One of the finest steamers of the International Steamship Line was wrecked on the Wolves on Monday on her passage from St. John to Eastport. The following from the St. John Telegraph gives the particulars of the affair.
In reference to the disaster CAPT FIELD said that he was in the wheel house from the time the vessel left St. John until she struck. The fog was very thick and they made Lepreaux and ran pretty well by it, judging distance by the sound of the fog whistle. When clear of Point Leperaux he ran W by N for twenty two minutes when the course was changed to W 3-4N and run for forty five minutes, after which she was run W by N 1-4N.
The boat had not gone far on this course, and was running at full speed, when he saw the reef but a short distance ahead. He gave the signal to back, but the crank had not made half a revolution before she struck, forged ahead considerably on the reef and there remained fixed forward, settling away aft as she filled. She struck at ten minutes past eleven am. The passengers numbering about one hundred and twenty five or more, many of whom were women, got into the boat with little confusion and were sent ashore to the Island and the baggage soon followed. Then the officers and
crew set about saving what furniture and fixtures they could, while MR. BACON, the clerk, gathered up his papers and money and the Engineer drew the fires and blew the water out of the boilers to avoid an explosion.
While all this was going on the steam whistle was sounded constantly. A boat had also been dispatched for assistance and quite late in the afternoon met the BELLE BROWN near Eastport.
CAMPING OUT A sail was taken ashore and while some of the crew and passengers set about making a tent to accommodate the ladies, others busied themselves getting sofas, chairs, mirrors and other cabin furniture and fixtures either to the tent or some other place of safety on the shore. Even two horses were urged overboard and safely landed on the Island. Here it was feared all would have to spend the night and prospect was cheerless enough. The Captain,, himself, destroyed all the liquors in the saloon, and turkey, salmon, chicken tongue and crackers were sent ashore for those who were hungry. Water, however was scarce and some of the men had to bring it about a mile. Seldom have shipwrecked people camped on so uninviting a spot.
The eastern Wolf is one of a chain of three or more Islands which lie between Lepreaux and Grand Manan and are about four miles from one extremity to the other with ship channels between them. There is a lighthouse on the southwestern point of the chain and two families live on the Eastern Island. A passenger says: All the passengers behaved with the greatest courage and self possession, so little selfishness was manifested, so many noble traits were shown, that I shall ever have a better opinion of humanity.
CHIEF JUSTICE RITCHIE was quite prominent in his anxiety; to have the ladies saved first, and only one man was found who persisted in crowding himself into the first boatful of ladies. The officers have been zealous in their attention to the passengers – everything has been done for their comfort that could be done, and the captain was the last one to leave his post.
Towards nightfall the BELLE BROWN made her appearance and most of the passengers were safely transferred to her and those who desired it were provided with supper by the clerk, Mr. THOMPSON. Furniture, hawsers and other materials saved from the NEW ENGLAND were transferred to the BELLE BROWN and it was two o'clock this morning before she was loaded and ready to start for Eastport and St. Andrews.
From: Grand Manan Old Newspaper Articles: Susian Lambert