John Paul Jones: Man of Action

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII
Aftermaths

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.


I

ON the Richard, beset by both fire and water, lay sixty-seven dead and 106 wounded out of total effectives of 340. On the smoking Serapis eighty-seven were dead and 134 wounded, thirteen mortally. Only about 100 of Jones's men were fit for duty, with 211 prisoners to guard and care for. It was a desperate night for Dr. Brooke and Dr. Bannatyne, the two rival surgeons. The carpenters tried to plug the holes in the Richard, but in vain, and the next morning Jones ordered all the wounded British and Americans transferred to the Serapis and prepared to follow himself. Landais in the Alliance meantime sailed round and round the two ships, but made no offer to help. The Pallas took off some of the Richard's prisoners and Jones also permitted Captain Pearson to go to the French ship. All the other British officers made a common mess on the Serapis with their late enemies until port was reached.

It was Jones's hope that somehow he could bring the Richard into port, but the harder his men worked, the lower she sank. Fire had missed her powder only by a few inches and the timbers of the lower deck aft were found to be too rotten to repair. Her masts remained upright, but between decks daylight yawned almost to the water's edge. At nine o'clock the next

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