powder monkey

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Mary Anne Talbot (1778—1808) sailor and soldier


petty officer


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  • Maritime History
  • Warfare and Defence


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A ship's boy during the days of sailing warships whose duty, when the crew was piped to quarters for battle, was to carry powder from the magazine to the gun-decks. They were helped in this task by any woman who might be on board, Mary Anne Talbot being one example. Many of the larger ships carried three or four wives of trustworthy petty officers or seamen when at sea, particularly for their value in nursing the wounded after battle. The powder they, and the powder monkeys, carried to the gun-decks was weighed out into silk bags in the form of cartridges for the guns.

See also budge-barrel; warfare at sea.

See also budge-barrel; warfare at sea.

Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

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