Sunday, 14th.--This morning we begin our second week at sea, the "Tallahassee
" still in good sailing trim, with coal enough to last eight or ten days. The injury done to our upper works, the loss of our mainmast, together with some repairs needed upon the engines, make it necessary for us to run into some port within a few days — Halifax
We have a few prisoners on board to-day — the officers and crew of the Lamot Du Pont.
They are mostly from Delaware
, but still are genuine Yankees.
Upon the quarter-deck is a large pile of baggage belonging to these few men, and I contrast their treatment with my own when a prisoner in the hands of the enemy.
Everything was taken from me, even to an old and much-worn tooth brush
--the last article in the world to steal — and not even a change of underclothing allowed me.
Weather thick and foggy, with light breezes from southeast, which hauled later to south southwest.
At 10 o'clock, all hands called upon the quarter-deck, when service was read by Commander Wood
to 4 P. M., thick and foggy; the air chill and damp.
It is quite cold for August, and the atmosphere plainly indicates our progress northward.
During the day rain fell, with thunder and lightning.
At 3, the fog lightened up, and we exchanged colors with an English ship.
From 4 to 6, weather foggy; wind light from northwest.
A little after 6 in the evening the fog lifted again, and the masthead lookout reported a sail on the port bow. Course was changed accordingly, and at 7:40 over hauled the American ship James Littlefield,
of Bangor, Maine
, with a cargo of Cardiff
coal for New York.
After coming to, Lieutenant Ward
was sent on board with a prize crew to take possession and stand her on our course.
This coal was just the kind we wanted, and Captain Wood
hoped to take some on board; but the sea being too rough to lay alongside, and the transfer in small boats being a long and tedious job, it had to be abandoned.
Meanwhile the ship had been turned, and was now going northward, the steamer following.
About 9 o'clock, the fog came up suddenly, and completely hid her from our sight.
We were in great danger of losing sight of her altogether, but steamed on in her direction, ringing the bell and blowing a fog horn.
In a short time we heard the ship's bell in answer, and made her light.
A hawser was carried to her to prevent such accidents in future; and while the crew were removing the stores and preparing for destruction she was towing the steamer.
We got very little from her, the captain and mate being allowed to take everything they wanted, even to a roll of carpeting that was on the manifest.
At 10, the fog again cleared and the moon shone out. The ship looked splendidly in the night, her tall spars and white sails gleaming in the moonlight.
About midnight she was scuttled and abandoned to her fate.
Afterwards, steered due north.
Monday, 15th.--Two or three sail in sight at day-break.
The schooner Mercy A. Howes,
of Chatham, Massachusetts
, was first captured.
She had been for four months in the Bay of Chaleur
fishing, and was now returning with a full cargo of cod and mackerel.
We supplied ourselves with fish, took the crew on board, and scuttled the schooner.
At 7:15, started the engines again and stood northwest by west.
At 8 A. M. spoke Nova Scotia
's island, with salt for Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Having a number of prisoners, they were permitted to board this vessel and arrange for passage home.
The captain said he was a very poor man, but would do all he could for them, and asked, as a favor, for some provisions.
Quite a quantity of beef, pork and hard bread was sent on board, together with half a keg of tobacco.
The crews of the prizes Lamot Du Pont, James Littlefield,
and Mercy A. Howes,
were sent off, with three boat loads of baggage and personal effects.
At 9 o'clock, captured schooner Howard,
belonging to Bridgeport, Connecticut
, and just from Cape Breton with a cargo of coals.
This vessel, it will be remembered, was captured by the "Florida
" about six weeks ago, and bonded by Captain Morris
to take sixty-three prisoners to New York.
This bond did not protect her, however, and Lieutenant Benton
was sent on board to remove stores and set her on fire.
She was a magnificent vessel, the cabin elegantly fitted up with passenger accommodations, and everything about her clean and in excellent order.
When we left her, the flame had reached the masthead.
--Very warm, considering the cold chilly nights and days just past.
The sea is as smooth as a river.
Captured the fishing schooner Floral Wreath,
of Georgetown, Maine
, just returned from four months fishing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
There was over three thousand dollars worth of cured fish on her, just ready for the market.
The captain, named Chandler Jewett
, was a genuine Yankee, and the loss of his vessel went very hard with him. He repeatedly declared he "would rather have lost his wife than that schooner." This was thought to be a joke at first, but he repeated it so often we saw he was in earnest.
The vessel was worth, perhaps, one thousand seven hundred dollars. In these fishing crafts some eight or ten men are engaged, and fish on shares.
One- half the fish goes to the vessel, and the remainder is divided among the crew.
In this case, there were seven men besides the captain and owner, and, allowing one-half, or one thousand five hundred dollars, to the vessel, we see that each man would receive a little over two hundred dollars for four months work.
This is called a profitable
business by these rough, simple people along the coast, and is their only dependence.
By breaking up the fishing trade we destroy the great industrial pursuit of the New England
coast. --The Floral Wreath
was a good specimen of the fishing vessels that swarm every year on the banks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
and the Bay of Chaleur
. --After cutting the masts away the schooner was scuttled.
At 3 P. M., took fishing schooner Restless,
returning from the Gulf of St. Lawrence
with one hundred and seventy-five quintals of green fish — codfish — for cargo.
She was homeward bound, and within one day's sail of home.
These rough, hardy fishermen are a timid set, and show much terror when taken on board.
Several have shed tears, and others, with faces deathly white, tremulously ask, "What will be done to them?" Boatswain Cassiday
was sent with a crew to destroy this schooner and take to the boats, while we pursued another, three or four miles ahead, running off before the wind.
She had been warned by the Howard,
upon which we sent our prisoners, and which we saw communicate with her. After a short chase we overtook her — the schooner Sarah B. Harriss,
of Dorchester, Massachusetts
, just returning from the Gulf of Canse. --Several men put on the Howard
had changed into this vessel, as she was bound to their homes, and there being so many on board, Captain Wood
bonded her for eight thousand dollars, and sent off all our prisoners.
She was bound for Portland, Maine
At sunset, came upon the Ette Caroline,
a small fishing schooner from Portland
She had sailed down, and laid at anchor, all hands being engaged in hauling in fish.
We got some fine fresh fish — halibut, haddock and cod — a quantity of ice and a few provisions.
The master, or skipper, as they are called, came over the side tremblingly, and walking up to Captain Wood
, pulled his foretop and put his hat under his arm.
said, "Well, captain, I must take charge of your schooner."
"No!" said he inquiringly, "Oh!
you wouldn't do that — I'm a poor fellow — only a fisherman, sir."
"But you are the very fellows we are after," was the reply.
The poor devil looked ready to sink through the deck, but managed to get into his boat again, and pulled off after his dunnage.
He was allowed to take everything he wanted — small boats, lines, &c., and then his craft was scuttled.
The skipper and his three men were put into their small boats and towed down to the Sarah Harris
and turned adrift.
We saw him on board, and steamed away.
The appearance of several mirages of remarkable beauty and distinctiveness have afforded us some pleasure.
The fog clouds that hang low upon the water, play fantastic tricks with the sails beneath, or in them.
Sometimes a fac
of a vessel is seen reversed upon a cloud, apparently high in the air; sometimes it appears cut in half, one part towering, like a marble column, an hundred feet in the air. Sometimes, again, they look like little toy boats floating a few feet above the surface of the water, and then, when the mist is thick and the vessel near, it looms up largely, making a fishing schooner look as large as a line-of-battle ship.
I was much interested by the strange tricks of these phantasmagoria.
Tuesday, 16th.--Spoke a Nova Scots schooner at an early hour.
At 7 o'clock, overhauled barque P. C. Alexander
, of Harpswell, Marine bound to Glare Bay for a cargo of coal.
