Ship-of-the-Line

Ship-of-the-Line
Library of Congress
Ship-of-the-Line

A ship-of-the-line was a warship with 64 or more guns on three decks. It was large enough to take part in the main action of an engagement.

Naval guns, like the guns the soldiers used, were slow to load. So, just as on land where soldiers would fire and then fall back to reload, on sea a line of ships was needed to deliver the most continual fire, not allowing enemy penetration.

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