About two oclock P.M. of Saturday
myself were sitting in our room talking quietly of the past
and planning future, when we over heard the officers say
something about a steamer in sight, it had just popped out
from behind a rain squall. We were in the doldrums a
very light breeze and plenty of rain.
We went on deck, and lo! About 5 miles distant we saw a low
rakish steamer, Bark rig.
We almost made up our mind then that we were lost, but as
"long as there is life there is hope." is an old proverb I think.
She sailed under the English flag.
At three oclock P.M., the "Florida" came along side, Hailing us
ordered us to heave to, and inquired where we were from and
were we were bound.
Shortly after a boat came along side, and Lent Stone came
on board, placing his hand on the Capts shoulder said "Captain,
you are all our prisoners, meanwhile, they had hauled down the
British flag, and sent up the Secession flag.
I had been standing on deck all this time in the rain,
watching the proceedings with an aching heart.
forever. I had spent so many happy hours there, it seemed like
a home, but alass! her end had come.
I went below, just after Benjamin and the Lnet. was told to
pack what clothes we could in as few trunks as possible and
prepare to go on board the Florida, as quick as possible as there
was not much time to spare.
The officers were very kind, even, helping us get some of
our effects together. All nautical works, were considered
contraband, chromometers, barometers, sextants, quadrants,
spyglasses, &c. &c. were all taken by the Privateers.
We had been out about four months from "Cal" and had
had no washing of any consequence done, consequently we
had a great many dirty clothes. those we lost, saving only
the most valuable things we had. I lost all of my calico
dresses and saved only one muslin.
We had to pack in such haste were not able to save
as much as we could otherwise have done.
We lost all but about half dozen books, the trunk we
packed the books in, could not go in the same boat with
us, therefore was brought off after and claimed by the sailors
of the "Privateer."
Our officers and men were allowed only what they could
stow in a clothes bag.
About quarter to four we proclaimed ourselves ready to go,
just then the rain began to pour in torrents.
I was wrapped in the American flag and lowered over the
side in an arm chair into the boat, with one of my cats
in my lap. The sea was very rough, so much so, that
there was much danger of the boat upsetting for she was
very heavily loaded.
We got on board the "Florida" about four oclock. The officers and
men went before us they were already in irons when we arrived.
We were ushered imediately into the 1st Lent.s ward.
there we ate our first supper on board.
After supper we were conducted to the Captain's cabin, there
we were welcomed by Capt Maffitt as prisoners of war.
The Capt treated us very kindly, giving up his room to me
and sleeping in the cabin himself.
So here we are, "Prisoners" and our ship burned. She was burned about
nine oclock, I did not see her burn because Capt Maffitt advised
me not to, he thought it would make me feel so
bad that I should not be able to sleep at all.
I lost my journal that I had kept during the voyage.
June 7th . the
weather has cleared up, so I spent considerable
time on deck. We are all anxious to get off, expecting
every moment to hear the cry of Sail ho!
The Officers and crew were in irons and slept on deck, until
12 oclock, when they were put below on account of the
rain. Their irons were not very uncomfortable.
Capt Maffitt said he was sory to put them on, but it was
done for safety. The mate of the "Jacob Bell" after being
put on parole, tried to raise mutiny among his own crew.
But was over heard by the sentry, and put in double irons,
and would have been hung, if a frieght vessel had
not made its appearance in about half an hour after.
So they all got off.
Capt Maffitt, is a very pleasant man, fond of joking,
& quite well acquainted on Cape Cod. Surveyed the
Dennis break water some ten years ago, calls the
Cape Cod girls great flirts.
June 8th. [1863 ]Officers
and men were put on parole and
their irons taken off; but put on again at night.
We unpacked our trunks, took such things as we needed
to wear in a valise in the cabin.
I feel provoked, almost to anger, at least quite indignant
to see our books, and clothes, claimed and used by the
officers and men of the privateer. They stayed by the
ship some time and got what they could.
Some of the Florida's sailors stole part of Mr.
Percivals and Bakers and all of the carpenters clothes.
All the Carpenter has left is a tooth brush and umbrella.
He was not allowed to take his tools, he thought a
great deal of them.
