'Kotka bridge, burnt July 26th 1855' [Finland]

No. 1 in Fanshawe's Baltic, later service and holiday album, 1843 - 83. Captioned by the artist on the album page below the image, as title. The historic town and port of Kotka is on the north side of the Gulf of Finland, east of Helsingfors (modern Helsinki) and about halfway between Tallin and St Petersburg on the Gulf's southern side. It is on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway bridge. Although an abandoned Russian fort on a nearby island had already been destroyed, Kotka had some remaining military barracks, which Captain Yelverton of the' Arrogant' burnt on the night of 26-27 July 1855, preparatory to a further attack on a Russian position up the adjacent Kymena River. Fanshawe's role, commanding the 'Cossack' under Yelverton, was to guard the causeway to prevent a Russian counter-attack. He wrote to his father on the 25th: 'this week we go to Kotka at the mouth of the Kymena, the old boundary between Sweden and Russia....We shall, I believe first take complete possession of Kotka, and destroy the bridge and some large barracks still remaining there, and then from a high point on the island ...hope to see the [Russian] position on Hogforsholm and what we can make of it...' (Fanshawe [1904], pp. 324-25).

This view shows the destroyed causeway bridge roughly from the east, after the attack, with smoke rising from the smouldering buildings on Kotka island to the right. The ships' masts seen beyond are probably those of the 'Arrogant' and 'Cossack'.

Object Details

ID: PAI4673
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Places: Gulf of Finland
Date made: 26 Jul 1855
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 176 x 258 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of the Baltic, Mediterranean, Scotland, Switzerland and Burma (Album)

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