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.

On the sixth morning they were scarcely able to raise themselves from the rock to look once more upon the sea, when one less feeble than the rest exclaimed, ‘the boats are coming.’  And most welcome was the sight of four fishing vessels, and the whale-boat steering towards them.  Such joy was theirs as can only be understood by those who have experienced a similar deliverance from the jaws of death.  The boats reached the rocks; they contained a supply of water and food, which were distributed in moderation among the perishing seamen, who, when they were a little renovated, were taken on board the boats, and in a few hours landed on Cerigotto.

The poor but hospitable inhabitants of the island received the strangers most kindly, and tended them with the utmost care.  Out of one hundred and twenty-two, sixty-four only survived.  And when we think of the complicated miseries they had so long endured, we may wonder that so many were spared.

After remaining eleven days at Cerigotto, the remnant of the crew of the Nautilus went to Cerigo, and from thence they sailed to Malta.

Lieutenant Nesbitt and the survivors were tried by a court-martial at Cadiz for the loss of the Nautilus.

The court gave it as their opinion, ’That the loss of that sloop was occasioned by the captain’s zeal to forward the public dispatches, which induced him to run in a dark, tempestuous night for the passage between the Island of Cerigotto and Candia; but that the sloop passed between Cerigotto and Pauri, and was lost on a rock, on the south-west part of that passage, which rock does not appear to be laid down in Heather’s Chart, by which the said sloop was navigated.

’That no blame attaches to the conduct of Lieutenant Nesbitt, or such of the surviving crew of the Nautilus, but that it appears that Lieutenant Nesbitt and the officers and crew did use every exertion that circumstances could admit.’

Lieutenant Nesbitt died in 1824.


[9] ‘I well remember,’ says a naval surgeon, ’the above melancholy event, and particularly from one of the survivors being drafted on board the ship to which I belonged, (the Thunderer, then in the Dardanelles.) The poor fellow became my patient; he complained of no pain but that which arose from the horrible recollection of his having tasted human flesh to preserve his life.  This preyed so deeply on his mind, that it rendered him incapable of performing any duty, and when I saw him sinking under the heavy load, I felt it to be my duty to order him to the hospital, that he might be invalided and sent home.’


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