News:
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.  (Read 29486 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline david

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 181
  • Appreciation 13
    • Victorian Forts and Artillery
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2012, 16:13:03 »
Siege operations 1867

Siege operations 1868
We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is com

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2009, 12:09:31 »
22 August 1856

A board of Engineer officers concluded an inquiry yesterday afternoon at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, into the circumstances connected with the accident which took place on Chatham Lines on Tuesday during the siege operations.  The accident is now understood to have arisen in consequence of the wires of the voltaic battery, used in firing the gunpowder, having accidently come in contact before the men had left the lodgement.  The proceedings of the board will be forwarded to the Duke of Cambridge.

02 September 1856

Yesterday morning the court of inquiry, composed of officers of the Royal Engineers, re-assembled at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, under the presidency of Major C. D. Robertson, R. E. , for the purpose of instituting some further inquiries into the circumstances connected with the premature explosion of the mine, which occurred during the late siege operations on Chatham Lines, before his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge.  The court sat a considerable time, but the nature of the proceedings have not transpired.

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2009, 19:44:32 »
From an Australian Newspaper
27th February 1875

New Army Signal Code-Experiments were made recently at Chatham Garrison with a new army signal code, the invention of Major Younge, R.A.  The experiments were made under the direction of the Royal Engineer Committee.  The system is said to be more simple to learn than that now in use, and that there is less manual labour attached to it, as instead of the signals being made by the waving of flags, they are made by the working of a vane upon a plate having the appearance of a clock face.  On this occasion signalling parties were stationed at Fort Amherst,
 Chatham and on the Rainham Road, but the atmosphere was too heavy to allow of the party in Chatham Hill to be seen.  The results, so far as they went, were considered very satisfactory, and further experiments will be made.

merc

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2009, 23:56:10 »
It must have been amazing to watch this...and the noise!!!!

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2009, 20:37:04 »
8th November 1844

Siege Operations at Chatham - Yesterday terminated the siege operations carried on for the last fortnight on the field-works practice ground, on the left of Chatham Lines.  The day being tolerably fine, drew together a vast number of respectable persons. Captain Whitmore, Royal Engineers, directed the defensive, and Captain Wynne the offensive operations.  A detachment o the 11th, consisting of the Grenadier Company, under the command of Captain Jenner, took up their position on the left face of the ravelin, and being the defenders of the fortress, were protected by a high bank; the other portion of the regiment, consisting of Nos 1, 2 and 3, and the Light Company, being the attackers, occupied the first parallel, and on the sound of the bugle being given to them for advance, the troops marched off, leaving the No. 1 Company as a reserve.  The 2d and 3d Company took their positions in the second and third parallel.  The Light Company, under Captain Moore, advancing, manned the lodgement and the right side of the double sap.  The troops on the both sides opened a sharp and well-regulated musketry file firing, lasting several minutes.  The bugle to cease firing having sounded, the attacking troops retreated to the first parallel, when Lieutenant Stokes, with Corporal Baker, Royal Engineers, of the besieged party, instantly fired a mine of 130lb of gunpowder, making a crater of 20 feet by 18feet in circumference, and about 2feet 6 inches in depth.  The troops at the sound of the bugle made a rapid advance up the intrenched lines, and on arriving at the spot where the miners were busily crowning the entonnoir with gabions, opened a brisk fore on their opponents.  The attacking miners at the same time were getting ready with all possible speed to spring three mines, for the purpose of destroying the countermines of the enemy.  The loading and tamping having been announced ready, the signal was again given for the troops to retire to their old position, to avoid danger.  Captain Wynne, on the word fire being given, sprang his mines, the explosions following one another, and as the charges were not more than from 9 to 10 feet from the surface of the earth, the explosions were most magnificent, forcing the earth and fragments of timber to the height of between 40 and 50 feet.  The quantity of powder used in these mines was 500lb, and each explosion formed a crater averaging in circumference 23ft by 25ft, and a depth of about 6ft.  The moment after these explosions the troops were again brought up, who protected the miners crowning their entonnoirs by opening a well continued fire on the enemy's lodgements, where were occupied by the infantry, who kept firing as they advanced.  The defenders of the fortress fired a countermine by the voltaic battery, of a charge of 100lb of powder, producing an entonnoir of 15ft by 16ft, which was very soon crowned by the advance of the miners, who were protected by the infantry's fire from the intrenched lines.  The retreat was again sounded, and the soldiers retired, and Lieutenant Carr fired a charge of 150lb, causing considerable shock to the bystanders by the explosion.  Very soon afterwards Lieutenant Clarke fired a charge of 73lb.  The defensive force then opened a sharp fore on the besiegers, who returned it gallantly, when the operation finally closed (at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, having gone off to the entire satisfaction of every officer who had been engaged, particularly to the director, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Frederick Smith, K. H.

