April 23, 1866

Journal Entry 10: April 1866

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

Apr. 23: "Last night it blew very hard, she took a sea in that filled the decks nearly full and like to washed a man overboard, notwithstanding she is a very dry ship.....This P.M. I have been picking AlbertrossAlbatross "Albertross"

A large, web-footed sea bird with long, slender wings for gliding. The albatross is among the largest sea birds.
(sic) in the cabin. The wind has been very moderate all day."

Apr. 24: "A few days ago Mrs. Harriman took our platter away from us for fear we would break them so we have given up our mugs also and got some tin pots made out of preserved meat cans; I wished I had a tin plate and a knife, fork, and spoon. If I had known things were going on in this way I would have looked out first as for a dish to put your grub in; we do not need any for you can hold all you get in the palm of your hand, poorest kind at that. I suppose they think that as long as we have got such a nice chance to live that grub is of no account to us, but give me the forecastle and they may have their officers house; we were the boys that were agoing to learn navigation, all of the (?) that we learn is to navigate a scouring rag over the binnacleBinnacle

A case that supports and protects the ship's compass.
and capstanCapstan

A machine used on board ship to provide mechanical power to raise the anchor, hoist yards, or lift heavy weights. The capstan consists of a cast-steel barrel mounted on a vertical spindle and smallest in diameter around the middle, to allow for the rope to wind up or down as the capstan is turned. At the top of the barrel, capstan bars are fitted into slots (pigeon holes) to allow sailors to turn the capstan.
, never mind it is more work for me....I have learned how to furlFurl

To take in the sails of a vessel and secure them with gaskets. In the case of square-rigged ships, to haul in on the clew-lines and buntlines and roll sails up to the yards. In the case of fore-and-aft rigs, to lower and secure sails to the boom or stays.
a skysailSkysail Sky sail

On a square rigged vessel, a small square sail above the royal.
and work dead reckoningDead reckoning

Navigating by applying courses and distances made through the water from the last known observed position. The term dead could be a form of "ded" from "deduced" reckoning.
, that is doing well for three months out. As my days space is full I shall have to bring this interesting Epistle to a close."

Apr. 26: "This noon we did not get our duffDuff

A boiled or steamed pudding, usually containing dried fruit.
(as it has been several times before) but sent us down what they called rice soup. I tasted of it and renamed it dish water. I suppose they thought as we are three months out today we could afford to fast. I notice there are a good many such days; I can stand it nine days without anything to eat, may god speed her on her way."

Apr. 27: "This morning for breakfast we had hash and hard tackHard tack

A hard biscuit baked without salt made of wheat flour and water. It became very hard and would keep for a long time. While it could be made on ship, it was more commonly bought in barrels.
, for dinner bean soup (dish water), hard tack, and salt horseSalt horse

Beef that is preserved in salt and packed in casks for carrying on sea voyages.
, a fair specimen of our grub. When we get hash I could eat every bit of it but it is sent here for six; we have got such poor grub that Ross is sick for the second tme on account of it. I have seen the time that I have turned up my nose at bread and butter and mother told me that I might see the time that I would be glad to get it. I see that time now."

Apr. 28: "Yesterday was the first day that I have not my oil clothes day or night for three weeks. Tonight we got fish hash and three warm biscuits, pretty good."

Apr. 29: "Out of the last twenty four hours I have had two hours sleep, the life of a sailor. The harder it blows, the less sleep."