The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.

“One boy, a passenger and just a little shaver [the four-year-old son of the late Clement Stokes, above spoken of] was picked up naked.  His hair and all his clothing had been burned off, but he was alive.  We rolled him in a blanket and put him in a sailor’s bunk.  A few minutes later we looked at him and he was dead.

“My own son’s gone, too.  It had been his trick at lookout ahead during the dog watch that morning, when we were making for St. Pierre, so I supposed at first when the fire struck us that he was asleep in his bunk and safe.  But he wasn’t.  Nobody could tell me where he was.  I don’t know whether he was burned to death or rolled overboard and drowned.  He was a likely boy.  He had been several voyages with me and would have been a master some day.  He used to say he’d make me mate.

“After getting all hands that had any life left in them below and ’tended to the best we could, the four of us that were left half way ship-shape started in to fight the fire.  We had case oil stowed forward.  Thanks to that tidal wave that cleared our decks there wasn’t much left to burn, so we got the fire down so’s we could live on board with it for several hours more and then the four turned to to knock a raft together out of what timber and truck we could find below.  Our boats had gone overboard with the masts and funnel.


“We made that raft for something over thirty that were alive.  We put provisions on for two days and rigged up a make-shift mast and sail, for we intended to go to sea.  We were only three boats’ length from the shore, but the shore was hell itself.  We intended to put straight out and trust to luck that the Korona, that was about due at St. Pierre, would pick us up.  But we did not have to risk the raft, for about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, when we were almost ready to put the raft overboard, the Suchet came along and took us all off.  We thought for a minute just after we were wrecked that we were to get help from a ship that passed us.  We burned blue lights, but she kept on.  We learned afterward that she was the Roddam.”

Soundings made off Martinique after the explosion showed that earthquake effects of much importance had taken place under the sea bottom, which had been lifted in some places and had sunk in others.  While deep crevices had been formed on the land, a still greater effect had seemingly been produced beneath the water.  During the explosion the sea withdrew several hundred feet from its shore line, and then came back steaming with fury; this indicating a lift and fall of the ocean bed off the isle.  Soundings made subsequently near the island found in one place a depth of 4,000 feet where before it had been only 600 feet deep.  The French Cable Company, which was at work trying to repair the cables broken by the eruption, found the bottom of the Caribbean Sea so changed as to render the old charts useless.

Project Gutenberg
The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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