The Belfast Weekly Telegraph, 12 April 1873
THE LOSS OF THE ATLANTIC.
The following are some additional particulars concerning the loss of the noble but ill-fated vessel, to those published in the Telegraph last week:- Up to the present the reason of the steamer being so far North and out of her ordinary course is not ascertained as no reports were to hand of accidents to her machinery, and she had plenty of coal. The latest New York exchanges describe the weather as having been something fearful near the American coast. Within the last fortnight several of the ocean-going steamers with the utmost difficulty made port in safety. The screw steamer Atlantic, Captain James A. Williams, was the second ship being by Messrs. Harland & Wolff, of Belfast, for the White Star Line, the pioneer ship being the Oceanic, so the line has only been in working a little over two years. The steamers have rapidly acquired a special reputation. With the exception of an accident to the Oceanic's engines on her first trip, the White Star Liners in New York and Pacific passenger trade have been singularly free from accident, for some of them - notably the Republic and Adriatic - have encountered successfully the most terrific weather known to have been encountered in the Atlantic Ocean. They had achieved a marked reputation for speed, even in wintry weather, some of the voyages being among the quickest on record. Americans of late have shown a special partiality for the line, as the saloon lists show, and Irish emigrants outward bound also appear to give it a preference. The Atlantic, like all her sister ships, was a fourmastered iron steamer of 3,707 tons, 600 horsepower, and was 420 feet long, 41 feet broad, and 31 feet in depth of hold. She was built in the year 1871, and her engines were supplied by Forrester & Co. of Liverpool. She has made several remarkably quick voyages, this list disastrous one being her nineteenth. She sailed from the Mersey on March 20th; having on board thirty-two saloon passengers, mostly Americans, on their return home; 762 steerage passengers, including Germans and Alsatians, and a large proportion of Irish; and a crew consisting of 144 all told. The value of the Atlantic is over 100,000 mostly covered with marine insurance companies in London and Liverpool, and at Lloyd's. The total number of the steerage passengers was 448 males and 167 females. Of these 198 were adult English males, 74 females, 21 male children, 16 female children, and 12 infants. There were 7 Scotch male and 4 female adults, 43 Irish male adults, 18 females, and 3 male children; 150 male adult foreigners, 32 females, 14 male and 16 female children, and 7 infants.
A telegram from Halifax, dated Wednesday evening states that three or four of the cabin passengers on board the Atlantic were saved. One lady was frozen to death in the rigging. The purser is among the lost. Harrowing details of the disaster are given by the passengers who have arrived there. There were on board 850 steerage and 30 saloon passengers, the crew numbered 142 men, and there were fourteen stowaways. Two births occurred during the voyage, 300 persons in all have been saved, out of 1,038.
A telegram from Cork, forwards on Wednesday says:- Great consternation has been caused in Cork on account of the intelligence of an appallling disaster to the steamer Atlantic. The Atlantic called at Queenstown on Friday week on her voyage from Liverpool to New York, and embarked passengers to the number of two hundred. The line has been recently very much favoured by the Irish passengers. It is supposed that a great many of those embarked at Liverpool were also Irish.
STEERAGE PASSENGERS SAVED.
Among the steerage passengers saved from the
steamship Atlantic, not including those saved by the Lady Hennare, were the
following:- Cully, Greener, Bateman, Egan Jones, Carrol, Kelly, Burne, Carol,
Dunn, McNamara, Kelly, Cornwail, Malone, Brennan Sinclair, McAdam, Howlett,
Boglan, Anderson, Hannon, Svieneke, Peterson, Hanson, Anderson, Neilson,
Cunnningham, Chanson, Lawson, Svenson, Thomson, Hansen, Johnston, Gichards,
Slanelland, Lucas, Parker, Giovanni, Schwartz, Schmiat, Johnson, Buck,
Stevenson, Fungo, Dunstall, Mills, Lucas, Graceford, Reilly, Smith, Elly, Raby,
Nealson, Thompson, Cornelius, Jacobs, Worthington, McGrath, Handley, Cunningham,
Hay, Harman, Caemody, Booth, McAlister, Christeaum, Folk, Elficke, Jellapp,
Voliske, Jarvis, Wumbuski, Eustave, Hessel, Waydon, Cosgrove, Wood, Flinn,
Doyle, Doherty, Peters, Burkman, Deer, Ryan, O'Sullivan, T. O'Connor, Moore,
Reilly, Pratt, Gumberson, Smidt, Collins, Wilson, Walsh, Shugmay, Frencher,
Kelly, Schwartz, Sehaw, Sulsen, George, McGrath, Anderson, Brigelson, Hughes,
Williamson, Moffatt, Sullivan, Kparrson, McGrath, Stoolburson, Joneranson,
Hanson, Groot, Wakebarn, Carlson, Eelunsem, Calsen, Gayner, Huff, Bernden,
Dishet, Devlin, Coghlin, Glamfield, Norris, Hawk, Wren, Murphy, Leadon, O'Neall,
Surrey, Levert, Sinoner, McLeancher, Manning, Cameron, Peck, Thomas Connelly,
Patrick Connelly, Rogers, Schwartz, Schultze, Lizzall and son, Wallan, Michael
Schultze, Lizzal and son, Wallan, Michael Schwartz, Burns, Riddly. Crinneroft,
McCappen, Brison, Neilson, Muntz, Metcalf, Driscoll, Mr. Carthy, Norman, Henry,
Shlanzer, Kohn, Frum, Sullivan, Parker, Carter, Valentine, Bier, Sullivan,
Moore, Retland, Johnston, Donnelly, Mander, Hanay, John Donnelly, Larver,
McMann, Bradlee, Patterson, Jones, Coyle, Wadley, Roland, Lowe, Sattery,
Farrell, Dozie, Neal, McKay, Huntley, Walsh, Dalpon, Flanagan, Taylor, Murphy,
Roddey, Tapman, Russell, Kelly, Sullivan, Jackson, Williams, Holland, Pratt,
Hammell, Anderson, Shelby, Finyins, Treverux, Dole, Kalfon, Cunningham,
Chaplain, Owen. The saloon passengers saved are Messrs. Jugla,
Levison, Comorths, Vick, Kinane, Brown, Gardiner, Hirzel, Brandt, Jones, Anson,
Richmond, Marchwaldt, Doran. Potter, Olassheist, Smith, Booth, Keys, Sampson,
Hayman, McNabb, Hayman, Ellenger, Leyer, Thomas, Beering, Smith, Taylor, Smith,
Anderson, Kelly, Reynolds and Sutcliffe. The names of the steerage passengers
saved have not yet arrived.
The Daily News New York correspondent gives additional particulars of the wreck. The vessel struck about three in the morning, and went down ten minutes afterwards. The female passengers were prevented from coming on deck owing to the sea dashing over the ship and filling her. Many passengers were drowned in passing to the rock, and thence to the shore as owing to the intense cold they could not retain their hold. Several died on the rocks from exhaustion - others lost their reason. There was great suffering among the emigrants, but the Nova Scotia Legislature has voted the necessary relief, and the Cunard Company has furnished clothes and other requisites.
When the captain left the deck at midnight he supposed they were forty-eight miles south of Sambro, but saw no light. He proposed to run until three o'clock, then put about and wait until daylight. The first intimation he heard of the catastrophe was in feeling the shock.
A steerage passenger says when the vessel first struck the hatches were ordered to be closed, but the passengers burst them open and rushed for the the deck. It appears, however, that the companion ways were blocked by the crowd. Cries were heard for little more than two minutes, and were then smothered. Many bodies were washed out to sea. The women made but little effort to save themselves.
The Times' Philadelphia correspondent telegraphs the names of those saved and brought to Halifax by the steamer Lady Hennol. The following are the English names - Peter Union' Gustave Bearen, Pierce Hargenane, Anderson, W. Neilson, G. Weston, E. Isascon, S. Ingelson, Wm. Leeper, William Wade, William Diante, James Baskful, George Blente, Evan Pugh, Rudoplh Lee, Henry Malley, John Peters, Albert Miley, William Lapham, Martin Penson, James Warden, Neil Parsons, A. James, Charles Thorn, Charles Wenser, Henry Goodhall, Peter Hanterson, E. Peterson, James Bonack, James Lepper, J. Coates, Thomas Black, Daniel Tolsard, George Black, Thos. Rift, Thomas Bedhon, Jas. Meyer, B. Ward, and John Gustade.