merc

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2009, 16:58:31 »

Unsuccessful attempt to escalade the right of Chatham Lines - July 23,1849

The elite of the company present was accomodated with cards of admission to the Belvedere Battery at Fort Amherst,and the Casemate No.1,where the best view could be obtained of the operations. Amongst them were Prince George of Cambridge,Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar,the Duke of Leeds,the Earl of Cardigan,The Earl of Darnley and other important dignitaries.

The first part of the military operations consisted of an unsuccesful attempt to carry the right of the Chatham Lines by escalade.
The Lines at this end were defended by a company of the Royal Artillary on the extreme right. The Provisional Battalion and Enrolled Pensioners in the centre,and a company of the Royal Sappers and Miners on the left. The whole lining the parapets from the Gun Wharf to the spur Battery.
The Flanks and Salients were armed with ordnance and manned by two companies of the Royal Artillary.
The Assaulting troops,on the other hand,consisted of the 17th Regiment on the left,the Royal Marine Artillary and Royal Marines in the centre,and te Royal Sappers and Miners on the right.

On the signal being given the three columns rushed forward simultaneously and with admirable precision. Skirmishers were thrown out,and the cover which the ground afforded used as much as possible.
The defending troops sheltered their bodies within the ramparts then briefly showed themselves above the parapet and fired blank cartridges at the attacking force,then withdrew out of sight to re-arm.
The Sappers advanced along the side of the hill and sheltered themselves from the fire of the fort,descended into the ditch,but were pulled up by a hedge which they were unable to get through,so had to change direction.
The Marines were equally unfortunate,the left wing being beaten by a high wall,and the right,after descending into the ditch and scaling the opposite wall,being obliged by the vigorous resistance  of the besieged to retire.
The 17th Regiment also descended into the ditch but their scaling ladders were too short,and the opposition too strong for any chance of success and so they withdrew also.

The details of the operation were in all respects admirably performed,and excited general approbation. The scenic effect of it all was beautiful and the height of that part of the Lines added to it's dramatic appearance. It was said the attacking columns exhibited the utmost daring,and it remains a question between the divisions which distinguished themselves most on the occasion. An impervious hedge,a high wall,and short scaling ladders were the real causes of the retreat,and not the slightest taint rests upon the honour of the Corps engaged.



merc

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2009, 21:00:10 »
Does anyone know where there is a bust of Charles Dickens above a door in Gillingham near the Lines ? ;)
(at least i think it's Charles Dickens)
a pub ???  i couldnt be more specific tho?
Nope.
It's above a door on a house at the end of College Avenue near Stafford Street.
Why it's there i'm not too sure...maybe Charles Dickens visited the house :-\

I know the houses in Marlborough Road,particularly the one's with the balconys were used to watch the Siege operations from.

(Sorry for the late reply Chatham Girl)

merc

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2009, 12:10:06 »
Charles Dickens was familiar with the Lines and Siege Operations,he even wrote a Chapter mentioning them in the Pickwick Papers.

"The whole population of Rochester and the adjoining towns rose from their beds at an early hour of the following morning, in a state of the utmost bustle and excitement. A grand review was to take place upon the lines. The manoeuvres of half a dozen regiments were to be inspected by the eagle eye of the commander-in-chief; temporary fortifications had been erected, the citadel was to be attacked and taken, and a mine was to be sprung.

Mr. Pickwick was, as our readers may have gathered from the slight extract we gave from his description of Chatham, an enthusiastic admirer of the army. Nothing could have been more delightful to him-nothing could have harmonised so well with the peculiar feeling of each of his companions'as this sight. Accordingly they were soon afoot, and walking in the direction of the scene of action, towards which crowds of people were already pouring from a variety of quarters.

