | Dis- |     |       | Best |           |Dis-  |     |       | Best
British    |place-|Armor|  Guns |recent|German     |place-|Armor| Guns  |recent
           | ment |     |       |speed*|           |ment  |     |       |speed
Lion       |26,350|  9" |8 13.5"| 31.7 |Derfflinger|26,180| 13" | 8 12" | 30
Tiger      |28,500|  9" |8 13.5"| 32   |Seydlitz   |24,610| 11" |10 11" | 29
Princess   |28,350|  9" |8 13.5"| 31.7 |Moltke     |22,640| 11" |10 11" | 28.4
  Royal    |      |     |       |      |           |      |     |       |
New Zealand|18,800|  8" |8 12"  | 29   |Blücher    |15,550|  6" |12 8.2"| 25.3
Indomitable|17,250|  7" |8 12"  | 28.7 |           |      |     |       |

[Footnote *: Jane's FIGHTING SHIPS, 1914.]


Settling at once to a stern chase, the British ships increased
speed to 28.5 knots; while the Germans, handicapped by the slower
_Blücher_, were held down to 25. At 8.52 the _Lion_ was within
20,000 yards of the _Blücher_, and, after deliberate ranging shots,
scored her first hit at 9.09. As the range further decreased, the
_Tiger_ opened on the rear ship, and the _Lion_ shifted to the
third in line at 18,000 yards. The enemy returned the fire at
9.14. Thus the action continued, both squadrons in lines of
bearing, and Beatty's ships engaged as a rule with their opposites
in the enemy order.

[Illustration: DOGGER BANK ACTION, JAN. 24, 1915]

At 9.45 the German armored cruiser had suffered severely, and ships
ahead also showed the effects of the heavier enemy fire. Under
cover of a thick smoke screen from destroyers on their starboard
bow, and a subsequent destroyer attack, the Germans now shifted
course away from the enemy and the rear ships hauled out on the
port quarter of their leader to increase the range. The British
cruisers, according to Admiral Beatty's report, "were ordered to
form a line of bearing N.N.W., and proceed at their utmost speed."
An hour later the _Blücher_ staggered away to northward. Badly
crippled, she was assigned by Beatty to the _Indomitable_, and was
sunk at 12.37. At 10.54 submarines were reported on the British
starboard bows.

Just after 11 the flagship _Lion_, having received two hits under
water which burst a feed tank and thus put the port engine out of
commission, turned northward out of the line. Though the injury
was spoken of as the result of a "chance shot," the _Lion_ had been
hit 15 times. About an hour later Admiral Beatty hoisted his flag
in the _Princess Royal_, but during the remainder of the battle Rear
Admiral Moore in the _Tiger_ had command. Judging from the fact
that the _Tiger_ was hit only 8 times in the entire action
and the _Princess Royal_ and the _New Zealand_ not at all, there
seems to have been little effort at this time to press the attack.
The British lost touch at 11.50, and turned back at noon.

In the lively discussion aroused by the battle, the question was
raised why the _Blücher_ was included in the German line. Any encounter
that developed on such an excursion was almost certain to be with
superior forces, against which the armored cruiser would be of
slight value. In a retreat, the "lame duck" would slow down the
whole squadron, or else must be left behind.

During the first hour of the battle, the British gained about three
knots, and brought the range to 17,500 yards. The range after 9.45
is not given, but was certainly not lowered in a corresponding
degree. This may have been due to increased speed on the part of
the German leaders, or to the interference of German destroyers,
which now figured for the first time as important factors in day
action. Two of these attacks were delivered, one at 9.40 and another
about an hour later, and though repulsed by British flotillas,
they both caused interference with the British course and fire.

The injury to the _Lion_, in the words of Admiral Beatty, "undoubtedly
deprived us of a greater victory." The British wireless caught
calls from Hipper to the High Seas Fleet, which (though this seems
strange at the time of a battle cruiser sortie) is declared by
the Germans to have been beyond reach at Kiel.[1] Worried by the
danger to the _Lion_ in case of retreat before superior forces, and
in the belief that he was being led into submarine traps and mine
fields, Admiral Moore gave up the chase. The distance to Heligoland
was still at least 70 miles; the German ships were badly injured;
the course since 9.45 had been more to the northward; the Grand
Fleet was rapidly approaching the scene. The element of caution,
seen again in the Jutland battle 15 months later, seems to have
prevented pressing the engagement to more decisive results.

[Footnote 1: Capt. Persius, _Naval and Military Record_, Dec. 10,

The conditions of flight and pursuit obtaining at the Dogger Bank
emphasized the importance of speed and long range fire. Owing to
the fact that they had twice the angle of elevation (30 degrees),
the German 11-inch and 12-inch guns were not outranged by the British
13.5-inch guns; and at 17,000 yards their projectiles had no greater
angle of fall. The chief superiority of the larger ordnance therefore
lay in their heavier bursting charges and greater striking energy,
12,800 foot-tons to 8,900 foot-tons. According to a German report,
the first salvo that hit the _Seydlitz_ knocked out both after-turrets
and annihilated their crews; and the ship was saved only by flooding
the magazines.[1]

[Footnote 1: Admiral van Scheer, quoted in _Naval and Military Record_,
London, March 24, 1920.]

_The Dardanelles Campaign_

Throughout the war a difference of opinion existed in Allied councils
as to whether it was better to concentrate all efforts in the western
sphere of operations, or to assail the Central Powers in the Near
East as well, where the accession of Turkey (and later of Bulgaria)
threatened to put the resources of all southeastern Europe under
Teutonic control, and even opened a gateway into Asia. Such a division
of effort was suggested not only by the necessity of protecting the
Suez Canal, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, but by the difficulty of breaking
the stalemate on the western front, and by the opportunity that
would be offered of utilizing Allied control of sea communications.
Furthermore, the Allies had a margin of predreadnoughts and cruisers
ready for action and of no obvious value elsewhere.

On November 3, 1914, three days after Turkey entered the war, an
Allied naval force that had been watching off the Dardanelles engaged
the outer forts in a 10-minute bombardment, of no significance
save perhaps as a warning to the Turks of trouble later on. In the
same month the First Lord of the British Admiralty, Mr. Winston
Churchill, proposed an attack on the Straits as "an ideal method
of defending Egypt"; but it was not seriously considered until, on
January 2, Russia sent an urgent appeal for a diversion to relieve
her forces in the Caucasus. Lord Kitchener, the British Minister
of War, answered favorably, but, feeling that he had no troops
to spare, turned the solution over to the Navy.

From the first the decision was influenced by political considerations.
Russia needed assurance of Allied solidarity--and it is significant
that in February Lord Grey announced that England no longer opposed
Russia's ambition to control Constantinople. Nine-tenths of Russia's
exports were blocked by the closing of the Straits; their reopening
would afford not only access to her vast stores of foodstuffs,
but an entry--infinitely more convenient than Vladivostok or
Archangel--for munitions and essential supplies. The Balkan States
were wavering. In Turkey there was a strong neutral or pro-Ally
sentiment. Victory would give an enormous material advantage, help
Russia in the impending German drive on her southwestern frontier,
and bolster Allied prestige throughout the eastern world.

Faced with the problem, the Admiralty sent an inquiry to Admiral
Carden, in command on the scene, as to the practicability of forcing
the Dardanelles by the use of ships alone, assuming that old ships
would be employed, and "that the importance of the results would
justify severe loss." He replied on January 5: "I do not think the
Dardanelles can be rushed, but they might be forced by extended
operations with a large number of ships." In answer to further
inquiries, accompanied by not altogether warranted assurance from
the First Lord that "High authorities here concur in your opinion,"
Admiral Carden outlined four successive operations:

(a) The destruction of defenses at the entrance to the Dardanelles.

(b) Action inside the Straits, so as to clear the defenses up to
and including Cephez Point battery N8.


(c) Destruction of defenses of the Narrows.

(d) Sweeping of a dear channel through the mine-field and advance
through the Narrows; followed by a reduction of the forts further
up, and advance into the Sea of Marmora.

This plan was presented at a meeting of the British War Council
on January 13. It may be noted at this point that the War Council,
though composed of 7 members of the Cabinet, was at this time dominated
by a triumvirate--the Premier (Mr. Asquith), the Minister of War
(General Kitchener), and the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr.
Churchill); and in this triumvirate, despite the fact that England's
strength was primarily naval, the head of the War Office played a
leading rôle. The First Sea Lord (Admiral Fisher) and one or two
other military experts attended the Council meetings, but they were
not members, and their function, at least as they saw it, was "to
open their mouths when told to." Staff organizations existed also
at both the War Office and the Admiralty, at the latter consisting
of the First Lord, First Sea Lord and three other officers not
on the Admiralty Board. The working of this improvised and not
altogether ideal machinery for the supreme task of conducting the
war is interestingly revealed in the report[1] of the commission
subsequently, appointed to investigate the Dardanelles Campaign.

[Footnote 1: British ANNUAL REGISTER, 1918, Appendix, pp. 24 ff.,
from which quotations here are taken.]

"Mr. Churchill," according to this report, "appears to have advocated
the attack by ships alone before the War Council on a certain amount
of half-hearted and hesitating expert opinion." Encouraged by his
sanguine and aggressive spirit, the Council decided that "the Admiralty
should prepare for a naval expedition in February to bombard and
take the Gallipoli Peninsula with Constantinople as its objective."
In view of the fact that the operation as then conceived was to be
purely naval, the word "take" suggests an initial misconception
of what the navy could do. The support for the decision, especially
from the naval experts, was chiefly on the assumption that if Admiral
Carden's first operation were unpromising, the whole plan might
be dropped.

Admiral Fisher's misgivings as to the wisdom of the enterprise
soon increased, owing primarily to his desire to employ the full
naval strength in the home field. He did not believe that "cutting
off the enemy's big toe in the East was better than stabbing him
to the heart." He had begun the construction of 612 new vessels
ranging from "hush-hush" ships of 33 knots and 20-inch guns to
200 motor-boats, and he wished to strike for access to the Baltic,
with a threat of invasion on Germany's Baltic coast. The validity
of his objections to the Dardanelles plan appears to depend on the
practicability of this alternative, which was not attempted later
in the war. The First Lord and the First Sea Lord presented their
difference of opinion to the Premier, but it appears that there was
no ill feeling; Admiral Fisher later writes that "Churchill had
courage and imagination--he was a war man."

At a Council meeting on January 28, when the decision was made
definite, Admiral Fisher was not asked for an opinion and expressed
none. (The Investigation Commission declare that the naval experts
should have been asked, and should have expressed their views whether
asked or not.) But there was a dramatic moment when, after rising as
if to leave the Council, he was quickly followed by Lord Kitchener,
who pointed out that all the others were in favor of the plan, and
induced him once more to take his seat. After the decision, Mr.
Churchill testifies, "I never looked back. We had left the region
of discussion and consultation, of balancings and misgivings. The
matter had now passed into the domain of action."

To turn to the scene of operations, there were now assembled at
the Dardanelles 10 British and 4 French predreadnoughts, together
with the new battleship _Queen Elizabeth_, the battle cruiser
_Inflexible_, and many cruisers and torpedo craft. On February
19, 1915, again on February 25-26, and on March 1-7, this force
bombarded the outer forts at Kum Kale and Sedd-el-Bahr and the
batteries 10 miles further up at Cephez Point. These were in part
silenced and demolished by landing parties. Bad weather, however,
interfered with operations, and there was also some shortage of
ammunition. The batteries, and especially the mobile artillery of
the Turks, still greatly hampered the work of mine sweeping, which
at terrible hazards was carried on at night within the Straits.

In the meantime the Government, to quote General Callwell, the
Director of Military Operations, had "drifted into a big military
attack." But the despatch from England of the 29th Division, which
was to join the forces available in Egypt, was delayed; owing to
Lord Kitchener's concern about the western situation, from Feb. 22
to March 16--an unfortunate loss of time. By March 17, however, the
troops from Egypt and most of the French contingent were assembled
at the island of Lemnos, and General Sir Ian Hamilton had arrived
to take command. His instructions included the statement that
"employment of military forces on any large scale at this juncture
is only contemplated in the event of the fleet failing to get through
after every effort has been exhausted. Having entered on the project
of forcing the Straits, there can be no idea of abandoning the

On March 11 the First Lord sent to Admiral Carden a despatch asking
whether the time had not arrived when "you will have to press hard
for a decision," and adding: "Every well-conceived action for forcing
a decision, even should regrettable losses be entailed, will receive
our support." The Admiral replied concurring, but expressing the
opinion that "in order to insure my communication line immediately
fleet enters Sea of Marmora, military operations should be opened
at once." On March 16 he resigned owing to ill health, and his
second in command, Admiral de Robeck, succeeded, with the feeling
that he had orders to force the Straits.

The attack of March 18 was the crucial and, as it proved, the final
action of the purely naval campaign. At this time the mines had
been swept as far up as Cephez Point, and a clear channel opened
for some distance beyond. During the morning the _Queen Elizabeth_
and 5 other ships bombarded the Narrows forts at 14,000 yards.
Then at 12.22 the French predreadnoughts _Suffren, Gaulois,
Charlemagne_, and _Bouvet_ approached to about 9000 yards and by
1.25 had for the time being silenced the batteries of the Narrows.
Six British battleships now advanced (2.36) to relieve the French.
In the maneuvering and withdrawal, the _Biouvet_ was sunk by a
drifting mine[1] with a loss of over 600 men, and the _Gaulois_
was hit twice under water and had to be beached on an island
outside the Straits. About 4 o'clock the _Irresistible_ also
ran foul of a mine and was run ashore on the Asiatic side, where
most of her men were taken off under fire. The _Ocean_, after going
to her assistance, struck a mine and went down about 6 o'clock.
Not more than 40 per cent. of the injuries sustained in the action
were attributable to gunfire, the rest to mines sent adrift from
the Narrows. Of the 16 capital ships engaged, three were sunk,
one had to be beached, and some of the others were hardly ready
for continuing the action next day.

[Footnote 1: It is stated that an ingenious device caused these
mines to sink after a certain time and come back on an under-current
that flows _up_ the Dardanelles, and then rise at the Narrows for
recovery. This may have enabled the Turks to keep up their presumably
limited supply of mines; but how well the automatic control worked
is not known.]


There is some military support for the opinion that if, on the
18th or at some more suitable time, the fleet had acted in the
spirit of Farragut's "Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!" and,
protected by dummy ships, bumpers, or whatever other devices naval
ingenuity could devise, had steamed up to and through the Narrows
in column, it would not have suffered much more severely than during
the complicated maneuvering below. Of such an attack General von
der Goltz, in command of the Turkish army, said that, "Although
he thought it was almost impossible to force the Dardanelles, if
the English thought it an important move in the general war, they
could by sacrificing ten ships force the entrance, and do it very
fast, and be up in Marmora within 10 hours from the time they forced
it."[l] Admiral Fisher estimated that the loss would be 12 ships.

[Footnote 1: Repeated by Baron van Wangenheim to Ambassador Morgenthau,
prior to the attack of March 18, AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY,
_World's Work_, September, 1918. See also Col. F. N. Maude, Royal
Engineers, _Contemporary Review_, June, 1915.]

After such deductions, there would be no great surplus to deal with
the _Göben_, which would fight desperately, and with the defenses of
Constantinople. Indeed, such losses would seem absolutely prohibitive,
if viewed only from the narrow standpoint of the force engaged,
and without taking into fullest account the limited value of the
older ships and the fact that the Government was fully committed
to a prosecution of the campaign. It is of course easy to see that
victory purchased by the loss of 10 predreadnoughts and 10,000 men
would be cheap, as compared with the sacrifice of over 100,000
men killed and wounded and 10,000 invalided in the later campaign
on land.

General Callwell has pointed out that the naval commanders were
properly worried about what would happen after they got through
the Straits, if the Sublime Porte should not promptly "throw up
the sponge." "The communications would have remained closed to
colliers and small craft by movable armament, if not also by mines.
Forcing the pass would in fact have resembled bursting through a
swing door. Sailors and soldiers alike have an instinctive horror
of a trap, and they are in the habit of looking behind them as
well as before them."[1] But according to Ambassador Morgenthau,
who was probably in a better position than any one else to form
an opinion, "The whole Ottoman State on the 18th day of March,
1915, was on the brink of dissolution." The Turkish Government
was divided into factions and restive under German domination, and
there was thus an excellent prospect that it would have capitulated
under the guns of the Allied fleet. If not, then there might have
been nothing left for the latter but to try to get back the way
it came.

[Footnote 1: NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER, March, 1919, p. 486.]

