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Hurricane of September 1857 And The Wreck Of The Central America
(All items are from the New-York Daily Times of 1857.)
Monday, September 14, 1857
New-Orleans, Saturday, Sept. 12.
The steamship Central America, from Aspinwall with the California mails, and the Empire City, from New-Orleans, left Havana at 9 A.M. of the 8th inst., for New-York.
Tuesday, September 15, 1857
The ship Askins, from Havre, with 190 passengers, had one case sent to the Hospital.
The brig E. Drummond, from Aspinwall, with hides, had a number of sick of Chagres fever; seven were sent to the Retreat, and the passengers to the Hospital to recruit.
There is no case of yellow fever now in the Hospital. There are some persons under arrest for violating the Quarantine laws and limits, and proceedings will be instituted against some other well-known parties for the same offence.
Thursday, September 17, 1857
Heavy Storm At The South.
At Wilmington, N.C., immense quantities of rain fell during Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and, as a consequence, the water courses, ponds, creeks, &c., were swollen to an enormous extent, and much damage was done by overflows, carrying away of bridges, &c.
In town the effects of the storm were apparent in the number of trees and of branches uprooted, twisted off and scattered about the different streets. Many fences were blown down, and some slight damage done to houses.
The steamer Spray left for Smithville at her usual hour Saturday afternoon, but such was the violence of the gale that she was forced upon the beach below Orton, where she remained in safety until Sunday afternoon, when she was towed off by the steamer Henrietta.
The train from the North due in the evening of the same day, arrived at about the usual hour, but could not reach the shed where passengers are landed, in consequence of the heavy drifts of sand near the track on the side of the hill just beyond the depot buildings. The immense rains swept large quantities of sand over the rails, and the passage of the cars was blocked. The passengers by this train remained where they were during the night, and in the morning, when the violence of the storm had abated, left their temporary hotel for more comfortable quarters.
On the sea-coast the gale was terribly severe. Down at Wrightsville Sound the waters of the sea swept over the different sand-banks and marshes, covering them all. The tide, of course, rose to a very unusual height, and swept away, like chaff, several of the bathing and boat-houses of the resident inhabitants. Boats were washed out of these latter and landed high on the shore. Trees and fences were blown down. The "Ocean House," situated on the banks next to the sea, that spot rendered famous as the scene of the Esquimaux, was carried off by the relentless waves, and we suppose that fragments thereof, if not landed at distant points, are drifting about on voyages of discovery. This "Ocean House," now that it it[sic] is gone, we feel bound to say, was not a hotel, as some of the Northern papers fancied, but a small tenement of wood, having one room and no more.
The damage to the shipping on the coast we fear has been very extensive. The loss of the bark Colin McRae, a new and beautiful vessel, owned principally here, is especially to be regretted. She had just reached the bar on her homeward trip from England, and, in endeavoring to ride out the gale, parted chains and went ashore.
The gale does not seem, from accounts received, to have extended far into the interior. Passengers by the Northern train felt but little of the storm north of Goldsboro, and by the Southern train, about Fair Bluff seems to have been its limits.
By the boats from Fayetteville we learn that the effects of the blow were not experienced severely above Elizabeth. Below this point the low ground crops of corn, &c., are seriously injured.
We cannot tell what damage the rice crop has sustained, but hope that it is but slight.
Among the marine disasters, near Wilmington, the following have been mentioned:
Bark Colin McRae, Bramhall, from Liverpool for Wilmington, laden with salt arrived off the Main Bar, Wednesday afternoon the 9th, at 6 o'clock, not being able to obtain a steamer to tow her in, came to anchor with the wind northeast. On Thursday and Friday it blew heavy from the northeast; about 5 P.M. Saturday, wind changed to W.S.W., blowing very hard; at 8 o'clock parted chains and struck Middle Ground Shoals at 9 o'clock, and will prove a total loss. She is owned by Messrs. J. & D. McRae & Co., Wm. Neff & Son, Capt. Bramhall, and J. Pearce & Co. of Belfast, Me. The vessel was fully insured. Part of her cargo insured. Portions of her sails and rigging, and a part of cargo will be saved in a damaged condition. The captain and crew were taken off and reached Wilmington.
Bark J.W. Blodgett, from Turks Island, bound to New-York, with a cargo of salt, was also anchored off the Barr, with pumps choked and leaking very badly, (intending to put in here for repairs,) on Saturday night parted her chains and was blown across Frying Pan Shoals, thumping heavily, and was run ashore near New Inlet Bar; with loss of both anchors and part of sails. Supposed all hands saved.
[The J.W.B. was built at Yarmouth, Me., in 1845, rated A2½, was 172 tons burden, and was owned in New-York.]
Schooner Emily Ward, Capt. Bradley, from Charleston to New-York, with a cargo of wheat, flour, cotton, &c., had been as far northward as 34 23', had experienced gales of wind. On Friday night wind raised to a hurricane-vessel laboring heavily, sprung a leak, pumps choked, sails all blown away. At 1 o'clock Sunday morning, being unable to beach her, anchored about 10 miles north of New Inlet, 5 miles from land, where she sunk in 7 fathoms water. Captain and crew came ashore in a boat.
[The Emily Ward was owned in New-York, and was built at Elizabethport, N.J., in 1854, of 396 tons' burden, and rated at A2.]
Schooner Abdel Kader, Captain Cornelius, hence for New-York, with a cargo of naval stores, went ashore about Rich Inlet, 25 or 30 miles north New Inlet, and will prove a total loss.
[The A.K. was 152 tons, built at Milford, in 1846, and owned in New-York.]
In addition to the above, a brig, supposed to be Spanish, and a schooner, were ashore about 20 miles from New Inlet Bar, and a hermaphrodite brig was ashore near Bald Head.
The schooner New Republic, from Philadelphia for Wilmington, N.C., was driven ashore on Sunday night, near Swansboro, N.C. The vessel and cargo will be saved, though in a damaged state.
The telegraph also reports the loss of the steamer Norfolk (formerly the Penobscot) sunk in the Chesapeake with a valuable cargo, the Captain (Kelly) and crew having been rescued by the steamer Joseph Whitney, and landed at Cape Island.
The brig John H. Rhoads, from Boston, bound to Baltimore with [blurred] Cape Henry.
The steamship Jamestown from New-York was blown out to sea as far as Cape Hattaras, and was some what damaged.
Steamship Falcon, from Savannah for New-York, previously reported as having grounded on the ?? had been successfully got off by the steamer ? Sam, without any damage to vessel or cargo and would probably go to sea on 12th inst.
Loss Of The Minnehaha
Disasters Reported by Telegraph.
The steamer Columbia, before reported at Charleston from New-York, fell in with a heavy north-northeast gale at 10 P.M. of the 11th. The wind afterwards shifted to northwest and blew a hurricane, which lasted twenty hours.
The Brig John H. Rhoads Ashore-The Steamship Jamestown in Trouble, &c.
It is reported that the steamship Jamestown, from New-York, was blown out to sea as far as Cape Hatteras, and took in considerable water, somewhat damaging her cargo.
The schooner C.P. Williams, in ballast, bound from Jersey City to York River, during the late
gale lost her mainmast, foretopmast, &c.
Loss of The Brig Vermont.
The Empire City at Norfolk.
The Steamship Nashville at Charleston.
Friday, September 18, 1857.
The Central America Foundered.
Charleston, Thursday, Sept. 17.
We are indebted to Messrs. G.N. Clark & Co., for the following correct
Charles M. Van Rensselaer, 1st officer
The officers of the steamer are spoken of as the choicest men in the employment of the Company, being distinguished for ability and trustworthiness. Mr. Hull, the Pursur, has been in the employment of the Steamship Company since the first establishment of the California Line. Among the passengers was probably a son of Mr. Raymond, the agent of the Company, who went out in the steamer to spend a vacation from school.
