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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

May 31. 1777
Today, two Massachusetts men from the Brigantine Freedom’s prize, two men from Philadelphia captured on the Lexington’s prize and four Massachusetts men including Captain Southard from the Sturdy-Beggar’s prize were sent to Mill prison.

The weather is now warm and the air in the hold of this ship is so foul as to be nearly unbearable. With these conditions and all of us confined below decks for most of the day I fully expect many more will become sick unless we are sent on shore soon. I truly look forward to setting foot on shore and breathing fresh air again even though I should be confined to prison.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

May 30. 1777
Six more Sally’s were sent on shore today.

Monday, May 29, 2006

May 29. 1777
Nine more of the Sally’s crew were sent on shore to the prison this day.

We hear that the Belleisle which returned to this port on May 20th has been laid under quarentine with the crew all sick from the yellow fever.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

May 28. 1777
Today, Doctor Powers, and five others of the Charming Sally crew were sent on shore for examination and commitment to Mill Prison. It is with some satisfaction that we hear that Captain Brown made his escape yesterday during a break in his examination. We can only hope that he makes his way successfully back to America to bring word of our condition to our families. The joy expressed by the Sally’s crew was tempered by news that one of their mates, an old man named James Jutson, died two days ago at the Royal Hospital. He was well liked and will be missed by his friends.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

May 27. 1777
Finally the rumors that our people will be sent on shore to Mill Prison prove to be true. A marine guard came today and took Captain Brown, his sailing master, gunner, Dr. Hotchkiss, Mr. George (a volunteer) and 2 of the crew from the sloop Charming Sally, on shore to be examined before commitment to Mill Prison. The rest of us now wait here on the Blenheim in anticipation of our own examination.

Friday, May 26, 2006

May 26. 1777
It is six months since the Dolton sailed from Portsmouth and still I have not set foot on dry earth. I ponder on my family’s welfare and my own fate.

Today sailed our old home the HMS Burford upon a cruise.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 25. 1777
Today HMS Carrysfort frigate, 28 guns, sailed down the Sound on a cruise for America.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

May 24. 1777
Today returned the Prince of Wales having sprung her mainmast in heavy weather. We are not allowed any contact or news from the outside. I must keep my pen and paper well hidden otherwise they will be taken away and I will be punished.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

May 20. 1777
Captain Dowell from South Carolina and Captain Rankin from Philadelphia were set free today since they were both masters of merchant ships. The Belleisle returned with her crew all sick.

Friday, May 19, 2006

May 19. 1777
Lt. Brustis was happy to tell us that three of our men at the Royal Hospital attempted an escape over the wall last night but were soon enough captured and returned to their ward.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

May 18. 1777
I grieve at hearing that my friend Samuel Scriggins of Kittery died of small pox at the Hospital. This is very sore news and his family will be much distressed at this loss. He is the third member of our crew to die at the Hospital. A young man from the Charming Sally, Ebenezer Willis, also died of the pox at the Hospital yesterday.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

May 16. 1777
There are still perhaps 20 of our men at the hospital but many have been returned to this ship. The weather has been fair but little good it does us since we are confined below decks most of the day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

May 10. 1777
Captain Dowell was brought on board the Queen today. He commanded a merchantman in passage from South Carolina to France when taken by the HMS Raisonable, the same ship which took us prisoner.

Our treatment on board this ship is more severe than on the Burford. We are locked down in the lower deck gun deck at sunset and are not allowed up until 8 o’clock in the morning. The gun ports remain shut and at this time of year the air becomes quite warm and stuffy by morning. We have six armed sentries guarding us at all times. We are not allowed pen or paper and therefore I must keep my my journal hid from the guards. We are also not allowed any kind of newspaper. We sleep on the deck again without the comfort of a hammock. The officers and crew of this ship do not show the same Christian charity as we were recently accustomed to.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

May 9. 1777
Today the brother of our surgeon, Doctor Samuel Smith, came on board the Queen for a visit. Dr. Smith had just been returned from the Royal Hospital after a severe bout of the itch. Josiah Smith was on board the ship Franklin bound for France when she was taken by HMS Albion and brought here. Since Mr. Smith was a passenger only he was given his liberty.

