Strange things happen in the mist of the Caribbean, ships will disappear for no reason and others will run into each other, poor fishermen will come up dead, Cargo ships carrying human cargo will be lost forever. We are sailing in forbidden waters with a child that is not of this world, the gold of the Mayans was given back nevertheless someone has what the Goddess of the sea wants! The men who are left of them hurry to prepare a way to safety not knowing what’s around the next corner. My only hope is that greed did not creep in among my mates for just one piece of gold will sink us all. I asked the Chief of the ship to get to the bottom of the disappearance of some of the garcons we need to search everyone. Not one soldat of the Guard has died or come up missing but everyone else has suffered loss. Not even a small breeze has helped us to leave the coastline and head north. The African began to disrobe and one among them was thrown in the ocean no one knows why or when. The little boy seems very happy with his newfound father and all the French soldates play with him, even their Captaine. As we disrobe many of the mates had scars to show the life in the west Indies, the whip marks of former masters and former Captains. So is the life of a sailor in 1803.
We seem determined to push on out of the cove to the open waters, nevertheless, the cove went on for days and the men were tired of rowing with no wind to aid us it was as if we were in one spot going nowhere. What in the name of the almighty is stopping us from clearing this god forsaken place? Everywhere up and down the cove you could hear the yelling of some poor soul caught out where the evil bugs were sucking the blood out of anything they could find. I am not a praying man but I will pray this time and I looked to the God of my mother to the eastern star and I set down on the deck of the small sloop and I said there’s no other God greater than the God of the east for all things were made by him and for him and he is great most great and kind to his creation . Turning to the east then to the west I realized we were not headed North but to the west back to where we came from how this could be, we all thought that our Captain of this sloop knew the stars. I looked up and saw the North star looking dead at me and the ship was going against the star. I rushed up to the that fool on the ruder and forced him to turn the ship towards the star. What kind of sailors are you I yelled at him, are you not watching the stars fool? The Sloops Captain yelled at me and I was forced to kill him on the spot, just after praying. Although I knew this might mean my own life, I stood firm. No one challenged me when they all looked up and saw that I was headed to the big bright star in the big dipper. As the men started rowing harder and harder the wind picked up and the sails began to full carrying us out of the cove into the open water.
The sloop picked up the wind like she should, and we were making head wind speed I never traveled so fast in such a short time. As daylight began and the star was gone the sun was in front of us and we knew we were headed east. As we sailed farther from the cove the wine became our enemy, not our friend. It was first our savior now it is the devil that seeks to destroy us. I took over the helm after killing the Captain of the sloop now the men all cursed me. One of the new mates was careless and lost his life to the wind. That path through the sails from one side to the other yet I knew that sailing into the wind would do this and any sailor worth his salt knew that also. As all the French soldat stayed together and tied themselves together, they were smarter than some of these so-called sailors. Quickly I yelled to the more experienced sailors. “Tie the mast sail down before it kills us all!” and we sailed as fast as the wind could carry us till, I started to sail with the wind north. The weather was unusual for this time of year hotter than ever, the men all took off more clothing to stay cool even though the breeze was very warm that meant that a hurricane was brewing somewhere and I hope we were not running into it . I was going to push my garcons harder than I ever have, this was my first command of a ship. I knew how to push a troop of cavalry, but sailors were different, they were climbing up and down the sail pulling the main and letting it down to gain speed. Work was tedious and it was showing in the old salts face the new men just fainted till we revived them with a bucket of water. The black clouds of the hurricane were behind us but closing fast. All the guardsmen were pulling the ropes in and out that the way my garcons to a song that they all knew it must have been the regimental song. “Forward we go straight to the guns as the troops called us forward we will not quit we will not Fail for the Guard will never fail to do honor to the flag beat the drums beat the drums drummer boy beat the drums don’t let the troops over take us forward my garçons . Marks of former masters and former Captains. So is the life of a sailor in 1803.”
Join me next month for more adventures.
