Presque Isle, WI Propeller BUCEPHALUS Wreck, Nov 1854
Wreck Of The Propeller Bucephalus.
Ten Lives Lost-Further Particulars, and Interesting Statement of Capt. Alexander.
From the Buffalo Democracy, Nov. 18.
We gave, yesterday morning, in our marine column, all the particulars of the loss of the propeller Bucephalus and a portion of her crew, and the rescue of the Captain, Mates, Engineers, and some of the deck hands, in the gale of Sunday last on Lake Huron.
Captain Alexander reached our city yesterday morning, and from him we obtain the following interesting statement of the loss of his vessel:
The propeller Busepalus left Chicago, Saturday, Nov. 4, at 4 o’clock, P. M., with fourteen thousand and thirty-five bushels of corn, and a deck load of flour, seed, butter, ashes, & c., and proceeded to Milwaukee to complete her cargo. After making the usual stops at Waukegan, Kenosha, and Racine, the propeller arrived at Milwaukee about 5 o’clock, A. M. of the 5th, and at once began to take on the balance of her cargo. Having finished loading by 9 A.M. the same morning, and the wind and weather favorable, they left for Port Washington for wood.
Shortly after leaving, the wind increased in violence, blowing from the south, and by noon there was such a sea on that they could not lay at Port Washington pier; they backed off and came to an anchor, and lay till next day at 9 A. M., when the gale moderated, and they took on their wood and proceeded on their way, calling at Sheboygan. The wind at this time was westerly. At 6 o’clock was on the course for Beaver Island with a fresh breeze northwest. At daylight on the 7th made the Manitous with a strong increasing breeze. Arrived at Beaver Island, remained until the 8th at noon for fuel, when they left for Presque Isle. Arrived there on the morning of the 9th, but had to lay until Saturday, the 12th, at 11 A. M., when they left for Buffalo.
Shortly after leaving Presque Isle, the wind veered to the N. E. and it began to snow. At 3 P. M. the wind increased to a strong breeze, and at 5 it was blowing a gale. About this time the foremast gave way, and went over the side. At 6 o’clock the forward gangways were stove in by a heavy sea, and part of her deck load washed overboard.
Everything had been secured, in anticipation of a severe gale; but it increased at such a fearful rate, that it was almost impossible to keep the vessel on her course. The heavy rolling of the boat shifted the corn in her hold, and made her unmanageable. The other two gangways on the lea side were now stove in, and the captain had to keep her before the wind to get the after on secure, and throw a portion of her freight which was on deck, to trim the boat. The officers were unable to secure the two forward gangways, and all the freight on the deck was washed over board.
The wind continued to increase in violence, accompanied with snow and hail, and after an attempt to keep her on her course proved unavailing, as the boat would not stir, they kept her before the wind as their only safety. About midnight the rudder unshipped, when the boat breached too. All the gangways were stove in, the guards around the stern torn up, and the boat filling with water. Shortly afterwards the fires were extinguished, and the boat fast going to pieces.
Capt. Alexander now finding that there was no hope of saving his vessel, ordered the three boats to be got ready for launching. The first boat was put in charge of PETER SHOEMAKER, formerly second officer of the Bucephalus, and in it DANIEL BROWN, Wheelsman; GEORGE RUPPERAUGH, HENRY WORENER, GEORGE SMITH, MICHAEL STEIN, and JACOB MARKS, deck hands. This boat was swung out preparatory to being let down, when one of the men in it cut the rope holding up the stern and all were thrown out and drowned.