The appearance of everything on the lines denoted that the approaching ceremony was one of the utmost grandeur and importance. There were sentries posted to keep the ground for the troops, and servants on the batteries keeping places for the ladies, and sergeants running to and fro, with vellum?covered books under their arms, and Colonel Bulder, in full military uniform, on horseback, galloping first to one place and then to another, and backing his horse among the people, and prancing, and curvetting, and shouting in a most alarming manner, and making himself very hoarse in the voice, and very red in the face, without any assignable cause or reason whatever. Officers were running backwards and forwards, first communicating with Colonel Bulder, and then ordering the sergeants, and then running away altogether; and even the very privates themselves looked from behind their glazed stocks with an air of mysterious solemnity, which sufficiently bespoke the special nature of the occasion.

Mr. Pickwick and his three companions stationed themselves in the front of the crowd, and patiently awaited the commencement of the proceedings. The throng was increasing every moment; and the efforts they were compelled to make, to retain the position they had gained, sufficiently occupied their attention during the two hours that ensued. At one time there was a sudden pressure from behind, and then Mr. Pickwick was jerked forward for several yards, with a degree of speed and elasticity highly inconsistent with the general gravity of his demeanour; at another moment there was a request to 'keep back' from the front, and then the butt-end of a musket was either dropped upon Mr. Pickwick's toe, to remind him of the demand, or thrust into his chest, to insure its being complied with. Then some facetious gentlemen on the left, after pressing sideways in a body, and squeezing Mr. Snodgrass into the very last extreme of human torture, would request to know "vere he vos a shovin' to"; and when Mr. Winkle had done expressing his excessive indignation at witnessing this unprovoked assault, some person behind would knock his hat over his eyes, and beg the favour of his putting his head in his pocket. These, and other practical witticisms, coupled with the unaccountable absence of Mr. Tupman (who had suddenly disappeared, and was nowhere to be found), rendered their situation upon the whole rather more uncomfortable than pleasing or desirable.

At length that low roar of many voices ran through the crowd which usually announces the arrival of whatever they have been waiting for. All eyes were turned in the direction of the sally-port. A few moments of eager expectation, and colours were seen fluttering gaily in the air, arms glistened brightly in the sun, column after column poured on to the plain. The troops halted and formed; the word of command rang through the line; there was a general clash of muskets as arms were presented; and the commander-in-chief, attended by Colonel Bulder and numerous officers, cantered to the front. The military bands struck up altogether; the horses stood upon two legs each, cantered backwards, and whisked their tails about in all directions; the dogs barked, the mob screamed, the troops recovered, and nothing was to be seen on either side, as far as the eye could reach, but a long perspective of red coats and white trousers, fixed and motionless.

Mr. Pickwick had been so fully occupied in falling about, and disentangling himself, miraculously, from between the legs of horses, that he had not enjoyed sufficient leisure to observe the scene before him, until it assumed the appearance we have just described. When he was at last enabled to stand firmly on his legs, his gratification and delight were unbounded.

"Can anything be finer or more delightful?" he inquired of Mr. Winkle.

"Nothing," replied that gentleman, who had had a short man standing on each of his feet for the quarter of an hour immediately preceding.

"It is indeed a noble and a brilliant sight," said Mr. Snodgrass, in whose bosom a blaze of poetry was rapidly bursting forth, "to see the gallant defenders of their country drawn up in brilliant array before its peaceful citizens; their faces beaming-not with warlike ferocity, but with civilised gentleness; their eyes flashing-not with the rude fire of rapine or revenge, but with the soft light of humanity and intelligence."

Mr. Pickwick fully entered into the spirit of this eulogium, but he could not exactly re-echo its terms; for the soft light of intelligence burned rather feebly in the eyes of the warriors, inasmuch as the command "eyes front" had been given, and all the spectator saw before him was several thousand pair of optics, staring straight forward, wholly divested of any expression whatever.

"We are in a capital situation now," said Mr. Pickwick, looking round him. The crowd had gradually dispersed in their immediate vicinity, and they were nearly alone.

"Capital!" echoed both Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle.

"What are they doing now?" inquired Mr. Pickwick, adjusting his spectacles.