We felt safe and good the Africans took care of the child as if he was a God, little did we know at the time that the Mayan gold was a gift from the Mayan people to their God Moboyas. The winds are favorable for us unlike the dead Polish soldates we found and surprising we didn’t fine their gold also but not Rick and some of the Africans who went with them? I felt unsure of myself these past days I was worried about what was ahead for I knew what was behind me and that was not a general problem as of now. The sailors were all sure that they would one day be rich plantations owners. I on the other hand didn’t feel that way I did not want to go back to France for the France I loved was gone and now the world was at war with itself. We had a few Indians that we found on that hell of an island they keep talking about Moboyas, who was this Moboyas the Africans wouldn’t tell me and the Moor’s all they did when they were not working was pray! The world is made up of many places and people this small crew had Frenchmen, Spanish and Africans a few Mulattoes and now Indians. The Polish soldates were gone or dead and many of the runaway slaves were gone there was a big difference between all these groups. There one thing that they all loved and that was gold. We were now a whole day from that hell hole, and I was thinking was now the perfect time to see what them Indians were talking about. We got one of the Africans who spoke their language to ask them what they were talking and praying about! They told us that the gold belongs to a God named Moboyas and that he was going to get his gold back and we were dead men sailing into darkness that were there is never no light. They said that they prayed to Yocahu for protection from the demons of Moboyas. As we continued to sail south towards the mainland the weather got strange it became so dark that we lowered the sails to keep from running into any rocks or coves. Just as the Mayan Indians said it would get dark because Moboyas was looking for his gold. We didn’t believe such foolishness and dismissed this as weather in the coast of the mainland. Still the darker it got the louder the Mayans shouted to their God for protection. “Keep them Indians quite shouted the first mate”! We wiped them and pushed them, yet they were not going to stop. Then out of nowhere a great dark cloud came over the ship and it rained black tar all over us. One after the other the men fell down sick even the brave Imperial Guardsman. There blue and white uniforms were now pitch black and their muskets were dripping with tar the two sappers that were with them fell down as if they were dead also. No one was immune from the rain I was one of the first to fall I could see the Mayans throwing the gold over the side of the ship no one could stop them big sacks of gold and barrels of gold was thrown over the side of the ship our hell was just a waste of time were we to die I could not tell. The most be something wrong the Africans did not go through this whenever they went to make jewelry out of the gold why now? My thoughts were am I dead or am I alive I was in limbo the whole time I could see but I could not feel I saw the Mayans throw the gold in the cloud and I saw them leave the ship did they have a boat following us I just could not understand what was going on . After some time ticked away with me in a dream state and everyone around me also the Mayans left us to our own mercy. That’s when I saw the little one Clyde go from man to man as if he was waking them from a deep sleep. One after another of the men work up and a great disappointment came over many of us all but the former slaves who all got together and maned the sails. What a complete waste of time many of the ship mates said, I was thinking I am thankful that I am still alive after what I witnessed. The Guardsman dusted of their uniforms and fell into line at the command of their officer. Behind them the sappers who were Haitians fell in. My ship mates were mad cussing and fussing among themselves looking over broad for their lot. It is gone my hardies man your stations maybe we get another go at it what you say my lads. Then there was a ghostly quite among all the men no one wanted to go back to that hell not even to be a prince. All we need is some good luck and a northwestern breeze to put us back on course towards the North .We are now hugging the coast of the main land as close as we could get the captain of this sloop was an old seaman and he knew the coast of South America . Most of us were glade to get the hell away from this god forsaken part of the world and back to civilization. Then you always had the ones who lost out on a chance of a lifetime to own their own outcome a freeman in these times was unheard of. We were all slaves to someone or something even the Imperial Guard slaves to their Captaine to march or die. Yes, I was a slave running from a mad man who only interest in living was to catch me not to get the Austrian Emperors gold back but to get the man who stole it.
Next month Galveston or bust
Well it was about this time that we finally left this god forsaken place the black plague was coming out of the mountains with a vengeance and they were headed for us with a fury. It looked like clouds of blackness unbelievable to watch as the men hurried to load the Mayan gold on to the ship. The greed was all over each of their faces as if Satan himself has enter their bodies! I felt that as soon as we got to the island where the slaves went to melt the gold down that the fighting between the different groups would start. There where fifty of us to Ricks ten and the Polish soldates who are elite troops, nevertheless we had the best of the best the elite of the elites the Imperial guardsman. These twenty guardsmen no doubt in my mind that they would just kill all of us and return to their beloved general with the gold. Who could I depend on went thru my mind I knew that Rick saved me many times and that he would not kill me, but his men would kill my sailors? My own men were not mine, but the captains and the few former slaves would not kill me, but they would just as well sell me as a fancy to some French settlers. If you don’t know what a fancy is let me enlighten you a fancy is a play toy to some of these French settlers, they use mulattoes as house servants or just whatever they fancy to do with them. In France they used them as foot men and pages and valets.
As the ship began to full up with the Mayan gold, it was surprising how well the men worked together I wish that I could trust what I was feeling but I know the human heart. “Full sail someone yelled as the men began to board the ship. That’s when the real action started the guardsmen formed up in line of three with the front-line kneeling and the back lines loading their muskets. Hold someone yelled out what is this Rick” yelled at the French you are going to kill us like you did those poor native soldates”!
The Guardsmen were ready to kill nevertheless the commanding officer stopped them by running in front of them. “Is this what we have become killers not professional soldates he said “. You remember how they killed those unarmed native soldates these same polish soldates that you want to kill now although they were under orders to kill every lest one of them Haitian soldates. We stood behind them to kill them if they didn’t follow the order to kill them Haitian “. Just then a poor looking sight ran out of the jungle full of lice and being eaten up by the mosquitoes. One of the Guardsman felt remorse and dropped his musket and ran and covered that poor soul with his coat. “What do we have here said the Guardsmen “? The poor thing was a runaway slave boy no more than three or four he most have been hiding in the cave till he hears us coming then ran to what he thought was safety till the bugs got to him. “I think I call you Clyde the way you glided out of that jungle said the guardsmen”! Yes, I thought that suites the little bagger good. After we all cooled down the work began to leave this god forsaken place. The wind was favorable for a quick getaway and the killer’s mosquitoes were headed towards us. We sailed south towards the mainland far away from not only our mission but towards unknow waters that where know only to the Africans who guided the ship. These Africans called themselves Moor’s they said that they were Spanish Africans brought here to sail the Spanish ships in and out of the many islands that made up the sea. They said that they were not Muslims but worshipped Calypso!
When the Africans heard that they got very quiet and looked at the little boy that ran out of the jungle. We all were thinking that the Africans thought that the child was Calypso’s child running from a demon. The wind dies down and the sea was like glass as we made remarkable speed to the island that were near the mainland of the south. Faster and faster the ship cut though the sea as if we had motors hooked up to it, we all were amazed. Clyde and Roger the guardsman was close as any father and son. Once we reach the outer most island that the Africans directed the Moor’s to sail to, we way anchor and in small boats we carried the Mayan gold to be melted down into coins. Tempters that were visible at the beginning of this voyage were now gone and the different crews worked together. After all the gold was turned to coins there were boxes and boxes of the gold, too much for us to transport back. The different crews took their gold and set off to buy ships to return to this island and get the remainder.
