About the vessel.


"Devenstadt Apostolov - The Twelve Apostles" Russian Imperial Ship of the line. (1878)

Peter Alexeyevich or Peter the I, created a navy from nothing, but it challenged and soon surpassed Sweden as the Baltic naval power. While in the Black Sea it became an essential tool in driving back the Ottoman Turks from the heartland of Europe. In battle it was surprisingly successful, and at times in the eighteenth century it was the third largest navy in the world - yet its history, and especially its ships, are virtually unrecorded in the West.


The "Twelve Apostles" was a 120-gun 3 decked ship of the line built by the Russian shipwright Captain S. I. Chernyakovsky and first Captained by Vice Admiral Vladimir Alexeyevich Kornilov. It was launched on the 15th July 1841 and became part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Its lower deck had twenty eight 68-pounder guns designed by the Russian artillerist Lekhner. On the other two decks there were 36 and 24-pounder guns. Although the ship was titled "120-gun" the ship actually carried 130 guns. The crew of the ship consisted of about 1000 men, among which were 12 officers and 65 corporals. The city of Sevastopol was the home of the Tsar's Black Sea Fleet and because of its location, threatened the Mediterranean. The Siege of Sevastopol is one of the classic naval sieges of all time, the siege was the culminating struggle for the strategic Russian port in 1854 - 1855 and was the final episode in the Crimean War of which two opposing towns fought. On the 13th February 1855, the Twelve Apostles was ordered to Sevastopol Bay to form a second beam line along with six other vessels. The Russian commanders arrived at the hard but a most sensible decision, to submerge the ships across the entrance channel to prevent entry to the port, thus assisting the shoreline batteries. The ship's crew disembarked to reinforce the city's defenses of 15000 sailors, and the Twelve Apostles was scuttled and sank.

Now, as it has been told, The Twelve Apostles being the largest of the vessels did not want to go easily, and that while the crew was scuttling the ship, it obstinately refused to go under and to the bottom in spite of all the holes that had been knocked in her, and, in consequence a shot was fired at her between the wind and water. But she still refused to go down and kept raising her bows and stern alternately like a restive horse. Then it was suddenly remembered that an image of Saint Peter, which was greatly venerated by the crew was left behind in one of the cabins, and a boat was at once manned, and the forsaken image was triumphantly brought to shore. Thereupon the pious vessel settled down resignedly to its duty, and was seen no more...


Fifty years after the heroic defense, to commemorate the sunken ships on the second beam line, a "scuttling monument" was erected in the sea, 23 miles from the shore, which is still in place today. The quay facing side of the octagonal pedestal, is adorned with a bronze plaque that depicts the scuttled ships. Despite the location of the monument, it proved to be the only monument of Sevastopol which endured in the melting pot of WWII and welcomed the liberators in May 1944.

The Twelve Apostles will rise again - and tread the proud seas.


Peace be unto you. Thank you for visiting!