The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)


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Unable to steer, the small vessel was blown away and well out of sight. The loss of the cutter made it nearly impossible for Speedwell acquire fresh food, and just a few days in this state left the men with little motivation to survive. But in these literal dire straits, in what must have seemed a miracle, the cutter reappeared. Its crew of eleven men sailed up alongside and tied their craft to Speedwell , to the great relief of all present. Overnight the winds howled and flailed.

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The cutter broke loose, disappearing into the rocks and darkness. This time it did not return. It is unlikely they volunteered voluntarily, their chances of survival on foot were dismal, and the men in question happened to be regarded as the most apathetic of the crew. Nevertheless, they were ejected ashore into the desolate, cold bog. Sixty souls remained aboard Speedwell as it entered the Straits of Magellan. It blew a Hurricane of Wind.

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On one occasion they encountered some natives, and traded a pair of English trousers for a mangy dog to eat. On another occasion a marine successfully hunted a large seal. But these victuals did not go far among sixty stomachs. As Speedwell inched through the craggy, labyrinthine channels, men began to die of starvation. It was remarkable of these people that some hours before they expired they became delirious.

In this state they would joke, laugh immoderately, and play ridiculous pranks, as if they were really merry; in which temper they died. Those of us that survived had almost ground to envy the deceased, who were thereby freed from the horrid circumstances under which we groaned, tortured with hunger and thirst, catching at the most nauseous things that could any way appease the rage of these cruel appetites, and an abhorrence even to ourselves by reason of stench and vermin.

Was not death in such a case a release or deliverance? Hopelessly lost, the survivors turned around and went back to the entrance of the straits to regain their bearings, costing them a week and a half. Upon resuming the transit, they made good progress, though the ship grounded twice, and narrowly avoided sinking. Those who survived owed their lives to Gunner Bulkeley and his proficient navigation. Within a few days the seal meat began to decay, saturating the air with the stench of death, but the rotting meat remained the only nourishment on offer.

The freshwater supply was also dwindling fast. One man drowned in the crossing, but the others got ashore. They shot, butchered, and cooked several fresh seals, one horse, and one wild dog.

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As swimmers helped haul the meat and water to Speedwell on a makeshift raft, the wind began to worsen, and the rickety schooner was obliged to move away from shore. Eight men were left behind. Fifteen weeks after departing from Wager Island, having crossed over 2, miles, Speedwell arrived at the mouth of the Rio Grande river in Brazil. The schooner was barely seaworthy, broken and sagging much like her crew. As Speedwell approached the shore, a friendly ship of the Portuguese navy sailed alongside and two officials boarded.

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They were aghast at the bleak mass of skeletal humanity that occupied the open boat. And the crossing of the Atlantic had been somewhat harrowing, having encountered several severe storms, one of which nearly pushed their vessel into the rocky shore. But here they were at long last. It had been more than two years since they had departed England aboard Wager.

Lieutenant Baynes rushed ahead of the others to report to the Admiralty first, and delivered a narrative which left himself blameless. Exactly as Anson had predicted before the squadron originally sailed, most of the conscripts uselessly perished. Still, the squadron had circumnavigated the globe, and taken some valuable prizes from the Spanish along the way, so Anson was received as a hero, with a reception from King George II, a knighthood, and a promotion to the rank of Rear-Admiral.


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But Anson cleverly sidestepped the awkwardness by declining to court-martial the officers in the absence of their captain, thereby postponing the reckoning indefinitely. Bulkeley went on to command his own ship—a forty gun privateer—where his gallantry and grit against the French won him some fame in London newspapers. He and Cummins published their narratives and journal entries from the Wager shipwreck and subsequent misadventures, and though some readers concluded that the men should be hanged as mutineers, much of the public viewed their survival as miraculous deliverance.

The officers of the late HMS Wager each went on with his own life, having circumnavigated any repercussions for their questionable actions on Wager Island. That is, until 26 March , when an advertisement began appearing in newspapers all over Britain:. This depiction was almost certainly a fiction, as Captain Cheap and his small party of castaways were decidedly uncheerful under the circumstances.

They were sure to be taken prisoner by the Spanish there, but at least they would live. About two months later they set sail. The rain remained relentless, and the sea was heaving in its usual way along the Patagonian shore, and just a few hours after departure the overloaded barge and yawl were both inundated with water.

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To avoid certain sinking, the desperate men threw all of their food and supplies overboard. This saved their lives for the moment, but within days the absence of nourishment became acute. The closest thing they had to food was the shoes on their feet, handcrafted from raw sealskin, which was quite inedible. The men ate them anyway. The pair of vessels crept along the coast, occasionally scraping a meager sustenance of shellfish from the rocks.


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The men shot a few geese and seals. They were indeed stricken with acute vitamin A toxicity. One night, while both boats were at anchor, the wind suddenly and turbulently shifted from the north to the south. The yawl capsized and sank. The barge was not large enough to accommodate all of the remaining survivors, so a decision was made to abandon four marines who were in poor health.

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The barge went on with its fourteen, but could no longer make northerly progress due to the shift in the winds. Having no better option, the party fell all the way back to their abandoned camp on Wager Island. The aborted attempt had cost them all of their food, supplies, and two months of time. A fortnight and a day after returning to Wager Island, a group of indigenous people arrived, surprised to find that the Englishmen had returned.

One of their number—a chief who went by the name Martin—spoke a little Spanish, as did surgeon Elliot, and thus the castaways were able to arrange a trade: the natives would escort the Englishmen to a Spanish settlement in exchange for the barge. Two men died of starvation shortly after the group resumed the attempt north. As captain, Cheap was entitled to more rations, which he took, much to the bitter annoyance of the other survivors.

While camping on a desolate island, six sailors set off in the barge claiming to be seeking food, but they never returned. This new route required the men to paddle by canoe on rivers for some stretches, and carry the canoes overland for other stretches. The starving Englishmen spent much of their time wading through waist-to-shoulder-deep bogs thick with woody vegetation.

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The party encountered occasional villages and groups of natives, and the Englishmen received a variety of reactions ranging from sympathy to disgust and contempt. Surgeon Elliot succumbed to starvation, depriving the two groups of intercommunication beyond mere gestures. Lieutenant Hamilton of the marines became separated from the others. It is impossible for me to describe the miserable state we were reduced to; our bodies were so emaciated that we hardly appeared the figures of men.

The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)
The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)
The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)
The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)
The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)
The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)
The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1) The Corridors of the Dead (Among The Dead Book 1)

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