Apr 15 2006
I just transcribed a big piece of the Chatfield memoirs into part 9 (apologies for not inserting an anchor tag at the point of the addition).
He’s received his own command and has taken up station in Tampa Bay to care for the victims of the yellow fever. A good deal of the account is about the plight of Northeners trapped behind the Confederate lines and pressed into service during the Conscription. Lots of refugees to take care of, but Capt. Tom is now free of the disagreeable Captain Budd and has his own command, his first since leaving the whaler Massachusetts behind in San Francisco at the beginning of the war.
A side note, I have been researching through Starbuck’s excellent History of the American Whaling Fishery and finding some good details about the Massachusett’s voyages, her building and launching in Mattapoisset in 1845, etc..
A mere 45-pages or so to go before I turn to the Captain’s war letters. Cousin Pete told me over dinner last night that he has located the log of the Two Sisters, the schooner Chatfield commanded in Tampa during the last years of the war, so that is something I look forward to as well.
Finally — there’s been some urging by Jeff Young and Jim Forbes to turn this project into a book. Having majored in American maritime history in college, my inclination is to go the non-fiction route without getting too academically pedantic as I have no interest in making this anything close to an scholarly work. Both Jeff and Jim say – “Go fiction.” I don’t know. It’s tempting and this tale certainly provides the framework for a great sea yarn.