Saturday, March 17, 2012

Clipper Henrietta ~ 4 November 1873

The Henrietta left Puerto Rico in late October, loaded with molasses, sugar and syrup. The 950-ton vessel carried a crew of 16 plus the master, and was bound for Philadelphia.
     While en route north, she came upon a disabled schooner lying low in the water. In order to lighten the schooner, most of her cargo of coffee was transferred to the Henrietta which continued on her course north.
     The morning of November 4 she encountered a strong northeast gale. Before it was over her main topsail was carried away, her foremast falling with it, and her mizzenmast was wrung off 6 feet above the deck leaving her little more than a log drifting on the stormy sea. The wind soon let up, but the waves grew larger as the vessel drifted toward shore. Soon all of her boats were swept away except one which was lashed amidships. The steward was washed overboard.
     By the time she appeared off the Carolina coast she was a complete derelict at the mercy of the wind and waves. She finally struck on the southern end of Frying Pan Shoals, lodging briefly on a far in about three fathoms of water, then drifting clear and sinking in the deep gully beyond. The 15 remaining crewmen put off in the lone boat, but two hours later it capsized, throwing all of them into the raging surf. The captain and mate managed to regain the boat, but the others drowned. For 5 days the two survivors drifted on the open sea without food or water until they were eventually picked up by a passing vessel.

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