- The calm-belts, and the trade-winds
-- the arrival of the Alabama at the island of Martinique
-- the curiosity of the islanders to see the ship
-- a Quasi mutiny among the crew, and how it was quelled.
We captured the Wales
, as described in the last chapter, on the 8th of November.
On the 10th of the same month, we observed in latitude 25°. We were approaching the calm-belt of Cancer.
There are three of these calm-belts on the surface of the earth, and the phenomena which they present to the eye of the seaman are very beautiful.
A ship coming out of New York, for instance, and bound south, will first encounter the calm-belt which the Alabama
is now approaching—that of Cancer.
She will lose the wind which has brought her to the ‘belt,’
and meet with light airs, and calms, accompanied, frequently, by showers of rain.
She will probably be several days in passing through this region of the ‘doldrums,’ as the sailors expressively call it, continually bracing her yards, to catch the ‘cats-paws’ that come, now from one, and now from another point of the compass; and making no more than twenty, or thirty miles per day. As she draws near the southern edge of the belt, she will receive the first light breathings of the north-east trade-wind.
These will increase, as she proceeds farther and farther south, and she will, ere long, find herself with bellying canvas, in a settled ‘trade.’
She will now run with this wind, blowing with wonderful steadiness and regularity, until she begins to near the equator.
The wind will now die away again, and the ship will enter the second of these belts—that of equatorial calms.
Wending her way slowly and toilsomely through these, as she did through those
of Cancer, she will emerge next into the south-east trade-wind, which she will probably find somewhat stronger than the northeast trade.
This wind will hurry her forward to the tropic of Capricorn, in the vicinity of which she will find her third and last calm-belt.
These three calm-belts enclose, the reader will have observed, two systems of trade-winds.
To understand something of these winds, and the calms which enclose them, a brief reference to the atmospheric machine in which we ‘live, and breathe, and have our being’ will be necessary.
A philosopher of the East
has thus glowingly described some of the beauties of this machine: ‘It is,’ says he,
a spherical shell, which surrounds our planet, to a depth which is unknown to us, by reason of its growing tenuity, as it is released from the pressure of its own superincumbent mass.
Its surface cannot be nearer to us than fifty, and can scarcely be more remote than five hundred miles. It surrounds us on all sides, yet we see it not; it presses on us with a load of fifteen pounds on every square inch of surface of our bodies, or from seventy to one hundred tons on us, in all, and yet we do not so much as feel its weight.
Softer than the softest down—more impalpable than the finest gossamer—it leaves the cobweb undisturbed, and scarcely stirs the lightest flower that feeds on the dew it supplies; yet it bears the fleets of nations on its wings around the world, and crushes the most refractory substances with its weight.
When in motion, its force is sufficient to level the most stately forests, and stable buildings with the earth—to raise the waters of the ocean into ridges like mountains, and dash the strongest ship to pieces like toys.
It warms and cools, by turns, the earth, and the living creatures that inhabit it. It draws up vapors from the sea and land, retains them dissolved in itself, or suspended in cisterns of clouds, and throws them down again, as rain or dew when they are required.
It bends the rays of the sun from their path, to give us the twilight of evening, and of dawn; it disperses, and refracts their various tints, to beautify the approach and the retreat of the orb of day. But for the atmosphere, sunshine would burst on us, and fail us at once, and at once remove us from midnight darkness to the blaze of noon.
have no twilight to soften, and beautify the landscape; no clouds to shade us from the scorching heat, but the bald earth, as it revolved on its axis, would turn its tanned and weakened front to the full and unmitigated rays of the lord of day.
It affords the gas which vivifies, and warms our frames, and receives into itself that which has been polluted by use, and thrown off as noxious.
It feeds the flame of life, exactly as it does that of the fire.
It is in both cases consumed, and affords the food of consumption,—in both cases it becomes combined with charcoal, which requires it for combustion, and is removed by it, when this is over.
The first law of nature may be said to be vis inertia,
and the atmosphere thus beautifully described, following this law, would be motionless, if there were not causes, outside of itself, to put it in motion.
The atmosphere in motion is wind
, with which the sailor has so much to do, and it behooves him to understand, not only the causes which produce it, but the laws which control it. ‘Whence cometh the wind, and whither goeth it?’
It comes from heat, and as the sun is the father of heat, he is the father of the winds.
Let us suppose the earth, and atmosphere both to be created, but not yet the sun. The atmosphere, being of equal temperature throughout the earth, would be in equilibrium.
It could not move in any direction, and there would not be the slightest breeze to fan the brow.
Now let us suppose the sun to be called into existence, and to begin to dart forth his rays.
If he heated the earth, and the atmosphere in all parts alike, whilst there would be a swelling of the atmosphere into greater bulk, there would still be no motion which we could call wind.
But the earth being placed in an elliptical orbit, and made to revolve around the sun, with its axis inclined to the plane in which it revolves, now approaching, and now receding from the sun, and now having the sun in one hemisphere, and now in another, the atmosphere is not only heated differently, in different parts of the earth, but at different seasons of the year; and thus the winds are engendered.
Let us imagine this heating process to be going on for the first time.
How we should be astonished?
The atmosphere having hitherto had no motion, in our experience, we should
have conceived it as immovable as the hills, and would be quite as much astonished to see it putting itself in motion, as to see the hills running away from us. But in what direction is the atmosphere now moving?
Evidently from the north, and south poles toward the equator, because we know that the intertropical portions of the earth are more heated, than the extratropical portions.
Thus far, we have not given the earth any diurnal motion around its axis.
Let us give it this motion.
It is revolving now from west to east, at the rate of fifteen miles in a minute.
If the atmosphere had been perfectly still when this motion was given to the earth, as we have supposed it to have been before the creation of the sun, the consequence would be a breeze directly from the east, blowing with different degrees of strength, as it was nearer to, or further from the equator.
For it is obviously the same thing whether the atmosphere stands still, and the earth revolves, or whether the earth stands still, and the atmosphere moves.
In either case we have a wind.
But the atmosphere was not still, when we gave the diurnal motion to the earth.
There was already a breeze blowing, as we have seen, from the north, and south poles toward the equator.
We have thus generated two winds—a north wind and an east wind.
But these two winds cannot blow in the same place at the same time; and the result will be a wind compounded of the two.
Thus in the northern hemisphere
we Shall have a north-east wind, and in the southern hemisphere we shall have a south east-wind.
These are the two trade-winds, enclosed by the three calmbelts which have been described to the reader.
The three arrows on the preceding page will illustrate the manner in which the north-east trade-wind is formed by the north wind and the east wind, which our theory puts in motion.
Why it is that the trade-winds do not extend all the way from the poles to the equator, but take their rise in about the thirtieth parallel of latitude, north and south, we do not know.
The theory would seem to demand that they should spring up at the poles, and blow continuously to the equator; in which case we should have but two systems of winds covering the entire surface of the earth.
This non-conformity of the winds of the extra-tropical regions to our theory, does not destroy it, however, but brings into the meteorological problem other and beautiful features.
Having put the winds in motion, our next business is to follow them, and see what ‘circuits’ they travel.
The quantity of atmosphere carried to the equator by the north-east and south-east trade-winds, must find its way back whence it came, in some mode or other; otherwise, we should soon have all the atmosphere drawn away from the poles, and piled up at the equator.
We can easily conceive this, if we liken the atmosphere to fleeces of wool, and suppose an invisible hand to be constantly drawing away the fleeces from the poles, and piling them up at the equator.
But how to get it back is the difficulty.
It cannot go back on the surface of the earth, within the tropics, for there is a constant surface current here toward the equator.
There is but one other way, of course, in which it can go back, and that is, as an upper current, running counter to the surface current.
We may assume, indeed, we must
assume, that there are two upper currents of air, setting out from the equator, and travelling, one of them to the 30th degree of north latitude, and the other to the 30th degree of south latitude.
What becomes of these two upper currents, when they reach these parallels of latitude, is not quite so certain; but there is good reason for believing that they now descend, become surface currents, and continue their journey on to the
It is further supposed that, when they reach the poles, they ‘whirl about’ them, ascend, become upper currents again, and start back to the 30th parallel; and that, when they have returned to this parallel, they descend, become a surface current again—in other words, the trade—wind-and proceed to the equator as before.
But there is another, and more beautiful problem still, connected with these winds.
It is their crossing each other at the equator, of which the proofs are so abundant, that there can be but little doubt concerning it. And yet the proposition, looked at apart from the proofs, is a very startling one. One would think that when the two winds met at the equator, there would be a general intermingling, and confounding of particles, and that when they ascended to form the upper currents, of which I have spoken, the northern particle would be
as likely to turn back to the north, as to cross the equator and go South.
