The Dolton sailed - Was taken - Breach of Honor -Treatment, &c. - Disagreeable Lodgings - Advantage of being small - A Report - English Women - Royal Salute - Removed - A Prize brought in - Daily Allowance an board His Majesty's Ships - The Charming Sally - Orders.
THE brig DOLTON sailed from Newburyport, November 15th, 1776, and from Portsmouth, on the 26th of the same month, and on the 24th of December following, about nine o'clock in the evening, we were taken by the Reasonable, man-of-war, of sixty-four guns. As her cruise was over, she was bound to Plymouth, England. the first lieutenant of the ship was the first man that boarded us, and he ordered us all on board the ship as fast as the boats could carry us, and would give us no time to collect our clothes, promising us, however, upon his word and honor, that we should have them all sent on board the next day. Some of our company trusted to this assurance, but I thought it not best to do the like. I was stationed upon the main-top when we were taken, and had not so good an opportunity to save my clothes, as those below; yet I saved more than any of the foremast hands; for as soon as I found that we were taken, I made all speed from the top down to my chest. I broke it open and shifted myself from head to foot-putting on two shirts, a pair of drawers and breeches, and trowsers over them; two or three jackets, and a pair of new shoes,and then filled my bosom and pockets as full as I could well carry. Afterwards, I found it was well for me that I did so; for when the clothes were brought on board, we found that all the best of them had been culled out, and nothing but a few rags and a dozen old blankets were sent to us.
After we came on board, we were ordered upon the quarter-deck, and from there down into the cable-tier, where we found very disagreeable lodgings, having nothing but the bare cable to lay upon, and that very uneven. Besides this, we were almost suffocated with heat. Being, however, very much fatigued, I slept about two hours, as soundly as if I had been upon a bed of down. When I awoke I crawled aft upon the cable, where was the sentinel, and spent the remainder of the night in conversation with him.
In the morning the boys were called by the officers of the ship to come upon deck. Now, thinks I to myself, there is an advantage in being small. I'll embrace this opportunity, and try for my liberty upon deck, too. Accordingly, I went up, and no sooner were we on deck than we were thronged about by the seamen. They told us that a few hours after they took us, they spoke twelve or fourteen sail of transports, bound to New York, under convoy of a frigate, and she had thrown her guns overboard in a storm. I learned that the name of the Captain of the ship which had taken us, was Thomas Fitzherbert.
[The journal of the remainder of the passage to Plymouth, England, has been lost, and the next record commences some day or two after their arrival in this port.]
1777. January 15th. This morning our officers were brought on board again. We hear that the British troops have taken " Fort Washington," with the loss of eight hundred men.
16. A number of seamen's wives came on board to-day, and upon being told that they had American prisoners on board, "Have you?" said one to the other; "What sort of people are they?" "Are they white?" "Can they talk?"
Upon being pointed to where some of them stood, "Why!" exclaimed they, "they look like our people, and they talk English."
17. Nothing remarkable.
18. To-day is the Queen's birth-day, and every ship in the harbor that is in commission, fired twenty-one guns, as a royal salute.
19. Sunday. To-day we were removed from the Reasonable to the Bellisle, a ship of sixty-four guns, after having been on board the Reasonable twenty-seven days. Here we lodged in the cable-tier, on boards laid over the cable, which is better than we had on board the Reasonable.
20. Nothing remarkable.
22. Last Sunday, "a prize" was brought in here, which proved to be the brig Triton, from Newburg, Captain Tileston, master. The captain was sent on shore and made his escape.
23. Nothing occurred worthy of notice.
24. To-day, two ships-of-war sailed from the sound. The Southampton, of thirty-six guns, and the Thetis, of thirty-two guns.
25. There has been a great market on board to-day.
26. Sunday. But very little respect paid to the day.
27. The daily allowance on board His Majesty's ships, is: Sunday, pork and peas; Monday, birgu, butter and cheese; Tuesday, beef and pudding; Wednesday, birgu and peas, butter and cheese; Thursday, pork and peas; Friday, birgu and peas, butter and cheese; Saturday, beef and pudding; a pint of wine, or half a pint of rum, when at sea; and when in port, beer in abundance, and fresh meat twice in a week.
28. To-day I received a pair of stockings, a present from one of the seamen.
30. This morning, the captain, doctor and servant, of the privateer sloop Charming Sally, from America, came on board this ship. They inform us that they were taken the 16th of January, by the None-Such, man-of-war, sixty-four guns, and have been well used; having been on full allowance, till they came on board this ship; and the captain that took them allowed them all their clothes and bedding.
31. It is a time of general colds with us, and about eighteen of our number are sick.
February 1. Windy, cold, blustering, unsteady weather.
2. Nothing worthy of record.
4. We are told that orders have been received from London, to repair all the prisons along shore.