Feeling in Constantinople during the month from February 19th to
March 19th has already been suggested; it was nervous in the extreme.
Neither Turks nor Germans felt assured that the Dardanelles could
withstand British naval power. Plans were made for a general exit
to Asia Minor, and there was a conviction that in a few days Allied
ships would be in the Golden Horn. At the forts, if we may believe
evidence not as yet definitely disproved, affairs were still more
desperate. The guns, though manned largely by Germans, were not of
the latest type, and for a month had been engaged in almost daily
bombardment. Ammunition was running short. "Fort Hamadié, the most
powerful defense on the Asiatic side, had just 17 armor-piercing
projectiles left, while at Killid-ul-Bahr, the main defense on
the European side, there were precisely 10."[2] To this evidence
may be added the statement of Enver Pasha: "If the English had
only had the courage to rush more ships through the Dardanelles
they could have got to Constantinople, but their delay enabled us
to fortify the peninsula, and in 6 weeks' time we had taken down
there over 200 Austrian Skoda guns."

[Footnote 2: AMBASSADOR MORGENTHAU'S STORY, _World's Work_, September,
1918, p. 433, corroborating the statement of the correspondent G.
A. Schreiner, in FROM BERLIN TO BAGDAD.]

If Mr. Churchill was chiefly responsible for undertaking the campaign,
he was not responsible for the delay after March 18. "It never
occurred to me," he states, "that we should not go on." Admiral
de Robeck in his first despatches appeared to share this view. On
March 26, however, he telegraphed: "The check on March 18 is not,
in my opinion, decisive, but on March 22 I met General Hamilton and
heard his views, and I now think that, to obtain important results
and to achieve the object of the campaign, a combined operation
will be essential." This despatch, Mr. Churchill says, "involved a
complete change of plan and was a vital decision. I regretted it
very much. I believed then, as I believe now, that we were separated
by very little from complete success." He proposed that the Admiral
should be directed to renew the attack; but the First Sea Lord did
not agree, nor did Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson, nor Admiral Sir Henry
Jackson. So it was decided to wait for the army, and some satire
has been directed at Mr. Churchill and those other "acknowledged
experts in the technicalities of amphibious warfare," Mr. Balfour
and Mr. Asquith, who were inclined to share his views. The verdict
of the Dardanelles Commission was that, "Had the attack been renewed
within a day or two there is no reason to suppose that the proportion
of casualties would have been less; and, if so, even had the second
attack succeeded, a very weak force would have been left for subsequent
naval operations."

Once decided upon, it was highly essential that the combined operation
should begin without further delay. But it was now found that the
army transports had been loaded, so to speak, up-side-down, with
guns and munitions buried under tents and supplies. Sending them
back to Alexandria for reloading involved a six weeks' delay, though
Lord Kitchener wired, "I think you had better know at once that
I regard such postponement as far too long." The landing on the
tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, which was nearest the forts in
the Straits and said to be the only feasible place, actually began
on April 25, and was achieved under the guns of the fleet, and by
almost unexampled feats of heroism by boats' crews and the first
parties on shore.

Henceforth the navy played a subordinate though not insignificant
part in the campaign. "By our navy we went there and were kept
there," writes Mr. John Masefield in _Gallipoli_, "and by our navy
we came away. During the nine months of our hold on the peninsula
over 300,000 men were brought by the navy from places three, four,
or even six thousand miles away. During the operations some half
of these were removed by our navy, as sick and wounded, to ports
from 800 to 3000 miles away. Every day, for 11 months, ships of
our navy moved up and down the Gallipoli coast bombarding the Turk
positions. Every day during the operations our navy kept our armies
in food, drink and supplies. Every day, in all that time, if weather
permitted, ships of our navy cruised in the Narrows and off
Constantinople, and the seaplanes of our navy raided and scouted
within the Turk lines."

On May 12 the predreadnought _Goliath_ was torpedoed by a Turkish
destroyer; and on May 25-26 the German submarine _U 23_, which
had made the long voyage by way of Gibraltar, sank the _Triumph_
and the _Majestic_. It was upon a forewarning of this attack that
Admiral Fisher, according to his own statement, resigned as a protest
against the retention of the _Queen Elizabeth_ and other capital
units in this unpromising field. British and French submarines, on
the other hand, worked their way into the Sea of Marmora, entered
the harbor of Constantinople, and inflicted heavy losses, including
two Turkish battleships, 8 transports, and 197 supply vessels.

So almost unprecedented were the problems of a naval attack on the
Dardanelles that it appears rash to condemn either the initiation
or the conduct of an operation that ended in failure when seemingly
on the verge of success. Clearly, the campaign was handicapped
by lack of unanimous support and whole-hearted faith on the part
of authorities at home. It was not thoroughly thought out at the
start, and was subjected to trying delays. No advantage was ever
taken of the invaluable factor of surprise. Even so, it was not
wholly barren of results. It undoubtedly relieved Russia, kept
Bulgaria neutral for at least five months, and immobilized 300,000
Turks, according to Lord Kitchener's estimate, for nine months'
time. Nevertheless, the final failure was a tremendous blow to
Allied prestige. Upon the withdrawal, in January of 1916, some
of the troops were transferred to Salonika; and it is noteworthy
that in Macedonia, as at Gallipoli, the army was dependent on the
navy for the transport of troops, munitions, and in fact virtually
everything needed in the campaign.

Aside from the Dardanelles failure, the naval situation at the end
of 1915 was such as to give assurance to the Western Powers. They
had converted potential control of the sea into actual control, save
in limited areas on the enemies' sea frontiers. Germany had lost
her cruisers and her colonies, and her shipping had been destroyed
or driven from the seas. Though losses from submarines averaged
150,000 tons a month in 1915, they had not yet caused genuine alarm.
The German fleet was still a menace, but, in spite of attrition
warfare, the Grand Fleet was decidedly stronger than in 1914.


BRITISH OFFICIAL NAVAL HISTORY, Sir Julian Corbett, London, 1920.
THE GRAND FLEET, Admiral Jellicoe, London, 1918.
THE BRITISH NAVY IN BATTLE, Arthur H. Pollen, London, 1919.
MY MEMOIRS, Admiral van Tirpitz, 1919.
  Scheer, 1920.
  Admiral Daveluy, Paris, 1919.
  Leghorn, 1920.
NAVAL POWER IN THE WAR, Commander C. C. Gill, New York, 1918.



There was only one action between the British Grand Fleet and the
German High Seas Fleet in the World War, the battle of Jutland.
This was indecisive, but even in a history with the limits of this
book it deserves a chapter of its own. In the magnitude of the
forces engaged, a magnitude less in numbers of ships--great as
that was--than in the enormous destructive power concentrated in
those ships, it was by far the greatest naval battle in history.
Moreover, this was the one fleet battle fought with the weapons
of to-day. Any discussion of modern tactics, therefore, must be
based for some time to come on an analysis of Jutland. Finally, the
indecisiveness of the action has resulted in a controversy among
naval critics that is likely to continue indefinitely. Meanwhile
the debatable points are rich in interest and suggestion.

In earlier wars the nation with a more powerful fleet blockaded
the ports of the enemy. In this war the sea mine, the submarine,
the aircraft and the long-range gun of coast defenses made the
old-fashioned close blockade impossible. Such blockade as could
be maintained under modern conditions had to be "distant." The
British made a base in the Orkneys, Scapa Flow, which had central
position with relation to a possible sortie of the German fleet
toward either the North Atlantic or the Channel. The intervening
space of North Sea was patrolled by a scouting force of light vessels
of various sorts and periodical sweeps by the Grand Fleet. On May
30, 1916, the Grand Fleet, under Admiral Jellicoe, set out from
its base at Scapa Flow for one of these patrolling cruises. On
the same day Vice Admiral Beatty left his base at Rosyth (in the
Firth of Forth) with his advance force of battle cruisers and
battleships, under orders to join Jellicoe at sea. On the following
day the High Seas Fleet took the sea and the two great forces came
together in battle.

It is not certain why the German fleet should have been cruising
at this time. Having declined to offer battle in the summer of
1914, on account of the British superiority of force, the High
Command could hardly have contemplated attacking in 1916 when the
odds were much heavier. From statements published by German officers
since the war, the objects seem to have been, first, to prevent a
suspected attempt to force an entrance into the Baltic; secondly,
to fall upon Beatty's Battle Cruiser Squadron, during its frequent
patrolling cruises, when it was detached from the main force; and,
thirdly, to destroy the British trading fleets which were conducting
an important volume of commerce from the ports of Norway with England
and Russia. It is not easy to see, however, why the High Seas Fleet
should be sent out on a mere commerce destroying raid. The Germans
had been out twice before, since April 1st of that year, and probably
it was considered good policy to send the fleet to sea every now
and then for the moral effect. The people could not relish the idea
of their navy being condemned to inaction in their own harbors,
and there was bad feeling over the fact that the government had
just yielded to President Wilson's protest on ruthless submarine
warfare. A victory over Beatty's battle cruisers, or some other
detached unit of the British fleet, would have been very opportune
in bracing German morale. At the same time Admiral von Scheer had
probably reckoned on being able to avoid battle with the Grand
Fleet by means of a swift retreat under cover of smoke screens
and torpedo attacks. Certainly the odds were too heavy to permit
of any other policy on his part.

_The First Phase_


(After diagram by Lieut.-Comdr. H. H. Frost, U.S.N., _U. S. Naval
Institute Proceedings, Nov., 1919._)

     24 Dreadnought Battleships
      3 Battle Cruisers
     12 Light Cruisers
      8 Armored Cruisers
     51 Destroyers
  Note: One destroyer accompanied each armored cruiser.]

At 2 p. m. of the 31st of May, 1916, the British main fleet, under
Admiral Jellicoe, was in Latitude 57° 57' N., Longitude 3° 45'
E. (off the coast of Norway), holding a south-easterly course.
It consisted of 24 battleships formed in a line of six divisions
screened by destroyers and light cruisers, as indicated in the
accompanying diagram. Sixteen miles ahead of the battle fleet was
the First Cruiser Squadron under Rear Admiral Arbuthnot and the
Second Cruiser Squadron under Rear Admiral Heath; these consisted of
four armored cruisers each. They were spread out at intervals of six
miles, with the _Hampshire_ six miles astern of the _Minotaur_
to serve as link ship for signals to and from the main fleet. Four
miles ahead was the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron of three ships
under Rear Admiral Hood. These were steaming in column, screened by
four destroyers and two light cruisers (_Chester_ and _Canterbury_).
The diagram on p. 388 shows the complete formation of the Battle
Fleet and Cruiser Squadrons, under Admiral Jellicoe's personal
command. It is interesting as an example of the extreme complexity
of fleet formation under modern conditions, especially when it is
realized that the whole fleet was proceeding on its base course
by zigzagging.


(After diagrams by Lieut.-Comdr. H. H. Frost, U.S.N., _U. S. Naval
Institute Proceedings, Nov., 1919._)]

Seventy-seven miles to the southward Vice Admiral Beatty, commanding
the scouting force, was heading on a northeasterly course. His force
was spread out in scouting formation. The First Battle Cruiser
Squadron of four ships, headed by the flagship _Lion_, was flanked
three miles to the eastward by the Second Battle Cruiser Squadron of
two ships, and five miles to the north by the Fifth Battle Squadron,
consisting of four of the finest battleships in the fleet, 25-knot
_Queen Elizabeths_, under Rear Admiral Evan-Thomas. Each of these
squadrons had its screen of destroyers and light cruisers. Eight miles
to the south the First, Second, and Third Light Cruiser Squadrons
were spread out in line at five-mile intervals. The formation is
made clear by the accompanying diagram.

At the same hour, 2 p. m., Vice Admiral Hipper, with the German
scouting force, was heading north about 15 to 20 miles to the southeast
of Beatty. Hipper commanded the First Battle Cruiser Squadron,
consisting of the _Lützow_ (flag), _Derflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke_,
and _Van der Tann_, accompanied by a screening force of four or
five light cruisers and about 15 destroyers. Fifty miles south
of this advance force was the main body of the High Seas Fleet under
Vice Admiral von Scheer. It consisted of three battle squadrons
arranged apparently in one long column of 22 ships escorted by
a screen of 62 destroyers, eight or ten light cruisers, and the
one remaining armored cruiser in the German navy, the _Roon_.

Thus the stage was set and the characters disposed for the great
naval drama of that day.


From Jane, _Fighting Ships, 1918_

Normal displacement, 26,600 to 28,000 tons.

Length (waterline), 689 to 700 feet. Beam, 95 to 96 feet. Mean draught,
27-1/2 feet.

Guns:                                    Some (4.7 inch?) anti-aircraft
   8--1.2 inch, 50 cal. (A5)               2 machine
  14--5.9 inch, 50 cal. in M. & H.       Torpedo tubes (21.7 inch):
            but only                        2 or 4 submerged (broadside)
  12--5.9 inch, 50 cal. in D.               1 submerged (bow)
 (1.2 or less--3.4 inch, 22 pdr. ?)]

At 2.20 the light cruiser _Galatea_ (v. diagram), which lay farthest
to the east of Beatty's force, reported two German light cruisers
engaged in boarding a neutral steamer. Beatty thereupon changed
course toward Horn Reef Lightship in order to cut them off from
their base, his light cruisers of the first and third divisions
spreading out as a screen to the eastward. It would be interesting
to know why, at this point, he did not draw in his battleships and
thus concentrate his force, for when he did establish contact with
the Germans, Evan-Thomas's squadron was too far away for effective
support. Ten minutes later Hipper got word of British light cruisers
and destroyers sighted to the westward and, changing course to
northwest, he headed for them at high speed. At 2.45 Beatty sent
out a seaplane from the _Engadine_ to ascertain the enemy's position.
This is the first instance in naval history of a fleet scouting by
means of aircraft. The airplane came close enough to the enemy
to draw the fire of four light cruisers, and returning reported
their position. Meanwhile the _Galatea_ had reported heavy smoke
"as from a fleet."

At the first report from the _Galatea_, which had been intercepted
on the flagship, _Iron Duke_, Jellicoe ordered full speed, and
despatched ahead the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron, under Hood,
to cut off the escape of the Germans to the Skagerrak, as Beatty
was then heading to cut them off from their bases to the south.
Admiral Scheer, also, on getting report of the English cruisers,
quickened the speed of his main fleet.

At 3.30 Beatty and Hipper discovered each other's battle cruiser
forces. Hipper turned about and headed on a southerly course to lead
the British toward the advancing main fleet. Beatty also turned,
forming his battle cruisers on a line of bearing to clear the smoke,
and the two forces approached each other on converging courses as
indicated in the diagram.

At this point it is worth while to compare the two battle cruiser

              BRITISH                            GERMAN
                   Displace-                          Displace-
Name          Armor   ment    Guns   Name        Armor   ment    Guns
Queen Mary      9"  26,350  8 13.5"  Lützow       13"  26,180   8 12"
Lion            9"  26,350  8 13.5"  Derfflinger  13"  26,180   8 12"
Tiger           9"  28,500  8 13.5"  Seydlitz     11"  24,610  10 11"
Princess Royal  9"  28,350  8 13.5"  Moltke       11"  22,640  10 11"
Indefatigable   8"  18,800  8 12"    VonderTann   10"  19,100     11"
New Zealand     8"  18,800  8 12"
                   -------                            -------
                   145,150                            118,710

[Footnote 1: Table from Lieut. Comdr. H. H. Frost, U. S. N., _U.
S. Naval Institute Proceedings_, Nov., 1919, p. 850.]

A glance shows the superiority of the British in guns and the German
superiority in armor. The British had six ships to the German five,
and if the four new battleships of Evan-Thomas's division could
be effectively brought into action, the British superiority in
force would be reckoned as considerably more than two to one. These
battleships had 13" armor, eight 15" guns each, and a speed of 25
knots. They were the most powerful ships afloat.


From Jane, _Fighting Ships_, 1918

Normal displacement, 26,350 tons. Full load, 29,700.
Length (w. l.). 675 feet. Beam, 88-1/2, feet.

Mean draught, 27-2/3 feet. Max. draught, 31-2/3 feet.
Length over all, 700 feet. Length, p. p., 660 feet.

Guns:                                    (P. R. 2--2 pdr. pom-pom)
   8--13.5 inch (M. V.). Dir. Con.       5 M. G. (1 landing)
  16--4 inch, 50 cal, Dir. Con.        Torpedo tubes (21 inch):
   2--3 inch (anti-aircraft)             2 submerged (broadside)
   4--3 pdr.]

In speed, Beatty had a marked advantage. He could make 29 knots with
all six of his cruisers and 32 knots with his four best,--_Queen
Mary, Tiger, Lion_, and _Princess Royal_. Hipper's squadron
could make but 28 knots, though the _Lützow_ and _Derfflinger_
were probably capable of 30.