The preceding figure will illustrate the crossing.
Let a represent the equator, the arrows near the surface of the circle the two trade-winds, and the two cross arrows, two particles of wind in the act of crossing.
The difficulty is to conceive how these particles should cross, without mixing with each other, and losing their identity; or why they should not turn back, as well as continue their course.
What law of nature is it, that makes the particles of atmosphere which have come from the north pole, so separate and distinct from those which have come from the South
pole, as to prevent the two from fusing, and becoming one?
is it because the two particles, as they have gyrated around their respective poles, have received a repulsive polarity?
whatever may be the reason, there can be no doubt, as remarked, that they do actually cross.
One strong proof of their crossing is, that we cannot conceive, otherwise, how the great atmospheric machine could perform its office of distributing rain over the earth in due proportions.
The reader will recollect that there is from a fourth, to a third, more land than water, in the northern hemisphere, and that there is from a fourth to a third more water than land in the southern hemisphere.
The consequence of this unequal distribution of land and water in the two hemispheres is, that the northern hemisphere requires more rain than the southern, in the proportion in which it has more land to be rained upon.
Now it is these mysterious trade-winds, of which we have been speaking, that are the water-carriers of the two hemispheres.
These winds, on their way to the equator, generally reach the 30th parallel as dry winds.
These dry winds, sweeping over the tropical seas, take up, in the shape of vapor, the water with which, in due time, they are to fertilize the fields of the farmer, and make the rose blossom.
The quantity which they take up is in proportion to the sea-surface, or evaporating surface, they have respectively passed over.
Now, if we will examine the jars of these water-carriers, when they reach the equator, we shall find that the northern jars are not nearly so full as the southern jars; the reason being, that the northern winds have passed over less evaporating surface.
now, if the two systems of winds, with their jars thus filled, were to turn back to their respective hemispheres, and pour down upon them their water, in the shape of rain, the consequence would be, as the reader sees, that we should have less rain in the northern hemisphere, than they would have in the southern hemisphere; whereas, we require more, having more land to be watered.
The atmospheric machine would thus be at fault.
But the all-wise and beneficent ruler of the universe, makes nothing faulty.
We know from the evidence of that silent witness, the rain-gauge, that more water falls in the northern hemisphere, than in the southern; in other words, that the more heavily laden of those jars which we examined, a moment ago, at the equator, have come to us, instead of returning to the South
; the less heavily laden jars going South.
The crossing of the winds thus satisfies our theory, and nothing else can; which is, of course, the most conclusive of all proofs.
but we have other proofs.
For a number of years past, as the East India
ships would be returning home from their voyages, they would report a curious phenomenon to have befallen them, as they passed the parallel of the Cape de Verde
This was the falling, or rather silting down upon their decks and rigging, of a brick-dust or cinnamon-colored powder.
This dust, which when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger would be impalpable, would sometimes nearly cover the entire deck and rigging.
The ships would be hundreds of miles away from the land, and where could this dust come from?
the fact puzzled the philosophers, but having been reported so often, it ceased to attract attention.
Still it was a fact, and was laid away carefully in the archives of philosophy for future use. Years passed away, and the great traveller and philosopher, Humboldt
, arose to instruct and delight mankind.
He travelled extensively in South America
; and, among other places, visited the lower valley of the Orinoco.
He happened there in the dry season, and gives a graphic account of the wild and weird spectacle of desolation which met his eye in that season of universal drought.
all annual vegetation lay dead and desiccated on the immense pampas or plains.
The earth was cracked open, gaping,
as it were, for rain.
The wild cattle were roaming about in herds, bellowing for their accustomed food and water; many of them perishing.
Even the insect world, so numerous and vivacious in all southern climates, had perished.
Their tiny little organisms lay in heaps, fast disintegrating and being reduced to powder, by the scorching and baking rays of a perpendicular sun, between which and the parched earth, not so much as a speck of cloud appeared.
The philosopher examined a number of these little organisms with his microscope.
They were peculiar to the region in which he found them, and he was struck with the fact.
There was another phenomenon which he observed.
A number of little whirlwinds were playing their pranks about the arid waste, sporting, as it were, with dead nature.
These little whirlwinds, as they travelled hither and thither, would draw up into their vortices, and toss high into the upper air, the impalpable dust that lay everywhere, and which was composed, in great measure, of the decomposed and decomposing organisms of which I have spoken.
