Hampshire Advertiser - Saturday 24 November 1860
ARTILLERY EXPERIMENTS AT BEXHILL.
The experiments with two 68 and two 32 pounder smooth-bore guns, against the Martello tower at Bexhill, were brought to a close on Thursday last, and the result proves incontestably that at the same range, 1030 yards, these weapons are perfectly harmless as compared to the Armstrong guns. Although a much larger amount of ammunition was used than at Eastbourne, the damage done to the Bexhill tower was unimportant, and it has now been resolved to renew the experiments at a range of 400 yards.
LAUGHABLE EPISODE IN THE BEXHILL ARTILLERY EXPERIMENTS.
When the Duke of Cambridge and his suite dashed down to the Martello Tower, to see the result of the firing, the public, a nice little body of 4000 or 5000 followed, and were soon actively engaged in inspecting every bit of shot or shell that could be found. So busy were they, that when the time for resuming operations arrived, all warning to leave the spot was in vain, and for the first time a Martello tower was so resolutely defended by British volunteers, as to set Colonel Mitchell and the besiegers at defiance. "Try the effect of blank cartridge on their nerves," was the order of His Royal Highness, but the public instantly detected the fact that the guns were unshotted, and steadily maintained their ground. "Nothing for it, your Royal Highness," said the Lieutenant-Colonel, "but a regular volley!" "Well, but be careful," said the Duke, "well over their heads, mind!" The guns were pointed accordingly, but no sooner did "the public" hear the rushing noise of the shot, than a scene ensued which utterly defies description. They scampered off in all directions; on one aide was a ditch, and into it they fell, pele mele, till they lay piled up four deep, amongst the wet and mire. Others were successful in leaping this barrier to their flight, and they finally reached a turnip field with a good-looking crop in prospect upon it. Tbe material, however, of which it was composed proved to be a soft clay, and after the rush of 400 or 500 of the affrighted public had passed over it, all its verdure was gone, it looked more like a brick-field than anything else!