F&M 18320102 WR to JR Charlestown
U.S. Ship Columbus Receiving Ship
Navy Yard Charlestown Mass
Saturday Evening 2 bells (9 o¹clock)
On Tuesday morning I went to see Mr. Coffin who stays at his brother in laws Mr. Summers he was not at home when I called but Mrs. & [Midsn] Summer were. I left the parcel & letter promising to call again in the afternoon. Went in the afternoon & saw both Mr. Coffin & Mr. Summer. Mr. C is a very pleasant and very cleaver man & all the family have been very kind to me. Mr. & Mrs. Summer bought and had made up my sheets, pillow cases & towels. Mrs. Summer made them. Mr. Coffin assisted me in buying mattress & Pea Jacket. I dined with them on Wednesday and supped there last evening.
Commod. Morris invited me to dine with him on Thursday last. I went there, in full dress, and found Lieutenant Dale of the Peacock Mdsn Brent & Crawford also of the P-K, 3 Surgeons attached to the yard and vessels, all in full uniform. Commod was also in full dress, Mrs. Morris and two of her daughters made the company very agreeable.
Last evening I went to Mr. Everetts, to a family party, there were of all ages, boy & girls, gentlemen & ladies. I was obliged to leave them early as the gate of the yard is closed at ½ past ten (5 bells).
On Wednesday Evening I left the Fremont House & came aboard this vessel where I will remain until the Commodore orders us on the Boxer. I put my mattress in a cot & sling it up to the ceiling (or rather a boy does it), where I sleep very comfortable. A cot is made of stuff similar to the sacking – bottoms being raised at the head, side & feet. A hammock is made of the same material, shaped like a bag, no room to turn around. We live very comfortable here, in the mess, Hazard Greenwood, Gee, Prentiss belonging to this Ship & Brown, Crawford for the Peacock and myself Mdn Hurst, Parrott & DeCamp have reported for the Boxer but stay in Boston.
The box is 93 feet long & 24 feet 8 in beam. Tonnage 170 tons Length of the steerage (our apartment) 6 ft 8 in Height 5 ft 6: there are 4 berths, two on each side, 6 ft long and 22 inches wide. The lockers are under the seats running fore and aft large enough to hold all my clothes. The entrance to the spirits room is in the center of the steerage, & will be a great deal of inconvenience to us, every time they want grog they will have to come into our residence. But take it on the whole it is the best fitted up Vessel in the Navy. She will have 3 lieutenants 6 middies & 80 or 90 men. Commod Morris thinks she will not sail for 3 months & this morning Capt Abbot com¹dg this ship, ordered us youngsters, to be upon duty here until we go aboard the Boxer.
Sunday morning 5 bells (1/2 past 10)
I left off last night about 5 bells & turned in. every morning at 8 bells the cot boys come down call us, we turn out and they take the cots up on deck, where they remain until 8 bells in the evening when they bring them down & sling them up, at that time all the lights & fires are put out & the men turn in.
I must explain to you the way we count time here. At ½ past 8 o¹clock in the morning, they strike one bell, (by the glass) at 9. 2 bells at ½ 9. 3 bells and so on until 12 o¹clock, which is 8 bells at ½ past 12, they commence one bell and etc. until 4 o¹clock which is 8 bells also, then 1 bell & so on.
This morning at 2 bells ( 9 o¹clock) the men were mustered & marched to church which is held in the Sail Loft, at the time of muster Captn Abbot, told all those who wanted their grog stopped & take pay for it to step forward, out of 80 men I believe but one stopped his grog: In our mess we have not a drop of Liquor of any kind nor do we intend to have any.
If you can find the Phil Gazette of July which contains the story of a midshipman¹s life, please send it on.
After sunset no officer is permitted to pass from the ship or out of the yard, without giving the watch word. None of the men are permitted to leave the ship or yard unless in company with an officer to pass them out. We have to trudge to the gate 6 or 7 times every evening through the snow, to pass the men out. It has snowed almost every day since I have been here it is now more than a foot deep.
Your affectionate son
John Reynolds Esq