Life on Board A Training Ship - from
Training-ships, on board which boys are taught to become first-rate
seamen, form an important portion of every navy; and in the accompanying
sketches our artist has endeavored to convey correct ideas of the daily
life of these boys to those of our readers who live far inland, are not
familiar with ships and sailors, and who perhaps have never seen the
The first sketch is one showing the boys undergoing a part of their sail
drill, and engaged in furling the mizzen top-gallant-sail and royal. The
sails of a man-of-war are furled and stowed with the utmost care and
precision, so that the ends of the yard look exactly alike, and
sometimes the boys have to do their work over and over again before the
critical eye of the officer watching them is satisfied. In storms, when
the great ship rolls so that the yard-arms sometimes touch the water,
lying out on them and furling sails is very difficult and dangerous
work, and it is only on account of the constant drill they have
received during fair weather that the boys are able to accomplish the
task under these circumstances.
Above all things, on these training-ships the boys are obliged to keep
themselves neat and clean. They are expected to bathe frequently, and
are always compelled to do so on Sunday. The bath-room, provided with
tubs, basins, and a plentiful supply of water, is located in the bows,
in the extreme forward part of the ship.
Generally amidships, but sometimes in the stern of the ship, is the
school-room; for sailor boys have other things to learn besides the
practical sailing of a ship. In this school-room the young sailors spend
four or five hours of each day, and are taught reading, writing,
arithmetic, history, geography, and grammar.
DINNER-TIME: EIGHT BELLS.
At noon, or eight bells, as they say on shipboard, the bugles sound the
dinner call, and from all parts of the ship the boys tumble down the
hatchways to the berth-deck, where is a long row of short tables swung
from the ceiling, and where the young sailors eat the bountiful dinner
provided for them as only healthy, hearty boys can eat.
ORLOP DECK, OR COCKPIT.
The fourth or lowest deck of the ship is called the "orlop deck," and it
is here that the boys stow away their muskets and cutlasses after drill.
On this deck also the boys receive at four bells, or six o'clock in the
evening, the allowance of bread and molasses, or treacle, that composes
their regular supper.
SERVING OUT BREAD AND TREACLE.
GUN-DECK—FIRING A SALUTE.
Next to the sail drill, perhaps the most important is the gun drill, or
practice with the heavy guns. This gun drill is not important merely
because the guns are to be used in case of a fight, but because they are
also used in the firing of salutes. These salutes must be fired whenever
another man-of-war comes into port or a distinguished officer comes on
board, on national holidays, and at many other times; therefore it is
very important that the boys should be familiar with the great guns.
Each gun has its crew, each one of whom has an especial duty to perform.
The long cord that the boy in the last picture holds in his hand is
called a lanyard; and as he pulls it with a smart jerk, a hammer falls
on the breech of the gun, and with a roar that shakes the ship, the
great gun is fired.