Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.
and endeavoured to pull her out; but the force and rapidity of the current rendered it impossible to do so.  The situation of the Crescent became every instant more perilous; the gale had increased, and the wind, which had veered round to the north-west, blew direct on shore, forcing the vessel further on the shoal.  As a last attempt to save the ship, the captain directed that the bower anchor should be let go, and the ship lightened by heaving the guns, shot, balls, &c., overboard.  Little good resulted from this step; and then the water was started and the provisions thrown overboard out of the fore and aft holds.  Pumping now became useless, as the water had risen to the hatches; and when at last the cable parted, all hopes of saving the vessel were abandoned, and at half-past six in the morning of the 6th of December the masts were cut away by the captain’s orders, and she lay a helpless wreck.  The boats which, until this time, had been lying off in tow, broke their hawsers; and when the people on board found it impossible to regain the ship, from the force of the current, they made for the shore, and fortunately all succeeded in reaching it, with the exception of one of the cutters, which was lost with all her crew.  Lieutenant Henry Stokes, who was in one of the other boats, fearing that she would be capsized, jumped overboard, and attempted to swim on shore, but had not strength to buffet with the waves, and was drowned.  The storm continued to increase as the day advanced, and the men on board the wreck being completely exhausted, they piped to breakfast, and a dram was served round.  At one o’clock, P.M., a raft was commenced, and in about an hour it was completed and launched, and placed under the charge of Lieutenant John Weaver, of the Marines, Mr. Thomas Mason, clerk, and Mr. James Lavender, midshipman.  The crew of the raft was composed chiefly of the sick, or those least capable of exerting themselves for their own preservation.  When the raft left the ship, the captain and gallant crew of the Crescent gave three hearty cheers to their companions, whom they were never likely to behold again.  It is hard to say which of the parties was in greatest peril, or nearest to destruction; but in all such cases, those who are obliged to wait for the awful moment, are subjected to more intense mental suffering than those who act, and are enabled to take any measures, however perilous, for saving their lives.  The people upon the raft returned the farewell cheer, and as each wave dashed over them, and they again floated on the surface, they announced their safety with another and another shout.  They had little hope indeed of reaching the shore alive; they were standing up to their middle in water, and every billow that rolled over them carried away one or more of their number.  Happily some of those who were washed off the raft, succeeded in regaining it; but seven of them perished, the rest were safely landed, and to the constant exertions of the officers to keep up the spirits of the men, they were greatly indebted for their preservation.

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Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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