Thursday, March 15, 2012

Schooner Joseph W. Brooks ~ 17 January 1904

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1904:

Keeper William H. Gaskill’s report on the wreck of the 728-ton schooner Joseph W. Brooks, of Philadelphia, on the outer point of Lookout Shoals, January 17, 1904, is fairly typical of long-distance rescues. Gaskill was a seaman, his life dedicated to saving others; but his official report, written in longhand and submitted in duplicate to Lifesaving Service headquarters when the rescue mission was completed, is concise, well-written and interesting:

“At 9:45 a.m. the day watch dimly discovered with the telescope through the mist and smoke which hovered over the shoals the mast of a schooner ashore o the end of Lookout Shoals. The lifeboat was gotten out and a start for the wreck was made. Having a strong fair wind was soon within hailing distance of what proved to be the schooner Joseph W. Brooks, lumber laden, from Savannah, Geo., bound to Baltimore, Md., which was laying in a bed of heavy breakers, with a bad list to port, full of water, boa gone, and the sea going over her from end to end. Getting a favorable chance I got hold of a line from the end of the jibboom to the boat, and the bight of another line down from the same place, which the wrecked crew was instructed to come down on. And when the heaviest breakers would pass, I would haul up under the end of the jibboom, a man come down and be taken in the boat, and pull out again when compelled to do so by the sea. In this means the entire cew of seven was taken on board the lifeboat. When all was taken off we pulled out clear of the breakers and made a start for the shore, arriving at the station at 7 o’clock p.m. The wrecked crew was wet, cold and hungry, having eaten nothing since supper the day before and had been wet since early morning. All were provided with a warm supper, and an entire suit of clothing (Captain excepted, who needed none) from the supply furnished by the Women’s National Relief Association, and all made as comfortable as possible or the night. The 18th, a boat came from Beaufort and took captain and crew of the wrecked schooner Brooks to Beaufort, N.C.”

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