During the afternoon of yesterday, the public fears for her safety were largely increased by the publication of the following dispatch:
"Norfolk, Sept. 16.-Central America left Havanna at 9 o'clock, A.M. 8th. We left at ten, when the gale commenced on the night of the 10th. Lat. 30 30', long. 79 20'. I presume the Central America was forty miles ahead. Gale lasted until Monday morning 14th; neither sun nor stars shone during that time."
She had 525 passengers, and about $2,000,000 in treasure, including remittances from Havana, principally insured in London.
The general concern was rendered still more painful by the reports of large quantities of wrecked materials which have been passed in the track of that steamer. Also, the statement of the chief mate of the steamer Atalanta, that they saw, on the night of the storm, signals of distress, which are used by steamers, (blue lights in succession,) that they were only a mile and a half distant, but suddenly disappeared, and that nothing was seen of the steamer in the morning. Her owner and the agent of the line, however, manifested no fears on her account, whatever they might inwardly have felt; they spoke of her as one of the staunchest of vessels, and an excellent sea-boat, and had full confidence in her ability to weather the gale through which the other steamers passed in safety. The Central America (George Law) was built in 1853, by William H. Webb, for the United States Mail Steamship Company. She was constructed of the best materials, and all her planking was bolted edgewise through and through. Only three months ago she was taken on the dry dock and thoroughly overhauled and partly recoppered; the main portion of it still being in good order. She had two direct acting enting engines, of which all the working parts were wrought iron, and very heavy; her crank pins, for instance, being 13 inches in diameter, which is said to be as large as the Persia's, and all other parts in proportion. Her boilers were also thoroughly repaired at the same time. The opinion of those at the office of the California Steamship company was, that she ran short of coal during the gale, and is probably making her way under sail, along the Gulf Stream; or that she might have put into Nassau or Key West.
Mr. Simmons, mate of the steamer Atalanta, gave to the Board of Underwriters the following particulars of fragments of wreck seen by him, as mentioned yesterday: "On Sunday, the 13th inst., at 4 o'clock A.M., Cape Lookout bearing northwest, 18 miles distant, we saw fragments of wreck, comprising a steamer's wheelhouse, black or grey. At 6 o'clock saw two or three panels of doors, grained light oak, apparently new, split and broken; also three or four long knees, such as would be used in building a light cabin or upper deck. At midnight, saw a light, supposed to be that of a steamer, as it was high from the water. The Atalanta was then about 18 miles E.S.E. of Cape Hatteras. Saw only one light, the ship heading E.N.E. Soon saw three signals of distress-blue lights in succession, not more than a mile and a half or two miles distant. We hauled off southeast to run for her, when the lights suddenly disappeared, and we saw nothing of her at daylight. The gale was one of the severest we ever experienced."
Captain Brown's Statement.
A large number of small iron-bound casks, apparently wine casks, of twenty gallons, large at the bilge, and small at the heads; two empty crates, and twenty or thirty cabbages, which I supposed came out of them. We kept a bright lookout, expecting to see a wreck, but saw none. At 12 o'clock, noon, Tuesday, we were up with Hatteras, there being no abatement of the gale, and a heavy sea. Saw two barks under close-reefed topsails, and two schooners under foresails without jibs. At 7 o'clock, P.M., was opposite Nag's Head, when the gale moderated a little, and hauled to the northwest, but soon commenced blowing as hard as ever, so that with all the steam we could raise, we only made 25 miles up to 12 o'clock next day, 17 hours. At one time we shipped a sea which washed our heaviest anchor, weighing 2,200 pounds, about 10 feet from its position from forward-aft. The vessel however proved an excellent seaboat, and we have brought our cargo home without the least damage. We saw no lights of steamers at night, and no signals of distress.
The Underwriters called a meeting at noon, yesterday, for the purpose of considering the propriety of sending a steamer, to look after the Central America.
The Daniel Webster, which took the place of the Empire City, and sailed for Havana and New-Orleans yesterday afternoon, took an extra quantity of provisions, boats, &c., and was instructed to cruise to the southward of the Gulf, and keep a bright lookout for the missing steamer. The Empire City was also telegraphed to make a search for the Central America, upon her trip to this port. Captain McGowan expected to sail from Norfolk yesterday.
Capt. McGowan reports passing a large bark, of about 300 tons-appeared to be light-off Cape Lookout, in twelve fathoms water, at anchor, with everything gone but mizzen-mast.
The schooner Wm. H. Ellis is ashore on Cape Henry, with a prospect of being got off; also brigantine John B. Rhodes, of Boston, owned by J. Baker & Co., of Boston.
There is also a deeply-laden brig, name unknown, on the beach. One man was drowned in attempting to reach her.
Official Report Of Capt. M'Gowan.
The sea ran high and was perfectly awful to behold, and broke several times over the vessel. The outside of the starboard wheel-house is washed away, with forward water-closets both sides, fore spencer blown into pieces, main-gaff carried away and came on deck, seats forward (many of them) gone, three crates of fruit, shipped Johnson for Gilmartin, gone; some 8 or 10 of the air-ports, or side-lights, stove in, letting large quantities of water in the ship, besides other slight damage about the decks.
About the boilers: the starboard one has a hole in the bottom, and the port one a hole in steam chimney which could not be got at during the time we were out; the bolts securing the boilers to the bottom of the ship are also broken. During the whole of the gale the engine department worked faithfully at their duty; as our fuel fell short in consequence of the length of the voyage we were compelled to burn up all the steerage berths, awning stuncheons and all the wood that could be found on board not connected with the cabin.
The ship is placed in Quarantine four miles from [t]he city and will not be allowed to go up. I
have got t [he] [s]chooner alongside with coal, which we will commence taking in at once, and
will do what repairs are necessary to the boilers and sail for New-York, I think, about Thursday
morning, 17th. I forgot to state above that the starboard iron brace supporting the guard forward
was also broken by the violence of the sea. I will have it repaired to-morrow, and will use all
economy and dispatch in getting the ship to sea. Very respectfully yours,
When the Empire City left Havana, she had sixty passengers on board. About fifty of the passengers embarked at Old Point Comfort for Baltimore, in order to run home by the different railroads.
At Norfolk, Captain McGowan took the mail-bags to the Post-Office, but the Postmaster refused to receive them, and the Captain was compelled to take them back to the steamer.
The U.S. Mail Steamship Columbia in the Storm.
The passengers of the Columbia have published a card of thanks to Captain Berry, his officers and crew, for their seamanlike conduct during their severe passage of over forty-eight hours, in which the lives of all on board were imperiled.
One of the proprietors of the Charleston News, who was a passenger in the Columbia, publishes in that paper the following account of the gale:
The Columbia left New-York in fine weather on Wednesday afternoon-met a head wind and rather a rough sea on Thursday and Thursday night-passed Cape Hatteras on Thursday evening-and were nearly, at 10 o'clock on Friday morning, off Frying Pan Shoals. By this time, the wind had shifted from the southward, and began to increase to a gale from E.N.E., and before 1 P.M., the noble steamship had to be brought to a stand, with her head to the tempest, and her engine strained to keeping her steady and from drifting toward the shore and breakers-being in about 15 fathoms water. She gradually worked further out and obtained ample sea room, although at a previous good distance.
And now for eighteen hours did that tempest beat upon her, and a scene continue of the grand, appalling and perilous beyond description. Not only were the waves of the greatest magnitude and wildness, and the wind the most terrible hurricane, but, for hours, they came in cross directions, the sea from S.E. giving the ugliest cross sea, and subjecting us to the double danger of swamping and capsize. At 10 P.M., the wind vereed[sic] to E.S.E., and reached its height, but the seas thus more fully in its direction. Until 2 A.M., the climax of the terrible power of both prevailed, then slowly abated, and at 5 o'clock A.M., Saturday, the wind was down, leaving us on immense rolling waves.