At 3.48 British and German battle cruisers opened fire. According
to Beatty's report the range at this moment was 18,500 yards. Beatty
then turned to starboard, assuming a course nearly parallel to
that of Hipper. Almost immediately, three minutes after the first
salvo, the _Lion_, the _Tiger_, and the _Princess Royal_ were
hit by shells. In these opening minutes the fire of the Germans
seems to have been fast and astonishingly accurate. The _Lion_
was hit repeatedly, and at four o'clock the roof of one of her
turrets was blown off. It is said that the presence of mind and
heroic self-sacrifice of an officer saved the ship from the fate
that subsequently overwhelmed two of her consorts. By this time
the range had decreased to 16,000 yards (British reckoning) and
Beatty shifted his course more to the south to confuse the enemy's
fire control. Apparently this move did not succeed in its purpose
for at 4.06 a salvo struck the _Indefatigable_ on a line with her
after turret, and exploded a magazine. As she staggered out of
column and began sinking, another salvo smashed into her forward
decks and she rolled over and sank like a stone.

About this time the Fifth Battle Squadron came into action, but
it was not able to do effective service. The range was extreme,
about 20,000 yards, and being some distance astern of the battle
cruisers, on account of its inferior speed, it had to contend with
the battle smoke of the squadron ahead as well as the gradually
thickening atmospheric conditions. In addition the Germans frequently
laid smoke screens and zigzagged. Evan-Thomas's division never saw
more than two enemy ships at a time.

The shift of course taken by Beatty at four o'clock, accompanied
possibly by a corresponding shift of Hipper, opened the range so
far in a few minutes that fire slackened on both sides. Beatty
then swung to port in order to close to effective range. At 4.15
twelve of his destroyers, acting on the general order to attack
when conditions were favorable, dashed out toward the German line.
At the same instant German destroyers, to the number of fifteen
accompanied by the light cruiser _Regensburg_, advanced toward
the British line, both forces maneuvering to get on the bows of
the opposing battle cruisers. For this purpose the British flotilla
was better placed because their battle cruisers were well ahead of
the Germans. The German destroyers, therefore, concentrated their
efforts on the battleship division, which turned away to avoid
the torpedoes. In numbers the advantage lay with the Germans, and a
fiercely contested action took place between the lines conducted with
superb gallantry on both sides. The Germans succeeded in breaking up
the British attack at a cost of two destroyers. Two of the British
destroyers also were rendered unmanageable and sank later when the
High Seas Fleet arrived on the scene.


Action Between Battle Cruiser Forces.]

Meanwhile, at 4.26, just before the destroyers clashed, a salvo
struck the _Queen Mary_, blew up a magazine, and she disappeared
with practically all on board. Thus the second of Beatty's battle
cruisers was sent to the bottom with tragic suddenness.

At 4.38, Commodore Goodenough, commanding the Second Light Cruiser
Squadron, who was scouting ahead of the battle cruisers, reported
that the German battle fleet was in sight steering north, and gave
its position. Beatty at once called in his destroyers and turned
his ships in succession, sixteen points to starboard, ordering
Evan-Thomas to turn similarly. Thus the capital ships turned right
about on the opposite course, the battleships following the cruisers
as before, and all heading for the main fleet which was then about
fifty miles away to the north. Commodore Goodenough at this point
used his initiative in commendable fashion. Without orders he kept
on to the south to establish contact with the German battle fleet
and hung on its flanks near enough to report its position to the
commander in chief. He underwent a heavy fire, but handled his
frail ships so skillfully as to escape serious loss. At the same
time the constant maneuvering he was forced to perform or a defect
in the British system of communication made his reports of bearing
seriously inaccurate. Whatever the cause, this error created a
difficulty for the commander in chief, who, fifty miles away, was
trying to locate the enemy for attack by the Grand Fleet.

_The Second Phase_

The northward run of the British advance force and the German advance
force, followed by their main fleet, was uneventful. The situation
was at this stage exactly reversed. Beatty was endeavoring to lead
the German forces into the guns of the Grand Fleet, while ostensibly
he was attempting to escape from a superior force, much as Hipper
had been doing with relation to Scheer during the first phase.
Beatty's four remaining battle cruisers continued to engage the
five German battle cruisers, at a range of 14,000 yards, assisted
by the two leading ships of Evan-Thomas's Battle Squadron. The
other two battleships engaged the head of the advancing German
battle fleet at the extreme range of 19,000 yards as often as they
could make out their enemy. The visibility grew worse and apparently
neither side scored on the other.

As the British main fleet was reported somewhat to the east of
Beatty's position, he bore toward that quarter; and Hipper, to avoid
being "T-d" by his enemy, turned to the eastward correspondingly. The
mistiness increased to such a degree that shortly after five o'clock
Beatty lost sight of the enemy's battle cruisers and ceased fire for
half an hour. Between 5.40 and six o'clock, however, conditions were
better and firing was opened again by the British ships, apparently
with good effect. Meanwhile clashes had already taken place between
the light cruiser _Chester_, attached to the Third Battle Squadron
of the main fleet, and the light cruisers of the enemy, which were
far in advance of their battle cruisers.

_The Third Phase_

We have already noted that as soon as Jellicoe learned of the presence
of the enemy he ordered Hood, with the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron,
to cut off the German retreat to the Skagerrak and to support Beatty.
Hood's course had taken him well to the east of where the action
was in progress. At 5.40 he saw the flashes of guns far to the
northwest, and immediately changed course in that direction. Fifteen
minutes later he was able to open fire on German light cruisers,
with his four destroyers darting ahead to attack with torpedoes.
These light cruisers, which had just driven off the _Chester_ with
heavy losses, discharged torpedoes at Hood's battle cruisers and
turned away. The latter shifted helm to avoid them and narrowly
missed being hit. One torpedo indeed passed under the _Invincible_.

At this point another group of four German light cruisers appeared
and Hood's destroyers advanced to attack them. The fire of the
cruisers damaged two destroyers though not before one of them,
the _Shark_, had torpedoed the German cruiser _Rostock_. The
_Shark_ herself was in turn torpedoed and sunk by a German
destroyer. At about the same time action had begun between the
ships of the armored cruiser squadron under Arbuthnot and another
squadron of German light cruisers.

A moment later (at 5.56) Beatty sighted the leaders of the Grand
Fleet and knew that contact with his support was established. At
once he changed course to about due east and put on full speed
in order to head off the German line, and by taking position to
the eastward, allow the battle fleet to form line astern of his
battle cruisers. Such an overwhelming force was now concentrated
on the German light cruisers that they turned back. Of their number
the _Wiesbaden_ had been disabled by a concentration of fire and
the _Rostock_ torpedoed. Hipper then made a turn of 180° with his
battle cruisers in order to get back to the support of the battleships
which he had left far to the rear. Then he turned round again, and
continued to lead the German advance. All this time he seems to
have had no suspicion that the Grand Fleet was in the neighborhood.


From Jane, _Fighting Ships_, 1919

Normal displacement, 25,000 tons. Full load, 28,800.
Length (o. a.), 622-3/4 feet. Beam, 89-1/2 feet.

Mean draught, 28-1/2, feet. Max. draught, 32-3/4 feet.
Length (p. p.), 580 feet

Guns:                                 5 M. G.
  10--13.5 inch (M. V.), Dir. Con.    (1 landing)
  12--6 inch, 50 cal., Dir. Con.    Torpedo tubes (21 inch):
   2--3 inch (anti-aircraft)          4 submerged (broadside)
   4--3 pdr.]

As Beatty dashed across the front of the approaching battle fleet
he sighted Hood's Third Battle Cruiser Squadron ahead of him and
signaled him to take station ahead. Accordingly Hood countermarched
and led Beatty's line in the _Invincible_. Evan-Thomas was by this
time so far in the rear of the speedier battle cruisers that he
was unable to follow with Beatty, and in order to avoid confusion
with the oncoming battle fleet he turned left 90° in order to form
astern of the Sixth Battle Division, by this move, however, leaving
Beatty's cruisers unsupported. Meanwhile the armored cruisers of
Arbuthnot were already under fire from Hipper's squadron and suffering
severely. At 6.16 the _Defense_, the flagship of the squadron, blew
up; the _Warrior_ was badly disabled, and the _Black Prince_ was
so crippled as to be sunk during the night action. As Evan-Thomas
made his turn, one of his battleships, the _Warspite_, was struck
by a shell that jammed her steering gear in such a way as to send
her head on toward the Germans. She served to shield the _Warrior_
from destruction, but suffered thirty hits from heavy projectiles
before she was brought under control and taken out of action.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF JUTLAND, MAY 31, 1916

2nd and 3rd phases]

Between six and 6.15 Jellicoe received bearings from Vice Admiral
Burney (of the Sixth Battle Division), Evan-Thomas, and Beatty
which enabled him for the first time to plot accurately the position
of the German battle fleet. This information revealed the fact
that previous plotting based on bearings coming from Goodenough
and others was seriously wrong. The Germans were twelve miles to
the west of where they were supposed to be. Jellicoe then formed
line of battle, not on the starboard wing, which was nearest the
head of the German advance, but on the port wing, which was farthest
away, and speed was reduced to 14 knots in order to enable the
battle cruisers to take station at the head of the line. Indeed
some of the ships in the rear or sixth division had to stop their
engines to avoid collision during deployment. By this time the
ships of the sixth division began to come under the shells of the
German battle fleet and they returned the fire. By half past six
all sixteen of the German dreadnoughts were firing at the British
lines, the slow predreadnoughts being so far to the rear as to
be unable to take part. The battleship fire, however, neither at
this point nor later showed the extraordinary accuracy displayed
by the battle cruisers at the beginning, but this may possibly
be attributed to the gathering mistiness that hung over the sea,
darkened by the low-lying smoke from the host of ships.

As soon as Scheer realized that he had not only run right into the
arms of the Grand Fleet, but lay in the worst tactical position
imaginable with an overwhelming force concentrated on the head
of his line, he turned away to escape. The battle cruisers (at
6.30) swung away sharply from east to south, the ships turning
in succession. Meanwhile the torpedo flotillas tried to cover the
turn by a gallant attack on the British battle line. At the same
time smoke screens also were laid to cover the retirement. The
_Invincible_, Hood's flagship, which was leading the British line,
was at this juncture struck by a shell that penetrated her armor
and exploded a magazine. The ship instantly broke in two and went
to the bottom, and only four officers and two men were saved. Almost
at the same instant the German battle cruiser _Lützow_, Hipper's
flagship, was so badly disabled by shells and torpedo that she
fell out of line helpless. Hipper managed, however, to board a
destroyer and two hours later succeeded in shifting his flag to
the _Moltke_.


From Jane, _Fighting Ships_, 1919

Normal displacement, 25,800 tons. Length (waterline), 573 feet.
Beam, 96-3/4 feet. Mean draught, 27-1/4 feet. Length (over all),
580 feet.

Guns:                             2 machine.
  10--12 inch, 45 cal.          Torpedo tubes (19.7 inch):
  14--5.9 inch, .50 cal.          4 (broadside) submerged.
 (10 or 4--3.4 inch, 22 pdr.?)    1 (bow) submerged.
 (2 anti-aircraft?)]

At 6.35 Scheer performed a difficult maneuver that the fleet had
practiced for just the situation that existed at this time. He
wheeled his battleships simultaneously to starboard, forming line
again on a westerly course. Twenty minutes later, finding that he
was no longer under fire from the Grand Fleet, he repeated the
maneuver, the ships turning again to starboard and forming line
ahead again on an easterly, then southerly course. These changes of
course were made under cover of smoke screens and were not observed
by the British.

By this time the Grand Fleet had formed line of battle on a
southeasterly course and by 7.10 its leaders were concentrating
their fire on the head of the German line, which was now caught
under an overwhelming superiority of force. Unfortunately for the
Germans the visibility conditions at this time were worse for them
than for their enemy, for while the British ships were nearly or
quite invisible, the Germans every now and then stood silhouetted
against the western sky. The British fire at this time was heavy
and accurate. The German fleet seemed marked for destruction.

For Scheer it was now imperative to withdraw if he could. Accordingly
at this juncture he sent out a flotilla of destroyers in a desperate
effort to cover the retreat of his fleet. They fired a number of
torpedoes at the English battle line, and retired with the loss
of one boat. Their stroke succeeded, for Jellicoe turned his whole
line of battleships away to avoid the torpedoes. Beatty, holding
his course at the head of the line, signaled Admiral Jerram of
the _King George V_ to follow astern, but he was evidently bound
to the orders of his commander in chief. For the second time that
day Beatty was left unsupported in his fight at the head of the

Meanwhile Scheer's capital ships had simultaneously wheeled away
in line to the westward under cover of the torpedo attacks and
smoke screens made by the destroyers. This was the third time within
an hour that they had effected this maneuver, and the skill with
which the battleships managed these turns in line under a rain of
fire speaks well for German seamanship. Meanwhile, to rëenforce
the covering movement made by the destroyers, Scheer sent out his
battle cruisers in a sortie against Beatty, who was pressing hard
on the head of the German line. The following account from Commander
von Hase of the _Derfflinger_, which led this sortie, is interesting
not only for its description of what occurred at this time but
also as a picture of a personal experience of the terrific fire
that the battle cruisers of both sides had to sustain throughout
the greater part of the engagement. It was on them that the brunt
of the fighting fell. The narrative is quoted from the pages of
the _Naval and Military Record_:

"By now our Commander-in-Chief had realized the danger threatening
our fleet, the van of which was enclosed in a semicircle by the
hostile fleet. We were, in fact, absolutely 'in the soup' (in absoluten
Wurstkessel)! There was only one way to get clear of this tactically
disadvantageous position: to turn the whole fleet about and steer on
an opposite course. First to evade this dangerous encirclement. But
the maneuver must be unobserved and executed without interference.
The battle-cruisers and torpedo-boats must cover the movement of the
fleet. At about[1] 9.12 the Commander-in-Chief made the signal to
alter course, and almost simultaneously made by W/T [wireless] the
historic signal to the battle-cruisers and torpedo-boats: 'Charge the
enemy!' (Ran an den Feind!) Without turning a hair the captain ordered
'Full speed ahead, course south-east.' Followed by the _Seydlitz,
Molke_, and _Von der Tann_, we steamed at first south-east, then,
from 9.15 onward, directly towards the head of the enemy's line.

[Footnote 1: There was a difference of two hours in time between
the German and the English standard.]

"And now an infernal fire was opened on us, especially on the
_Derfflinger_, as leading ship. Several ships were concentrating
their fire upon us. I selected a target and fired as rapidly as
possible. The range closed from 12,000 to 8,000 meters, and still
we steamed full speed ahead into this inferno of fire, presenting
a splendid target to the enemy, while he himself was very difficult
to see. Salvo after salvo fell in our immediate vicinity, and shell
after shell struck our ship. They were the most exciting minutes.
I could no longer communicate with Lt. von Stosch (who was in the
foretop control), as the telephone and voice-pipes had been shot
away, so I had to rely an my own observations to direct the fire.
At 9.13, previous to which all four 12 in. turrets were in action,
a serious catastrophe occurred. A 15 in. shell penetrated the armor
of No. 3 turret and exploded inside. The gallant turret captain, Lt.
von Boltenstern, had both his legs torn off, and with him perished
practically the entire guns' crew. The explosion ignited three
cartridges, flames from which reached the working chamber, where
eight more cartridges were set on fire, and passed down to the
magazine, igniting still more cartridges. They burned fiercely,
the flames roaring high above the turret--but they burned only,
they did not explode--as our enemy's cartridges had done--and that
saved the ship! Still, the effect of the burning cartridges was
catastrophic; the flames killed everything within their reach.
Of the 78 men of the turret crew only five escaped, some badly
wounded, by crawling out through the holes for expelling empty
cartridge cases. The remaining 73 men died instantly. A few seconds
after this catastrophe another disaster befell us. A 15 in. shell
pierced the shield of No. 4 turret and burst inside, causing frightful
destruction. With the exception of one man, who was blown out of
the turret hatch by the blast of air, the entire crew, including
all the men in the magazines and shell-rooms, 80 souls in all,
were instantly killed. All the cartridges which had been taken out
of their metal cases were ignited, so that flames were now shooting
sky-high from both the after turrets....