We on the other hand stayed with the Imperial guardsmen and the slaves and the little boy while some of the others went inland to buy or fine a ship big enough to carry the boxes of gold. The Africans and the Moor’s seemed to vanish into the jungle very strange. After a few days on the slaves island the men were on edge to leave this black place were only the Africans can stand the heat and the killer mosquitoes. The Africans rub something on their skin to keep the mosquitos away. After I smelled what they use I told the rest of the men that it was garlic powder and butter, we all laugh at one another for being so short sighted and superstitious. Every night you would see some of the men going to the beach with the native girls for some romance that was a problem for the captain of the Guardsmen, he did not want them to get used to being with these native girls however he could not control all of them. Roger was happier than he has ever been with his new son they were always together and playing swimming and doing what a father and son does. The men began to build shelters after a week went by and no notice of the sailors sent to buy a ship. The leader of our crew sent more men to look for them they came back after a week with dead polish soldates that were laying on the beach and luckily Rick was not one of them. They all died from drowning some kind of bad weather must have hit them out in the sea.
JOIN US NEXT MONTH CALYPSO
Pow, pow, pow went the long rifles of the company of Guardsman, pow, pow! As the shots put to rest a many Spanish sailors that had the nerve to stand and try to fire back at the best European soldates of their time. Pow, pow as more shots hit more men. “We surrender came a shout from the jungle”! I know that voice, but it could not be him thousands of miles away from here and in another life that voice saved my life many a time in Italy.
“Is that you I shouted out over the gun fire” “Tes, it me Kliff your Hussar Rick, came the shout back”! Don’t shut mon ami please we had enough. Rick said”. The Spanish have run off and all that is left is my men Kliff”. Mon ami Rick how have you been what on earth are you doing here I asked”?
Rick said that he was part of the expedition to save the French people trapped on the main island in Port de Prince. A Polish legion was sent to help the native regiment that was garrison at Port de Prince. When they arrived, the French had arrested all the native troops and had them surrender their arms. The French at that time were paranoid about everything. The slaves had at that time conquered most of the island and had killed or hung all the Spanish and French landowners. When Rick said they were ordered to kill all the native soldates a whole regiment of fifteen hundred men. After they killed the native soldates his men refused to follow any more of the French orders and mutinied staling ships and anything to get off that hell hole. He said that many ran to the hills and established their own colony. Others like themselves went into practice piracy. Rick told me that in the last days that I was in Italy that an Austrian Captain was captured by the name of Bearson and said that he was in a unit that was to capture some French Mulattoes who stole the Kings Gold. Well I knew only one Colored man that had that many balls to steal the Emperor of the Austrian Empire’s gold and it was Captaine Kliff Sent of the 13th Hussars. “Yea it was me, I cannot lie to you Rick. But it’s not with me it is still in Italy. And if I ever get out of what I am into that is my retirement for life as the Count. Let me ask you a question about Port De Prince was there army staff there also. “Yes, he replied” Was there a certain noble man name Count De Everman “? “Well yes there was with his own retainers.” he replied! I thought to myself that snake has followed me all the way here I wonder where he is now! “In Fact, he was one of the first to command that the natives be killed.” said Rick. That snake in the grass, will his hate grow by killing innocent people! I know that he’s not after the gold for the Emperor of Austria he’s after it to enrich himself. He will lie and cheat and deceive anyone and everyone just to find me and that gold. Sooner or later I knew that Evermond would catch up to Joh and the others living on El Capitaine’s island but how was I to warn them. I have no ship to sail that far and we are here fighting over Mayan Gold. I must get this gold first then buy me a ship in the western isles. I need loyal men to do that, can I count on these men that I am with, can I count on Rick? First thing first let’s get the Mayan gold forward my hardies forward! We ran as fast and straight as we could knowing that when day light comes so do the flies. Killing as many other pirates that were after the same thing, they were no match against the trained Guardsman one line of ten down on their knees firing while the other waited their turn. In no time Our men the Guardsman and Rick’s Poles wiped out all the other pirates that were guarding the cave where the Mayan gold was. When we enter the cave and lit some fires all we saw was not gold, but boxes of jewelry made of gold! What were we going to do with a King’s ransom of Jewelry? “I know!” said one of the former slaves “we can get them slaves that lived here to smith the gold down to bars like they got.” he said. “What’s your name boy?” asked the leader. His name was Rose the men called him Rosy. My name is Paul said the Black man. “Ok Paul where are these ex-slaves of this here plantation. Well I bet they took a boat east to the mainland.” “I be hog tied!” said Rosy they slip right by us and fooled us into believing that there were gold bars here and not a bunch of rings and such.
Were we disappointed nay, we had what we came for and only a large Spanish Gallen could carry all this gold Jewelry? As morning was slowly approaching the flies were busy biting the men that were still outside the cover of pitch darkness of the cave. It was feeding time for not only the flies, but the bats that woke up were ready to eat the early morning flies, it was a war of the small things now .We just hid in the cover of the cave as the others also ran into the cave running away from the bites of these savage insects. Some of the men had large bites that had maggots developing in them that had to be removed. We just had to wait till it was pitch dark outside before we started to the slops that brought us to this God forbidden place. The day was as terrifying like a storm at sea, all you could hear was the sound of a trillion flies flying around trying to escape the black death of the bats. You would not walk around out here because of the lice and ticks that lived in the sand. The slaves that lived here most have had feet made from leather to endure the harshness of the environment. The planters all wore protection over their face. The only thing that was growing was the sugar cane, tall wide fields of the cane. The many slaves that it took to maintain this vast forest of sugar cane. Also, the money that was made by the wealth of this crop. The flies didn’t go near the fields just the borders of the vast fields of tall stocks of cane. So, I was thinking if you were in the field you were save from the bites of the flies. Then it came to me that there was one that loved the sweat of humans and it was that blood sucking mosquitoes. There were black clouds over the fields, this place is hell on earth if there ever was. What pleasure was here we could not see? The course of the Mayan gold was on this island for sure, I was wondering would we be taking that course with us once we left, I would have nothing to do with that gold.
