From the Diary of Samuel Openshaw:
June 28 – Beautiful day and a propitious wind brought us in sight of “Yankee Land” which is the first land that we have seen since we left sight of Ireland and truly it was beautiful. As we entered into the Bay of Boston to behold the rise and decline of hills beyond hills intersecting covered with green grass, cattle grazing, bedecked beautiful houses, rocks rising out of the water as if to resist the force of the waves. It was truly sublime to us to gaze upon it. Our hearts were cheered to behold our destined fort. We cast anchor about nine miles from the city of Boston. A pilot came on board.
From the Life History of John Jaques:
Sat. 28: Beautiful calm morning. Many small vessels seen. A thin sandy broken black streak was pronounced land which proves true, being Cape Cod. Great rejoicing at this. Towards the middle of the day a fresh breeze sprung up which sent us right into the harbor at the rate of 10 to 12 knots per hour. It was truly refreshing to see the houses, trees and the green landscape after being deprived of the privilege for some time. We cast anchor at 6 p.m. within a mile or two of Boston. As we came up the river the passengers were kept down below while the sailors were taking in sails. This was quite a deprivation, but was submitted to with patience. The captain went ashore soon after casting anchor and took with him a letter to the Daily Journal and one to President John Taylor. I saw a steamship about the harbor. There were plenty of little sailing vessels such as yachts and barges. Also a steam packet or two. The view of Boston and the vicinity is very interesting. A small hillock is an island, with trees upon it, is quite a relief to the eye.
From the Journal of Joseph Beecroft:
Saturday 28th I arose about four and looked out of the porthole but could see no land. I went to bed again, and laid till half past 5, washed, shaved, carried up water, and about 7 o’clock I hear a person say he saw land from the first landing on the mast. I ventured up and the 3 of our company to see land for the first time for near 5 weeks. About 9 o’clock we could see land very plain from the ship side of the forecastle. The same Saints seem [p.28] highly pleased with the sight. I feel grateful to my Father in Heaven for his goodness in sparing our lives to see the land of Zion, the land of the free and home of the brave. The land of Joseph’s, choice above all lands. Glory to God in the highest and goodwill to men. I got breakfast after prayer meeting, and then went on deck, and beheld from the ship side the distant hills which indeed appeared lovely to those who have been a long time deprived of the sight of [-]. I stood on the forecastle and with joyous feelings beheld our noble vessel glide rapidly through the yielding waters and bringing us nearer to the sand hills in the distance. About noon we had got opposite the hills which lay on the left side of the ship and in a short time we were opposite Cape Cod Fishery and opposite the Cape Cod Lighthouse. In the neighborhood which was a wind hill and at a short distance from this was a number of houses, the first I had beheld since the channel. We continued our course about a mile or so from the shore and could see one sandbank after another until, I discovered with my small glass, large fields clothed with waving corn and yellowing for the harvest. This sight was truly gladdening to behold. I could see the fences separating field from field. We were all ordered to our berths and having obeyed orders we saw but little of what passed, but though I took off a lock from a box and put on another yet being near our porthole I had a grand chance of seeing village after village as we passed along. We came to a point of land that retired and a great basin was formed, and we could see but the dark mountains in the distance. In a short time we came up with the land again and at this juncture I asked to go out to [-] and got on deck finding a number of Saints up, I thought I had as much right up as anyone so I stayed. For a long way as we went a short distance from one side of the shore while on the other side lay the wide ocean. As we passed along we came opposite village after village with fields interspersed between dotted here and there with trees. Now was a gentle slope inclining to the sea covered with fields, houses here and there, and then an opening beyond which we could see the water as far as we could see. By and by we came to a large [p.29] embankment which we were told was Naval Fortifications. About this time we began to be enclosed on both sides with land at a short distance and passed no less than 3 lighthouses. Here we came to little islands and then we had on our right hand an opening to the wide ocean and ships or vessels gliding in all directions. Every now and then a large boat passed us which skimmed lightly along. The individuals who manned them were dressed elegantly. The sights that presented themselves all on all sides baffles all description. Such was their grandeur, splendor, and sublimity. Among other buildings as we passed was custom house and quarantine hospital, on our right, which when we had neared, the first mate at the orders of the pilot, cast an anchor, at 25 minutes to 6 p.m., for we had got the pilot on board a little before he being brought in a light barge. He is the picture of a Yankee. Having cast anchor I came below deck and found the porthole by our berth crowded with Saints all anxious to catch a glance of things as a view was afforded through the hole. I got tea and attended to writing till we had privilege to go on deck. It was a little before sunset that we got on deck and lovely indeed was the evening as the orb of day went out of sight, right behind the city of Boston. A many boats came past us and two large ships passed for Boston. The shades of night soon followed. The setting of the sun and shut from our sight the lovely landscape that surrounded us and left the eye not to rest upon but the dim outlines of some near objects and the lights of the lamps in Boston and those of a revolving and stationary lighthouse. After chatting a little with Brother Jesse Haven upon the resources of the Americans in case of war &c. I came down and got to bed. Thus ended one of the most important days that ever dawned in my history.