The George E. Corbitt of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, was part of a triangular trade of lumber/salt fish - sugar/rock salt/molasses/rum - coal/general merchandise. The ship had a reputation for speed -- up until she was abandoned at sea in 1890. Doerflinger received his version from Charles Boudreau, who claimed to have been on the faithfully recorded voyage. The author, said Boudreau, was the Corbitt's cook, Tom Reynolds.
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Come all you brave Annapolis boys, I'll tell you what I've seen, On a voyage to Demerara in a fancy barkentine. The thirtieth day of August in eighteen eighty three, The Eva Johnson took our lines and towed us out to sea.
The mates did pick their watches and unto us did say, "If you can't do your duty, boys, she's the hottest out of the Bay!" "Oh Lord, oh Lord, what have I done, " so bitterly [one?] did scream, "That I should be shanghaied on board of Corbitt's barkentine?"
The rising sun next morning shone on six seamen bold, And one big dog named Rover made seven hands all told. He was chum of the second mate, for when his watch was done, Instead of going forward he would lie aft in the sun
I think they were connected, if rightly I may guess, For neither one spoke English but they both said "ja" for "yes." The wind is to the west'ard, she heads across the Stream. The angry waves are rolling over Corbitt's barkentine.
Our Captain on the quarter, while thirteen days passed by, A speck to the head and windward one morning did espy. "Now, mind your helm carefully, don't let her swing about, And if the wind holds steadily we soon shall make her out."
It proved to be the Myrtle , with three long days a start, And with a fair and lively breeze that drove her like a dart. But now we exchange signals, she's to leeward on our beam, She dips her colors gracefully to Corbitt's barkentine.
Oh, now we're shoving lumber, and the sweat like rain does pour, Wishing for the night to come so we can get on shore. And then we're up to Tibert's Bay upon some drunken spree, Or else we're off a-dancing, upon our dignity!
But if our friends could see us, you bet that we'd be shy, For we have sweethearts fore and aft, although they're on the sly, And down there comes a yaller gal dressed up just like a queen, Inquiring for the steward of Corbitt's barkentine.
Now we're loaded sugar and for Boston we are bound. We'll take our sand and canvas and we'll wash and scrub her down, And after that is finished to painting we will go. We are in hopes when that is done to get one watch below.
Old Neptune he has favored us with a fair and lively breeze. And like a thing endowed with life she bounds across the seas. Old Scotty caught a dolphin [that] turned yellow, blue and green. The blood lies spattered on the deck of Corbitt's barkentine.
Now under a goose-wing[ed] tops'l and a double-reefed mainsail, With her head toward the nor'west she rides a furious gale. If honest Tom was only here to hear those wild winds blow, He'd wish to God that he was out of Corbitt's gondelow!
Our course being west nor'west, my boys, if I remember right, With everything all sheeted home she heads for Boston Light. The sun upon the State House dome so brightly does gleam, It glitters forth a welcome to Corbitt's barkentine.
Now we sight Nova Scotia's shores, with outstretched hands exclaimed Like William Tell, "Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again." Then up along that Granville shore majestically we sail, We pass Goat Island on our lee all through the rain and hail.
And now we lie at anchor abreast this gay old town, We'll run aloft Saint George's Cross, the wreath and Tory crown. The people are all remarking — it is their only theme — "There lies the George E. Corbitt! She's a handsome barkentine!"