She was a flag barque, of two hundred and eighty-two tone, and valued at twelve thousand dollars. We got a fair previsions from her, and nothing of any value, and then set her on fire.
piece of East India
coral from the to get safely horse as a curiosity.
I have also a piece of still attached to the rock upon which it grew and in the process of formation.
Both are interesting mens of nature.
Later, overhauled schooner Leopard,
of from Cornwallis, Maine, with wood.
of Friendship, Maine
, fishing craft from the banks of Newfoundland
, with a cargo of fish.
Rufus Greyer, master.
Schooner Sarah Louise,
of Jonesboro', Maine
, with wood for Bosto — George Dobbins
of Friendship, Maine
Schooner Sea Flower
overhauled and let loose on condition our prisoners should be taken into some port, there being at this time a large number on board.
Among them was a genuine Yankee girl, some seventeen or eighteen years of age, who was cook upon her father's vessel.
She was a good-looking, black-eyed girl, who, after her first fright was over, was not unwilling to give her smiles to a Yew rather handsome "pirates" who seemed, disposed to converse with her. One of these gave up his room to her while on board, and this she insisted upon putting to rights before leaving, saying she had "allers ben accustomed to work to home." The males were much frightened when first taken; but when assured they would be well treated and soon returned, began to develop their Yankee traits; speaking in a very loud tone of voice, and with a nasal twang — cursing, using slang words, and very peculiar idioms, they caused us no little amusement.
One expression was common to all, i. e., "to home"--they speak "of going to home," "when I was to home," &c. They spoke of their wives as "the old woman," and the man who said he "would rather loose his wife than his schooner" was not the only one who showed singularity in his conjugal relations.
"That boat was all I had in the world," said one, "and I've put five years hard work in it. Now it's all gone."
"Yes, I replied," and your people have destroyed not only what we have gained in our whole lives, but our ancestors for over an hundred years."
They acknowledged the truth, but could not see why they should be made to suffer for what others had done.
Singular enough, we have not yet found a single man who would acknowledge himself a Yankee.
They invariably claim to be "Southern sympathizers," "allers have ben friendly to the South
"--all were opposed to the Government
, and the war, and a majority claimed to have been threatened with feathers and tar for their secession proclivities.
I presume they thought we believed this gammon, and hoped to get better treatment by lying.
It made very little difference, however, what polities they had or professed--one was treated as well as another, and all as prisoners of war.
All these vessels were taken while running down the coast of Maine
, and the last three or four near the islands of Matinicus and Mohegan
in Penobscot bay
We ran close to Martenicus, and saw the people on shore watching our movements.
The day was spent cruising around these islands, and burning vessels marked our course.
Towards night, Mr. Tynaus
, our chief engineer, reported the coal fast going, and in order to get a fresh supply to continue our operations among the fishermen, Captain Wood
turned for Halifax
, and at dark we were dashing off thirteen knots an hour towards Cape Sable
Wednesday, 17th.--At 6 o'clock, when I woke were on Brown
's bank, about forty miles from the cape.
It was a dull, smoky day, the sea calm and the air cool.
Although in the middle of August, an overcoat was not uncomfortable.
Saw several fishermen in the distance, but did not turn from our course to pick them up. One coming in our way, was captured — the fishing schooner North America,
of New London, Connecticut
David Mainwaring, master.
We got some fresh fish — halibut weighing sixty to seventy pounds, some ice, and a few provisions, then scuttled the vessel.
At 9, captured brig Neva,
of East Machias, Maine
, from Lyngan bay, C. B., to New York with a cargo of coals.
Bonded for seventeen thousand five hundred dollars and prisoners put on board.
Made the Nova Scotia
coast above Cape Sable
, and during the day skirted along it, just near enough to distinguish the houses, villages and forts by the shore.
A large steamer, standing to the southward, passed us at 3 P. M., but we had too little coal to give chase, even if night had not been so near.
