I bid farewell to the gentlemen of the Nancy and the Western Lakes Station
At the conclusion of the Naval assault, I took my leave and made my way southward with the Tumbuschs and Miss Waterman.
Arranged to meet with some of the crew ashore at a large fair before returning to the Acasta, and invited the Tumbuschs and Miss Waterman to join in. Lt. Ramsey, Capt. May, Sailing Master L. Minnis, and Ship's Clerk Mr. Cushing were all on hand to enjoy the festivities.
Mr. Minnis with a rather unsightly beard!
Capt. L. May in a very different uniform.
Some of the activities to take part in were:
I took a turn in the ring for an impromtu boxing lesson.
Miss Waterman won Ten Pounds on the fellow in the red
I took afternoon tea with my girls
Picnic with the ladies
Walks about the scenic grounds
Lt. Ramsey and myself in the Hellfire Club.
I have discovered in the course of our time together in the Hellfire Club that Mr Cushing and Lt. Ramsey are the jolliest drunks I have ever known. They are quite the opposite of my own tendency to be overcome with sleepiness when intoxicated (as is evidenced perfectly by the image above). The gentlemen involved in the meeting of the Hellfire Club all drank port and bourbon and smoked cigars. More than I few tall tales were told.
The landing was a success, and the casualties were light. The ships raised anchor and sailed down the Niagara River to a place we could come to dock, I gathered my gear and prepared to go ashore, and then from the shore I espied the lovely face of none other but Miss Waterman!
She came aboard in the throng of activity and told me that she was there under the care of our mutual friends and itinerant dance instructors, the Tumbusches. She could not stay aboard the Playfair for long as she was beginning to experience symptoms of the mal de mar.
Miss Waterman informed me that the Tumbusches were encamped near the Navy Hall in a great tent, and had invited me to come and stay with them ashore. I was very pleased to accept their generous invitation.
We walked together along the lane from the docks to Navy Hall and caught up on the events of the past few weeks.
Once back at Navy Hall, I was greeted by Mr & Mrs Tumbusch and their little dog Bingley (a particular favourite of my daughters) and they pressed me for stories of my adventures and give me a great quantity of tea and the wine from a nearby vineyard.
I changed into my Royal Navy small cloathes, it was nice to have a fresh shirt on.
Miss Waterman in the Tumbusch camp.
Bingley guards the longboats by Navy Hall
And so began our social duties, there was the visiting and the retelling of the assault to all those interested. We spent a good deal of our time in the Nancy camp with Schifferdecker and his crew, we got to meet not only the men of the ship but many of their ladies and families as well. They were all kindness and hospitality, and the table they laid out was delicious. The steward and his boy brought glass after glass of port all evening.
Commander S. at the Nancy encampment.
Mrs. Schifferdecker and the Steward's boy.
There was also some dancing to be done...
Look for the lovely Miss Waterman at about 2:40
Whilst in the Nancy camp, we were introduced to Mr. Midshipman Bartgis (pronounced 'Barges') who told stories of his family history. After he felt comfortable among the new company, he boldly asked Miss Waterman to dance with him at the ball taking place within Navy Hall. I was too exhausted from the day to protest.
Before the sun was even up the next morning, we were up and stowing our cots. We boarded at two bells in the morning watch… two of the smaller, slower ships, the Caledonia and La Revenante, had departed even earlier so as to arrive at the location of the assault at the same time as the larger ships.
We departed and I watched from the foc'sle as the sun rose as a perfect red orb over the horizon.
I am particularly impressed with how young and inexperienced the crew seems. The youngest among them is twelve if the reports I have received are true.
Ships of the squadron all spread out across the lake, staying within sight of one another.
The St. Lawrence II as she overtakes us.
After several hours, Commander Schifferdecker spotted two ships far off the starboard side, barely hull up on the horizon. We took turns looking through my glass at them. After steadying the glass against the rail, the Commander announced they were the Caledonia and La Revenante. I agreed, given their relative size and configuration.
Taking my ease.
Commander Schifferdecker took out the charts that showed the area of the assault and I looked at it over his shoulder. We were to enter into the mouth of the Niagara River, anchor in a line there near a little section of beach, and off load the soldiers in the long boats.
