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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7. 1777
This morning my name was called along with 11 others from the Dolton’s crew to go on shore for our examination. My friend Joseph Shillaber was also included in this number but Guppy Studley was not. We each gathered up our few belongings and were taken upon the quarter deck by the sentries. We were then carried by boat to shore at the town of Dock. At the pier the boat’s crew handed us over to some soldiers while several of the midshipman from the Blenheim continued on with us. We must have made quite a spectacle as they marched us up the sloping road to the Fountain Tavern where the examinations are conducted. People from the town would stop to stare at us and insult us as we passed them by. We did make a pretty picture with our ragged clothes, beards and, our stooped bodies from poor food and confinement below deck for so long.

Our guard ushered us into a small room on the tavern’s first floor where we waited to be called. After some time they called us to a large upper floor room where we stood before the three justices seated at a long table, dressed in their powered wigs. They asked us each where we were from, whether we were entered on the Dolton, whether we were captured by the Raisonable and whether our ship had a commission from the American Congress. We were then taken below to wait in the small room again. Then I was called up by myself to answer each of these questions again, as were the other men in our group. Lastly, they brought us back up as a body and our commitments read to us.

Jacob Nutter, your are guilty of the crime of high treason and committed to prison until the time of your trial. This same sentence was read to each of us.

Althogether these examinations took about four hours. Then two constables and ten soldiers marched us east on the road from Dock to Mill Prison, a distance of several miles through open rolling country void of any trees, where we arrived late in the afternoon. Near the end of our march we passed close by the Royal Hospital where many of our men had been sent and some had died. Mill Prison is located only about one quarter mile to the west of Plymouth Town. Six months ago I would have made this march in an hour but we are now ill conditioned after confinement below decks, poor food and recovering from sickness. When we started this march the sun was still visible but by the time we reached the prison gates clouds had moved in from the Sound carrying with them a heavy drizzle. The gloomy weather matched our gloomy dispositions. We were brought through the outer gates of the prison and then through an inner yard where we passed through another set of gates to a large inner yard to be greeted by our shipmates and those from the other captured American privateers. We are all quartered in a long, two story stone building, which is where I now sit writing this entry. I must be careful not to be found out having a pen and paper. How long shall I remain here and will I leave this place alive? God only knows.

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