"Cruise of the Old U. S. Frigate Constitution (Old Ironsides) Around the World,

Captain John Percival, U. S. Navy, 1844 - 1845 - 1846,"

by D. H. Lynch, Midshipman,

in A Guide to and History of U.S. Frigate Constitution ("Old Ironsides"),

anon., Worcester: R. E. McIntyre, 1931

 

†††† I believe I am the last of the Officers living, who served in the dear old ship, on her cruise around the world, to almost unknown parts at that time; and a reminiscence might be interesting to some of the present generation.

 

†††† In March 1844, I had just returned from a Winter's cruise in the Sloop of War Falmouth, Capt. Joshua Sands, (Fighting Josh[)] --; a youngster of 13 years, I had been appointed Acting Midshipman & Aide on board of his ship,-- Sailing from New York Sept. 1843, we made the cruise through the West Indies, returning to Norfolk February 1844--Soon after I was appointed Aide to Captain John Percival (Mad Jack) of the frigate CONSTITUTION, then fitting out at the Norfolk, Va., Navy Yard for a cruise around the world [sic: this occurred in the late fall of 1844]--After getting the ship ready for sea, she went in commission April, 1844, hoisting the Ensign and Pennant of Capt. John Percival -- Amasa Paine, 1st Lieut. James Alden -- 2nd Lieut., with as fine a set of officers and one of the smartest crews I have ever seen on board ship -- (and I have seen many since then( --

 

†††† At the time it was proposed to send the ship to sea, by the Navy Department, the Construction Dept. wanted an enormous amount of money to fit her out [sic: $70,000]--After looking over the CONSTITUTION at Norfolk our noble old Captain went to Washington, and stated he would fit her out, and take her around the World, for a comparatively small expenditure [sic: $10,000 for outfitting]--After mature deliberation his request was granted, and selecting his Officers, after two months work she was reported ready for sea--†† We sailed from Norfolk for New York, May 1844, arriving there in three days, and anchored off the Battery, close to the old Line of Battle Ship NORTH CAROLINA Receiving ship [sic: the voyage required 16 days in April]--Here we remained for a month awaiting arrival of the Honorable Henry A. Wise, the appointed Minister to Brazil --- South America, who was, with his family to take passage with us to Rio de Janeiro--While waiting, the old ship was visited daily, by throngs of people who had heard of, but never see OLD IRONSIDES--With the band playing and young people dancing, our days passed pleasantly--How few of them are now living.

 

†††† June 4th [sic: May 29th] all being ready for sea, our passengers came on board, the party consisting of Honorable Henry A. Wise, wife, children and servants -- also Mr. John Sargent, his Secretary of Legation--We were soon underweigh, and sailed out of the Port of New York, the ship working under her canvas, as there were no Tug-boats in those days [sic: she was towed out by steamer Hercules].After discharging the Pilot, with a parting cheer [sic: exchanged with the inbound shop of the line Columbia], and a last look at the Highlands, we started off on our long cruise -- "A Voyage Around The World"--††† We arrived at Funchal, Madeira, our first stopping Port, after a pleasant trip--The usual visit to the Officials having been made, our passengers went on shore, as guests at the Mansion of our Consul, Mr. March, whose hospitality to all is well known--†††† Here we spent a week, during which time, the Officers were entertained by the Elite of the place, visiting all points of interest, and enjoying every houró

 

