1844 - the voyage begins!

M 1

July 19-22

Ship Merrimac of New London

Sailed July 19th 1844

Made sail at 6 o clock in the morning - with fine weather - but No Wind. At 8 o clock the Steam Boat [Thosia?] took us in tow and took us out side of the light house where we got a breeze - at 9 o clock the Pilot left us off Montauc - saw the Barkque [Concheth?] going in Course S-E the wind S-W [north?] a fine breeze

18th Thursday

[Fine?] light weather and calm [law?] two sail - the Night foggy - some of our boys Sea sick. Imployed fitting our boats

Friday 19th Today it is beautiful weather [unclear word] sail in light steered [S-E by E?]

Saturday 20th

Today continues fine weather and a steady breeze of S-W and we steered [E?]

Sunday 21st

Today is unsettled Thunder Lightning + Rain squalls with a good breeze at south and we are going along at the [rate?] of six nots [sic] - all hands are well except one or two Sea Sick a little - Saw a ship astern

Monday 22nd

This day continues fine Light weather with a Light breeze at N.E. + pleasant. Saw the [Quince?] to the S.W. Tuesday is light + calm weather. The Ship seen on Sunday afternoon astern proved to be the [Quince?] Capt. Lester She passed us last night and today is [symbol] miles off bearing [N.W.?]

Wednesday. Good weather and a five not [sic] breeze from S.W. Steered [N.E.?] a Ship passed across our bow last night steering about [unclear]. The [unclear] is [unclear] in sight and on our lee quarter about 8 miles off. Monday + Tuesday we lowered our boats to drill. The men are quite handy at their oars - a sail in light on our [unclear] quarter. Thursday 25th the weather [unclear] at with a light breeze from the N.E. 

Friday Today the weather is [missing words] from S to E [unclear] continued on the [missing words] to the S + [unclear] I saw a ship supposed to be the [faded word]


July 27-August 5

Saturday 27th Steered [S+E?] with a fair wind from about SW + strong breeze

Sunday 28th fine weather and a gentle breeze at West all hands are well

Monday continued pleasant weather with a light breeze. Saw two sail one steering to the westward.

Tuesday very fine light weather with a light light breeze at about South one ship to the southward and a Brig to the north of us steering to the eastward and the ship to the westward.

Wednesday 31st today is very fine and quite warm with a light breeze to the SSE. Steered E + ENE for several days past we have seen some Grampus whales and lowered for them but see them no more after our boats were in the water

Thursday 1st going on nicely with a light breeze to the South West [Lane?] Several sail - apparently bound to Europe

Friday 2nd continued pleasant with a pleasant breeze from the West. Continued our course South S-E

Saturday 3rd passed between [ship name] and [ship name] with a Whole Sail breeze at S W steered S S-E saw a large ship [??ing] aback under [ship name] - at 6 o’clock were near [ship name]. Reefed topsails for the first time since leaving New London + stood off to the South with squalls of rain

Sunday 4th ran in betwix [Hayall?] + [Tice?] blowing strong with rain in squalls in the afternoon moderate and pleasant our Boat lands + gets some refreshment - the wind shifts to the Northeast and we run to the South side of [Hoyall?] + Lay off all night

Monday 5th Beat in and the capt goes on shore - in the afternoon [load?] off 220 bushels of Potatoes 20000 Onions 40 Doz eggs cucumbers cabbage grapes +c. Capt returns on board at 5 o clock PM. There are six ships and barques here and in Light besides ours one of which is the [Venice?] Capt Lester arised at 6 o clock in the evening - Capt Lester comes down and [missing words] and came on board. From here I Land [missing words] Leters - one to Mother 1 to Brother and one to [unclear] Olive one to Sister Sarah - at 9 o clock PM [missing words] and steered our course for the South Atlantic [missing words] breeze from the S+E - Here again I have


August 5 continued-August 11

to record some of the evils of Drunkeness, some of our men obtained Liquor from the shore a were very ugly and had to be used very [unclear] - in order to preserve obedience. How much better would it be for them and for us were they consistent Tetotalers. 

