On the Water

Logbook, Whaling Bark Virginia of New Bedford

This logbook chronicles six months of a whaling voyage to the Pacific whaling grounds by the bark Virginia of New Bedford, Mass. The voyage began in late August 1840.

Most official ship logbooks record wind, weather, and sail changes, directions and ports reached and cleared. This one was filled with extra details and a few drawings by its keeper, Thomas M. Peakes. On 16 December 1840, two whales were caught and processed. The figures inside the whale stamps for those events show the number of barrels of oil taken from each whale. The last word, “Amanda,” reveals the writer’s homesickness. Her name appears often, as do the words “home sweet home.”

On 31 January 1841, crewman Henry N. North fell overboard and almost perished before being rescued. Towards the end of March 1841, log keeper Peakes was injured himself and had to go ashore at Talcahuano, Chile. Virginia’s ship’s log ended here, after noting that a kindly local widow took Peakes into her home to help him regain his health. After a three-week recovery, Peakes shipped out for home on the whaler Montano.

ID Number:
AG*056866
Date:
1840
Dimensions:
12 1/2 in x 8 in x 5/8 in; 31.75 cm x 20.32 cm x 1.5875 cm
Source:
Gift of Thomas M. Peakes

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