Captain Parkinson and the crew of the bark Mary Ballard, which sailed from Boston March 2, 1843, bound to New Orleans with a cargo of ice, did not reach their destination and almost failed to make it back home again. On March 12 the Ballard was cast away on Berry Island in the Bahamas. Fortunately, the Captain and crew were picked up by the wreckers, who took them to Nassau.
There they met up with the crew of the ship Algonquin, of Philadelphia, which had also been wrecked on one of the near-by islands, and together the two crews of shipwreck survivors took passage on the schooner F.A. Tupper, bound from Nassau to Baltimore.
They had an uneventful trip until March 27 when they ran into a severe gale and struck the beach southeast of Chicamacomico. The three crews, numbering 31 men in all, spent the night in the Tupper’s rigging, expecting at any moment to be thrown into the seething surf below. At 4 a.m. the next morning the vessel broke in two, and at 5 a.m. completely disintegrated in the breakers, casting the men into the sea.
Though the vessel was a total loss, all 31 men managed to make it ashore and from there continued on to Boston.