The Evening Star,|
Particulars of the Great Disaster.
THE EVENING STAR
Particulars of the Great
Arrival of the Steamer Virgo With Three of
the Survivors of the Wreck.
Statements of Purser Allen and Mr.
W. H. Harris, a Passenger.
The Vessel Helpless at the Begin-
ning of the Storm.
Terrible Condition and Sufferings
of the Survivors.
Two Days in an Open Boat
Without Food or Water.
Arrival of Some of the Crew
LIST OF THE SAVED.
The propeller Virgo, from Savannah, Oct. 10, arrived here yesterday at 3 o'clock P. M., having been detained by the southeasterly gale. She had on board three of the survivors of the Evening Star, ELLERY S. ALLEN, the purser, ROBERT FINGER, the engineer,
and a passenger, W. H. HARRIS. A number of people had gathered at the foot of Pier No. 16, East River, where the Virgo lies, all of them anxious to hear some details of the disaster. By many of these Mr. ALLEN
was recognised, and as soon as the vessel got within hailing distance his friends were eager in expression of their congratulations at his all but miraculous escape. As soon as those on shore were permitted on board the Virgo, Mr. ALLEN, the engineer, Mr. FINGER and Mr. HARRIS, were each surrounded by a crowd of eager inquirers. As these gentlemen, all three, had evidently suffered severely, and were still suffering from the fearful hardships they had undergone, to obtain minute details of the disaster from them was, of course, out of the question. Mr. ALLEN, however, notwithstanding his exhausted state, kindly volunteered to make the following brief statement:
STATEMENT OF PURSER ALLEN.
Mr. ALLEN says that after crossing Sandy Hook bar, on Saturday, 29th ult., the Evening Star encountered a strong easterly wind, with a heavy swell running. The weather, however, moderated on the following day, (Sunday,) and the sea was smoother. On the 1st they were off Hatteras, with calm weather and sky clearing off. Monday, the 2d, opened with a fresh breeze from the east-south-east, with a high running sea; towards evening the wind increased to a gale, and by midnight a hurricane was blowing and the ship lying helpless in the trough of the sea. As she soon began to make water rapidly, the engine-room being flooded, men were set to work to bail the water out from the engine-room and after-cabin, which labor was continued until 3 o'clock in the morning, when the rudder-chain got out of the sheave, and sometime after the engines became disabled. All hands then went to work to bale, but the vessel now made water so fast that the men were driven from this duty. This was about 5 A. M. There was now no hope. The Captain then went down below, and the people all being gathered in the "social hall," he told them that all he and his men could do had been done, and that there was now no hope. At this time Purser ALLEN was lending his assistance in undoing the fastenings of the boats. There was a wild rush on deck, and madness and confusion followed. It was now about daybreak, and the hurricane was at its worst. The ship had a long time lain helpless in the hollow of the sea, which dashed on and over her. At last she gave one fearful lurch, which was followed by the crashing upon her decks of the sea to which she thus exposed herself, and she went down. At this moment Purser ALLEN states he was standing upon the deck with two women clinging to him. The ship, the women and he went down together. The Purser's next recollections are his coming up amid floating driftwood, with which he was tossed from wave to wave. Buoying himself up as best he could, now losing this support and battling with the sea for another one, he managed to cling to life in this critical way for three hours. During this time his limbs were beaten and chafed by the floating driftwood, one sharp piece of which pierced his cheek, and another almost severed his upper lip. Dead, almost, he somehow reached one of the ship's life-boats. Into this boat he succeeded in getting after being capsized six times. His further adventures are told in the extracts from the Savannah papers of the 9th and 10th, which we append.
STATEMENT OF CHIEF-ENGINEER ROBERT FINGER.
I have been Chief-Engineer of the steamship Evening Star since she was launched; during last July the steamer received a thorough overhauling in the dry dock, and engine and boilers were then put in thorough good order. At the time of her leaving port on her last voyage (Sept. 29) the engines and boilers were in excellent condition, and in good working order. I have charge of the pumps of the steamer, and unhesitatingly state that they were all in good working order to the last moment. At the time of leaving New-York everything was in perfect working condition, and continued so until the night of the 2d of October. On this evening a severe gale set in from East to East Southeast, which increased to a hurricane at midnight, then carrying away with the heavy sea both wheel-houses, leaving nothing but the "A" braces and guards. The steamer was continually shipping heavy seas, partially flooding the engine-room, but not affecting at that hour the fires. At 3 A. M., Oct. 3, the straining of the ship in the heavy seas caused the main steam-pipe to break, which drove my men from the fire-room, but I still continued to work the engine, and so continued until 5 o' clock, within one hour of the sinking of the ship. As soon as the steam-pipe broke I started the fire in the donkey engine and set the steam-pump in operation, which worked most efficiently. It had previously been in constant operation until the steam-pipe broke. At 4:30 A. M. the steampipe on donkey boiler broke; water gaining very fast; ship laying in trough of sea, and the sea making a clean breach over her. At 5 A. M. the engine stopped working; all hands bailing ship. At about 6 A. M. the ship went down. Up to the time the engine stopped working--5 A. M., Oct. 3--no ship ever stood up better under such a tremendous hurricane and heavy sea. She behaved herself nobly. The cause of the stoppage of the engine was the shipping of the tremendous seas, which caused great volumes of water to reach the fire-room, extinguishing the fires, and thus preventing the making of steam. The engine hatchways had been broken in by the seas.
My assistant engineers, water-tenders, firemen and coal-passers all stood to their posts bravely, and obeyed all orders promptly and coolly. They all proved themselves efficient and worthy men.
In justice to the owners of the steamer, I must here state that every facility in the way of supplies and material for repairs to the engine and pump were furnished me with an unstinted liberality. Capt. KNAPP and all the other officers of the steamer, as well as the crew, were untiring in their efforts to avert disaster, and the passengers nobly seconded their exertions in such manner as they were requested. Even the ladies assisted in bailing the ship. Having found that all efforts in the engine-room were futile, myself and assistants reported to the Captain for such service as might be necessary. We were detailed by Capt. KNAPP to prepare the boats for launching, which was accordingly done. After getting the boats ready, it was found utterly impossible to launch them over the sides of the ship on account of the high seas sweeping the deck from stem to stern. There were six metallic lifeboats, all seaworthy, well supplied with oars, cans of bread and breakers of water.
Just previous to the steamer sinking the passengers crowded into the boats, which were still on deck ready for launching. None of the officers of the ship were in the boats, all of them remaining on deck till she sunk beneath the waves.
When the steamer sunk, the life-boats were carried down with her, undoubtedly capsizing, and throwing their occupants into the raging sea. I found myself among a mass of wreck matter, to a portion of which I clung for two hours, when I succeeded in reaching one of the lifeboats, to which some twenty persons were clinging. The boat was capsized several times, both by the heavy seas and by coming in contact with the driftwood, until the number was reduced to ten, who were finally saved. At one time I was thrown out, with others, by a heavy sea and did not succeed in reaching the boat again until six or seven hours after, floating meantime upon a piece of drift-wood. We were picked up on the 5th by the bark Fleetwing, bound to Southampton, and on the 6th were transferred to the schooner S. J. Waring, which latter vessel landed us at Savannah. We were the recipients of many kindnesses from the Captain of the Fleetwing, and from Capt. SMITH, of the Waring, for which we are most grateful. I have lost a brother by this disaster, and for my own personal safety through such dangers I give my thanks to Almighty God.
(Signed) ROBERT FINGER,
Chief-Engineer, Steamship Evening Star.
STATEMENT OF PURSER E. S. ALLEN.
The steamer Evening Star, Capt. KNAPP, sailed from New-York, bound for New-Orleans, Sept. 29, at about 3:30 P. M. Discharged pilot and crossed the bar about 6 P. M. of the same day, with nearly a full cargo and full passenger list, viz.; Crew of about 62; first and second cabin passengers, about 213--total, say 275 persons on board. On the 29th inst. we had easterly winds with heavy swells. On the 30th it was smoother and the weather pleasanter.
OCT. 1, 8 A. M.--Cape Hatteras abeam; sea smooth and weather calm and clearing off.
OCT. 2.--This day commences with a fresh breeze from the east to southeast, with heavy swell, which increased about evening to a gale, with very heavy seas, and about midnight it blew a hurricane, with a very ugly cross sea. The barometer this day was about 28° 80'.
