August 12-27, 1866

Journal Entry 17: August 1866

Highlights from the Journal of Edwin Mitchell, Vol. I:

Aug. 12: "At four the tug came and towed us to sea. We set all sail, got through about eleven o'clock, I was about tired of being ashore and glad to get to sea again, especially in a homeward bound passage. We have only sixteen men, a very small crew. When we were coming out of the harbor we ran into a schoonerSchooner

A sailing vessel of two or more masts, all fore-and-aft rigged. The Thomas W. Lawson, built in 1902, had seven masts. In comparison to a square-rigged vessel of comparable tonnage, a schooner is better for coastwise sailing.
and broke our anchor block and carried away her main boomBoom

A long spar extending from the foot of a mast to hold or extend the foot of a sail.

Aug. 14: "Coming out they did make out to give the sailors some slops for coffee but this passage they do not get that....we have fared rather better so far. We have had butter every meal as yet from the time we arrived in port, but after today we are not agoing to get any, only Sunday mornings. That is oftener than I expected."

Aug. 16: "I took into my head last night to learn to steer so I went to the wheel and the man learned me to steer. I know that the Capt. or Mate would not learn me so I thought it was best to never ask them."

Aug. 17: "We have not had a clear day since leaving port. The carpenter is corkingCaulk caulking, corking

To drive oakum or cotton into the seams of a vessel's deck or sides, to make it watertight. After the oakum is driven in with a caulking iron or mallet, the seam is "payed" or coated with hot pitch or other compound to prevent the oakum from rotting.
the ship outside."

Aug. 18: "I took a trick at the wheel last night, steered very nice for a green hand; the wind was like Paddy's Hurricane up and down the mast."

Aug. 20: "Mrs. Harriman sent us down a pear apiece, quite generous. We fare much better than we did on the passage out, I hope we shall continue to."

Aug. 21: "Mrs. Harriman sent us down another plate of pears for dinner, getting quite generous."

Aug. 22: "The Steward is sick, Bill is acting in his place. I sent aft for some sulphurSulphur

A non-metallic element used in the chemical and paper industries; also used in medicine to treat skin diseases. Usually spelled "sulfur" in the United States and "sulphur" in Britain.
to take as I have not taken any since leaving home. They sent about two or three doses, not enough to physicPhysic

A medicinal agent, or medication. Also used as a verb meaning to practice medicine or healing.
a cat."

Aug. 27: "The Capt. asked me if I had been keeping the ship's reckoning this voyage, I told him I had not. He thought it very strange, he says we have got to begin when we leave the ChinchasChincha Islands Chinchas

A group of three small islands 12 miles off the southwest coast of Peru. North Island is the largest. The Islands are composed of granite cliffs, worn into many caves and hollows that make ideal nesting places for sea birds. Consequently, the islands became covered with guano, the droppings of sea birds that collected over many years' time. In 1840 the Peruvian government began to export guano, which was used for fertilizer. The supply was exhausted by 1874.
; I think it is only talk but I hope not."