Skip to content

Feb. 5th, 1866

At midnight last night, having run up our distance, we came to anchor off the entrance to the harbor of Ambong to wait for daylight. At 8 a. mM. we got under way and steamed into Ambong Bay and came to anchor at the upper end.

The object of this expedition was to meet a Yankee by the name of Moses, who, so it was reported at Batavia, had been acknowledged by the Sultan of Borneo and had received a grant of land in this region with the title of “Rajah of Ambong.” If this had been the case it might have been of some benefit to the United States later on It was the Captain’s intention to come in and communicate with the Mr. Moses and report fully to the Secretary of the Navy. But it will be impossible now to do this, simply because there is no Moses here and we could not find a single native we could communicate with.

The bay is a beautiful roadstead, having a good anchorage, with plenty of water for the ships. We could see nothing from the ship except wild vegetation and very thick forests close to the water, with no signs of life anywhere about.

After having been anchored a short time, a single canoe with nine natives in it pulled out from the shore and came alongside. They showed great curiosity as to who and what we were, but we could not understand a word they said, so after looking at the ship outside and in they quietly left and returned to the shore, apparently satisfied.

The natives here look like the natives of Java and are in rather a wild state. Any European is perfectly safe, so long as he faces them, but allow them to get behind you and they will murder you for the sake of your clothing; so that with these cowardly natives one must be armed and on his guard while on shore.

Several of our officers went on shore, and after great difficulty succeeded in landing and finding a sort of a footpath through the forest of palms and cocoanuts, etc., and after a time found the village of Ambong. This is a native village of about fifty small bamboo huts, the inhabitants being in very primitive costume. From the anchorage the only object of interest is a high mountain which towers almost fourteen thousand feet above the level of the sea.

As the object of this expedition has not been accomplished, I think that we will now go to Manila, on the island of Luzon.