Thus ended the first gale. For a few hours, although the reverse storm was expected by some, all parties became cheerful and partook of breakfast. At 9 A.M., the wind having shifted to the west and north or landward, was in a few minutes the most driving hurricane we had ever seen or conceived. It prostrated the awful seas which had come from the broad ocean and appeared to sweep its surface along in spray and foam with lighting power and velocity. For five hours, it exhibited not even abatement enough to mark squalls-it was one great squall. Under it the sea gradually increased, and when at last the wind became more fitful, it had reached a surging power that made every timber quiver, although the ship took it lengthwise and on her bow.
In the meantime the gale had veered to the south-ward, thus giving us another ordeal of a cross sea, and as our gallant commander called it-"an ugly sea." Between 4 and 8 P.M. it was fearful. From then until after midnight a gradual "cessation of horrors" took place, exhausted passengers sunk to a fitful sleep, and woke at dawn on Sunday to find a gentle breeze, a pacified ocean and a clearing sky-to find themselves safe and bearing for Charleston, with gratitude to God in their hearts, and wonder at their deliverance. For 42 hours they had borne the most painful suspense, and for 33 had been in the extremest peril.
The gale must have been a circular hurricane through which the Columbia passed, or which rather passed over her position. The outer portion of its whirl took her in one direction, then its centre being more or less still and vacuous enveloped her in the few hours lull, and again the opposite side striking her from still other directions produced the second storm, and turned her prow to all points of the compass in her struggle for preservation.
Calmness and quietude appeared to pervade the manner and looks of the passengers; in fact, on such an occasion one feels so gathered and intensified within, that any outward display of feeling would be a mockery. The ladies were all composed.
Of Captain Berry, the writer speaks in terms of the highest praise for the skillful seamanship exhibited by him during the storm.
Loss of the Steamship Norfolk.
The captain and passengers, sixteen in number, were landed at the Breakwater, and the engineer, Mr. Waples, and his son, and the firemen, four in number, were taken to Baltimore.
The Norfolk is of 611 tons burden, and was formerly called the Penobscot, and ran from Bangor to Boston, and afterwards between this city and New-York, and while on the latter route encountered the terrible gale which swept our coast in 1850.She was rebuilt and lengthened in 1853. Last Spring she was purchased by the Union Steamship Company, and completely overhauled, and has since been running weekly ever since. She was valued at about $30,000, part of which is covered by insurance. She had a large assorted cargo, valued at about $80,000, and belonging to merchants in the interior of North Carolina and Virginia. A portion of the cargo was insured in this city, and a part in Richmond.
Captain J.H. Kelly, who has commanded the Norfolk ever since she belonged to the present Company, is well known as the former commander of the city ice-boat, and has always maintained a high reputation for skill, prudence and energy. He was accompanied, on this trip, by his wife and four children.
It was expected that Captain Kelly would have arrived in the city last night, but, up to a late hour, the steamer City of Richmond had not arrived.
Arrival Of The Norfolk's Passengers In Philadelphia.
Capt. Kelly informs us that he remained on the Whitney until noon on Tuesday. During the night previous the wind blew a gale. On Tuesday the wrecked party were taken off by the pilot-boat Gen. Pike, off Cape Henlopen, and taken into Lewes, where they were very kindly treated by the inhabitants.
At noon, yesterday, the steamer City of Richmond touched at Lewes, and all hands were taken on board and brought to this city, where they arrived safely to-day.
The following particulars of the wreck were prepared by Mr. George W. Porter of the Merchants' Exchange, Baltimore, who was a passenger on board the Joseph Whitney, who picked up the greater portion of the passengers and crew of the ill-fated steamer:
The steamship Norfolk, Capt. J.R. Kelly, which left Philadelphia on Saturday last, at 9 o'clock A.M., for Norfolk and Richmond, with twenty-six passengers, and a crew composed of twenty-one persons, and laden with a valuable cargo of merchandize, encountered a heavy gale from E.S.E. on Sunday evening, which continued to increase in violence during the night; between 10 o'clock P.M. and 4 A.M., she sprung a leak, carried away jib, spanker and fore-spencer, and, to lighten her, a large portion of the cargo was thrown overboard. Her head was then turned toward the beach, with the view of running her on, to save the lives of those on board, but the rudder broke off, and she was left a helpless wreck, in a violent gale and heavy sea, and at daylight on Monday broke into pieces, then about 10 miles south of Chincoteague, the passengers and crew barely having time to take to the boats, saving nothing but what clothes they had on, before she went down, and was lost entirely from view.
After being on board the small boats in a heavy sea and high N.N.W. wind for about nine hours, they were fallen in with at 2½ o'clock P.M., by the steamship Jos. Whitney, Capt. Howes, from Baltimore, bound to Boston, who succeeded in taking up three of the boats containing forty persons, a list of the names of whom are given below. The fourth boat steered off in another direction in search of a vessel which was in sight, but which did not heed them, and it was seen afterwards, but it is supposed made for the shore. This boat's crew, containing the first and second engineer and firemen, was afterwards picked up by the steamer Caledonia, bound from Charleston to Baltimore.
The following are the names of those picked up by the Jos. Whitney:
Captain Kelly, wife, four children, nurse and colored boy; W.H. Snyder, first mate; Tobias Moore, pilot; Mrs. D.S. Palmer and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ashmear, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Butcher Butler, Mr. and Mrs. Capell, Mrs. Capell, Sen., Mrs. White, Thos. Wier, Wm. Marshall, M. Fouce, Geo. W. Howard, Wm. Sheppard, Edward Minor Burr, L. Lee Wood, W.A. Walker, Peter Brantz, Jas. A. Moore, Lewis Wagner, Jas. Fountain, Geo H. Harald, Jos. Elliott, Antonia Dante, Vincent Adante, Wm. G. Boon, colored, Edward Stanton.
The passengers all speak in the highest praise of the conduct of Capt. Kelly and his officers, Mr. John Moore and Mr. W.H. Snyder, during the trying circumstances of the loss of their ship. The Captain stood at the gangway, and would not allow a single man to leave the ship until the ladies were all safely stowed in the boat; he then had each boat provided with a compass and provisions, &c., being himself the lat to leave the sinking ship.
In the missing boat (afterwards picked up [by] the Caledonia) were James W. Waples, First Engineer; Henry Waples, Second Engineer, (father and son;) Edward Simpler, greaser; George Robinson, fireman; second fireman and two coal-passers, names not known; and Mrs. Elizabeth Armstead, stewardess.
It is impossible to describe the feelings of the unfortunate shipwrecked people upon finding themselves once more safe and on the deck of the Joseph Whitney. Some of them were almost entirely destitute of clothing, while others were but half clad,-most of the ladies and children were without shoes or stockings, and from their exposure to the high wind and sea their garments generally were nearly washed off them. In a short time, however, they were made as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. The officers and passengers of the Joseph Whitney did all in their power; trunks were opened and dry clothes were put upon all.
The passengers generally were unremitting in their attentions to these unfortunate persons. In this connection mention should be made of the kind and generous conduct of a poor Irish girl, Margaret Finley, who fills the position of stewardess of the Joseph Whitney. Her joy was unspeakable upon witnessing the rescue of the ship-wrecked people; she dealt out her clothes to them till the last piece was gone, save the clothes she had on, and she then gave up her room for their further accommodation.
To Captain Solomon Howes, the commander of the Joseph Whitney, all praise is due for his good management in saving the passengers and crew and for the care and attention shown them while on board his vessel. Since his command of this ship, less than three years, he has rescued some fifty-five lives.
The steamer Norfolk was thirteen years old, 611 tons burthen, and she was rebuilt four years ago. She was owned at Philadelphia, and is partly insured.
