Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Barkentine Angela ~ 5 March 1883

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1883:

The barkentine Angela, of Genoa, Italy, bound with a cargo of iron ore from Cartagena, Spain, to Baltimore, MD, and having a crew of 10 men, stranded at midnight 300 yards from shore, and a quarter of a mile south of the Paul Gamiel's Hill Station (6th District), North Carolina. The vessel had sprung a leak, and, being in a sinking condition, was run aground to save the lives of her crew. At the time the sea was high, the surf raging, and the wind blowing freshly from the north. The wreck was immediately seen by the two patrolmen then starting away from the station on their respective beats, and one of them promptly fired the red Coston light as a signal to those on board, and gave the alarm. The keeper, William H. O'Neal, at once roused all hands, and they turned out with the surf boat and beach apparatus, and speedily got abreast of the wreck, with which from that time until morning they were engaged in efforts to effect communications. The steepness of the beach at this particular locality, which lets the sea break almost without intervention directly on the shore, causes, in any roused condition of the waters, a surf of great fury; and on this occasion the incessant torrents flung upon the sands made boat service impossible. Operations were therefore confined to the wreck gun. Two shots fired in succession fell short of the wreck, and a third parted the line; a fourth reached the vessel, and the life saving crew waited, wondering why the sailors did not haul the line on board. The solution came at daybreak, when the barkentine's men were discovered out at sea in the ship's boat, beyond the line of breakers, having abandoned the vessel under the conviction that sh was going to pieces. In a little while, seeing the group of station men upon the beach, they proceeded to make a series of attempts to land, but were warned off in each instance by the life saving crew waving before them a red flag. It was still impossible to launch a boat, but the sea was beginning to fall very fast, and the keeper was sure that if he could only keep the sailors away from the surf, entering which they would certainly be drowned, he would be able by 10 o'clock to pass the breakers in the surf boat and save them. At 9 o'clock, however, the sailors rowed away up the beach, outside the breakers, toward the Caffey's Inlet Station, several miles north of the station at Paul Gamiels Hill. Keeper Austin, of this station, was on the beach with Keeper O'Neal and his men, watching the sailors, and instantly telephoned to his crew to be on the lookout for them, and then hurried away to his post. Upon arriving he found his crew beside the surf boat, ready for a launch. The beach at this station, unlike that at Paul Gamiels Hill, is flat, so that the surf was much less violent, and, besides, the sea had now fallen considerably. The surf boat crew, therefore, were enabled to fight their way successfully through the mob of breakers, shipping in the passage about a barrel of water, and after rowing half a mile to the southward, met the wrecked sailors, too off five of them, and put back for the shore, shipping another barrel of water in the return. After waiting a few minutes they again essayed the passage. This time they went through with the shipment of but little water, reached the boat from the wreck, took in the remaining five men, together with the captain's chest of books, papers, and instruments, and returned safely to the shore. It was then 11 o'clock in the forenoon.
     The men thus happily rescued were in a pitiable plight. The sea had drenched them, one might say, to their very hearts, and they were famished and half frozen. Some of them were nearly naked, and the remainder had not clothing enough to keep them warm under ordinary circumstances. No time was lost in making them comfortable with food and cordials, and dry clothing was procured for them from the Poyners Hill Station, next above, a supply being on hand there, donated by the Women's National Relief Association. The men thus succored poured forth gratitude in their profuse Italian way, and called down blessings on the life saving crew for rescuing and caring for them. 

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