The wreck of the Circassian


6th, Jan 1877.



Owners of the vessel wrecked off Long Island, received a telegram that the vessel had broken up and lives were lost.

Those lost, Capt RICHARDS, 3rd Mate, JOHNSON, Boatswain, SCOTT, Steward, JOHNSON, Sailmaker, FREEMAN, Carpenters mate, ORR, Cook, GRANT, Seaman, JOGADO, Apprentices, WRIGHT, NODDER, WILLIAMS. Stowaway, MCDERMOTT.

Liverpool Journal, Jan 20th 1877

The wreck of the CIRCASSIAN

Terrible fate of wrecking crew.

The CIRCASSIAN, from Liverpool to New York, wrecked in the harbour at Long Island, 13th ult, 20 lives lost.

The CIRCASSIAN went ashore on the 11th December and was placed in the hands of a wrecking company to get her off. The ship seemed to be in a safe position on the beach and Capt WILLIAMS and part of the crew remained on board. The men on board had finished on the night of the 15th, all the preliminaries for attaching the hawser with which she was to be drawn off.

During the early hours the wind freshened a little, and the sea began to run very high, about 6, when it began to clear over her, The men, apprehending danger went into the forerigging were they were ordered for safety. All on board, 32 all told, remained thus exposed till the early morning when it was deemed advisable to move quarters, as the falling of the top hamper caused by the rolling of the vessel, made it difficult to hold on.

The crew were safely transferred to the misen, where signals of distress where repeated. All the time the shore was in sight, the moon shining brightly. Fire built by the crew of the life-saving station showed plainly the figures of the crowds on the beach, hurrying to and fro in vain endeavours to aid the men on the rigging.

It was awful suspense for the poor fellows, lashed to the masts and yards of the ship. They saw attempt after attempt made to get to them fail. Every effort to get a boat off shore proved futile, each attempt the sea drove it high and dry on the beach.

Capt Henry HUNTING of the life-saving station, now brought a mortar into service and several balls with rope attached were thrown out to the ship. Only one cord reached the ship, its hold was not secure and it fell off. The wind was blowing a gale from the direction the balls were shot, and most fell short of the wreck. Finally an extra charge of powder was rammed in the mortar, the last charge in the magazine of the station.

In terror and suspense the morning wore on, the wind had veered round to the W.S.W. Before the men had gone in the rigging, the cables were slackened the ship moved only a short distance and continued to strike the bottom, every time she struck the men thought she would lose her masts, to which they were lashed, they were conscious of the danger and impossibility of saving themselves, should the masts go by the board, it being iron, they were unable to slacken the lashing. Some had not securely lashed themselves and among these were the only four saved.

At 4.30 am the misen mast went by the board with a crush carrying the mainmast with it. She was a total wreck, broken in three parts.

The officers and wrecking crew lost.

Capt T. Richard WILLIAMS

3rd Mate, Evan JOHNSON

Boatswain, KEEPP

Steward, Horatio JOHNSON

Sailmaker, John FREEMAN

Carpenter’s mate, Thomas ORR

Cook, Thomas GRANT

Seamen, James SCOTT, Andrew TABAGO

Apprentices, Frank WRIGHT, Allen NODDEN, and HEDGE

Stowaway, John MC DERMOTT

The remaining victims were employees of the wrecking company and Indians.

Liverpool Journal, May 26th 1877

CIRCASSIAN, list of crew

Lloyd’s committee ask for information regarding the CIRCASSIAN, which has already been referred to as having sailed from Liverpool for Bombay on the 14th Sept last, reinsured at 75 guineas per cent, premium at close of February and 85 guineas since. She was laden with coals and quite a new ship, valued at £20,000, built at Quebec last year, and owned there, classed 3-3 for long voyages in Bureau Veritas, 1,495 tons burden, her crew 28 all told.

Signed articles on 9th September ;-

Capt Andrew POTTINGER, aged 46, Liverpool

John SHEPHERD, aged 29, Liverpool, mate

John CARROLL, aged 29, Liverpool, 2nd mate

W. A. HICKSON, aged 29, Liverpool, Carpenter

William MILROY, aged 29, Ireland, boatswain

James WIGG, aged 53, Liverpool, steward

Henry HARDY, aged 23, Plymouth, cook

James CHISHOLM, aged 28, Glasgow, A.B

Henry LEWIS, aged 36, Newport, A.B

John GUILLODO, aged 23, France, A.B

William MOHARTY, aged 27, Liverpool, A.B

Charles JONES, aged 30, Yarmouth, A.B

Samuel BLAKE, aged 28, Hampshire, A.B

John HENRY, aged 49, Sandwich, A.B

George GREGSON, aged 29, Preston, A.B

Leander JOHNSON, aged 45, Finland, A.B

Alfred ROBINSON, aged 28, Derby, A.B

John THOMAS, aged 40, Liverpool, A.B

Louis MARY, aged 21, Belgium, A.B

James COOKE, aged 51, Greenock, A.B

John PATERSON, aged 40, Inverness, A.B

Charles SCOFIELD, aged 24, London, A.B

John STURGEON, aged 19, Portsmouth, O.S

Loftus NUNN, aged 18, Sydney, O.S

Francis CUNNINGHAM, aged 18, Liverpool, O.S

Samuel GARDINER, aged 21, Liverpool, O.S

BLAKE, GREGSON, PATERSON, deserted before leaving England, their places filled by ;-

Henry DANBY, aged 41, Newcastle, A.B

Lawson PROUDLY, aged 20, Hull, A.B

Thomas MEGREVY, aged 19, Liverpool. O.S


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