January 1-31, 1867

Journal Entry 30: January 1867

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

Jan. 1: "Turned to this morning at three bells and washed out the office and wheelhouse, then wiped the paintwork. Turned in at two bells and slept the watch, This afternoon I have been picking oakumOakum

A caulking material made of tarred rope fibers.
. In the dog watchDog watch

Two half watches of two hours each into which the period from 4 pm to 8 pm is divided. The purpose of dividing this watch into two parts is to produce an uneven number of watches in 24 hours, 7 instead of 6. This ensures that watchkeepers in ships, whether organized into two or three watches, do not keep the same watches every day. These two watches are known as the First Dog and Last Dog.
I mended a pair of pants. The weather has been pleasant with a moderate breeze. I hope next New Years I shall be where I shall not have to work. There are not any holidays kept on this packetPacket

A vessel traveling on a regular schedule between two ports for the carriage of mail, goods, and passengers.

Jan. 6: "This afternoon I greased my boots and gave my clothes another coat of oil and hunted fleas for half an hour; they bite me so that I cannot sleep, the guanoGuano

Droppings of sea birds, with high levels of phosphate and nitrogen making it valuable for fertilzier. Starting in the 1840s centuries of deposits were mined at the Chincha Islands off Peru. Supplies were effectively exhausted in the 1870s; many Maine ships and captains worked the guano trade.
feeds them. This afternoon I read until two bells, then turned in; in the dog watch cleared up the decks. We have been becalmed all day."

Jan. 7: "...cleaned the office and wheelhouse, then watered and fed the hens. After breakfast I had a flea hunt, mended a pair of pants, then turned in.....Becalmed all day, what little headway we make we do it in the night-time."

Jan. 13: "This afternoon I commenced to wash a shirt; I had to leave for a minute, and while I was gone, the hogs tore it up. The Capt. has had the men at work a scrubbing the side, he had the boat lowered this morning under the pretense of having a row, but he only done it so as to have an excuse to scrub while the boat was down and get the work out of them on Sunday, he would never had thought of it had it been a weekday. I think he will die miserable, at least I hope he will. May God send a fair wind for I want to get out of here as soon as possible. The weather has been pleasant. Becalmed all day."

Jan. 18: "The sail which we saw yesterday came up with us this morning, the Capt. signalized her, it was the English ship Morgan from CallaoCallao

A city on the Pacific coast of Peru, across from Isla San Lorenzo (Island of St. Lorenzo.)
, fifteen days out."

Jan. 29: "The ship takes more water aboard than she did on the passage out, the quarter deck is afloat most of the time."

Jan. 30: "After dinner I turned in...They killed one of the hogs in the dog watch. I scrubbed paintwork, it rained and was very cold, there is not any work but he will make me do."

Jan. 31: "I have been cleaning a pair of scales. FurledFurl

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.
the crossjackCrossjack

the lowest square sail, or lowest yard of the mizzenmast.
. The weather has been pleasant with a strong breeze. The hog weighed two hundred and thirty, and we got a small piece for dinner."