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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0008-0001-0009

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-02-21 - 1778-02-23

Feb. 21. Saturday, 22. Sunday, and 23d. Monday.

Exhibited such Scaenes as were new to me. We lost Sight of our Enemy it is true but We found our selves in the Gulph Stream, in the Midst of an epouvantable Orage, the Wind N.E. then N., and then North West.
It would be fruitless to attempt a Description of what I saw, heard and felt, during these 3 days and nights. To describe the Ocean, the Waves, the Winds, the Ship, her Motions, Rollings, Wringings and Agonies—the Sailors, their Countenances, Language and Behaviour, is impossible. No Man could keep upon his Legs, and nothing could { 276 } be kept in its Place—an universal Wreck of every Thing in all Parts of the Ship, Chests, Casks, Bottles &c. No Place or Person was dry.
On one of these Nights, a Thunder bolt struck 3 Men upon deck and wounded one of them a little, by a Scorch upon his Shoulder. It also struck our Main Topmast.1
1.
Tucker, Log (MH), 22 Feb.:
“... heavy gales and a Dangerous Sea Runing; one thing or another Continually giving away on board Ship.... Att half Past 3 A.M. Discoverd our fore sail was split in the Larbourd Leach but Could not Prevent it att that time for the Distress we wear at that time in; I Little Expected but to be Dismasted as I was almost Certain I heard the mainmast spring below the Deck. Afterwards Discoverd the truth of it. Still Continues an Extremity of Weather. So Ends this day. Pray god Protect Us and Carry Us through our Various troubles.”
As for the seaman struck by lightning, “he lived three days and died raving mad” (William Jennison Jr., “Journal,” PMHB, 15: 102 [April 1891]). Jennison was a lieutenant of marines aboard the Boston, and his journal adds a few details concerning this voyage not found elsewhere. See also JA's Autobiography under 20 Feb. 1778.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/