It is rare indeed to find reminiscences of seamen; so many were illiterate. These are some volumes that speak to the life below deck.
Bates, Joseph. Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates. (1868).
Firth, C.H. ed. Naval Songs and Ballads (1908. Compiled by a pre-eminent British naval historian, “…the ballads describe with vividness and realism certain aspects of maritime life, and supply a life and colour which is lacking in formal records….”(vii)
Gardner, James Anthony. Recollections of …. (1906).
Goodall, Daniel. Salt Water Sketches; Being Incidents in the Life of Daniel Goodall, Seaman and Mariner (1860).
Glascock, W.N. Naval Sketchbook (2d ed, 2 vols, 1826).
Nicol, John. The life and adventures of John Nicol, mariner (1822).
Wathen, James. Journal of a Voyage in 1811 and 1812 to Madras and China…. (1814).