Upon investigation the vessel proved to be the 605-ton barkentine Vera Cruz VII, of Portuguese registry, under the command of Julio M. Fernandes. She had sailed from the Cape Verde Islands bound for New Bedford, MA with 399 passengers and assorted cargo plus 214 barrels of sperm oil, valued at $6,000.
The captain realizing that he was in trouble, had attempted to anchor the vessel, but facing a fresh northeaster and a strong ebb tide, she had dragged anchor and stranded in the breakers of "Dry Shoal Point," three miles from the Station and about 300 yards off shore. It took the lifesaving crew 41 trips in the station's open surfboats to bring the 398 passengers and 22 crew to the safety of the shoal. They also removed the body of a passenger who had recently died on board and buried him where they landed.
With the tide rising around them Terrell hired several local men with skiffs to transport the survivors the remainder of the way to the station.
It was now the 12th of May and the Life-Saving Station crew and good people of Portsmouth had housed these 420 unlucky travelers for three nights while feeding them a total of 2,540 meals and using four and 1/2 barrels of flour in the process.
The lifesavers, with the help of several local men, had also removed 420 souls from the grounded vessel but when the Revenue Cutter Boutwell sailed for New Bern, there were only 416 of them aboard.
But what happened to the other four? More about the Vera Cruz VII at the Ocracoke Island Journal.
Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1903: