Hood's Swashbucklin' Ship's Log
Reflections on Times Past
Captain Samuel Hood
Chapter Two - Battle of the Faulklands
The HMS Raisonnable now coasts through heavy swells off the south side of Faulkland Island. About two hours ago, the word went out that we would begin our attack at 1000 hours. Although the Raisonnable has all three gun decks at the ready, the heavy swells have caused Ensign Cochrane, the gunnery officer, to close the lower doors thereby limiting our intake of sea water. All guns have a full compliment of powder and the brass monkeys have their balls stacked high.
For some unknown reason, Lt. Blackwood has assigned me to the surgeon’s table, standing by to assist the Ships Doctor, Surgeon First Class Gould. Me thinks that Lt. Blackwood wants to keep me out of harms way and off the bloody decks above. I’m very appreciative of this but am assured by SFC Gould that I will get my fill of combat before the day is over.
Ahhh, my memory is beginning to fade. I need a bit-o-rum. What’s this? My quarter jug is empty. Hmmm…I think maybe Miss Potter is partaking of my swill. Let’s see, oh yes, here it is. A brand new quarter jug that I bought last week. Hogs Breath Elixir. This drink is mostly medicinal as it is called an Elixir. 86 proof eh? Goood!
Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, the Faulklands. As the clock moved to 1000 hours, the word came down from the bridge to make guns ready and man all stations. As I stood in the Surgeons room, I heard the first of two salvos. Our guns had opened up on one of Spains top raters, the Dom Delouise I believe, and had cut the main mast to shreds. With my limited knowledge of battle, I figured that the Dom Delouise would stand and fight to the end. But I was wrong. With the completion of the two salvos, the Dom Delouise turned due west and headed for open seas. Victory was ours!
Another drink of this wonderful Elixir. Hmmm…Gooood! Feeling kind of randy now. I do hope Miss Potter is around. I could use a good massage.
At approximately 1300 hours, the Raisonnable dropped anchor in Maidenshead Harbor and a crew of 20 men, me included, were picked to go ashore and clean out the remaining scalawags. The crew consisted of Lt. Blackwood, Ensign Cochrane, Seaman Fremantle, Master Bates and some of the most battle hardened of the Raisonnalbe’s crew. As we made our landing, the town’s people came running from cover, cheering their new found freedom. After several hours of running the remaining Spaniards out of the town, we stopped to revel in our victory. As we stood looking over the harbor and viewing our ship at anchor, Lt. Blackwood yelled, “To the Lama Ranch!” I being of such a young age did not know what to expect and had just overheard rumors of what the Lama Ranch was. Well, I must say that Blackwood took very good care of me and made sure that I was well attended to. Now, I understood what we were fighting for. God bless Blackwood! God bless the Lama Ranch!
From the beginning of the sea battle to the coming of age at the Lama Ranch, the day was a complete blur. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought I would be in such a run amok action. Hmmmm, run amok. I recall reading that one Captain Bligh of the HMS Bounty used to refer to his men “running amok” on shore leave, thus requiring shore patrols to round them up and bring them back to the ship. What a great name for official naval debauchery. I’ll have to remember that term for future use.
As the day came to an end, we headed back to the ship to prepare for departure from this wonderful part of the world. The crew that stayed aboard asked us about the fighting onshore. I explained the horrible circumstances and that the town had been set to rubble and that, alas, the Lama Ranch was no more. As I told of the days action, Ensign Cochrane, Lt. Blackwood and Seaman Fremantle stood in the background with rum laden smiles on their twitching mugs. All in a days work!
Hmmm, I haven’t seen Miss Potter for several hours. Let me finish this drink-o-rum first and then I’ll chase her down. “Miss Potter? Ahh, there you are. Come here and massage me protruding parts and limbs. All of this bloody thinking and writing has caused me twig and berries to go limp.”
From the Captains Quarters aboard the HMS Zealous, adieu. Be sure to read the next installment of naval combat and debauchery in Chapter Three “Lt. Hardy Comes Aboard”
“Miss Potter, you most assuredly deserve a raise”.