Disease and Vermin - Reports - Pressed Men - Removal to the Tarbay- Cold Berth - Sickness prevails - General Lee - A Friend - An Act of Parliament - Removal for better - Better Quarters -Special Favors - Liberal Distribution - Great Contrast - A good Friend - Sickness increases.
FEBRUARY 5. It is a pay-day for bounty, on board this ship, (the Bellisle,) which occasions a great market on board.
6. We begin to grow very sickly, and twenty or thirty of us are suffering with the itch, and we are all dreadfully infested with vermin. I make a constant practice of examining my clothes every day, when we are permitted to go upon deck. I often find them swarming with these.
We are informed that the Admiral was heard to say, that no favor was to be shown to us, on account of our orders. We are also told by some, that we are to be removed, soon, on board the Ocean, which is the Admiral's ship; by others, that we shall be removed to prison.
This afternoon, about one hundred pressed men were brought on board this ship.
7. We were removed from the Bellisle, after having been on board nineteen days, and were carried up to Ammores, and put on board the "Tarbay," a ship of seventy-four guns, and confined in the bay, between decks, where there was not room for all of us to lay down; it is parted off, like a sheep-pen, and takes in two side-ports only.
8. Pleasant weather, but very cold for persons in our condition, as we are obliged to lay upon a wet deck, without either bedding or clothes, more than what we have on our backs - except a very few who have an old blanket apiece. As there is not room enough within our narrow quarters for every one to lay down at night, some are obliged to sit up all night.
9. There are now sixteen of our number on the doctor's list, and there are but very few of us but what are either complaining with bad colds or rheumatic pains; and if there are ten sick with as many different complaints, they give them all alike the same medicine.
10. Rough, cold, and some snow; all the way we have to keep ourselves warm, in the day time, is by play, and making ourselves merry.
11. We bear that General Lee is taken. I had to-day a handful of bread given to me by a woman, which I joyfully received.
12. We are informed that Parliament has passed an act that all Americans taken in arms against the King, shall be deemed rebels; and those taken in armed vessels, upon the high seas, as pirates.
13. Our company is in a very poor state of health. Last night I sat up with one at the point of death. We were removed today from the Tarbay, after being on board six days, and carried on board the Burford, a ship of seventy-four guns. Thanks be to God for this removal; for here we have more room, and there are but few men belonging to the ship besides the officers.
14. We are now on board the Burford, where we find better usage than we have received since we have been taken, and our sick have good care taken of them. We are also allowed to go upon deck, twenty at a time.
15. This morning sailed from Ammores three ships of the line, of seventy-four guns - the Albion, the Boyne and the Tarbay. To-day nine of our sick were carried on shore to the Royal Hospital. We were informed by one of the lieutenants of the ship, that, although their orders were to strip and plunder us, yet we should be allowed a bed and bedding, and such of us as had not clothes to change ourselves, should have them; which we may account as a favor.
16. Clear and pleasant, (Sunday,) and as we are now between-decks, and have more room and the light of the sun, and not confined to the cable-tier, we have an opportunity for reading.
17. Very stormy. To-day we had delivered to us, by the purser of the ship, bedding and clothes. I received a shirt, and bedding, consisting of a flock bed and pillows, a rug, and blankets. Some, who were almost naked, had nearly a whole suit given them. When they gave us the shirts, they told us to take off our old ones and throw them overboard, "lice and all."
18. Those of us who did not receive clothes yesterday, have received them to-day, and those who did not receive beds, are to receive them in a few days. Our beds are a great comfort to our sore bodies, after laying fifty-five nights without any - all the time since we were taken - sometimes upon hard cables, sometimes upon boards laid over the cables, and at other times on a wet deck, with nothing to cover us but the clothes on our backs. Now we have good bedding for our comfort, thanks be to God! and a good friend; for we are told that the captain of the ship, whose name is Boyer, gave us these clothes and beds, out of his own pocket.
19. This evening the remainder of our company received beds. We never know the true state of our condition till it is illustrated by its contraries; neither do we know how to value what we have but by the want of it.
20. It is very sickly amongst us, and some one is taken sick almost every day.
21. The Reasonable came out of dock and dropped to her moorings. The Ocean is stripped and going into dock. The Lizard, frigate, has lately arrived from America, and to-day was towed up from the Sound, having cut away her masts yesterday in a gale of wind.
22. To-day a frigate sailed.