At 1 A. M. of the 3d, the vessel having shipped a heavy sea, which stove in the starboard forward gangway, finding that large quanties [sic] of water were coming in on the deck, it was necessary to put up a bulk-head there to prevent the water from coming in and going below. By the direction of Capt. KNAPP, I, with other officers and portions of the crew of the ship, went to work for this purpose. This bulkhead was erected four times, but the sea breaking it down every time, it was deemed of no use to continue. About 3 A. M. went on deck and found that the starboard rudder chain had been thrown out of the sheave by the motion of the ship. I then went below to the lower after cabin, to assist in bailing, the ship having previously taken in water by the seas making a clear breach over her. It was necessary to cut a hatch in the lower cabin deck aft for the purpose of removing a portion of the cargo and to be able to get at the water. This partial removal caused the entire cargo to shift aft, driving the bailers from their duty. I then went on deck and assisted in getting the boats free from their fastenings to the ship. The boats being all free and ready, I opened the upper saloon door (which had been previously kept closed on account of the heavy weather, and to keep out the water,) for the purpose of allowing the passengers to come out on deck. At this time there was a general rush for the boats by the passengers, but the officers and crew stood to their post to the last, and did not get into the boats at all. I at this time did not think the danger imminent, the ship having behaved so well throughout the entire night. Soon after, at about 6 A. M., or at daylight, the ship took a heavy lurch, and at the same time settling fast, a heavy sea boarded her and she went down. Everything had been done by the Captain (KNAPP,) officers, crew and passengers that could be done to save the ship. I was in the engine room during the night. I found the engineer and the men at their posts, and the engines working finely. When the ship went down I was standing on the upper deck, between my office and the saloon door, with a large party of passengers around me, both male and female. We all went down together. After struggling in the water among the driftwood, &c., for about three hours, one of the ship's lifeboats drifting near me, I got on board. We were all thrown out six times by the boats being capsized by the sea, the wind and the drift-wood. During this forenoon the sea run very high, and until the afternoon we were surrounded with immense quantities of drift-wood, the wind still blowing a hurricane. At night the wind moderated very much--the sea also.
OCT. 4--This day came in calm and pleasant. About 8 A. M. we fell in with one of the ship's lifeboats, having the third mate and nine of the passengers and crew. We now made two sails from four life preservers, the other boat fixing her own sail. Both boats now stood to the westward for the land. Wind about east-north-east. At dark this night we lost company with the other boat.
OCT. 5.--At 5 o'clock this A. M., made a sail which hove to and took us on board bark Fleetwing, of Laurvig, Norway, from Balie, Honduras, for Southampton, England. We remained on board 33 hours.
OCT. 6.--At 2 P. M. spoke the schooner S. J. Waring Capt. FRANK SMITH, for Apalachicola, Fla. He took us on board. Having been in the recent hurricane, being crippled and sails blown away, he was bound for the first port, Savannah or Charleston. Since we came on board the Waring, Capt. SMITH, his officers and crew have done everything that could be done to relieve our sufferings, to the discomfort of themselves.
OCT. 7.--I should have stated in my report of Oct. 2 that Capt. KNAPP informed me at midnight of that day that the ship was about 240 miles northeast of Matanilla Reef, and from that time until the ship went down I should judge she did not change her position much.
Our party consists of the following:
Robert Finger, Chief-Engineer of steamship Evening Star.
Ellery S. Allen, Purser.
John Laney, water tender.
Frederick Shaffer, coal passer.
George Smith, seaman.
John Powers, seaman.
Dennis Gammon, waiter.
Rowland Stephens, waiter.
Edward Larner, passenger.
H. H. Harris, passenger.
OCT. 8.--Arrived at Savannah.
I have been Purser of the Evening Star for nearly thirty months, and made every voyage in her during that time. I have sailed as a Purser for nearly ten years, and during all that time I have never experienced such heavy weather on this coast. I must say that I considered the Evening Star capable and seaworthy in every respect, and that no other steamer could have behaved better, or stood longer under such circumstances. On my arriving here and finding myself censured by the friends of those on board, and the public for not sending a detailed report from Savannah, I deem it just to myself to state that I did prepare such report, which, from some unknown misapprehension, was not forwarded.
A correct and complete passenger and crew list will be furnished for publication as soon as possible.
FURTHER DETAILS OF THE CALAMITY.
Mr. W. H. HARRIS, a merchant residing in Williamsburgh, was a passenger on board the Evening Star. Mr. HARRIS is not engaged in business in Williamsburgh, but is in the habit of taking goods of various kinds to New-Orleans for speculative purposes. Mr. HARRIS had goods to a considerable amount on board the Evening Star. He has made frequent ocean voyages, and was one of those who remained calm and collected throughout the trying scenes which surrounded him, and rendered most welcome assistance to Capt. KNAPP and the officers of the ship. The following is the statement of Mr. HARRIS, as made to our reporter yesterday:
STATEMENT OF MR. W. H. HARRIS.
