New England Winter, 1856-57

The violent wind which prevailed during this storm wrought many disasters on both sea and land. The steeple of the church in the village of Campello, Mass., blew down, crashing through the body of the church into the cellar. The steeples of the Episcopal and the Second Congregational churches in Waterbury, Conn., met with the same fate, as also did the spire on the Congregational church in Fairhaven, Mass., which was one of the tallest in the state. A house in New Bedford, Mass., was also completely demolished by the wind. The gale was unusually severe on the ocean, being very disastrous to the shipping; many vessels were driven ashore and several lives lost. At Provincetown, on Cape Cod, it was one of the worst storms ever experienced in that vicinity, the wind blowing a hurricane from ten o'clock Sunday evening until twelve o'clock Monday night. Seventeen of the twenty vessels in the harbor were driven ashore. Another vessel, the schooner Bonita of Eastport, Me., which had sailed from her home port before the storm, had anchored at Cape Ann on account of the wind. She parted her cables and, drifting across Massachusetts bay in the thick snow storm, was finally driven on shore at Provincetown, about half a mile east of Race point, on the night of the nineteenth. After striking, the sea made a complete breach over the vessel, washing overboard a man, who was drowned before he could be rescued. Another man perished on board, being buried under the floating rubbish of the cabin. By the strenuous and noble efforts of the people of Provincetown, four of the crew were saved. In the steerage the water had risen above their waists, and the captain had lashed himself to the bit heads, while others of the crew clung about the gaff and mainmast. The mate succeeded after great exposure and suffering in floating some yarn through the surf to the beach, where it was secured by the inhabitants, who attached to it a small rope and to that a small hawser which were successively pulled on board the wreck by the mate. To the hawser he fastened the captain, who was very much benumbed, and threw him overboard. The other two of the crew that remained alive were then fastened on and thrown overboard. He then tied the rope around himself, and all four were successfully hauled through the surf, a distance of more than a hundred feet. The captain was severely frozen and nearly exhausted before he was cast into the water, but by the excellent nursing of the rescuers he, with the rest of the men, was finally restored to health and strength.

Historic Storms of New England, its Gales, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Showers with Thunder and Lightning, Great Snow Storms, Rains, Freshets, Floods, Droughts, Cold Winters, Hot Summers, Avalanches, Earthquakes, Dark Days, etc..., by Sidney Perley, 1891, pages 323-326