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Friday, July 28, 2006

July 28. 1777
Three of our crew were put on half allowance for not properly answering the call at muster this morning.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 26. 1777
We have the good news that the Hancock has taken the British frigate Fox.

Daniel Cottle a negro from our crew was sent to the prison hospital to assist Black Will as nurse for all of our men who are now sick with the small pox.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 25. 1777
Henry Lunt, William Smith and James Dean were captured near Falmouth 30 miles to the east and returned here to be committed to the Black Hole and half rations for forty days. Dr. Smith still has his freedom.

12 more of our men were committed to the prison hospital having gotten the small pox after being innoculated.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

July 23. 1777
Last night several British transports arrived from America with 600 wounded marines. I am sorry for these men but I am glad to see that our American forces can punish the British

I consider having myself innoculated against the small pox. I observe that those who have done so do not suffer so severely as those that get it the natural way. Guppy is still layed up but improving every day from his bout with it

Saturday, July 22, 2006

July 22. 1777
Yesterday Mr. Little was brought back to Mill Prison having been retaken nearly 50 miles to the east after escaping the itchy ward on the 12th instant. Edward Spooner was sent to the prison hospital today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

July 19. 1777
Guppy was returned from the prison hospital today. His face and body are badly scarred and scabbed from the small pox. He is very lame and cannot get himself around very well but his appetite is returned which signals to me that he will recover just fine. Guppy is a tough old cod and he does not want any special attention but Joseph and I will tend to him for a while.

We have now got a hole started in the Long Prison wall. I have been working with the others to dig out the stones and then the dirt. The hole is very tight, only large enough for one man at a time to crawl through which makes the digging very difficult. Each one of us can only spend a little time in the hole digging before we must come out to be relieved. Several of the men in prison still have their sea chests and we use them to hide the dirt once removed from the hole. When we are done the stones from the wall are replaced so that the sentries have no idea what we are about.

Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17. 1777
Pleasant weather. About 40 of our men have come down with the small pox in the past few days, all of whom had innoculated themselves from those who had gotten it naturally. It is said that those innoculated in this way will not have so severe a bout as those who get it naturally. The prison doctor tells me that Guppy should return to the prison tomorrow.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 16. 1777
We received grievous news today that Thomas Rines, one of our Berwick men, has passed on from the small pox at the Royal Hospital. He had been there for many weeks. He is the fourth of the Dolton’s company to succomb since we sailed from Portsmouth in November.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 15. 1777
The occupants of the itchy ward divulged how Henry Lunt made his escape the other day. As a consequence the agent restored their rations to full allowance. It is my thought that several of the occupants in the ward have no strong loyalty to the American cause and would rather watch out for their own welfare and their own benefit without regard for the rest of us.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sunday July 13. 1777
Today Cowdry placed the occupants of the itchy ward on half rations for refusing to reveal how Henry Lunt escaped yesterday. He also placed a guard outside their quarters so that we could not secret them any of our rations. This evening Mr. George was returned after his short elopement. We hear no word of the others who escaped yesterday.

I was told by the prison Doctor that Guppy has come through the worst of his bout with the small pox. He is very lame and scarred but should be returned to the Long Prison soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 12. 1777
When mustered out of the prison this morning for roll call there was considerable confusion and alarm amongst the guards as it was found that several men went missing. Our surgeon Dr. Smith, Francis Little, James Dean and William Smith who were in the prison hospital, Henry Lunt who was in the itchy ward and Mr. George who was confined to the black hole all escaped through a drain that runs from the hospital down to the river edge. Mr. Cowdry, the prison keeper, came into the yard and questioned everyone. Then he went to the itchy ward to ask those there how Henry Lunt was able to make his escape. He did not receive a satisfactory answer from anyone and was considerable angry when he departed from the yard.

Today we also had word that Benjamin Sheckle of the sloop Charming Sally died in the prison hospital at 6am.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July 9. 1777
Warm, very pleasant weather. We are now allowed no visitors and can only converse with our gaolers. There is some talk among our people of attempting escape from this prison by way of tunnels dug through the walls and underground.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

July 8. 1777
Today sailed from the Sound the fleet of transports for America and along with it my message to Rebecca. Little could I have imagined I would wish a British fleet well as it sailed for America.

Last night the sentries burst into the prison at about 3AM as they heard several of our men talking, laughing and singing. Mr. George was taken out of the prison and committed to the Black Hole where he is to be put on half rations and isolated from the rest of us for forty days. Very harsh treatment indeed and served to cause no little grumbling among the people once the sentries departed.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sunday July 6. 1777
It being Sunday many of the local people came out from Plymouth and Dock to visit but the guard kept the outer gate closed to prevent them from seeing us. One of our enterprising boys was able to hang a cloth bag by a string out of a small window from the second floor on the back side of the Long Prison. Some of the people placed 6 shillings in the bag for us but the guards found them out and later confiscated the money from us. Last night the lamps recently installed about the walls of the yard were lit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 5. 1777
Unexpected but very welcome guests came to Mill Prison today. I was visited by William Clark and Benjamin Hodgson both of Portsmouth and good friends of my father. I have known them since I was a young boy running about the shipyard. They were forced into service of the British Navy as they were in England at the outbreak of the war and they are now both sailing masters of transport ships that put in here yesterday and are now windbound. Having learned of our condition and having some time they came on shore. To my great comfort they have promised to get word of my condition to my Rebecca when they return to America. They also inquired after Guppy Studley, another old Portsmouth acquaintance, and found that he was with the small pox in the prison hospital.

Before they departed they gave those of us they know from Portsmouth some money for relief. To me, they gave two guineas. One for me and one for Guppy. Their kindness is very welcome indeed as our regular daily rations are not nearly enough to sustain us, being hardly enough for a single meal.

Their fleet now laying in the Sound sailed from London three weeks past and consists of 32 merchant vessels, and four men o’ war convoys -two two-deckers, a frigate and a sloop o’ war. Mr. Hodgson says they carry 4000 troops bound for Canada.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4. 1777
One year ago America declared its independence from Britain. Little did any of us know that we should be fully dependent on the British, on their soil, in this prison one short year later. Despite our plight we were all cheered to hear news that John Knowlton, our cashier, and Mr. Smith, master of the Charming Sally regained their independence by making their escape from the Royal Hospital on the 2nd instant.

A fleet of transports consisting of 40 sails bound for America put in here at Plymouth harbor today facing a stiff headwind and unable to make any progress in the channel. They will remain here until the wind becomes favorable.

Monday, July 03, 2006

July 3. 1777
Continued rainy. Benjamin Shackle, an Englishman from the Charming Sally’s crew, was sent to the prison hospital with pleuretic fever today.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 2. 1777
It rains very hard today so that we must keep inside the prison.