Saturday, March 17, 2012

Steamer Hesperides ~ 9 October 1897

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30 1898:

Stranded during hazy weather on the SW. point of Diamond Shoal, 8 miles from station, on the morning of the 9th. As the weather continued thick all day she was not discovered by the life savers until early next morning. Keeper notified the crews of Creeds Hill and Big Kinnakeet stations, arranging for the former to go direct to the wreck and for the latter to assist the Hatteras crew. The surf boat was launched, and at 9.20 a.m. the surfmen boarded the steamer, followed by the Creeds Hill crew. As the steamer was hard aground, with 6 feet of water in her engine room, the keepers advised the master to abandon her, but he would not consent until two hours later, when the surfmen lowered three of the ship’s boats, and after putting in them the crew of 24 persons, with their personal effects, started ashore and landed them on the beach abreast of station. The Big Kinnakeet crew aided in effecting the landing and unloading the baggage. Dry clothing was furnished to those in need. Eleven were sheltered and succored at the station until the 11th, and all were finally sent to Durante Station for passage to Elizabeth City. The vessel proved a total loss. (See letter of acknowledgment.)


SIR: We, the undersigned, members of the crew of the British steamer Hesperides, bound from Cuba to Baltimore, with a cargo of iron ore, wish to make the following statement: On the 9th instant, at 9.30 a.m. (presuming ourselves well clear of shallow water), made out Cape Hatteras lighthouse for a few minutes, the weather at the time being very hazy on the land. Soon afterwards the steamer took the ground on the outer Diamond Shoal. The weather being very fine and the water smooth, we did not anticipate any anger and made no signal of distress, but during the remainder of the day we could see neither the land nor the lighthouse. On October 10, at 6.30 a.m., could make out the land distinctly, the weather still continuing fine, and at 8 a.m., could make out the land distinctly, the weather still continuing fine, and at 8 a.m., sighted a boat under sails bearing toward us from the lighthouse, which on coming alongside proved to be the Cape Hatteras life saving boat, and soon afterwards the lifeboat of the Creeds Hill Station came alongside.
     After a long consultation, we came to the decision that the floating of the ship was an impossibility and decided upon abandoning her. We have great pleasure in expressing our heartfelt thanks for the splendid service rendered and the kindness displayed by all in aiding us to gather together our personal effects and bringing us ashore; and afterwards in attending to our wants and comfort. We also wish to extend to all connected with this humane institution our warmest thanks. Respectfully yours, G.O. WILLIAMS, Master ; MORRIS JONES, Chief Officer ; LLEWELLYN T. GRIFFITH, Chief Engineer

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