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Extracts from the log of HMS Dolphin for the period 8 January 1841 - 29 November 1842
source: ADM 53/459, 4 March 1840 - 29 November 1842

Cabinda - Ascension - Bight of Benin - Ascension - Bight of Benin - Bight of Biafra - Bight of Benin - Ascension - Cabinda - Ascension - Portsmouth

HMS Dolphin was recommissioned on 4 March 1840 by Lieutenant Edward Littlehales. Arriving on the West African station, she was allocated to the Bights of Benin and Biafra division. In September 1841 Dolphin was stationed in the mouth of the River Niger in support of the illfated expedition up that river; HMS Soudan came down the river to evacuate the fever cases to Fernando Po, and Dolphin took off the worst cases to take them to the healthier climate of Ascension (although eight died on the way). As revealed by an Admiralty abstract of Loneys services, the survivors presented him with a sword and an epaulette as a mark of thanks.

On 4 May 1842 Littlehales was promoted out of the ship and replaced temporarily by Octavius Cumberland (from HMS Madagascar) and then by Philip Bisson, who however, died on 19 October of that year during the homeward voyage. George Collier, who was 2nd Master at the time, became acting Lieutenant commander, and lowered the pennant when the ship returned to England after nearly two years on the West African station.

Here is a complete list of officers serving during the commission of 4 March 1840 - 29 November 1842 (from the ship's muster book). This ship - the smallest on which Dr Loney served - only carried one medical officer (an Assistant Surgeon, not a Surgeon); initially Patrick Brennan, later Dr William Loney.

1841
8 Jan Fri At Cabinda: Discharged Mr Patrick Brennan, Assistant Surgeon, as acting Surgeon into H.M.S. Persian, per order Commander Tucker, senior officer on the west coast of Africa [William Tucker, in H.M.S. Wolverine, 16; promoted to Captain 26 October 1840]
9 Jan Sat Held a survey of the medical stores per order of acting Commander Symonds, H.M.S. Persian. Mr Wm. Loney, Assistant Surgeon joined.
Weighed
15 Jan Fri 8.13 °S 2.4 °W
20 Jan Wed 8.6 °S 13.34 °W
21 Jan Thu Came to [at Ascension]
23 Jan Sat Weighed
29 Jan Fri 1.41 °S 3.9 °W
2 Feb Tue 0.14 °N 5.21 °E
3 Feb Wed Rounded Point Agulhas, observed a brig of war at anchor in West Bay [in Princes Island, modern Príncipe, north of São Tomé]; showed pendant to do. Shorted sail and came to in West Bay in 8 fthm with S.B. [Small Bower = port bow anchor]. Veered to 30 fthm. Found lying here HMS Wolverine
6 Feb Sat Weighed
10 Feb Wed 4.9 °N 6.2 °E. Anchored off entrance to River Nun [one of the main mouths of the river Niger]
19 Feb Fri 3.54 °N 5.34 °E
26 Feb Fri Came to, Lagos
27 Feb Sat Weighed
4 Mar Thu 5.50 °N 4.35 °E
12 Mar Fri 6.13 °N 3.12 °E
18 Mar Thu 5.56 °N 3.25 °E
26 Mar Fri At single anchor off Lagos
6 Apr Tue 6.3 °N 2.17 °E
11 Apr Sun At single anchor off Little Popoe (mapExternal link of Togoland)
14 Apr Wed 5.58 °N 1.5 °E
16 Apr Fri 6.6 °N 1.26 °E
23 Apr Fri 5.35 °N 1.9 °E
30 Apr Fri 5.38 °N 0.47 °E
7 May Fri 5.12 °N 0.49 °E
14 May Fri 5.28 °N 0.39 °E
30 May Sun Daylight: Observed two vessels at anchor at Whydah, and a strange sail SW. Made all possible sail in chase.
6.20: Sent cutter and gig to chase, armed. ... Observed from aloft boats board stranger. 9.40: Stranger bore up. ...
