Astoria, OR Tanker ROSECRANS Wrecked, Jan 1913



Astoria, Ore., Jan. 7. -- Leaving marine records strewn with tales of death and disaster connected with her career, the tanker Rosecrans, once a United States army transport, was lost today on Peacock Spit, just beyond the bar, in a furious gale that drove her on the rocks. Of her crew of thirty-five men only four were saved.
The Rosecrans cleared from Southern California points with a crude oil cargo for Portland, Ore. She encountered a fifty-five mile gale as she stood in toward the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is thought her officers lost their bearings and the tanker was hurled on the rocks, to pound herself to pieces. An hour after she struck only her topmast, with its human freight, and the tip of her funnel stood above the water.
Wireless calls from the Rosecrans for assistance were picked up by the local stations and the tugs Oneonta and Goliath went out. Soon afterward efforts to communicate with the Rosecrans by wireless failed.
Life saving crews from Fort Canby and Point Adams put out against the gale. Big waves broke over the crews in the lifeboats, and it was found impossible to reach the Rosecrans. The two boats with the tugs, cruised about, searching for possible survivors.
One survivor of the wreck was reported tonight to have reached shore at Tioga, Wash., six miles from the scene of the disaster, and the Point Adams lifesaving crew rescued three other men late today. The three had taken refuge in the rigging of one of the masts when the ship went down. For many hours they clung there, the waves breaking over them repeatedly. The wind died down somewhat late today, and the lifesavers were able to reach them. Two of the men were taken from their perch, while the third, who had leaped into the sea when the lifeboat neared the spot, was taken from the water.
The Rosecrans was hurled on the rocks at the same place where the steamship General Washington went aground a year ago. The Washington was pulled off after a two days' struggle.
Owing to the thick weather the plight of the Rosecrans was not learned for several hours. When her perilous position became known the tugs Goliath and Oneonta hurried to her aid.
When the tugs reached the neighborhood of the tanker she was found to be hard aground, and the high seas and driving winds made a near approach impossible. The wrecked vessel soon shifted and began to break up, and before the tugs and lifesavers could get near enough to put a line aboard she slipped off the rocks and sank until only her masts and funnel appeared above the water, with three of her crew clinging to the rigging.

New York Tribune New York 1913-01-08