Catalogue description Folios 38-42: Surgeon’s general remarks. HMS President was commissioned at Chatham...

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Details of ADM 101/114/4A/5
Reference: ADM 101/114/4A/5

Folios 38-42: Surgeon’s general remarks. HMS President was commissioned at Chatham on 9 August 1853 for the flag of Rear Admiral David Price. The ship sailed from Plymouth to Valparaiso and touched at Rio de Janeiro on her way out. The ship continued on the coast of Chili, visited Caquimbo and Caldera. Anchored at Callao on 8 April and from this place the ship sailed in company with the Anglo French Squadron for the Marquesas – Sandwich Islands and Kamschatka. The attack on the batteries of Petropanlowski [Petropavlovsk] was made on the 31 August and 4 September – on the 8 [September] the Squadron left, the French Squadron parted company on 19 September. The President, with Pique and Viraca proceeded to the Island of Vancouver, and on 1 October 1854 entered the Straits of Juan de Fuca. According to the Surgeon 708 cases were entered into the sick list of these 622 returned to their duty, 33 were sent to hospital, 15 invalided, 5 died and 33 remained on the list. The Surgeon’s passing notes on case no 3 – hemoptysis, case no 22 – cholera, two cases of hernia case no 36 and case no 140. He mentioned that during the passage to Valparaiso the ship touched at Rio de Janeiro where she remained for 7 days, and according to him – this place was lately severely visited by the yellow fever, but at the time when the President visited this disease no longer existed as an epidemic. The ship anchored in the Valparaiso Bay on the 10 January 1854 after a passage of 61 days at sea from England, which he stated that it was one of the shortest on record. He also mentioned that during the passage to Valparaiso the diseases which chiefly attacked the ship’s company were fever and diarrhoea, which he attributed to exposure to cold. Six cases were invalided and 11 cases were sent to sick quarter at Valparaiso, the Surgeon passing notes on case no 69, case no 201, and case no 194. After the ship’s arrival on the coast of Chili, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea and syphilis occurred, which case no 228 is a well marked case of herpes zoster. On the 20 February [1854] William Hunt case no 329 was put on the list…and after healed on board HMS Naiad at Callao and on 30 June he returned to his ship at Nukuhira and hads enjoyed good health since. The President arrived in Callao on 6 April and remained there till 17 May, the Surgeon’s stated that yellow fever existed at this place since December [1853] and proved fatal in upwards of two thousand cases, also for the last three summers frequent cases of bilious remittent fever which assumed a more severe character occurred among the population of Lima and Callao, fatal in several instances, but however no case of this disease presented itself on board the President. The Ship anchored in the Island of Nukuhira one of Marquesas group of islands on 8 June and remained till 3 July, several catarrhal affection and inflammatory fever prevailed among the ship’s company after the ship left this place, in consequence of exposed to much rain. The Surgeon’s attributed the cause of the decrease in population of this Island as a result of intercourse with the whites, since the French had established settlements among them. He also mentioned that one officer [case no 551] was invalided for syphilitic rheumatism, there were also a marine [case no 548] and a seaman [case no 578], invalided for epilepsy. The Surgeon’s notes that the Commander in Chief decided to attack the stronghold of Petropanlowski [Petropavlovsk] in the Bay of Awatska – Kamschatka, in which the Anglo French Squadron consisted of President 50, Flag of Rare Admiral David Price, Pique 40 and Virago S.V. 6 and also Forte 60 Flag of Rear Admiral Feborier des Pointes, Eurydice 30 and Obligado 12, sailed from Honolulu on 25 July and on 29 August the Squadron anchored off Petropanlowski [Petropavlovsk]. On the 30 August Rear Admiral David Price Commander in Chief was killed by a pistol ball which entered his thorax. On the 31 [August], a party landed under the command of Captain Parker R.M. to destroy a battery to the southward of the town which was effected without loss. On the 4 September further operations were decided, a party of 700 men of which 190 belonged to the President were sent to HMSV Virago, whilst Forte, President, Obligado and Virago attacked the batteries diverting the enemy’s attention and covering the landing party, the Pique and Eurydice were sent the greater number of their crews to fight the guns of the other ships. The President succeeded in silencing a batery but however nine sustained splinter and shot wounds, five of which very severe – 1. James Marks, Seaman of HMS Pique, whose left thigh was torn off above the knee…he died at 5 pm, case no 646. 2. James Dawns, Seaman of HMS Pique, was struck by the same cannon ball and splinters that struck James Marks…he died at 4 pm. of the 5 September. 3. George Durrant, aged 22, Ordinary Seaman, struck by a splinter caused by a cannon ball, there by laceration of integuments of inner part of left ankle…he died at 11.45 pm on 30 September. 4. James Cox, aged 33, Leading Seaman, struck by splinters there by lacerated right cheek from commissure of lip to angle of jaw… 5. Samuel Berry, aged 30, Leading Seaman, struck by splinters at the same gun with James Cox, sustained a lacerated wound of right cheek anterior to ear… The Surgeon mentioned that at 10.40 am [of 4 September?] the party with Captain Burridge came on board bringing with them 38 wounded and a list of 10 killed and missing, of these 27 had received gunshot wounds, two bayonet, one cutlass, seven bruised from falls and from rolling stones and one burn from a musket flashed, these with the nine splinter wounds which occurred on board whilst the ship was under fire cause the list amounting to forty seven. Including a list of the wounds sustained at the attack on the Petropanlowski [Petropavlovsk], also includes a list of killed and missing during the same operation. The Surgeon notes that three men underwent amputation namely, James Downs, Samuel Lockett, and Edward Stallard. One of the wounds of abdomen occurred in David Stedman, caused by a spent grape shot piercing parietes of abdomen a little above the umbilicus which caused a small portion of intestine to protrude. He died at 8 am of the next day [5 September]. The Surgeon mentioned that of the five gunshot wounds the most severe was Lieutenant Edward H. Howard: the ball entered above the outer condyle of humerus which caused a comminuted fracture of humerus and lodged. Also inculded is a table of thermometer readings between September 1853 and September 1854.

Date: 1853-1854
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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