When morning broke, they assembled all the workmen they could muster, and manning a cutter with the crew of the launch, they went off to the Sheerness, which had been driven on shore to the west of York Island.
There a most distressing sight presented itself; two vessels had been driven on shore, one of which was totally lost. The Sheerness had parted her cables during the night, and for a time her situation was exceedingly perilous, it was impossible to stand upon deck till the main and mizen masts had been cut away. The water rose above the orlop deck till it became level with the surface of the sea.
Not a barrack-house or tree escaped the ravages of the storm; many were levelled with the ground, others extensively damaged, and the hospital was completely unroofed, which rendered the situation of the sick most deplorable. One of the patients was killed by the falling beams. Several Europeans fell a sacrifice to the storm, many of them being exposed to the torrents of rain without any place of shelter within reach.
Lord George Stuart, the officers and crew of the Sheerness were acquitted of all blame respecting the loss of that vessel, it being the opinion of the court, that ’Every exertion was made for the preservation of the ship by the captain, officers, and crew upon that trying occasion; and that, owing to the violence of the hurricane, the loss of the ship was inevitable; and every subsequent attempt to get her afloat proved ineffectual, in consequence of the damage she had sustained in grounding when driven on shore, from the impossibility of keeping her free by means of the pumps.’
Lord George Stuart entered the navy in the year 1793 as a midshipman on board the Providence, in which ship he had the misfortune to be wrecked in the year 1797.
He received his post rank in 1804, and was almost constantly employed from that time until 1809, when he assumed the command of a light squadron at the mouth of the Elbe.
Here he performed an important service in taking the town of Gessendorf, situated on the banks of the Weser, and in driving from the fortress a body of French troops who had made frequent predatory and piratical excursions in the neighbourhood of Cuxhaven.
A few days after the defeat of the French, the gallant Duke of Brunswick also arrived on the opposite banks of the Weser, after having almost succeeded in effecting his retreat through the heart of Germany. By the previous dispersion of the enemy and the destruction of the fortress, he succeeded in crossing the river and escaping his pursuers, who would otherwise, in all probability, have captured or destroyed the whole of his detachment.