At 4 P. M., captured schooner Josiah Achome,
of Rockland, Maine
, bound to Cape Breton for coals.--There was nothing on this vessel of value to us, and she was burned as soon as the prisoners and their baggage could be removed.
Towards 5, the air grew heavy and some rain fell.
A dense mist hangs over the water.
Two light houses visible on the shore, and a long line of sterile coast.
Wind northeast, with prospect of a storm.
Running along the coast, we saw two small fishing schooners a few miles ahead, which, as soon as the flames of the "Achome
" blazed up in sight, turned in shore.
We put on full steam and soon came up with them, and just in time to see the crews of both take to their small boats and pull towards a little island a few miles away.
The schooners were entirely deserted.
We headed off the boats, and ordering one back, brought the other alongside.
When asked why they forsook their vessels, they replied they were afraid we would kill them all. Indeed, they were very badly frightened, and hardly one out of a dozen men was able to talk intelligibly.
The schooners were the D. Ellis
, Massachusetts, returning from a fishing trip in the Bay of Chaleur
Such a pack of cowards I never saw — some were crying and asking if they were to be killed, or what was to be done with them.
All disclaimed any connection with the war, and vowed they had always been opposed to Abolitionism and the Government
This information was volunteered, and, with Puritan
solemnity and air, they called, with impious frequency, upon God to witness the truth of their declarations.
They were Methodist Protestants, and boasted of their piety.
One said, "I hope God may strike me dead if I ever had anything to do with the war."
"But," said I, "you carried a torch in that Black Republican procession in Harwick
How came that?"
"Ye — yes," he stammered, "but I didn't mean anything by it."
He told the truth, because he was too much confused to tell a lie.
The prisoners were paroled and told to get in their boats and make a straight course for home.
Obtained a Portland paper this morning, in which we are called "pirates," and a long list of atrocities committed by the crew of the pirate
" given to the public.
The number of direct, unmitigated lies embraced in this account of our doings is most astonishing.
One man especially, who, to my personal knowledge, was treated kindly on board, publishes a "stunner." Some stories told by the late Baron Munchausen
, and generally considered difficult of belief, were simple exaggerations compared to the stories of this martyr.
His clothes were stolen, his hat taken from his head, his boots from his feet, and, horrible to tell, he was given nothing to eat but meat and bread.
When the captain of the Howard
was with us, there was a Herald
on board containing some falsehoods of this kind, and they were shown to him with the remark that all prisoners had received the same treatment given him. He replied, these stories were invented by the press reporters, and often without seeing the person whose statement they give.
His own case was an example.
When taken by the "Florida,
" he was returning from the West Indies
with a cargo of fruit, Captain Morris
purchased some pineapples, limes, oranges, &c., and paid him in gold more than he would have received in greenbacks in New York.
He told the reporter Captain Morris
had got some pineapples from him, and the next morning the paper appeared with a card, signed by him, in which it was stated the fruit had been stolen, along with many other things on board, after the bond had been executed.
To correct this falsehood, the captain inserted a card the next day, giving the true story, saying he had every reason to be thankful to Captain Morris
for his kind and courteous treatment.
A few hours after, he was waited on by a man in the confidential employ of the Government
and told if he wished to keep out of Fort Lafayette he had better hold his tongue about that matter.
Of course he was careful how he told the truth thereafter.
It is truly amusing to see how eager all these people are to be paroled, and they ask over and ever if it will protect them from the draft.
They fold their paroles away very carefully, and look upon them like bank bills. "This is worth $350 to me," said one; "I would not take a thousand for mine," said another.
One skipper declared if it would protect him from the army he was willing to give his vessel for it, and the captain of a bonded vessel brought his whole crew on board for the purpose of obtaining paroles.
It is ridiculous, indeed, to hear them converse about the draft and their fears of being taken for a soldier.
At dark, we were still running along the coast, and about sixty miles from Sanabro Head, at the entrance of Halifax harbor.
We go on under easy steam to make it at daybreak.
Weather thick and foggy.
Wind northeast and rising.