Friday, April 13, 2012

Schooner Leading Breeze ~ 23 November 1901

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1902:

Stranded during a southerly gale on Dry Shoal Point, 2-1/4 miles ESE. from station. Station crew promptly manned surfboat and started for scene of disaster. Meantime, the schooner had broken up, and the life savers found the crew of four men adrift on the vessel’s cabin, to which they had lashed themselves. The shipwrecked men were taken to the station in the surfboat and were given food and shelter, also dry clothing from the stores of the Women’s National Relief Association. Later the keeper provided them with transportation to their homes. The vessel was a total loss. (See letter of acknowledgment.)

PORTSMOUTH, NORTH CAROLINA, November 25, 1901

DEAR SIR: I desire to call your notice the great service that the keeper and crew of the life-saving station at this place rendered myself and crew by taking us off of the wreck of the schooner Leading Breeze, when stranded off Ocracoke Inlet on the afternoon of November 23 and immediately broke up. Caught in a heavy south-east gale with sails split, we were unable to weather the breakers, and were driven ashore by the wind and sea at a place where the surf was the heaviest. Our boat were soon stove in by the big-seas that boarded us. With tremendous seas breaking over her, our schooner soon commenced to break up, and the thick fog hanging over us made it impossible for us to see the land or to see the way through the surf. We lashed ourselves to the cabin top and drifted clear of the wreck as she went to pieces, the breakers washing us shoreward with only what we stood in. We had small prospect of reaching land and were abandoning all hope when, just before dark, we sighted the life-savers in their surfboat making their way through the shoals and breakers, winding through narrow channels and heavy surf, and with difficulty avoiding the floating wreckage which was drifting n their way and adding more danger to the difficult task of taking us off. Despite all obstacles, their object was successfully accomplished just as it was growing dark, and we were speedily landed and at once taken to the station, where we were furnished with dry clothing, every want attended to, and made to feel that we were among friends whose attentions were heartfelt and sincere. We wish to thank you and the head of the service which saved our lives and placed us under so great an obligation. Yours truly, BRADISH W. JOHNSON, Master American Schooner Leading Breeze ; CHARLES W. ANTONSON, Mate ; OLAF FASMER, Seaman ; T.S. TRUMBLE, Seaman

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