The mail steamship Evening Star, Capt. KNAPP, sailed from New-York Sept. 29, at 3 o'clock P. M. On the morning of the 2d of October it began to blow pretty hard, and continued to increase gradually until the morning of the 3d, when it blew a perfect hurricane. At this time we were 180 miles east of Tybee Islands. After weathering the storm for fourteen hours she foundered at daylight on the morning of the 3d, with two hundred and seventy-five souls on board, only sixteen of whom were saved. I will endeavor to relate the details of the calamity as far as I can of my own knowledge. About 5 o'clock on the morning of the 2d it began to blow very hard. I stood in the doorway of what was called the "social hall," which is a little saloon at the head of the stairway leading to the main saloon. This saloon was filled with ladies at this time. At 6 o'clock the vessel commenced to ship such heavy seas that the floor of the hall was covered with water, and made it very disagreeable for the ladies to remain there. I went down into the dining-room and laid down, but found that the water had come in through the deck and wet all the cushions. She was then leaking over all the deck. At 11:30 o'clock all hands were called on deck to bale water out of the engine-room, the seas having washed down over the vessel and into the room. A party of men went forward and succeeded in getting the water all out of there. A break was then discovered in the pantry or steward's room, and all hands went to baling there. At the same time she broke away her bulwarks on her starboard side. The damage here was speedily repaired, in a manner sufficiently strong to keep out the water for the time. At 12 o'clock the vessel became unmanageable, from losing the use of the rudder. At 2 o'clock we commenced cutting a hole in the deck for the purpose of baling the water out of the hold. We took out sufficient freight to enable us to look in, but found but a few inches of water. However, by the time we were ready to bail it had gained considerably in depth. We all set to work baling, and worked as long as we could, the women laboring as hard as the men. They would pass the empty buckets, while the men carried the full ones. They worked quietly in all that terrible storm without a murmur. We had some trouble with the Frenchmen of the Opera Troupe, in consequence of their not being able to understand English. However, they did their best, and worked willingly when they understood what to do. At 2 o'clock the men were all tired out with hard work, and, as the water continued to gain upon us, we gave up all as lost. The water at this time was six feet deep in the hold, and the ship was rolling about in the tempest like a log, the waves breaking over her in quick succession. However, all was done that could be done, and as darkness came on, most of the passengers went below. At 5 o'clock next morning I went on deck, and the sight that there met my gaze can never be erased from my memory. At daylight on looking around, I found the ship, sure enough, a total wreck, and the sight one to make the stoutest heart quail. The whole of the paddle boxes had been carried away, nothing but the fans being left. The pilot-house was gone, and the guards also. The sea was running mountains high, the spray blowing about like rain, and the wind rushing through the rigging and about the dismantled ship. The hurricane was now at its height. I forgot to mention that the engine stopped working at 2 o'clock in the morning in consequence of the breaking of the steampipe, and the fires being put out. The donkey engine was therefore also useless. At daylight the Captain told the women that nothing more could be done, and that if any of them wanted to get into the boats they could do so. He then went away, and I did not see him again. Mr. ALLEN, the purser, then came with the ladies out of the cabin. All those who could get life-preservers had them, and they were very few. He placed them in a boat, but she no sooner touched the water than she capsized, and all were washed away. The ship all this time was filling fast; I stood by some hatches, intending to hold on to them along with several women, when we shipped a heavy sea forward of the wheelhouse on the starboard side and went down. In an instant the sea swept me clear of the deck, and carried me down some twenty-five feet I thought. When I came to the surface I found myself in the midst of the wreck of the vessel, surrounded by floating spars and drift wood. Men and women were floating all about, clinging to anything they could lay hold of. All shouts for aid were drowned by the fury of the hurricane. I secured a piece of the wreck with which to support myself, but I had to abandon this owing to the danger I was in of being struck by pieces of the flying wreck, which were being hurled about in all directions by the wind and the waves. I then got hold of a piece of the fragments of the saloon, upon which I pulled myself, but was thrown off again and again by the violence of the waves, in each new effort to regain my position, lacerating my hands and limbs on the nails and splinters in the pieces of wreck. In this way I clung to life for two or three hours. While drifting about in this way I could see the whole of the wreck as it lay before me. I saw the hurricane deck, two hundred feet long, crowded with human beings, herded together. Some of these were standing, and some sitting, all helpless and despairing. I now drifted near a life-boat, keel up, for which I abandoned my piece of wreck and swam. Others were clinging to it, whom I assisted to right it. When I succeeded in getting in with the others I recognized the Purser, Mr. ALLEN. There were now ten or us, but