Russian Brig Mercury 1819

The Mercury was a real ship (a 20-gun Brig) that was laid down in Sevastopol on January 28, 1819, and designed as a patrol ship to guard the Northern Caucasus coast. Built of Crimean oak, with a shallow draught and equipped with oars,[a] the Mercury was launched on 7 May 1820 and disassembled on November 9, 1857. In this it differs from other Brigs of the Russian Navy at the time; other Brigs were not built this way because a shallow draught limited and lowered the maximum speed considerably. Oars were also seen as disadvantageous. This difference resulted from the fact that its original task was considered unique among its designers.

The Mercury fought in several significant naval battles during its existence. One of the most notable of these battles involved a battle between the Mercury (which was, at the time, commanded by lieutenant A. Kazarsky) and two other brigs against a sizable complement of approximately 14 Turkish ships, who were returning from the shores of Anatolia. Turkish victory was at first foreseeable, but the tides of battle changed, and the Mercury was able to escape after a final, powerful assault by the three brigs, ending the conflict.

After the conflict had ended, one of the navigators of the Turkish ships made a comment commending the Mercury for her seaworthiness, and the captain for his bravery:

If in the great deeds of ancient or our 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 was “Mercury”

Battle on May 14, 1829


Pursued by the Turkish Fleet (6 line ships, 2 frigates, 2 corvettes), Russian Brig Mercury engaged into unequal battle with line ships Selimie (110 guns) and Real-bei (74 guns) near the Straight of Bosphorus. After damaging the ships one-by-one, the brig escaped pursuit.

Crew (As of May 1829)


Aleksandr Ivanovich Kazarsky, Lt. Capt.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Novosilsky, Lt.
Dmitry Petrovich Pritupov, midshipman
Ivan Petrovich Prokofyev, naval pilot Lt.
Sergey Iosifovitch Skaryatin, Lt.


Anisim Arekhov
Philip Vasilyev
Gridnev, bataler
Afanasiy Gusev
Seliverst Dmitriev
Ippolit Erofeev
Ivan Lisenko, canoneer
Fyodor Spiridonov, naval pilot mate
Artamon Timofeev, canoneer
Anton Scherbakov, canoneer

Damage and casualties

As a result of the battle, the brig lost 4 men, 6 more were injured. Damage to the ship included:

22 hull breaches
133 sail plan breaches
16 spar breaches
148 minor rigging damage
loss of all row-boats


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