"The enemy's shooting was splendid. Shell after shell crashed into
us, and my heart stood still as I thought of what must be happening
inside the ship. My thoughts were rudely disturbed. Suddenly it
was to us as if the world had come to an end. A terrific roar, a
mighty explosion, and then darkness fell upon us. We shook under
a tremendous blow, which lifted the conning-tower bodily off its
base, to which it sank back vibrating. A heavy shell had struck
the gunnery control station about 20 inches from me. The shell
burst, but did not penetrate because it had hit the thick armor at
an angle, but huge pieces of plating were torn away.... We found,
however, that all the artillery connections were undamaged. Splinters
had penetrated the lookout slits of the conning-tower, wounding
several people inside. The explosion had forced open the door,
which jammed, and two men were unable to move it. But help from an
unexpected quarter was at hand. Again we heard a terrific roar and
crash, and with the noise of a thunderbolt a 15 in. shell exploded
beneath the bridge. The blast of air swept away everything that was
not firmly riveted down, and the chart-house disappeared bodily.
But the astounding thing was that this same air pressure closed
the door of the conning-tower! The Englishman was polite; having
first opened the door, he carefully shut it again for us. I searched
with my glass for the enemy, but, although the salvos were still
falling about us, we could see practically nothing of him; all
that was really visible were the huge, golden-red flames from the
muzzles of his guns.... Without much hope of hurting the enemy I
fired salvo after salvo from the forward turrets. I could feel
how our shooting was calming the nerves of the crew. Had we not
fired at this moment the whole ship's company would have been
overpowered by a great despair, for everyone knew that a few minutes
more of this would finish us. But so long as we fired things could
not be so bad with us. The medium guns fired also, but only two
of the six 5.9's on one side were still in action. The fourth gun
was split from end to end by a burst in the muzzle, and the third
was shot to pieces...."

The battle-cruisers were recalled just in time--so it would appear--to
save them from annihilation, and Com. von Hase proceeds:

"All hands were now busy quelling the fires. Thick clouds of yellow
gas still poured from both after turrets, but the flooding of the
magazines soon got rid of this. None of us had believed that a
ship could stand so many heavy hits. Some twenty 15 in. hits were
counted after the battle, and about the same number of bad hits
from smaller calibers. The _Lützow_ was out of sight (she sank
later), but the _Seydlitz, Moltke_, and _Von der Tann_ were
still with us. They, too, had been badly punished, the _Seydlitz_
worst of all. Flames still roared from one of her turrets, and
all the other ships were burning. The bow of the _Seydlitz_ was
deep in the water. Every battle-cruiser had suffered severe
casualties.... But the death charge had achieved its purpose by
covering the retreat of the battle fleet.... Our ship was very
heavily battered, and in many places the compartments were mere
heaps of débris. But vital parts were not hit, and, thanks to the
strong armor, the engines, boilers, steering gear, and nearly all
auxiliaries were undamaged. For a long time the engine-room was
filled with noxious fumes, necessitating the use of gas masks.
The entire ship was littered with thousands of large and small
shell splinters, among which we found two practically undamaged
15 in. shell caps, which were later used in the wardroom as wine
coolers. The belt armour was pierced several times, but either
the leaks were stopped or the inflow of water was localized in
small compartments. In Wilhelmshaven we buried our dead, nearly
200 in all."

By 8 o'clock the German battleships had vanished, with the British
steering westward by divisions in pursuit. But never again did
the two battle fleets regain touch with each other. Occasional
contact with an enemy vessel was made by other units of Jellicoe's
force. About 8.20 another destroyer attack was threatened, and
again Jellicoe swerved away, at the same time, however, sending
the Fourth Light Cruiser Squadron and two destroyer flotillas,
which succeeded in breaking up the attempt. At 8.30 he reformed
his fleet in column and continued on a southwesterly course until
9 o'clock.

_Fourth Phase_

As darkness came on, Jellicoe, declining to risk his ships under
conditions most favorable to torpedo attack, arranged his battleships
in four squadrons a mile apart, with destroyer flotillas five miles
astern, and sent a mine-layer to lay a mine field in the neighborhood
of the Vyl lightship, covering the route over which the Germans
were expected to pass if they attempted to get home via the Horn
Reef. He then headed southeast. Beatty also drew off from pursuit
with his battle cruisers. Jellicoe's plan was to avoid a general
night action, but to hold such a position as to compel the Germans
to fight again the following morning in order to reach their bases.
During the night (between ten and 2.35) there were several sharp
conflicts, mainly between the destroyers and light cruisers of
the opposing fleets, with considerable loss on both sides. On the
British side, two armored cruisers, _Black Prince_ and _Warrior_,
went down--both crippled by damages sustained during the day--and
five destroyers. Six others were severely damaged. On the German
side, the battle cruiser _Lützow_ sank as a result of her injuries,
the predreadnought battleship _Pommern_ was blown up by a torpedo,
three light cruisers were sunk, and four or five other ships suffered
from torpedo or mine.

The contacts made by British destroyers and cruisers confirm the
accounts of the Germans as to the course of their fleet during
the night. About nine o'clock Scheer changed course sharply from
west to southeast and cut through the rear of the British fleet.
At dawn, about 2.40, he was twenty miles to eastward of Jellicoe on
the road to Wilhelmshaven. At noon the greater part of the German
fleet was safe in port. Some of the lighter ships, to escape the
assaults of the British destroyers during the night, headed north
and got home by way of the Skagerrak and the Kiel Canal.

Jellicoe had avoided a night pursuit for the sake of fighting on
better terms the next morning, but at dawn he found his destroyers
scattered far and wide. Judging it unwise to pursue the High Seas
Fleet without a screening force, and discovering by directional
wireless that it was already south of Horn Reef and in the neighborhood
of the mine fields, he gave up the idea of renewing the engagement
and turned north. He spent the forenoon in sweeping the scene of
the previous day's fighting, collecting his dispersed units, and
then returned to his bases.

The claim of victory, which was promptly and loudly made by the
German press, is absurd enough. After the Grand Fleet arrived there
could be only one thought for the Germans and that was a fighting
retreat. Nevertheless, they had every reason to be proud of what
they had done. They had met a force superior by a ratio of about 8
to 5 and had escaped after inflicting nearly twice as much damage
as they had sustained. These losses may be compared by means of
the following table[1]:

BRITISH, Three Battle Cruisers,  QUEEN MARY     26,350 tons
                                 INDEFATIGABLE  18,800  "
                                 INVINCIBLE     17,250  "

         Three Armored Cruisers, DEFENSE        14,600  "
                                 WARRIOR        13,550  "
                                 BLACK PRINCE   13,350  "

         Eight Destroyers,       TIPPERARY       1,430  "
                                 NESTOR            890  "
                                 NOMAD             890  "
                                 TURBULENT       1,100  "
                                 FORTUNE           965  "
                                 ARDENT            935  "
                                 SHARK             935  "
                                 SPARROWHAWK       935  "
                                 Total         111,980 tons

GERMANS, One Battle Cruiser      LUETZOW        26,180 tons
         One Pre-dreadnought,    POMMERN        13,200  "
         Four Light Cruisers,    WIESBADEN       5,400  "
                                 ELBING          4,500  "
                                 ROSTOCK         4,900  "
                                 FRAUENLOB       2,700  "

         Five Destroyers,        V-4               570  "
                                 V-48              750  "
                                 V-27              640  "
                                 V-29              640  "
                                 S-33              700  "
                                 Total          60,180 tons

Personnel, killed and wounded: BRITISH, about 6,600: GERMANS, 3,076.

[Footnote 1: Figures in these tables taken from Lieut. Comdr. H.
H. Frost, U. S. N., _U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings_, Jan.,
1920, p. 84.]

With all allowance for the poor visibility conditions and the deepening
twilight, it must be admitted also that Scheer handled his ships
with great skill. Caught in a noose by an overwhelming force, he
disentangled himself by means of the torpedo attacks of his destroyer
flotillas and turned away under cover of their smoke screens. After
nightfall he boldly cut through the rear of the British fleet in
battle line, and reached his base in safety with the great bulk
of his ships. Meanwhile at practically all stages of the fighting
German gunnery was both rapid and accurate, the seamanship was
admirable, and there was no lack of courage of the highest order.

As to material, Admiral Jellicoe notes the superiority of the German
fleet in range-finding devices, searchlights, smoke screens, a star
shell--unknown to the British and invaluable for night fighting--and
in the armor piercing quality of the shells. Moreover the Germans
were completely equipped with systems of director firing, while
the British were not. According to Admiral Sir Percy Scott,[1]
"at the Battle of Jutland ... the commander in chief had only six
ships of his fleet completely fitted with director firing ... he
had not a single cruiser in the fleet fitted for director firing."

[Footnote 1: FIFTY YEARS IN THE ROYAL NAVY, p. 278.]

The greatest superiority of all probably lay in the structural
features of the newer German ships. For some years prior to the
war Admiral von Tirpitz had devoted himself to the problem of under
water protection, to localize the effect of torpedo and mine on
the hull of a ship. To quote the words of von Tirpitz:[2]

[Footnote 2: MY MEMOIRS, Vol. I, p. 171.]

"We built a section of a modern ship by itself and carried out
experimental explosions on it with torpedo heads, carefully testing
the result every time. We tested the possibility of weakening the
force of the explosion by letting the explosive gases burst in
empty compartments without meeting any resistance. We ascertained
the most suitable steel for the different structural parts, and
found further that the effect of the explosion was nullified if
we compelled it to pulverize coal in any considerable quantity.
This resulted in a special arrangement of the coal bunkers. We
were then able to meet the force of the explosion ... by a strong,
carefully constructed steel wall which finally secured the safety
of the interior of the ship."

The only German armored ship that succumbed to the blow of a single
torpedo was the _Pommern_, an old vessel, built before the fruits
of these experiments were embodied in the German fleet. The labor
of von Tirpitz was well justified by the results, as may be seen
by the instantaneous fashion in which the three British battle
cruisers went to the bottom, compared with the ability of the German
battle cruisers to stand terrific pounding and yet stay afloat and
keep going. According to the testimony of a German officer,[1] the
_Lützow_ was literally shot to pieces in the battle and even then
it took three torpedoes to settle her. Actually she was sunk by
opening her seacocks to prevent her possible capture. The remarkable
ability of the battle cruiser _Göben_, in Turkish waters, to survive
shell, mines, and torpedo, bears the same testimony, as does the
_Mainz_, which, in the action of the Heligoland Bight had to be
sunk by one of her own officers, as in the case of the _Lützow_.
It is possible that Jellicoe assumed an inferiority of the British
armor piercing shell because of this power of the German ships to
stay afloat. But photographs published after the armistice showed
that British shells penetrated the 11-inch turret armor of the
_Seydlitz_ and the 13-inch of the _Derfflinger_ with frightful
effect. The difference was in the fact that they did not succeed
in sinking those ships, which, after all is the chief object of a
shell, and this must be attributed to better under-water construction.

[Footnote 1: Quoted in _Naval and Military Record_, Dec. 24, 1919,
p. 822.]

The only criticism it seems possible to suggest on Scheer's tactics
is the unwariness of his pursuit, which might so easily have led
to the total destruction of the German fleet. Strangely enough,
although a Zeppelin hovered over the British fleet at dawn of the
day after the battle, no aircraft of any kind scouted ahead of the
Germans the day before. In pursuing Beatty, Scheer had to take
a chance, well aware that if the Grand Fleet were within reach,
Beatty's wireless would bring it upon him. But Scheer was evidently
perfectly willing to risk the encounter. Such criticism as arose in
Germany--from Captain Persius, for example--centered on "Tirpitz's
faulty constructional methods"; which, in the light of the facts
of the battle would seem to be the very last thing to hit upon.

As for types and weapons it is clear that the armored cruisers
served only as good targets and death traps. The British would
have been better off if every armored cruiser had been left at
home. The dominating feature of the story is the influence of the
torpedo on Jellicoe's tactics. It is fair to say that it was the
Parthian tactics of the German destroyer, both actual and potential,
that saved the High Seas Fleet and robbed the British of a greater
Trafalgar. At every crisis in the battle it was either what the
German destroyer did or might do that governed the British commander's
maneuvers. At the time of deployment he formed on the farthest rather
than on the nearest division because of what German destroyers
might do. When the Grand Fleet swung away to the east and lost
all contact with their enemy for the rest of the battle, it was
because of a destroyer attack. At this time eleven destroyers
accomplished the feat of driving 27 dreadnoughts from the field!
Again, the pursuit was called off at nightfall because of the peril
of destroyer attacks under cover of darkness, and finally Jellicoe
decided not to risk an action the following morning because his
capital ships had no screening forces against the torpedo of the
enemy. It is worth noting in this connection that although the
Admiralty were aware of the battle in progress, they held back the
Harwich force of destroyers and light cruisers which would have
proved a welcome reënforcement in pursuing the retreating fleet.
The reason for this decision has never been published.

In connection with the important part played by the German destroyers
at Jutland it is worth remarking that before the war it was the
Admiralty doctrine that destroyers could not operate successfully
by day, and they were accordingly painted black for night service.
The German destroyers were painted gray. After Jutland the British
flotillas also were painted the battleship gray.

Naturally the failure of the superior fleet to crush the inferior one
aroused a storm of criticism, the most severe emanating from English
naval writers. The sum and substance is the charge of overcaution
on the part of the British Commander in Chief. It is held that
Jellicoe should have formed his battle line on his starboard instead
of his port wing, thus turning toward the enemy and concentrating
on the head of their column at once. Forming on the port division
caused the battle fleet to swerve away from the enemy and open
the range just at the critical moment of contact, leaving Beatty
unsupported in his dash across the head of the enemy's line. It
is said that the latter even sent a signal to the _Marlborough_
for the battleships to fall in astern of him, and the failure to
do so made his maneuver fruitless. Apparently this message was
not transmitted to the flagship at the time. In answer Jellicoe
explains in great detail that the preliminary reports received
from Goodenough and others as to the position of the High Seas
Fleet were so meager and conflicting that he could not form line
of battle earlier than he did, and secondly that deploying on the
starboard division at the moment of sighting the enemy would have
thrown the entire battle fleet into confusion, blanketed their
fire, and created a dangerous opening for torpedo attack from the
destroyers at the head of the German column. On this point Scheer
agrees with the critics. Deploying on the starboard division instead
of the port, he says, "would have greatly impeded our movements and
rendered a fresh attack on the enemy's line extremely difficult."

The second point of criticism rested on the turning away of the
battleships at the critical point of the torpedo attack at 7.20,
under cover of which the German battleships wheeled to westward and
disappeared. Jellicoe's reply is that if he had swung to starboard,
turning toward the enemy, he would have headed into streams of
approaching torpedoes under conditions of mist and smoke that were
ideal for torpedo attack, and if he had maintained position in line
ahead he would have courted heavy losses. In connection with this
turn he calls attention to the fact that British light cruisers and
destroyers could not be used to deliver a counter attack because,
on account of the rapid changes of course and formation made by the
battlefleet, they had been unable to reach their proper station
in the van.

Thirdly, if conditions for night battle were too risky why did
the Grand Fleet fail to keep sufficient touch with the enemy by
means of its light flotillas so as to be informed of his movements
and prevent his escape? There were frequent contacts during that
short night, and the Germans were sighted steering southeast. The
attacks made by British destroyers certainly threw the German line
into confusion, and some of the light vessels were driven to the
north, reaching German bases by way of the Baltic. Nevertheless
the fleet succeeded in cutting through without serious loss. To
this there seems to be no answer.

Lastly, to the query why Jellicoe did not seek another action in
the morning, as originally intended, he replies that he discovered
by directional wireless that the Germans were already safe between
the mine fields and the coast, and that he could not safely proceed
without his screening force of destroyers and light cruisers, which,
after their night operations, were widely scattered. From German
accounts, however, we find no mention of a shelter behind mine
fields, but astonishment at the fact that they were permitted to go
on their way unmolested. Morning found the two fleets only twenty
miles apart, and the Germans had a half day's steaming before they
could reach port. They were in no condition to fight. The battleship
_Ostfriesland_ had struck a mine and had to be towed. The battle
cruiser _Seydlitz_ had to be beached to keep her from sinking, and
other units were limping along with their gun decks almost awash.

Certainly the tactics of Jellicoe do not suggest those of Blake,
Hawke, or Nelson. They do not fit Farragut's motto--borrowed from
Danton[1]--"l'audace, encore l'audace, et toujours l'audace," or
Napoleon's "frappez vite, frappez fort." War, as has been observed
before, cannot be waged without taking risks. The British had a
heavy margin to gamble on. As it happened, 23 out of the entire 28
battleships came out of the fight without so much as a scratch on
their paint; and, after deployment, only one out of the battle line
of 27 dreadnoughts received a single hit. This was the _Colossus_,
which had four men wounded by a shell.

[Footnote 1: And borrowed by Danton from Cicero.]

The touchstone of naval excellence is Nelson. As Mahan has so ably
pointed out, while weapons change principles remain. Dewey, in
deciding to take the chances involved in a night entry of Manila
Bay did so in answer to his own question, "What would Farragut
do?" Hence in considering Jutland one may take a broader view than
merely a criticism of tactics. In a word, does the whole conduct
of the affair reveal the method and spirit of Nelson?