The following named passengers on board the Jos. Whitney were particularly kind to the shipwrecked people:-Miss Lehman, Mrs. Thayer; Miss Martha Lee, of Maryland; W.H. Mann; John F. Ellis, of Washington; Rob. Freeman; Ben. Freeman; F. Mott; J.A. Chilles; E.G.W. Hall; Rev. C.A. Davis, U.S.N.; W.R. Lee, C.B. Whitney, of Boston; Geo. Fitzpatrick; John Godfrey and George Porter and lady.
John Franz, steward of the Jos. Whitney, was also especially kind on the occasion.
At Lewistown the passengers held a meeting and adopted the following expression of their feelings:
We, the undersigned, passengers in the steamship Norfolk, lately lost, desire to express, to the best of our present ability, our heartfelt thanks to the Captain, Jas. R. Kelly, for the noble manner in which he stood by us to the lat, not only when the ship was sinking, but when embarked in our forlorn hope, the boats, in which he cheered us and took this turn at the oar like a man; also, when safe on shore, he entertained us like a gentleman. The last in losing sight of his ship, the first in contriving our rescue.
In this connection we cannot forget Mr. Snyder, the mate, Mr. Moore, the pilot, Mr. George H. Howard, whom the ladies thank for much attention, and one and all of the crew, who seemed to hold their Captain as eminently worthy of their respect and obedience, (one, as they said,) who would not desert the boat while a plank of her remained.
Henry Thompson and wife, M. Butcher Butler and wife, Mr. T. Wier, J.A. Ashmead and wife, Mrs. Cappell, Miss C. Cappell and sister, Mrs. White, Mrs. D.S. Palmer and son, W. Marshall, O.S. Foucett, M.T. Wagner, James Fountain, S.D. Wood.
On the road to the city, on board the City of Richmond, the passengers and officers of the Norfolk adopted a card of thanks, in which they express a desire to offer their most grateful thanks to Capt. Howes, of the steamship Joseph Whitney, for his timely rescue on Monday last from a watery grave, and also to his officers and passengers for their kind treatment while on board that steamer.
From The North American.
The late storm at Norfolk is said to have been of almost unparalleled violence. The wind, accompanied with rain, continued to blow so hard from Saturday evening to Monday evening that no steamboat dared to leave her moorings; and all the sailing vessels that could make that anchorage, took refuge in Hampton Roads. The wind blew from N.E., and it is apprehended that many marine disasters will be the result. The only wreck seen by the Captain of the Maryland, in his passage up the river, was one large sloop in the bay; she was entirely dismasted, her boats carried away, and her rigging entirely riddled. She was in tow of a schooner. So violent was the gale that the staunch bay steamers plying between Norfolk, Hampton and Old Point were compelled to remain in the harbor and suspend their regular trips until its raging had abated. It has been very long since a storm anything like it in violence and destructiveness has been experienced in that region.
The steamship Jamestown, due from New-York on Sunday evening, did not get in till 2 P.M. yesterday having been kept back by the storm; and the steamer Roanoke, for New-York, was detained below from the same cause. Both left yesterday afternoon, when the wind had lulled to a gentle breeze-the Jamestown for New-York, and the Roanoke for Richmond.
The Norfolk Argus, of Thursday, says:
It is feared that very considerable damage has been done to the shipping, and also to the crops. The corn, pecially[sic] along the coast, is no doubt blown down, and the fodder destroyed or greatly injured.
The steamship Roanoke, which left Norfolk for Philadelphia on Saturday evening, returned on account of the storm raging outside.
The passengers from California by the steamer Empire City, which put into Norfolk disabled, arrived here yesterday morning in the Norfolk steamer. She also brought up the mails.
From the Baltimore Sun.
Capt. Vaughan, of the steamer Commerce, arrived yesterday from Savannah, reports that on Sunday, while off Cape Lookout, saw a lot of furniture, &c., adrift. Five miles below Cape Henry the brig John R. Rhoads, from Boston for this port, was ashore. The gale was very severe, and it is feared more disasters have occurred. The wind was very high, but it soon lulled, and before midnight it was almost entirely calm. The gale was from the northeast, which was the cause of the vessels being unable to make the mouth of the Chesapeake.
From the Wilmington (N.C.) Herald, Sept. 15.
Spanish brig Luzon, Capt. Fafael De Uaiz, of Belboa, from Havana, bound to Falmouth, England, with sugar and molasses, went ashore near New-Topsail Inlet, on Saturday night last. Vessel and cargo will probably prove a total loss.
From Key West
The past fortnight has been very stormy, and the weather favorable for wrecking, but as far as we can learn nothing has been ashore except the New-York packet ship Silas Holmes, which vessel was exposed for 4½ hours upon a reef opposite Indian Key, the evening of the 27th. The sum of $560 was awarded to a reef pilot for taking the ship out of danger and placing her in the Gulf.
This month will probably not pass over without severe losses upon the Florida reefs. August passed without a gale, but September hardly ever goes by without some heavy blow. The indications at present are favorable, and we may escape. In 1846 the gale occurred as late as October 11, and it was the most terrible gale ever experienced on this coast. We believe that, as a general rule, the later in the gale-month that the hurricanes occur, the more fearful are their effects.
The captain of the Shannon, arrived at Key West, reports that while on or near Stirrups Key, he saw a bark on fire, surrounded by wrecking vessels-a fishing boat boarded her, and from the skipper he learned that the bark was from Rockland, loaded with lime, and bound to New-Orleans. She was three years old. The cargo would all be lost, but the wreckers would save the sails, rigging and standing rigging. The fisherman could not tell the name of the vessel.
On the 6th inst., the three-masted schooner Old Dominion drifted in near Loggerhead Shoal, and to prevent her going ashore the anchor was thrown over. This, fortunately, brought her up, and she escaped, just clearing the tail of the reef. The schooner got under weigh the same evening, and continued on her voyage. She was from New-York bound to New-Orleans.
The schooner D.P. Trowbridge, Captain Merrow, from Minatitian, Mexico, with a cargo of woods, arrived the 3d. Capt. M. was too sick to command her, and he put in to procure a sailing master. Capt. Parks was engaged, and the schooner sailed the 5th for New-York.
The bark R.H. Gamble, Powell, of New-York, from St. Marks, passed the city on the 4th inst.
The Key West Key of the Gulf contradicts the report that yellow fever cases had occurred on the island, which was never more healthy than this season. The editor says:
The weather for the past week has been very warm, but pleasant, with cool moonlight nights-just the ones to induce strolling. The island is as fragrant as a gale of nutmegs, and looks as fresh and unsullied as a bride on her wedding night.
The same paper of the 5th inst. says:
During the past week we have had frequent rain squalls, with alternate sun-shines, clouds and clear warm weather. On Thursday morning we were visited with a violent thunder-storm, the rain coming down in torrents for several hours. The peals of thunder were terrific, and the frequent flashes of lightning very vivid. The conductor on the Episcopal Church was destroyed by the lightning, but caused no injury to the Church. The gable-end of the hospital at Fort Taylor was also struck, damaging the whole end. Several houses, cupolas and a fishing boat were struck, but little damage done. The amount of rain that fell must have been great, indeed, during the period of the storm, the water ran down the various streets like small rivers.
Arrival of the Steamship Joseph Whitney in boston-The Loss of the Norfolk, &c.
The Norfolk was abandoned nine hours previously, she having gone to pieces from the violence of the gale of Sunday night, about ten miles south of Chincoteague. The rescued passengers were taken to the Delaware Breakwater and landed. The Joseph Whitney, on Tuesday night off Barnegat, experienced another N.N.E. gale, which continued until 4 o'clock A.M. of Wednesday, but sustained no damage. The weather afterwards was favorable.
Arrival of the Alabama at Savannah-The Schooner Ida Picked Up.
