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today, my feelings improved a little, and I again ate a little salt meat at dinner.  The fare is bad, and all hands are grumbling.

Tuesday, February 21, 1837

At sea. -- A light breeze sprang up in the night, and we found ourselves at daybreak moving briskly along in a fog, and within the sound of breakers, which the Captain supposed was the pass of Galveston, and not being able to see the shore, he bore away more to the south.  We had had so much calm weather that we could scarcely believe we had reached so near our destination.  We must have drifted a great deal by means of the Gulfstream while we thought we scarcely moved.  About 10 o'clock discovered land, and a house on shore.  No one could tell where it was.

After standing off and on for some time, the Captain concluded he had passed the Brazos, and put back.  About 4 o'clock we descried the houses of Velasco and Quintana, and shortly after we were off the mouth of the river.  The wind set strongly on shore, the surf ran high, with a great noise, and we now knew that it was these same breakers we had heard at daybreak, having then been off the mouth of the Brazos.  The Captain concluded that the pilots could not come out, and determined to run in without one.  He mistook the pass, and ran his vessel on the bar, where she thumped awfully.  The squaresail sheet parted and the sail fell on deck, the jib sheet also parted, the vessel rolled on the bar, broached to, and several swells dashed over her broadside and was near sweeping the decks before the mainsail could be lowered.  It was an awful moment; the Captain himself quailed, and the boldest held his breath for a time, for they thought the vessel would be a wreck, where many others had been before.  The wreck of the Flora, of Middleton, lay a few hundred yards from us, having foundered on the same bar a few months before.  By great exertion the mainsail was lowered, she obeyed the flying jib, and again got before the wind, and after a few more shakes which made her crack, she passed over the bar, and we floated under easy sail into the Brazos, passed Velasco, and rounded to at Quintana at sunset.

A number of gents. came on board immediately, among them Th. F. McKinney, who lives here, Captain Thornton, and Geo. A. Smith.  The two latter are bound to the United States on board the schooner Byron, now lying here waiting a wind.  Went on shore and took lodgings at Savery's Hotel, a rough, unfinished house, but good, neat beds, and a better table than we have been accustomed to.  Right well pleased to escape from the crowded and stinking cabin of the schooner.  Burnley and Crittenden went to McKinney's.

I am weak as a child, and sensible that I have fallen off much.  My head rolls with the effects of the sea.  The house seems to be rolling about over me.  I need


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas