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The Evening Star Disaster.

THE EVENING STAR DISASTER.
_______

Thrilling Accounts of the Catastrophe--Men
and Women in their Frenzy Throw Them-
selves in the Raging Sea--A Scene of In-
describable Horror.

    NEW YORK, October 15.--The responsibility for the loss of the Evening Star continues to be discussed by the daily papers. The following interesting particulars are taken from the statements of passengers who were saved:
    About midnight it began to blow a hurricane, with a very ugly cross sea, the ship lying in the trough of the sea. The night was dark, fearfully dark, nothing but the most solid and gloomy darkness all around; no view to cheer, nothing to remind the terrified passengers of the deep sea over which they rode but the foam of the spray which came in showers on our decks. At this time the hurricane was so furious and the steamship thrown so completely at its mercy that for the general safety the Captain was obliged to send the women all below and lock them in the cabin. We were now about two hundred and forty miles northeast of Matinella(?) Reef and one hundred and eighty miles from land, and from this time until she went down she never changed her position.
    At 3 a. m. October 3, we commenced bailing the ship from engine room and after cabin, at which the women helped with all their might and with all the strength of frenzy and despair. About 4 a. m. the starboard rudder chain got out of the shieve, and the wheelhouses were washed overboard. At 5 a. m. the engine was thoroughly disabled, in spite of the superhuman efforts of the chief engineer and his assistants. The increase of the water in the ship's hold soon drove the men from their duty by the cargo's shifting aft. The hurricane was all this time blowing with a fury which was fearful, terrific and appalling in the extreme. At 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 certainly go down. Some of the seamen were at this moment assisting in getting the boats from the fastenings to the ship. The Captain was exhorting the passengers to act coolly. The storm continued to howl in the most fearful and depressing manner, and now came the most thrilling moment of our trying time. The women shrieking frightfully, rushed on deck in the most frantic manner, tearing their hair, and in many ways acting more like lunatics than beings endowed with reason. Reason at the moment had certainly abdicated its throne and nothing but the wildest stage of madness had the poor beings come to. The men were equally as violent, though for such a scene it may have been worse. The women commenced divesting themselves of their clothing, and madly and wildly plunged into the foaming surf, never to rise to its surface more. The Captain and crew tried their best to prevent this, but to no avail. Despair controlled their actions, and rather than face a lingering death, many of them voluntarily sought that grave which opened with such fearful jaws to receive their mortal all.
    While these fearful scenes were being enacted, which was about 6 o'clock a. m., the ship took a heavy lurch, settling fast. A heavy sea boarded her, and with one fearful, continued lurch down she went, and all was over with the Evening Star. Another statement says: Only four life preservers were on board the Evening Star, which were distributed among the ladies. The members of the ballet troupe and French circus company, not speaking English, could not understand what orders were given in relation to the boats, and very few if any managed to reach them. The shrieks of the frantic women could be heard above the roar of the angry waves, rushing to and fro imploring for aid, but it was each one for himself.
    In addition to the French Circus company and ballet troupe there were forty-two frail women, who for various reasons were seeking another field to prosecute their unholy calling. Some with impaired constitutions were migrating to a warmer clime; others were suffering with ennui and merely wanted a change of scene. It is stated that one young girl has left a widowed mother, sister and child unprovided for, she being their only support.
    John Thuro, of New Orleans one of the passengers of the ill-fated vessel, bought a policy for $10,000 in the Accidental Insurance Company for which he paid ten dollars. Several of the unfortunates had their lives insured for the benefit of those dependent upon them in various New York companies.
    SAVANNAH, October 15.--A private letter from Mayport Mills, Fla., says that Gonedsby the second mate of the Evening Star, had arrived there, having left the steamer with a boat load of ladies. All but two were lost before getting near shore. In landing, the latter were lost. One named Annie, from Rhode Island, and the other, Rosa Howard, of New York. Both became insane from want and starvation. The bodies were washed ashore. That of the latter was nearly devoured by sharks. The mate is barely alive.


Source:

Unknown, "The Evening Star Disaster," Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday, 16 October, 1866, Page 0_1.

Created June 3, 2006; Revised June 3, 2006
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