Since landing here our military force has suffered a diminution of only three persons, a serjeant and two privates. Of the convicts fifty-four have perished, including the executions. Amidst the causes of this mortality, excessive toil and a scarcity of food are not to be numbered, as the reader will easily conceive, when informed, that they have the same allowance of provisions as every officer and soldier in the garrison; and are indulged by being exempted from labour every Saturday afternoon and Sunday. On the latter of those days they are expected to attend divine service, which is performed either within one of the storehouses, or under a great tree in the open air, until a church can be built.
Amidst our public labours, that no fortified post, or place of security, is yet begun, may be a matter of surprise. Were an emergency in the night to happen, it is not easy to say what might not take place before troops, scattered about in an extensive encampment, could be formed, so as to act. An event that happened a few evenings since may, perhaps, be the means of forwarding this necessary work. In the dead of night the centinels on the eastern side of the cove were alarmed by the voices of the Indians, talking near their posts. The soldiers on this occasion acted with their usual firmness, and without creating a disturbance, acquainted the officer of the guard with the circumstance, who immediately took every precaution to prevent an attack, and at the same time gave orders that no molestation, while they continued peaceable, should be offered them. From the darkness of the night, and the distance they kept at, it was not easy to ascertain their number, but from the sound of the voices and other circumstances, it was calculated at near thirty. To their intentions in honouring us with this visit (the only one we have had from them in the last five months) we are strangers, though most probably it was either with a view to pilfer, or to ascertain in what security we slept, and the precautions we used in the night. When the bells of the ships in the harbour struck the hour of the night, and the centinels called out on their posts “All’s well,” they observed a dead silence, and continued it for some minutes, though talking with the greatest earnestness and vociferation but the moment before. After having remained a considerable time they departed without interchanging a syllable with our people.