Some others who were saved, walked inland from Prospect, and their names are as yet unascertained. The total loss of life is estimated at 546. Captain Williams said he thought they were going eleven knots, but the speed must have been greater.
A telegram received at Lloyds says the Atantic is broken in two near the foremost. New York underwriters have despatched a wrecker and divers to take charge of and save the vessel and cargo, and to preserve the bodies. The Canadian Government has ordered a searching investigation into the loss of the Atlantic.
The Liverpool Mercury says:- The intense excitement occasioned by the announcement of the loss of the steamer Atlantic has scarcely yet commenced to subside. Every telegram is watched with the greatest anxiety, as being likely to convey intelligence of some friend or relative whose fate it is still in a state of uncertainty, and as the news was by piecemeal yesterday exhibited in the Exchange Rooms, or given to the public in special editions of the local papers, it was read with painful avidity. There was a considerable amount of contradictions in some of the telegrams, arising, no doubt, from the variety of sources from which information was obtained, and the difficulty which must necessarily be experienced in Halifax in getting at the exact state of facts. It is, however, gratifying to learn that the loss of life, fearful as it undoubtedly was, was not so terrible as was represented in the first intelligence, and many who have despaired of again seeing their friends may yet embrace them - risen, as it was, almost from the dead. Early on Thursday morning Messrs. Ismay, Imire, & Co. received a telegram from Captain Williams containing the names of the saloon passengers who were saved and lost. Among the saved - 13 in number - was a Liverpool tradesman, Mr. Jugla, who was going on a trip to New York. The loss - 20 in number - including three members of one family, father, mother, and daughter; and the husband, wife, son, and infant of another. At present nothing is known respecting the losses amongst the steerage passengers, and the list is looked for with painful interest by the relatives of those who were on board in that capacity. Messrs. Ismay and Imrie have telegraphed for a correct list of all the saved and lost; but as the arrangement of such a record will necessarily take considerable time, it is probable that it may not arrive for sometime. To telegraph nearly 500 names across the Atlantic, and many of those the names of foreigners, will be no easy task; and judging from the inaccuracy of the names already telegraphed, it is feared that the list, when it does arrive, will almost of necessity be incomplete. In consequence of the varied statements as to the numbers on board, we have been requested to inform the public that the official returns sent back from the steamer when she sailed represented the passengers and crew of 938. There may have been a stowaway or two on board who were not discovered till the steamer put to sea, but they could scarcely have numbered fourteen, as was stated in one report. Under no circumstances could the numbers have increased to nearly 1,100.
The particulars of the disaster to the Atlantic gathered from the lips of the passengers at Halifax who were rescued, and who have now been sent on to New York via Portland, serve only to add to the terrible picture which the first telegrams received had presented to the public mind. The terror of such of the women as were aroused from the slumbers and made their way upon deck after the ship first struck the rock is spoken of as having been indescribably painful - indeed, so painful that it quite unnerved many of the men, and rendered them powerless either to save themselves or to give assistance to others. In one part of the vessel children of tender age were seen for a moment clinging, shrieking with fear, to their mothers, who were vainly calling aloud for assistance; while clustering around the boats was a great crowd of saloon and steerage passengers intending to obtain a place in them as soon as they were lowered. As stated in previous accounts of the wreck, the hopes of these latter came to nought, for owing to the suddenness with which the steamer went down, but one boat (and she was afterwards sunk) left the davits, and reached the water. The most striking feature of the calamity, and the one which appears to have impressed itself with most distinctness on the memory of the saved passengers, is the fearful rapidity with which the end came upon the doomed vessel. It is the belief of a saloon passenger - and his opinion is borne out by the evidence of one of the officers of the ship - that with scarcely a moment's interval between each shock the Altantic struck the rock no less than half-a-dozen times, and each time with increased severity. The violence of the collision may be inferred from the fact that the mizzen is absolutely broken in half abaft the foremost. The conduct of Mr. Brady, the third officer, is spoken of in terms of high commendation, he having never for an instant lost his presence of mind, and having, when the vessel toppled over, with great exertion and much danger to himself, succeeded in getting a line to a portion of the rock not submerged, about forty yards distant, thus establishing connection of a most valuable kind with the rigging of the Atlantic, into which many of the terrified passengers and crew had climbed. Subsequently, other hawsers were got ashore, and it was by means of these that a goodly number were rescued. To add to the horrors of the situation, at the very instant that the ship heeled over the boilers exploded. The night, or rather morning, was unhappily so cold that several of those who had managed to force their way into the rigging were unable to keep their hold, their hands and legs being numbed with the frost. One after another they were seen to drop from their places of temporary security into the waves beneath. It now seems pretty certain that the total number of persons lost is 560 - 350 being women and children - and that 415, including 60 of the crew, are saved. A storm is stated by Captain Williams to have been the cause of his adopting the unusual course of making for Halifax, but it is held by many who have taken the voyage again and again that the weather should have been bad indeed before the commander of the Atlantic so materially altered his bearings. One child, of all the children on board, was snatched at the last moment from the wreck.
