When the ship was wrecked there remained alive on board the Wager near a hundred and thirty persons; of these, above thirty died during their stay upon the place, and near eighty went off in the long-boat and the cutter to the southward; so that there remained with the captain, after their departure, no more than nineteen persons, which, however, was as many as the barge and the yawl—the only embarkations left them—could well carry off. It was on the 13th of October, five months after the shipwreck, that the long-boat, converted into a schooner, weighed and stood to the southward, giving the captain who, with Lieutenant Hamilton, of the land forces, and the surgeon, was then on the beach, three cheers at their departure. It was the 29th of January following before they arrived at Rio Grande, on the coast of Brazil; and having by various accidents, left about twenty of their people on shore at the different places they touched at, and a greater number having perished by hunger during the course of their navigation, there were no more than thirty of them left when they arrived in that port. Indeed, the undertaking of itself was a most extraordinary one, for, not to mention the length of the run, the vessel was scarcely able to contain the number that first put to sea in her; and their stock of provisions (being only what they had saved out of the ship) was extremely slender; and the cutter, the only boat they had with them, soon broke away from the stern and was staved to pieces; so that when their provision and their water failed them, they had frequently no means of getting on shore to search for a fresh supply.
When the long-boat and cutter were gone, the captain and those who were left with him proposed to pass to the northward in the barge and yawl; but the weather was so bad, and the difficulty of subsisting so great, that it was two months after the departure of the long-boat before he was able to put to sea. It seems the place where the Wager was cast away was not a part of the continent, as was first imagined, but an island at some distance from the main, which afforded no other sorts of provision but shellfish and a few herbs; and as the greatest part of what they had got from the ship was carried off in the long-boat, the captain and his people were often in great necessity, especially as they chose to preserve what little sea-provisions remained for their store when they should go to the northwards.
Upon the 14th of December the captain and his people embarked in the barge and the yawl in order to proceed to the northward, taking on board with them all the provisions they could amass from the wreck of a ship; but they had scarcely been an hour at sea when the wind began to blow hard, and the sea ran so high that they were obliged to throw the greatest part of their provisions overboard to avoid immediate destruction.