Tuesday aug. 6th Today is fine weather and we are out of sight of the [stands?] and going along with a gentle breeze at [SSE?] + [unclear] about [symbol] nots.

Wednsday aug. 7th We are driving along at a fine rate with a steady breeze at about ESE and fine weather

Thursday aug 8th continues the same as Wedsd yesterday. A sail in sight.

Friday Aug 9th

continued fine weather and a steady breeze at S+E course South - We have busily imployed since leaving [Hozall?] in stowing away our recruits - one sail in sight steering Southward + Westward

Saturday Aug 10th Today is beautifully fine and we are courseing on our way rappid rate [morning?] nearly 200 miles each 24 hours distance Lat 27 30

Sunday Aug 11th Another Lords day has dawned upon us and thanks to his mercy finds all well and apparently injoying tolerable good spirits but poor me how can I so far from her I Love - But our Hearts are united in Prayer I fancy while I write she is at her devotions - Father protect her in mercy and bring us together again in thine own good time - With a fine breeze we are onward hastening at the rate of eight nots per hour - With studing sails for the first time since leaving [Hoyall?]. Course South Lat by [compass symbol] 24, 30


August 17-September 1

Saturday, morning the 17th We find ourselves out of sight of this Said [?] Isleand [sic] of Fogo or -Fire for It is said that there is a volcano on it which can be seen in clear weather - by Ships at Sea on the east side - This Isleand [sic] is very high and covered - with clouds nearly half way dureing [sic] the most of the day - but at night quite clear - from where we lay which was between Fogo + Baboa [unclear] which is distant about 15 miles to the Southward and Westward -- Being then clear from these Isleands [sic] - we shape our course fro [sic] the Southern Ocean 

The Jason touched at Fogo on the 11th + the John + Elizabeth about the same time also the Schooner Franklin - Sunday Aug 18th

This day continued fine weather - with a light breeze to the Eastward course South -

Sunday Aug 24th [?]

Nothing particular has occured since leaveing [sic] the Cape De Verde Isleands [sic]  - The winds have been light and variable with squalls of rain - and mostly from the Southward  - So that we have made slow progress Southward. We have seen several sails - some bound Southward + some Northward - exchanged coulers [sic] with an English Barque bound to the Northward. To day the weather is fine + pleasant with a gentle whole sail breeze at W-S-W and we are a steering South -- With a Brig in company - with which we have exchanged Coulers [sic] - Believed to be English  - She is about 5 miles off to leward [sic] of us a rather out sails us. All hands are well --

Lat - to day by obs. 6. 57  N long. 20.15 W

Sunday September 1st 1844

This day is fine pleasant weather with a steady five not [sic] breeze at South and we are steering W-S-W 

dureing [sic] the past week nothing particular has occured 

the weather has been light and the wind from South to Southwest and we have made but little progress to the Southward. Have seen several sail - bound to the Southward - one whale Ship past [sic] within a mile of us 

name not known. To day our Lat by obs is 1°50 N


October 4-12

Friday, October 4th 1844

Sunday Monday + Tuesday, were blowing and rain with the wind from N.E. to S.W with a heavy Sea.. dureing which time we have strove to the eastward – Wednesday is moderate and – at 12 Oclock  We are by our reckoning 25 miles from distance from the Tristan Islands to the Northward – But cannot see them  Thursday morning is raining with a light breeze from N.W. and [thick] at 1 P M cleared off with the wind at S-W + W steering  S S-E Since Wednesday noon up to  five Oclock this day Thursday – The wind has – hauled around to day to N N-E and now has evry appearance of bad weather soon – Thus we have come acrosssed one of the great whale ing grounds. – Without even seeing the spout of a Whale nor a Ship – We next look for the Maridian . where we shall be in two or three days all hands are well.

Saturday 5th To day we are a joging along with a moderate breeze sometimes SW + So around to N.W. + North with squalls of rain at 4 PM we are 39 miles west of the Maridian of Gre^enwich north a good breeze steering S-E Lat at Noon caught a Porpoise 37o by obs.