At Trafalgar there was no need for a deployment after the enemy
was sighted because in the words of the famous Memorandum, "the
order of sailing is to be the order of battle." The tactics to
be followed when the French appeared had been carefully explained
by Nelson to his commanders. No signal was needed--except the fine
touch of inspiration in "England expects every man to do his duty."
In brief, the British fleet had been so thoroughly indoctrinated,
and the plan was so simple, that there was no room for hesitation,
uncertainty, or dependence on the flagship for orders at the last
minute. It is hard to see evidence of any such indoctrination of
the Grand Fleet before Jutland.

Again, Nelson was, by example and precept, constantly insisting
on the initiative of the subordinate. "The Second in Command will
... have the entire direction of his line to make the attack upon
the enemy, and to follow up the blow until they are captured or
destroyed.... Captains are to look to their particular line as
their rallying point. But in case signals can neither be seen nor
perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his
ship alongside that of an enemy." At Jutland, despite the urgent
signals of Beatty at two critical moments, neither Burney of the
sixth division nor Jerram of the first felt free to act independently
of the orders of the Commander in Chief. The latter tried, as Nelson
emphatically did not, to control from the flagship every movement
of the entire fleet.

Further, if naval history has taught anything it has established
a point so closely related to the responsibility and initiative
of the subordinate as to be almost a part of it; namely, a great
fleet that fights in a single rigid line ahead never achieves a
decisive victory. Blake, Tromp, and de Ruyter fought with squadrons,
expecting--indeed demanding--initiative on the part of their flag
officers. That was the period when great and decisive victories
were won. The close of the 17th century produced the "Fighting
Instructions," requiring the unbroken line ahead, and there followed
a hundred years of indecisive battles and bungled opportunities. Then
Nelson came and revived the untrammeled tactics of the days of Blake
with the added glory of his own genius. It appears that at Jutland
the battleships were held to a rigid unit of fleet formation as in
the days of the Duke of York or Admiral Graves. And concentration
with a long line of dreadnoughts is no more possible to-day than
it was with a similar line of two-decked sailing ships a century
and a half ago.

Finally, in the matter of spirit, the considerations that swayed
the movements of the Grand Fleet at all stages were apparently
those of what the enemy might do instead of what might be done
to the enemy, the very antithesis of the spirit of Nelson. It is
no reflection on the personal courage of the Commander in Chief
that he should be moved by the consideration of saving his ships.
The existence of the Grand Fleet was, of course, essential to the
Allied cause, and there was a heavy weight of responsibility hanging
on its use. But again it is a matter of naval doctrine. Did the
British fleet exist merely to maintain a numerical preponderance
over its enemy or to crush that enemy--whatever the cost? If the
battle of Jutland receives the stamp of approval as the best that
could have been done, then the British or the American officer of
the future will know that he is expected primarily to "play safe."
But he will never tread the path of Blake, Hawke, or Nelson, the
men who made the traditions of the Service and forged the anchors
of the British Empire.

Thus the great battle turned out to be indecisive; in fact, it
elated the Germans with a feeling of success and depressed the
British with a keen sense of failure. Nevertheless, the control of
the sea remained in the hands of the English, and never again did
the High Seas Fleet risk another encounter. The relative positions
at sea of the two adversaries therefore remained unaltered.

On the other hand, if the British had destroyed the German fleet
the victory would have been priceless. As Jervis remarked at Cape
St. Vincent, "A victory is very essential to England at this hour."
The spring of 1916 was an ebb point in Allied prospects. The Verdun
offensive was not halted, the Somme drive had not yet begun, the
Russians were beaten far back in their own territory, the Italians
had retreated, and there was rebellion in Ireland. The annihilation
of the High Seas Fleet would have reversed the situation with dramatic
suddenness and would have at least marked the turning point of the
war. Without a German battle fleet, the British could have forced
the fighting almost to the very harbors of the German coast--bottling
up every exit by a barrage of mines. The blockade, therefore, could
have been drawn close to the coast defenses. Moreover, with the High
Seas Fleet gone, the British fleet could have entered and taken
possession of the Baltic, which throughout the war remained a German
lake. By this move England would have threatened the German Baltic
coast with invasion and extended her blockade in a highly important
locality, cutting off the trade between Sweden and Germany. She
would also have come to the relief of Russia, which was suffering
terrible losses from the lack of munitions. Indeed it would have
saved that ally from the collapse that withdrew her from the war.
With no German "fleet in being" great numbers of workers in English
industry and vast quantities of supplies might have been transferred
to the support of the army. The threat of invasion would have been
removed, and the large army that was kept in England right up to
the crisis of March, 1918,[1] would have been free to reenforce
the army at the front. Finally, without the personnel of the German
fleet there could have been no ruthless submarine campaign the year
after, such as actually came so near to winning the war. Thus,
while the German claim to a triumph that drove the British from
the seas is ridiculous, it is equally so to argue, as the First
Lord of the Admiralty did, that there was no need of a British
victory at Jutland, that all the fruits of victory were gained as
it was. The subsequent history of the war tells a different tale.

[Footnote 1: A quarter of a million men were sent from England at
this time.]


THE GRAND FLEET, 1914-1916, Admiral Viscount Lord Jellicoe of
  Scapa, 1919.
  von Scheer, 1920.
THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, Commander Carlyon Bellairs, M. P., 1920.
THE NAVAL ANNUAL, 1919, Earl Brassey.
  H. Frost, U. S. N., in U. S. NAVAL INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS, vol.
  45, pp. 1829 ff, 2019 ff; vol. 46, pp. 61 ff.



Interdiction of enemy trade has always been the great weapon of
sea power; and hence, though mines, submarines, and the menace
of the High Seas Fleet itself made a close blockade of the German
coast impossible, Great Britain in the World War steadily extended
her efforts to cut off Germany's intercourse with the overseas
world. Germany, on the other hand, while unwilling or unable to
take the risks of a contest for surface control of the sea, waged
cruiser warfare on British and Allied commerce, first by surface
vessels, and, when these were destroyed, by submarines. In the
policies adopted by each belligerent there is an evident analogy to
the British blockade and the French commerce destroying campaigns
of the Napoleonic Wars. And just as in the earlier conflict British
sea power impelled Napoleon to a ruinous struggle for the domination
of Europe, so in the World War, though in a somewhat different
fashion, the blockade worked disaster for Germany.

"The consequences of the blockade," writes the German General von
Freytag-Loringhoven, "showed themselves at once. Although we succeeded
in establishing our war economics by our internal strength, yet
the unfavorable state of the world economic situation was felt by
us throughout the war. That alone explains why our enemies found
ever fresh possibilities of resistance, because the sea stood open
to them, and why victories which would otherwise have been absolutely
decisive, and the conquest of whole kingdoms, did not bring us
nearer peace."

For each group of belligerents, indeed, the enemy's commerce warfare
assumed a vital significance. "No German success on land," declares
the conservative British Annual Register for 1919, "could have
ruined or even very gravely injured the English-speaking powers.
The success of the submarine campaign, on the other hand, would
have left the United States isolated and have placed the Berlin
Government in a position to dominate most of the rest of the world."
"The war is won for us," declared General von Hindenburg on July 2,
1917, "if we can withstand the enemy attacks until the submarine
has done its work."

Commerce warfare at once involves a third party, the neutral; and
it therefore appears desirable, before tracing the progress of
this warfare, to outline briefly the principles of international
law which, by a slow and tortuous process, have grown up defining
the respective rights of neutrals and belligerents in naval war.
_Blockade_ is among the most fundamental of these rights accorded
to the belligerent, upon the conditions that the blockade shall be
limited to enemy ports or coasts, confined within specified limits,
and made so effective as to create evident danger to traffic. It
assumes control of the sea by the blockading navy, and, before the
days of mines and submarines, it was enforced by a cordon of ships
off the enemy coast. A blockade stops direct trade or intercourse
of any kind.

Whether or not a blockade is established, a belligerent has the
right to attempt the prevention of _trade in contraband_. A neutral
nation is under no obligation whatever to restrain its citizens from
engaging in this trade. In preventing it, however, a belligerent
warship may stop, visit, and search any merchant vessel on the
high seas. If examination of the ship's papers and search show
fraud, contraband cargo, offense in respect to blockade, enemy
ownership or service, the vessel may be taken as a prize, subject
to adjudication in the belligerent's prize courts. The right of
merchant vessels to carry defensive armament is well established;
but resistance justifies destruction. Under certain circumstances
prizes may be destroyed at sea, after removal of the ship's papers
and full provision for the safety of passengers and crew.

The Declaration of London,[1] drawn up in 1909, was an attempt to
restate and secure general acceptance of these principles, with
notable modifications. Lists were drawn up of _absolute_ contraband
(munitions, etc., adapted obviously if not exclusively for use in
war), _conditional_ contraband (including foodstuffs, clothing,
rolling stock, etc., susceptible of use in war but having non-warlike
uses as well), and free goods (including raw cotton and wool, hides,
and ores). The most significant provision of the Declaration was that
the doctrine of _continuous voyage_ should apply only to absolute
contraband. This doctrine, established by Great Britain in the
French wars and expanded by the United States in the American Civil
War, holds that the ultimate enemy destination of a cargo determines
its character, regardless of transshipment in a neutral port and
subsequent carriage by sea or land. The Declaration of London was
never ratified by Great Britain, and was observed for only a brief
period in the first months of the war. Had it been ratified and
observed, Germany would have been free to import all necessary
supplies, other than munitions, through neutral states on her frontiers.

[Footnote 1: Printed in full in INTERNATIONAL LAW TOPICS of the
U. S. Naval War College, 1910, p. 169 ff.]

_The Blockade of Germany_

Unable to establish a close blockade, and not venturing at once to
advance the idea of a "long range" blockade, England was nevertheless
able to impose severe restrictions upon Germany by extending the
lists of contraband, applying the doctrine of continuous voyage
to both absolute and conditional contraband, and throwing upon the
owners of cargoes the burden of proof as to destination. Cotton
still for a time entered Germany, and some exports were permitted.
But on March 1, 1915, in retaliation for Germany's declaration
of a "war area" around the British Isles, Great Britain asserted
her purpose to establish what amounted to a complete embargo on
German trade, holding herself free, in the words of Premier Asquith,
"to detain and take into port ships carrying goods of presumed
enemy destination, ownership, or origin." In a note of protest on
March 30, the United States virtually recognized the legitimacy of a
long-range blockade--an innovation of seemingly wide possibilities--and
confined its objections to British interference with lawful trade
between neutrals, amounting in effect to a blockade of neutral

As a matter of fact, in spite of British efforts, there had been an
immense increase of indirect trade with Germany through neutrals.
While American exports to Germany in 1915 were $154,000,000 less
than in 1913, and in fact practically ceased altogether, American
exports to Holland and the Scandinavian states increased by
$158,000,000. This trade continued up to the time when the United
States entered the war, after which all the restrictions which
England had employed were given a sharper application. By a simple
process of substitution, European neutrals had been able to import
commodities for home use, and export their own products to Germany.
Now, in order to secure supplies at all, they were forced to sign
agreements which put them on rations and gave the Western Powers
complete control of their exports to Germany.

The effect of the Allied blockade upon Germany is suggested by the
accompanying chart. In the later stages of the war it created a
dearth of important raw materials, crippled war industries, brought
the country to the verge of starvation, and caused a marked lowering
of national efficiency and morale.

Germany protested vigorously to the United States for allowing
her foodstuffs to be shut out of Germany while at the same time
shipping to England vast quantities of munitions. Throughout the
controversy, however, Great Britain profited by the fact that while
her methods caused only financial injury to neutrals, those employed
by Germany destroyed or imperiled human lives.

_The Submarine Campaign_

[Illustration: From _The Blockade of Germany_, Alonzo E. Taylor,
WORLD'S WORK, Oct. 1919.


Decreased supply of commodities in successive years of the war.]

The German submarine campaign may be dated from February 18, 1915,
when Germany, citing as a precedent Great Britain's establishment
of a military area in the North Sea, proclaimed a _war zone_ "in
the waters around Great Britain and Ireland, including the whole
English Channel," within which enemy merchant vessels would be sunk
without assurance of safety to passengers or crew. Furthermore, as
a means of keeping neutrals out of British waters, Germany declared
she would assume no responsibility for destruction of neutral ships
within this zone. What this meant was to all intents and purposes a
"paper" submarine blockade of the British Isles. Its illegitimacy
arose from the fact that it was conducted surreptitiously over a
vast area, and was only in the slightest degree effective, causing
a destruction each month of less than one percent of the traffic.
Had it been restricted to narrow limits, it would have been still
less effective, owing to the facility of countermeasures in a small

Determined, however, upon a spectacular demonstration of its
possibilities, Germany first published danger notices in American
newspapers, and then, on May 7, 1915, sank the unarmed Cunard liner
_Lusitania_ off the Irish coast, with a loss of 1198 lives, including
102 Americans. In spite of divided American sentiment and a strong
desire for peace, this act came little short of bringing the United
States into the war. Having already declared its intention to hold
Germany to "strict accountability," the United States Government
now stated that a second offense would be regarded as "deliberately
unfriendly," and after a lengthy interchange of notes secured the
pledge that "liners will not be sunk without warning and without
safety of the lives of non-combatants, provided that the liners do
not try to escape or offer resistance." Violations of this pledge,
further controversies, and increased friction with neutrals marked the
next year or more, during which, however, sinkings did not greatly
exceed the level of about 150,000 tons a month already attained.

During this period Allied countermeasures were chiefly of a defensive
character, including patrol of coastal areas, diversion of traffic
from customary routes, and arming of merchantmen. This last measure,
making surface approach and preliminary warning a highly dangerous
procedure for the submarine, led Germany to the announcement that,
after March 1, 1916, all armed merchant vessels would be torpedoed
without warning. But how were U-boat commanders to distinguish
between enemy and neutral vessels? Between vessels with or without
guns? The difficulty brings out clearly the fact that while the
submarines made good pirates, they were hampered in warfare on
legitimate lines.

Germany redoubled U-boat activities to lend strength to her peace
proposals at the close of 1916, and when these failed she decided
to disregard altogether the cobwebs of legalism that had hitherto
hindered her submarine war. On February 1, 1917, she declared
unrestricted warfare in an immense barred zone within limits extending
from the Dutch coast through the middle of the North Sea to the
Faroe Islands and thence west and south to Cape Finisterre, and
including also the entire Mediterranean east of Spain. An American
ship was to be allowed to enter and leave Falmauth once a week,
and there was a crooked lane leading to Greece.


British mined area and North Sea mine barrage.]

In thus announcing her intention to sink all ships on sight in
European waters, Germany burned her bridges behind her. She staked
everything on this move. Fully anticipating the hostility of the
United States, she hoped to win the war before that country could
complete its preparations and give effective support to the Allies.
General von Hindenburg's statement has already been quoted. It meant
that the army was to assume the defensive, while the navy carried
out its attack on Allied communications. Admiral von Capelle, head
of the German Admiralty, declared that America's aid would be
"absolutely negligible." "My personal view," he added, "is that
the U-boat will bring peace within six months."

As it turned out, Germany's disregard of neutral rights in 1917,
like the violation of Belgium in 1914, reacted upon her and proved
the salvation of the Western Powers. After the defection of Russia,
France was in imperative need of men. Great Britain needed ships.
Neither of these needs could have been supplied save by America's
throwing her utmost energies into active participation in the war.
This was precisely the result of the proclamation of Feb. 1, 1917.
The United States at once broke off diplomatic relations, armed
her merchant vessels in March, and on April 6 declared a state
of war.

Having traced the development of submarine warfare to this critical
period, we may now turn to the methods and weapons employed by
both sides at a time when victory or defeat hinged on the outcome
of the war at sea.

Germany's submarine construction and losses appear in the following
table from official German sources, the columns showing first the
total number built up to the date given, next the total losses to
date, and finally the remainder with which Germany started out
at the beginning of each year.

