New Orleans, LA Steamer INDEPENDENCE Wreck, Apr 1852
The Loss of the Steamer Independence -
A correspondent of the New Orleans Delta gives the following particulars of the loss of the steamship Independence, on her way from New Orleans to Galveston: "At 2 P. M. on the 26th ult., a sea boarded us and destroyed three boats. At 4 P. M., the mate with the only boat remaining, attempted to land with a portion of the lady passengers. In doing this the boat was capsized, and Mrs. Minot, with three children, Mrs. Jones, wife of Lieutenant Jones, and Mr. Hovey, the mate, perished in the surf. The colors were then set at half-mast and signal guns fired for assistance from the shore. Captain Nichols, the pilot, was on board the ship, and Captain Cummings lying inside with the pilot boat ready to render what assistance he could, but the sea was too rough for their small boats. Throughout the night signal guns were fired, and although before dark twelve boats could be distinctly seen inside, picking up goods thrown over from the ship, none of them attempted to come to our assistance. This night was one of the most distressing anxiety to all on board. At 7, the propeller J. W. Rayburn, Capt. Kerr, came down and attempted to run a line to us, without success; we then succeeded in transporting five ladies and three children, which, with two landed before not named, made in all nine persons placed in safety on board the propeller, and six drowned. At 12 M. the sea increased. Capt Kerr did not return to the ship, but proceeded to Decro's Point, for the purpose of sending word to the Louisiana, at Indianola, our only hope being in receiving assistance from Capt Lawless, who unfortunately was ignorant of our perilous situation, and did not hear of it until 3 o'clock, P. M., on the 27th, at which time he was preparing to start with his ship for New-Orleans. At 4 o'clock, P. M. the smoke from her chimneys appeared in sight, and carried joy and hope to the wretched beings on board the wreck. She anchored off Saluria at 5 o'clock, P. M. Immediately three boats were seen approaching us from her, and proved to be Capt. Lawless, in command of the starboard life-boat of the Louisiana, Mr. Dimond, the mate in command of the port life boat, and Mr. Foster, the second mate, in charge of the starboard quarter boat. The other boat was left by the ship in reserve. In Capt. Lawless's boat was Capt. Kerr, and Mr. Thayer, a passenger on board the Louisiana from New-Orleans, who nobly volunteered his services. The life boat in command of the mate, at 6 P. M., capsized in the breakers a quarter of a mile to leeward of the ship; and just as Capt. Lawless with his boat entered the breakers, the life-boat of the mate was seen to roll over and over, with the men clinging to her and the oars. When this boat was last seen, she was outside the breakers. Then night closed in after this sad spectacle, and with a gloomy veil over our fate."
New York Daily Times, New York, NY 13 April 1852