Long Beach Island, NY Barque MEXICO Disaster, Jan 1837
ONE HUNDRED & EIGHT LIVES LOST !!
A most distressing shipwreck took place off New York, on Monday last, an account of which we copy from the papers of that city:
The Barque Mexico, Capt. WINSLOW, sailed from Liverpool on the 25th October last, having on board a crew consisting of twelve men and one hundred and four passengers, in all 116 souls.
She made for the Highland Lights on Saturday night last at 11 o'clock, and on Sunday morning was off the bar; with thirty or more square rigged vessels, all having signals flying for pilots, but not a pilot was there in sight. The Mexico continued standing off and on the Hook till midnight, and at dark she and the whole fleet of ships displayed lanterns from their yards for pilots. Still no pilot came. At midnight the wind increased to a violent gale from the north-west, the Barque was no longer able to hold to windward and was blown off a distance of some 50 miles. At this time, six of the crew were badly frost-bitten, and the captain, mate and two seamen were all that were left to hand reef the sails. On Monday morning at 11 o'clock, standing in shore, they made the southern end of the wood lands, when she was wore round and headed to the north under a close reefed main top-sail, reefed fore-sail, two reefed try-sails and forestay sail. At four-o'clock the next morning, the mate took a cast of the lead and reported to Capt. WINSLOW that he had fifteen fathoms water. Supposing from the soundings, as laid down on the chart, that with this depth of water, he could still stand on two hours longer with safety -- the Capt. gave orders to that effect, and was the moore induced to do it, as the crew were in so disabled a state and the weather so intensely cold, that it was impossible for any one to remain on deck longer than half an hour at a time. The event has shown that the information given by the mate, as to the depth of water, was incorrect; his error probably arose from the lead line being frozen stiff at the time it was cast.
Fifteen minutes afterwards, the ship struck the bottom, 26 miles east of Sandy Hook, at Hempstead beach, and not more than a cable's length from the shore.
The scene that ensued on board, we leave to the reader's imagination. For one hour and three quarters, she continued, she continued thumping heavily, without making any water, the sea, however, breaking continually over her. Her rudder was not knocked off, and the Captain ordered the mainmast to be cut away. The boats were then cleared, the long boat hoisted out, and veered away under her bows with a stout hawser, for the purpose of filling it with passengers, letting it drift within reach of the people who crowded the beach, then hauling her back again, and thus saving the unfortunate people on board, but his intention was frustrated by the parting of the hawser, which snapped like a thread as soon as the boat was exposed to the heavy surf.
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