Friday, February 10, 2012

Steamer Oriental ~ May 1862

The sailing steamer Oriental was built in 1861 in Philadelphia, and was used as a Federal transport ship in the Civil War. She met her fate in May of 1862, shipwrecked off Bodie Island 33 miles north of Cape Hatteras. The passengers and crew were saved. Today, one of the Oriental's portholes is on display in the town of Oriental, NC at the Oriental History Museum. The fate of the Oriental's nameplate is unknown.

New York Times
Published: May 25, 1862

The steamship Oriental, ashore twenty-five miles north of Hatteras, lies in the same position as when she went on. One wrecking vessel has been to her assistance, and another had been sent from Newbern. As she was not leaking at last accounts, hopes are entertained that, should the weather prove favorable, she would be got off without damage. One-half of her cargo had been thrown overboard, and the rest was being lightered off. There was thrown overboard 100 tons hay, 1,000 boxes hard bread, 10,000 bushels oats, 200 boxes cartridges.

The express matter was lightered off, and will probably be saved. The Albany brings back the following passengers from the Oriental:
Capt. J.G. Atwood, Volunteer Engineers; Capt. J. Price, Ninth Pennsylvania; Capt. Proudfit, Eighth Michigan; Dr. J.D. Mitchell; Dr. W.S. Byerle; Lieut. D.C. Brown, Volunteer Engineers; Lieut. E.L. Granville, Forty-seventh New-York; Sergt. L. Brooks, Volunteer Engineers; Sergt. Massey, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania; Sergt. R.P. Fithian, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania; Lieut. Babcock, Fifty-fifth New-York; Capt. N. Wayne, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania; Dr. H.M. Field; Lieut. F.C. Withers, Volunteer Engineers; Lieut. S. Morton, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania; Sergt. F.G. Trowbridge, Sergt. II. Finch, Volunteer Engineers; Sergt. Brubaher, Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania; Sergt. W.H. Moore, Seventy-Eixth Pennsylvania; E.L. Buel, Gen. Hunter's Clerk; Corp. James Cole, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania; F. Coolie, Commissary's Clerk; and five privates of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania. Also, as passengers from Newbern. Acting Major M. Hazard, Fifty-first New-York; Capt. Wheeler, Fifth Rhode Island; Lieut. Chapman, Adjutant Fifth Rhode Island; George Ridglay, Captain of transport H. McIntyre; mate of do., Abm. H. Berry, and fifteen men discharged from transport; Capt. Noyes, Fifth Rhode Island; Lieut. Flecher, Signal Corps; Lieut. Gerdenoch, One Hundred and Eight New-York, wounded; Wm. Hunt, Captain of transport Wm. H. Hunt; mate of do., three soldiers on sick list, two privates of Eighth Connecticut, on furlough; one corporal. Fifty-first New-York, do; one private, of Battery F, Rhode Island do., from Hatteras; five privates of Ninth New-York Regiment.
A drawing of the wreck of the SS Oriental, from an 1862 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. The caption reads that the drawing was done by “Our Special Artist, Mr. J. H. Schell.”

According to the Outer Banks Free Press
(, this boiler belongs to a different vessel, the steamer Oriental:

“The Oriental…was a Federal Transport ship. The boat sank on May 16, 1862. The ship was 210 feet long. It is also known as the Stovepipe Hat Wreck. The ship lies about 200 yards off the beach at Pea Island National Wildlife Headquarters, three miles south of the Oregon Inlet on Rt. 12…. [T]he boiler stack [is] sticking out of the water.”

The Steamer Oriental, Image by Wilton Wescott (OBX Shooter)

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