Join us next time for ways forward
The next island we stop at to resupply, I took eight members of my gun
crew to do a little exploring. We happen upon a large plantation yet there
was no one walking about. The flies were eating us alive never in all my
travels have I seen flies that bite. The men were forever fighting the flies
off them with blood coming out of everyone that was bitten. How can
anyone live on this island I thought! There we saw in a clearing a European
in a wheelchair fishing in a large lake with a hat that had a net all around it.
He also had on gloves to keep the flies from biting his hands he had a coat
and shoes and pants of the last century on. A strange sight in this god-
awful place. No wonder there no one outside the heat and these flies. We
came up on him quickly as he was reaching for his flintlock rifle.
“Who are you?” he asked
“We are sailors looking for food and water.” I answer
“Are you here to kill me I have no money all I can do now is fish in this lake
it is fresh water take as much as you want but don’t harm me”!
“No, we will not kill you, but where are your servants and slaves?” I
“They only come out at night when the flies are not active the mosquitoes
they wash in vinegar and the flies come near them.” he said
As we were still fighting our own battle with the files, I saw a hut and we ran
towards it as fast as we could leaving the old man behind. Once inside we
saw small children with what looked like small holes in their feet. What a
god -awful place this is. The jiggers laid their eggs in the bottom of the
people’s feet and had to be dug out by a special witch doctor. Europeans
servants and bond workers had them also the natives of the island wore
wooden footwear to protect them from the jiggers.
As night was closing in, we knew it was time for us to make a path to the
ship or be left behind in this hell. I told the watch doctor that we needed
men to man the ship since so many of the crew left. When we got down to
the ship and saw that the fleet had not left, there was a thousand people
waiting there, slaves and Europeans and natives, men woman and children
old and young all wanted to leave this hell hole. They had one thing that the
captain wanted, gold and lots of it. Necklaces and jewelry and rings of all
kind of gold was worn by everyone. The flies did not stop the gold that
came out of the same area of the island as they did. And very few ships
would go into this hell hole.
No sooner than we are out of one condition another one pops up. With the
new people from that hell hole there were Spanish who were the overseers
and the Africans who for the most part were the workers. Which led to a
rebellion among the Africans who outnumbered the Spanish. To keep from
blood being shed Captaine Jack put the Spanish on one of the small ships
and kept the Africans on the large Barge. The leader of the Spanish was
found later with his insides out hanging. Was this the beginning of a war
only time would tell and Captaine Jack was going to put the Spanish off on
the next island that we came too. When it was discovered that he was in a
relationship with one of his own fellows, taking advantage of his position on
that hell hole. Many debts were going to be settled but not on Captaine
I was watching one of the Africans a very large man with gold inlays in his
mouth. There must be a place where these people got all this gold. I watch
and listen to them the Africans, but I did not understand what they were
saying. The Captaine sent us to oversee the barge because we were
colored. When I say colored, I mean that we were not born in Africa but
somewhere else. He, the large African walked about as if he was the King
and a fancy. I found out that he was the father of most of these children.
The European masters used him as a stud on their plantations. By
following him I might find out where this gold mine was, I could not use my
Austrian gold because I knew that Evermond was still on our trail.
The forward gun crew of Winston, Steve, Mario, Zero, Grasshopper and
myself thought of a way to buy a Skip to sail back to that island along with
the big African to show us the mine. Before we got even started Goose had
his eye on all of us and he was not alone. The French Colonel sent a guard
to escort me to him and said that he would pay for our adventure and that
he would want 50% of the gold. To ensure that he got his 50% he was
sending five Guardsmen to aid us in the adventure. Now we started with
seven now it would be the guardsmen and a skip Captain and his crew. We
finally reach a secure island we went about looking for a skip no sooner
than we found a skip the Mexicans on the one of the sloops stole it and
were headed back to the island. We had to make up some ground to catch
them although the skip was faster than that sloop without a sea Captain,
we knew that they would get lost at sea in a day or two. Also, unknown to
us Captain Jack wanted that gold and he sent one of his fast sloops well
ahead of us. Well friends we in for a fight and I don’t know how many we
were up against; we can thank the French for sending armed guards with
us maybe. We will have an advantage over swords and cutlass and pistols.
“So, Mon Ami are you ready for a fight”? As we approached the island in a
thick blanket of fog you could hear men yelling and pistols firing! Could they
be fighting one another I hope so, that means that they just might kill one
another in the dark. We weren’t on the beach five minutes before someone
got the big African between the eyes shot dead, there goes our guide to the
Join us next time for Gold Fever!!
