Modified Routine of Duty [HMS "Resolute"] (1851 April 17 )

H.M.S. Resolute in Winter Quarters this 17th April 51 [1851]

The following is a modified routine of duty to be observed generally in the Expedition, called for from the limited strength now remaining, to insure every thing, being proceeded with as necessary with the advancing Season, and the due preparation of the Expedition; as well as to be ready to meet casualties, should they arise, with a humane and warm hearted vigilance displayed by those not actually undergoing the privations and labour of their comrades, in the search now in hand –

Time Nature of Evolution
5:45 Lash up Hammocks
7:00 Lower deck Cleaned, People washed and to Breakfast
7:30 Cooks arrange Messes, make straight around Tables and Chests as called for
7:50 Assemble for Prayer, asking, as well as for ourselves, protection and guidance for our absent Comrades.
7:55 Call to Muster, from which each individual will proceed to his appointed work, and for which it will be his duty to prepare himself as far as is necessary, between the half hour set aside for Breakfast and Prayer.
11:45 Jobs to cease, prepare for Lower Deck and Lime Juice.–
Noon Dinner
1:15 Hands called.– Note: so long as duty is not pressing Thursday PM will continue for individual necessary duties, as Washing, mending, or such like
4:30 Cease work
4:45 Supper
Until Muster at 6:0 or 6:30 according to circumstances, employed upon necessary jobs off the Lower Deck, or perhaps this may prove a suitable period for washing clothes, in which case the evening Muster will be dispensed with.–

Each and every Steward, Cook, or other, having special duty assigned to him, will work at the general duty of the ship for a period of from 2 to 4 hours out of the 24, or actually at preparation in the open air for any service that the peculiar state of the Expedition may call for, according to circumstances and the direction of the Comm’g Officer; who would appear in this case to have a high, if not a sacred responsibility in watching closely this vital measure to us all; that each and every one should do his utmost to fit himself for any demand that may be made upon his physical capability; either to rescue others, or to do without aid himself. A good portion of exercise or labour in the open air is the only sure preservative, and how satisfactory in the end will prove any effort, or sacrifice to accomplish this, to the contrary will be the result at the termination of our glorious mission, if we have not taken out fair and just proportion, of either anxiety, privation, labor or fatigue.

The watch keepers have to bear in mind that on them devolves a great responsibility: a most vigilant look out all round, especially to the Northward and Westward; aid may be required; a glass occasionally tracing the horizon may prove of value; during hours of rest, lights and fires must be cared for; their having 2 hours rest after coming off and going on water, must suffice during the waking hours.–

The Carpenters under the responsibility of the Carpenter to clean and clear Sylvester Stove during mornings; and when no other provision can be made, will attend to its firing until evening rounds; after which it’s considered that a little attention on each watch from the Watch Keeper will suffice until Hammocks are piped in the morning. In the tenders the Stove to be attended to by the Stokers under the responsibility of the Senior Engineer.

Arrangements of the Evening Prayer and Hammocks as heretofore, except on the occasion of washing after supper as regards Muster.–

The general duties that appear now before us carrying out, all independent of cleaning lower, and arranging upper deck, providing Snow, clearing away occasional drift from Entrance, clearing Privies, cutting trench round bows to examine bends, Artificers proceeding as they well can with any positively necessary jobs, preparing vessels as far as can be, and following up the rise of temperature without causing mischief or discomfiture in the stowage of the vessels below.

Airing bedding and bathing as heretofore.–

Drying clothes outside as soon as arrangements can make it successful.

In the meantime it may be considered judicious and desirable to shake out and air the bedding of those on duty.

Therefore all who are remaining appear to have an important task; no less those who have not actual demand upon their time onboard, as they can in their exercise make excursions to the prominent parts of Griffiths Island for access to the Nd & Wd; for independent of the number of our comrades who may meet with casualties; who knows but some of the Balloon Papers or other cause of favor may lead some portion of our absent though still living Countrymen to struggle in this direction and should neither occur, it will prove a source of much satisfaction to those performing a high duty of principle, as well as to those employed onboard, to feel that such vigilance is in our operations; it is desirable that after such excursions a notation thereof should be made in the Log with the names of the individuals making them. Howbeit, it is positively required that these excursions are not made by any individual alone; indeed under present circumstances they must not be beyond the distinct sight from the deck of one of the vessels.–

It would be desirable if a glass were taken by any party going to make observations, Etc.–


H. T. Austin Captain in Command of the Expedition

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About this document ...

  • Written by: Captain Horatio T. Austin
  • Archive: Royal Geographical Society, London
  • Collection: Erasmus Ommanney Collection
  • Reference number: EO∕3∕1∕f.24
  • Date: 1851 April 17
  • Page(s): 1-2
Sunken ship