Joseph W. Bishop, Jr., papers  1880-c.1910
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The HM Sloop Zebra log book, titled "Remarks &c. On Board His Majesty's Sloop Zebra," charts happenings on board the ship during its time in the English Channel, August 1780-July 1781, and en route to the Caribbean, July-August 1781. The book begins shortly after the Zebra was launched, and the first several entries noted only that carpenters were at work preparing her for sea. Soon, however, the Zebra began maneuvers in the English Channel. Entries in the log book were usually brief summations of daily weather conditions, provisions taken aboard, and the everyday work necessary to maintain a sailing ship. The author frequently mentioned beer and beef as being main provisions, but also described visits from officers of other vessels. Occasionally, the Zebra encountered, and noted, ships of Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and French origin, but had little combative contact.

The author of the log book also noted punishments (usually by the lash) meted out to seamen and marines for a variety of offenses, including disobedience, neglect of duty, fighting and quarreling, and theft. On October 13, 1780, for example, the Zebra 's commander "dischd. 4 men being Deserters," and on November 6, 1780, "Jno. Pick & Jas. Cheater Seamen" deserted as well. During the Zebra 's time in the Channel, the log book reflected frequent exercises of the ship's guns as well as numerous readings of the Articles of War to the crew. Occasionally, the log book also discussed events of particular import. On one occasion, "a marine being Centry on the Starboard Ganway [sic] fel [sic] over board & was drownd. with his musquett Cartouch box [and] Balls" (January 16, 1781). Overall, the Zebra 's service was primarily uneventful, though her crew observed "the Juno & Chace Exchange several shot" prior to receiving 20 prisoners following the capture of the French privateer Revenge (February 11, 1781). Before embarking for the Caribbean, they "Passed Admiral Digby and cheered him" and later "cheered Admiral Pye" (July 17, 1781). The log book concluded after the Zebra arrived in the Caribbean, with the final entry made in the Bermudas on August 27, 1781. The first page of the log book and remarks for August 21-27, 1781, are missing.

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