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Brig Mercury. Sailing
quality wooden sailing ship model.
Length of deck 30,9 m. (101' 4'')
Length of water-line 23,6 m. (77' 6'')
Width with the ship's skin 9,7 m. (31' 10'')
Deepening of the stew 2,74 m. (9' 0'')
Deepening of the sternpost 3,96 m. (13' 0'')
Depth of the hold 2,94 m. (9' 8'')
Displacement 390 t.
24 - pounds carronades 18 pcs
3 - pounds guns 2 pcs
Crew 110 men
20-guns brig "Mercury"
was laid in Sevastopol on the 28 of January (February,
9), 1819. It was built of Crimean oak and was launched
on the 7th (19th) of May, 1820. Ship master colonel
Osminin conceived "Mercury" as a special
ship to protect the Caucasus coast and as a patrol
ship. Unlike the other brigs of Russian Navy, it had
a shallow draught and was equipped with oars. A shallow
draught limited the less than others have the depth
of hold and made its speed lower.
In the end of Russian-Turkish
war of 1828-1829 three Russian ships: 44-gun frigate
"Standart" (commander captain-lieutenant
P. la. Sahnovsky), 20-gun brig "0rfey" (commander
captain-lieutenant Koltovsky) and 20-gun brig "Mercury"
(commander captain-lieutenant Kazarsky) were ordered
to cruise near the way out of the strait Bosporus.
Sahnovsky was charged with a command of all the ship's
complement. On the 12th (24th) of May, 1829, the ships
weighed anchors and set their course for Bosporus.
At dawn May, 14(26),
in 13 miles from the strait ship's complement noticed
Turkish squadron consisting of 14 ships sailing from
the shores of Anatolia. Sahnovsky wanted to make an
opponent out in order to get to know his forces this
time. Then there was a signal from "Standart":
"Mercury" - to lie to". Sahnovsky kept
the most slow ship. Having counted Turkish pennants
"Standart" and "Orfey" turned
back. Enemy squadron turned Russian ships. Having
seen the scouts turning back Kazarsky ordered himself
to stop drifting and to hoist the sails. Very soon
fast "Standart" drew level with "Mercury".
And there was a new signal on its mast: "Each
ship should choose its own course which would help
him to make a primary move".
Kazarsky chose NNW,
"Standart" and "Orfey" having
set their course to NW, rushed ahead and soon turned
into two fluffy clouds on the horizon. Meanwhile "Mercury"
was being surrounded by Turkish ships. The wind blew
to WSW, the enemy went strictly northward. The best
Turkish ships - 110-gun "Selimie" with a
flag of kapudan-pasha and 74-gun "Real-bay"
gradually reached "Mercury". The rest of
Turkish squadron lied to waiting when the admirals
would catch or sink refractory Russian brig. "Mercury"
had a little chance to escape (184 guns against 20,
even if not to take a calibre of the guns into consideration).
There was no hope of a successful outcome of the Fight
was already inevitable.
About two o'clock the
wind dropped and the speed of Turkish ships became
lower. Availing himself of the opportunity Kazarsky
using the oars wanted to move away from the enemy,
but the wind became stronger and Turkish ships started
cutting the distance down. Towards 15 o'clock the
enemy opened the fire from the guns.
After the first Turkish shots there was a council
of war on the brig. According to the military tradition
a man of a junior rank had a privilege to express
his opinion first. "We can't escape from our
enemy", - said navigator 1. P. Prokofiev. - "We'll
fight. Russian brig must not be taken prisoner! The
last survival will blow it up". The commander
of brig "Mercury", 28-years old captain-lieutenant
Kazarsky who had been awarded by a gold sabre for
the battles under Varna in 1828, who was considered
one of the bravest officers of Black Sea Fleet, wrote
in his dispatch to admiral A. S. Greig: "We unanimously
decided to fight to the utmost and if masts and spars
will be already impossible to pump the water in the
hold out, any survival officer should burn a powder
Having finished a council,
the commander appealed to the sailors not to disgrace
the honor of Andreev flag. All the people has declared
that they would be true to their duty and oath. Before
the Turkish there was an opponent which preferred
death to surrender and battle to lowering the flag.
Having stopped rowing,
ship's complement prepared brig for the battle: the
gunners held a defensive positions, a sentry near
the flag was ordered to shoot at anybody who would
try to lower the flag; the yawl hung over-stern was
threw down in thea sea and from two 3-pounds guns
drawn in the stern chase was opened reply fire on
Kazarsky knew the weak
and strong points of his brig. Despite its 9 years
old "Mercury" was strong, though hard to
move. It held back a high wave, but was too heavy
in calm sea. It could be saved only by the art of
maneuver and by accuracy of the gunners.
The real battle began,
when "Selimie" tried to skirt the brig from
the right and fired a volley from the left side, but
Kazarsky managed to dodge. Then "Mercury"
began skillfully maneuvering, used oars and obliging
enemy acting only chase guns. Then it found itself
between both ships.
The dense swarm of the cannon-balls flew to "Mercury".
The demand to surrender was replied by rifle-shots
and volleys of the carronade. The rigging and masts
and spars - that the "Achilles heel" of
even such a giants as these multi-gun ships. Finally,
accurately fired 24-pounds round-shots of "Mercury"
spoilt the bobstay and damaged main-topgallant-mast
of "Selimie" that made it lie to. "Real-bay"
insistently went on a battle. During an hour, changing
the tacks, it sent cruel fore-and-aft volleys. "Mercury"
beat off attacks and damaged the left arm fore-topsail-yard
of Turkish ship. All these things made him unable
to pressure Russian ship and at 17.30 it stopped the
As a cannonade reached from the South died away, "Standart"
and "Orfey" considering "Mercury"
sunk put a flag at half mast signifying the mourning.
When the wounded brig
approached Sevastopol where there were the main forces
of Black Sea Fleet, contused, with a head bandaged
Kazarsky counted the losses: 4 killed, 6 wounded,
22 holes in the hull, 133 holes in the sails, 16 damages
in the masts and spars, 148 in rigging.
May, 15, "Mercury" joined the Fleet which
being informed by "Standart" put out to
sea in full complement at 14.30.
Brig's feat was highly-appreciated by the enemy. After
the battle one of the navigators of Turkish ship noticed:
"lf in the great deeds of ancient of own times
there are the feats of bravery, so this act put the
others in the shade and the name of a hero should
be wrote by the gold letter in the shrine of glory:
the captain was Kazarsky, and the name of this brig
Ship's complement which
added a chapter to a book of Russian sea glory was
handsomely rewarded. Kazarsky and Prokofiev got the
order of George of IV degree, the other offices got
the orders of Vladimir of IV degree, all the sailors
got the decorations. The offices were promoted and
Kazarsky got a rank of adjutant. All the officers
and the sailors were granted a life pension in the
scale of double salary. The brig - the second from
Russian memorable ships - got George flag and pendant.
served up to November, 9, 1857, when there was an
instruction to disassemble it because of its dilapidated
state. Nevertheless its name was kept in the Russian
Fleet to pass it to the worthy ship of George flag.
Three ships of Black Sea Fleet carried the name "The
memory of Mercury" by turns: in 1865 - corvette,
in 1883 and in 1907 - cruisers.
In 1834 in Sevastopol
Black Sea squadron of M. P. Lazarev erected a monument
built according to the design of the architector A.
P. Brullov. The high monument with the words: "To
Kazarsky. To the posterity as an example", is
crowned with bronze triera.