Military Through the Ages, Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, Virginia

josephine

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

Friday, 28, April 1719
I stood on the deck as the Archangel moor’d just off of the western shore of Ile de Ré around midday. As the crewe load’d the boats, which would ferry the burial party and our necessary goods ashore, I could not help but admire the beauty of the island. Somewhere in my mind, I recall’d being a little girl and overhearing my father talk about the religious siege that took place long ago on the island. It was hard to believe that such a beautiful spot held such a violent past. My thoughts were broken by the Master Gunner’s voice calling me to his side. It was time to go disembark.
Those of us going ashore climb’d into the boats and made our way to the beach, along with several injured and two dead crewe members, one of whom was Lieutenant Hazzard. Images of the most recent battle in the Mediterranean flash’d through my mind and I shuddered as I tried to remove it from my head. The cloudy weather add’d to the somber mood as we work’d to set up camp and build a fire before darkness fell. The dead men were laid out under a canopy within our camp, the Lieutenant in his burial clothes and the seaman in his hammock. The Archangel, having suffer’d minor damages during an attempt on a merchant ship during our latest conflict, the War of Quadruple Alliance in the Mediterranean, made way for La Rochelle on the mainland for quick repairs. Although we hope it to be a short stay, the officers intend to remain until the wounded, the captain being one of such, recuperate. We had removed several great guns from the ship when we left, bringing them on shore with us as a means of protection. Having set up camp and eaten a light dinner, we have retired to our tents for the night. Tomorrow begins the burial process.

Saturday, 29 April, 1719
We awoke early, as there was much work to be done, and found that the weather had deteriorated further. The clouds overhead open’d up around mid-morning, forcing several crewe members to maintain the fire and the rest of us to move as much of our chores under canvas as possible. I, myself, moved my basket under the canopy with the doctor and the dead, and began attending to my remedies. Josephine and Matt by the fire With the injured members of the crewe among us, I was only too happy to assist Dr. Geiger. I had brought along several simple herbal physicks for injuries, both internal and external, and spent the day prepping the herbs and administering them to the crewe members who were in need. Doctor Geiger was prepared to amputate if necessary, but thankfully the amputation needs were few. The Master Gunner, Dorian Lasseter, and the Master at Arms, Constable Heartless, maintained the guns and kept a close eye on the sea for any Spanish ships that may appear. The Bosun and the blacksmith were busy throughout the day making repairs that would be needed once we were back on board the Archangel,

Adam making nails

while Mister Merriweather the Younger attended to the food with the assistance of Mister Merriweather the Elder, our pilot Matty Black Horse, and ABS Atlas. Fionn and Sean at lunch Captain Sterling had received a wound to the head, when a powder chest on the quarterdeck accidently ignited during our last encounter, and was being given time to relax near the fire while the wound healed. The Capitaine’s Steward, Fionntan Murtaugh, managed to have Mon Capitaine kept comfortable, fed, and even had him seated a couple times throughout the day. This is no small task!
Although we were standing on French soil, I felt out of place. I missed my home, my brother, and my father, but having been away for so long I now wonder’d if I could even continue to call it home. I found that I had grown attach’d to the crewe of the Archangel, and I was looking forward to returning with them to England and resting up from our endeavors in the Mediterranean. I do not believe that I will ever grow accustom’d to battle, and to losing members of our crewe. How lucky these men are to receive a proper burial! (and how fortunate we are as well that they shall be well grounded)The Lieutenant being an officer, Mon Capitaine did all in his power to find land in which to bury the body. Burial at sea, where the fish and other sea creatures destroy your remains, makes it impossible for you to enter heaven upon your death. The crewe always makes every effort to find land when an officer dies. The seaman that we are burying was brought along as we were already burying one; we figured we should bury the other on land as well. Had it been just the seaman who passed, he would have been sent to the depths. It is all just too horrible to imagine. I hope their remains will rest easy, as both being Protestant, they have been turned away from our Catholic cemeteries on the main land.
The rain has picked up, and exhaustion is setting in. Tomorrow, we bury the dead, and soon, the wounded permitting, return to the Archangel.

J. Otte © 2013 All rights reserved

special thanks to Krystian Williams for her photographs

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