As the likelihood of war with Russia increased during 1853, the Admiralty was faced with the problem of assembling two battle fleets to meet its operational needs, not only in the Baltic but also in the Black Sea. The Allied fleet containing both British and French warships was able to converge upon the Black Sea at the turn of the new year but the Baltic Squadron took longer to prepare and was not ready to sail from Spithead until 11th March 1854. It was to prove a successful campaign and one in which the steam-powered warship came of age in the shape of the highly manoeuvrable paddle frigates which ushered in the new era of speed at sea.
This narrative work shows Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier's flagship Duke of Wellington firing a ceremonial salute to welcome aboard the French commander Vice-Admiral Parseval-Deschenes who is approaching her in his barge. Napier's Squadron was lying in the Baro Sound, off Copenhagen, when the French fleet arrived to join it on 13th June  whereupon, once the two allied commanders had conferred to plan their strategy, the combined fleet sailed for the Baltic and the opening operations of the War.