F&M                           18320109 WR to JR Boston

 

U.S. Ship Columbus Receiving

Ship Charleston Navy Yard Mass

 

Dear Father

 

    I received your kind letter on Friday last, the steerage was being scrubbed out & I was standing on the quarter deck listening to the officers of the ship who were giving some orders to the men when your letter was put in my hands by the Commodore¹s runner.  I was a little out of spirits, but I soon recovered them, after reading your letter.  The following is the mode, which I intend to pursue; on the evening of every day to write down the occurrences of every day in the manner of a journal, at the end of the week, send them to you, and you will know how I am employed:  Here goes ______________

 

³Monday Morning² Jany 2nd  turned out at 8 bells, after breakfast, when over the yard with Midn Brown; in the rigging aloft, sail aloft, ship housed etc etc, when we came back to the rec¹g ship I found a new midshipman, Midn Mercer, who had just reported for the Boxer he had been on one cruise, after dinner went over to Boston, to Mr. Summers brought with two pair sheets & 2 towels, which they had made for me.

 

Awoke on ³Tuesday Morning² at 6 bells, with a terrible toothache which kept a tight hold on me all day, could not get any sleep, until morning, and then very little.  Turned out

 

³Wednesday morning² at 8 bells, toothache not so bad as day before, but still paining a little, cheek swelled very much kept close all day, had a fine turkey for dinner.  I eat very hearty of it & when done toothache gone.  Rec¹d orders from the Commodore to report to Captn Abbot for duty on his vessel between sunset and sunrise & to the commanding officer of the Boxer for duty on her during the day reported to Capt Abbot did not receive any orders this day:  about 6 o¹clock saw 3 men get ³a dozen² each for making fire without permission, after supper 2 more rec¹d a dozen for getting drunk, they were lashed by the Boatswain¹s Mate.

 

  On Thursday morning turned out at 8 bells, cheek still swelled after Breakfast went over to Boston, called for the dirk I bought last week, but left it to have another handle put on it, it is handsome about 15 inches long, shape of a dagger, belt of blue webbing $6 for dirk $4 for the Belt.  When I returned to the ship I rec¹d orders from Capt Abbot to keep a regular watch, every evening, on the spar deck during my stay on this vessel, attended to serving out the grog to the men, mustered them and sent them to different parts of the yard to work, went twice outside of the gate with some men for water, wearing uniform and side arm by order of Lieut Freelon.  Did not keep watch this evening turned out on ³Friday Morning² at 8 bells, weather unpleasant, snow & rain, read most of the morning, just before dinner was sent by Lieut Freelon, with 5 prisoners, to see to them, while they washed their hammock (I wore side arms), after dinner went to see Mr. Dunlap at this office in Charleston, he read the letter, said he was very glad to see me etc.  Talked a great deal about Mr. Buchanan, his child had died lately & his house shut up, him & his wife live in Boston at her fathers, where he invited me to call as often as convenient.  This evening ³walked the deck² from 9 until 12 o¹clock.  On ____________ ³Saturday morning² went over to Boston; Called on Mr. Green, Mr. Thatcher, Mr. Blake and Mr. Everett, saw only Mr. Blake, the others were not at home.  Mr. Blake was just going to the Legislature, of which he is member, therefore I could not stay long.  He said he was very sorry but I would have to excuse him, he would be very glad to see me as often as convenient, went to Mr. Summers to dine after dinner came back to ship, turned in at 8 bells, out at 8 bells in the morning (4 o¹clock) walked the deck 2 hours turned in again and slept 2 more hours at 9 o¹clock on ³Sunday morning² at 9 o¹clock all hands went to prayers in the Sail Loft, the pulpit was covered with the American Flag, wore uniform as did all the other officers, when prayers were over the Commod told me if I wished to go to church I should call a his house at 10 o¹clock and he would find me a seat, Midn Crawford and myself went, with the Commodore & his daughter, returned to the Commodore¹s house & dined there after dinner Commod told us some stories of his sea life, at 2 o¹clock went to hear a sermon in the Sail Loft, all the persons belonging to the yard were there Marines, sailors, officers & all.  Came to ship, eat supper and turned to spinning this yarn the account of the first week of my Sailor¹s Life.

 

  I will not want much summer clothing, to take with me as where we are going we can procure light stuffs for half the price they sell for here and there are always tailors on the ships, also shoemakers etc.  We will not go round Cape Horn but the Cape of Good Hope from there to Sumatra & those Islands.  As to the laying in stores – we wall draw our ration money, say for a month, before we sail, but all together and buy stores to last us until we reach the next port, where we do the same & so on, so that we can have such living as we prefer, should the stores run out we would then draw from the Ship¹s Stores.  I think I shall be able to get along very well now with my earnings.  My traveling allowance came to $40 odd with which the months pay now due me.  ($26.50) I think will be sufficient.  I have purchased a Pea Jacket, very handsome and of excellent stuff for $14.  Two vests of white  [Massirllers] making trimmings & stuff $7.50.  Cocked hat  & leather cap (in preference to a [       ]) $12 – disk & belt $10 a pair shoes $1.75 & I will have to get a pair of boos soon a black stock $1.50.  I believe that is all:  of importance

 

  My sore feet I believe was occasioned by wearing the Indian Rubbers, it always pains me after wearing them 3 or 4 hours.  The Commodore told me today, he thought we would not have a chaplain, he was not certain,  but it was most probable we would not have one.

 

  Trunks are not allowed on board, indeed,  if they were, there would be no where to put them after we all get in our little steerage there will be little room to turn around.  I can sell it for $5.00.

 

  Mr. Coffin, Mr. [Leib] & Mdsn Sumner have been very kind to me.  Mr. Coffin has been very attentive in assisting me to purchase articles and giving me advice he has been sailing in the East Indies himself and knows what is wanting.  [Leib] & Midsn Sumner have had 8 towels 3 pillow cases 4 pr sheets made for me & tell me I must consider myself at home with them.

 

  My yarn has been so long, I think it is now time to stop, I wish you all a happy new year.  Tell Saml I shall be very glad to hear from him.  Let me know how John & Jim came on about the new years money, remember me to all enquiring friends and wishing you all health, peace, plenty and prosperity.

 

                                                                        I remain your affectionate son

                                                                        Wm Reynolds  U.S. Navy

 

Excuse mistakes reefers around me are making a terrible noise.

 

                        Pea Jacket ------------- 14

                        Two Vests -------------   7.50

                        Chapeau & Cap ------- 12

            [     ]    Dirk & Belt  4 --------- 10

                        Shoes -------------------   1.75

                        Stock -------------------    1.50

                                                              46.75

 

John Reynolds Esq

Lancaster Penna