Richard of Jamestown - James Otis

Arrival at Chesapeake Bay

When the day had fully dawned, and the fleet stood in toward the noble bay, between two capes, which were afterward named Cape Henry and Cape Comfort, Captain Smith directed me to go on deck, in order to keep him informed of what might be happening.

He told me there was no question in his mind but that we were come to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, where it had been agreed with the London merchants we were to go on shore.

Standing at the head of the companionway, but not venturing out on deck lest I should be sent to some other part of the ship, and thus be unable to give my master the information which he desired, I looked out upon what seemed to me the most goodly land that could be found in all the wide world.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

Trees there were of size fit for masts to the king's ships; flowers bordered the shore until there were seemingly great waves of this color, or of that, as far as eye could reach, and set within this dazzling array of green and gold, and of red and yellow, was a great sea, which Captain Smith said was called the Chesapeake Bay.

We entered for some distance, mayhap three or four miles, before coming to anchor, and then Master Wingfield, Captain Gosnold, and Captain Newport went on shore with a party of thirty, made up of seamen and gentlemen, and my master, who had not so much as stretched his legs since we sailed from Martinique, was left in his narrow cabin with none but me to care for him!

I had thought they would open the box containing the instructions from London, before doing anything else; but Captain Smith was of the mind that such business could wait until they had explored sufficiently to find a place where the new town might be built.

It was a long, weary, anxious day for me. The party had left the ship in the morning, remaining absent until nightfall, and at least four or five times every hour did I run up from the cabin to gaze shoreward in the hope of seeing them return, for I was most eager to have the business pushed forward, and to know whether my master's enemies were given, by the London Company, permission to do whatsoever they pleased.


Front Matter

Who I am
Left Alone in the World
An Idle Boy
Captain Smith Comes to London
Meeting Captain Smith
Captain Smith Speaks to Me
Plans of the London Company
The Vessels of the Fleet
How I Earned my Passage
When the Fleet Set Sail
The Voyage Delayed
Nathaniel's Story
We Make Sail Again
The First Island
Captain Smith Accused
Captain Smith a Prisoner
I Attend My Master
Several Islands Visited
A Variety of Wild Game
The Tempest
The New Country Sighted
The Leader Not Known
Arrival at Chesapeake Bay
An Attack by the Savages
Reading the Company's Orders
Captain Smith on the Council
Smith Remains Aboard
Exploring the Country
People Land from the Ships
Captain Smith Proven Innocent
We Who were Left Behind
Baking Bread without Ovens
Unequal Division of Labor
Building a Home of Logs
Keeping House
Lack of Cleanliness
Cave Homes
The Golden Fever
Ducks and Oysters
Roasting Oysters
Leaning to Cook
The Sweet Potato Root
A Touch of Homesickness
Master Hunt's Preaching
Neglecting the Future
Surprised by Savages
Strengthening the Fort
Sickness and Death
Smith Gains Authority
Disagreeable Discipline
Signs of Rebellion
Second Proclamation
Building a Fortified Village
Trapping Turkeys
A Crude Kind of Chimney
Cooking a Turkey
Candles or Rushlights
The Visit of Pocahontas
Captain Kendall's Plot
Death of Captain Kendall
Captain Smith's Expedition
An Exciting Adventure
Taken Before Powhatan
Pocahontas Begs for Smith
Captain Smith's Return
A New Church
Captain Newport's Return
A Worthless Cargo
Condition of the Colony
Captain Newport's Return
Gazing at the Women
Hunt Brings Great News
Captain Newport's Instructions
The Story of Roanoke
The Crowning of Powhatan
Preparing for the Future
Stealing Company Goods
What the Thieving Led To
Fear of Famine
The Unhealthful Location
Gathering Oysters
Sturgeon for Food
Turpentine and Tar
Making Clapboards
Providing for Children
Dreams of the Future
A Plague of Rats
Treachery During Smith's Absence
Captain Smith's Speech
The New Laws
The Accident
Captain Smith's Departure
The "Starving Time"
Our Courage Gives Out
Abandoning Jamestown
Lord De la Warr's Arrival
The Young Planters