†††† Passengers all aboard we bade farewell to the kind people of Funchal and started for Teneriffe [sic], arriving at Santa Cruz having had "Trade Winds" all the way, and saw the Peak of Teneriffe looming up above the clouds--Finding no accommodations at the Hotels here our passengers remained on board ship in their roomy cabins during our week's stay--The Officers made daily trips ashore, some of them ascending the Peak--Not finding much of interest here, we were glad to leave for Rio de Janeiro in company with a French Man of War [sic: the corvette Berceau]--Our sailing qualities were so even that the ships were never out of sight of each other from the time we left Santa Cruz until we anchored in the harbor of Rio de Janeiro sic: in reality, the two separated south of the Canary Islands, and only regained contact on the morning they both entered Rio].I am unable to give the exact dates, having lost my Journal when ship wrecked off the coast of China in 1854 [sic: arrived Rio 2 August 1844]--One of the pleasant incidents of our trip, was the visit of Old Neptune, on our crossing the "Line"--Capt. Percival who was an old friend of his Majesty's, was expecting a visit from him, and accordingly, everything was in readiness--The night before we crossed, the ship was hailed from the Port side, and ordered to be hove to--According to orders from the Captain the Courses hauled up, Topsail laid aback, and waited--Over the bow, came an object, half man, half fish, who demanded to see the Captain--He was escorted to the Quarter Deck, and word was sent in by the officer of the deck to the Captain who came out, and enquired by whose authority the ship was ordered to stop on the High seas--Thereupon the halfman and half-fish presented his instructions from Father Neptune, which after reading Captain Percival acknowledged--The bearer was taken into the cabin and presented to Mr. Wise and family--Seeing a decanter of Brandy on the table the old fish seized it and said he would take the whole of it, as he carried a tank in his insides, which held enough for himself an[d] his master Neptune.After stating that his Majesty would be on board the next day, and make an official call, and an Inspection he took his departure as he had come over the bow--At 10 A.M. the next day [sic: 9 A.M., according to LT John B. Dale's journal], the ship was again hailed and ordered to hove to, which was done, and over the bow came a very old seadog, with long white seaweed hair and beard, with his suite consisting of a scribe, a Barber, a Latherer, and several assistants--A gun carriage was placed at his disposal, on which he was dragged to the Quarter-deck--†††† On reaching the Main Mast Captain Percival receive[d] him, bidding him welcome, and renewing their old friendship--Neptune requested that all the ship's crew an[d] passengers should be mustered, so that his scribe could take off the names of those who had never been in his Dominions, and owed Tribute, then he entered the cabin for some of the stuff that he liked, and where Mr. & Mrs. Wise, were presented, and granted Pratique.The Secretary of Legation Mr. Sargent, could not be found, but he was afterwards discovered by the Detectives, as will be told later--On returning to the Quarter-deck, the Officers & crew were all mustered, and those who owed Tribute, were taken in charge by the Staff and escorted to the Fore Mast, where a platform had been erected over the Boom-cloth, which was hauled out to the stanchions and filled with water three or four feet deep--As the names were called, each one in turn was conducted to the platform, on which sat Neptune with his assistants--On being questioned and answers taken down, the Barber proceeded to lather with a Mop, his subjects, and the shaving followed, after which the victims were tumbled into the water and Baptized--All hands went through this ceremony even to Mrs. Wise's little baby, whom Old Neptune took from his Mother's arms and Christened, but without giving it a bath--"No more" said Old Neptune."Yes Sir" answered his Chief of Staff, "there is still on the ship one who cannot be found.""Let the ship be searched" said Neptune "and I command you Captain Percival, as an old seaman to give me all the assistance in your power, to find the missing man who is Skulking."The culprit proved to be the Secretary of Legation, (but hat did not save him) he was found hidden away in his room--He was brought on deck, and taken to the platform, where sat Neptune with Captain Percival, he remonstrated and told the later, he "would make a report to the Navy Department and have him Court-Martialed [sic]; he was seized however and lathered with an extra quantity of soap, shaved, and tossed backwards into the water; in falling he managed to get hold of the Captain, who fell with him, and the latter in return gave him a good ducking [sic: Lt Dale tells it differently]--Thus ended the last Reception accorded to Neptune for many years, as Mr. Sargent made such representations tothe Government, of the disgraceful treatment that he had received at the hands of the Officers & crew that the Navy Department stopped the practice, and it was many years before the old play was again enacted.Old Neptune and his suite were invited into the cabin & handsomely entertained by the Captain and his Officers, with Mr. & Mrs. Wise; they enjoyed the good things, then formed a procession and escorted by the Captain and Marine Guard, with t he Band playing marched to the Bow, where Neptune wished us Bon Voyage, granted the ship "free pratique" to all waters, and took his departure to unknown partsó

 

