U.S. Ship Pennsylvania

Gosport January 6th 1838

 

My dear Sister

 

I may as well carry you back to Delaware

Bay, and go on regularly with the yarn 'till we arrive at

the time of this present writing.

 

While at New Castle we received a great deal of

attention from the inhabitants, several parties were given

one by Mrs. Rogers, who is looking very well, & with whom I

had a delightful chat about the good folks in Lancaster.

 

Leaving New C. we were several days getting

down the bay, anchoring two or three times in the 24 hours,

making it very tedious & vexatious. The day before Christmas

we weighed & stood to sea, with a fine northerly breeze,

being then 40 miles inside of Cape Henlopen. After we had

cleared the Land the wind freshened & drove the old ship

along, 9 1/2 knots under every sail.  She behaved well & with

our 500 men we worked her easily: that night I once more

saw the sun set upon the waters. Christmas morning at day-

light I went upon deck, expecting to be in Hampton Road in

a few hours. I found the ship hove too, & a light in sight

which the Pilot thought was on Cape Charles, as it became

later we found that it was the light house on Cape Henry

& that the ship was 20 miles to the southward of it, also

all that day we remained South of the Cape, as we could

not beat the ship against the Northerly wind. About dark

the wind came fair, & we run into Lynhaven Bay & anchored

about midnight, & thus passed away Christmas, we were

detained there a day or two before we got into the Roads,

and again for 5 or 6 untill on New Years Day we went up in

fine style & anchored off the Navy Yard. All Norfolk, men

women, children & niggers, were on the wharves, house tops,

vessels, and truly they had a magnificent sight, the water

just abreast of the town runs almost East & West & is

contracted to very narrow limits, the branch leading to the

Navy Yard comes from the south, not much larger that the

Conestoga at Graiffs, making a form something like the

letter T, the shores are quite flat, through the small craft

which thronged the bay, towering far above them all, above

the banks, the house tops, the masts & rigging showing

their beautiful tracery, clear against the sky, her

chequered hull, looming like a monster of the deep, under

the sancrest sail, onward came the Pennsylvania; turning

aside to clear the tiny ones in her path, with grace of

facility, midst the thunders of her own guns & the loud

cheers of the multitudes, on moved the mighty mass. When

the ship made the huge sweep required to enter the Navy

Yard branch, the Hurrahs! were simultaneous, one loud

shout of rapture rent the air, the kerchiefs waved, and

each one felt they had seen a sight, n'eer beheld before,

long will the remembrance of that glorious sight rest with

them, they talk of it now, they will talk of it forever.

 

 

The Captain of a French Merchantman was so delighted to

behold so grand a spectacle, that he danced on his deck,

clapped his hands, hurrahed and above all, lowered the

tricolor of France, three times, to the Stars & Stripes of

America, enthusiasm reigned every where, on shore, on board,

our welcoming was loud, hearty & cordial:  How will that do?

 

I have been on shore but once, we have been

busy, the shlp will not go into Dock for some time. On

Monday I think we will get clear & on Tuesday I shall leave

for Washington, by way of Richmond & Fredericksburg, rather

than wait until Sunday for the Washington bat.  When I

arrive there, I will write again, do not write until you

hear from me, as I do not know whether I can remain in

Washington, though I think it is almost certain, that I

shall.  I have been greatly interrupted in writing this,

& have not time to detail some few incidents that would

amuse you, next time you shall have them.  with a great

deal of love to all, kisses to Elly & Hal

 

I am your most affectionate Brother

Wm Reynolds

 

Miss L.M. Reynolds