A considerable number of the passengers by the ill-fated Atlantic sailed from Devonshire, and the catastrophe continues to produce painful excitement among their friends, who are still in suspense as to the fate of the absent ones. Wm. Granville, a builder, had returned from America to fetch his bride, and on the 10th March married a young woman at Plymouth, named Annie Morrish, whose sister also married one Henry Hawke; and the whole party, with their parents, went out in the ship, intending to settle down together in their new home. Jas Winder, who emigrated some years since, recently returned home to Lifford to accompany him out. They went out in the Atlantic, and a poor woman with her seven children, is now waiting in Neswick Street, Plymouth, to hear whether she is still a wife or has become a widow. Another of the emigrants was James Wakeham of Tavistock Street, Plymouth, who has left behind a wife and seven children. Their brother also went out in the vessel; one of them had been to America and done so well that he came back and persuaded his brother to accompany him across the ocean. From Dartmouth also there were four young single men on board - their names, Telscher, Boskell, Rossiter, and Hockins - all of them mechanics. Three passengers were booked from St. Anstell to go by the Atlantic, but happily for themselves, arrived in Liverpool too late, and went by the next steamer.
The New York correspondent of the Daily News states that Mr. Thomas, the Quartermaster, warned the second officer at two o'clock not to stand too close in shore, as the Atlantic had run her distance to make Sambro light. Meeting with a rebuff, Mr. Thomas asked the fourth officer if he should go into the main yards to look out. The answer was it would be of no use. After the vessel struck, one boat was nearly ready for launching when it was discovered the plugs were out. The crowd was then so great that they could not be put in. Twenty people were killed by the fireboom breaking its fastening and swinging round. Many married passengers could have escaped to the rigging, but they would not quit their wives. The conduct of the crew during the voyage and after the catastrophe is unfavourably spoken of. The Philadelphia correspondent of the Times gives the following addition to the list of names saved: - William Logan, Robert Thomas, Charles Baylance, James Bateman, Edward Mills, and John Linley, aged twelve. Telegrams received at Lloyd's say the weather has been so rough that the divers have been unable to work. All abaft the foremast is sunk in eight fathoms. The Daily News considers that if Mr. Thomas's testimony is trustworthy, a fearful weight of responsibility must lie on the officers who had deliberately neglected the caution he had given them.
THE SATURDAY REVIEW ON THE CATASTROPHE.