†††† Sail was made again and we continued our course to Rio de Janeiro still in company with the French Sloop of War [sic: as noted above, they rejoined just on the morning of arrival]--Made Cape Frio, rounded the Sugar Loaf, and sailed up the harbor, we anchored off Rat Island, where the store house was located, and found we had for neighbors, the U.s. Men of War, Frigate CONGRESS, Capt. Van Voorhees, & Sloop PLYMOUTH, Capt. Henry--After customary visits salutes, etc., our passengers bade us Adieu & took up their residence at the American Legationó

 

†††† We spent a month at this delightful port [sic: more than 5 weeks] making visits to all points of interest, entertaining and being entertained--We were very busy during this time, refitting the ship, and painting the hull, lead color [sic: white lead] with a red streak.This may seem curious to some of the present generation of seamen but it showed great forethought on the part of the worthy old Captain, who was true sailor, and had the interests of his Officers & crew at heart--Knowing that our cruise was to be in the hottest climate, his idea was to keepthe ship cool, which proved correct -- although on this account, our ship was reported in the newspapers of the day, as being an Arab slave ship on the coast of Madagascar.

 

†††† Reported ready for sea, stores, water, etc., ll on board, we bade farewell to the Officers of CONGRESSand PLYMOUTH and were towed out to the Sugar Loaf--At thattime, they only way for a vessel to be taken out of the harbor was to be towed by all the available boats from the different ships at anchor there -- a very pretty sight--made all sail for our long voyage across the South Atlantic.Now began the usual routine of duties, gun exercises, drilling with cutlasses and sticks, sparring, and other work, to keep up discipline--Our first land seen was the Island of Tristan D'Acunha, a dreary almost inaccessible mass of granite.We intended to land, but a gale from the South West, compelled our keeping away before it, & heading for the Cape of Good Hope, which we passed, steering up the East coast of Africa for Madagascar, we entered the Mozambique Channel and shaped our course for St. Augustine Bay on the west coast--There we anchored, found it a splendid bay, very safe, here we remained ten days [sic: five], purchasing bullocks, yams, fruit, etc., & watered ship--Beautiful shells, among them Queen Conks [sic: conches] harps, and many others of different kinds, were found here, & I brought a quantity home--At this time all our fresh water, was carried in gang casks (no iron tanks at this day) [sic: the ship had carried both since 1821] these were hoisted out and towed on shore, filled and then brought back in the same manner--We found no signs of civilization, natives being wild black Negroes, but perfectly civil and willing to help at work of any kind.

 

†††† Here the Sailing Master Passed Midshipman J. G. Strain [sic: Isaac G. Strain], surveyed the Harbor.We found here plenty of delicious tropical fruit, Mangoes, Dates, Bananas, Oranges, etc., all very cheap for a string of glass beads one could buy enough to fill a boat--After filling up with water, we got underweigh, for the settlement of Mozambique, a Portuguese colony, on the East coast of Africa, the headquarters of the slave trade--Arrived there after three day sail [sic: five] paid the usual visits of ceremony, found it a dirty squalid place, remained here only a day or two--We then crossed the channel again, and anchored in the beautiful bay of Majunga [sic: Bembatooka].Here we found a large settlement [sic: Majunga], and natives very friendly--(At this time no Europeans were settled on the Island of Mozambique, with the exception of Nos.Be.)Here we watered ship again [sic: the ship watered at Nos Be Island, after leaving Majunga], procured bullocks and fresh provisions, very little fruit, as the Dr's forbade its being allowed, afraid of sickness; here we remained a week [sic: three days], giving the crew liberty--One incident took place, which I must mention.The Quarter Watch [sic: 29 men] being on shore for the day, near sun-down boats were sent to bring them off being Captain's Aid, I was ordered to get the Gig ready, on reporting "Gig ready," Captain came on deck, with what we call his fighting coat, no sword, but a heavy Margrove cane [sic], with a large ivory knob--"Get in the boat" was his order, "I will show them how to obey orders"--On landing, it appears some of the crew [sic: 12], had obtained liquor of the country, and refused to go off in the boats.The Captaini entered a hut, and in it were three men, Purser's steward, Boatswain's Mate, and a seaman, all under the influence of liquor."You won't go off eh" said the Captain, "I'll see," with that he brought his cane down on the back of the Boatswain's Mate, who got away.The Purser's steward [sic] in endeavoring to escape ran between the old gentleman's legs, who made a horse of him, riding on his back, and belaboring him with his cane--Getting outside, the steward managed to escape and ran to the water, into which he went followed by the Captain, beating and ducking him--A picture was drawn of this affair and sent to the President with this Inscription "Mad Jack Percival getting his crew on board the CONSTITUTION in the bay of Majunga, Island of Madagascar"--This picture went all over the United States, on the ship's arrival home in 1846.He was beloved by all his officers and crew--Leaving Majunga we went up the coast to Nos Beh a small French settlement at that time, with a few French soldiers and one Officer--One afternoon the Captain ordered the Gig, and we went on shore for a walk; lying on the beach was a large log of wood, the Captain looked at it, sent me back to the ship, to bring the Carpenter and Mate with an axe, on shore, which I did; the log was cut into and found to be a valuable wood; next day Carpenter's gang were sent with saws and tools and cut it up onto planks, out of which the old Captain's coffin was made and his orders were, in case of death before his return home, he was to be brought back in it--In stead of which, the coffin was brought home, full of silks, teas, curios, etc., which he purchased during his cruise--He was eventually buried in that coffin.†† Leaving Nos Beh, we ran up the Mozambique Channel to Zanzibar, where we spent a pleasant two weeks [sic: eight days], visiting the Sultan and being entertained by him.We found only a few Europeans settled there; we visited the Palace, and a lunch was given to the Captain and Officers by the Sultan, where I first tasted the Oriental Sherbet.It was an Eastern lunch, and each Officer on leaving was presented with a small vial of the pure Otter [sic: Attar] of Roses, then very valuable--After a pleasant time, we left for a long trip across the Indian Ocean, stopping at a small island island off the coast, for the examination by the Professor [sic: Naturalist J. C. Reinhardt] of the Guano beds, which were found there [sic: the ship's log records no stops before arriving at Sumatra]--During this long tedious trip Dysentery broke out among the crew, and was so very severe that the Captain gave up his forward cabin to the sick; it was then I witnesses for the first time a burial at sea, that of my Messmate Midshipman Mason who died of the dread disease and was buried with Military Honors, the Frigate being hove to, with light sails, courses clewed up and with Main Top-sail to the Mast, his remains committed to the deep [sic: Midshipman Lucius M. Mason died in January 1845].After thirty days sailing [sic: thirty-eight] we made the Island of Sumatra, and steered for the spice port of Quallah Batto [sic: Kuala Batu] where we went to settle with the Rajah about the treatment of some American ships trading to that Port--. After the settlement of this affair, we proceeded to Soo Soo [sic: Annalabu], for the same purpose, matters amiably arranged, we left for the settlement of Singapore. Passing through the Straits of Malacca, where we arrived safely--This was an English port, where we paid the usual visit of ceremony to the authorities, and our Consul, Mr. Ballestier, who