Capt M. wants our steward to ship, but he will
not. He's afraid of being carried south and sold as a
slave. It amuses me to see him maneuver.
He dont want the capt.to like him, so he, is very
very slow about his work, pretends not to understand
it at all, tries in fact to displease all he can.
I made a mistake in saying they were put on parole.
June 9th. comes in
squally dismal weather. I cannot be on
deck much and the cabin is very close.
Capt Maffitt learned me to play solatair with cards, a favorite
amusement of Napoleon, at St Helena.
I cannot fix my mind more than a few moments with a
book, be it ever so interesting. I feel decidedly uncomfortable.
We are in hopes of seeing a sail of some kind tomorrow.
Mr Smith is very sure we shall.
Wednesday June 10th.
[1863 ]Four days gone no sail yet. Still prisoners
we are discontented, suffer considerable from ennui, a dull
rainy disagreeable day. We all feel out of sorts.
the cabin is wet and dirty, and I cannot sit on deck.
If we were only bound somewhere this might be endurable-
here we are waiting for some ship to come along, if a foriegner
we shall be put on board, and sent we know not whither or care
not as long as we get away from here.
If we meet with an American, she will share the fate of the
Southern Cross, and we shall be more crowded then ever.
This seems like being in a wilderness.
The weather has cleared up this afternoon so that I can be on
deck a little its quite a relief- we spent the evening on deck talking
with Mr Smith, Percival, and Dillingham. about nine oclock Mr D
came to us and said he could find no place to lie down- the decks
were wet on the lee side and they were not allowed to stop on
the wind'ard side, part of the coal sacks had been removed, and
those that were left were occupied by the sailors. So he concluded
to get into one of the quarterboats, he bothered round so long
on account of his hands being in irons I suppose that I felt real
worried for fear the officer of the deck would see him, finaly he
had to give it up and lied down on the coal sack among the
men, I guess they were rather crowded.
Mr Smith dont like being addressed as prisoners very well makes
him feel degraded. "Here you prisoners come aft and get your
irons on, or off," which ever it may be. Prisoners go to the leeward
or wind'ard &c. &c.
I noticed one of the privateer sailors in double irons to day,
for some misdemeanor.
They are not very strict on board here- not much discipline.
The Captain dresses and fares the poorest of any.
June 11th  Fine
weather. They got up steam this morning, and
are going north a little, I'm very glad it will be a little cooler.
Nine oclock PM. no sail in sight yet, we are getting almost
discouraged. Capt Maffitt gave me two books to read to day, to
read when we leave this ship.
They day has been very fine, so that I have spent it tolerably
well, playing backgammon with the Capt. and solitare, alone
knitting, reading a very little, spending some time on deck.
O! I do hope this will be the last night on board of the
Florida. I expect Capt Maffitt is almost as anxious to
get rid of us as we are to depart. He treats us very kindly
tryes to make us as comfortable as possible.
June 12th. A
delightful morning, about half past eight AM.
just as we arose from the breakfast table we heard
the welcome cry of, Sail ho! The sail could not be seen
from the steamer deck. The order was given to get up steam
a nine AM. as there was only a very light breeze they had no
fear of the ship getting out of our way.
About 11 AM. we got along side of the French Bark Fleur De Para.
They were requested to heave too, and a boat was sent off
to it. They offered to take seven passengers, they had no room
for more. Capt Howes and myself, four mates and Mr Baker, being
the owners nephew, my husband interceded for him.
This was his first voyage at sea, and he couldn't knock round
as well as some others.
At 12 oclock we were on board of this Bark where we are not
longer prisoners. The Captain of the Bark was told we were
passengers taken from a burning ship.
Capt Lavesque had three other pasengers on board, he invited
us into the cabin and gave us a glass of beer.
The capt gave up his room to me, and one of the passengers gave his
room to my husband.
We got our clothes out and dried them as soon as we could
after getting on board. Our luggage had been on deck and got cosiderable
wet. We are comfortable and happy now.
Bount to Caira Maranam, some other ports, we have not
made up our mind yet where we shall stop.
We shall land in a few days if wind and weather permit,
and give ourselves up to the American Consul at that port
and get home from there as well as we can.
The breakfast at half past nine AM. dine a four P.M.
I have me tea at what hour I like.