As we grew closer, we heard what sounded to be ranging shot from Fort Niagara, the young crew suddenly understood the gravity of the rapidly approaching situation. All eyes were suddenly forward, looking toward the land with greater interest.
The fire from shore came with greater frequency as we grew closer to the landing zone.We finally got into the proper position and dropped anchor. The marines and sailors were loaded into the long boats and made for the shore with haste.
In the Longboats
Mr. Schifferdecker took to the quarterdeck with his musket firing round after round toward the shore as the longboats landed.
Look for the Doctor hauling ropes aboard the Playfair at about the 6 second mark
I arrived at Navy Hall earlier than ordered and it afforded me the opportunity to meet some of the Navy gentlemen that I had, up until this time, only corresponded with. The newly promoted Commander Schifferdecker and the crew of the Nancy had a lovely set up there by the Hall. A fine table set under a lovely canvas tent and on the Commander's new checkered floor cloth no less.
Commander Schifferdecker pulled me aside and told me that he had received correspondence stating that Capt. Freymann had been unavoidably detained and would be unable to join the squadron.
We were transported to the ships on Friday afternoon, and taken to the docks were they lay in wait for our arrival.
After being informed that our ships were not yet ready for us, I watched the crew of the Pathfinder up in the rigging as she lay in dock from the shade of an obliging tree. I was so tired from my long journey that I lay on the ground there with my hat over my face and fell fast asleep. I didn't awaken until Capt. Allie and Mr Cussick returned from scouting the nearby ale houses.
By this time we were able to stow dunage aboard the ships as they lay in the harbor across Lake Ontario from our intended point of assault.
Took our supper in a little place along the shore next to the Dock Shoppe and Ship's Chandler.
We were all so thirsty from the heat of the day and our work that nearly every one of us drank down three large glasses before our food arrived.
Our table was situated comfortably next to a great window that looked out into the busy street where I could indulge in my favourite pass-time of watching people as they passed. My meal consisted of an excellent vegetable pie which I was unable to completely finish.
Afterword, I played Whist with some of the gentlemen and followed it with some dice games in an attempt to relax before the coming assault. Mr. Cusick and Capt. Allie tried to tempt me into another game of whist, but I was far too tired for it. I eventually retired to my cot and did a little writing before finally turning in.
I hope this post finds you in good health and good standing with your school master.
As of her last letter your mother informed me that you been defaultant in the proper application you’re yourself to the academic ventures. Your actions have caused my sister much heartache and woe. You alone have the means to relieve her pain and I urge you to do so by the diligent practice upon your studies.
But enough on this missive. I am at present in Quebec City having recently depositing my captain ashore for some week of business. It is a most particular place William. When walking on the streets and in the taverns one encounters not only good Englishmen, transplanted American loyalists, recognizable by the churlishness that is manifest in their conduct, and Canadian Frenchmen.
This later group is most discommoding due to the fact they not only speak French but do so openly and unabashedly and with no attempt at theirs King ’s English. A generation has passed since the attainment of New France and still we have French being spoken in the public. I cannot see but this abnormality effecting civil strife in years to come. Perhaps you will someday make your way to this part of the empire and by then, God willing, the English language will all that remains.
Your father writes me that the crops grow bountifully and that he has acquired a new stallion. Write me of the progress of this new beast as your father is always short on description believing that a naval officer has no interest in such matters.
Give your mother and sisters my love.
I am, my dear Sir,
LT. James Hamilton
Post Sriptum. It is my intention to send forth a parcel of some interesting items that particular to this city. Tell your mother to expect this packet.
Aboard Acasta, currently anchored in Quebec harbor owing to the occasion of depositing Captain Freymann ashore for the purposes of official business of a nondescript and enigmatic nature and so soon after returning to his ship.
I offer this in my log not a reproach of our good Captain but only as a good council for those in future who may be charged with the cogitation of Acasta’s logs and her seemly singular activities.
Acasta lies six cables off the main docks in the main row.
A most desirable anchorage as the land lay offers shelter from the weather, but the tidal ebb insures putting to sea in a predictable and creditable fashion.
My orders are to provision the ship, allow all or none liberty as I see fit. And to return to independent patrol duty until the passage of 4 weeks at which time Acasta is to return to Quebec to retrieve the Captain.