’We embraced every intervening opportunity of going off to save stores by scuttling the decks, which were covered with ice, the ship on her broadside, and the water flowing over the quarter-deck. On these occasions we were generally away ten or twelve hours, exposed to the wet and cold, without nourishment; from which, and fatigue, I had to lament seeing the people every day become more sickly, and many of them frost-bitten from the severity of the weather. By the indefatigable exertions of the officers and crew, we succeeded in saving all our spare sails, cables, and stores, to a considerable amount; though the cables were frozen so hard, that we were obliged to cut and saw them as junk.
’On the 7th, I again sent a boat with the second lieutenant, to Trois Pistoles, in the hope of procuring, if possible, some temporary supplies; but the wind increasing to a violent gale from the eastward, with a heavy fall of snow, they got frozen up on the opposite shore, and did not return till the 12th, having then only procured three hundred weight of flour, a few potatoes, and some beef—two men having deserted from the boat.
’At this period, I had a respectful request made me from the people, to be allowed to go to Trois Pistoles, that they might shift for themselves whilst the weather would admit of it, dreading the consequences of remaining longer where we were; but out boats would not have carried above one-third, and I conceived the public service would have suffered from allowing them to separate. We had, also, several desertions—in consequence, I believe, of hunger, and the melancholy prospect before them; two of the deserters were brought back, and one returned delirious, after five days’ absence, with his feet in a state of gangrene, having had only one small cake to eat during that time. Those still missing must have perished in the woods, from the accounts of the men who were brought back.
’On Sunday, the 20th November, we were relieved from the most painful state of anxiety by the arrival of a small schooner, with a fortnight’s provisions, from Quebec, and information that a transport had been procured, and was equipping for us, which nothing but the ice setting in would prevent coming down; and on the 24th I had the satisfaction of receiving a letter by the government schooner, announcing a further supply of provisions, with some blankets for the people; it, however, then blew so hard, with a heavy fall of snow, that she was obliged to take shelter under Bie. On the 25th the schooner returned, when we embarked, and were carried to the opposite side of the river, where the transport was expected,—the pilot conceiving it unsafe to bring the ship nearer to us at that season of the year.’
’Captain Shephard concludes his narrative in paying the following tribute to the discipline and good conduct of his crew:—
In justice to the officers and crew, it now becomes my duty, and a very pleasing part thereof, to bear testimony to the particular perseverance with which they bore the cold, hunger, and fatigue, whilst endeavouring to save the ship; and when that idea was given up, in saving the stores with the dire prospect before them of being cut off from all supplies had the winter set in, the ice rendering all communication impracticable during that season of the year.’