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(Naval Action fiction) Diary of Cdr. Joseph Barss

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" A savage race, by shipwrecks fed, Lie waiting for the founder'd skiffs, And strip the bodies of the dead."

- Jonathan Swift, Ballad on the South Sea Scheme -


This is a work of fiction.

the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the texts belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organisation, committee or other group or individual.

Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental

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1799, September 8

September, 8th 1799 Aboard HMS Beaufoy, 10 guns, a brigantine navy victualler.
I am not assigned any duty. I am just a passenger although I may enjoy the company of the commander and his lieutenants during off duty time. Main cargo is wine for the North America station and we certainly serve ourselves of the ship allowance during our night meals. Weather been fair and the crossing goes remarkably well for it is already late Summer.
We left the Azores having taking on full fresh supplies and the last drinkable water we will see until we reach Nova Scotia. News in port all about Bonapart in Egypt and the big battle at Aboukyr but we knew this already and fair Warning was given of french vessels in the area. Sloops and minor if the reports are to be believed. The Portuguese commander detached two vessels to keep us company for no more than 2 days of our route. I appreciate this gesture from our allies.     

Cdr. Joseph Barss

Cdr. Joseph Barss


1799, September 2

September 2nd, 1799, London Good news. Was summoned to the Admiralty to the presence of Lord Spencer himself and his board to receive my note of relief and all the associated effects, in which came included, to my greatest surprise and astonishment, a letter of recommendation to be delivered to appointed representatives of the Navy Board in place, Halifax Naval Dockyards. What is indeed more astonishing is that a description of future duties was also subscribed as 'recommendation' although being relieved from service. It is like they knew and they secretly approved, with reservations. The guidelines read, in part, transcript  - In whatever way you may effect the first object of your destination, you will then proceed upon a cruise against the commerce and light cruisers of the enemy, which you will capture and destroy in all cases; unless their value and qualities shall render it morally certain that they may reach a a safe and not distant port. Indeed, in the present state of the enemy’s force, there are very few cases that would justify the manning of a prize; because the chance of reaching a safe port are infinitely against the attempt, and weakening the crew of the Argus might expose you to an unequal contest with the enemy.
It is exceedingly desirable that the enemy should be made to feel the effects of our hostility, and of his barbarous system of warfare; and in no way can we so effectually accomplish that object, as by annoying and destroying his commerce, fisheries, and coasting trade. - All necessary arrangements were made by the Board for immediate departure on the next packet ship bound to the North America station. Hope that Lady Anne does not suffer much with my departure. I sent her a letter but will arrive when I'm already gone.  

Cdr. Joseph Barss

Cdr. Joseph Barss


1799, September 1

September 1st, 1799, London The meeting with the gentleman Kenelm Growden  was more profitable than anticipated and most certainly all praise must be given for the choice of the Garraway's for our accord meeting. Investment is solid, and with our patrons' supporting the enterprise Mr. Growden would indeed make himself look unreliable henceforth would he cancel the arrangements. On a sad note I will not be able to see her before we arrive; via Halifax, as she already departed the day before yesterday and my delay was unavoidable. The battle on Egypt is still the height in the naval circles. My release from duty request still under consideration by the Board and I have no idea what to expect although, and with much thought, I wouldn't consider the 'loss' of a Master and Commander a grave issue. I hope for the best. Cannot leave London until a decision is made. I am sure Maurice will see things through and make everything ready for when and if I arrive. At the very least I have a second request to be submitted and requesting a transfer of post to Halifax. //

Cdr. Joseph Barss

Cdr. Joseph Barss

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