We spend much of our waking hours in conversation with our new mates comparing stories, learning of common acquaintances and considering our fate. I find the Sally’s are in much better condition than we. Our men have experienced many more ills and vermon and our clothing has suffered during our time in captivity. By comparison the Sally’s appear to be healthy and well fed with most still possessing their sea chests.

I continued my conversation with Thomas Chase today. He described the sailing of the Sally from the Vineyard. His crew was not informed of Captain Brown’s intention to cruise off the coast of Europe until they had sailed. Just like the Dolton crew, some expressed alarm while others were encouraged by the opportunity to strike at the heart of the British trade routes.

Monday, May 08, 2006

May 8. 1777
Today I met one Thomas Chase, crewman of the sloop Charming Sally, from Martha’s Vineyard. We began exchanging stories and soon we had a large group of both Dolton’s and Sally’s listening and adding their own parts to the story. I find that their story closely resembles our own. Mr. Chase told us the Sally sailed from Martha’s Vineyard on the 27th of November last under the command of Captain Francis Brown. She was somewhat more successful than the Dolton, making prize of the Schooner Betsy from Gaspee bound for Jamaica with a cargo of fish and oil on the 8th of December. She also made prize of the Brig Hannah from St. Johns Newfoundland on the ninth of January, she being bound for Lisbon with a cargo of fish. 9 prize hands were sent aboard to sail her for America.

The Sally met her misfortune on the 16th of January when she was taken by the HMS Nonesuch Man O’ War, 64 guns, Captain Walter Griffis, Esq. Master. Most of the Sally’s crew were sent on board the Nonesuch while 30 British sailors and the Nonesuch’s first mate took command of the Sally. The Nonesuch arrived here at Plymouth on 20th of February. Their treatment was much better than ours during their time aboard the Nonesuch. The Sally’s were allowed to keep most of their belongings and they were not forced into the cable tier. After their arrival here the Sally’s were transferred from ship to ship as were we.

After their arrival at Plymouth the Sally’s were confined together with a prize crew of six from the American Schooner Lexington, Henry Johnson, Master. The prisoners on the Lexington’s prize rose up and took the ship back from the Americans and brought it in to Plymouth. A prize crew of the American ship Freedom was taken in like manner. We also find held prisoner here Captain Southard of Salem having been taken on the Sturdy Beggar’s prize.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

May 7. 1777
Rumors proved true and after 82 days the British removed us this morning from the Burford to the Blenheim, 90 guns, Capt. Hartwell. The Blenheim was moored nearby and we were transferred in groups by boat. Soon after arrival on the Blenheim we found the crew of the privateer sloop Charming Sally, 10 guns, Francis Brown commander, was also being transferred this morning to this ship from the HMS Queen. In addition there are other Americans who are collected on this ship. The Queen is converted to a guardship for the 180 American souls held captive here. We shall miss the kindness extended to us by Captain Bowyer and his officers on the Burford. We are not allowed hammocks on this ship as we were previous. We find Lt. Paul Brustis, former first Lieutenant of the Raisonable is now second Lieutenant aboard this ship. On the night of our capture this scoundrel assured us that our personal gear would be returned when in fact it was stolen never to be returned. Many a man in our crew would be happy to give equal return to this thief. Despite this I find it good to see some more of my fellow countrymen and look forward to hearing any news they might bring.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

May 6. 1777
Yesterday the Lizard Frigate sailed on a cruise. It is said she is bound for America. Today the Bainfeisant, 64, sailed on a cruise. Some of the Burford crew were on shore today and they brought back news that one of our men admitted at the Royal Hospital, Joseph Hatch, died yesterday of the small pox. He is the second of the Dolton crew to die at the hospital. Today we also hear rumors that we are to be removed from this ship to another as the Burford is preparing to sail.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May 2. 1777
Nothing exceptional. The weather is overcast and squally these past couple of days. Those of us who are fit find little enough to keep us occupied.