n.d. · n.p.
The anonymous mate aboard the "Cora" keeps a daily log of the voyage, which lasted from May 16, 1848 to June 20th of that year. The "Cora" was evidently on the smallish side, as she put into port most nights on their way south. This allowed for numerous and varied descriptions of life and characters in towns and harbors down the length of the eastern seaboard. The log keeper is intelligent and observant, and produces a sprightly and very amusing narrative. Steaming down the inner passage to Savannah he notes, "The country appears to be very fertile; its principal productions seem to be cane-poles, fiddlers, terrapins and alligators. Have seen several birds with long bills; imagined them to be English snipe, but, as the evening sets in, find that they are mosquitoes." On the Augustine River a couple of days later, "We last evening passed a considerable village, the occupation of whose inhabitants is opening oysters, smoking pipes, and manufacturing white-headed children." Or, "Sea smooth as Asa Holt's brandy, or a hypocrite's tongue." Off Key West they encounter a fleet of wreckers, picking the bones of the bark "Flora" from Boston, and "taking out the principal part of her cargo, consisting of pails, washing-boards, pins for clothes-lines, bandboxes, dried herrings, ladies' straw bonnets, Newburyport chairs and settees, Hingham cracker-boxes, wooden bowls and pestles and mortars, dried apples, Underwood's pickles, several cases of tracts and sermons, and other heavy commodities." On Sunday, June 11 he notes, "By earnest request Brother Duffy delivered a soul-stirring sermon... we hope to obtain a copy of it from the reverend gentleman." And indeed, at the end of the pamphlet, occupying pages (15)-16 we find "A Sermon Preached On Board the Steamboat Cora" which is as droll and funny as the rest of the log. Indeed, the tone of the sermon is so similar to that of the text that both may have been written by Brother Duffy. It's a wonderful little piece of Americana, and a splendid turn of writing. More wonderful still is the fact that is seems to be completely unrecorded. Not in Worldcat, not in AAS, not anywhere that I can find. Bound in original plain yellow wrappers, stab sewn. Presented on the front wrapper to J.M. Weston "from his friend Captain Jo, Mobile Febry 20th 1849" and presented by Weston on the first page to Job Smith Esquire. There is mention on the Interweb of a steamboat "Cora" of Mobile in 1851, owned by a Captain Gripon. No other trace of her, or this pamphlet, have I found. Yellow wrappers grubby, foxing in text, but complete in original binding. (Inventory #: 40653)