After 1916 Germany devoted the facilities of her shipyards entirely
to submarine construction, and demoralized the surface fleet to
secure personnel. Of the entire number built, not more than a score
were over 850 tons. The U C boats were small mine-layers about 160
feet in length, with not more than two weeks' cruising period.
The U B'g were of various sizes, mostly small, and some of them
were built in sections for transportation by rail. The U boats
proper, which constituted the largest and most important class,
had a speed of about 16 knots on the surface and 9 knots submerged,
and could remain at sea for a period of 5 or 6 weeks, the duration
of the cruise depending chiefly upon the supply of torpedoes. In
addition there were a half dozen large submarine merchantmen of
the type of the _Deutschland_, which made two voyages to America
in 1916; and a similar number of big cruisers of 2000 tons or more
were completed in 1918, mounting two 6-inch guns and capable of
remaining at sea for several months. The 372 boats built totaled
209,000 tons and had a personnel of over 11,000 officers and men.
There were seldom more than 20 or 30 submarines in active operation
at one time. One third of the total number were always in port,
and the remainder in training.

            | Boats |        |         Remainder
            | built | Losses |(On Jan. 1 of year following)
End of 1914 |   31  |     5  |             26
       1915 |   93  |    25  |             68
       1916 |  188  |    50  |            138
       1917 |  291  |   122  |            169
       1918 |  372  |   202  |            170

It is evident from her limited supply of submarines at the outbreak
of war that Germany did not contemplate their use as commerce
destroyers. To the Allied navies also, in spite of warnings from
a few more far-sighted officers, their use for this purpose came
as a complete surprise. New methods had to be devised, new weapons
invented, new types of ship built and old ones put to uses for which
they were not intended--in short, a whole new system of warfare
inaugurated amidst the preoccupations of war. As usual in such
circumstances, the navy taking the aggressive with a new weapon
gained a temporary ascendancy, until effective counter-measures
could be contrived. It is easy to say that all this should have
been foreseen and provided for, but it is a question to what extent
preparations could profitably have been made before Germany began her
campaign. It has already been pointed out in the chapter preceding
that, had the German fleet been destroyed at Jutland, subsequent
operations on the German coast might have made the submarine campaign
impossible, and preparations unnecessary.

[Illustration: U 71-80 OCEAN-GOING MINE-LAYERS

U B 48-149






U 151-157 (OCEAN-GOING)


_Anti-Submarine Tactics_

Of the general categories of anti-submarine tactics,--detection,
evasion, and destruction--it was naturally those of evasion that
were first employed. Among these may be included suspension of
sailings upon warning of a submarine in the vicinity, diversion
of traffic from customary routes, camouflage, and zigzag courses
to prevent the enemy from securing favorable position and aim.
The first method was effective only at the expense of a severe
reduction of traffic, amounting in the critical months of 1917
to 40 per cent of a total stoppage. The second sometimes actually
aided the submarine, for in confined areas such as the Mediterranean
it was likely to discover the new route and reap a rich harvest.
Camouflage was discarded as of slight value; but shifts of course were
employed to advantage by both merchant and naval vessels throughout
the war.

Methods of detection depended on both sight and sound. Efficient
lookout systems on shipboard, with men assigned to different sectors
so as to cover the entire horizon, made it possible frequently
to detect a periscope or torpedo wake in time to change course,
bring guns to bear, and escape destruction. According to a British
Admiralty estimate, in case a submarine were sighted the chances
of escape were seven to three, but otherwise only one to four.
Aircraft of all kinds proved of great value in detecting the presence
of U-boats, as well as in attacking them. Hydrophones and other
listening devices, though at first more highly perfected by the
enemy, were so developed during the war as to enable patrol vessels
to discover the presence and even determine the course and speed of
a submerged foe. Along with these devices, a system of information
was organized which, drawing information from a wide variety of
sources, enabled Allied authorities to trace the cruise of a U-boat,
anticipate its arrival in a given locality, and prophesy the duration
of its stay.

Among methods of destruction, the mounting of guns on merchantmen
was chiefly valuable, as already suggested, because of its effect
in forcing submarines to resort to illegal and barbarous methods
of warfare. Hitherto, submarines had been accustomed to operate an
the surface, board vessels, and sink them by bombs or gunfire. Visit
and search, essential in order to avoid injury to neutrals, was now
out of the question, for owing to the surface vulnerability of the
submarine it might be sent to the bottom by a single well-directed
shot. In brief, the guns on the merchant ship kept submarines beneath
the surface, forced them to draw upon their limited and costly
supply of torpedoes, and hindered them from securing good position
and aim for torpedo attack.

Much depended, of course, upon the range of the ship's guns and
the size and experience of the gun-crews. When the United States
began arming her ships in March, 1917, she was able to put enough
trained men aboard to maintain lookouts and man guns both night
and day. A dozen or more exciting duels ensued between ships and
U-boats before the latter learned that such encounters did not
repay the risks involved. On October 19, 1917, the steamer _J.
L. Luckenbach_ had a four-hour running battle with a submarine in
which the ship fired 202 rounds and the pursuer 225. The latter
scored nine hits, but was at last driven off by the appearance of
a destroyer. To cite another typical engagement, the _Navajo_, in
the English Channel, July 4, 1917, was attacked first by torpedo
and then by gunfire. The 27th shot from the ship hit the enemy's
conning tower and caused two explosions. "Men who were on deck
at the guns and had not jumped overboard ran aft. The submarine
canted forward at an angle of almost 40 degrees, and the propeller
could be plainly seen lashing the air."[1]

[Footnote 1: For more detailed narratives of this and other episodes
of the submarine campaign, see Ralph D. Payne, THE FIGHTING FLEETS,

In coastal waters where traffic converged, large forces of destroyers
and other craft were employed for purposes of escort, mine sweeping,
and patrol. Yet, save as a means of keeping the enemy under water
and guarding merchant ships, these units had only a limited value
owing to the difficulty of making contact with the enemy. During
the later stages of the war destroyers depended chiefly upon the
depth bomb, an invention of the British navy, which by means of
the so-called "Y guns" could be dropped in large numbers around
the supposed location of the enemy. It was in this way that the
United States Destroyers _Fanning_ and _Nicholson_, while engaged
as convoy escorts, sank the _U-58_ and captured its crew.

The "mystery" or "Q" ships (well-armed vessels disguised as harmless
merchantmen) were of slight efficacy after submarines gave up surface
attack. In fact, it was the submarine itself which, contrary to all
pre-war theories, proved the most effective type of naval craft against
its own kind. Whereas fuel economy compelled German submarines to
spend as much time as possible on the surface, the Allied under-water
boats, operating near their bases, could cruise awash or submerged
and were thus able to creep up on the enemy and attack unawares.
According to Admiral Sims, Allied destroyers, about 500 in all, were
credited with the certain destruction of 34 enemy submarines; yachts,
patrol craft, etc., over 3000 altogether, sank 31; whereas about 100
Allied submarines sank probably 20.[1] Since 202 submarines were
destroyed, this may be an underestimate of the results accomplished
by each type, but it indicates relative efficiency. Submarines kept
the enemy beneath the surface, led him to stay farther away from
the coast, and also, owing to the disastrous consequences that might
ensue from mistaken identity, prevented the U-boats from operating
in pairs. The chief danger encountered by Allied submarines was from
friendly surface vessels. On one occasion an American submarine,
the AL-10, approaching a destroyer of the same service, was forced
to dive and was then given a bombardment of depth charges. This
bent plates, extinguished lights, and brought the submarine again
to the surface, where fortunately she was identified in the nick
of time. The two commanders had been roommates at Annapolis.

[Footnote 1: THE VICTORY AT SEA, _World's Work_, May, 1920, p. 56.]

_Work of the United States Navy_

Having borne the brunt of the naval war for three years, the British
navy welcomed the reënforcements which the United States was able
to contribute, and shared to the utmost the experience already
gained. On May 3, 1917, the first squadron of 6 American destroyers
arrived at Queenstown, and was increased to 50 operating in European
waters in November, and 70 at the time of the armistice. A flotilla
of yachts, ill adapted as they were for such service, did hazardous
duty as escorts in the Bay of Biscay; and a score of submarines
crossed the Atlantic during the winter to operate off Ireland and
in the Azores. Five dreadnoughts under Admiral Rodman from the U.
S. Atlantic fleet became a part of the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow.

Probably the most notable work of the American navy was in projects
where American manufacturing resources and experience in large-scale
undertakings could be brought to bear. In four months, from July
to November, 1917, the United States Navy constructed an oil pipe
line from the west to the east coast of Scotland, thus eliminating
the long and dangerous northern circuit. Five 14-inch naval guns,
on railway mountings, with a complete train of 16 cars for each gun,
were equipped by the navy, manned entirely with naval personnel, and
were in action in France from August, 1918, until the armistice,
firing a total of 782 rounds on the German lines of communication,
at ranges up to 30 miles.

The American proposal of a mine barrage across the entrance to the
North Sea from Scotland to Norway at first met with slight approval
abroad, so unprecedented was the problem of laying a mine-field 230
miles in length, from 15 to 30 miles in width, and extending at
least 240 feet downward in waters the total depth of which was 400
or more feet. Even the mine barrier at the Straits of Dover had
proved ineffective owing to heavy tides, currents, and bad bottom
conditions, until it was strengthened by Admiral Keyes in 1918. By
employing a large type of mine perfected by the United States Naval
Bureau of Ordnance, it was found possible, however, to reduce by
one-third the number of mines and the amount of wire needed for the
North Sea Barrage. The task was therefore undertaken, and completed
in the summer of 1918. Out of a total of 70,000 mines, 56,570, or
about 80 per cent, were planted by American vessels. The barrage
when completed gave an enemy submarine about one chance in ten of
getting through. According to reliable records, it accomplished
the destruction or serious injury of 17 German submarines, and by
its deterrent effect, must have practically closed the northern
exit to both under-water and surface craft.


_The Attack on Zeebrugge and Ostend_

At the Channel exit of the North Sea, a vigorous blow at the German
submarine nests on the Belgian coast was finally struck on April
22-23, 1918, by the Dover Force under Vice Admiral Roger Keyes, in
one of the most brilliant naval operations of the war. Of the two
Belgian ports, Ostend and Zeebrugge, the latter was much more useful
to the Germans because better protected, less exposed to batteries
on the land front, and connected by a deeper canal with the main
base 8 miles distant at Bruges. It was planned, however, to attack
both ports, with the specific purpose of sinking 5 obsolete cruisers
laden with concrete across the entrances to the canals. The operation
required extensive reconstruction work on the vessels employed, a
thorough course of training for personnel, suitable conditions of
atmosphere, wind, and tide, and execution of complicated movements
in accordance with a time schedule worked out to the minute.

At Ostend the attack failed owing to a sudden shift of wind which
blew the smoke screen laid by motor boats back upon the two block
ships, and so confused their approach that they were stranded and
blown up west of the entrance.

At Zeebrugge, two of the three block ships, the _Iphigenia_ and
the _Intrepid_, got past the heavy guns on the mole, through the
protective nets, and into the canal, where they were sunk athwart
the channel by the explosion of mines laid all along their keels.
To facilitate their entrance, the cruiser _Vindictive_ (Commander
Alfred Carpenter), fitted with a false deck and 18 brows or gangways
for landing forces, had been brought up 25 minutes earlier--to
be exact, at a minute past midnight--along the outer side of the
high mole or breakwater enclosing the harbor. Here, in spite of a
heavy swell and tide, she was held in position by the ex-ferryboat
_Daffodill_, while some 300 or 400 bluejackets and marines swarmed
ashore under a violent fire from batteries and machine guns and
did considerable injury to the works on the mole. Fifteen minutes
later, an old British submarine was run into a viaduct connecting
the mole with the shore and there blown up, breaking a big gap in
the viaduct. Strange to say, the _Vindictive_ and her auxiliaries,
after lying more than an hour in this dangerous position, succeeded
in taking aboard all survivors from the landing party and getting
safely away. Motor launches also rescued the crews of the blockships
and the men--all of them wounded--from the submarine. One British
destroyer and two motor boats were sunk, and the casualties were
176 killed, 412 wounded, and 49 missing. For a considerable period
thereafter, all the larger German torpedo craft remained cooped
up at Bruges, and the Zeebrugge blockships still obstructed the
channel at the end of the war.


_The Convoy System_

Of all the anti-submarine measures employed, prior to the North
Sea Barrage and the Zeebrugge attack, the adoption of the convoy
system was undoubtedly the most effective in checking the loss
of tonnage at the height of the submarine campaign. Familiar as
a means of commerce protection in previous naval wars, the late
adoption of the convoy system in the World War occasioned very
general surprise. It was felt by naval authorities, however, that
great delay would be incurred in assembling vessels, and in restricting
the speed of all ships of a convoy to that of the slowest unit.
Merchant captains believed themselves unequal to the task of keeping
station at night in close order, with all lights out and frequent
changes of course, and they thought that the resultant injuries
would be almost as great as from submarines. Furthermore, so long
as a large number of neutral vessels were at sea, it appeared a
very doubtful expedient to segregate merchant vessels of belligerent
nationality and thus distinguish them as legitimate prey.


(Figures in thousands of gross tons)

The accompanying chart shows the merchant shipping captured or
destroyed by Germany in the course of the war. After 1914 the losses
were inflicted almost entirely by submarines, either by mine laying
or by torpedoes. According to a British Admiralty statement of
Dec. 5, 1919, the total loss during the war was 14,820,000 gross
tons, of which 8,918,000 was British, and 5,918,000 was Allied
or neutral. The United States lost 354,450 tons. During the same
period the world's ship construction amounted to 10,850,000 tons,
and enemy shipping captured and eventually put into Allied service
totalled 2,393,000 tons, so that the net loss at the close of the
war was about 1,600,000 tons.]

But in April, 1917, the situation was indeed desperate. The losses
had become so heavy that of every 100 ships leaving England it was
estimated that 25 never returned.[1] The American commander in
European waters, Admiral Sims, reports Admiral Jellicoe as saying
at this time, "They will win unless we can stop these losses--and
stop them soon."[2] Definitely adopted in May following, the convoy
system was in general operation before the end of the summer, with
a notable decline of sinkings in both the Mediterranean and the
Atlantic. The following table, based on figures from the Naval
Annual for 1919, indicates the number of vessels sunk for each
submarine destroyed. It shows the decreased effectiveness of submarine
operations after September 1, 1917, which is taken as the date
when the convoy system had come into full use, and brings out the
crescendo of losses in 1917.

[Footnote 1: Brassey's NAVAL ANNUAL, 1919.]

[Footnote 2: _World's Work_, Sept., 1919.]

              |Vessels sunk|           |
              |     per    | Total No. |
              |  submarine |   sunk    |
              |  destroyed |           |
Aug. 1, 1914- |    10.4    |           |69 ships sunk, almost entirely by
Feb., 1915    |            |           |  surface cruisers.
              |            |           |
Feb. 1, 1915- |     48     |    544    |Half by torpedo; 148 without
Feb. 1, 1917  |            |(two years)| warning; 3,066 lives lost.
              |            |           |
Feb. 1, 1917- |     67     |    736    |572 by torpedo; 595 (69%) with
Sept. 1, 1917 |            |(7 months) | out warning.
              |            |           |
Sept. 1, 1917-|    20.2    |    548    |448 (82%) without warning.
April 1, 1918 |            |(7 months) |
              |            |           |
April 1, 1918-|     12     |    252    |239 (91%) without warning.
Nov. 1, 1918  |            |(7 months) |

From July 26, 1917, to October 26, 1918, 90,000 vessels were convoyed,
with a total loss from the convoys of 436, or less than half of one
per cent. The convoy system forced submarines to expose themselves
to the attacks of destroyer escorts, or else to work close in shore
to set upon vessels after the dispersion of the convoy. But when
working close to the coast they were exposed to Allied patrols
and submarines.

Testifying before a German investigation committee, Captain Bartenbach,
of the V-boat section of the German Admiralty, gave the chief perils
encountered by his boats as follows: (1) mines, (2) Allied submarines,
which "destroyed a whole series of our boats," (3) aircraft of all
types, (4) armed merchantmen, (5) hydrophones and listening devices.
Admiral Capelle in his testimony referred to the weakening of their
efforts due to "indifferent material and second-rate crews."

_Transport Work_

Dependent in large measure upon the anti-submarine campaign for
its safety and success, yet in itself an immense achievement, the
transport of over 2,000,000 American troops to France must be regarded
as one of the major naval operations of the war. Of these forces
48% were carried in British, and 43% in American transports. About
83% of the convoy work was under the protection of American naval

The transportation work of the British navy, covering a longer
period, was, of course, on a far greater scale. Speaking in Parliament
on October 29, 1917, Premier Lloyd George indicated the extent of
this service as follows: "Since the beginning of the war the navy
has insured the safe transportation to the British and Allied armies
of 13,000,000 men, 12,000,000 horses, 25,000,000 tons of explosives
and supplies, and 51,000,000 tons of coal and oil. The loss of
men out of the whole 13,000,000 was 3500, of which only 2700 were
lost through the action of the enemy. Altogether 130,000,000 tons
have been transported by British ships." These figures, covering but
three years of the war, are of significance chiefly as indicating
the immense transportation problems of the British and Allied navies
and the use made of sea communications.