The fun was starting by no other than Charles Mario he was horsing around with one of the crew members and side kicked him with all two feet of his bony leg. His pants down pass his bony knees he was a funny sight to see. I met all these rough and dirty sailors there was: grasshopper the Spaniard, Omar the Mexican by way of North Africa, goose the want to be boss of the top side sailors, King the west African sharpshooter, Porta Rico the charmer, Red the ruff neck boss top side and riggers the boss. Below decks was Rudy and Peg leg and Jewels what a motley crew we are. With nothing but water all around us you would think that we would be clean as can be, yet water was gold and it was not to be wasted on dirty sailors or gun crews. Boom, boom, as the cannon balls hit the side of Queen of the Caribbean it would take a larger shell to go through the mahogany wood of Roatán, it took days for the carpenters to cut the planks that were now the ships armor. I was so lost in my thoughts about the crew I forgotten that we were being attack by pirates. “To your stations!” the boatswain mate yelled out. “Man, the guns!” I replied! “Belay that order.” the first mate replied we put up the jolly roger and let them know that we are hunters also!
Up went the flag and still no reply but more shots by the smaller ship. It’s time to let them know who we are said Captain Jack the French soldates came up from their hole at the bottom desks and one hundred of them a full company let go a murderous fire on the other ships main deck clearing it of all personal. Up went the white flag of surrender and there would be no terms or parlay. Their foolish Captain was killed and we found them to be British fresh out of Liverpool on a slavers run when they found out that the British squadron was patrolling the oceans. We added them to the crew and maned their ship with the same French Guardsmen that killed so many of their brothers. We now had an extra ship and that meant that we had more to feed. I knew that the Captain would invade the nearest island and plant the French flag there. The nearest island was Islas de la Bahia, I knew that the fleet had to refit and what better place now that we have an extra gun ship.
Once the island came into view, we could tell from our gun ports in the bottom deck that it was undefended. That is when that evil boatswain mate ordered us to clean the horse’s stables in the cargo hole. I am now in charge of the bucket brigade. Now this is one job that most of the crew look down on, but we found out that the waste from the animals grew great vegetables if you were smart enough to bring seeds with you on a long voyage. Which we were and a bright place to grow your food with out anyone being the wiser. We found that under the poop deck was a very bright place and one that caught the pee from the sailors and the French, plus the added benefit of looking at French ladies. Oh, I better not say that! When you been sailing as long as I have you get to know that you got a gold mine at every chance you get.
Once we landed the French went ashore and planted their flag and one companies 1st unit of twenty-five soldates established their government over this small island with just twenty-five French men it was now part of the new French overseas territories. No doubt in my mind that they will marry two native woman per man and build a French nation. We took on fresh water and food stuff and my company found seeds of corn to plant in our ever growing garden under the poop deck. By the time we left the islands of Roatán many of the Africans had left the service of the Queen of the Caribbean and set up their own little colonies. Much to the discomfort of the Boatswain mate who was an old English sea man who thought that this was a life work for the crew members. You were free to go at any time you could only take what you had. And many of the crew saved every penny that they earned to set themselves up down here in the Iles. Time to prepare for the weather, the fleet was short now on manpower and we now were two-gun ships and four sloops and one barge. A very impressive fleet still considering what we started off with.
Although we still had no big prize money yet. At five bells the storm hit the fleet we dropped anchor to slow us down and chained the sloops together and weathered the storm. When you look up and the ship is down, and the waves are up that is what they call becoming a sailor and old salt. Many of the crew were getting sick and had to stay tied to one another above deck. As the wind picked up throwing the big ships up and down and back and forth the crews of the sloops were glade that the captain made them leave their small ships and get on the two-gunships for their own protection. I have been in a many storms, but this was the mother of them all. I saw big bad men crying and praying hugging one another for dear life the people up top were tied down to keep them on the ship as we went through this hell. As we were thrown about like so many rag dolls it came to me that the best way to weather this storm was to go to sleep and so I was in dream land remembering when I was young in France running around in the streets of Saint Louis. How the other kids would mock my dark complexion at the same time trying to get as dark as me. I was the big guy in the playground and the defender of the weak. I was the Don Juan to all the pretty little girls. Oh, how they loved me and admire me they were the good old days before the revolution. After the Revolution it was citizen this and citizen that, are you a loyalist or a republican. My father was made the interior commissioner because he could not only read and write but because he was a noble of the lesser nobility that was harassed by the upper class for not being well off and well born.
Join us next time as we move to better situations
It was early spring of 1802 sailing north by north west towards the island of ROATAN. We were short of trained seaman nevertheless we made out the best we could with what we had. I was to busy training my forty gunners, the new first mate had to worry about that, and the riggers would be the best men that he had. We were in the bottom deck of guns near the water line that meant that in a fight the guns could be underwater in a quick turn. My garcons had to learn to close the water hatches as soon as we felt the ship turning or the guns could be flooded. The Captaine had us train while he was maneuvering the ship every other day and the rest of the time, we were top side learning the deck guns. The work was back braking and I had to replace many of the older men due to the fact they could not keep up with the younger men. One of the old timers lost his leg in a maneuver, he now has a job in the galley as a helper to the cook. We had some young Haitian boys who were pressed into the service of the ship by the first mate. These boys were the powder monkey’s as they were called in the British Navy, they did the most dangerous work of bring the powder to the gunners. One slip and the ship would go up in flames. Some of the Haitians were great climbers and were used top side and rigging. The sails of the ship would be where they would work. They were far faster than the old timers, who best days were behind them. All they could do was teach the younger sailors the ropes. As the weather became more tropical the French suffer the most, they were not use to the heat of the tropics even thou we were headed north. Once we were in reach of the coast of Roatan, the Captaine took a small row boat and the first mate and some others to the island. When the Captaine and the others returned the large boats were put in the waters with a landing party of fifty of the French Guards men. Here comes the invasion of Roatan we laughed, but it was no joke to the Spanish garrison on this sleepy island. Without any loss of life, we captured the Spanish garrison and pressed them into service of the ship there was twenty of them the officers were shot by the French there was no use for them. They had two small sloops that were added to the new fleet maned by the pick of the first mate mostly the new Haitians. What surprised us the most was what the Captaine brought back with him a Noir woman who was most stately and very beautiful although she covered her face. The French woman looked at her in amazement. This must have been the first time they saw a free Noir. We were just beside ourselves seeing a free woman and one so pretty, I fell in love at first sight. I knew that I had to get to know who she was. The long boats returned full of new recruits most willingly and some unwieldy. The two sloops pulled up beside the Queen to tack on new crew members most of the old hands went over to the sloops to command and man the few guns that were on them. One thing was for sure this woman knew something that we didn’t know, and we would never know by the way the Captaine had her guarded day and night by French Guardsmen. We now were sailing due north toward another island that the Spanish held called Cozumel. Once we were there the same thing the French overpowered the Spanish with little loss of life and two more slopes, and a large barge were added to the fleet. It was as if this was planned by the French, to capture all the Spanish islands before news got back to Spain.
