Then the steward came down to the cabin, where I still stood, while Stedding remained, pistol in hand, to guard the deck. The captain cried faintly twice to me by name, “Help me—help me,” but he was past help. Another swishing blow of the ax, and he did not repeat the cry. Then the steward returned to the second mate’s cabin, where, seated on a pile of starch boxes, his legs drawn up, and his head between his knees, was the half-stupified man. Again and again, the ax fell, and again and again the cry “Don’t do that,” fell on my ear, each time fainter than the last. Stedding now came down, and the steward and he took the corpse of the captain by the feet, and dragging it up the companion-way, tossed it overboard. Meantime, I had got some irons out, hoping to intercede to avoid bloodshed. Stedding and the steward once more came down, and each taking the second mate by the shoulder led him out, from the place where had had crouched ion the starch boxes. He seemed to walk, with their assistance, as they went up the companion-way, but his head lay a pulpy mass upon his shoulder, and a moment after a loud splash alongside told the fate of another of the privateers.
There were three persons on board who knew nothing of all this. The two privateer sailors, and Donald McLeod, one of our sailors, whom I subsequently learned would not join the steward and Stedding in the attempt to recapture the vessel. Handing me his pistol. Stedding went forward and roused Milnor, the South Carolinan, a young man of two or three and twenty, from his sleep at the foot of the mainmast, and called him aft. Not seeing his comrades when he came into the cabin, he was much frightened and begged for life. The steward told him he would not kill him, but iron him, and his fate would depend upon his good behavior; he wanted to spill as little blood as possible. He willingly held out his wrists for the irons. The then went forward to the forecastle and called the other privateer, Dorsey. Upon learning the condition of affairs he begged for his life, which they promised to spare if he would assist in working the ship and be true and faithful, to all of which he agreed.
The steward now took command, and the schooner headed for the North, with a fair wind. None of us knew anything of navigation, but we trusted to good fortune and the land to enable us to make out our course. The South Carolinan was release from irons the next morning, and proved a very useful and willing fellow in working the ship.
On Friday, the 19th, at 8 o’clock in the morning, we made the land, which became quite distinct by noon, and we kept on our way with good weather, sounding our way as we went. Of course we had to be vigilant. Two of our hands might turn upon us at any moment, and McLeod was not faithful; for three days before we got in he went forward and slept with them in the forecastle. Stedding, Tillman and I managed it so that two of us were on deck all the while, and always aft of the other three. The men on watch carried the two pistols, and the one that slept always kept one eye open, lest we might be attacked. On Sunday morning, at 9 o’clock, we got a pilot off Sandy Hook, and soon after hired a tug for $60 to tow us to New York, where we arrived about 4 P.M., truly thankful for our great deliverance.”
The steward’s name is William Tillman. He says that he was born of free colored parents in Milford, Delaware, and is 27 years of age. His parents moved to Providence, R. I., when he was 14 years old. and he has since called that place his home. He has followed the sea for ten years, and has been in the employ of Jonas Smith & Co., No. 227 Front Street, by whom the schooner was owned, for the last three years. He is of medium height, rather strongly built, crisp hair, of nearly unmixed negro blood and bears in his countenance an expression of honesty, strong common sense, with some touches of humor.