12.30: Boats returned having captured a brigantine after an action of half an hour in which William Allen and William Jacobs (ABs) had been killed, Mr Murray, mate, and John Smith (AB) dangerously, and two other seamen slightly wounded, she having, without showing any colours, fired upon the boats when they hoisted their ensign and pennant. Employed searching detained vessel. Found her completely equiped for the slave trade, with 27 persons on board, of whom two were killed, 1 dangerously, and 6 slightly wounded.
["Firmé"; subsequently condemned in British and Brazilian Mixed Court at Sierra Leone; crew of Dolphin subsequently awarded tonnage bounty and moiety of hull &c by prize court on 17 July 1844]
1 Jun Tue 5.41 °N 1.14 °E
5 Jun Sat 3.20: Shortened sail to foretopsail and staysail. Observed two vessels at anchor off Accra. ... Sent boat to board vessels at anchor.
5: Boat returned having boarded the American brig
[gap; not filled in] and Brazalian polacca brigantine Nova Fortuna. Found the latter practically equiped for the slave trade. Sent an officer and party to search do. ["Nova Fortuna" subsequently condemned in British and Brazilian Mixed Court at Sierra Leone; Crew of Dolphin subsequently awarded tonnage bounty and moiety of hull &c by prize court on 17 July 1844]
6 Jun Sun At single anchor at British Accra (mapExternal link of the Gold Coast).
Landed 6 prisoners, late crew of Firmé.
10 Jun Thu Employed searching and restowing Nova Fortuna, and getting her and Firmé ready for sea.
11 Jun Fri 5.30: Sent a boat with a party of men onboard the prize "Nova Fortuna" to get her underweigh.
10: prizes bore SSW.
18 Jun Fri 5.56 °N 2.20 °E
25 Jun Fri 4.25 °N 2.11 °E
29 Jun Sat Running along the land for Quittah [modern Ouidah]
2.30 p.m. Shortened all sail and came to with S.B. in 7 ftm. veered to 60 ftm. and furled sails. Quittah NNW½W 1½mile
Out gig. Sent cutter and jolly to back of surf with empty casks for water
2 Jul Fri At anchor off Quittah
p.m.: Employed painting ship outside and blacking down rigging
4.30: Obsd a sail. At 4.45 fired a gun with shot to bring her to.
5.30: Sent cutter to board her. At 6 sent gunner and a party to take charge of the Doris, a Portuguese schooner, and took part of crew out of her
3 Jul Sat a.m.: A party employed clearing out the Portuguese schooner Doris for search. At noon sent a party on board to take charge of the brig Little Grace of Sierra Leone under English colours
p.m.: Empld searching the English brigantine Little Grace and the schooner Doris under Portuguese colours for slave equipment. Detained the latter for being partly equiped. Landed crew of the Doris except those necessary for trial
4 Jul Sun a.m.: Daylight. Supplied prize crew of Doris with 1¼ tons of water for the passage up, and with 28 days provisions for 28 days
10: Sailed the detained vessel Doris for Sierra Leone
[(muster book reports); crew of Dolphin awarded tonnage bounty and proceeds of hull &c for "Doris" by prize court on 17 July 1844]
5 Jul Mon Detained Little Grace for adjudication finding her to have slave fittings and a number of casks above ther permit with a large quantity of water on board. Permitted native passengers to land with their things
7 Jul Wed a.m.
Sent Mr
[Henry D.] Burney, 2nd Master, with 1 seamen [sic], 2 marines, 1 ships boy and 1 african boy to navigate the Little Grace to Sierra Leone with 28 days provisions. Entered two Kroomen from Little Grace [I have not been able to confirm that Little Grace was subsequently condemned.]
p.m.
