Log for the whaling barque Sappho, Benjamin Cushman, Master. for a 3 1/2 year whaling voyage from New Bedford. There are daily entries commencing with the departure from Buzzards Bay on July 21st, 1848 until the return on Jan. 18th, 1852, with Block Island 6 miles distant. It is filled with details about catching blackfish and humpbacks, as well as sperm whales, the latter being noted with distinct hatch marks. The vessel traveled to the Western islands (Azores), on to Fogo (Cape Verde), around Cape Horn to Chile, the Galapagos, the coast of Columbia, and spent much time on the off shore grounds. While at sea, latitudes and longitudes were consistently noted. There were desertions (including one when two crewmen absconded in a whaleboat), punishment, illness, stove boats, speaking and gamming with numerous other whalers. This is the official log for the voyage which appears to have been kept in large part by the second mate, Harvey Morton. It was turned over to the third mate, Charles Hussey,when Morton was sent below by the Captain for “giving him uncivil answers”. It is evident from the styles of handwriting that Morton resumed keeping the log after just a few days.
The entries are written in a strong very legible hand and and while the original boards would benefit from conservation, the interior pages are in excellent condition. Large folio, 16 in. x 10 1/4 in. with labels of William C. Taber and Son pasted in to the inside front and back covers.
The crew list for this voyage is at the New Bedford Free Library.
The whaling bark Sappho was a well known whaler, built in Boston in 1844 and wrecked in the Arctic in 1883. 320 tons; length: 107 feet; breadth 25 feet, 9 inches; depth 14 feet, 8 inches. She whaled on 9 voyages from New Bedford between 1848 and 1881, and one voyage from San Francisco, 1881-82, during which she was lost near St. Lawrence Island.