Letters home from seamen during the French revolutionary wars are rare, and letters from Welsh seamen are very rare indeed. This account of the events of the British fleet under Admiral Howe in the days up to and including the 1st of June is laconic about the danger to the sailors during the ‘engage of 4 hours’. He reassures his parents about having escaped from harm of any sort, although one man was killed and four wounded at the gun to which he was quartered. Only as a postscript does John Davis reveal the fact that from 28th May to 1st June there was no time to ‘let our hammocks down’ – the sailors lay where they could on deck, and there was no time to cook or eat.
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