These three main Allied naval operations--the blockade of Germany,
the anti-submarine campaign, and the transportation of American
troops to France--were unquestionably decisive factors in the war.
Failure in any one of them would have meant victory for Germany. The
peace of Europe, it is true, could be achieved only by overcoming
Germany's military power on land. A breakdown there, with German
domination of the Continent, would have created a situation which
it is difficult to envisage, and which very probably would have
meant a peace of compromise and humiliation for England and America.
It is obvious, however, that, but for the blockade, Germany could
have prolonged the war; but for American reënforcements, France
would have been overrun; but for the conquest of the submarine,
Great Britain would have been forced to surrender.

In the spring of 1918 Germany massed her troops on the western
front and began her final effort to break the Allied lines and
force a decision. With supreme command for the first time completely
centralized under Marshal Foch, and with the support of American
armies, the Allies were able to hold up the enemy drives, and on
July 18 begin the forward movement which pushed the Germans back
upon their frontiers. Yet when the armistice was signed on November
11, the German armies still maintained cohesion, with an unbroken
line on foreign soil. Surrender was made inevitable by internal
breakdown and revolution, the first open manifestations of which
appeared among the sailors of the idle High Seas Fleet at Kiel.

On November 21, 1918, this fleet, designed as the great instrument
for conquest of world empire, and in its prime perhaps as efficient
a war force as was ever set afloat, steamed silently through two
long lines of British and Allied battleships assembled off the
Firth of Forth, and the German flags at the mainmasts went down
at sunset for the last time.


THE VICTORY AT SEA, Vice-Admiral W. S. Sims, U. S. N., 1920.
ANNUAL REPORT of the U. S Secretary of the Navy, 1918
THE DOVER PATROL, 1915-1917, Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon, R. N.,
ZEEBRUGGE AND OSTEND DISPATCHES, ed. by C. Sanford Terry, 1919.
  U. S. N., U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan.-Feb., 1920.
  C. S. Alden, U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings. June-July, 1920.
For more popular treatment see also SUBMARINE AND ANTI-SUBMARINE,
  Sir Henry Newbolt, 1919; THE FIGHTING FLEETS, Ralph
  D. Payne, 1918; THE U-BOAT HUNTERS, James B. Connolly, 1918;
  SEA WARFARE, Rudyard Kipling, 1917; etc.



The brief survey of sea power in the preceding chapters has shown
that the ocean has been the highway for the march of civilization and
empire. Crete in its day became a great island power and distributed
throughout the Mediterranean the wealth and the arts of its own
culture and that of Egypt. In turn, Phœnicia held sway on the inland
sea, and though creating little, she seized upon and developed the
material and intellectual resources of her neighbors, and carried
them not only to the corners of the Mediterranean, but far out
on the unknown sea. Later when Phœnicia was subject to Persia,
Athens by her triremes saved the growing civilization of Greece,
and during a brief period of glory planted the seeds of Greek,
as opposed to Asiatic culture, on the islands and coasts of the
Ægean. After Athens, Carthage inherited the trident, and in turn
fell before the energy of a land power, Rome. And as the Roman
Empire grew to include practically all of the known world, every
waterway, river and ocean, served to spread Roman law, engineering,
and ideals of practical efficiency, at the same time bringing back
to the heart of the Empire not only the products of the colonies,
but such impalpable treasures as the art, literature, and philosophy
of Greece. This was the story of the sea in antiquity.

After the dissolution of the Roman empire, as Christian peoples
were struggling in blood and darkness, a great menace came from
Arabia, the Saracen invasion, which was checked successfully and
repeatedly by the navy of Constantinople. To this, primarily, is
due the preservation of the Christian ideal in the world. Later, the
cities of Italy began to reëstablish sea commerce, which had been
for centuries interrupted by pirates. Venice gained the ascendancy,
and Venetian ships carried the Crusading armies during the centuries
when western peoples went eastward to fight for the Cross and brought
back new ideas they had learned from the Infidels. Then there arose
a new Mohammedan threat, the Turk, determined like the earlier
Saracen to conquer the world for the Crescent. Constantinople,
betrayed by Christian nations, fell, Christian peoples of the Levant
were made subject to the Turk, and thereafter till our day the
Ægean was a Turkish lake. About the same time a new Mohammedan sea
power arose in the Moors of the African coast, and for a century
and more the Mediterranean was a no-man's land between the rival
peoples and the rival religions.

Meanwhile the trade with the East by caravan routes to the Arabian
Gulf had been stopped by the presence of the Turk. To reach the
old markets, therefore, new routes had to be found and there came
the great era of discovery. The new world was only an accidental
discovery in a search for the westward route to Asia. The claims of
Spain to this new region called forth her fleets of trading ships.
But the lure of the West attracted the energies of the English
also, and England and Spain clashed. As Spain became more and more
dependent on her western colonies for income, and yet failed to
establish her ascendancy over the Atlantic routes, she declined
in favor of her enemies, England and Holland. The latter country,
being dependent on the sea for sustenance, early captured a large
part of the world's carrying trade, especially in the Mediterranean
and the East. Her rich profits excited the envy and rivalry of the
English, and in consequence, after three hard-fought naval wars,
the scepter of the sea passed to England. The subsequent wars between
England and France served only to strengthen England's control of
trade routes and extend her colonial possessions; with one notable
exception, when France, denying to her rival the control of the sea
at a critical juncture in the American Revolution, deprived her
of her richest and most extensive colony. It was primarily England
with her navy that broke the power of Napoleon in the subsequent
conflict, and throughout a century of peace the spread of English
speech and institutions has extended to the uttermost parts of
the world. One power in our day challenged Britain's control of
the sea--now even more essential to her security than it was in
the 17th century to that of Holland--and the World War was the

In all this story it is interesting to note that insularity in
position is the reverse of insularity in fact. Crete touched the
far shores of the Mediterranean because she was an island and her
people were forced upon the sea. Similarly, Phœnicia, driven to
sea by mountains and desert at her back, spread her sails beyond
the Pillars of Hercules. And England, hemmed in by the Atlantic,
has carried her goods and her language to every nook and cranny of
the earth. Thus the ocean has served less to separate than to bring
together. As a common highway it has not only excited quarrels, but
established common interests between nations. Special agreements
governing the suppression of piracy and the slave trade, navigation
regulations and the like, have long since brought nations together in
peace on a common ground. It has also gone far to create international
law for the problems of war. Rules governing blockade, contraband,
and neutral rights have been agreed upon long since. But, as every
war has proved, international law has needed a higher authority to
enforce its rules in the teeth of a powerful belligerent. To remedy
this defect is one of the purposes of a League of Nations.

Such has been the significance of the sea. The nations who have
used it have made history and have laid the rest of the world under
their dominion intellectually, commercially, and politically. Indeed,
the story of the sea is the history of civilization.

At the conclusion of this survey, it is appropriate to pause and
summarize what is meant by the term "sea power." It is a catch
phrase, made famous by Mahan and glibly used ever since. What does
sea power mean? What are its elements?

Obviously it means, in brief, a nation's ability to enforce its will
upon the sea. This means a navy superior to those of its enemies.
But it means also strategic bases equipped for supplying a fleet
for battle or offering refuge in defeat. To these bases there must
run lines of communication guarded from interruption by the enemy.
Imagine, for instance, the Suez or the Panama Canal held by a hostile
force, or a battlefleet cut off from its fuel supply of coal or

The relation of shipping to sea power is not what it was in earlier
days. Merchantmen are indeed still useful in war for transport
and auxiliary service, but it is no longer true that men in the
merchant service are trained for man-of-war service. The difference
between them has widened as the battleship of to-day differs from
a merchantman of to-day. Nor can a merchantship be transformed
into a cruiser, as in the American navy of a hundred years ago.
The place of shipping in sea power is therefore subsidiary. In
fact, unless a nation can control the sea, the amount of its wealth
dispersed in merchantmen is just so much loss in time of war.

The major element in sea power is the fleet, but possession of
the largest navy is no guarantee of victory or even of control
of the sea. Size is important, but it is an interesting fact that
most of the great victories in naval history have been won by a
smaller fleet over a larger. The effectiveness of a great navy
depends first on its quality, secondly, on how it is handled, and
thirdly, on its power of reaching the enemy's communications.

The quality of a navy is two-fold, material and personal. In material,
the great problem of modern days is to keep abreast of the time. The
danger to a navy lies in conservatism and bureaucratic control. There
is always the chance that a weaker power may defeat the stronger, not
by using the old weapons, but by devising some new weapon that will
render the old ones obsolete. The trouble with the professional man
in any walk of life has always been that he sticks to the traditional
ways. In consequence he lays himself open to the amateur, who,
caring nothing about tradition, beats him with something novel.
The inventions that have revolutionized naval warfare have come
from men outside the naval profession. Thus the Romans, unable to
match the Carthaginians in seamanship, made that seamanship of no
value by their invention of the corvus. Greek fire not only saved
the insignificant fleets of the Eastern Empire, but annihilated the
huge armadas of Saracen and Slav. If the South in our Civil War
had possessed the necessary resources, her ironclad rams would
have made an end of the Union navy and of the war. In our own time
the German submarine came within an ace of winning the war despite
all the Allied dreadnoughts, because its potentialities had not
been realized and no counter measures devised. A navy that drops
behind is lost.

The personal side is a matter of training and morale. The material
part is of no value unless it is operated by skill and by the will
to win. Slackness or inexperience or lack of heart in officers
or men--any of these may bring ruin. Napoleon once spoke of the
Russian army as brave, but as "an army without a soul." A navy
must have a soul. Unfortunately, the tendency in recent years has
been to emphasize the material and the mechanical at the expense of
the intellectual and spiritual. With all the enormous development
of the ships and weapons, it must be remembered that the man is,
and always will be, greater than the machine.

As to handling the navy, first of all the War Staff and the commander
in chief must solve the strategic problem correctly. The fate of
the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century and that of the Russian
navy at the beginning of the 20th are eloquent of the effect of
bad strategy on a powerful fleet. Secondly, the commander in chief
must be possessed of the right fighting doctrine--the spirit of the
offensive. In all ages the naval commander who sought to achieve
his purpose by avoiding battle went to disaster. The true objective
must be, now as always, _the destruction of the enemy's fleet_.

Such are the material and the spiritual essentials of sea power.
The phrase has become so popular that a superior fleet has been
widely accepted as a talisman in war. The idea is that a nation
with sea power must win. But with all the tremendous "influence of
sea power on history," the student must not be misled into thinking
that sea power is invincible. The Athenian navy went to ruin under
the catapults of Syracuse whose navy was insignificant. Carthage, the
sea power, succumbed to a land power, Rome. In modern times France,
with a navy second to England's, fell in ruin before Prussia, which
had practically no navy at all. And in the World War it required
the entry of a new ally, the United States, to save the Entente
from defeat at the hands of land power, despite an overwhelming
superiority on the sea.

The significance of sea power is _communications_. Just so far
as sea control affects lines of communications vital to either
belligerent, so far does it affect the war. To a sea empire like
the British, sea control is essential as a measure of defense.
If an enemy controls the sea the empire will fall apart like a
house of cards, and the British Isles will be speedily starved
into submission. It is another thing, however, to make the navy
a sword as well as a shield. Whenever the British navy could cut
the communications of the enemy, as in the case of the wars with
Spain and Holland, it was terribly effective. When it fought a
nation like Russia in the Crimean War, it hardly touched the sources
of Russian supplies, because these came by the interior land
communications. So also the French navy in 1870 could not touch
a single important line of German communications and its effect
therefore was negligible. If in 1914 Russia, for example, had been
neutral, no Allied naval superiority could have saved France from
destruction by the combined armies of Germany and Austria, just
as the Grand Fleet was powerless to check the conquest or deny
the possession of Belgium. It must be borne in mind that a land
power has the advantages of central position and interior lines, and
the interior lines of to-day are those of rail and motor transport,
offering facilities for a rapid concentration on any front.

Of course, modern life and modern warfare are so complex that few
nations are able to live and wage war entirely on their own resources;
important communications extend across the sea. In this respect
the United States is singularly fortunate. With the exception of
rubber, every essential is produced in our country, and the sea
power that would attempt to strangle the United States by a blockade
on two coasts would find it unprofitable even if it were practicable.
A hostile navy would have to land armies to strike directly at the
manufacturing cities near the seaboard in order to affect our
communications. In brief, sea power is decisive just so far as
it cuts the enemy's communications.

Finally in considering sea power we should note the importance
of coördinating naval policies with national. The character of a
navy and the size of a navy depend on what policy a nation expects
to stand for. It is the business of a navy to stand behind a nation's
will. For Great Britain, circumstances of position have long made
her policy consistent, without regard to change of party. She had
to dominate the sea to insure the safety of the empire. With the
United States, the situation has been different. The nation has
not been conscious of any foreign policy, with the single exception
of the Monroe Doctrine. And even this has changed in character
since it was first enunciated.

At the present day, for example, how far does the United States
purpose to go in the Monroe Doctrine? Shall we attempt to police
the smaller South and Central American nations? Shall we make the
Caribbean an area under our naval control? What is to be our policy
toward Mexico? How far are we willing to go to sustain the Open Door
policy in the Far East? Are we determined to resist the immigration
of Asiatics? Are we bound to hold against conquest our outlying
possessions,--the Philippines, Guam, Hawaiian Islands, and Alaska?
Shall we play a "lone hand" among nations, or join an international
league? Until there is some answer to these questions of foreign
policy, our naval program is based on nothing definite. In short,
the naval policy of a nation should spring from its national policy.

On that national policy must be based not only the types of ships
built and their numbers, but also the number and locale of the
naval bases and the entire strategic plan. In the past there has
been too little mutual understanding between the American navy and
the American people. The navy--the Service, as it is appropriately
called--is the trained servant of the republic. It is only fair to
ask that the republic make clear what it expects that servant to
do. But before a national policy is accepted, it must be thought
out to its logical conclusion by both the popular leaders and naval
advisers. As Mahan has said, "the naval officer must be a statesman
as well as a seaman." Is the policy accepted going to conflict
with that of another nation; if so, are we prepared to accept the

The recent history of Germany is a striking example of the effect
of a naval policy on international relations. The closing decade
of the 19th century found Great Britain still following the policy
of "splendid isolation," with France and Russia her traditional
enemies. Her relations with Germany were friendly, as they always
had been. At the close of the century, the Kaiser, inspired by
Mahan's "_Influence of Sea Power on History,_" launched the policy
of a big navy. First, he argued, German commerce was growing with
astonishing rapidity. It was necessary, according to Mahan, to have
a strong navy to protect a great carrying trade. This von Tirpitz[1]
emphasizes, though he never makes clear just what precise danger
threatened the German trading fleets, provided Germany maintained a
policy of friendly relations with England. Secondly, Germany found
herself with no outlet for expansion. The best colonial fields had
already been appropriated by other countries, chiefly England. To
back up German claims to new territory or trading concessions, it
was necessary to have a strong navy. All this was strictly by the
book, and it is characteristic of the German mind that it faithfully
followed the text. "_Unsere Zukunft_," cried the Kaiser, "_liegt
auf dem Wasser!_" But what was implied in this proposal? A great
navy increasing rapidly to the point of rivaling that of England
could be regarded by that country only as a pistol leveled at her
head. England would be at the mercy of any power that could defeat
her navy. And this policy coupled with the demand for "a place in
the sun," threatened the rich colonies that lay under the British
flag. It could not be taken otherwise.

[Footnote 1: MY MEMOIRS, Chap. xv and _passim._]

These implications began to bear fruit after their kind. In the
place of friendliness on the part of the English,--a friendliness
uninterrupted by war, and based on the blood of their royal family
and the comradeship in arms against France in the days of Louis
XIV, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon--there developed a growing
hostility. In vain missions were sent by the British Government
to promote a better understanding, for the Germans declined to
accept either a "naval holiday" or a position of perpetual naval
inferiority. In consequence, England abandoned her policy of isolation,
and came to an understanding with her ancient enemies, Russia and
France. Thus Germany arrayed against herself all the resources of
the British Empire and in this act signed her own death warrant.

A final word as to the future of sea power. The influence of modern
inventions is bound to affect the significance of the sea in the
future. Oceans have practically dwindled away as national barriers.
Wireless and the speed of the modern steamship have reduced the
oceans to ponds. "Splendid isolation" is now impossible. Modern
artillery placed at Calais, for instance, could shell London and
cover the transportation of troops in the teeth of a fleet. Aircraft
cross land and sea with equal ease. The submersible has come to
stay. Indeed, it looks as if the navy of the future will tend first
to the submersible types and later abandon the sea for the air,
and the "illimitable pathways of the sea" will yield to still more
illimitable pathways of the sky. The consequence is bound to be a
closer knitting of the peoples of the world through the conquering
of distance by time.