"I...I rather think," said Mr. Winkle, changing colour "I rather think they're going to fire."

"Nonsense," said Mr. Pickwick hastily.

"I...I...really think they are," urged Mr. Snodgrass, somewhat alarmed."

More: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Pickwick_Papers/Chapter_4


Does anyone know where there is a bust of Charles Dickens above a door in Gillingham near the Lines ? ;)
(at least i think it's Charles Dickens)

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2009, 09:24:41 »
Still can't find any reference to the name change and reasons behind it  :(

22nd October 1844

Grand Explosion of Mines at Chatham, Oct. 21 - For the last two months the Royal Engineer establishment, under the entire direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Frederick Smith, K.H., have been engaged in preparing a system of counter-mines in front of the ravelin on the left of Chatham Lines, not only with the view to practise in mining, but also with the object of carrying on the course of drill in subterranean warfare.  The corps of the Royal Engineers will be divided off for this occasion into distinct parties, one representing the besiegers, and the other the defenders of the fortress, the operations to consist chiefly in mining against each other, on which occasion considerable charges of gunpowder will be exploded.  They will be highly interesting to the scientific military officer, as there is no instance of a similar course having been at any time carried on this country on in the same enlarged scale.  It is understood that the attacking party will, in proportion as they may be enabled to advance subterraneously, carry on the upper ground in the ordinary work of a siege.  The operations, it is stated, will probably extend over a period of eight or ten days.  Lieutenant Penrice, of the Royal Engineers, will take the command of the defence; and Captain Wynn commands the attacking party.  Neither of the two officers know anything of each other's plans, the attack and defence being entirely distinct in their respective duties, and the parties of sappers and Miners are positively forbidden to hold any communication whatever with each other; all that be ascertained is, that each party can hear each other at work with their picks and shovels.  The whole of the operations will have the same importance as if done in actual service.  The extent of the ground occupied by the troops form an extent of about ten acres.  Captain Wynn, from the third parallel, is pushing forward several galleries in the expectation that out of some of these points of attack he will succeed.  Lieutenant Penrice's is a system of counter-mines founded on a new plan for defending the glacis of a fortress.  At present it would be unfair to give any details account of the two operations, as each officer enters the contest with no more knowledge of each other's operations that if they were in an actual siege with an enemy.  The subterraneous warfare commences on Tuesday, the 22d inst., at 11 o'clock in the forenoon.  It is expected that several distinguished officers from London will be present.

merc

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2009, 22:16:22 »
There is a place in Scotland called Aboyne and it has a castle which is the seat of the Gordon (Clan) chiefs,
which General Charles Gordon was descended from.

so maybe it was named by,or has something to do with General Gordon...

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2009, 21:02:07 »
Another interesting addition.  So why Fort Aboyne?  I have done a brief google but nothing has come up!  Will have a better look for info tomorrow!

Amherst Chappie

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2009, 20:09:53 »
Here's one to get the brain thinking a bit and some research hunting.

3rd August 1868

The operation involved the staging of an assault on Chatham, culminating in the storming of the fort above St. Mary's Church now known as FORT ABOYNE.  Soboth attackers and defenders and the field day was broken up into stages in order to enable the troops to be moved around to fulfill their different roles.

The final stages of the event had prestigious observers in the form of :

Field Marshall Sir John Burgoyne and Lt. General Lord Napier of Magdala both with with their entourages and all superbly mounted on chargers.

The 5th August opened with a superb riverbourne flank attack by a steam launch and a number of Royal Engineer rowing boats.  The attack was considered to have been frustrated when the defenders exploded a series of torpedoes, operated by electric charge from the battlements by RE submarine miners.  The main attack was in 4 columns and was to achieve it's objectives with the aid of flying bridges built by the engineers and designed to be pushed forward and and lowered accross the ditch to reach the battlements.  The whole thing was voted a huge success.

on the 3rd August during rehersals however; the bridge had been brought forward and launched.  Three companies of Royal Marines Light Infantry had crossed with bayonets fixed but the exit became blocked with men.  troops continued to crowd on the bridge and one of the ropes snapped causing the bridge to give way.  sending a number of marines plummeting 17 feet into the ditch with bayonets still fixed.  These obviously were the main cause of injury with 12 casualties and a greater number of seriously wounded.