Sunday 6th To day we have a strong breeze at SW with Squalls of light rain and cold course S S-E.  Lat at Noon by obs. 37o-59o Long 2o-30       East

Friday, Oct. 11th

Since Sunday, the weather has been changeable and the winds variable and moderate and the weather rather warm - - To day we have seen whales for the first time since leaving N London – at Sun rise we lowered + and have lowered twice Since but got nothing – the wind moderate at S S-E steering East  Lat by obs. 35o-31o Long 13o-38o 

Saturday 12th Strong breeze at S S E Steered East. at evening – not far from the Cape of Good Hope – tacked and Stood – to the S + W with fresh gale – Saw plenty of Whale birds Lat at noon 34o-32o


[October] 13- 27

Sunday 13th continues fresh gale S-S-S and headed Neastward - under easy sail at       evening the wind hauls eas^ward Steered Southerly, south fime weather - Lat at noon 35* 24’

      Monday at Sunrise we are  in the midst of Black Fish [ underlined] caught 8 the  wind light and trauls around to the Westward and fine & pleasant [unclear]  a plenty of fin Back whale Steering S-East Lat at noon 36*15”[underlined]Long 14*25’[underlined] East

     Tuesday is fine  pleasant weather and a steady breeze about SW Steering ES at 8[unclear] this morning, I saw a ship nearly ahead of us-meeting about S 5-3-I saw her  about 4 [unclear] on our starboard bearing

      Wednesday 16th strong breeze at [unclear] & S-S-E at night with strong squalls

     Thursday 17th Fresh gale at S-S-E & squally-under easy sail steering eastward

     Sunday 20th Today is fine weather and a steady breeze w/ [unclear] from NW steered East Since yesterday afternoon at 6 o’clock-all are well but NoWhales[underlined]Latatnoon36*33”Long27*26

                Sunday Oct 27 1844 [underlined]

To day commences with a strong gale so that we are turning before it under double reefed fore and main Top sails & foresail-with the mizen furled-steering East-South a clear Sunshine-Through the past week other winds have been variable mostly Eastward so that We have made slow progress to the eastward-But we have no prospect now of a good run-on our long road through This immense Ocean called Indian We have more one man I consider dangerously ill with a sore mouth & throat-with ulcers  breaking out on the neck & face.What it is none of us know the prevailing opinion is that it is a [unclear] or a relapse of a disease which he has been or using ,mercury for louse two months Since -I am fearful it will prove deters for him. lat [unclear long


Continued from previous page - November 24

went in to fish—But returned at three with only about 60 fish in all. They were not able to fish because of the winds blowing, too strong—at 4 o’clock bore up before a fine bre/eze  [ / indicates next line] at W-N-W and steered E-S-E [unclear]– SA-Pauls [unclear] is in Lat 38° 47’  Long 77° 52’-E [unclear].

Wednesday 13th Saw a Ship off of our Starboard qtr [unclear]. Steering about East with Royals & Studdingsails set and gaining upon us fast.  We were steering E-S-E—at Sun/Set steered -E..  on Tuesday, She was a head of us- haveing [sic] past[sic]  us to Leward [[sic] Northward [Northward inserted above] -15 miles with a strong breeze a Westward.

Sunday 17th  Fine weather and a steady breeze at S.West Course E-S-E - at 8 o’cl/ock. M. got a lunar observation by the planet Saturn & the Moon which made our Long -94-56 1/4 East [/] Lat 38 00 South [Latitude observation is directly under the Longitude coordinates, right aligned]

[This next paragraph begins with ink sketch of upper half of whale and its reflection on the water in the indent ] Thursday 21st  Light wind and a very Thick Fogg [sic]. At 40 minutes past 11 o clock I saw 2 Whales. at a ¼ past 12 o’clock -lowered 3 Boats & the Chief mate soon struck – and the whale ran about 3 miles with him to windward—and the other 3 Boats in chase and before any of them could get fast.  The [unclear] broke and away he went come on board and swept [unclear] off our course ESE at 2  o clock P.M. at which time it again set in foggy. Lat at noon 40° 28’ Long about 10 E.