There are several questions (says the Saturday Review of last Saturday morning) in regard to the loss of the Atlantic which will have to be cleared up; but there is at least no room for doubt as to the immediate cause of the catastrophe. At midnight, on Monday, when Captain Williams went below, the steamer was making for Halifax, and the Sambro Light near the mouth of that port was reckoned to be 35 miles north-west. Three hours afterwards the Atlantic struck on a rock, known as Meagher's Head, to the west of Sambro, and it was then of course clear that she had been steered by the wrong light. Whether there was an error in the captain's original calculation, or whether the first officer, who was left in charge of the vessel after the captain turned in, altered the course, will perhaps be ascertained hereafter. It appears that the captain and nearly all the officers were able to provide for their own safety. It is stated the weather was dark, but not thick. As some of the crew and passengers got on shore by the help of ropes, it may be assumed that the weather, though rough, was not then particularly stormy. It is mentioned that when the fishermen came to the rescue after daybreak, the sea became too rough for their boats to live on it, but this perhaps refers to the danger of being dashed against the wreck. There is no suggestion in any of the reports which we have to hand of the Atlantic having been driven on the rocks by the gale. It is evident that she got on the rocks simply because she was steered straight on to them, and she was steered in this direction because the officer in charge of the ship mistook one light for another, and had no idea that there were any rocks in the way. How this error occurred, whether the first officer fell into it by the captain's calculations, remains to be discovered. The steamer, as soon as she got upon the ledge struck several times with great violence. The officers and men rushed on the deck, and it was at once seen that the case was hopeless. The officers instantly turned their attention to the boats, hacking them clear with axes, as there was no time to lower them in the ordinary way, but it was already too late. Only one boat had been launched when the ship fell over on her beam-ends, carrying down the boat with her. A portion of the rigging remained above water, and as many as were able took refuge there. Mr. Brady, the third officer, swam to the rock with a rope, by the help of which others succeeded in escaping. At daybreak some fishermen arrived with their boats, and altogether some 400 persons were saved. Most of the other 600 on board the ship were probably drowned in their sleep. Between the first shock and the heeling over of the vessel only a few minutes elapsed, and those who had rushed on deck had alone a chance of escape. According to one account, the first boat had no sooner been launched than the men rushed in and filled it, but the turning over of the vessel swamped the boat, and all in it were drowned. It is impossible to read the narrative without recalling circumstances attending the recent loss of the Northfleet. Within a few weeks a couple of vessels have been lost, not in a storm, but in quiet, or at least comparatively quiet, weather, and close to land. In each case the disaster happened at night, when all were in bed and asleep, and only a small part of the crew and passengers were saved. In each case, too, the disaster was due to an error in steering, in the one case on the part of the ship that ran down the Northfleet, and in the other case on the part of the Atlantic herself.
LATEST FROM LIVERPOOL.
A correspondent at Liverpool, writing last evening, says:- Up to four o'clock yesterday afternoon, Messers. Ismay & Co. had not received any further special telegrams from the American agents. The letter of the managing owners, dispelling the idea that the steamer was sent out short of coal, has given great relief in commercial circles in Liverpool, the suspicion of such a course having been adopted for economy's sake being quite against the reputation of Messrs. Ismay, not only in their North American trade, but in their long-established commerce with the South-West Coast of America and the Pacific ports. With the testimony of the captain supporting the assertions of the owners, every confidence is felt that the forthcoming inquiry into the loss of the splendid steamer will establish the fact that her loss was not in any way owing to her construction or equipment. The testimony of Mr. Balfour, a leading shipowner, and owner of the Chacabuco, wrecked with a loss of 25 lives on March 21st (this being the first ship ever lost by him), produced a most satisfactory impression at the Plimsoll meeting on Thursday night, being received with others. As a proof in the public confidence of the line being unshaken in spite of the catastrophe, it may be mentioned that the Adriatic, on Thursday, took out from Liverpool no fewer than 95 saloon and 834 steerage passengers, and no withdrawals took place.
RESCUE OF PASSENGERS.
Large rewards were offered to volunteers to go after Mr. Firth, who could be seen and heard from the shore. "At length, at 2 p.m." says Mr. Firth, "after I had been in the rigging ten hours the Rev. Mr. Ancient, a Church of England clergyman, whose noble conduct I can never forget while I live, got a crew of four men to row him to the wreck. He got into the main rigging, procured a line, and then advanced as far as he could towards me, and threw it to me. I caught it, made it fast around my body, and then jumped clear. The sea swept me off the wreck, but Mr. Ancient held fast to the line, pulled me back, and got me safely into the boat." All the reasoned persons speak in praise of the kindness of the fishermen of Cape Prospect, and of the zeal and courage of the ship's officers, from the captain downwards. The exact number saved is not yet known. It exceeds the first reports. It will probably be more than four hundred. Some made their way on foot to Halifax; others were taken off by the steamer and sent to Portland.