after this we were frequently upset, each time losing one or more of our number, again adding to them by picking up others. Helpless to manage the boat, which was filled with water and drifting at the mercy of the sea, we passed and repassed the wreck during the day. Towards evening we lost sight of it. We had now been sitting in the water all day long, and when night came on we began to feel the want of food and water, but we had neither. Just after dark I picked up a turnip, of which we each took a bite, and this was all we ate during the day. We were now so dry that some drank sea water, which made them very flighty, while others drank their own urine, which answered better. The morning of the fourth was very fine, so we determined to get the water out of our boat. At daylight we came up to one of the wrecked, who was floating on a piece of the cabin, and had an oar with which to guide his craft. We got alongside and put some of the men on it, after which we upset our boat, thus getting the water out of it. We then got in again, and felt comparatively comfortable, but still suffering for the want of food and water. We then rigged two masts out of pieces of the wreck, and made sails out of the covering of the life-preservers. We then headed east-north-east. At 8 o'clock we fell in with the third mate, with nine men in another life-boat, who gave each of us a handful of crackers; but, unfortunately, our throats were so parched with the long thirst, and by drinking sea water, we were unable to swallow this food. The two boats then parted company, we taking a more northerly direction than the other. At 5 o'clock, on the 5th, we feel [sic] in with the Norwegian bark Fleetwing, from Balize, Honduras, for Liverpool, who took us on board. Here we remained thirty-three hours. On the 6th spoke schooner J. Waring, Capt. FRANK SMITH, from New-York for Apalachicola, Florida. This vessel having suffered in the gale and got crippled, she put into Savannah for repairs, While we were on board the Waring the captain and crew did all in their power to relieve our wants, even at their own discomfort. While we were floating in the life-boat, a young woman, about 18 years of age, caught hold with us and clung on for several hours. She held on while we were capsized three times, but kept growing weaker. At last we were turned over again, and she was lost. We all got very much exhausted, and could scarcely hold on to the boat; Mr. ALLEN became very weak, and would have been lost but for assistance given him. We were all bruised more or less, and the salt water made our wounds very painful.
Capt. KNAPP did his duty faithfully and manfully throughout, doing all in his power to save his ship, and when he found there was no hope, contributed much to preserving order among the passengers and crew. He floated for some time, but while clinging to one of the lifeboats he was struck on the head by a piece of timber and killed. On our arrival at Savannah, the Purser, Mr. ALLEN, did everything that was in his power to make us comfortable. We had lost everything, and even the clothes we had on were ruined by our long exposure in the water. New suits were given us, and passage to New-York secured for us on the propeller Virgo. On board this latter vessel we received every attention from the officers. We were all very much sunburned while in the open boat, and during our passage home the skin has peeled off our faces and hands. I am still lame and sore, but will be all right in a few days. One of the passengers on board the Evening Star was Capt. JOSEPH P. ROBINSON, of Boston, a brave and gallant man. He was one of the coolest men on board the wreck, and labored manfully to save the ship and to calm the fears of the women and frightened men. He struggled hard for his life, but was struck by a piece of the floating wreck and went down. The women on board the ship behaved nobly during the terrible scenes of the tempest, yielding a ready compliance to all orders given them. There were about forty prostitutes on board the ship, but they had behaved with great propriety from the first. There were but two or three exceptions to this, and they were not particularly bad. Most of the women had been obliged to remain in their rooms or in the saloons, previous to the storm, owing to the rough weather. Many of them were sea-sick, as, indeed, were many of the men. One of the prostitutes who was the proprietress of an elegant house of ill-fame in New-Orleans, had a beautiful pair of ponies on board and a fine new carriage. They were all anxious to work when danger appeared, and some of them did good service.
Capt. ROBINSON, referred to in the statement of Mr. HARRIS, was a member of the firm of BOUVE & ROBINSON, and was returning to New-Orleans, where his house had a branch store. Capt. ROBINSON was a son of Rev. J. P. ROBINSON, a well-known Episcopal clergyman in Boston. The Captain was one of the earliest volunteers in the late war, and was connected with the Potomac army through all its vicissitudes. He was detached from the regiment in which he enlisted, and attached to the United States Engineer Corps. In all the bloody battles wherein he had taken a part, he escaped with hardly a scratch. His destiny proved to have been to escape the peril of the battlefield, and meet a watery grave. He was highly esteemed by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
The following is a list of the only known survivors of the disaster:
Arrived at Savannah in the Schooner S. J. Waring on
Robert Finger, Chief-Engineer.
Ellery S. Allen, Purser.
John Lang, water-tender.
Frederick Shaffer, coal-passer.
George Smyth, seaman.
John Powers, seaman.
Dennis Gannou, waiter.
Rowland Stephens, waiter.