With his new fleet of four sloops and one barge and one man of war we might be ready to take the long voyage to our destination. I could tell that we were headed north from Mexico and not towards Mexico. What was north of Mexico that the Captaine needed a fleet to get him there? Yes, the Americans were north of us but where in America would we end up not in New Orleans that was too big a gamble! It had to be small enough that this little fleet could handle in a fight and good enough that the French would pay to get there. What was north of us I looked at the charts that I had hid in my bunk under my canvas that kept the bugs off us at night or whenever I had a chance to rest. Out of know where shots were fired at the barge, the water splashed up and about the large tug, I bet the crew on the old barge were frightened out of their hair if they had any on. Then another hit the slowest sloop knocking down its main sail, where in the hell were these cannon balls coming from? I was training my garcon at the time below the main deck all we could see and hear was happening above deck. We heard the first officer call out “Pirates”, who were over the horizons. Beat the drums to general quarters someone get the Captain, he yelled.
Life on the ship was routine till we had to move top side with the other crew members. Trying to get use to top side living was bad enough but some of the crew members above deck were unbearable. Fighting was forever braking out between the below deck sailors and the above deck. If I said anything in a way as a command, it was evil looks and pull your blade out. I had to tell one, Big Al, that I would shoot him if the Captaine didn’t for allowing duels on the high seas. Any way the above deck sailors were a bunch of hens, with one chief roaster that did all the crowing. I just stayed out of the way of him and his hens and kept to my own people that’s what it was coming down to them and us. I made a few friends, but the chief Rooster made sure that was short lived they sent poor Mario to the store room to work or die that was a real chicken dung thing to do.
Join us next time on the fight on the High Seas.
The French Guard was an awesome sight to see even when they are running away. Colonel Dane Primeaux’s Company was waiting outside of the Tavern for the Colonel and his small escort. We were truly amazed to see a full-dressed company of guard’s, we thought that only we had to transport the escort and the Colonel. Nevertheless, the price just went up, also we noticed that their wagon was full of their personal effects.
After the mates that were with me got over the shock of seeing so many French Soldates, we continued our way with the French in tow. One hundred and fifty French men and their families guess I was in for a good sculling from the captain. Nevertheless, it would bring us something that we have been without for a very long time, cash in our pockets.
Meanwhile back at the cove where the Hound was being refitted by Captain Vaine. Meanwhile, Captain Vaine was busy keeping the many, poor bag of bones working to keep their minds off their empty stomachs. The harder they worked the madder they were getting it would not be too long before they would turn on him and like a pack of dogs kill him and attack the ship taking it somewhere to get food in them. They had voted in secret to elect a new Captain.
The rebellion was also getting closer and closer to them they could see fires in the many plantations that were near the cove.
To the surprise of the whole crew when we arrived through the jungle, they thought that they better surrender to the French when they saw so many French men coming behind us. I yelled to them hold on these are our meal tickets. At once Captain Vaine came out to see what the yelling and movement were with his gun in his hand and his weapons drawn he was the most surprising of all.
“Monsieur explained to me how you came by these Frenchmen,” said Captaine Vaine. “I told him where we met the Frenchmen and that we were in need of money and so we are here”!
He looked at me and laughed a big roaring laugh! “You save my ass young man I am promoting you to an officer of the gun crew take the French to their quarters and come back to your crew. said Captaine Vaine. I went about recruiting forty men to man the guns it was hard work but better than the deck crew. After that, I went to the Guards and asked for help training my gun crew the Colonel gave me his best gunner Sergeant Raymond. A monster of a man over six feet tall and as wide as he was tall. The gunners were ready in no time, but we were not ready to put to sea. The Captaine had to enlarge the cargo area to fit the needs of the many personnel that was now his crew. He also had to find a first officer among the many French men that were now calling the cove their home it would not be long before the Slave rebellion would be up into the cove so more and more French people were running to the safety of the cove for now if any planters were among the French people we didn’t know . A planter was like a death sentence among the fleeing French people. After the Captaine found his first officer he had a cabin boy that was a horror he was forever getting his little self into pickles with the crew. One fight after another he wasn‘t scared of nothing and nothing that was not nailed down was fair game to him. It wouldn’t be long before that little skimp would get into something that no one could get him out off. Nevertheless, for now, he had a guarding angel looking over him in the form of Sargent Pier LaPorte. LaPorte was one of the sappers of Colonel Primeaux. LaPorte was not a huge man like Christian or Raymond but he was strong as a bull. And everyone got to know it when the Captaine needed something moved that the others could not move or pick up. He was worth two men of my strongest Noir who could pick the heaviest things up. The Hound would not be ready and shipshape till a month of Tuesdays Therefore we amused ourselves as best as we could. There was an old slave Tavern that the Noir’s found and they made nightly trips to it to find the girls who would be willing to have fun for the little money that they had. Life in the cove was work all day and half a night in the shift to keep the men in shape some would be sleeping while others were building the ship which had to be overhauled all over.