12.10: Shortened in cable. Weighed and made sail in company with the prize
9 Jul Fri 5.15 °N 1.57 °E
13 Jul Tue River Volta's NW½W, 4 miles
17 Jul Sat 5.38 °N 1.24 °E
23 Jul Fri 5.38 °N 0.52 °E
5 Aug Thu p.m.
7.30: Observed a sail to the southward. Wore and set jib
8: Showed penant to HMS Iris
9 [Lieutenant] Commander went on board do. Received Mr [John R.] Ries (2nd Master) lent, and the prize crews of Firmé and Nova Fortuna, excepting Robert Spackes (AB) and William Thomas (AE) who died on board
7 Aug Sat a.m.
6: Observed the land and a strange sail at anchor off Prampram
9: Showed colours to stranger
9.30: Fired a gun shotted to make do. show his colours
10: Boarded do. and found her to be the Portuguese schooner Doris detained by Dolphin July 2nd, and having lost by death Mr [William] Penny, gunner, James Kairns (AB) and the master of the vessel. Sent Henry Hayman, sailmaker, on board to take charge of do., with one weeks spirits
8 Aug Sun Standing for Accra
p.m.
Shortened sail and came to with S.B. in 6 ftm. Veered to 75 ftm and furled sails. Boarded the English barque Robert Heddle, brigs John Foster and General Brock, and schooner Lady Jane at anchor in the roads
10 Aug Tue Weighed and made plain sail
13 Aug Fri 5.4 °N 0.47 °E
20 Aug Fri 5.50 °N 1.42 °E. Little Popo N23W, 25 [miles]
29 Aug Sun 5.23 °N 1.37 °E
30 Aug Sat At single anchor off Quitta
6 Sep Thu Weighed and set fore top staysail
8 Sep Sat 5.8 °N 3.40 °E
9 Sep Thu p.m.
1.10 Wore to close Pluto
3. Came to
At single anchor off the River Nun
7.15 Pluto parted company
20 Sep Mon a.m.: 5.15 Observed stranger at anchor. Baled and dried pump well. 8 Current S.E. 1 knot. Observed stranger weigh and sail to the eastward. 9 Mustered at quarters. Exercised great guns, and cutlasses. Kroomen darning and knotting yarns. 10 Boarded the schooner Sylvia of Liverpool from Bahia bound to the Nun
22 Sep Wed a.m.: Observed a steam vessel coming down the river. Showed pennant to do. Communicated with H.M. steam vessel Soudan. Received fuel from do.
p.m.: Weighed and made sail in company with H.M. steamer Soudan
5 Down boats and hove to. Sent them to Soudan for invalids. Received five officers and thirty two men for passage
9.40 Up boats. Filled and made sail on starboard tack. Parted company with Soudan
24 Sep Fri 2.5 °N 7.28 °E
26 Sep Son a.m.
1.40 Departed this life William Moffat, Sapper and Miner HMS Albert
6 Set flying jib, fore royal and mail t'gallant sail. Departed this life Ellis Jones, Quarter-master, HMS Albert
8 Committed the bodies of the deceased to the deep with the usual ceremonies
p.m.
3.45 Departed this life Corporal Walker, HMS Albert
5.30 Mustered at quarters. Committed the body of the deceased to the deep with the usual ceremonies
27 Sep Mon p.m.
2.30 Departed this life John Young, Quarter-master, Albert
3.40 Departed this life John Mill, Gunroom steward, Soudan
6 Committed the bodies of the deceased to the deep with the usual ceremonies
10.30 Departed this life Jas Kirrens, stoker, HMS Soudan and WmMcMillan, Quarter-master, HMS Albert
28 Sep Tue a.m.
4 Committed the body of the deceased to the deep with the usual ceremonies
29 Sep Wed Anna Bon S83°W 58 miles
p.m.
12.10 Departed this life James Whittacker {Quarter-master, HMS Soudan]
4.30 Committed the body of the deceased to the deep with the usual ceremonies
30 Sep Thu Came to [at Annobon island]
p.m.
