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.
done, but the combined efforts of the whole were unavailing to reduce the leak.  The rudder worked so much that it was found necessary to unship it from the broken part of the stern-post, and bring it alongside; and in order to relieve the ship from the pressure aft, the guns and other heavy things were carried forward; this, however, was of so little avail, that the guns and anchors were soon thrown overboard.  They then prepared a sail with oakum and tar, and got it over the stern, in order, by passing it under the keel, to stop the leak.  For a time this seemed to have the desired effect, and hopes were entertained that they might be able to carry the ship to Trincomalee; but these hopes were of short duration.  In spite of the indefatigable exertions of every officer and man on board, the water gained upon them till it rose two feet above the orlop-deck.  The men had now been working without intermission for eight hours, and their strength and spirits began to fail, when, notwithstanding all their efforts, they saw the water rising to the level of the lower deck.

Captain Maxwell now knew that there was not a chance of saving his ship, and he felt the painful necessity of leaving her as soon as possible, in order to preserve the lives of his men, whilst there was yet time.  He ordered the boys, idlers, and two divisions of seamen and marines to get into the boats which were alongside, while the remaining men were employed at the pumps to keep the ship afloat, The good order and discipline which prevailed during this scene are beyond all praise.  ‘The men behaved,’ to use the words of the captain, ’as if they were moving from one ship to another in any of the king’s ports.’

Such conduct is highly creditable, not only to the ship’s company, but likewise to the captain and officers, in whom the crew must have reposed most perfect confidence, or such real good order could not have been maintained at such a time.

The ship was settling fast, when the boats returned to carry away the remainder of the officers and men, they left the pumps and embarked in the boats, taking with them the hammocks and clothes belonging to the ship’s company.  The last man who stood upon the deck of the sinking ship was her captain.  When all others had gone, he too with a heavy heart stepped into the boat which bore him from her side; sadly and sorrowfully he fixed his gaze upon the wreck of ’his home on the waters.’  In a few minutes the ship gave a lurch, and, falling on her beam ends, remained in that position for the space of a minute, then she righted, showing only her quarter-deck ports above water, and then gently and majestically sunk into the bosom of the deep blue sea.


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