By Dean King
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Additional resources for A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
Stumbling out of their hammocks, the members of the watch quickly dressed and came on deck for muster before going to their assigned stations. They relieved the wheel and the lookouts, hove the log to determine speed, and recorded all the information on the log-board. , the Carpenter and Boatswain came on deck to begin their repair work, while the Cook lit fires in the galley and began the preparations for breakfast, often the oatmeal gruel called “burgoo” or “skillagolee,” an unloved concoction frequently of poor oatmeal and bad ship’s water.
A sixth rate carried a complement of about 135 to 195 officers and men, plus 30 Marines. Unrated Ships and Vessels. A wide variety of other types of warships did not fall under the system of rated ships, the principal ones being sloops, bomb vessels, fireships, brigs, cutters, and gunboats. Sloops. Unlike the current sailing sloop, which carries only a single mast, in the Royal Navy at this time a sloop of war had two or three masts, all carrying both square and fore-and-aft sails. ” Sloops varied widely in appearance, but they carried 10 to 18 guns and were generally commanded by sea officers with the rank of Commander.
That is why a positive mention in a Captain’s letter following a victorious action was so important. Midshipmen. Ranking just below Lieutenants, Midshipmen were not commissioned sea officers. From 1794, all newly rated Midshipmen were considered to be prospective commissioned sea officers, but this was not the case before that year. During the period of O’Brian’s novels, there were still a number of Midshipmen in the service who were of the pre-1794 type and had no aspirations of being Lieutenants.
A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian by Dean King