March 18, 1866

Journal Entry 6: March 1866

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

Mar. 18: "Today I have done some washing and mending. Some of the boys saw a GrampusGrampus

A marine mammal resembling a dolphin but without a beaked snout. Historically, the term grampus was sometimes used to refer to a killer whale.
. Nothing of importance happened today."

Mar. 19: "This P.M. we have been at work lashing and making everything secure for bad weather."

Mar. 20: "This A.M. at eight Oclock a sail hoveHove Heave

To throw.
in sight on our western bow, at twelve we came up with her and signalized her, it was a Dutch BrigBrig

Vessel with two masts; both square-rigged.
bound for MontevideoMontevideo

The capital city of Uruguay, a country north of Argentina, on the Atlantic coast of South America.
....This P.M. the wind is breezing up again; the Capt. is having fine sport catching Sea Gulls with a hook and line."

Mar. 22: "The boys in the other watch saw a sea-serpent under the stern, he was about eight -feet long and the size of a snake...The men are engaged in 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 deck."

Mar. 25: "Got the Life of General Lyon from the ship's library and find it very interesting."

Mar. 27: "Here we are sixty days out and not around Cape StiffCape Stiff

Sailors' nickname for Cape Horn.
and God only knows when we shall be."

Mar. 28: "There has been a large school of Porpoise along side and the Capt. hove the harpoon into four of them and got him almost aboard but the harpoon drew out and he lost him. At the same time we saw a large flock of birds, there were so many that the air and water were black with them. The sailors all say that tit was the largest flock that they ever saw; a there were all kinds from a mother carey's chickenMother Carey's chicken mother caries chicken

Sailors' nickname for the storm petrel, a sea bird.
up to an albatrossAlbatross "Albertross"

A large, web-footed sea bird with long, slender wings for gliding. The albatross is among the largest sea birds.

Mar. 29: "This A.M. I have been a knotting rope yarns, the men have been holystoningHolystone

A soft sandstone used to scrub the deck of a wooden ship. The word can be used as a noun or as a verb.
. That sail that I saw from aloft on Monday has been in company with us ever since, she is now about a mile off. The Cap't. has signalized; it is a French BarkBark

A sailing vessel with three masts; square-rigged on the fore and main masts and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzen.
from BordeauxBordeaux

A port city in southwestern France.
bound to San Francisco, sixty days out."

Mar. 30: "There was a full eclypse (sic) of the moon which lasted about an hour....For the last thirty hours I have had twenty-eight of them on deck.'

Mar. 31: "We keep in company with the Bark pretty well although she can whip us, in fact most anything can that has a hull and a little piece of canvas. The Ivanhoe was a big thing on little wheels in New York but at sea she is not what she was cracked up to be."