Royal Hospital Buildings - An Adventure - Taken down with Smallpox - Three Prisoners escape - Re-taken - Severe Sickness - Second Death - Joseph Hatch - Recovery - Kind attention of the Nurses - Samuel Shriggings, the third of the company, died - Attempt to escape.
APRIL 16. Within these hospital wards there
are ten grand buildings, three stories high. Each building
contains six wards, each ward can accommodate twenty-five patients
- so that there is room for fifteen hundred patients, besides
To-day our food, with our names entered in a book, was sent, which was headed, "Upon such a day a ward was opened for the rebel prisoners;" I scratched out the word rebel and wrote American. When the book was returned, a messenger was sent with sixpence reward for any one who would tell who did it, but he returned no wiser than he came.
17. There are now fifteen of us in this ward, and seven are upon what they call half-diet, (on account of their drawing coals and candles;) so that every other day we draw a half a pound of mutton, a pound of bread, a pound of potatoes, and a pound of greens.
18. To-day there are two more of our company brought on shore, with the itch.
19. I am very unwell; I have a bad pain in my head and back - the symptoms of small-pox - and the doctor ordered me something to take, immediately.
20. I have had six applications for the itch, but am not half cured; and to-day when the doctor came in to see me, he told me I had the small-pox, and ordered the nurse to remove me immediately, into the small-pox ward, which she did. After I got there, I was ordered to strip off all the dirty clothes that I had upon me. I washed myself in warm water, and put on a clean linen shirt, a woollen gown, waistcoat and drawers, and turned into bed with clean sheets.
21. I feel something better, and my pock comes out very fast; but it is the small sort, which is the worst.
Also, last evening three prisoners made their escape from the fifty-sixth ward, which is the same I left yesterday.
22. This morning got up, but my pock has come out exceedingly thick.
23. We are informed that the men who ran away are taken.
24. I am broken out so very thick, and the ointment for the itch inflamed my blood so much, that my flesh feels as if I was raked up in a bed of embers; and I am so sick at my stomach that I vomit up every thing I eat, and am unable to write.
25. Kept my bed, and was in great pain.
26. My head was swollen very much, and I was so blind that I could scarcely see daylight.
27. My pock was almost to the full.
28. I feel easier as to pain.
29. My pock begins to turn.
30. I was very easy as to pain, but so very sore that I could scarcely lay in bed.
May 1. I got up, but was hardly able to walk.
2. I got up again, but my legs and feet swell very much.
3. To-day I feel something better.
4. I am some better, and got up again, but was unable to sit up long; my pock begins to dry very well, and my swelling to go down.
5. This morning Joseph Hatch, one of our company, died with small-pox. He is the second of our company that has died in these hospitals,
6. I begin to grow bravely, and have a very good appetite for my victuals. I remain very sore, yet not so sore as I was two or three days ago; as my pock ran all together then, when I used to rise up in bed to receive any thing, and stuck to my linen and the sheets, so that it would tear off the scab from the whole length of my back, when I arose.
7. I am very sore yet, but am doing finely, considering that it is with some difficulty that I can get to the table to write; and I have a good appetite to eat. I asked the doctor for mutton, which he granted, so that I now have a pound of bread, half a pound of mutton, and a quart of beer.
8. There are two of our company now in this ward, very sick with the small-pox; but they have faithful care taken of them by the nurses, and the doctor is very kind. He allows them near half a pint of wine, or a small bottle of cordial, almost every day. The nurses, also, have been, and still are, very kind to me. When I first came into this ward, I brought a little tea and sugar with me, which I obtained on board the ships, and after it was aII expended, the nurses gave me out of their own stores, tea twice a day, or as often as they make it for themselves.
[Mr. Herbert often in after life spoke in the highest terms of the kindness and attention of the nurses.]
9. Near half the scab has come off my body, and every morning when I get up, there is near a handful of scab left in the sheet, which comes off in the night.
10. I have several biles upon my legs, which cause a great deal of pain.
11. My legs are very sore, so that I am obliged to have them bound up from my ancles to my hips.
12. I am indifferently well, except my legs and thighs, where I have nearly a dozen biles, with which I am so lame I can scarcely walk.
13. To-day I took another portion of physic, which makes the sixth.
14. There are now twenty-six Americans here, Some are almost well of the small-pox, and have gone below into the recovering ward..
15. It is six months to-day since I left Newbury, and I fear it will be six more before I return.
16. To-day I took the seventh portion of physic.
17. This morning, died here, one Ebenezer Willis. He was a young man taken with Captain Brown, in the sloop Charming Sally. Also, this afternoon, of small-pox, Samuel Shriggings, he being the third of our company that has died in these hospitals, and the second in this ward, since I have been in it.
18. Last evening three of our company in the fifty-sixth ward, attempted to make their escape, but were discovered and taken before they got over the wall.
19. To-day I took my eighth portion of physic.