The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
"This Sad and Melancholy Catastrophe:" Port Maitland, Ontario and the Wreck of the Troopship Commerce, 6 May 1850
Publication:
The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord (St. John's, NL), Jul 1998, p. 39-49


Description
Creator:
McIntyre, Kyle, Author
Media Type:
Text
Item Type:
Articles
Description:
The broadsheets and nautical journals of the mid-nineteenth century register shipwrecks with the same detachment that can be read in the daily traffic reports of a contemporary newspaper. The human elements in the events are downplayed and the material costs neatly summarized as insurance estimates. Yet in any tragedy it is precisely the human element, when investigated in detail, that awakens the imagination. Spans of history and geography shrink when in the narration of events one can glimpse courage and endurance, desperation and calamity.
This same spirit was shown in Canadian waters by the men of the Reserve Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers (23rd Foot), on a clear spring night in 1850. The troops were sailing on Lake Erie aboard the Canadian steamer Commerce, bound for Port Stanley, and thence garrison duty in London, Canada West. It was meant to be a routine trip for soldiers accustomed to shifting around the Empire. It became a journey interrupted by tragedy off Port Maitland, an event which touches the community even today.
Date of Publication:
Jul 1998
Date Of Event:
6 May 1850
Subject(s):
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.8239128129142 Longitude: -79.5640759882813
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.86681 Longitude: -79.56631
Copyright Statement:
Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rights holder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Copyright Holder:
Canadian Nautical Research Society
Recommended Citation:
The Northern Mariner/Le Marin du nord, VIII, No. 3 (July 1998), 39-49.
Contact
Canadian Nautical Research Society
"This Sad and Melancholy Catastrophe:" Port Maitland, Ontario and the Wreck of the Troopship Commerce, 6 May 1850
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"This Sad and Melancholy Catastrophe:" Port Maitland, Ontario and the Wreck of the Troopship Commerce, 6 May 1850


The broadsheets and nautical journals of the mid-nineteenth century register shipwrecks with the same detachment that can be read in the daily traffic reports of a contemporary newspaper. The human elements in the events are downplayed and the material costs neatly summarized as insurance estimates. Yet in any tragedy it is precisely the human element, when investigated in detail, that awakens the imagination. Spans of history and geography shrink when in the narration of events one can glimpse courage and endurance, desperation and calamity.
This same spirit was shown in Canadian waters by the men of the Reserve Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers (23rd Foot), on a clear spring night in 1850. The troops were sailing on Lake Erie aboard the Canadian steamer Commerce, bound for Port Stanley, and thence garrison duty in London, Canada West. It was meant to be a routine trip for soldiers accustomed to shifting around the Empire. It became a journey interrupted by tragedy off Port Maitland, an event which touches the community even today.