The atmosphere, at times, when filled with this dust, would assume a yellowish, or pale straw-colored hue.
the reader probably, by this time, sees my design of connecting the dusty remains, described by Humboldt
, with the rain dust reported by the mariners to have fallen on the decks and rigging of their ships, in the neighborhood of the Cape de Verde
But the ‘rain-dust’ was of brick-dust, or cinnamon color, when collected by the masters of the ships, as specimens and the heavens, when filled with the dust thrown up by the whirlwinds, as described by Humboldt
, appeared to him to be of a straw color.
Here is a discrepancy to be rec onciled, and we must call in the aid of another philosopher, Captain M. F. Maury
, late Superintendent
of the National Observatory
, at Washington
, before alluded to in these pages, and to whom I am indebted for many of the facts here quoted.
was struck with this discrepancy, and in reconciling it with the theory here discussed, makes the following statement: ‘in the search for spider lines, for the diaphragms of my telescopes, I procured the finest, and best threads from a cocoon of a mud-red color; but the threads of this cocoon, as seen singly in the diaphragm, were of a golden color; there
would seem, therefore, no difficulty in reconciling the difference between the colors of the rain-dust, when viewed in little piles by the microscopist, and when seen attenuated and floating in the wind by the regular traveller.’
there remains but another link in the chain of evidence, to render it complete.
It remains to be shown how the whirlwind dust, of the valley of the lower Orinoco
, can be identified with the rain-dust of the Cape de Verde
, a German philosopher, has done this, in our day. Some specimens of the rain-dust having been sent him by ship-captains, he brought them under his microscope, as Humboldt
had done the whirlwind-dust, and to his great astonishment, and delight, he found it to be the same.
These facts correspond entirely with our theory of the crossing of the trade-winds at the equator.
The reader has been with us near the mouth of the Orinoco
This great river disembogues near the island of Trinidad
, which we visited in the Sumter
, in about the latitude of 9° N. The vernal equinox is the dry season here, and at this season, the north-east trade-wind is quite fresh.
Running counter to this wind, in the upper atmosphere, there is, according to our theory, a strong South-west wind blowing.
Now, if the reader will inspect a map, he will find that a South-west wind, starting from the mouth of the Orinoco
, will blow over the Cape de Verde
The rest is plain.
The whirlwind-dust is tossed high enough into the upper atmosphere, to be taken in charge by the counter South-west wind, is carried to the Cape de Verde
, and there silted down upon the decks and rigging of the passing ships, as gently as so many snowflakes, becoming the rain-dust which so long puzzled the philosophers!
we have reasoned, hitherto, on the supposition, that the three calm-belts, one of which the Alabama
is now passing, and the two systems of trade-winds which they enclose, are stationary within certain limits.
But this is not so; the whole system of belts and winds is moved north and South, as the sun passes now into one hemisphere, and now into another.
The calm-belt of Cancer is not always in the latitude of 30° N.; nor is the calm-belt of the equator always at the equator.
The reader will recollect that we observed, on board the
, on the 10th of November, in latitude 25° N., and that we were only just then entering the calm-belt of Cancer.
The reason is, that the sun, on that day, was in the southern hemisphere, well advanced toward his extreme limit in that hemisphere, and that he had dragged, as it were, the whole system of belts and winds after him. The figures below will make this idea plain.
Let the broad, dark lines in the circles represent the system of belts and winds, all in one; and in circle a let the sun be in the northern hemisphere, and in circle B let him be in the southern.
The reader will see, how the sun, having hitched this system of belts and winds to his chariot wheels, as it were, has drawn it after him. The distances north and south, to which they have been drawn, are exaggerated in the figures, but this is only for the purpose of better illustration.
The reader will see, from this diagram, how much farther South the Alabama
will have to run, in November, to catch the north-east tradewind, than she would have had to run in May.
We may now return to our ship, and our cruise, and when I shall mention the trade-winds and the calm-belts, hereafter, the reader will not, I hope, regret the time I have consumed in refreshing his memory on so interesting a subject.
We spoke several English vessels after burning the Wales
, and a couple of them, bound to Demerara
, kept company with us through the calm-belt.
We sent a boat on board one of them, from New York, but she
had neither news nor newspapers.
At length, when we had reached the parallel of about 20°, we began to receive the first gentle breathings of the trade-wind.