Saturday, September 19, 1857
The Loss Of The Central America
The first dispatch received from Norfolk, yesterday, afforded a little additional information. By it we learned that the bark Elize had arrived in Hampton Roads, a few miles from Norfolk, Va., with fifty passengers on board; that all the officers of the Central America had perished, except James M. Frazer, second officer, and that twenty-six women and children had been rescued by a brig, the name of which was not given. It added that the engineer, George E. Ashby, had deserted the ship in a boat-the only desertion yet reported. Former expectations as to the loss of the treasure were confirmed. Another dispatch gave us the name of the brig that had saved twenty-six women and children and twenty men, together with some of the names. She proved to be the brig Marine, bound for the port of New-York. More cheering news arrived soon afterwards from Savannah, to the effect that the bark Saxony had just arrived there with five of the Central America's passengers on board; which, together with the names of a few of the saved is all that had been received at 1 o'clock this morning.
Number Of Lost And Saved
Saved By The Bark Saxony At Savannah.
Saved By The Brig Marine
Officers And Crew Lost.
The Treasure Insurance
Of which in New-York, $550,000; London, $950,000; Philadelphia, $100,000.
The policies of the American Exchange Bank are one-fourth each, in the Atlantic, Sun and Great Western, and one-eight each in the Union and Pacific. The policies of Wells, Fargo, & Co. are with the Royal Marine, Indemnity Mutual, Royal Exchange, and London officers. Those of Robb, Hallett & Co., with the Alliance and Indemnity offices of London. The policies of Duncan, Sherman & Co., were effected through the Union Bank of London. W. Hoge & Co., Howland & Aspinwall, and W.T. Coleman & Co., are insured at Lloyd's. Of the miscellaneous consignees, $350,000, we are not particularly advised; assuming, however, that all are covered either in New-York, Philadelphia and Boston.
The loss of the mails will postpone the presentation of the drafts made against the gold until about the 28th or 30th inst., on the arrival of the packet of the 5th September with the duplicates.
The following is a brief obituary of
Captain William Lewis Herndon was a native of Fredericksburg, Va., and was the son of Dabney Herndon, Esq., a highly respected citizen of that place. He was born Oct. 25, 1813, and was, therefore, at the time of his death, 43 years of age, twenty-eight of which he had spent in the service of his country. He enter the Navy as a midshipman at the age of fifteen. His first voyage was to the Pacific, in the old frigate Gueiriere[?]. This cruise took three years. The next three years he spent in the Mediterranean, in the Constellation, and afterwards made a third cruise to the coast of Brazil. At this time he was attached to the Independence. About the time of his return the Florida war broke out, and a number of officers in the Navy volunteered for the service. Among them was young Herndon, who was placed in command of a brig at Italian Key. With his men he often penetrated the Everglades in boats, driving the Indians from the recesses of the swamps into the arms of the troops on the shore. In this difficult service, and on the coast, he remained two years. On his return he was attached to the national Observatory at Washington, then under the charge of his brother-in-law, Lieut. Maury. Here he remained three years. This service he found more arduous than life at sea, as he was often necessarily engaged all night in making astronomical observations. During the Mexican war he applied for orders, and was appointed to the frigate Cumberland. He proceeded to Norfolk, and had embarked, when his destination was changed. Commodore Perry, then in the gulf, had applied to the Department to send out to him an active and intelligent officer, who could speak the Spanish language, to be placed in command of a small steamboat to pass between the American squadron and the troops on shore, the Secretary of the Navy immediately designated Lieut. Herndon for the post, and he was transferred to the Iris, and sailed to join Commodore Perry. In this small vessel he remained till the close of the war, often performing tasks of much difficulty and danger, but with uniform skill and success. At the close of the war he returned to Washington, and spent another year at the Observatory.
It was in the exploration of the Amazon, during the years 1851 and 1852, that Lieut. Herndon chiefly distinguished himself; or rather, it was in the performance of this service that he is more widely known. He was selected "for this most important and delicate duty"-so his letter of instructions ran-because "it would call for the exercise of all those high qualities and attainments that he possessed." The object of the expedition was to obtain every information relating to the valley and river of the Amazon, including the entire basin or water-shed drained by that river and its tributaries. Lieutenant Herndon's observations were to extend not only to the present condition of that valley, with regard to the navigability of its streams, but to the number and condition, both industrial and social, of its inhabitants; their trade and products; its climate, soil and productions; and also to its capacities for cultivation, and to the character and extent of its undeveloped commercial resources, whether of the field, the forest, the river, or the mine. At the time he received these instructions, Lieutenant Herndon was on board the Vandelia, then at Lima, in Peru, and from that point he was directed to cross the Cordillera and explore the Amazon from its source to its mouth.
Lieutenant Herndon entered upon the duties of his new mission with spirit and enthusiasm. To prepare himself for the expedition he spent four or five months in researches in Chili and Peru. He then left the Pacific coast, and ascended to the rest of the Andes, and from thence descended the Atlantic slope until he reached the head-waters of the Amazon, which, at four thousand miles distant from its mouth is but a muddy stream, known as the Huallaga. Lieutenant Herndon traveled the entire distance, from the head-waters of canoe navigation to Para, in an open boat. It occupied him eleven months; and his report to the Government embodying a faithful and modest account of his journey, should be read by every one interested in the development of the unbounded resources of the mightiest river in the world.
On his return to the United States, Lieut. Herndon was for some months in Washington, engaged in the preparation of his work on the Amazon, which was published by the Government.
After this labor was completed he was ordered to the San Jacinto, then designed to cruise in the Baltic, during the presence there of the Allied fleets. But some accident occuring to her machinery she put into Southampton. This ship was ordered to convey Mr. Soule, who had been forbidden to pass through France, from Calais to Spain. On the return of the San Jacinto to the United States, Lieut. Herndon was transferred to the Potomac, under Commodore Paulding, but was soon after placed in command of the George Lane. This was about two years ago. These California steamers, carrying United States Mails, are required by law to be under the command of officers of the Navy, and Lieut. Herndon was chosen for the responsible post. The name of the George Law was, only a few weeks ago, changed to that of the Central America, the loss of which is now mourned by thousands of hearts.
Lieut. Herndon was married 20 years since to an estimable lady of Virginia. His wife and an only daughter survive.
He was of a slight figure, but of an intrepid spirit. He was as gentle as he was brave. In the Navy he was universally beloved. In all quarrels between officers, he was known as a peacemaker. He never made an enemy. For fifteen years he had been a member of the Episcopal Church. He often read the service on board his ship, and the humblest sailor was not committed to the deep without the burial service read over his remains by his captain.
Safety Of The Agent's Son
Scene At The Office Of The Company
During the afternoon commodore Vanderbilt visited the office to inquire into the particulars of the disaster as far as it was possible to give them. He expressed his deep sympathy for the passengers on the ill-fated steamer, and commiserated the Company for the heavy pecuniary loss entailed upon them by her loss.
How The News Was Received In The City
The newspaper offices were crowded by parties who had relations or friends on board anxious to learn if any additional news had been received. The bulletins on the news offices were besiege[sic] by excited crowds. In Wall-street the news fell with a less stunning effect than might have been expected; but still the depression of spirits, if not of stocks, was very great. It is, however, the general opinion that no immediate pressure will ensue from the large loss of specie. That such a misfortune should have occurred, so soon after the late panic, was acknowledged to have a very calamitous foreshadowing.
As the day wore on, and the news was more widely circulated, the excitement yet more largely increased, spreading to those classes which usually care little for mere news. The mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, of the crew, hurried in their everyday working apparel, and with no attempt at adornment, to the newspaper offices to learn when later intelligence was expected. "Was it true that all the crew were lost?" :If not, who were the rescued? Was this, that or the other man among them?" Until midnight and later, the Times office was visited by those who had relatives on board, their faces blanched with apprehension, utterly unable to repress their tears.
Generally, among men of intelligence, it was believed that the loss of life would not be so very serious as the first report indicated. We wish we could extend the hope that in that tempestuous sea, there was much probability of any large portion of the passengers or crew surviving in boats or on rafts, but we do not ourselves share that expectation.