Edward Larner, passenger.
W. H. Harris, passenger.
Arrived at Charleston, per Schooner Morning Star, Oct. 9.
James W. Lyon, Pilot.
John Berry, Cook.
Andrew McMahon, Assistant-Engineer.
A. Sanza, passenger.
E. A. Van Sickles, passenger.
Minnie Taylor, passenger.
Mollie Wilson, passenger.
Arrived at Fernandina on Sunday, Oct. 7, in ship's boat.
Thomas Fitzpatrick, Third-Mate.
John Dempsey, seaman.
John Campbell, seaman.
James Howe, seaman.
Chancellor Mason, Steerage-Steward.
Frank Gerrard, passenger.
The Savannah Republican of the 9th has the following:
We are indebted to Mr. J. RUTLEDGE FINNEGAN, the purser of the steamer Sylvan Shore, for the following facts regarding one of the most terrible marine disasters that ever happened on our coast--the loss of the steamship Evening Star while bound from New-York to New-Orleans.
She left New-York on Monday, Oct. 1, at 10 o'clock A. M., with a valuable cargo, and upwards of 300 souls on board, including the crew. On the morning of the 2d inst. she encountered severe weather. A tremendous northeast gale taking the ship, she labored heavily, and her fires were extinguished. At 6 o'clock, when about 180 miles off Tybee Light, she suddenly went down. Eighteen persons succeeded in making their escape by taking to one of her small boats, in which they were at sea, without water or provisions, for four days. The boat, we are informed, capsized several times, and a number of its unfortunate occupants, on each occasion, thereby lost their lives; among whom was Capt. KNAPP. After suffering agonies at which the mind shudders, the third mate, three sailors and Mr. FRANK GARRARD, of Brooklyn, N. Y., a cabin passenger, were providentially enabled on Sunday morning last to reach the beach near Fort Clinch, Fernandina, Fla., in an exhausted condition, with the dead bodies of two of their companions who had died from want and exposure.
Three other boats, filled with passengers--how many it was impossible to learn--left the ill-fated steamship at the same time, one of which, containing the purser and engineer, was in company with the one which reached Fernandina until Friday, when it was lost sight of. A rumor had reached that place when the Sylvan Shore was about to sail that the missing boast had arrived at Old Town, but no further particulars were known regarding its fate. Nothing was known of the other boats.
The Evening Star was an A1 side-wheel steamship of about 2,000 tons, was valued at upwards of $250,000, and owned by Messrs. GARRISON & ALLEN, of New-York.
Much anxiety has been felt as to the fate of the passengers and crew of this ill-fated steamer. Dispatch after dispatch was received yesterday from anxious friends, making inquiry as to the fate of those who were on board. With a view to relieve the minds of such inquirers, we may state that beyond the names of those published yesterday as having been saved, there does not appear the slightest possibility of any others of the passengers and crew being saved.
In an interview had yesterday with the purser and engineer of the Evening Star the hopes which we had built for the safety of others of the passengers and crew vanished, and we are compelled to announce that of all the living freight of the devoted vessel only three passengers and portion of the crew, whose names have been published, are saved.
Capt. KNAPP, who left the ship in the boat with the third mate, which was capsized four times, met his death by a piece of drift wood, which, striking him in the forehead, killed him.
There is not the slightest chance of the escape of any of the women and children. Purser E. S. ALLEN and Chief Engineer ROBERT FINGER, with whom we conversed, although much fatigued, are, we are happy to state, in a condition of health which will permit them to leave for New-York on the steamship Virgo this morning. Capt. DICKERSON, of this city, has generously provided for their wants, and everything has been done to secure their comfort.
FROM THE SAVANNAH PAPERS.
The News & Herald, of the 9th inst., gives the following additional particulars of the disaster:
The severe equinoctial gales which have prevailed since the first of the month, had prepared us for news of marine disasters on our coast, but we were in hopes that those already recorded comprised the extent of the damage. It is, however, our painful duty to report another startling calamity in the loss of the steamship Evening Star, which foundered at sea on the 3d inst., off the coast of Florida, with some two hundred and seventy souls on board. The first intelligence which we received of this melancholy disaster was furnished by passengers on the Sylvan Shore, arrived here yesterday from Fernandina, Fla.
The mail steamer Evening Star, Capt. KNAPP, of the New-York Mail Steamship Company's Star Line, sailed from New-York for New-Orleans Sept. 3, at 3 o'clock P. M. She encountered a severe gale at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of the 2d inst., 180 miles east of Tybee Island. After weathering the storm some seventeen hours, she foundered at 6 o'clock on the morning of the 3d inst., with two hundred and seventy souls on board, only seventeen of whom are known to have been saved.