It was early spring and quite cool for the tropics it could have been caused by all the rain that we had in the last passed weeks of March. The ship was almost completed inside with new quarters for the French company of Guards and the Colonel and his officers they have taken over all aspects of the ship. The old English Hound was gone, and this ship was in need of a new name one that fitted the French look of the ship. The outside work was slow but that would improve with the better weather. As we neared completion of the work, we all had our own thoughts about the name of the Ship. The Africans wanted to call the ship the Queen of Sheba and the French want to name her after the Empress, we the old matelots wanted to call her the Queen of the Caribbean. It was voted on and the name would be the Queen of the Caribbean. We all loved it even the French! Now, where were we sailing too? Only Captaine Vaine knew nevertheless the French wanted to go to Galveston the reason was only known between the Captaine and the French Colonel! Captaine Vaine knew that he needed a fleet to go so far east. And he didn’t want to return to El Capitaine’s island kingdom in the west. We were all puzzled about the new direction that Captaine Vaine was taking, we were headed northwest toward the Island of Roatan were the Captaine would pick up more seamen to man his new fleet. But where was he getting the money to pay for this fleet? The only one who had gold was the French and I was sure they knew just what they wanted to do. The well-armed company of elite French soldiers meant that they would invade some island and set up their own republic. We were completely in the dark about what fate was going to throw our way. Therefore, I kept it to myself and continued to train my forty men in the ways of a gunner. We had put in the second deck of guns we now had fifteen guns per side and two decks of guns, the number would be sixty guns to face whoever might try us. We were without a doubt a French Man of War, now no longer a British looking ship we flew an all-black flag. We were now ready to set sail!!
Join us next time for more ADVENTURE!
The new captain, Charles de Vaine had not gotten us anywhere after we left the safety of El Captaines strong hold. That was west of Cuba on a small inlet on the island of Cozumel. We were one of the first ships that was refitted by El Captaine, his hopes was that we bring back to him the money and booty that would get the island through the winter of 1802.
we had a crew of 60% noir and 20% Spanish, the rest were all kinds of Europeans thrown together by el captaine and captaibne de vaine. none of the noir were sailors. nevertheless they were willing workers who were not hard to teach by the thirty of us that were left of the old crew.
the ship was a big one, a refitted hound with many guns and the crew had to be trained to fire the cannons.
after the long days of training we felt that we were ready to start our voyage to who knows where. only captaine vaine knew where we were going, the rest of us were just along to ensure that whatever botty was gotten was returned back to El captaine with 25% going to captaine vaine and with 25% going to the crew we had to do a lot of sailing and hopefully capturing many a fat french refugees fleeing the rebellion in Hispaniola.
after sailing for months we sighted the island of Tortuga, what a welcome relief from months on the ocean sighting nothing that was any value to the crew. the captaine was almost out of money to pay the crew and all the supplies that we had were almost gone only a miracle would save us at this point.
Than when we all were happy to be on land. The world at war was headed our way. Many of the French people were running away from the slave rebellion and Tortuga was the getaway place to be. many of the old pirates were long gone from this island what was once the capital of the pirate kingdom was just a few bars and one cat house. where many taverns once were. now were only fallen down hobbles.
we, that is a few of us, made our way to the Tavern that was left while the others made their way to the tents on the beach. Their pockets were not as deep as ours where i still had Austrian gold in my shoe heels for such a time as this.
As we were setting there the most unusual sight walked in, five imperial French guards. Men with their tall bear skin hats came INTO THE TAVERN WITH AN OFFICER LEADING THEM AND A FEMALE WAS BEHIND THEM.
THE PEOPLE IN THE Tavern WERE AS Surprised AS WE WERE TO SEE SUCH A SIGHT. THE NOIRS HAVE NEVER SEEN EUROPEANS THAT TALL AND NEVER SEEN THE CREAM OF THE FRENCH ARMY. WAS THIS GENERAL LA CURE, I THOUGHT, I ALMOST WANTED TO salute BUT I KNEW BETTER THAN THAT.
AS THEY PULLED UP CHAIRS TO SIT I EASED CLOSER TO THEM TO SPY ON THEM, THERE WERE MANY OTHER MULATTOES THERE BESIDES MYSELF AND A FEW OF THE CREW. NEVERTHELESS, MOST OF THE MEN DRINKING WERE EUROPEAN SAILORS ALSO LOOKING FOR SHIPS TO SAIL OR TO LOOT.
Mon Ami, we need to find a way off this god forsaken place before our throats are cut open.
Oui, Mon General we must be very careful of these people they look like a bunch of pirates. And the Noirs here are they spies for the rebellion. We most watch ourselves. “said Colonel Dane Primeaux !
As I listened closer I felt that this would be a good time to invite myself to their table. I got up and walked to their table and saluted the Commander of them , Monsieur’s let me introduces myself I am Lieutenant Kliff Sent of thee Hussars here we are also looking for a way off this island maybe we can help one another if you are up to the challenge?
