May, Seaman J.: Signed letter written aboard the H.M. Galatea

Autograph letter signed by Seaman J. May aboard the H.M. Galatea
May, Seaman J.: Signed letter written aboard the H.M. Galatea
May, Seaman J.: Signed letter written aboard the H.M. Galatea
Autograph letter signed by Seaman J. May aboard the H.M. Galatea
May, Seaman J.: Signed letter written aboard the H.M. Galatea
May, Seaman J.: Signed letter written aboard the H.M. Galatea

May, Seaman J.: Signed letter written aboard the H.M. Galatea

460.00

Seaman J. May

Autograph letter signed by Seaman J. May aboard the H.M. Galatea

Autograph letter signed by Seaman J. May aboard the H.M. Galatea. 4 pages, Small 8vo. Halifax, [October 27, 1864]. Written to his brother, Mr. E. May at Middlesex Hospital in London.

Dear Brother, I am very sorry to tell you that I have not received your book you sent me, but I received the letter and was very pleased to hear that you are all well, I am quite well myself. We had another cruise to Bermuda for hoops and the fever is rageing [sic] very bad there. I am very sorry to tell you that we have lost 4 hands and that there is three blue jacketts [sic] and our head surgeon who volunteered to stop there as all the doctors were dead that were stationed there, so I am happy to say that I have escaped to [sic] complaints. If I should get the book at any time I will write and let you know. Give my kind love to Betsy and Penny and Aunt and likewise to Mary Ann Crapp and tell her I am quite well and that I am happy to say I have not had the small pox, and I think we shall stay at Halifax for another month or so. The weather is getting very cold no so I don’t know how it will be bye and bye. I have bought myself a good pair of snow boots that comes up over my knees. I gave 14 for them which I think is not bad for the quality of the boots. Give my best love to all as I have no more to say at present so goodbye for a rime as I remain your affectionate Brother James May H.M. Ship Galatea Halifax Nova Scotia Tell Miss Crapp not to be ashamed to direct a few lines to me.

Since 1824, with the arrival of the first 300 prisoners, the Royal Navy made use of convict labour to build a breakwater and dockyard at Ireland Island. The harsh conditions under which they laboured led to deadly outbreaks of dysentery and yellow fever and the epidemics became infamous. In 1864, an outbreak of yellow fever claimed more than three per cent of the population of Bermuda, most of whom were soldiers.

Our letter was written during the American Civil War in which Bermuda played a roll. Confederate forces relied on blockade runners to deliver supplies from Bermuda. The British Navy supplied the Confederacy in order to protect British commercial interests in the south. The yellow fever epidemic threatened this arrangement and a Confederate doctor even travelled to Bermuda to try to contain the fever so it would not interfere with Confederate supply lines.

From 1759 to 1905, the British maintained a naval instalment at Halifax.

Folded with one small fold tear. The last page is cross written. With the original envelope which bears a London hand stamp and the signature of May’s commanding officer. Portions of the back flap and a small area of the front are absent. Letter is in very good condition.

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