The arrival at this port of the Empire City, due about noon to-day, will place us in possession of many important facts connected with the fate of the Central America, and of her passengers and crew.
The Rescue By The Bark Elise
Prompt Movement Of The Insurance Companies
As to the amount on board the Central America, it is believed that it is comited? to the shipment from San Francisco, reported by telegraph to be about sixty? hundred thousand dollars. The correctness of the report of a large shipment at Havana is discredited. It originated from a telegraphic dispatch received by one of the large houses here, that a certain amount had been sent to them from Havana by the Catawba, arrived at Charleston, another amount by the Central America, &c., summing up in the aggregate $125,000. Now as shipments of specie for New-York are not made by way of Charleston, as it would involve the payment of double freights and double insurances, it is inferred that the remittances by the Catawba were in bills of exchange, no express intimation to the contrary having made in the dispatch that those by the Central America are of the same character.
The larger amount of the loss will fall upon the foreign insurance companies, probably fully two-thirds, and the reclamation to be made from them will form a basis upon which to draw bills of exchange, and thus stand as an equivalent for the shipment of specie to the same amount. It is believed that our own insurance companies are liable for about five hundred thousand dollars. Their losses will certainly not exceed this sum, and as the companies have all been transacting a very successful business during the year, they are abundantly able, at the present time, to meet the obligations arising from this calamity without serious inconvenience, or at all impairing their means for the successful transaction of their business as underwriters.
The Central America Not Insured
The Central America is the third steamer this Company have lost. In August, 1853, the Cherokee was burned at her wharf in this City, and was a total loss. In December, 1855, the Crescent City run on Minatitlan Reef, near Nassau, N.P., and was also a total wreck. No passengers of the latter steamer, it will be remembered, were lost and most of the freight was saved.
A Passenger Saved After Having Been Six Hours On The Water
Savannah, Tuesday, Sept. 15.
From the Association Agent-Telegraphic Discourtesy
On Friday the storm raged fearfully. At 11 o'clock in the morning of this day it was first known among the passengers that the steamer had sprung a leak and was making water fast. A line of men was immediately formed, and they went to work bailing out the water from the engine rooms, the fires having already been extinguished. We gained on the water so much that we were able to get up steam again, but we held it but a few minutes, and then it ???ped forever. Bailing continued, however, and was kept up in all parts of the ship until she finally went down.
During Friday night the water gained gradually, but all on board being in pretty good spirits, they worked to the best of their ability, feeling that when the morning came, they possibly might speak some vessel, and thus be saved. The fatal Saturday came at last, but brought nothing but increased fury in the gale. Still we worked on, and at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon the storm lulled a little, and the clouds broke away. Hope was renewed, and all now worked like giants. At 4 P.M. we pied a sail, and fixed guns and placed our flag at half-mast. It was seen, and the brig Marine of Boston bore down upon us. We then considered safety certain.
She came near us and we spoke to her and told our condition. She laid by about a mile distant, and we, in the only three boats saved, placed all the women and children, and they were safely put on board the brig. As evening was fast approaching we discovered another sail which responded to our call and came near us. Captain Herndon told our condition and asked them to lay by and send a boat as we had none left. She promised to do so, but that was the last we saw of her except at a distance which grew greater and greater every moment.
At 7 o'clock we saw no possibility of keeping afloat much longer, although we all felt that if we could do so until morning all would be saved. In a short time a heavy sea for the first time broke over the upper deck of the vessel, and then all hope faded away. Life-preservers were now supplied to all, and we sent up two rockets, when a tremendous sea swept over us, and the steamer in a moment went down. I think some four hundred or four hundred and fifty souls were launched upon the ocean, at the mercy of the waves. The storm at this time had entirely subsided. We all kept near together, and went as the waves took us.
There was nothing, or very little, said except that each one cheered his fellow-comrade on. Courage was thus kept up for two or three hours, and I think for this space of time none had drowned but three who could not swim because exhausted. After this, gradually one by one passed away to eternity. The hope that boats would be sent to us from two vessels we had spoken soon fled from us, and our trust was alone in Providence-"and what better trust could you or I ask for?"
I saw my comrades sink fast, and at 1 o'clock that night I was nearly alone upon the ocean, some two hundred miles from land. I heard, however, shouts from all that could do so, that were not far from me, but I could not see them. Within an hour from this time I saw a vessel, which I judged to be about one mile from me. Taking fresh courage I struck out for the vessel, and reached it when nearly exhausted, and they drew me on board of it by ropes. It proved to be a Norwegian bark from Belize, Honduras, bound for Falmouth, England. I found on board of her some three of my comrades, and at 9½ o'clock next morning we had 49 noble fellows on board, and these are all I know of having been saved.
We strayed about the place until we thought that all alive had been rescued, and then set sail. We
found the bark short of provisions and the crew living on gruel. We had some tea and coffee to
refresh ourselves, and at noon on Sunday we spoke the American bark (the Saxony) bound for
Savannah, which supplied us with provisions, and took five of us on board. Our names are:--
The Norwegian bark set sail for Charleston with the balance of the forty-nine passengers, whose
names unfortunately I cannot give. The few that I have recollect are follows:
There is a lad saved some seven years old, whose mother was with the other ladies placed on board the Brig.
P.S.-There were three passengers that got into boats, that saved the women and children, who are
known to me. Their names are
Monday, September 21, 1857
Loss Of The Central America
The Empire City reached Quarantine yesterday at 7½ A.M., and, after a temporary detention, arrived at the pier foot of Warren-street about 10 A.M. Immediately her arrival became known, hundreds of excited people rushed to the spot, eager to learn from those on board the fate of relatives and friends. With commendatory zeal the Company at once exerted themselves to place the shipwrecked sufferers in comfortable quarters, and with that design the whole party, or at least such of them as had no friends in the City with whom they could take shelter, were conveyed in carriages to the New-York Hotel. We are proud to record an act on the part of the hackmen whose carriages were thus employed. They all refused to receive pay for the hire of their carriages. We are sorry to record a very dissimilar act on the part of the proprietors of the New-York Hotel. On arriving there the purser had an interview with the party or parties in charge of the office, and was informed that none of the unfortunate passengers of the Central America could be admitted, the hotel being nearly full. Among the shipwrecked people thus turned from the doors of the New-York Hotel, were seven ladies and two children. These were immediately driven to the Metropolitan Hotel, where they were cordially received by Messrs. Leland, and the wardrobe of Mrs. Warren Leland, and of several of the lady boarders, placed at their disposal. Everything that could be done for alleviating the sadness of their condition was at once accomplished.
At the Astor House, Mr. Stetson, who left the hotel before the arrival of the Empire City, gave directions to the clerk in charge of the office, that in the event of their seeking accommodation there, they were to be instantly taken to good rooms, and their comfort amply provided for. One lady who repaired thither, whose health was considerably shattered by the trials she had undergone, was nursed by Mrs. Stetson herself. At the St. Nicholas also, Mr. Coleman was prepared to render every assistance to these unfortunate people, and to place at their disposal the best accommodation his vast hotel could afford.
The male passengers were afterwards distributed at various hotels, several repairing? to Lovejoy's, others to the Miner's Arms, in Front-street, and others to private houses. Those staying at the hotels were objects of the greatest curiosity and sympathy throughout the day.
The Empire City Purser's Report
It was likewise understood that all the women and children, some of the latter, infants, in all 56 in number, had been saven[sic] in the steamer's boats, before she sunk, and put on board the brig Marine, of Boston.
"Sir," said our informant, "500 men with Death yawning before them at any moment, stood solid as a rock, nor made a movement for the boats until the women and children had been all safely transported to the brig, after which about 40 of the crew and male passengers in a few trips reached the latter vessel before the steamer went down."
Capt. McGowan, abandoning his previous intention, immediately got his ship under weigh, steamed down the harbor, and when near the light-ship, spoke the bark with her quota of the saved.
