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The Mayflower Voyage
She also carried 12 artillery pieces, as the Pilgrims feared that they might need to defend themselves against enemy European forces, as well as the Indians. The passage was a miserable one, with huge waves constantly crashing against the ship's topside deck, fracturing a key structural support timber. The passengers had already suffered agonizing delays, shortages of food, and other shortages, and they were now called upon to provide assistance to the ship's carpenter in repairing the fractured main support beam. This was repaired with the use of a metal mechanical device called a jackscrew , which had been loaded on board to help in the construction of settler homes.
It was now used to secure the beam to keep it from cracking farther, thus maintaining the seaworthiness of the vessel. The crew of the Mayflower had some devices to assist them en route, such as a compass for navigation, as well as a log and line system to measure speed in nautical miles per hour knots.
Time was measured with the ancient method of an hourglass. On November 9, , they sighted present-day Cape Cod. They spent several days trying to sail south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia , where they had obtained permission to settle from the Company of Merchant Adventurers. However, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, well north of the intended area, where they anchored on November The settlers wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact after the ship dropped anchor at Cape Cod, in what is now Provincetown Harbor , in order to establish legal order and to quell increasing strife within the ranks.
On Monday, November 27, an exploring expedition was launched under the direction of Capt. Christopher Jones to search for a suitable settlement site.
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As master of the Mayflower , Jones was not required to assist in the search, but he apparently thought it in his best interest to assist the search expedition. There were 34 persons in the open shallop: 24 passengers and 10 sailors.
They were obviously not prepared for the bitter winter weather which they encountered on their reconnoiter, the Mayflower passengers not being accustomed to winter weather much colder than back home. They were forced to spend the night ashore due to the bad weather which they encountered, ill-clad in below-freezing temperatures with wet shoes and stockings that became frozen. Bradford wrote, "Some of our people that are dead took the original of their death here" on that expedition. The settlers explored the snow-covered area and discovered an empty native village, now known as Corn Hill in Truro.
The curious settlers dug up some artificially made mounds, some of which stored corn, while others were burial sites. The modern writer Nathaniel Philbrick claims that the settlers stole the corn and looted and desecrated the graves,  sparking friction with the locals. However, the only contemporary account of events, William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation , records only that the pilgrims took "some" of the corn, to show to others back at the boat, leaving the rest.
They later took what they needed from another store of grain, but paid the natives back in six months, and there was no resulting conflict. Also there was found more of their corn and of their beans of various colors; the corn and beans they brought away, purposing to give them full satisfaction when they should meet with any of them as, about some six months afterward they did, to their good content.
During the winter, the passengers remained on board the Mayflower , suffering an outbreak of a contagious disease described [ by whom? When it ended, only 53 passengers remained—just over half; half of the crew died, as well. In the spring, they built huts ashore, and the passengers disembarked from the Mayflower on March 21, The settlers decided to mount "our great ordnances" on the hill overlooking the settlement in late February , due to the fear of attack by the natives. Christopher Jones supervised the transportation of the "great guns"—about six iron cannons that ranged between four and eight feet 1.
The cannons were able to hurl iron balls 3. This action made what was no more than a ramshackle village almost into a well-defended fortress. Jones had originally planned to return to England as soon as the Pilgrims found a settlement site. But his crew members began to be ravaged by the same diseases that were felling the Pilgrims, and he realized that he had to remain in Plymouth Harbor "till he saw his men began to recover. As with the Pilgrims, her sailors had been decimated by disease.
Jones had lost his boatswain, his gunner, three quartermasters, the cook, and more than a dozen sailors. The Mayflower made excellent time on her voyage back to England. The westerly winds that had buffeted her coming out pushed her along going home, and she arrived at the home port of Rotherhithe in London on May 6, ,  less than half the time that it had taken her to sail to America. Jones died after coming back from a voyage to France on March 5, , at about age For the next two years, the Mayflower lay at her berth in Rotherhithe, not far from Jones' grave at St.
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By , she was no longer useful as a ship; her subsequent fate is unknown, but she was probably broken up about that time. Some families traveled together, while some men came alone, leaving families in England and Leiden. Two wives on board were pregnant; Elizabeth Hopkins gave birth to son Oceanus while at sea, and Susanna White gave birth to son Peregrine in late November while the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor. He is historically recognized as the first European child born in the New England area.
One child died during the voyage, and there was one stillbirth during the construction of the colony. According to the Mayflower passenger list , just over a third of the passengers were Puritan Separatists who sought to break away from the established Church of England and create a society along the lines of their religious ideals. Others were hired hands, servants, or farmers recruited by London merchants, all originally destined for the Colony of Virginia.
Four of this latter group of passengers were small children given into the care of Mayflower pilgrims as indentured servants.
The Virginia Company began the transportation of children in At that time, children were routinely rounded up from the streets of London or taken from poor families receiving church relief to be used as laborers in the colonies. Any legal objections to the involuntary transportation of the children were overridden by the Privy Council. The maximum possible space for each person would have been slightly less than the size of a standard single bed. Passengers would pass the time by reading by candlelight or playing cards and games such as Nine Men's Morris.
This was risky because it was kept in the waist of the ship. Passengers made their own meals from rations that were issued daily and food was cooked for a group at a time. Upon arrival in America, the harsh climate and scarcity of fresh food were exacerbated by the shortness of provisions due to the delay in departure. Living in these extremely close and crowded quarters, several passengers developed scurvy , a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. At the time the use of lemons or limes to counter this disease was unknown, and the usual dietary sources of vitamin C in fruits and vegetables had been depleted, since these fresh foods could not be stored for long periods without their becoming rotten.
Passengers who developed scurvy experienced symptoms such as bleeding gums, teeth falling out, and stinking breath.
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