There seems to have been only three or four lifeboats on board, in one of which the Chief Engineer and Purser, with six of the crew and two passengers succeeded, after being capsized two or three times, in keeping afloat until they were picked up by the Norwegian bark Fleetwing, by which they were transferred to the schooner S. J. Waring, on which vessel they arrived here last evening.
A second boat took sixteen persons from the sinking ship, among whom were the Captain and third mate. This boat was capsized some twelve or fifteen times, the Captain being lost the fourth time she upset. The boat arrived at Fernandina on Sunday morning, with six persons and two dead bodies on board.
Only one passenger was saved on the third mate's boat. His name is FRANK GERRARD, of No. 51 Bondstreet, Brooklyn. The names of the survivors in this boat are:
Thomas Fitzpatrick, third mate.
John Dempsey, seaman.
John Campbell, seaman.
James Howe, seaman.
Chancellor Mason, steerage steward.
Frank Gerrard, passenger.
If any of the other boats left the ship it is presumed they were immediately swamped as they have not been heard of.
Since writing the above we have been furnished with the following letters, which give the circumstances of this fearful disaster more in detail:
ON BOARD SCHOONER J. S. WARING, AT SEA.
Steamship Evening Star, Capt. WILLIAM KNAPP sailed from New-York, bound for New-Orleans, Sept. 29, 1866, about 3:30 P. M. Discharged pilot and crossed the bar about 6 P. M. same day, with nearly a full cargo and a full passenger list, viz.: crew about 62; first and second cabin passengers about 213; total of 275 persons on board.
On the 29th we had easterly winds with a heavy swell. On the [30th] sea smoother and weather pleasanter.
Oct. 1, 8 A. M.--Cape Hatteras light abeam. Sea smooth; weather calm and clearing off.
Oct. 2.--This day commences with fresh breeze from E. to S. E., with a heavy swell, which increased about evening to a gale with very heavy seas; and about midnight it blew a hurricane with a very ugly cross sea. Ship lying in the trough of the sea. My barometer this day being about 28 and 8-10ths.
Oct. 3, about 3 A. M., commenced baling ship from engine-room and after cabin. About 3 A. M. to starboard rudder-chain got out of the sheave. At 5 A. M. engine disabled. Having been at work on deck I now went to lower after cabin, and assisted in baling, but the increase of water in the ship's hold soon drove the men from their duty by the cargo's shifting aft.
About 5 A. M. the Captain went into the cabin and notified the passengers that he had done all in his power, and that the ship would go down. At this time I was assisting in getting the boats free from their fastenings to the ship. At about 6 A. M., or at daylight, the ship took a heavy lurch, at the same time settling fast. A heavy sea boarded her and she went down. From what I saw and learn, all the boats were capsized when the ship went down. After being in the water among the drift-wood, &c., &c., for nearly three hours, one of the ship's life-boats coming near me I got on board, but was capsized out six times. During this forenoon the sea run very high, and until afternoon was surrounded with immense quantities of drift-wood, the wind still blowing a hurricane. At night the wind moderated very much; the sea also.
4th.--This day came in calm and pleasant. About 8 A. M. we fell in with one of the ship's life-boats, having the third mate and nine of the passengers and crew. We now made two sails from four life-preservers, the other boat fixing her own sail. Both boats now stood to the westward for the land, wind about E. N. E. At dark this night we lost company of the other boat, and know nothing of her since.
5th.--At 5 o'clock this A. M. made a sail which hove to and took us aboard, bark Fleetwing, of Laurvig, Norway, from Balize, Honduras, for Southampton, England; we remained on board 33 hours.
6th.--At 2 P. M. spoke the schooner S. J. Waring, Capt. FRANK SMITH, from New-York for Apalachicola, Fla. He took us on board. Having been in the recent hurricane, being crippled and sails blown away, he was bound for the first port, Savannah or Charleston. Since we came on board the Waring Capt. SMITH, his officers and crew, have done everything that could be done to relieve our sufferings, to the discomfort of themselves.
7th.--I should have stated in my report of Oct. 2 that Capt. KNAPP informed me at midnight of that day that the ship was about 210 miles northeast of Mantanilla Reef, and 180 miles from the land, and from that time until the ship went down I should judge she did not change her position much.
Our party consists of the following:
Robert Finger, late Chief Engineer of steamship Evening Star.
Ellery S. Allen, Purser.
John Lang, water-tender.
Frederic Shaffer, coal-passer.