Employed watering
7.10 Boats returned with wood and water. received during the day 4¾ tons and upwards
9.10 Weighed
1 Oct Fri 1.36 °S 5.9 °E
8 Oct Fri 8.0 °S 10.13 °W
9 Oct Sat At single anchor at Ascension
10 Oct Sun Discharged the invalids of H.M. steamers Albert, Soudan and Wilberforce ... to the hospital
9 Nov Tue Weighed and made sail
12 Nov Fri 4.18 °S 8.44 °W
19 Nov Fri In single anchor in West Bay
21 Nov so Weighed
26 Nov Fri 4.12 °N 5.30 °E
27 Nov Sat At single anchor off the River Nun
1842
19 Jan Wed Shortened in cable and made sail
23 Jan Sun Shortened sail and came to [off River Nun] with B.B. in 10 ftm. Veered to 40 ftm.
12 Feb Sat Weighed and made all plain sail on stdd tack
14 Feb Mon At single anchor in Clarence Cove
17 Feb Thu a.m.
6.30: Weighed
10.30: Anchored in 16 ftm mud and sand off the new establishment of Bassa Poo to complete wood. Veered to 72 frm.
p.m.
11.30: Weighed
21 Feb Mon At single anchor off the river Nun
23 Feb Wed p.m.
1: Commander went on board Iris
2.30: Boat returned with prize crew from Doris
3: Up boats, weighed and made sail
25 Feb Fri At single anchor off river Nun
28 Feb Mon Weighed
4 Mar Fri At single anchor off the Old Calabar river
7 Mar Mon Weighed. At single anchor in Cockburn Cove, Fernando Poo
8 Mar Tue Weighed
11 Mar Fri 0.52 °N 8.50 °E
16 Mar Wed At single anchor in the river Gaboon
19 Mar Sat Point Clara E6S, 12 miles
23 Mar Wed At single anchor in West Bay, Princes [Island]
24 Mar Thu Weighed and made all plain sail
26 Mar Sat At single anchor, Clarence Cove
28 Mar Mon Weighed
10 Apr Sun At single anchor, Princes [Island]
12 Apr Tue Weighed
16 Apr Sat At single anchor in West Bay. Weighed
18 Apr Mon At single anchor in Clarence Cove
19 Apr Tue Weighed
23 Apr Sat a.m.
1.40 Lightning struck the fore royal mast, splintering it and head of top gt mast to pieces, injuring fore topmast cross trees, splitting topsail halyard and sheet blocks, cutting link of chain sheet in two. Passing down by iron stanchion into galley and injuring copper and lead of floor of do.
Down yard and and mast
25 Apr Mon a.m.
4 South point of Princes S½E, west point NW
Daylight Observed Madagascar at anchor off Port Antonio
9.30 Lowered the whal boat. Commander went away to the Madagascar
p.m.
2.30 Commander came on board
3 Lowered a boat. Commander went on board Madagascar
5.20 Whale boat returned
26 Apr Tue At single anchor in West Bay
4 May Wed a.m.
8 Arrived HMS Persian
10 Arrived HMS Madagascar
p.m.
3 Joined Lieut A. Cumberland and read his appointment, and 1 boy 1st class from HMS Madagascar. Discharged Commander Ed Littlehales
9 Sailed HMS Madagascar
7 May Sat Joined Mr Geo. Collier (2nd Master)
Weighed and made all plain sail
13 May Fri 6.2 °N 1.24 °E. At single anchor off Whydah
15 May Sun Weighed
16 May Mon At single anchor off Whydah
18 May Wed Weighed and made all plain sail
20 May Fri 6.3 °N 2.40 °E
21 May Sat a.m.
6: Obsd a schooner tack b[earin]g north
10: Hoisted ensign and pennant
10.30: Obsd schooner hoist American colors and run on shore at Whydah
10.45: Shortened and furled sails. Came to with S.B. in 6¾ ftm. Commenced firing round and grape on each side of the schooner on shore. Sent boats manned and armed to endevour to board her
11.50: Boats returned not being able to board her from the violence of the surf
11.50: Weighed and made sail to shift berth
p.m.
1: Shortened sail and came to with S.B. in 6 ftm. Furled sails
1.45: Sent boat with volunteer Kroomen to swim through the surf and board the slaver to search for papers and also to ascertain if there were any slaves remaining on board, ship covering Kroomen and boats with round and grape
6: Boats returned. Up do. Weighed and made all plain sail
[I have not yet ascertained the name of this ship, or if Dolphin received any prize money for her destruction.]
