Wednesday, July 30
Tuesday, July 29
On 2 July 1814, Acasta was among the vessels sharing in the capture of the schooner Little Tom and her cargo of lumber, plank, and shingles. Multiple ships shared the capture, they were Albion, Dragon, Acasta, Severn, Loire, Narcissus, Jaseur, and St. Lawrence.
The London Gazette: no. 17209. p. 89. 14 January 1817.
American schooner Prudence, of 4 men and 17 tons, captured by the Acasta; arrived at Halifax in July.
Stephanie, schr., 71 tons, 1 gun, 9 men, F. W. V. Reynegom, master, Philadelphia to Havannah, captured July 16, 1814 by Acasta. Cargo flour, lard and onions. Arrived at Halifax July 22nd.
Diana, sloop, 69 tons, Wm Paynter, master, Philadelphia to Havannah, captured July 19, 1814, by Acasta. Cargo: 480 bbls. flour. Arrived at Halifax July 27th.
Monday, July 28
Marie, Baptiste's wife, finds an old tar to read her her letter.
16 May 1814
I miss you so! And the Boys! I suppose that by now they can say hole thoughts not just words. I am writing to you in English. Perhaps Mr Clark will read this for you. I have been trying hard to learn this. My friend Apple the Carpenter, and sometimes the Doctor, tutor me. I find that writing in English is much like talking in English. You no how English is almost the same as French, just pronounced incorectly? Witting is much the same. In English each letter has something to say, none of them seem to be there just to make the word more handsome. Once I became accustomed to this lack of beauty in English words it was not so difficult.
We are back on the Blockade of Baltimore and things are very dull except the times we chase after a prize. We have captured several, and I am entitled to an amount of money for each. It is called prize money. None of our captures have put up what could be called a fight, and do not fear for me in anycase, for when we come close I am safe below decks with the surgeon.
Things are so dull I find I become meloncoly. Most this is from missing you and the boys- but I find I also miss the small creatures of the land- birds in the morning and crickets in the evening. The only creatures here are rats and roaches. I do have some leeches- and they have become my friends! I won at cards them from an apothacary’s assistant when we were in Halifax. They are the good leeches from Europe. A pressed man named Booke stole many for fishing bait. He and I later become friends and he told me he was sorry for thiefing them. He escaped in Bermuda. He offered for me to go with him, but I was afraid the risk was to great and the chance of success to small. I suppose he succeeded, for I have heard no more of him and I am sure news would have reached us if he were caught. But back to my friends the leeches. Dear old Messer Duvall once told me that their behavior changes with the weather, and I have found this to be true. Each morning I see what they are doing and compare it with the weather. They do more than you would thing a worm would do. Sometimes they climb out of the water and hang like grapes on the jar edge, sometimes they swim frantically and sometimes they even lay on the bottom on their backs. The first time I saw this I thought they were dead, but now I know it is just something they do. I have found sometime I can predict a change in weather coming by what they are doing.
I have had one accident. A big pressed landsman fell down a hatch and knocked off a fellow coming down below him. I just happened to be passing below with a small oil lamp I use for cupping. Both fellows landed on me. I was nocked almost senseless with my face pressed into the oil from the lamp which caught fire! I was able to kill the fire with my cap, but it burned off almost all my side whiskers on the one side. I shaved them off so the other fellows would not make a jest of me. I no how handsome you think they are- but I promise I will have them grown back buy the time you read these words.
I will close now. This letter will be sent out with others of the Doctor’s. He has made a friend of another natural philosopher in America, so it should not have a problem reaching you. My love to you and the boys.
Always your loving husband,
Friday, July 25
Thomas Harner, Bosun
25 July, 1814
I read with much concern your letter of 3 May, relating that your son Johnny had been pressed into service aboard H.M. sloop Wasp. The same packet also brought me a more lengthy communication from your wife Mary, obligingly penned on her behalf by Mr. Crain, recounting the event in greater detail. My anxieties were further heightened by the knowledge that Wasp touched here at Halifax earlier this month reporting the loss of her captain and at least one member of her crew to the Yellow Jack whilst en route from Havana.
I shall do what I am able to ascertain the fate of your boy when next Wasp touches at Halifax, or should Acasta providentially encounter her at sea. It is only fair to advise you, however, that I shall likely be utterly powerless to effect any such change of his situation as suggested by you and your wife. As you are well aware from your own years at sea, it would be the height of impertinence for me even to imply any shortcoming in his treatment by a fellow officer. In the unlikely event that some means of assisting him without casting aspersions upon his superiors should present itself, I shall endeavor to do so.
Not all of my tidings are ill, however. It is with much satisfaction that I am able to report that John Fisher — an admirable officer with a reputation for great fighting spirit — has been made acting commander of Wasp. While I cannot claim the pleasure of his acquaintance myself, what I hear of him gives me every reason to hope that Wasp is even now becoming a more tightly-run ship under his command.
I shall send further tidings as soon as I am able and remain, yours respectfully,
Thursday, July 24
Lovely footage of Lt. Tumbusch's private tea in the garden with friends and lots of footage from the recent Jane Austen Festival. You will see a good deal of your Acastas as well.
Wednesday, July 23
29th October 1813
My dear Mr Ramsey,
I dare say it is like a severe fever, that weakens our beloved German countrie, and lately it has befallen me. This fever has our countrie kneel weeping and mourning at the graves of hundereds and thousandes lost in battle, and it strangels my faint heart with the coldest hands.
The passed summer with the fires and ceased fires, treaties and sudden infringements and with the waiting, with all that waiting! turned into a darkened autumn when the armies clashed near Leipzig to aim for victory or defeat and gained solely death…and more waiting.
No éclat. No bonnefires. The French defeat, barely two weeks ago, fell upon us like a wave of suffer with letters written by the blood-stained hands of loss, despair and agony.
No letters from my mother’s brother and his family near Magdeburg in the passed days.
I shall say, that is what caused the fever in me and benumbed me, but the truth is: no letter from you…not one single letter since May 1812.
First I wondered if my letters would have failed to reach you, although my goode-hearted Aunt Seckenberg obliged to send the letters from Hamburg to London.
My letters remained unanswered.
It deeply aggrieved me that my dear Mr. Ramsey must have forgetted me or else would he not answer? Answer like in that letter, which I received late in May, months after father and I returned from London to Cologne.
But now, in the midst’s of my countrie’s agony from facing all the death, a question distresses me with the direst pain, that I dare not write it down...I shant ever feel rejoicing again.
Please, my dear Mr Ramsey, tell me you’re alive! You have to! Indeed, you’ve said you fear nothing. Is it not?
My dear Mr. Ramsey, I beg you kindly, do not scold me for telling you, that your letter is the last I cast my eyes upon before I blew out the candles at night. I’ve read it over and over again, since you’ve sent it, recalling the most fond memories of my life.
The September of 1811 is still vivid in my heart, as I thought it would be in your heart!
My dear father and I stayed at Aunt Seckenberg’s house south of Audeley Street, before she moved back to Hamburg in March 1812.
I shall ever remember my first assemblée at Mr Heathcote’s house at Portman Square.
I shall remember the golden lustre of illumination, the chatter, the music, and the enchanting and utmost pleasing atmosphere.
I remember you.
Your stately appearance in the uniform (which my Aunt Seckenberg described ‘utterly handsome’), your witty remarks and your endearing kindness toward my Aunt and me.
My heart felt faint when Mrs Heathcote asked me to perform a German traditional, but your acclaim after my tune was singed did allay my fears and doubts. Bless you, Mr Ramsey!
And my heart danced from faint to fortune, when you kindly invited my father, dear aunt and me to the opera on the following Friday.
I shant never forget that night at Covent Garden at Sheridan’s play ‘The Duenna’. Mr Sinclair’s performance of Carlos. He did it with such exceedingly fervour, that it bringed tears to my eyes. It was the most beautiful play I have ever seen, and never before I have heard such abundant acclaim.
I could not sleep that night!
My heart was full of song and cheer…and you have left us that night with the promise to show us the Tower of London with it’s beasts on Sunday, before duty would called you back to your ship in Portsmouth.
Chaperoned by Aunt Seckenberg we took a carriage to the Tower of London. The 22nd of September was such a bright day, with blu skies. No winter yet lingering in the air.
I however recall the cold and dark of the Tower. And the fierce beasts! The savage Grizley bear, which was brought from America that very month!
My brave Mr. Ramsey! While the audience fearfully flinched at that Grizley’s gasthly roar, you did not move an inch. You do not fear anything in the world, Mr Ramsey!
And while waiting, that certainity has become my humble prayer and it consoles my heart.
On the long-passed assemblée in September, when I’ve performed Arnim’s ‘Der Himmel ist oft hell’ and the applause has ceased, it was that brave and bold Mr Ramsey, who said to me, that my voice and song was the sweetest thing ever. ‘The sweetest thing’, I did replied, ‘of which I know, are Hagedorn’s Himbeer Bonbons’
Do you remember your answer, my dear Mr Ramsey?
This morning I went to Hagedorn’s Confectionery to chuse a box of said raspberry bonbons.
I cannot enclose a song, nor my voice in this letter, nor the sweetness, which hasn’t ever touched my lips - I shall send you bonbons instead, singing my song…and the plea to take the wave of suffer from me:
End my waiting…please, do write, Mr Ramsey. Do write!
Special thanks to Acasta reader Sabine Schierhoff for this AMAZING little package for 2nd Lt M. Ramsey! It was such a joy to watch it come together over the last few months and it was a HUGE hit at the festival.
Tuesday, July 22
|The much anticipated mail packet arrives in camp!|
|The captain enlists the aid of one of the sailors to cut the cord.|
|Lt. Tumbusch assists with the distribution of the mail.|
|Ship's Carpenter, Jas. Apple shows off one of his letters.|
In this clip, our Surgeon's Mate discusses some of the letters he got as part of the packet while ashore with his fellows.