Private william Marchent was the only fatality and was killed by a bayonet wound to the chest.

Chris  :)

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2009, 11:20:43 »
28th August 1843

Siege Operations at Chatham.

Chatham, august 26 - A grand field-day of the troops of this garrison took place this day on the left of Chatham Lines, in the presence of Colonel Sir Thomas Wiltshire, K. C. B., and a numerous attendance of gentry and inhabitants of the town.  The troops consisted of the 58th Regiment, the 77th, and the Provisional Battalion, with the Royal Sappers and Miners.  Nearly 2,000 men were in the field.  The military operations were of the most interesting character.  The troops went through the whole of the siege operations which are to be performed on the 29th inst. By the Royal engineer establishment, pursuant to the orders of colonel Sit Thomas Wiltshire, commandant of this garrison.  Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, of the 58th, commanded the storming party, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, of the Provisional Battalion, that of defence.  One portion of the troops acted as the defenders, and the other the besiegers, and the operations of both parties were conducted by officers of the royal Engineers, under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Frederick smith, R. E.  It was assumed that the exterior line on the left of the position covering Chatham Dockyard had been in the possession of the besiegers, and that their trenches had reached the glacis of the interior line, when the siege was suddenly raised by the advance of a relieving army, but that by the unexpected retreat of that army the besiegers were enabled to renew the attack.  The operations of the troops therefore commenced with the storming of the outer line, which was done by the 58th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard.  Three columns were employed in the assault, which were directed on the following points:  The first column was turned upon the left of the position at St Mary's Creek, headed by a party of Royal Sappers and Miners, under Lieutenant King, R.E., who, by bags of gunpowder, breached the stockade, thereby closing the passage between the lines and the morass.  The Creek, it being nearly high water, was crossed by a bridge of Infantry Pontoons, carried by a party of the Provisional Battalion.  The flank of the 2d column was headed by a party of East India Company's Sappers and Miners, under Ensign Anderson, E.I.C.E, and the third column escaladed the face A B and flank B C of the lines, headed by a party of Royal Sappers and Miners under the command of Lieutenant Fowke, R.E.  The ladders for these assaults were carried by parties of the Provisional Battalion.  The advance of these several parties was covered by the Light Company of the 58th Regiment.  The ramparts of the place were lined by troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly of the Provisional Battalion and Major Robinson of the 2d Queen's, who fired on the assailants from the outer line, and as soon as the skirmishers of the 58th reached the post and rail fence at the fort of the glacis the firing was returned by the skirmishers.  The last volley of the defenders of the outer line was fired just before the ladders were lowered into the ditch.  A battery of artillery, which had been employed against the assailants, upon the sound of the bugle, ceased firing and retired to the inner line, and the defenders then also retreated, covered by their skirmishers.  The escalades having cleared the parapet, they formed, and after firing on the retreating columns proceeded to occupy the trenches of the former attack, being led on by Lieutenant Chesney, R.E., and the officers and Royal Sappers and Miners of the 6th Brigade, whilst the Light Company of the 58th Regiment pressed upon the garrison.  