George Smith, seaman.
John Powers, seaman.
Dennis Gannon, waiter.
Rowland Stephens, waiter.
Edward Larner, passenger.
W. H. Harris, passenger.
OCT. 8.--Arrived at Savannah.
ELLERY S. ALLEN,
Purser late steamship Evening Star.
ON BOARD SCHOONER S. J. WARING, AT SEA.
Steamship Evening Star, Capt. WM. KNAPP, sailed from New-York, bound for New-Orleans, Sept. 28, 1866, about 3:30 p. M.; discharged pilot and crossed the bar about 6 P. M. same day. Strong easterly wind and rough sea.
SEPT. 30.--Sea smooth, and weather pleasant.
OCT. 1.--At 8 A. M., Cape Hatteras light abeam. Weather moderating and sea smooth.
OCT. 2.--Commences with fresh breeze from the east southwest, with heavy swell; at 8 P. M., having increased to a heavy gale. At midnight, blowing a hurricane, with a very ugly sea, and ship making water very fast.
OCT. 3.--At 3 A. M. the main steam-pipe broke. At about the same time started fire on donkey boiler, and got the steam-pump to work. About 4:30 A. M. steam-pipe on donkey boiler broke: water gaining very fast; ship laying in trough of sea, and the sea making a clean break over her. At 5 A. M. the engine stopped working, and all hands baling ship. At about 6 A. M. the ship went down. After having been in water about two hours, I succeeded in getting on one of the lifeboats. Shortly afterwards, I was washed away from the boat; got on a piece of wreck, and was picked up about 5 P. M. by the same boat. Weather moderating.
OCT. 4.--Begins calm and beautiful. About 8 A. M. we fell in with one of the lifeboats, having the third Mate and nine of the passengers. Both boats now stood to the westward for the land, wind about East North-east. At dark this night we lost company of the other boat, and know nothing of her since.
OCT. 8.--At 5 A. M. made a sail, which hove to and took us on board--bark Fleetwing, of Norway, from Balize, Honduras, for Southampton, England.
OCT. 6.--At 2 P. M. spoke schooner S. J. Waring, Capt. SMITH, from New-York for Apalachicola, Florida, and he took us on board. Having been in the recent hurricane, and being crippled and sails blown away, he was bound for the first port--Savannah or Charleston.
OCT. 7.--Begins with light easterly winds and smooth sea. Arrived off Tybee light at 6 P. M., and laid to until morning.
OCT. 8.--This day begins clear and pleasant. At 8:30 A. M. crossed the bar and came to anchor in the river. ROBERT FINGER,
Late Chief-Engineer Steamship Evening Star.
We have learned no further particulars in regard to the loss of the steamship Evening Star. Several vessels arrived yesterday, none of which report having seen anything, even of the fragments of the steamer. Purser ALLEN is of the opinion that no more of the passengers or crew have been saved than those already heard from. He is confident that none of the female passengers or crew were saved.______
Purser HARRIS, [sic] ROBERT FINGER, Chief Fireman, and H. H. HARRIS, passenger, who have been stopping at the residence of Capt. H. J. DICKERSON since they arrived here, will leave for New-York on the steamship Virgo this morning. The balance of the party, who arrived by the Waring, will remain here until Saturday, when they, in company with those who were saved and arrived at Fernandina, will leave for New-York by the steamship San Salvador.
Arrival of the Third Officer and Ten of
By the Livingston, from Savannah, Oct. 11, same date as the sailing of the Virgo, the following passengers arrived, saved from the Evening Star:______
Thos. Fitzpatrick, third officer.
Seamen--John Depey, James Howe, John Campbell, John Purs, Geo. Smith.
Steerage Steward--Chauncy H. Mason.
Waiters--Dennis Gannon, Rowland Stevens.
The Disaster to the S. J. Waring.
The schooner S. J. Waring, Capt. SMITH, which put into Savannah with some of the survivors from the ill-fated steamer Evening Star, suffered severely in the storm. She sailed from this port Sept. 22 for Apalachicola, with an assorted cargo, and had pleasant weather untill off Abacoa on the 2d of October, when she was struck with a violent hurricane, which lasted three days. During the storm the Waring lost her fore-mast head, main-topmast and jibboom, and had all her sails split. The vessel leaking badly, and being unable to proceed on her voyage, after throwing overboard a part of her cargo she was headed for Savannah, and arrived there about 8 o'clock on the evening of the 8th.
Unknown, "The Evening Star, Particulars of the Great Disaster," New York Times, New York, Monday, 15 October, 1866, Page 1.