Log of the Whaler Sheffield - Pt. 5

Footnotes to Long Island History

MAY 19 1749


Thomas R. Bayles


 (Editor's Note: This is the last of five articles which Thomas R. Bayles has adapted from the log of the old whaler Sheffield. They describe events of a voyage out of Cold Spring Harbor from 1845-1848)  

       "Saturday, March 21, 1848. Fresh gales from the east and squally weather at 10 a.m. came in collision with the bark Oster, carrying away larboard foreyard arm, larboard quarter and waist boats, and stove in our quarter. All hands employed repairing damage; carelessness."

        "Monday, the 17th. Came to, supposing ourselves to be in the straits of Korea, violent winds from the south, carrying all possible sail to keep off lee shore."

       "Thursday, the 20th. Saw a number of right whales. Struck and killed one. Sunk him.

       The term "sunk him" occurs often in the diary. If the whale sank the lines were cut to prevent the boat from being drawn under and of course the whale was lost.

       "Thursday, the 27th. Chased whale a number of times, no success. Spoke ship Fannie of Sag Harbor. Three whales this cruise."

       "Tuesday, the 30th. Saw the coast of Tartary, bearing north by west."

       "Saturday, July 1st, 1848. Stowed down 2,850 gallons oil in the steerage."

       The steerage was used as quarters for the boat steerers, and as a general store room and when oil was stowed there it showed that the main holds of the ship were about full.

       "Tuesday, July 4th. A day that is dear to every American. Employed in boiling out oil."

       Saturday Aug. 23rd. At sundown came to near the narrows. Cross and recross through the night. At 8 in the morning pass the last point in the straits and steer for the Sandwich Islands. God be praised."

       "Tuesday, Sept. 5th. At 1 at night took in light sails and came to. At sunrise saw the west point of Momer, distance of twenty four miles. At sundown came 10 anchor off Lahaina roads. Found the Richmond of Cold Spring here, and two other ships. and we thank God for conducting as in safety."

       "Monday, Oct. 23rd, Set up rigging and bent new sails preparatory to rugged weather. Fair winds carried the good ship Sheffield merrily along towards Cape Horn."

       "Thursday, November, 16th. One of our hogs delivered of seven pigs. Shipped a sea, stove one of our boats..."

       "Friday, Nov. 17th. Rugged rainy weather. Pigs all dead. Ship rolling very deep."

       "Saturday, Nov. 18th. Moderating. Turned a reef out fore topsail and set full main topsail. At night another of our hogs was delivered of nine fine pigs. Latter part night windy. Double reefed topsails and sent down royal yards."

       "Monday, January, 1st, 1849. A new year has dawned upon us. At 2 o'clock at night changed our course to west by north for Pernambuco. At 8 a.m. came to anchor in the outer roads and sent two boats ashore with casks for water."

       "Thursday, Jan 4th. Shaped our course for New York."

       "Sunday, Jan. 28th, Slicking up things for port. At 3p.m. Sandy Hook bore north 25 degrees west, distance 745 miles."

       "Wednesday, Jan 31st. Tore down the try works and threw them over board."

       "Monday, Feb. 5th, Wind northeast cold rain."

       "Tuesday, Feb 6th. At night weather clearing up. Sounded, found 24 fathoms."

       "Wednesday, Feb. 7th, At 4 pm took a Sandy Hook pilot. Bent the chains; all ready for port. At 7 made the lights on the Highlands. At 7 in the morning took a steamer, came to the dock at the foot of Jefferson street, and made all fast. Our voyage is up at last.

"Egbert A. Reeves ship Sheffield."

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