23 May Mon At single anchor off Little Popoe
24 May Tue Weighed and made all plain sail
27 May Fri At single anchor off Whydah
28 May Sat Weighed
29 May Sun a.m.
10: Observed a vessel to the N.W. at anchor
p.m.
2.30: Set Stbd f[ore] topmast and topgt stud[in]g sails
4: Chase SSW½W
6: In skysails
6.30: Lost sight of chase, b[earin]g SSW½W about 11 miles
7: In studg, royals, f[lying] jib and main topmast staysail
7.45: Tacked
8.15: In fore trysail and lowered t[op] g[allan]t sails
8.45: Obsdchase on lar[boar]d, standing in for the land under all sail. Made all plain sail and cleared for quarters. Carried away main top galt yards in the slings
8.40: Fired a shot to bring do. to
9: Obsd chase show a light on lee quarter and heave to. Sent boats armed to board do.
9.30: Boats returned having boarded the Portuguese brig "Minerva" from Bahia to Whydah, fully equiped as a slaver. Sent Mr. Cockcroft, Mate, and a party on board to take posession of do. Recd on board from the prize 21 prisoners
11.30: Filled and made sail
[crew awarded tonnage bounty and proceeds of hull &c for "Minerva" by prize court on 11 April 1844]
30 May Mon At anchor off Agury
31 May Tue Employed wooding and watering from prize. Discharged the 21 prisoners recd from do. Weighed and made sail, prize in co.
12 Jun Sun 6.1 °N 2.26 °E
20 Jun Mon At anchor off Agury. Weighed. At anchor off Little Popoe
21 Jun Tue Weighed
29 Jun Wed 5.50 °N 1.48 °E
16 Jul Sat At anchor off Agury
22 Jul Fri Joined Lt Phillip Bisson and read his commission and took command of the ship. Returned from Ascension Hospital Mr G. Way (Actg gunner) and Wm Brigden, Boy from Rapid. In weighing carried away one fluke of S.B. anchor
25 Jul Mon At anchor off Quitta. Weighed and made all plain sail
26 Jul Tue At anchor off Quitta. Weighed and made all plain sail
3 Aug Wed 2.28 °S 2.8 °W
8 Aug Mon At single anchor off Ascension
11 Aug Thu Weighed and made all plain sail
15 Aug Mon 4.32 °S 8.20 °W
19 Aug Fri 2.39 °S 2.13 °W
28 Aug Sun 6.23 °S 10.20 °W
7 Sep Wed At anchor off Kabenda [Cabinda]
9 Sep Fri Weighed and made all plain sail
12 Sep Mon 4.1 °S 6.32 °E
20 Sep Tue 6.4 °S 8.13 °W
22 Sep Thu At single anchor off Ascension
14 Oct Fri Weighed
19 Oct Wed a.m.
3.30 Departed this life Lieutenant and commander Philip Bisson
10 Committed the body of the much lamented, and late Lieutt P. Bisson to the deep with the usual ceremonies. Expd cots one, do frames one, shot round 32 pd 5 in no., cartridge blank (musquet) 36 in no. Mr G Collier, 2nd Master read his commission as acting Lt Commr and took command of the ship
21 Oct Fri 3.58 °N 24.57 °W
28 Oct Fri 15.20 °N 27.15 °W
4 Nov Fri 26.58 °N 29.54 °W
11 Nov Fri 39.49 °N 22.41 °W
17 Nov Thu 49.48 °N 5.0 °W
19 Nov Sat At Spithead: Let go S.B. [Small Bower = port bow anchor]; veered to 35 fth on do. and 80 ftm on B.B. [Best Bower = starboard bow anchor]
22 Nov Tue Made sail for Portsmouth.
Shackled B.B. to a buoy
29 Nov Tue Sent ships co. to the yard to receive their wages
Sunset: Hauled down the pennant, Geo Collier, acting Lieut
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