Monday, March 26

A Letter of Transfer

My dear Captain Freymann,

I have recently received orders that I am to transfer to the Pathfinder, a brigantine based out of York in Upper Canada, and will be a Surgeon attached to aid the British Forces. My orders state that I am to report to Navy Hall there by Saturday, 14th July of this Present Year. The Pathfinder will be part of His Majesty's squadron that shall consist of the Pathfinder herself, her sister ship the Playfair, St. Lawrence II, Caledonian and the La Revenante. The Commodore’s own Broad Pendant will be hoisted in the Squadron flagship, Fair Jeanne.

The Pathfinder in the fog...

Lt. Schifferdecker
I will be assigned under the command of Lieutenant P. Schifferdecker, normally of the HMS Nancy in the Western Lakes Station. You would do me a great service Sir, if you were to write me a letter of recommendation to Lt. Schifferdecker. It might certainly serve to smooth along our introductions and service together, and I should be much obliged to you.

Please do not alarm yourself, as this transfer is temporary, and shall only last for the duration of whatever special mission the Admiralty has in mind, and will afford me the opportunity to meet Dr. W. L. Davis, who I understand is assigned to the squadron as well. After the successful completion of the mission to Newark, I will be returned back home to the Acasta. I am certain that the cramped quarters aboard the tiny Pathfinder will give me a new appreciation of the spacious accommodations on the Acasta.

Mr. Cushing, Ship's Clerk
Additionally, I have inclosed three impressment documents for your consideration per the request of our ship's clerk, Mr. Cushing. One is for your records, and if you would be so kind as to sign over one to our Lt J. Hamilton and the other to our Lt. M. Ramsey, this will allow them to continue to legally 'press gang' men into the service of the King's Navy. Something to the effect of, 'Giv'n over to Lt. 'So-forth' on this day by my hand &c.' should suffice. Once signed, please return them to me at your earliest convenience and I shall get them into the proper hands.

Our assignment of late has been little more than a perpetual hurry of doing nothing; and I think, I never had more business of that sort on my hands than in the past few weeks. But as I can generally find time to do anything I've a mind to do, so can I contrive to be at leisure to pay these final respects to you, my dear friend. As is my custom, I shall keep my journal whilst in the field, and transcribe it upon the occasion of my return.

The Doctor's daughters
Should I not be so fortunate, I have left behind a small blue parcel in the upper drawer of my desk that should be sent to London. It contains letters to my girls and all those of consequence, as well as directions for the paying off of my meager debts to Young & Erskine, Glasgow.

I beg that you and the other Acastas think on me with gentle regard, and know that I most sincerely wish you all health and success; and am, with great respect, dear Friend,

Your most affectionate & obt. servant,

Doctor A. Roberts
Ship's Surgeon, HMS Acasta

Wednesday, March 21

A Presentation

APRIL 22, 2012
at Locust Grove in Lousiville, KY.
on behalf of the Greater Louisville Jane Austen Society

An educational first person presentation given by the Ship's Surgeon aboard the HMS Acasta during the period between 1800-1812. The Doctor demonstrates and explains some of the surgical techniques and ailments common to sailors during Britain's Age of Sail. Topics include bleeding, dentistry, scurvy, musket ball removal, amputation, even cranial surgery.

Learn about life aboard a ship during England's wars with France, Spain and the dictator bent on European domination, Napoleon Bonaparte.

In your 'modern world', the Doctor is Albert Roberts, mild-mannered high school Visual Communications teacher. Roberts spends his free time in the pursuit of strange and obscure medical and scientific knowledge of the 18th & 19th centuries, and typically has a heap of books on his night stand that range from period texts and journals to historical fiction.

Wednesday, March 7