At nightfall on the 22d of June Hunter set out, and by daylight the next morning his whole party had safely landed in the rear of the defences of Brashear, while Green, with three battalions and two batteries of his command, stood on the western bank of Berwick Bay, ostentatiously attracting the attention of the unsuspicious garrison, and three more regiments were in waiting on Gibbon's Island, ready to make use of Hunter's boats in support of his movement.
'You will be in command of the boats, Mr. Earnshaw, and it will never do to attack such a place as that without some sort of plan. "'What is the boom like, my lad? the lieutenant asked; 'is it lashed together? "'No, it is a solid spar, I said. 'The entrance is not more than forty feet wide, and the boom is part of the mainmast of a big ship.
There was only one thing in common between the ferry at that day and this: the boats started from the same spot. Where the ferry-house now stands at Whitehall was then the beach to which the boatmen brought their freight, and where they remained waiting for a return cargo. That was, also, the general boat-stand of the city.
This made us all laugh, because he valued himself less and bound himself to pay more than the others. We, therefore, took him with us. The river here is full four miles wide, and when it blows, especially from the north or northwest, there is sometimes a rolling sea, making it dangerous to cross over, particularly in small boats.
It came on to blow hard in the afternoon, and there was no communication with the shore, except the signal was made, third day, when it moderated, and the signal was made "Prepare to weigh, and send boat for captain." In the meantime several boats came off, and one had a postman on board.
They would have laden the boat more deeply still but for Mr Brooke, who superintended at the side of the creek, while Mr Reardon was at the stores. Then the first of the boats Mr Brooke had brought was sent off, and by the time the next was loaded one of those we had previously sent off returned.
Besides the regular boats' crews who stood collected between two of the guns, ready for instant service, numerous volunteers had come forward, as is always found to be the case whenever there is work to be performed; the two lieutenants stood together.
Every thing, it seemed, was on board but the crew; who in a few hours after, came off, one by one, in Whitehall boats, their chests in the bow, and themselves lying back in the stem like lords; and showing very plainly the complacency they felt in keeping the whole ship waiting for their lordships.
Others drew near, although they did not fly the flag. Some of these belonged to the half-hearted, who wanted medicines or books, and were rather indifferent about the meeting, though willing enough, perhaps, to remain to it. One way or another there was soon a long tail of boats floating astern of the gospel-ship, and a goodly congregation on her deck. Her skipper was very busy.
They were unwilling to harm us at first, wishing to reap a golden harvest by claiming the rewards for our recovery; but our obstinacy in refusing to come down drove the pirate captain much beyond his own wishes. Had Capt. Bute's boats been half an hour later there would have been but little of our sad remains left.