Hailing her, he proffered a passage to New-York to all who chose to accept; the majority were taken on board, and with a parting round of three hearty cheers for their preservers, we proceeded on our course hoping to fall in with the brig and relieve the women and children. Within three miles of Cape Henry a vessel was descried ahead in tow of a propeller bound in, and immediately speculation was rife as to whether she might or might not prove to be the vessel we sought. Glasses were leveled at her by anxious groups gathered forward, and as we rapidly closed together, certainty succeeded surmise, and to the joy of all, she proved to be the brig Marine, in tow of the City of Norfolk, propeller, her low and confined decks, swarming with wretched-looking objects, many of them women and children, wringing their hands, and weeping and laughing by turns hysterically. Our boats were speedily lowered and Capt. McGowan, in the first, boarded the brig in person, caressed, embraced, and, indeed, half-strangled by the poor women, who threw themselves upon him as he reached the deck.
As boat-load after boat-load reached our ship's side and ladder, each vied with the other in assisting them to our decks, and in a short time the greater portion were comfortably quartered in our cabins. To the bystanders, the recognition and greeting between the two parties-mother, claiming son, and husband wife, the eager scanning of each face in agonizing fear and expectation, the joy or grief manifested as recognition or disappointment awaited the gazer, was touching in the extreme, straining the heart-strings and moistening the eyes of many hitherto unused to such manifestation. A portion remained on board the brig, preferring to go up to Norfolk, and when all who wished had been taken on board, the Empire City again started with her freight of unfortunates for New-York.
Ninety-six in all were reported to have been saved by the brig, exclusive of the colored stewardess, who died from exhaustion shortly after having been taken from the wreck. All speak in the highest terms of the attention paid them and the humanity displayed by the officers and crews of both brig and bark; tforhemer[sic] conveying the women, was about to serve out her last ration of water, and had not an opportune supply of provisions been received from a passing vessel, they must have been driven to great straits with hunger as well as thirst.
The bark Ellen had previously had all her boats stove in the gale, and every individual of those saved by her were drawn on board by lines thrown them, as she sailed through the drifting masses of drowning men-her Captain handling his vessel as only a sailor could, going ahead, getting sternway on her and drifting to leeward, as the cries about him from those whom he could not see through the darkness of the night dictated. Their escape is unequaled in the annals of marine disaster and relief. The officers of the Empire City, grieving for the loss of their brother officers, have yet a feeling of pride and satisfaction in knowing that they died at their posts striving to save life to the last, and point to the fact that all the women and children were saved (not an infant lost) as an instance of self-devotion, coolness and manliness seldom exceeded, if equaled. Should it please Providence hereafter to place them in the same strait, they wish no nobler culogium.
Survivors Of Central America On Board Empire City
Taken from the water after the ship foundered.
Taken From Brig Marine, Of Boston, Saved In Steamer's Boats
Survivors Not On The Empire City.
Persons Known To Have Been On The Central America, And Supposed Lost.
A Scotchman, name unknown, who was returning to New-York, having been Sailing-Master on board a United States surveying schooner on the Pacific station.
Robert Taylor, of Wisconsin, miner, about 38 years of age; had been in California about eight months.
James Woodworth, of Keokuk, Iowa, about 25 years of age, and unmarried; miner.
David Stewart, of Maysville, Ohio, 24 years of age; unmarried; had been in California about two years.
John Leech, of Stockbridge, Mass., 47 years of age; was on his way home, having left two sons in Grass Valley, Cal.
Johnson Carr, of Claremont, Marion County, Va., miner.
Stephen Murch, of Portland, Maine, about thirty years of age, late of Massachuse s [sic] Fiats, near Sacramento, in business with his brother as blacksmith and shoemaker. He had sold out his business, and leaving his brother to wind up his affairs and forward the proceeds, was proceeding home to Portland, where he had a wife and two children, in the expectation of sharing the fruits of his labors in California.
Charles Gilkie, farmer, of Portland, Maine, and late of Splicer County, Cal., about 23 years of age.
James Gilkie, about 24 years of age, brother of the above.
These two young men, both unmarried, had been very successful in business, and were returning home without having apprized their friends of their intention, wishing, as they said, to take them by surprise.
John Rudwell, tavern-keeper, of Grass Valley, California. (His wife was saved.)
So far as is known at present the
A Hope That Others Have Been Rescued.
When the survivors by the Marine entered the parlor of the National Hotel, Norfolk, thrilling scenes were presented. Ladies would look around, and failing to recognize husband, brother or son, would give utterance to their grief in long cries, or fall helpless to the floor. The scene was distressing in the extreme, and beggars description.
A meeting of citizens was held for the relief of the distressed, at which $800 were raised. The clothing stores were thrown open and apparel furnished to many who were nearly naked.
Chief-Engineer Ashby publishes a card on Monday asking a suspension of opinion.
Dr. Harvey, of Placerville, awards great credit to Capt. Herndon and all the officers except Chief-Engineer Ashby. They stood by their posts nobly and went down with the ship.
Great praise is also awarded to Capt. Johnson, of the Ellen, and his men.
Washington, Sunday, Sept. 20.
The Chief Engineer Ashby
He says that the eagines[sic] were stopped by the rapid rising of the water, making it impossible to get at the coal. He, however, gives no explanation why all the pumps on the ship were out of order, and the donkey engine unserviceable.
A number of destitute widows and orphans are here, and collections are making for their relief. Two thousand dollars was subscribed for this purpose at Norfolk.
Appearance Of The Passengers.
The men wore rough flannel shirts, such as they were able to procure from the sailors, and some of them were destitute both of shoes for their feet and hats for their heads. The ladies, on going from the sinking steamer to the brig, were not allowed to carry with them anything which might encumber or unduly load the life-boats. Even their thick shawls were necessarily denied to them, and very few wore away their bonnets. They could choose only one suit of clothes, and could take it with them only by wearing it.
On board the brig they of course could not be supplied from a lady's wardrobe, and were compelled to wrap themselves with sheets, bed-quilts or blankets to shield themselves from the coldness of the weather. Many of the sheets were cut up to make underclothes for the children, and rags were tied around the feet of those that had no shoes. When the dresses of the ladies became dirty, there was no chance of washing them, as they had no change of garments to substitute for them in the meantime.
As the brig was met at Hampton Roads by the Empire City, the resources of Norfolk were not placed at their disposal; and they gained by their transfer to the steamer little more than larger cabin-room and better berths to sleep in. They, of course, had more to eat at the table of Capt McGowan, than Capt. Burt had been able to offer them; but they were not able to array themselves in clean or decent clothes until their arrival in this City. One man was in so ragged a condition that a stranger, who saw him after he had arrived with others at Lovejoy's Hotel, went voluntarily and procured for him an entire suit of good clothes.
The faces of the men, women and children were brown, as if they had come from long exposure to a burning sun. The skin had pealed off in various places all over their necks and heads. Many of them were also, particularly the children, suffering from smarting blisters, occasioned, in some degree, by contact with the salt water.
The Night On The Waves-Thrilling Scenes.
It was when he had drifted far from the companionship of any of his fellows in misfortune, that mr. George began to realize his situation. The night was quite dark. Occasionally, as the driving clouds parted and gave a glimpse of sky, a star or two would be visible, but this was very seldom and offered but the faintest gleam of hope that the morning would dawn fair and calm. The swell of the sea was great, and successively the poor floaters, holding on to their planks with the energy of despair, were riding on the brink of a precipice and buried in a deep valley of water. Our informant, like many of the rest, was seized with the fear of sharks. Respiration was very difficult, owing to the masses of water which were constantly dashed upon them, as wave after wave rolled by. For two or three hours the water was not unpleasantly cold, and it was not till about 1 o'clock on the morning of Sunday, when they had been nearly five hours in the water, and a fresh, chilling wind arose, that their limbs began to feel benumbed.
