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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Dec 8. 1776
Clear weather and making good headway on our course to the east. The men are in a sour mood and grumbling about the lack of prizes. It is nearly two weeks since we sailed from Portsmouth and we have only seen one sail. Most of the men and boys have never been to sea before and become easily discouraged. I have the greatest confidence that our cruise will be successful. I also have faith in Captain Johnston and his officers and the Dolton is a fast well built sailer. Our plan is a good one and I look forward to taking the war to the British doorsteps. It is good to be on the ocean again. My only regret is leaving Rebecca on bad terms, having promised her that I would sail no more. But I really had no choice. The British blockade has ruined our local business and I must feed my family. I am sure she will see the wisdom in my decision when we return home.

Tonight Captain Boardman one of our prize masters from Newburyport came into the main cabin just after our watch had finished eating, with the intention of raising the crew’s spirits. He sat down and called out to the men present, How many of you have ever been on a privateer before? One or two replied with Hear, Hear. Well, I wager I have commanded the smallest privateer in the history of the world. This got our attention. Would you like to hear about it? The young boys crowded around him but the older gentlemen also pulled their benches and chests a little closer. He then related to us how during the previous spring he commanded three whaleboats and captured a British merchantman that had mistaken Newburyport for Boston. This brought a round laughter from everyone in the cabin.

1 comment:

  1. Offin Boardman's story is true and related in this link at the Worcester Art Museum. If you follow this link you find a portrait of Boardman painted several years after the Revolution.

    http://www.worcesterart.org/Collection/Early_American/Artists/gullager/captain/discussion.html

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