I was hoping that they would seem to be taken by my boldness. One of them, I later got to know his name is Raymond, he came at me with his bayonet. “Hold on Mon Ami we kill him later! What is your deal Monsieur, or what is your plan or do you have one?” said Monsieur Prime aux?
“I sure do Mon Ami I heard of a ship of with a uncertain group of sailors, they might be bought for a price. I was told that they would transport anyone to Cuba for a certain amount of gold coins.”
“Why should we trust you one of them?” said Daron Roseau! “Well do you have a chose Mon Ami do you want to get off this island before the rebels get here you know they landed a few days ago and there is nothing between us and them not one garrison or soldier to stop them .And they are after blood Mon Ami so can we have a deal?: I said.
The leader looked at his men and then at me.
“We will kill you first if this is an ambush Mon Ami.”
“Fear not Monsieur for I know well what danger is and I have been there before at Morongo in 1800. Let’s bond this deal Monsieur. You pay my way and I will take you and your men to the ship and we will make a deal with the ship’s captain.” As we left the tavern many of the people there looked at us in amazement. Many people were trying to leave this island and many knew that the rebels would kill them for these were dangerous times and the like of money would mean sure death to anyone .No one was safe from the blood lust of the rebellion.
We made our way to the lagoon where the ship was anchored. We made sure that we were not followed, nevertheless we were.
Join us next time life in Haiti
As a French Marine in 1797, Kliff was on a mission aboard a French Man of War, sailing to the West Indies. His company of marines where all French and that meant they were all white but this young brown garcon, who held the rank of an Ensign. He had no fear of his white shipmates. The troops had to follow his orders because of his rank and to many it was distasteful. Not because of Kliff’s color, but because of his class, as a bourgeois many fathers bought rank and privileges that the poorer peasants could not. Many if not all in this company were forced into serve. In addition, many of the veterans on broad the ship knew that the West Indies meant certain death by disease.
It has been too long for many of us since we had a woman. Kliff hoped that his tales would fire them up to go to sea! We entered Genoa in the early fall of 1800. Later that month Andre and Kliff went to the harbor. Andre could speak perfect Italian, so that helped. Once we got there, we went to the nearest tavern! Once inside we asked about Capitaine Martinez! Kliff knew that Capitaine Martinez was known here because Kliff stopped there a year ago. Capitaine Martinez was on the run from the British.
After, Andre and Kliff looked for hours a group of seaman approached Andre and Kliff and handled them very roughly. After the fight with the seaman, Andre and Kliff had black eyes and swollen faces, not very handsome to the women now.
Andre and Kliff can say that we gave back as well as we got from them. Andre and Kliff had to use their sabers on a few but only minor cuts. There’s nothing gentlemanly at all about this kind of fighting, bare knuckles and sabers!
They knew that we were either deserters or former seaman looking for a way out of this hellhole, which was now Genoa. After months of bombardment and fighting this city is truly hell, dead and dying everywhere. The, sailors asked us why we were looking for a Capitaine by the name of Martinez and was his first name Miguel?
We told them through Andre that Kliff once served under Capitaine Martinez on the Clipper Les Marseille. They told Andre that they knew him. Kliff told them that we needed safe passages aboard a ship for seven men going to Capitaine Miguel. We were willing to pay, and if there was any treachery that the Capitaine would hunt them down himself.
You see there’s honor among thieves. Kliff recalled that he met this Polish fellow by the name of Rick Paizack; he could steal the smile off your face. He is an honorable man who would honor his word. You see a man in this life has only one thing and that is his honor, once someone losses that he stops being a man. Kliff said, “I had seen many a man turn into a beast and a drunk and an animal because he lost his honor. They were first unwilling to help, and then they went to a certain fellow who was setting on one of the wooden pillions on the dock. This man’s name was Marcus Pizana, he was once a shipmate of the Notorious but savage Capitaine Miguel. He came over to us and pulled up Kliff’s shirtsleeve and looked, and then he looked us up and down.
He said to Kliff you have the mark (a tattoo on my right forearm with a skull and cross bones with a dove in the middle). After seeing this, he bowed to Kliff; he told me that it would cost me dearly to get that many men out of Italy and to get them safely to Capitaine Miguel. He said that only gold would get these man out of Italy and a lot of it! Kliff could pay in gold; he said that he would arrange to have these men transported out of the area! With our men safe on their way to Capitaine Miguel, Joc and I along with our horses made our way back to the French lines. Guards who wanted to see our orders stopped us many times. Nevertheless, we are Eclaireur's and as scouts we were always out in front of the Army or far behind it, it only matters what unit we were assigned too.
That gave me a good idea, why not get assigned to a unit that stays out in front of a Corps, the Topographical exploring unit of my ami Remi! That would be best all round for us, that being the case I decided to ask Remi to be assigned to his unit as scouts. Major Remi with some difficulty suggested, that I go back to my old unit and ask for a transfer to his unit, then he would sign the approval on his side. We first went to Colonel Pierre, and then to the other unit. So all I had to do was go and get a transfer from the 11th Chasseurs, and also get one from Joc’s old regiment. I knew that Lieutenant Fisher would give me one and keep it under the table but I was thinking that Evermond would be looking through all the transfer slips at headquarters. I asked Joc was he listed as missing, he said that he was listed as missing and presumed dead. Then I asked him did he have a family that would try to find out. He said that he has been on his own since he can remember and that the only family he has ever had was the cavalry.
Explore with us more in February!