Conneaut, OH (Lake Erie) Collision of the CHESAPEAKE and JOHN PORTER, June 1847


The following additional particulars of the fatal collision between the steamer Chesapeake and the schooner Porter, we copy from the Cleveland Herald Extra:

The steamer Chesapeake and schooner John Porter came in collision about half past 12 o'clock Thursday morning, when some four or five miles off Conneaut. The moment they struck the officers and hands on the Porter jumped on board the Chesapeake. The boat and vessel soon separated, the boat backing off. The Porter was not supposed to be seriously injured, and the boat of the Chesapeake was lowered to put the crew on board the schooner, when the vessel went down.
About this time it was found that the Chesapeake was fast filling, and unsuccessful efforts were made to stop the leak. The boat was headed to the shore and all steam crowded. The pumps were set a going, was effort was made to keep down the water by boiling. Captain WARNER had the jib lowered over the bow, which was drawn into the opening and partially aided in staying the rush of waters. Notwithstanding every effort, the water gained so rapidly that the fires were soon extinguished, and when about a mile and a half from shore the boat lost her headway. The wind was blowing quite fresh from the south west, considerable sea was running, and the anchor was let got to prevent drifting into the lake.
The Chesapeake's boat was immediately manned and filled with as many passengers as it could carry, four of them ladies, and started for Conneaut for assistance. The wind was so heavy that the boat drifted some two miles below the pier, Mr. Shepard, Clerk of the Chesapeake, ran up the beach, and reached the pier just as the steamer Harrison was entering the port. Capt. Parker promptly went to the rescue of the sufferers with the Harrison, took off the survivors on the wreck, and picked up all that could be found afloat in the lake on hatches, planks, cabin doors, &c. A small boat from the shore rescued some who were nearly exhausted from long buffeting of the waves, upborne on these forlorn hopes of drowning men.
After the Chesapeake was brought to anchor she continued to sink gradually, notwithstanding every possible effort by pumping and bailing to keep her afloat, and at half past 3 o'clock, the hull went down bow foremost in 40 feet water. The upper cabin parted from the hull, and the upper deck remained out of water. On this such of the persons on board, as had not previously left the boat, were gathered and saved. None were lost who followed the advice of Capt. W. and continued with the wreck. But as the boat sank deep in the water, and it became certain that she must go down, a number prepared floats and took their chance for escape on them. Of these, 8 are known to have been drowned, and it is feared that others met with a like melancholy fate.

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