Today in History:

Frontispiece - The Sloop-of-War "Portsmouth" of the Old Navy


vol6 confederate navy sloop of war Portsmouth web

Here is a sight the like of which never will be seen again-the U. S. sloop-of-war "Portsmouth" at anchor and drying out her sails. An honorable record did this old corvette leave behind her. Of the type of vessel that had fought in the War of 1812 she had gone through the Mexican War, and had chased and captured many a slaver. But a year or so ago, she was still afloat as the training-ship of the New Jersey state militia. She has every sail up except her head-sails and  studding sails. As can be seen at a glance, she was a very lofty craft, and though clewed up, she has her sky-sails, her royals, her topgallant-sails, her topsails, set on every mast. "Excellent, whether sailing, steering, working, scudding, lying to, or riding at anchor in a seaway, she sometimes got her sternboard in stays." With this single exception, reported Commander Armstrong, " she possesses the finest qualities of any ship I ever sailed in; rolls as easy as a cradle, and stands up under her canvas like a church." Lying under her stern is the captain's gig; her other boats seem to have been called away; probably one of the watches has gone ashore.