The batteries of the attack were then opened under the direction of Captain Brown, of the Royal Marines, and the Royal Sappers and Miners being under cover of that fire, and of a fire of musketry from the advanced trenches, completed the approaches by flying sap, the workmen being directed by Lieutenant Chesney, RN., and the officers of the 6th Brigade.  Two simultaneous sorties directed by captain Whitmore, R.N., and headed by the officers of the Royal Engineers and the Royal Sappers and Miners of the 2d Brigade, when then made on the flanks of the left attack.  The guards of the trenches gave way, and the workmen overturned a few gabions.  The sortie then retired, and the arch of bridge of communication was then supposed to have been blown up by the 1st Brigade, under Lieutenant Rich, R.E.  The guards of the trenches then re-occupied the 3d parallel, and kept up a smart fire from the advanced parallels and lodgements.  A storming party then took post under cover of adjoining buildings, whilst the practice of firing the mines, to breach the counterscarp and escarp of the ravelin, was performed under the direction of Lieutenant Murray, R.E., and the 15th Brigade.  Lieutenant Penrice, R.E., and the 7th Brigade, then headed the assault upon the ravelin, and the sappers crowned the crater by effecting a lodgement.  A flying sap was then formed by the 6th Brigade under Lieutenant Chesney, R.E., from the advanced work to the crater of the counterscarp, where they made a communication across the ditch safe from the fire of the enemy by carrying a falg of truce from the garrison, which put an end to the firing.  The batteries of defence were afterwards manned by a detachment of Royal Artillery and of Invalid Gunners, assisted by the Provisional Battalion, during which time the guards of the trenches of the advanced parallel and of the lodgement in the ravelin maintained their ground, and a reserve of the 2d parallel and the remainder of the besieging force was gradually drawn off to the right attack.  The trenches against the north-west front became manned, and fire of artillery opened on the escarp from the trenches and counter-batteries, and of musketry from the parallels.  A fire of artillery and musketry was also kept up by the garrison.  During the firing preparations were made for a general assault.  Upon the bugle sounding thrice the barrier-gate was blown in by the 4th Brigade of Royal Engineers; the left wing of the storming party, which was the 58th, with ladders, headed by the 3d Brigade of royal Engineers, advanced to escalade the Duke of Cumberland?s Bastion, when at the same moment a mine by the voltaic battery was fired under the collateral bastion by Ensigns Walker and Hemery, E.I.C.E., and the right column of assault f the 58th Regiment was headed by Lieutenant Cooke, R.E., and the 9th Brigade stormed the breach while the centre column passed the barrier, and the firing then ceased.  The siege operation being closed, the officers of the Royal Engineers, and the Royal Sappers and Miners, were formed into fresh brigades, and constructed a pontoon-bridge at saint Mary?s Creek, over which the whole of the troops marched.  The military operations were closed by blasting some experimental walls.  The whole of the above, with several additions in siege operations, and the destruction by mine of a brick-built bridge of considerable extent, will be repeated on Tuesday next the 29th inst., when it is expected that several military officers of distinction will be present to witness this highly interesting evolution.  Lord Bloomfield, and the Master General of the Ordnance the Right Hon. Sir G. Murray, have written to say they will be present, and the principal officers from Woolwich will also attend.  It is ordered that the review of the siege operations on the 29th inst, will commence precisely at 1 o'clock.