made our visit very pleasant, entertaining the Captain and Officers at his bungalow.It was a very agreeable charge [sic: change] to once again get into civilization, after our long time among the heathen; here we had all the delicacies obtainable, fruits of all kinds, fresh eggs, butter, poultry, fish, beef, etc., etc. at very reasonable prices--The rides out in the suburbs are over beautiful roads kept in perfect order bordered by Cinnamon, Pepper, andNutmeg trees, and in the grounds of the Governor they were especially noticeable, which are situated on a hill in the middle of town--After provisioning, watering, etc., we left for the Island of Borneo--At that time it was almost wholly unsurveyed, the charts being of little use; but feeling our way very carefully we arrived at Sam Bas, on the North Coast [sic: the 90-mile-long Sambas River empties on the west coast], remaining only a couple of days [sic: remained five days, most of which was spent in a boat expedition forty miles up the river to call on the Dutch governor atthe town of the same name; Sailing Master Strain in another boat had surveyed the immediate coast]--Exploring the river Sam Bas, with the boats, found only low swamp ground, so leaving there we proceeded up the coast towards Borneo River, on which the Capital of that portion of the country is situated [sic: the ship had rounded the northwest tip of Borneo and proceeded northeastward to Brunei Bay to call upon the Sultan in his capital of Bandar Sari Begwan]; by proceeding cautiously under easy sail, we suddenly found the ship in a bad fix, we had run into a fairly locked little basin, surrounded by coral reefs., no land in sight--Fortunately found the water shoaling, brought the ship to anchor, out boats, and sounded all around, found the only way out was the channel by which we had entered; had not a good lookout been kept the old CONSTITUTION would have laid her bones on a coral reef on the North coast of Borneo, and the whole country would have censured all on board--By good management we warped her out safely, and proceeded on our way to Borneo River which we reached in safety [sic: this incident occurred after leaving Borneo, enroute to the next port of call].An expedition under the command of Lts. Alden and Cook was sent up the river to the Capital, being absent three or four days [sic: this actually recalls the Sambas River expedition, which involved two or three days; Bandar Sari Begawan is immediately above the mouth of the Brunei River]--Here the time was spent by the Professor making trips and collecting specimens of birds, shells, insects, etc., for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. [Reinhardt's specimens were ordered delivered to the Navy Department; the Smithsonian Institute did not open until 1855]--On return of the Expedition we got underway for China [sic: after fruitless negotiations with the Sultan; as the ship cleared the bay, a paise was made to allow the naturalist to visit Labuan Island].Getting well up the China Sea, towards the coast of Cochin, China, nothing of importance occurring till we anchored in Touron Bay [sic: Danang today]; found it a splendid Bay and safe anchorage--Here we received intelligence from Hue, the Capital than an American Missionary [sic: French Bishop Dominique Lefevre] was in trouble an needed assistance.Captain Percival at once opened communication with the authorities stating that if the Missionary were not at once liberated, he would bombard the Forts, capture the Men-of-War belonging to the King, land his crew, capture the Capital, and take the King prisoner; which he certainly would have done [sic: the last two points are pure exaggeration]--As it was, we captured the Men-of-War, Junks and before we bombarded the Forts, the King sent word that the Missionary would be liberated and sent down to the ship-- This being done [sic: it was not], the Junks were liberated -- we had no Consuls representing our country in any of those unknown places in those days, our Captain being our only representative was literally a King having a roving commission to go where, and to do as he pleased, giving protection to our Flag and people in any part of the World--For these proceedings he received the thanks of the American Government and the Missionary Societies [sic: Percival's actions were condemned by Washington and soured relations with Cochin China for years; the French appreciated Percival's abortive efforts to free their bishop, which their navy subsequently did]--From Touron Bay, we proceeded up to Macao a Portuguese settlement at the entrance to the Canton River, remaining here a couple of days [sic: thirteen]--The American ship RAINBOW passed down, stopped to take our letter-bag, she being bound for New York, where she arrived, bringing the notice of her departure from Canton to her owners in New York, a fact unprecedented--We got underweigh and proceeded up to the Canton River passing the Bogus [sic; Bogue] Forts, arrive at Blenheim Reach, Wampoa [sic]--Here we remained a month [sic: six weeks], received our first mail from home--After visiting City of Canton and other places of interest, being received by the Hong merchants, American and English, and entertained by them with great kindness, among them my dear