SOME OF THE PASSENGERS.
A correspondent writing from the village of Accrington, says:- The loss of the Atlantic has caused great consternation in Church and Oswaldtwistle, from whence five married men and one single man proceeded to go by the now wrecked steamer. The list of the saved - viz. William Booth, back tenter, and John Smith. Booth went out to back tent for Robert Westwell, a machine printer, whose name is absent from the saved. His intention was to send for his wife and child, who were left here. Smith's real name is Glover, and he was decamping to escape an affiliation order which had been made upon him. The other missing names are Wm. Clegg, married, wife and two children; Fish Grime, wife and family; James Lee, married. Another machine printer should have sailed for America this week. Another young man had booked, but on the day prior to the vessel sailing his sister resolved to go with him, and his staying behind probably saved their lives.
THE OFFICIAL INQUIRY.
Halifax, Saturday. - The inquiry into the loss of the Atlantic has commenced. Capt. Williams has stated that he considered he should pass five miles east of the Sambro Light. He is satisfied now that when he went to this cabin he was mistaken as to the locality of the ship. If the officers on board had been energetic, had seen something ahead, and reversed the engines, the calamity would have been averted. In consequence of the shortness of coal, stores, and provisions, and the ship making only seven knots, with a westerly swell, it was decided to put into Halifax. He had intended to run the ship till three in the morning, and then heave to till daylight. The night was cloudy, but clear. He was asleep when the vessel struck. Captain Williams then detailed the efforts made to save the passengers and crew.
The crew of the Atlantic are considered innocent of plundering, but eight stowaways on reaching the shore systematically plundered every corpse
. NEW YORK SUNDAY. - Three hundred and five survivors of the Atlantic have arrived at the Castle Garden, where thousands of persons of all nationalities had gathered. The excitement was indescribable. The emigrants looked starved and distracted. The majority speak disparagingly of the captain and the crew. They state that they were three days at sea short of food.
LIVERPOOL, TUESDAY MORNING. - The following is the latest correct list issued before midnight by Messers. Ismay, Imrie, & Co., of the crew saved: - Captain Williams, Mr. Firth (first officer), Mr. Brady (third officer), John Brown (fourth officer), W. Hannah (the carpenter), McMullan Ryder (boatswain), Purdy (A.B.), Speakman, Owens, R. Thomas, O. Rozlance, John Amos, P. Clarke, Evans, Huff, Bulger, Grace, Payne, Wilson, Anderson, Lindsay, Murphy, Nicholson, Stuart, Thompson, Doyle, Scarton, Smith, McIntyre, May, Atkins, Campbell, Ewings, Stuttaford, Moffatt, Bailie, Montgomery, Dunne, McNicholl, Wilding, Gilbert, Monaghan, Browne, Cosgrove, Sheridan, Davies, Sunderland (butcher), Patrick (butcher's mate), Stone, Leedame, Lower, Hughes, Greener, Howe, Walker, Saunders, Roberts, Kewley, Connolly, Foxley (chief engineer), Ewing (second engineer), Hodgson, Pattison, Samuel Davies, McFarlane, Myers, Frederichson, Devine, Egan, Malone, Kelly, Bryne, McAlister, Tom Kewley, McNamara, Newing, Scott, Newton, McFarlane, Stevenson and Surgeon Cuppage.
Brady corroborated the evidence previously given respecting the state of the weather, the position and speed of the ship, etc. He had been twice to Halifax, but was unacquainted with the ??. The ship fell over six minutes after striking. Nothing prevented the steerage passengers from reaching the deck - no orders were given to keep the passengers below. Witness testified to the exertions of the captain in saving life. In cross-examination, he stated that no observations were obtained for two days during the first watch while going North. In spite of all modern appliances, landing in boats was impossible. The crew were above the average. The reported robbing of the dead was true.
HALIFAX, MONDAY. - Forty additional bodies have been recovered from the wreck of the Atlantic.
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