Launch of HMS 'Agamemnon', 90 guns, at Woolwich Dockyard, 22 May 1852
The ship-rigged steam battleship 'Agamemnon' was the first warship to be built with screw propulsion, though other sailing vessels had been fitted with engines after commissioning. 'Agamemnon's' success was such that she remained the basic model for the first decade of Britain's steam battlefleet. During the Crimean War she took part in the bombardment of Sebastopol on 17 October 1854 and the shelling of Fort Kinburn, at the mouth of the Dnieper, one year later. In 1857 the government fitted out 'Agamemnon' to carry 1,250 tons of telegraphic cable for the Atlantic Telegraph Company's first attempt to lay a transatlantic telegraph cable. Although this was unsuccessful, the following year the project was resumed. 'Agamemnon' and her American counterpart USS 'Niagara' spliced their cable ends in midatlantic on 29 July 1858 and then sailed for their respective continents. On 16 August Queen Victoria sent a ninety-nine-word message to President Buchanan, a process that took more than sixteen hours. Three weeks later the cable failed and service was interrupted for several years until the 'Great Eastern' successfully laid a new cable. After service on the Caribbean and North American stations, 'Agamemnon' was paid off in 1862 and sold in 1870.
Original size: 319 mm x 435 mm
- Image reference: PW8125
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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