Illustrated Description Of Russia

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City and Harbor of Sevastapol

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City and Harbor of Sevastapol

City and Harbor of Sevastapol
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"As I stood upon the handsome stairs that lead down to the water's edge, I counted thirteen sail-of-the-line anchored in the principal harbor. The newest of these, a noble three-decker, was lying within pistol-shot of the quay. The average breadth of this inlet is one thousand yards; two creeks branch off from it, intersecting the town in a southerly direction, and containing steamers and smaller craft, besides a long row of hulks which have been converted into magazines or prison-ships. The hard service which has reduced so many of the handsomest ships of the Russian navy to this condition, consists in lying for eight or ten years upon the sleeping bosom of the harbor. After the expiration of that period, their timbers, composed of fir or pine wood never properly seasoned, become perfectly rotten. This result is chiefly owing to inherent decay, and in some degree to the ravages of a worm that abounds in the muddy waters of the Tchernoi Retcka, a stream which, traversing the valley of Inkerman, falls into the upper part of the main harbor. It is said that this pernicious insect — which is equally destructive in salt water as in fresh — costs the Russian government many thousands, and is one of the most serious obstacles to the formation of an efficient navy on the Black sea....... It is maliciously said that, upon the few occasions that the Russian fleet in this sea have encountered a gale of wind, the greater part of the officers and men were always sea-sick! It is certain that they have sometimes been unable to tell whereabout they were on their extensive cruising-ground; and once, between Sevastapol and Odessa, it is currently and libellously reported that the admiral was so utterly at a loss, that the flag-lieutenant, observing a village on shore, proposed to land and ask the way!"

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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855