Sunday Nov 24th1844- With a fine breeze at N. but foggy – no Whales but fin/backs. We are now on the coast of Austrailia [sic] or New Holland- consequently directly opposite of our homes in America. We are of course as far from our friends as we can get- and now begin to advance toward each other – far off is the day on which we shall meet – onward is the watch word and [unclear] heading  [unclear] course E S-E. Lat at noon 40° 23’S/ Long at 2 P.M. 115° 03 ½ E [Longitude is aligned --directly underneath Latitude coordinates]


December 1

Thursday December 1 st 1844

Thursday last was supposed to be Thanksgiving day at home. And our share of their annual feast consisted in the reflections of the occasion – But the day did bring forth something unusual for us for at early dawn say not past 4 o’clock we saw 2 right whale about 2 miles distant. A sight to see that it really caused a spontaneous burst of thanks. Our boats (3) were soon down and in the chase and soon (2) were fast to two whales – and as soon – as it were – a flying along to the windward and in about a half hour – killed him- but to our mortification he sank – and the other one we had cut from in order to clear the lines which had got crossed while the whales were running – at 6 o’clock our boats were again on the cranes – and we on our course East – without our Thanksgiving dinner in cutting a whale – This is the second whale that we have been fast too and the first one killed at 12 o’clock. We ate our (_uff) x salt beef and I
turned in to dream of my Olive and pumpkin pies – The weather has been fine until Friday when the wind (conted) to South and cold. Today it has got around to East and has the appearance of a storm – although out barometer denoted (set) fair weather all hands are well except for one broken Shin – caused at (shy larking (R-kim) ? ), one cut off thumb – with the broad hatchet (cooper) one cut off the end of a finger – with the (chime) of a barrel (W – Sa_ket) and one sick man – caused by imprudent habbits previous to leaving home – I have before mention this case and thought it doubtful – about his recovery – But since he has partially recovered. As consequence of these ailings among our crew we are only able to man three boats (and ?) it has been so far with us – we could have done quite as well with one. For we have only seen whales four times since we have been out. Latitude by observation at noon 38 deg 20 s Longitude at 2 PM 134 deg EAST


December 8-22

Sunday Decbr 8th, 1844

The past week we have had the wind mostly from the N to E with much hazy weather – have seen a great number of Fin Back. Yesterday morning saw a large Sperm Whale. Blew strong at the time from the westward and looked so much like a comeing gale that we did not lower our boats. Steered East + East South East. This day is quite moderate with a light breeze at South course of [?] by [?] Lat at noon 47* 27’ Long 154 11 East.

Sunday Decbr 15th

To day is moderate with a breeze at N and Westerly and cold & cloudy. The past week has been cold with the wind varying from SW to SE + E + NE + to N – Wednesday saw the Snares + [Nights] Isleands early in the morning, [bareing?], NW Distant 20 miles in the afternoon saw Stewarts Island bearing N 20 miles steering NE saw a Reef ahead. Tacked Ship & stood SSE the wind strong at East with a raw cold Atmosphere. Lat at Noon to day 50* 19’ Long about 17* 38.

Sunday Decbr 22nd

On Monday last saw two Right whales. They were a going so fast that we could not come up with them took in sail at night [lay?] too – then in the lat of 48 South. The next day Tuesday in the afternoon at 2 oclock saw Bounty Island and at 4 o clock Capt Destrin + our second officer went on Shore and returned at half past seven. [North] nine very large fur seals + three small ones, one (      ) (    ) which we have [kept?] until to day ____ Bounty Isleand lies in the Lat of 40* - 32; + Long 179* (    ) and are a small ground of Barren Rocks covering space of 4 or five miles – with immesurable qu^anititIes of sea (    ) at 8 o clock, re (    ) our course (     ) with the wind at NW and hazy weather which has continued much the same up to this day – (     ), gained one day – since leaving West Longitude and hope again arised into (      ) – we have had two Wednesdays + this does to correct our account set today. (             )