The post belongs to Jacob Chase, a Navy sailor reassigned on another ship:
The smartly dressed oarsmen heaved steadily at white painted oars, propelling the smartly painted cutter toward the ship anchored in the outer harbour. Local craft of many sorts stood clear as the cutter glided swiftly past, giving way almost hastily at the sharp, aggressive barks from the cutter’s coxswain. In the middle of the boat, ten seamen sat, their backs uncomfortably straight. All were former Roses and all were being ferried to their new home.
It was a difficult reality to swallow, for after Rose had been stripped of all that made her a ship - guns, stores, masts, yards, and rigging - her crew had been sent aboard the hulks to await dispersing to whichever ships needed men. There had been no liberty tickets given after the work of clearing Rose had begun and none of them had set foot ashore unless it was with a working party. With the arrival of a new fourth-rate, many of them were now being sent to join her and bring her up to full complement.
“S’near a sin, bein’ turned o’er,” Ben Dowden grumbled to Chase, who sat directly in front of him. “An’ wi’out our rates. I b’ain’t a topman no mores!”
“Silence in the boat!” The coxswain snarled.
Chase made no reply to his mate’s mutterings, but he felt similarly. Sovereign would have little need of petty officers from other ships, with her having a complete set of her own, and lads like Dowden would lose the rating he’d held in Rose. Poor bugger. He’d been a quartergunner for years as a Rose. Now he would be only an able seaman, assigned as part of a mast crew. It was a hard change to ask of anyone.
It would be the same for George Williams, who sat in front of Chase, and Freddy Greyfen, who was settled behind Dowden. Williams had been an idler, being the carpenter’s mate, which meant he’d have to get used to standing watches again. And Greyfen, having been captain of the mizzentop, would have to adjust to being only a topman. It was not anything like as bad for Chase, who had held no rating, but he still felt uncertain.
What sort of captain would they find themselves under? What sort of first luff? What about the standing officers, like the boatswain, or the senior warrants, like the sailing master and the surgeon? Were the men an easy lot or were they stiff and arrogant, like line of battle hands could be? Chase had been fortunate. He’d known happy ships and crews for most of his service. The prospect of potentially finding himself in a ship that wasn’t made him uneasy.
“The boat ahoay!” The sentry by the entry-port gave the required hail, which stirred Chase out of his thoughts.
“No, no!” The coxswain bawled in reply. A seaman would now be scampering to the quarterdeck to report that a boat carrying new hands was shortly to come alongside. It was all routine and anyway, Chase thought, it was not as though the officers on deck would not have heard the exchange of hails.
“Stir yerselves!” The coxswain barked, after the cutter had hooked on at the main chains. He grabbed up his ditty bag and stepped easily forward to await his turn to leap for the side-ladder. This was it. Williams went up the side and Chase followed, unable to help feeling just a little smug that he was nimbler at it than Williams.
He pulled himself through the entry-port and moved immediately aside, falling in beside Williams at something like attention. This was, it seemed, the expected thing. It didn’t take long for the others to come up the side, then they all stood, nearly motionless, waiting for further direction.
Let’s sail away