Our light sails aloft began first to ‘belly out,’ and then a topsail would fill for a moment, until the ship rising on the gentle undulations of the sea, and falling again, would flap the wind out of it. The zephyr—for, as yet, it was nothing more—visibly gained strength, however, from hour to hour, and on the 16th of November, I find the following record in my journal: ‘Beautiful, clear weather, with a moderate trade-wind, from about east by south, and the well-known fleecy trade-clouds sailing leisurely over our heads.’
It is Sunday, and muster-day, and the Alabama
has once more been put in perfect order.
She has had a coat of paint, inside and out, her masts have been freshly scraped, and her rigging re-rattled, and tarred down.
Her guns are glistening in the new coat of ‘composition’ which the gunner and his mates have put upon them; her engine-room is all aglow with burnished brass and steel; her decks are white and sweet, and her awnings are spread.
The muster is over, the men are lying listlessly about the decks, and our lady passengers are comfortably seated on the quarter-deck, with several of the young officers around them, and with the children playing at their feet.
Such was the contrast which the Alabama
presented, on that quiet Sabbath day, with her former self only a few weeks back, when we had been rolling and tumbling in the Gulf
Stream, with crippled yards, torn sails, and her now bright sides seamed and defaced with iron-rust from her corroding chains.
We were soon ready to go into port—our first port since leaving Terceira
Men and officers were all desirous of a little relaxation, and were pretty soon on the look-out for land.
On the next day, at two P. M., we made the island of Dominica
—the same Dominica
that lay so fast asleep in the gentle moonlight, on the night that the little Sumter
ran so close along it, like a startled deer, after her escape from the Iroquois
. We were returning to our old cruising-ground, after an interval of just one year, in a filer and faster ship, and we cared very little now about the Iroquois
, and vessels of her class.
Having doubled the
north-east end of Dominica
, during the night, at four o'clock, the next morning, we lowered the propeller, put the ship under steam, and ran down for the island of Martinique
We passed close enough to the harbor of St. Pierre
, where we had been so long blockaded, to look into it, and see that there were no men-of-war of the enemy anchored there, and, continuing our course, ran into the anchorage of Fort de France
, and dropped our anchor at about ten A. M.
was still Governor, and I sent a lieutenant, immediately, to call on him, and report our arrival.
He received me kindly, notwithstanding the little sharp-shooting that had passed between us, in the way of official correspondence —and franked the ports of the island to me as before.
I had long since forgiven him, for the want of independence and energy he had displayed, in not preventing the Yankee
skipper from making signals to the Iroquois
on the night of my escape, as the said signals, as the reader has seen, had redounded to my benefit, instead of Palmer
's. In an hour or two, we had landed our prisoners; the ladies and their husbands taking a very civil leave of us. In the course of the afternoon, our decks were crowded with curious Frenchmen, come off to look at the ‘pirate’ ship, of which they had heard so much, through Mr. Seward
's interesting volumes of ‘English Composition,’ called ‘State Papers,’ and the villification and abuse of the Northern
They were evidently a little puzzled at finding in the Alabama
a rather stylish-looking ship of war, with polite young officers to receive them, at the gangway, and show them round the ship, instead of the disorderly privateer, or pirate, they had expected to find.
I could see some of these gentlemen eying me with curiosity, and with evident disappointment depicted in their countenances, as my young officers would point me out to them.
They had come on board to see a Captain Kidd
, or Blue Beard
, at the least, and had found only a common mortal, in no wise distinguished from the officers by whom he was surrounded, except, perhaps, that his gray coat was a little more faded, and his moustache a little more the color of his coat.
The ship was surrounded with bum-boats, laden with fruits, and other supplies for the sailors, and a brisk traffic was going on, alongside, and in the port gangway, in pipes, and tobacco,
orchata, and orange-water; and, as we found as night began to set in, in something a little stronger.
We had no marine guard on board the Alabama
, and there was, consequently, no sentinel at the gangway in the daytime.
We were necessarily obliged to rely upon the master-at-arms, and the quartermasters, for examining all boats that came alongside, to see that no liquor was smuggled into the ship.
These petty officers were old sailors like the rest, and I have rarely seen a sailor who could be relied upon, for any purpose of police, where his brother sailor was concerned.
Whilst I was below, a little after sunset, taking a cup of tea, and enjoying some of the delicious fruit which Bartelli had provided for me, I heard some confusion of voices, and a tramping of feet on the deck over my head, and soon afterward, the first lieutenant came into my cabin to tell me, that there was considerable disorder in the ship.
I repaired on deck immediately, and saw at a glance that the crew was almost in a state of mutiny.
It was evidently a drunken mutiny, however, and not very alarming.
An officer had gone forward to quell some disturbance on the forecastle, when one of the sailors had thrown a belaying-pin at him, and others had abused him, and threatened him with personal violence.
Some of the men, when directed to assist in seizing and confining their more disorderly comrades, had refused; and as I reached the deck, there was a surly, and sulky crowd of half-drunken sailors gathered near the foremast, using mutinous language, and defying the authorities of the ship.
I immediately ordered the first lieutenant
to ‘beatto quarters.’
The drum and fife were gotten up, and such was the effect of previous discipline upon the crew, that the moment they heard the well-known beat, and the shrill tones of the fife, they ‘fell in,’ mechanically, at their guns—some of them so drunk, that their efforts to appear sober were quite ludicrous.
This was what I had reckoned upon.
At quarters, the officers always appeared armed, as if they were going into battle.
There were very few arms about the deck, upon which the sailors could lay their hands—the cutlasses and pistols being kept locked up, in the arms-chests.
Of course, I now had it all my own way—thirty armed officers being more than a
match for 110 men armed with nothing but sheath-knifes and belaying-pins.
I began now to quell the mutiny; or rather it was already quelled, and I began to bring Jack
back to his senses.
In company with my first lieutenant and aide-de-camp, I passed along the platoons of men as they stood at their guns, and stopping wherever I observed a drunken man, I ordered his comrades to arrest him. This was immediately done, without demur in any instance, and the culprit was ironed.
In this way I got as many as twenty disorderly fellows.
These drunken men, the moment the attempt was made to arrest them, began to show fight, and to be abusive in their language.
They were, however, soon overpowered, and rendered harmless.
In this way I passed forward and aft, two or three times, eying the men as I passed, to be certain that I had gotten hold of all the rioters.
When I had done this, I directed the mutineers to be taken to the gangway, and calling two or three of the most active of the quartermasters, I made them provide themselves with draw-buckets, and commencing with the most noisy and drunken of the culprits, I ordered them to dash buckets of water over them in quick succession.
The punishment was so evidently novel to the recipients, that they were at first disposed to deride it. With drunken gravity they would laugh and swear by turns, and tell the ‘bloody quartermasters’ to ‘come on with their water, they
were not afraid of it.’
But I was quite sure of my remedy, for I had tried it before; and as the drunken fellows would call for more water, in contempt and derision, I gratified them, and caused bucketsful to be dashed on them with such rapidity, that pretty soon they found it difficult to catch their breath, in the intervals between the showers.
The more they would struggle and gasp for breath, the more rapidly the buckets would be emptied upon them.
The effect was almost electric.
The maudlin fellows, somewhat sobered by the repeated shocks of the cold water, began now to swear less vociferously.
In fact, they had no voice to swear with, for it was as much as they could do, to breathe.
They no longer ‘bloodied’ the quartermasters, or called for more water.
Being reduced thus to silence, and still the water
descending upon them as rapidly as ever, with half-sobered brain, and frames shivering with the cold, they would now become seriously alarmed.
Did the captain mean to drown them?
Was this the way he designed to punish them for mutiny, instead of hanging them at the yard-arm?
They now turned to me, and begged me, for God's sake, to spare them.
If I would only let them go this time, I should never have cause to complain of them again.
I held off a little while, as if inexorable to their prayers and entreaties, the better to impress upon them the lesson I was teaching them, and then ordered them to be released.
When their irons were taken off, they were sober enough to go below to their hammocks, without another word, and ‘turn in’ like good boys!
It took me some time to get through with this operation, for I had the delinquents—about a dozen of the most noisy—soused one at a time.
The officers and crew were all this while—some two hours—standing at their guns, at quarters, and I could, now and then, overhear quite an audible titter from some of the sober men, as the drunken ones who were undergoing the shower-bath would now defy my authority, and now beg for mercy.
When, at last, I had finished, I turned to my first lieutenant, and told him to ‘beat the retreat.’
And this was the way, reader, in which I quelled my first, and only mutiny on board the Alabama
. It became a saying afterward, among the sailors, that ‘Old Beeswax was h—ll upon watering a fellow's grog.’