William Bush's Journal
by PJ



Its done, and now we cannot turn back.

Doctor Clive has finally declared Captain Sawyer unfit for command.
Under less than ideal circumstances, to be sure, but with plenty of
witnesses about. He may try, but it will be damned hard for him to
go back on his words.

I cannot believe what this has done to me. Every word I hear, every
gesture I see, is now thought of in terms of how it might tell
against us at our court martial. As if a court martial were already
a forgone conclusion, and we four already condemned.

And perhaps we are. We can justify our actions all we want, but they
still boil down to one thing.


What choice did we have? A ship in grave danger needs a strong hand,
not an insane captain who jumps at the sight of his own shadow. Not
a paranoid madman with all manner of horrid delusions.

And that's not even mentioning the laudanum. Still, we cannot blame
Doctor Clive for that. He was doing what he thought was best in that
situation. How could he have known it would only make matters worse?

Captain Sawyer had awakened after his fall in even worse condition
than before. More paranoid, more upset, more convinced that we were
plotting against him. That delusion landed Hornblower, Kennedy and
myself in the brig for a spell. I'm still trying to figure out why.

We were in the brig, and the ship sailed into the line of fire.
Captain Sawyer insisted on attacking the fort, despite all sense and
prudence urging against such a course.

The consequences were, unfortunately, predictable.

The Dons in the fort fired on us, and we could not fire back. Well,
we did fire back, but it certainly didn't do us any good. We
couldn't hit a bloody thing. And then the Renown ran aground.

She ran aground under fire.

We, all of us, are lucky to be alive. Especially after the Dons
started firing heated shot.

Till the day I die I don't think I shall ever forget the sound of
that hot shot ripping into the brig, followed by the roar of the sea
as it poured in. It was a moment of pure, paralyzing fear. For all
three of us.

Luckily it was *only* a moment. Styles and Matthews were able to
free us. I only just found out that in the process Styles had shot
Randall in the foot. I confess I was hard pressed to keep the smile
off my face when I heard that. Its no less than Randall deserved.

We were able to re-float the ship, but it was very close. With the
leverage of the anchor we kedged the ship off of the sandbar, but not
before we lost a considerable number of men.

And, in a sense, our captain.

I'm unsure as to how it came about, but when Kennedy and I emerged on
deck Captain Sawyer had been disarmed by Sargent Whiting and was
surrounded by three other marines. Hornblower and Doctor Clive were
arguing about the captain.

The doctor had finally declared the captain unfit for command. After
days of hemming, hawing, veering away from the subject and otherwise
prevaricating, he had finally taken the final step that could free us
all. Clive claimed it was under duress, which only served to anger

"You were being threatened with a pistol, for God's sake!" was
Clive's vehement protest.

"By whom?" I had asked, genuinely puzzled.

"By the captain." came Buckland's quiet but firm answer. The
bareness of the statement trapped us all in an attitude of stunned
silence. It was a telling moment, especially for Doctor Clive. He
looked from each of us to the others, and lastly to Captain Sawyer.

"Take him to his cabin." Clive ordered.

"You'll swing for this. You all will." were the captain's parting

And perhaps we will, but not today.

Free Web Hosting