This bringing together breeds war quite as easily as peace, and
the progress of invention makes wars more frightful. The closely
knit economic structure of Europe did not prevent the greatest
war in history and there is little hope for the idea that wars
can never occur again. The older causes of war lay in pressure
of population, the temptation of better lands, racial hatreds or
ambitions, religious fanaticism, dynastic aims, and imperialism.
Some of these remain. The chief modern source of trouble is trade
rivalry, with which imperialism is closely interwoven and trade
rivalry makes enemies of old friends. There is, therefore, a place
for navies still.

At present there are two great naval powers, Great Britain and
the United States. A race in naval armaments between the two would
be criminal folly, and could lead to only one disastrous end. The
immediate way toward guaranteeing freedom of the seas is a closer
entente between the two English-speaking peoples, whose common
ground extends beyond their speech to institutions and ideals of
justice and liberty. The fine spirit of cöoperation produced by
the World War should be perpetuated in peace for the purpose of
maintaining peace. In his memoirs van Tirpitz mourns the fact that
now "Anglo-Saxondom" controls the world. There is small danger that
where public opinion rules, the two peoples will loot the world
to their own advantage. On the other hand, there is every prospect
that, for the immediate future, sea power in their hands can be made
the most potent influence toward peace, and the preservation of
that inheritance of civilization which has been slowly accumulated
and spread throughout the world by those peoples of every age who
have been the pathfinders on the seas.



Abercromby, British general
Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy, British cruisers, loss of
Aboukir Bay, battle of, _see_ Nile
Actium, campaign of; battle of
Ægospotami, battle of
Agrippa, Roman admiral
Aircraft, in World War
Albuquerque, Portuguese viceroy
Alfred, king of England
Algeciras Convention
Ali Pasha, Turkish admiral
Allemand, French admiral
Almeida, Portuguese leader
Amiens, treaty of
Anthony, Roman general, at Actium
Arabs, at war with Eastern Empire; as traders; ships of
Arbuthnot, British admiral
Ariabignes, Persian admiral
Armada, _see_ Spanish Armada
Armed Neutrality, league of
Armstrong, Sir William
Athens, _see_ Greece
_Audacious_, British ship
August 10, battle of
Austerlitz battle of
Austria, in Napoleonic Wars; at war with Italy; in Triple Alliance;
  in World War


Bacon, Roger
Bagdad Railway
Bantry Bay, action in; attempted landing in
Barbarigo, Venetian admiral
Barbarossa, Turkish admiral
Barham, First Lord of Admiralty
Bart, Jean, French naval leader
Battle cruiser, _see_ Ships of War
Beachy Head, battle of
Beatty, British admiral, at Heligoland Bight; at Dogger Bank; at Jutland
Berlin Decree
Blake, British admiral
Blockade, in American Civil War; in World War
Boisot, Dutch admiral
Bonaparte, _see_ Napoleon
Bossu, Spanish admiral
Boxer Rebellion
Boyne, battle of
Bragadino, Venetian general
Breda, peace of
Bridport, British admiral
Brill, capture of
Brueys, French admiral
Burney, British admiral
Bushnell, David


Cabot, John
Cadiz, founded; British expeditions to; blockaded by Blake; blockaded
  by Jervis; Allied fleet in
Calder, British admiral; in action with Villeneuve
Camara, Spanish admiral
Camperdown, battle of
Canidius, Roman general
Carden, British admiral
Carpenter, Alfred, British commander
Carthage, founded; at war with Greece; in Punic Wars
Cervera, Spanish admiral; in Santiago campaign
Champlain, battle of Lake
Charles II of England
Charles V of Spain
Charleston, attack on
Chatham, raided by Dutch
Chauncey, U. S. commodore
China, in ancient times; first ships to; at war with Japan; in disruption
Chios, battle of
Churchill, Winston
Cinque Ports
Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, in Actium campaign
Clerk, John
Collingwood, British admiral; at Trafalgar
Colonna, admiral of Papal States
Colport, British admiral
Columbus; voyages of
Commerce, of Phoenicians; under Roman Empire; with the East; in northern
  Europe; in modern times
Commerce Warfare, in Dutch War of Independence; in Napoleonic Wars;
  in War of 1812; in World War,
Communications, in warfare
Compass, introduction of
Condalmiero, Venetian admiral
Conflans, French admiral
Constantinople, founded; attacked by Arabs; attacked by Russians;
  sacked by Crusaders; captured by Turks; in World War
Continental System
Continuous Voyage, doctrine of
Convoy, System in World War
Cook, Captain James
Copenhagen, battle of
Corinthian Gulf, battle of
Cornwallis, British admiral
Coronel, battle of
Corunna, Armada sails from; attacked by Drake; Allied fleet in
Cradock, British admiral, at Coronel
Cromwell, Oliver
Custozza, battle of


Da Gama, Vasco
Dardanelles, German squadron enters; campaign of
Darius, king of Persia
De Grasse, French admiral, at Virginia Capes; at Saints' Passage
De Guichen, French admiral
Denmark, in Copenhagen campaign
De Ruyter, Dutch admiral
D'Estaing, French admiral
Destroyer, _see_ Ships of War
Dewa, Japanese admiral
Dewey, U. S. admiral, at Manila
De Witt, Dutch admiral
Diaz, Bartolomeo
Diedrichs, German admiral
Director fire
Dirkzoon, Dutch admiral
Diu, battle of
Dogger Bank, Russian fleet off; action off
Don Juan of Austria, at Lepanto
Doria, Andrea, Genoese admiral
Doria, Gian Andrea, Genoese admiral
Dragut, Turkish commander
Drake, Sir Francis, British admiral, voyages of; in Armada campaign;
  last years of
Dreadnought, _see_ Ships of War
Drepanum, battle of
Duguay-Trouin, French commander
Duilius, Roman consul
Dumanoir, French admiral
Duncan, British admiral, at Camperdown
Dungeness, battle of


East Indies Companies, British and Dutch
Ecnomus, battle of
Egypt, early ships of; Napoleon in
Elizabeth, queen of England
_Emden_, German cruiser; cruise of
England, early naval history of; at war with Spain; at war with
  Holland; at war with France; plans for invasion of.
  _See_ Great Britain
Entente of Great Britain, France, and Russia
Ericsson, John
Erie, battle of Lake
Eurybiades, Spartan commander
Evan-Thomas, British admiral
Evertsen, Dutch admiral


Falkland Islands, battle of
Farragut, U. S. admiral
Fighting Instructions, of British Navy
First of June, battle of
Fisher, British admiral
Fisher, Fort, capture of
Fleet in Being
Foch, French general
Foley, British captain
Four Days' Battle, in Dutch Wars
France, at war with England in 18th century; in Napoleonic Wars; in
  Far East; aids Russia; in World War
Francis I, of France
Frobisher, Martin
Fulton, Robert; his submarine


Gabbard, battle of
_Galleon of Venice_, Venetian ship
Galley, galleon, galleas, _see_ Ships of War
Gallipoli Peninsula, operations on; _see_ Dardanelles
Ganteaume, French admiral
Genoa; at war with Venice
Germany, early commerce under Hausa; unification of; in Far East;
  aids Russia; growth of; in World War.
Gibraltar, captured by British; blockaded
_Göben_, German battle cruiser, escape of
Goodenough, British naval officer, at Heligoland Bight; at Jutland
Grand Fleet, British; strength of; at Jutland
Graves, British admiral
Gravina, Spanish admiral
Great Britain, in Napoleonic Wars; in War of 1812; in World War.
  _See_ England.
Greece; at war with Persia; in Peloponnesian War
Greek fire
Grenville, Sir Richard
Guns, gunpowder, _see_ Ordnance
Gunfleet, battle of


Hampton Roads, battle of
Hanseatic League
Hase, German naval officer, quoted
Hawke, British admiral
Hawkins, John
Heath, British admiral
Heimskirck, Jacob van, Dutch seaman
Heligoland; battle of
Heligoland Bight, battle of
Henry, Prince, the Navigator
Henry VIII, of England
Herbert, Lord Torrington, British admiral
Hermæa, battle of
High Seas Fleet, of Germany; strength of; at Jutland; surrender of
Hindenberg, German general
Hipper, German admiral, at Dogger Bank; at Jutland
Hobson, U. S. naval officer
Hoche, French general
Holland, _see_ Netherlands
Holland, John P.
Hood, British admiral, at Virginia Capes; at Saints' Passage,
Hood, British rear-admiral, at Jutland
Horton, Max, British commander
Hotham, British admiral
Howard, Thomas, of Effingham
Howe, British admiral; at First of June
Hudson, Henry
Hughes, British admiral


Interior Lines, defined
Italy, at war with Austria; in World War
Ito, Japanese admiral, at the Yalu


Jamaica, captured by British
Japan, at war with China; at war with Russia
Jellicoe, British admiral; at Jutland
Jervis, Earl St. Vincent, British admiral; character of; at Cape
  St. Vincent
Jones, Paul, American naval officer
Juan, _see_ Don Juan
Jutland, battle of


Kamimura, Japanese admiral
_Karlsrühe_, German cruiser
Keith, British admiral
Kentish Knock, battle of
Keyes, British naval officer
Kiao-chau, seized by Germany
Kiel Canal
Kitchener, British general
_Königsberg_, German cruiser


Lake, Simon
La Hogue, battle of
La Touche Tréville, French admiral
Lepanto, campaign of; battle of
Lepidus, Roman general
Leyden, siege of
Lowestoft, battle of
London, Declaration of
Louis XIV of France
_Lusitania_, loss of


McGiffin, American naval officer, at the Yalu
Macdonough, U. S. commodore
Magellan, Portuguese navigator
Mahan, American naval officer, quoted; in Spanish-American War
_Maine_, U. S. battleship
Makaroff, Russian admiral
Malta; siege of
Manila, battle of
Marathon, battle of
Martel, Charles
Mary Queen of Scots
Matelieff, de Jonge, Dutch seaman
Medina Sidonia, Duke of
_Merrimac_, Confederate ram; in action with _Monitor_
Milne, British admiral
Mine barrage, in North Sea
Missiessy, French admiral
Mohammedans, _see_ Arabs
_Monitor_, U. S. ironclad-292
Monk, British admiral
Monroe Doctrine
Montojo, Spanish admiral
Moore, British admiral
Muaviah, Emir of Syria
Mukden, battle of
Müller, German naval officer
Muza, Mohammedan general
Mycale, battle of
Mylæ, battle of


Napoleon, quoted; in Italy; in Egypt; plans northern coalition;
  attempts invasion of England; instructs Villeneuve; adopts
  continental system
Naupaktis, battle of
Navarino, battle of
Navigation, progress in
Navigation Acts
Navy, British, administration of; under Commonwealth; training of
  officers for; at Restoration; in 18th century; in French
  Revolutionary Wars; mutiny in; in War of 1812; size of, in World
  War. _See_ England, Great
  French, in 18th century; in French Revolution. _See_ France.
  United States, in War of 1812; in Civil War; in World War.
  _See_ United States
Nebogatoff, Russian admiral
Nelson, Horatio, British admiral; in Mediterranean; at Cape St.
  Vincent; at the Nile; at Copenhagen; in the Channel; in Trafalgar
  campaign and battle
Netherlands, at war with Hansa; commerce of; at war with Spain; at
  war with England; in War of American Revolution; in Napoleonic Wars,
New York, taken by British; held by Howe
Nicosia, siege of
Nile, campaign of; battle of
Nore, mutiny at
North Sea Mine Barrage, _see_ Mine Barrage


Octavius, Roman emperor, at Actium
Ontario, campaign on Lake
Open Door Policy
Oquendo, Spanish naval officer
Ordnance, early types of; introduced on ships; at Armada;
  breech-loading; rifled; long range
_Oregon_, U. S. battleship, cruise of; at Santiago


Panama Canal
Parker, British Admiral, at Copenhagen-258
Parma, Duke of
Peloponnesian War
Penn, British admiral
Perry, U. S. Commodore
Persano, Italian admiral, at Lissa
Persia, conquers Phœnicia; at war with Greece
Pharselis, battle of
Philip II, of Spain
Phœnicia, commerce and colonies of; at Salamis
Phormio, Greek admiral
Platea, battle of
Port Arthur; given to Japan; seized by Russia; operations around; fall of
Portland, battle of
Portsmouth, Treaty of
Portugal, commerce and colonies of; decline of
Prevesa, battle of
Prussia, in Northern Coalition; at war with Austria


Quiberon Bay, battle of


Raleigh, Sir Walter
Recalde, Spanish naval officer
_Revenge_, Drake's flagship; last fight of
Robeck, British admiral, at Dardanelles
Rodman, U. S. admiral
Rodney, British admiral; at Saints' Passage
Rojdestvensky, Russian admiral, cruise of; at Tsushima
Rome, in Punic Wars; in Actium campaign; wars of Eastern Empire
Rooke, British admiral
Roosevelt, Theodore
Rosyth, British base
Rupert, Prince
Russia, in Napoleonic Wars; in Far East;
  at war with Japan, in World War
Ruyter. _See_ De Ruyter


Saint Andrée, Jean Bon
St. Vincent, battle of Cape
St. Vincent, Earl of. _See_ Jervis
Saints' Passage, battle of
Salamis, battle of; campaign of
Sampson, U. S. admiral, in Santiago campaign
San Juan de Ulna, fight at
Santa Cruz, Spanish admiral
Santiago, battle of
Saracens. _See_ Arabs
Scapa Flow, British base
Scheer, German admiral, at Jutland
Scheldt River; battle in; blockaded by Dutch
Scheveningen, battle of
Schley, U. S. naval officer, in Santiago campaign
Schoonevelt, battle of
Scott, Sir Percy, British admiral
Sea Beggars
Sea Power, preserves Greece; England's gains by; in Napoleonic Wars;
  in World War; influence of; elements of
Selim the Drunkard, Sultan of Turkey
Semenoff, Russian naval officer
Seymour, British admiral, at Armada
Shafter, U. S. general
Shimonoseki, Treaty of
Ships of War, "round" and "long"; trireme; penteconter; liburna;
  galley; dromon; galleas; junk; Viking craft; galleon; two and
  three-deckers; steam; submarine; destroyer; battle cruiser;
Sicily; in Punic Wars
Sims, U. S. admiral
Sinope, bombardment of
Sirocco. Turkish admiral
Sluis, battle of
Solebay, battle of
Soliman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey
Souchon, German admiral
Spain, at war with Turks; discoveries of; at war with Dutch; at war
  with England; in Napoleonic Wars; at war with United States
Spanish Armada
Sparta. _See_ Greece.
Spee, German admiral
Steam navigation, beginnings of
Sturdee, British admiral
Submarine, early types of; in World War
Suez Canal
Suffren, French admiral
Syracuse, at war with Athens


Tactics, of galleys; after use of sails and guns; in Dutch wars; in
  18th century; after use of armor; influenced by Lissa; at Jutland;
  in submarine warfare
Takeomi, Japanese naval officer
Tegetthoff, Austrian admiral, at Lissa
Teneriffe, attacked by Blake
Terschelling, raided by English
Texel, battle of
Thermopylæ, battle of
Ting, Chinese admiral, at the Yalu
Tirpitz, German admiral
Togo, Japanese admiral; at battle of 10th of August; at Tsushima
Togo, Japanese squadron commander
Tordesillas, Treaty of
Torpedoes, origin of name; Whitehead; in Russo-Japanese war,
Torrington, Earl of. _See_ Herbert
Toscanelli, Paul
Toulon, French base
Tourville, French admiral
Trafalgar, battle of
Transport service, in World War
Triple Alliance
Tromp, Cornelius, Dutch admiral
Tromp, Martin, Dutch admiral
Troubridge, British naval officer
Tsuboi, Japanese admiral, at the Yalu
Tsushima, battle of
Tunis; captured by Spanish; attacked by Blake
Turkey, rise of; at war with Venice and Spain; in World War
Tyrwhitt, British naval officer


Ulm, battle of
Uluch Ali, Turkish leader; in Lepanto campaign
United States, in American Revolution; in War of 1812; in Civil War;
  in Spanish-American War; in World War; naval problems of. _See_ Navy


Valdes, Pedro de, Spanish naval officer
Valdes, Pedrode, Spanish naval officer
Veniero, Venetian admiral
_Vengeur du Peuple_, French ship
Venice, early history of; commerce of; at war with Turks; ships of
Villaret de Joyeuse, French admiral, at First of June
Villeneuve, French admiral; at the Nile; in Trafalgar campaign and battle
Virginia Capes, battle of


Wangenheim, Baron von
William II, German emperor
William III of England
William, Prince of Orange
Wilson, Woodrow, President of United States
Winter, Dutch admiral
Witjeft, Russian admiral


Yalu, battle of
York, Duke of, afterward James II of England
Zama, battle of
Zeebrugge, attack on

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