friends the late Mr. Paul S. Forbes, being atthe head of Messrs Russell & Company and Mr. E. Cunningham in whose service I afterwards served in command of both steamers and sailing ships--Here was where the Captain used the coffin that he had made on the coast of Madagascar, it being lined with lead, was filled with teas, silks, etc., and which was safely delivered to Boston in 1846.While here the ship was painted black with white streak [sic: this had been done at Touron]--After lying several weeks at Rat Blenheim Reach, Wampoa, visiting Canton and other places, we started down the river for Macao, arriving there next day [sic: in four days], and began at once getting in [sic]provisions, etc., from the Naval Store Dept., at that time in charge of a Naval Officer, Mr. E. Barnet.We then stood down the China sea for Manila, which we reached on six days [sic: ten days]--During the passage (this was in August 1845), the ship with light S. West Monsoons, going nicely--One morning at daylight, we sighted eight Men-of-War [sic: six], we were soon in midst of them--Set the Ensign,, and found they were an English squadron.At that time, the Ashburton Treaty was not settled, and having had no news from home, did not know whether it was Peace or War--So light sails taken in, courses hauled up and all hands at Quarters, Guns cast loose, and all preparations made for action--As a sidewheel steamer the STYX [sic: probably Vixen] after speaking the Flag-Ship, came steaming down to us, a boat was lowered, and an Officers [sic] came on board, was ushered into the Cabin and held a conference with Captain Percival--Then came the order, "Secure the Guns, pipe down, and open the Spirit Room and the Hold ["]--Commenced to get up Beef, Bread Stores of all Kinds, not forgetting Whiskey; so instead of fighting, we were getting up supplies for Her British Majesty's Squadron, they were almost out of stores.They had been to Borneo, and were returning to Hong Kong--After finishing [sic: furnishing?] all that was required, taking an order on their Store House at Honolulu we saluted the Admiral, which was returned, we made sail and continued on our way to Manila -- a pleasant episode--As it happened to be the second time old Ironsides [sic] encountered an English squadron at sea [sic: it was at least the third].Arrived safely at Manilla [sic] from Macao, there a splendid large Bay on which is situated he old Spanish City of Manlla [sic], surrounded by a large high wall--After saluting the Spanish Flag, which salute was returned, and exchanging visits with the authorities, we received Pratique, Captain Percival taking up his quarters at the hospitable house of Messrs Russell, Sturges & Co.--Our stay here was made very pleasant by all the Europeans, excursions daily to the interior, visits to the large factories, convents, and to the bazaars of the Chinese, where we saw the elegant Pina goods, so beautiful and fine made from the fibers of Pine Apple leaves--Very expensive -- but we all purchased some for loved ones at home--Balls and parties were given to the Captain and officers, dinners and tiffin and the foreign houses were open to all--Hotels at hat time were unknown in the Far East and the Europeans opened their houses to strangers and only glad to have them as guests-- After three [sic: one] weeks pleasantly passed, we parted with kind friends, they to remain accumulating wealth while we were to continue our trackless way across the Great Deep--Sailing up the China sea to the Bashee [sic: Bashi] Islands, agroup forming a continuous line from Japan to the Equator, with passages from the Pacific Ocean into the China sea, we anchored close to the largest island [sic: Batan Island], and watered ship, purchased Bullocks, Yams, fruits of all kinds, to last cross the Pacific Ocean, until we reached Honolulu Sandwich Islands--After a couple of days sojourn [sic: one], finished watering ship and started out through the Grand Bashee Channel into the Pacific Ocean, steering up to the North East along the East Coast of Formosa Island, making to the Northward, to catch the Westerly winds off the coast of Japan--Only think, atthat time Japan was comparatively unknown--Getting well to the North, off Cape King the entrance to Jeddo Bay [sic: Yedo, or Tokyo, Bay] we caught the West winds and went hurrying off to the East across the Pacific [sic: they actually passed more than sixty miles south of the bay]--Experienced our first mishap.Running before a heavy North West gales, under close reefed Main Top sail, reefed Fore sail and Fore-top mast stay sail, our main Yard carried away in the Slings and such terrible work!Ship rolling with the yard arms trashing, the Main Riffing endangering the Main Mast--However with good seamanship all was secured, and in a short time the spare Main Yard sent up; this was our only accident so far on our cruise [sic: Lynch had forgotten a similar occurrence involving the crossjack in stormy seas off South Africa]--After twenty-eight days we sighted the Islands of Oahu [sic]; keeping well to the Northward, with fresh North East Trade Winds, we rounded the East End, Diamond's Head, and came to anchor off the Port of Honolulu [sic: the ship was forty-one days from Manila].Here we remained ten days [sic: sixteen] fitting [sic: filling] up with stores, provisions and watering ship, getting ready for our trip to the North West coast--During our stay, King Kamehameha treated us royally; a dinner was given to the Officers followed by a ball, which was a grand affair, our band furnishing the music for both events--The dinner served partly in the custom of the Islands; for one course, we had the National dish "Lou-au" -- a young baked dog--The dogs used for this purpose are of a special breed, fed on Poe [sic: poi], and nothing else--Of course none of the guests were aware of what the baked pie was composed of, and not for a few days after, did the truth come out--It was then too late to regret; for myself, I do not know whether I partook of it or not, but if I did, do not think the effect was bad, as I have lived to be over sixty years of age--However all went off pleasantly -- after the dinner came the ball, which was the great event, everybody of any standing in society was there, and I thought that some of the Hulla-Hulla ladies were very graceful and pretty--Dancing was kept up until daylight, all were well pleased, and some of us, regretted that we could not have a ball every night--Time passed quickly and delightfully, horse back riding, excursions to the valley of the Crater, and all other places of interest were visited--Three days before we were ready to leave, a heavy gale came on from the South East, obliging the letting go of the Sheet Anchor to hold the ship--During the gale our chain parted, losing Anchor and Chain; Captain ordered the ship to get under sail, andfor two days e were kept off and on, standing in when the boats came off with stores, hoisting them in while the ship hove to--This was not as pleasant as lying at anchor--However all stores being on board, we started for the coast of California standing close on a wind starboard tack to the Northward for a few days, then losing the North East Trades, got the Westerly winds and headed for San Francisco Bay--December 25th, 1845, found us in sight of the coast, hove to close to the Farraleones [sic: Farralons], a group of rocks off the Bay of San Francisco--Here we laid for two days, during a heavy gale from the South East--The heavy surf on the Bar preventing running in--On entering the Bay at Sausalita [sic], anchored and watered ship; not a sign of a vessel in the Bay, nothing but the old Hide House on the sight [sic: site] of the present City of San Francisco, and the spire of the old church at the Mission Dolores, out in the sand hills, three miles off, now in the centre of the City--Gold was not then discovered--After filling up with water, started again for Monterey, hoping to find our Squadron there.Passing the Bay of Monterey and seeing no vessels, kept on down the coast, passing through the Channel of Santa Barbara, still no sign of the Squadron.Kept on to Cape St. Lucas the extreme point of Lower California--Here we found two American Hide ships lying at anchoróI was sent in the Gig to find out where our ships were and if the Captains knew anything about them--It was near supper time when I got to the ships, and the Captain of one of them kindly invited me to sup with him--Broiled beef-steaks, hot biscuits, and other good things were too tempting to a famished Middy, so I stayed but told the Captain, I should get Hail Columbia when I got back to the ship--So he said "I guess old man Jack would like a beef steak, take this quarter of beef to him with my compliments."--He told me that our ships were all lying at Mazatlan--So I returned and was getting a dressing, when I said "The Captain killed a Bull and sent a quarter to his old friend Captain Jack Percival" -- so that fixed me all right--Hoist up the Gig and fill away for Mazatlan, were the orders -- so a Bull got me out of a scrape, and gave me a good supper--Thirty six hours after leaving Cape St. Lucas, we sailed into Mazatlan Bay and anchored between the Sloops of War CYANE and LEVANT * two of the prizes captured in the War of 1812 by the CONSTITUTION--There we found the Flagship, Frigate SAVANNAH flying the Broad Pennant of Commodore J. D. Sloat, the sloops PORTSMOUTH, CYANE, LEVANT, WARREN, and schooner SHARK--The latter was Captain Percival's command some years prior, when he had the trouble with the Missionaries at the Sandwich Islands compelling the King to raise the Taboo placed on the Kanaka women; this was years before--Her British Majesty's Squadron were all here awaiting the news from the East, all was expectation.The news of War had not yet been received, though expected, and both Squadrons were ready to go North and capture California. Here took place one of the punishments inflicted by Court-Martial--A seaman on board the SAVANNAH had attempted to kill the First Lieutenant, Mr. Hitchcock; he was tried by Court-Martial found guilty and sentenced to receive one hundred lashes with the Cats, to be whipped through the Fleet, which as carried out, receiving so many lashes on board each vessel.He went through with it and came home in our ship, dishonorably discharged.After remaining at Mazatlan two months [sic: three], no news of war being received, we were ordered by Commodore Sloats [sic] to returned [sic] to the United States--Receiving on board, for passage home, Midshipman