Re: [Revlist] Naval Term Bt. Br.
This is a retransmission of an earlier post today which for some reason
never appeared. Probably the fault of my ISP which was totally out of
operation yesterday. My apologies if this duplicates itself later today
if and when the original ever finds its way out of digital limbo.
Paul & List,
The abbreviation "Bt Br" stands for "Best Bower" which was a ship's
heaviest and most expensive anchor. Normally when a ship of the Royal
Navy anchored, changed, adjusted or weighed her anchor it was noted in
the ship's log or logs. The term best bower is one seen constantly in
ship's logs of the 18th and early 19th century.
In this case the log of HBMS SOLEBAY says the following:
Do [At Single Anchor in Delaware River]
Am Weighd & took in our Bt Br again, Empd landing the Troops, on the
At Single Anchor 2 miles below Chester --- Light Airs & fr
Empd landg Troops on the Jerseys, at 4 in dropping down to join
the Squadron, got aground, started several Tons of Water, & carried out
the stream Anchor, & Cable & Hawsers, at 10 hove off &
let go Bt Br in 4 fm
[NDAR, Vol. 10. p.12]
Much of this log material is obvious even for people without a interest
in naval history but some of it may be confusing as well. Here is the
As in the previous log entry the ship has only a single anchor (the best
bower) for a mooring. In the morning we hoisted in our best bower (took
the heaviest anchor on board). The ship (HBMS SOLEBAY) was then
employed in landing troops on the New Jersey side of the river.
Moored with a single anchor again down river from Chester. Light airs
and fresh breezes. Employed landing troops on the Jersey side of the
river. At 4 o'clock in going down river to join the Squadron (small
fleet) SOLEBAY went aground. To reduce the ship's weight and thereby
her draft (depth of water required for the ship to float) a number of
large water barrels (tons) were emptied (started). Carried out the
stream anchor (a light anchor which was taken from the ship by a boat to
the mooring point or anchorage) with the necessary ropes and cables.
This combination of reducing the ship's weight and then using the ship's
stream anchor and the cables (which connected it to the ship's capstan)
allowed the SOLEBAY to pull herself off the sandbar. This was completed
at 10 o'clock and the ship was again moored to her best bower in 4
fathoms of water.
So there you have it.