Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1860 – Benicia

 Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.


This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sublej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1860 – Benicia

While I was at San Francisco, I had my first experience of the American practical view of a situation. Bound upon a shooting excursion, I had taken the train to Benicia, and alighted with a small bag, gun and cartridges. I asked a railway man to carry my bag for me to a hack (cab). He looked at me, and said,

“Say, is it heavy?”
“No,” I said, “it is quite light”
“Waal then,” said he, “I guess you can carry it yourself.”
I had to, so I did.

Benicia is celebrated as the birthplace of John Heenan, the “Benicia Boy,” the famous American boxer. The great fight between Heenan and Tom Sayers was fought at Farnborough on the 17th April, [1860]. Heenan was a huge man, six feet and an inch in height; Sayers, Champion of England, five feet eight inches. The fight was interrupted. Both men received a silver belt. I remember well the event of the fight, though I was not present at it. More than three years afterwards, in December, [1863], Tom King beat Heenan.

From San Francisco we proceeded to Cape Horn, homeward bound. On these long sailing passages we used to amuse ourselves by spearing fish. Sitting on the dolphin-striker (the spar below the bowsprit) we harpooned albacore and bonito and dolphin, which is not the dolphin proper but the coryphee.

We rounded the Horn, buffeted by the huge seas of that tempestuous promontory. On that occasion, I actually saw the Horn, which is an inconspicuous island beaten upon by the great waves, standing amid a colony of little black islands. And off Buenos Aires we were caught in a pampero, the hurricane of South American waters. It blew from the land; and although we were three or four hundred miles out at sea, the master smelt it coming. Indeed, the whole air was odorous with the fragrance of new-mown hay; and then, down came the wind.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.


Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project