Some of the incidents described to us as occurring before or about that time were truly thrilling. One man, floating in solitude, and terrified at his loneliness, after shouting himself hoarse to find a companion, saw at length a man with two life-preservers fastened about his body drifting towards him. His heart leapt with joy at the welcome sight, for the feeling of desolation which had overcome him was terrible to endure. He called to the other to join him, if possible, and made every exertion to meet him half way. There was no reply, but the other drifted nearer and nearer. A wave threw them together. They touched. The living man shrieked in the face of a corpse. The other had been drowned by the dash of the billows, or had perished from exhaustion.
When, rising and falling with the swell of the waves, the lights of the bark Ellen were first discerned by the survivors in the water, the thrill of hope that at once filled every breast amounted, it may well be believed, to a perfect ecstasy. Let Mr. George speak for all. He says: "I never felt so thankful in all my life. I never knew what gratitude was before. I do not know whether I cried or not, but I know I was astonished to hear my own laughter ringing in my ears. I do not know why I laughed. That verse, "God moves in a mysterious way," kept passing in and out of me-through me, rather, as if I had been the pipe of an organ. It did not come to me by my own volition, but somehow made me remember it. When the lights approached nearer, a score of voices sprang up around me., crying "Ship ahoy," "Boat ahoy," and then I began to shout too. And I had never any doubt that I should be saved, till I saw the lights pass by, about half a mile from where I was, and recede in the distance. Then I began to give myself up for lost indeed. But I slowly drifted toward her again, till I could make out her hull and one of her masts, and presently I floated close to her, and shouted, and was taken up. When I got on the deck I could not stand. I did not know till then how exhausted I was.
Our informant, before he was thus happily rescued, encountered six men clinging to a log of wood, two of whom were washed off in his sight, within a short distance of the bark. The others must have afterwards shared the same fate, as they were not taken on board the bark and were never again seen.
Psychologists probably will be able to account for one fact that has come to our knowledge, connected with this night of terror. We heard a passenger describe his sensations in this wise: "I guess I had been about four hours in the water, and had floated away from the rest, when the waves ceased to make any noise, and I heard my mother say, 'Johnny, did you eat sister's grapes?' I had'nt thought of it for twenty years at least. It had gone clean out of my mind. I had a sister that died of consumption more than thirty years ago, and when she was sick-I was a boy of eleven or so-a neighbor had sent her some early hot-house grapes. Well, those grapes were left in a room where I was, and-I ought to have been skinned alive for it, little rascal that I was-I devoured them all. Mother came to me after I had gone to bed, when she couldn't find the fruit for sister to moisten her mouth with in the night, and said, "Johnny, did you eat sister's grapes?" I did not add to the meanness of my conduct by telling a lie. I owned up, and my mother went away in tears, but without flogging me. It occasioned me a qualm of conscience for many a year after; but, as I said, for twenty years at least I had not thought of it, till when I was floating about benumbed with cold I heard it as plain as ever I heard her voice in my life-I heard mother say "Johnny, did you eat sister's grapes?" I don't know how to account for it. It did not scare me though. I thought it was a presage of my death.
Of men placed in extraordinary positions of peril we instinctively desire to know the sensations thoughts, all the mental, all the physical phenomena. We try to imagine how the man feels who is to be hanged in the morning-how the man felt who went over the American Falls at Niagara, a year or two ago, who was clinging all day to the root of a tree, with his awful fate staring him in the face. So it is a part of our nature to be curious respecting the feelings of men situated as these men were, tossed for hours on a stormy sea, certain to perish before long of hunger, if not of cold, exhaustion or drowning, unless picked up by some passing vessel.
We questioned nearly all the passengers of the Central America arrived yesterday by the Empire City, and received various replies. We found no one who would confess to a dread of death per se. One thought of his family, his friends, and struggled for life for their sakes. Another wished to live that he might enjoy the treasure which he had stowed away on his person, and which would be saved if he was. A third, who had lost everything, wanted to begin life anew, and make his fortune over again. A species of fatalism consoled some. If their time was come it was come, and they saw their comrades in misfortune fail in their last struggle and sink, with scarcely a pang. One man told us he went to sleep in the water.
Of the hundreds who rose to the surface after the steamer sank, only those who were rescued by the Ellen,-forty-nine in number,-seem to have survived the horrors of that awful night. Many who imagined they had securely fastened their life-preservers about them, found after having been sucked down by the whirlpool created by the sinking ship, that not only the life-preservers, but their own clothes were torn from them. And without some support, there was no living in that fearful sea. The ablest swimmer could not have breasted those waves longer than a minute. And those who retained their life-preservers, and those who seized on planks and other portions of the wreck, were not, it must be supposed, in more than three hundred instances, able to survive the next few hours, amid the surging of the waves, the driving of the wind, and the chill of the water. On Tuesday morning, when daylight broke, very few could be seen, who, of course, were immediately rescued; but though the Ellen cruised about for several hours, no more were to be found. A few were saved, the sea claimed all the rest.
Capt. Badger's Statement
Towards morning the men were beginning to fall, and the water to increase and grow up in the hold of the ship. At 4 o'clock on the morning of Saturday, the 12th, the gale abated, with a heavy sea running.
They were encouraged by myself and others with the assurance that the ship would hold out. Every passenger remained cool, and seemed to forget his danger in the united efforts to save the vessel. There was no weeping or exhibition of despair, even on the part of the females. At eight o'clock another attempt was made to raise steam in the donkey-boiler, to pump the ship, but without avail.
One proposed to box the pumps, but on inquiry no carpenter or tools could be found, and the water gained rapidly. The lee shaft was shrouded in heavy blankets to stop the leak, but the water burst through. At 2 o'clock on Saturday a sail was reported to windward, and at half-past three she came under the stern. Boats immediately were lowered, but were stove instantly by the sea. Three boats still remained, one in a bad condition. At 4 o'clock the work of removing the ladies and children to the deck of the Marine was commenced. The brig being much lighter than the ship, had by this time drifted away to leeward. The distance was considerable, and the boats were long in making the trips, and there being a heavy sea but few could be carried at a time. After sending the ladies and children, the engineer and some some [sic] fifteen others were embarked on the brig. By this time it was dark. The work of bailing was still kept on, but the water gained faster and faster upon the vessel. As the boats successively approached the ship, a simultaneous rush was made by the passengers to get on board, and it was apprehended that the boats would be filled and stove. It was now dark. About two hours before the sinking of the ship, a schooner ran down under our stren,[sic] but could not render any assistance for want of boats. The work of bailing went on until within an hour of her going down. Two lights of the above vessel were now seen far to leeward. Rockets were fired from the wheel but went downward. The immediate sinking of the ship followed. Capt. Herndon remained on the wheel up to the moment of her going down, which was 8 o'clock on Saturday night. I was standing on the quarter-deck. Some jumped over, and put out from the now rapidly descending ship, and seized on whatever they could. No one shrieked or cried, but all stood calm. The Captain behaved nobly, and said he would not leave the ship.
I promised him I would remain with him, as also did the second officer, Mr. Fraser. All at once the ship, as if in the agony of death herself, made a plunge on an angle of 45 degrees, and, with a shriek from the engulphed mass, she disappeared, and five hundred human beings floated out on the bosom of the ocean, with no hope but death. At 1½ o'clock in the morning the Norwegian bark Ellen came running down with a free wind. The cries of distress reached those on deck, and they hove to, under short sail. The task of rescuing the passengers was nobly commenced, and by 9 o'clock the next morning forty-nine of them had been picked up. Diligent search was made until 12 o'clock, but no more could be seen. They then bore away for Norfolk, with a fair wind, and arrived at Cape Henry on the 17th, where myself and four others embarked in the pilot-boat and arrived in Norfolk.
Report Of The Brig Elizabeth
The Bark Amelia, From Havana.
The Steamship Nashville
Two Schooners Ashore
The Bark Cuba In Distress.
The Bark Peter Demilt Ashore.--
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