merc

  • Guest
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 20:12:20 »
Sometimes enthusiasm overstepped the boundaries of safety,as when in 1860 a party of Infantrymen with supposedly blank cartridges approached within 12 yards of Park Road. (now Marlborough road)
They charged into three of the houses,wounding one woman near her eye,and setting fire to her curtains o:)

Offline kyn

  • Administrator
  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7405
  • Appreciation 419
    • Sheppey History
Re: Chatham Lines - Siege Operations, Reviews, Trials etc.
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 14:15:58 »
30 August 1843

Grand Review of Siege Operations at Chatham.

Yesterday afternoon one of the finest military displays that have ever been witnessed in this country took place at the Lines of Chatham.  The day was particularly fine for a spectacle of this nature, being cool and dry, and the concourse of spectators was exceedingly numerous.  The nature of the ground presented every facility for obtaining an excellent view of the whole proceedings, but we were indebted to the kindness of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir F. Smith, Commander of the Engineer Department, for the privilege of a closer inspection of the works.  As the siege operations on this occasion were precisely the same as those which were performed on Saturday last, and of which a detailed account was given in The Times of Monday, we shall do no more than briefly recapitulate them.  The appearance of the ground, which was interested with trenches, was explained by assuming that the outer works on the left of the position covering Chatham Dockyard had been in the possession of the besiegers, and that their trenches had reached the glacis of the interior line, when the siege was suddenly raised by the advance of a relieving army; but that by the unexpected retreat of that army the besiegers were enabled to renew the attack.  This being the assumed position of the two parties, the troops begum to occupy their respective stations about 1 o'clock, and at 2 the operations commenced by the advance of the storming party from a village half a mile distant, in three divisions.  The first column turned the left of position at St Mary's Creek, headed by a party of Royal Sappers and Miners, under Lieutenant King, R. E., who, by bags of gunpowder, breached the stockade which divided the lines from the morass.  The effect of this operation was extremely fine.  The stockade, which was constructed of strong planks, was shivered to atoms by the explosion, and the fragments scattered to a considerable distance.  The storming party immediately crossed the creek by a pontoon-bridge, and entered the works.  In the mean time the two other divisions attacked the face and flank of the outer lines, under a tremendous fire of musketry and artillery, which was briskly returned.  The flank bastion was quickly escaladed, and the besiegers were now in possession of the outer defences.  The defenders then retired to the inner line, and the besiegers proceeded to occupy their former position in the trenches.  The batteries of the attack were then opened under the direction of captain Brown, of the Royal Marines, and the Royal Sappers and Miners being under cover of that fire, and of a fire of musketry from the advanced trenches, completed the approaches by flying sap, the workmen being directed by Lieutenant Chesney, R. N., and the officers of the 6th Brigade.  Two simultaneous sorties, directed by Captain Whitmore, R.N., and headed by the officers of the Royal Engineers and the Royal sappers and Miners of the 2d Brigade, were then made on the flanks of the left attack.  The guards of the trenches gave way, and the workmen overturned a few gabions.  The sortie then retired, and the arch of bridge of communication was then blown up by the 1st Brigade, under Lieutenant Rich, R.E.  This explosion produced a magnificent effect, and may certainly be considered as the crowning piece of the day's proceedings. The bridge was no make belief pasteboard affair, and its sudden annihilation was as complete a specimen of the triumph of gunpowder as we have witnessed.  The guards of the trenches then re-occupied the third parallel, and kept up a smart fire from the advanced parallels and lodgements.  A storming party then took post under cover of adjoining buildings, whilst the counterscarp and escarp of the ravelin were breached by the firing of mines under the direction of Lieutenant Murray, Royal Engineers, and the 7th Brigade, then headed the assault upon the ravelin, and the sappers crowned the crater by effecting lodgement.  A flying sap was then formed by the 6th Brigade under Lieutenant Chesney, Royal Engineers, from the advanced work to the crater of the counterscarp, where they made a communication across the ditch safe from the fire of the enemy by carrying a flag of truce from the garrison, which put an end to the firing.  The batteries of defence were afterwards manned by a detachment of Royal artillery and of invalid gunners, assisted by the provisional battalion, during which time the guards of the trenches of the advanced parallel and of the lodgement In the ravelin maintained their ground, and a reserve of the 2d parallel and the remainder of the besieging force was gradually drawn off to the right attack.  The trenches against the north-west front became manned, and a fire of artillery opened on the escarp from the trenches and counter-batteries, and musketry was also kept up by the garrison.  During the firing, preparations were made for a general assault.  Upon the bugle sounding thrice, the barrier-gate was blown in by the 4th Brigade of Royal Engineers; the left wing of the storming-party, which was the 58th, with ladders headed by the 3d Brigade of Royal Engineers, advanced to escalade the Duke of Cumberland?s Bastion, when at the same moment a mine by the voltaic battery was fired under the collateral bastion by Ensigns Walker and Hemery, East India Company?s Engineers, and the right column of assault of the 58th Regiment was headed by Lieutenant Cooke, Royal Engineers, and the 9th Brigade stormed the breach while the centre column passed the barrier and the firing then ceased.  The last attack was by far the most brilliant of the whole operations.  Nothing, indeed, but the pen of Colonel Napier could do justice to it.  The rapidity and accuracy with which the escalading party performed their duty attracted great admiration, while the broken surface of the ground, and the steep escarpments of the works, gave an extremely picturesque effect to the groups of soldiers who lined them.  The siege operations being concluded, a party of the Royal Engineers, assisted by the Sappers and Miners, proceeded to St Mary?s Creek, where a pontoon bridge had already been partly constructed, and was waiting to be completed.  Unfortunately an accident prevented the accomplishment of this interesting operation.  The party of Sappers and Miners had scarcely begun to lay the pontoons, when the part of the bridge already completed, which extended nearly half way across the creek from the side of the marshes, was encountered by a mass of barges, which came into collision with it, and compelled the party who manned it to loosen the moorings, and let it swing round with the stream.  After many fruitless attempts, it was found impossible to replace it in its former position, and the work was therefore given up.  The proceedings of the day closed with an attempt to blow up a rock at the bottom of the river, which impeded the navigation of that part of the Medway.


 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines