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19th Century American Whaling

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W. H. Macy

Ballou's Monthly Magazine
Vol. XXX, No. 1 (Jul 1869)
pp. 37-44

My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One." 37

. . . .



      My venerable grandfather pushed up his spectacles and regarded me with the fire of youth in his eye.

      "Charlie," said he," I hear you have enlisted to go South and fight for the flag."

      "Yes, grandfather," I replied, "it is true. Our regiment leaves in three days. I hope you approve of my course, and trust I shall prove no unworthy descendant of my stout grandsire, though I serve on the land instead of the sea."

      "Ay, boy, it's all right, and the blessing of an old man go with you. It's not likely that I shall last long enough to see you return, for, as the saying is, I'm living on borrowed time now. But it's right; it's right that our young men should go and fight for the Union, though this seems almost like fighting against one's brothers," said the old gentleman, reflectively.

      "But they have raised their rebellious hands to strike down the flag, and -- "

38 My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One."

      "Ay, that's true, Charlie, that's true," he interrupted, "that's the right spirit. To think of their trying to break up this government now, just as we have got everything trimmed and in working order; it makes me wish I was younger, that I might go and have a hand in it myself. But I could never make any kind of a fist at soldier's duty. Give me a good ship under my feet, and I could stand to my gun as long as another, but to be strapped up in a soldier's harness, and make one forced march in the land would use me up. I really believe, Charlie, I could do a seaman's duty now, old as I am. Not as well, perhaps, as when we boarded the Frolic, and hauled down the cross of St. George with our own hands. Ah, that was a glorious time! but it didn't last long; for that infernal seventy-four gobbled us both up while we were in a crippled condition and I found myself a prisoner again; though I was lucky enough to get exchanged not long afterwards."

      Old Father Time had dealt very kindly with my brave grandsire, for he still bore himself erect, and his clarion voice rang as heartily as of yore, though more than eighty winters had frosted his few remaining locks. He had spent the prime of his life on the ocean, but the hardships through which he had passed seemed only to have toughened and indurated his naturally powerful frame. When interested and excited, as he invariably became when the old war of '12 was alluded to, he seemed to renew his youth.

      "I can't help wishing," he resumed, "that this war was against England, instead of being as it is. I can never contain myself when I think how I was impressed and forced to fight her battles, though I was lucky enough never to be called upon to fight against my own country, for I never would have done it. I'd have died first!" said the old man, excitedly.

      "Then you did serve in the English navy, grandfather?" I asked. "I don't think you ever told me about that before."

      "No, I suppose not," he replied, "for I never felt very proud of it, although 'twas with no good-will of my own that I served. I never told you either that I served against them in Bonaparte's navy, did I?"

      "No," I replied, " how was that? were you pressed by the French, too?"

      "Well, no, not exactly that," he said, "but I was offered a choice of evils, and that was the least of the two. But I may as well tell you the yarn now, as perhaps I shall never have another opportunity.

      "It was in the year one," said my grandfather, by which expression I understood him to mean 1801, "that I shipped as dickey, in the ship General Knox of New York, bound to Cowes and a market. Yon know in those old Bonaparte times, they were all by the ears on the other side of the Atlantic, and most of the freighting and carrying was done by American vessels. If a merchant vessel put to sea under any European flag, without strong convoy, she might almost as well haul it down again, and give herself up as a prize, the first time 'sail ho!' was cried; for everybody was everybody's enemy. It was a kind of free fight among 'em, as they say out West, and every one must be counted in on one side or the other."

      "Yes, I understand all that, grandfather," said I; "but what do you mean by shipping as dickey? You know I'm no sailor, so that some words which are familiar to seafaring men are Hebrew to me, and I shall be obliged to ask the meaning of them."

      "A dickey," said the old man, "is what we call a second mate on board a merchant vessel. He is also sometimes called a sailor's waiter, and if she be a small ship with but few hands and no third mate, he is not much better than that, as regards his work. He's a sort of nautical corporal-of-the-guard, neither officer nor man, but a servant of both. However, he gets better pay than a foremast hand of course, and every sailor must pass through that berth in order to rise to a better one. Well, I was a young fellow then, not yet twenty-one, and ambitious to rise in my profession. I had a good prospect before me, and hoped in a few years to command a ship myself. So I bid good-by to Sarah, that's your dear grandmother that was, God bless her memory! she was a bonny young lass then! We broke a ring together, according to the fashion of that day with sailors and their sweethearts, each keeping half of it; and parted, as we thought, for a few months only, to be married on my return.

      "We had a good run across the Land's End, and stood up Channel with a fair breeze, ran past the Eddystone light with everything set and drawing, but the wind headed us when breast of The Start, and we were brought to by a shot fired across our bows from a sloop-of-war, that was cruising in the Channel. Of course we could do nothing but submit, and there was some shivering of canvas among

My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One." 39

      our crew when we saw a cutter shoving off to board us, with two officers in the stern. We had only eight men before the mast, for the Knox was a small ship, and two of these were native Englishmen. But we had heard of many cases where Americans had been taken, not much attention being paid to their statements, or even to their protection papers, if the officer liked the appearance of the man, and thought he would be a credit to his majesty's service. I did not think much of the danger of imprisonment, in my own case, for I was an officer of the ship, to say nothing of my protection, besides the fact that my family and previous history were well known to Captain Stark, as I had sailed with him before.

      "Well, the boat came alongside, and the lieutenant and middy stepped on board. The boat's crew, at a signal from their officer, also climbed up in the main chains, and held themselves in readiness to obey his orders. They were all armed with cutlasses, and, as usual in such cases, were men selected for this particular service, who would have no scruples or sympathies to interfere with their duty, which was simply to man the king's ships by all means, fair or foul, and to swear black was white at the bidding of their superiors. After the usual questions as to the name and destination of the ship, and inspection of the papers, all of which was found satisfactory, the lieutenant requested, or rather ordered, Captain Stark to muster his crew.

      "'I presume,' said he, 'that you have some Englishmen among them. Your merchant vessels, as a general thing, do have more or less of them.'

      "The captain made no reply, but called all hands aft. They obeyed the order, and grouped themselves about the mainmast

      "'A fine-looking crew you have, captain,' said bis majesty's officer, blandly. 'None too many of them, perhaps, but I'm afraid you'll have to spare one or two. What's your name, sir?* said he, suddenly, fixing his eye upon one of the two Englishmen, who answered as steadily as he could under the circumstances:

      "'John Warren, sir.'

      "'What countryman are you?'

      "'I was born at – '

      "'Plymouth,' interrupted the lieutenant, sharply, pointing his hand off in a northwest direction. 'No words from you, sir, the less you say the better for you, as you are well known. Get your duds ready to go in the boat'

      "The man obeyed in silence. Whether the officer really did know him or not I could not say, but I think it very probable. The other Englishman was trembling in his shoes ail this time, but no notice was taken of him, perhaps because he was a little diminutive man, and not much to look at The lieutenant's eye rested admiringly for a moment upon two or three stalwart fellows, native Americans, but he said nothing. He mused a moment as if making up his mind upon something; then suddenly turning to the old man:

      "'Captain,' said he,' where did you pick up that fine-looking second mate of yours? I see he hails from Boston on your ship's papers.'

      "'Mr. Wheelock is a native of Boston,' said Captain Stark. 'I have known him from a boy, and he has sailed with me two voyages before this one.'

      "'Very likely, captain,' replied the officer, 'but I think you are not the only one present that knows him. Did you ever see him before, Mr. Moreton?' he asked, of his midshipman.

      "'I think I have, sir,' answered the middy, somewhat dubiously. 'I think it was on board one of our frigates at Barbadoes, but I am not positive. Call Tom Hayes, sir, he will remember him, if it was there that I saw him.'

      "Tom Hayes, who had stood near enough to overhear these remarks, now came forward with his hat in hand, showing a face and forehead carbuncled and corrugated, heavy lowering brows, a bull-dog mouth, and a general brutal cast of features, and stared me in the face, with the most unblushing impudence. Altogether he looked like a man who would sell his own brother – ay, or sister, either – for two glasses of grog.

      "'Hayes, did you ever see this young man before?' asked the lieutenant

      "'Sartain, sir, I've seen him afore,' replied Tom, rolling over about a quarter of a pound of pigtail in his cavernous month to gain time for a plausible invention. 'His name's Joe Gurney, sir. He sarved with me on the West India station in the old Euterpe frigate. Why, how are you Joe, old boy? Don't you remember me?'

      "'No sir,' said I, roused to fury by what I now saw was a deliberate plot to swear me out of my own identity. 'I don't remember you, for I never saw you before, but you may depend I will remember you hereafter, if an opportunity ever occurs to show my gratitude. If we were anywhere now where we could

40 My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One."

meet on equal terms I'd make you eat your lies faster than you can invent them.'

      "I turned to the officer, who had not interrupted me, but stood with a cool, aggravating smile on his face like one who was accustomed to this sort of thing, and who kept his object steadily in view.

      "'I am an American citizen,' said I, proudly, 'and you dare not impress me!' His smile became more broadly defined than before. 'I carry an American protection,' said I, as if this settled the whole difficulty. 'Perhaps you would like to see it, sir.'

      "'I would,' he returned, quietly.

      "I produced the protection, falsely so called, which I kept folded in a tin box, and placed it in the lieutenant's hands without hesitation. I had great faith in this document, for although I had heard stories about Americans being forced on board British ships-of-war, I had always thought them exaggerated, and supposed that evidence must have been wanting to prove their citizenship. He unfolded the paper and glanced it over, with the same smile playing round his lips.

      "'Yes, this seems to read all right, Charles Wheelock – born at Boston – hereby certify – United States of America, etc., but it is not much in the way of evidence. I am told any man can get one who has been a week in the country and speaks the English language. We are used to this sort of thing,' he said, as with a sudden movement he tore it into shreds and threw the pieces to the winds.

      "I sprung forward like a tiger, my hand was already upon his throat, but I was seized by two seamen at a sign from the midshipman, who had anticipated an outbreak of this kind. Another instant and I would have thrown him overboard, and his middy after him if it had cost me my life; but a blow from the back of a cutlass half stunned me, and I was secured and handcuffed.

      "'I protest, in the name of my government,' said old Captain Stark, 'against this outrage. I know the young man, sir, I know his parents, and his history. He is an American citizen, and though we are in your power now, and cannot resist, the time will come when England will get her reward for all this, and that before many years.'

      "'Perhaps so,' said the officer. 'With that I have nothing to do. I have my duty to perform, and you can make your protests in another quarter, though it will avail nothing, I assure you. Pass him into the boat,' he added, to his men. 'No more violence than is necessary to effect your purpose, Mr. Moreton.'

      "Resistance was useless; I had sense enough to see this after my first burst of rage was over. My effects were passed up, and into the cutter, and I took my place in her without further rough treatment.

      "'You will at least tell us what ship he is to go on board of,' said the old man,' that his friends may have some clue.'

      "'O, that doesn't matter,' returned the lieutenant, carelessly. 'He is in his majesty's service, and there's no fear but he'll find ships enough to contend for the honor of enrolling so able-bodied a man on their crew lists.'

      "I thought, with the officer, that it was no great matter; I was swallowed up in the insatiable maw of the British navy, and that was enough. He probably did not know himself to what ship I should be assigned; for it was not for herself that the corvette was cruising in the Channel, picking up seamen from the passing vessels. I was certain she was but the pilot-fish snuffing the prey for the great ravenous sharks that lay moored in squadrons along the English coast, even away round to Yarmouth Roads. Her cutter, in charge of the same officer, was kept almost constantly employed on this kind of service, and scarce a merchant vessel passed in sight of us but was relieved of two or three of her best men, on some pretext or other.

      "A few days found us anchored in the Downs, discharging the human cargo into the larger ships about sailing for foreign service, and I, with some forty others, was transferred to the Hannibal, a two-decker line-of-battle-ship, destined for the blockade of Cadiz, in company with several other ships of similar force.

      "I managed to get an audience of the captain of the Hannibal, and laid my case before him, telling him all the circumstances truly, but he could do nothing for me. He knew the case was hard, but it was not harder than hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others. He appeared to have the feelings of a gentleman, and to regret exceedingly that his government was obliged to make use of such means to secure crews for its ships of war, but he was powerless in the matter. His majesty's ships must be manned, and if sufficient men did not enter voluntarily, they must be compelled to enter. He said he did not doubt the truth of my story, but I had no proofs of it now, if indeed my protection had been destroyed, and proofs or no proofs, the difficulties in the way

My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One." 41

of setting justice done me would be nearly insurmountable. He advised me therefore to put down my name, and enter the service regularly as a sort of forced volunteer, so to speak; but this I steadily refused to do. I would obey orders while held in the service, because I could not help myself, but I would never, by any act of my own, enlist in the employ of a government which I had been brought up to hate.

      "At that time our countrymen all held and expressed strong opinions either for or against England; indeed the political divisions into which they had split were familiarly known as the English and the French parties. My father was one of the most zealous of the French republicans in his doctrines, and had educated me in a hatred of everything English. He had been a soldier during the struggle that freed our country from the British yoke. He had been one of those who destroyed the tea in Boston harbor, and had assisted in pulling down the statue of George IIL and converting it into bullets to be used in shooting his troops. The same monarch still reigned, and it was not for me, with my education and opinions, to enter his service by anything even distantly approaching an act of free-will. I did not, of course, tell the captain all these things, but I gave him to understand plainly enough what were my feelings on this subject. In vain he urged that my position on board would be rendered more comfortable by doing so, and promised to so manage it that I could enlist to serve only during the present war. The war, so far as he or I could see, was interminable, and I persisted in my refusal, resolving, however, to do duty without complaint, and bide my time,

      "We took up our stations off Cadiz, seven two-deckers, and two frigates, to watch the combined French and Spanish fleet, lying in that port. At this time Bonaparte had about lost his footing in Egypt, but had not yet despaired of recovering his lost ground, by sending a fleet to relieve Alexandria, though the French ships in the Mediterranean were hunted like hares, and could hardly keep the sea more than a few days at a time. There was really little chance of their reaching Alexandria at all without being captured or destroyed by the English squadron. But he had collected a force of about a dozen large ships at Cadiz, and a few days after our arrival off the port, we learned by one of our frigates which were used as scouts, that three French line-of-battle-ships were coming out of the Mediterranean, having been fallen in with off Cape de Gata. Sir James Saumarez, who was in command of our squadron, immediately made signal for all the line-of-battle-ships to crack on sail for the straits, to meet these ships, which he had good reason to believe were those which were known to have been fighting at Toulon, and were now on their way to reinforce the Cadiz fleet. We fell in with them the next day, three liners and a frigate, but the French Admiral Linois, who was in command, had no idea of fighting a superior force of British ships, with a port under his lee, so he ran his ships into Algesiraz Bay, anchored under the protection of the powerful Spanish batteries, and flaunted the tricolor in defiance at us from his sheltered position. We followed him up and stood into the bay, for old Saumarez was determined not to give the Frenchmen up without having a crack at them. But the wind failed us at a critical moment, and the old Hannibal, which was leading, took the ground on a shoal. As our consorts were unable to render us any assistance, they were obliged to secure their own safety, and abandon us to our fate exposed to a galling fire from three heavy Frenchmen, and from the shore batteries at the same time. Of course we did not stand the ghost of a chance, but we fought long enough to vindicate the honor of the British flag, and being much cut up and disabled, were obliged to strike our colors, to the intense mortification of our captain and officers, who at that time considered it almost disgraceful to lower them to any odds, however great, of French or Spanish opponents. A few years afterwards they learned to do it to us Yankees and give us no odds at all.

      "Well, we were all landed and confined in miserable quarters on shore. Here was a fine prospect before me, that of wearing out my life in idleness as a prisoner of war, for I could see no prospect of any peace in Europe for years to come, and even an exchange of prisoners would only send me back into the British navy. The admiral visited us in the prison, and as men were wanted by all the belligerent powers at that time, and they cared little to what country men belonged, provided they were able-bodied and willing to serve, we were offered the chance to volunteer either into the French or Spanish service. As might be expected, few British subjects would avail themselves of such an offer, but I did not hesitate to do so, for I had no patriotic

42 My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One."

      obligation towards either nation, while my sympathies were decidedly on the side of the French in this struggle. I did not overlook the great risk I ran, for the chances of war might soon throw me into the hands of the English, in which case I should be pretty sure to suffer death at their hands, as a deserter who had joined the enemy. But anything was preferable to rotting for years in a prison hulk.

      "So I entered the French service for three years which was the shortest term for volunteers, and was sent on board the St. Antoine 74. Several other ships from Cadiz reinforced us and the whole fleet put to sea to creep back into that snug rendezvous. I had a very narrow escape from falling into the hands of the English, for Saumarez gave chase to us, and we had a desperate running fight in a gale of wind. The St. Antoine was so roughly handled that we were obliged to strike our flag, but the weather was such that the fleets were much scattered in the morning, and the enemy could not take possession of us, which saved my neck I suppose. During this fight two of the Spanish liners, the Real Carlos and another with some saint's name a fathom and a half long, mistook each other for enemies, and went at it, rough and tumble in the dark. One of these ships took fire, the flames spread to the other, and they both blew up with a shock that seemed to shake both shores of the Mediterranean. A few of the men were picked up, but I understood that about fifteen hundred had perished. But that was nothing in those times, human life was of little account in Europe during the Bonaparte wars, and a thousand men, more or less, was hardly worth talking about.

      "We escaped into Cadiz in a battered condition, and we never got out again till after the peace of Amiens, which was an unexpected piece of news to us, that we could hardly believe when we heard it. The fighting stopped in Europe, though, as it proved, it was only a short lull in the storm that soon burst upon them with more fury than before. But there was no getting a discharge from the French navy, for I had enlisted for three years, and the First Consul had plenty of work for us abroad. We were ordered to Rochefort, where I was one of those transferred to the Creole frigate, to form part of the great armament fitting out for St. Domingo. Though I dreaded the risks of the fatal climate on that station, as well as of the ferocious warfare which would be likely to await us among the blacks, I was not sorry to be sent in this direction, as it seemed to be bringing me nearer home, and I had resolved to seize the first opportunity to escape from a service which, under the circumstances, I looked upon as being almost as compulsory as that into which I bad been impressed by force.

      "We rendezvoused with the grand fleet at Samana Bay, on the northeast side of St. Domingo, and here the force was divided to operate at several different points of attack. The Creole was attached to the division before Cape Francois, but as the wind was against us we were unable at first to get into the harbor. Our business was commenced with a parley of course, as General LeClerc hoped they might be awed by this display of the French power and come to terms without his making an attack. In the mean time numerous small boats swarmed about us, and in one which came alongside the Creole, I recognized two blacks whom I knew well; for I had been a voyage here before in a downeast brig, and the same two fellows used to be alongside of us every day. I lost no time in making myself known to them, and they agreed to take me ashore if I could manage to slip into their boat. I soon found an opportunity while the sentry on the topgallant-forecastle had his attention diverted, and slipped out of one of the bow-ports into the water. My black friends were on the lookout for me. I dropped alongside their boat on the offside and hung on by a bit of line, not venturing to get into the boat until we were so far from the ship as to be safe from observation. I then rolled in over the gunwale and lay down out of sight I had prepared and brought with me the material for blacking my skin, and having stripped off my man-of-war dress and put on some old duds belonging to one of my sable friends, I could pass well enough for a negro at some distance off or among a crowd, though of course I would not bear close examination.

      "We passed pretty close to the landing at Fort Picolet, on a point of the harbor, and I saw an officer whom I recognized as one whom I had seen on the staff of the admiral, a sort of naval aid-de-camp. He had come ashore in one of the negro boats, and brought despatches I suppose. He was talking with a fine looking negro, of commanding and handsome person, who, as I learned from my boatmen, was General Christophe. the same who was afterwards king of Hayti, but who was

My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One." 43

      then in command at this place under the orders of Toussaint.

      "We did not stop long to look at them, but pulled along shore to a village of scattered cabins, in one of which my two friends lived. Here they kept me pretty snug all that day. I saw the French officer go off to the ship again with a priest and another white man, who, the negroes said, was the United States consul. These two came back to Fort Picolet, and it was soon rumored about that the French intended to attack as soon as they could get in so as to land the troops, but the wind was blowing strongly off shore, and the fleet was further in the offing now than when I left the Creole. Christophe had called his troops together and compelled them to take an oath to fight to the death. I remained in the cabin with my boatmen, and the next day I was a witness to one of those scenes of horror for which this war was distinguished from beginning to end. All day long the blacks were rushing into the town from the plain, for Rochambeau's division of the French force had landed in Mansanilla Bay, taken Fort Dauphin, and was then driving everything in panic before it. Christophe was arming these negroes as they came in, and difficulty arose between the military and civil authorities, for the mayor and a large portion of the citizens favored submission to the French, to save the town and their property. But the stubborn general ordered all who were not under arms to evacuate the town.

      "Just at night one of the French ships tacking across the mouth of the harbor stood in pretty near the land. The guns of Fort Picolet opened fire upon her, and at the same time the torches were applied to the principal building by the black troops acting under Christophe's orders. All night the fire was raging, and the next morning dawned upon a heap of smouldering ruins, and a picture of general wretchedness and misery. A great part of the population had fled with the mayor to the wild thickets of La Vigie, while every hiding-place far and near concealed some trembling wretch waiting for the storm to pass, in momentary expectation of being put to death, either by the French or by the black troops who were ready for any dreadful deed that might be ordered by their ferocious chief in his blind fury and despair. The explosion of a powder magazine shook the ground under my feet, and announced the retreat of the desperate Christophe and his black national guard. The French fleet could be seen in splendid array standing into the harbor with a favorable wind. They passed the forts of the harbor without a shot, for the blowing up of the magazines was the signal for their evacuation by the blacks.

      "About the middle of the afternoon the French troops commenced landing, finding themselves in possession of nothing but blackened walls and heaps of charred and smoking ruins. It was time for me to be off; and still disguised as a negro, with my navy pants and frock tied in a bundle I started, with one of my faithful blacks as a guide, for the bay of Caracol, where he knew an American brig to be lying, she having put in there to repair the loss of some of her spars in a squall. We followed the sea coast, avoiding all communication with the few passing negroes whom we met, and at times skulking among the mangroves to escape questioning and observation. We travelled a part of the night, and then, coming to a little stream, we crossed it and halted to rest and get a short sleep under the shade of the mangroves, where they grew close to the bank overhanging the water. Scraping together heaps of dried leaves sufficient to raise our bodies out of the black alluvial soil, we threw ourselves down, and overcome by fatigue, were soon sleeping soundly.

      "I was roused by a sound like that of oars, and, touching my companion, we both sat upright, with eyes and ears distended. The sound approached nearer and nearer, and soon a boat hove in sight at the mouth of the creek, her appearance, as well as the sound of the measured movement of the oars in the rowlocks, indicating a man-of-war's cutter. She pulled into the inlet, and sheared up to the bank directly abreast of where we lay, and so close to us that I could hear every word spoken by the officer, though his orders were given in a low tone, and everything was done as quietly as possible. It was my own language that was spoken, and as I was quite sure we had no war vessels about there at that time, I at once decided the boat came from some one of the British squadron of observation on the station, which was jealously watching the movements of the French expedition. The officer and his men all went up the creek to reconnoitre, separating into two parties, after having advanced a short distance. The coxswain alone was left in charge of the boat, and he, after arranging the oars and everything to his apparent

44 My Grandfather's Cruise in "the Year One."

      satisfaction, also stepped on shore, and pushed his way under the mangroves directly towards our position. My blood boiled in my veins as I recognized the brutal face of the man whom I had promised to remember, Tom Hayes. Imprudent as it was at that time, I could not let the chance slip without having some little satisfaction out of him. I kept perfectly quiet till he had approached so as almost to touch me, when I thrust my head forward from behind a tree and glared in his face. He caught sight of me and my companion at the same moment and started back, at the same time laying his hand on his cutlass hilt.

      "'Hillo! niggers,'said he; but he had no chance to speak another word, for I had him by the throat and his mouth filled with mud. He was a medium-sized man and well knit, but at that moment he was no more than an infant in my grasp. I needed no assistance from my comrade except to hand me the cords, and in two minutes Tom was effectually gagged, bound hand and foot, and lashed to a tree with the warp of his own boat, his legs being driven nearly to the knees in the black ooze, for I had purposely selected a soft spot. Of course he had no idea who I was in my negro disguise, for day was just breaking and it was not light enough for him to see my features.

      "'Come, Jean,' said I, to my guide, 'it is time we were moving. I think he's anchored in a good holding ground, and will stay there till his shipmates get back. Tom,' said I, picking up my bundle and turning suddenly towards him, 'I'm sorry you are too proud to recognize your old shipmate Joe Gurney, who was with you on this station in the Euterpe!'

      "We plunged into the thicket and pushed on at our best speed, leaving the astonished Hayes to his reflections. We made no further halt till we arrived at the bay of Caracol, where we found but very few negroes about, they having all fled into the interior when they heard of Rochambeau's progress, except a few poor boatmen and fishermen who had nothing to lose. A few minutes were sufficient to put me on board the brig Pulaski of Portland, which was just in the act of heaving short The captain of this brig was our old mate in the General Knox, and received me with open arms and heart. My black friend was handsomely rewarded, and took leave of me highly satisfied with his part in the transaction. Half an hour later found us at sea where we could take observations along the coast. The British sloop-of-war within a few miles of us was seen to take up her boat, and at once threw out all her kites in chase. But we had well improved our time to do the same in advance of her. The Pulaski was a racer in light winds, and we had no wish to communicate with the Englishman. By sundown he was hull down in the western board, while a French barge pulling twelve oars was seen coming out of Mansanilla Bay, evidently intending, if possible to head us off. But we had no more idea of accommodating him than John Bull, and finding that we were giving them the go-by the barge returned into the harbor. Here was I, a Yankee citizen, owing no allegiance either to the British or French governments, yet, as times were then, if I had been taken by either, I should very likely have been hanged as a deserter.

      "I reached home in safety, found Sarah all right, and willing to wait another voyage for me. I had not been absent a year altogether, yet I had served in two foreign navies. My next service in a man-of-war was in the war of '12, when I volunteered with my whole heart and soul. But you have heard all about that before."


Author: Macy, William Hussey
Title: My Grandfather's Cruise in "The Year One.
Publication: Ballou's Monthly Magazine.
Vol/No/Date: Vol 30, No. 1 (Jul 1869)
Pages: 37-44