Miller [sic: Thomas J. Miller, under court-martial sentence] and a number of sailors whose time had expired.We hove up the anchor, bade farewell to the Squadron and wore off for home--Steering to the Southward crossed the line, took South East trades close hauled caught the Westerly winds and kept away for Valparaiso passing the Island of Juan Fernandes--In three days after we anchored in Valparaiso Bay--After salutes and the usual exchange of visits received Pratique--Now commenced a round of gaieties Balls, Parties, Theatre Parties, Bull Fights, and Santiago, at that time a perilous undertaking--It was successfully accomplished and they returned highly gratified with the kind courtesies shown them by the Residents and Officials of the Capital of Chili--Here the crew, or part of them the Starboard Watch were given two days liberty, but they behaved so badly the authorities complained, and so the other Watch were refused permission to go ashore--A Norther coming on to blow and losing a Sheet anchor and a ten inch Hemp cable, which we had been obliged to use to hold the ship, the Captain concluded to shorten our Stay, which was regretted by all, as Valparaiso is one of the most charming Ports to visit--So we hove anchor and started for Cape Horn, getting well to South West with Main Deck guns housed and port[s] closed--We caught the Westerly winds and going before them soon got up with the Cape.Fourth of July off the Pitch of Cape Horn blowing a gale with heavy snow squalls, ship running under close reefed Main Top-sail reefed fore-sail and Top Mast stay sail, making good weather--At 9 A.M. all hands witness Punishment: some twenty culprits, who had behaved so badly and been arrested and sent off by the police at Valparaiso; as a little momento [sic] of the day they each received one dozen lashes with the cats for disgracing themselves, the ship, the Flag, and their Country, while on shore--After leaving Valparaiso, it was announced that Midshipman Hobson had left the ship and service--He settled there and established the mercantile firm of "Cross, Hobson & Co." and later made a large fortune--[Sic:Midshipman John E. Hopson deserted at Valparaiso and was dismissed in absentia, 9 October 1846, upon the ship's decommissioning.]Rounding Cape Horn we ran North, passing the River La Platte, escaping a Pampero, soon ran up the coast.Arriving at Rio de Janeiro, anchored off Rat Island-- After the usual routine of salutes and visits, commenced taking in stores, water, etc.--Here we found two Transports, taking out to California, Col. Stevenson's Regiments of Volunteers, under convoy of the U.s. Sloop-of-War DALE, a jolly set of fellows -- a fleet of fourteen [sic: seven] vessels awaiting for us to convoy them to North America.After a ten days stay [sic: eight], in company of ships, Barks & Brigs, among them the ABO of Baltimore, ship MARGARET and others whose names I have forgotten, (fifty years ago), we got under sail and were soon outside of the Sugar Loaf, and course shaped for Cape Frio and Home--Keeping a sharp eye on the vessels, and looking out for Mexican Privateers--But none were encountered and after a pleasant voyage we arrived off our owb coast.To the Northward of Cape Hatteras we fell in with and took in tow the U.S. Brig WASHINGTON, dismasted and helpless.Her Captain, Bache [sic: Lieutenant Commandant George Mifflin Bache], had been washed overboard--Here our convoy separated for their different ports.We towed the WASINGTON to the Delaware, and gave her in charge of a Pilot boat which took her to the Breakwater--††† We continued on our course for Cape Cod, made and passed it, steered up or Boston, and anchored on a Saturday evening under Boston Light--Sunday got underweigh and sailed up the harbor, receiving an ovation from sail-boats of all kinds, and at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, anchored off India Wharf--Thus ends the Cruise of the old CONSTITUTION.Remaining at anchor a couple of days, we then proceeded to the Navy Yard, where the Officers were detached and crew paid off..This cruise lasted two and a half years--I have never seen the old ship but once since, and that was in 1875, lying at anchor in the North River.[Sic; in all of 1875, the ship was in the hands of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.]

 

Identifying the author of this memoir is hardly less involved than untangling his memories.At the outset, he states he was a volunteer midshipman, 13 years old, in 1843.The Naval Register for 1847 lists a Dominick H. Lynch warranted Midshipman on 6 November 1846.Thus Lynch must have made the circumnavigation as a volunteer, unwarranted, and the experience became the basis for his warrant a little more than a month after its end.That he did not make the service a career is implied by his statement about commanding steamships and sailing ships.The Abstract of Officer Service Records, National Archives Microfilm Series M337, an admittedly unreliable source, lists no Lynches, and Hamersly's Living Officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1861-1865, published in 1870, lists only the Dominick Lynch who was warranted a midshipman in the 1820s.The memoir evidently was written some time in the 1890s, for the author reports being in his 60s.