The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Colonist (Toronto, ON), March 20, 1846

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Buffalo Harbour - Great Damage to the Shipping.

March 14th - The following list will show the position of the various vessels that have been injured, and the extent of their damage, which was caused by the moving of the ice in the harbour, and its coming with great force against shipping.

The steamboat Indian Queen lies upon the reef abreast of the head of the Black Rock pier, nearly a mile and a half from the mouth of the harbour. The extent of damage done her, we could not ascertain.

The steamboat United States brought up in the ice, half a mile below the harbour. Her upper works are broken forward of the starboard wheelhouse - larboard davit, and part of the taffrail carried away.

The Wisconsin lies a short distance below the mouth of the harbour, with the larboard side of the upper cabin carried away, and the upper works of her starboard quarter much broken up.

The Lexington lies near the Wisconsin, but slightly injured.

The Chautaque makes up the trio, and is almost a total wreck. Every thing above the hull is broken up and ruined. The smoke pipe is nearly down - one shaft broken and gone, the flanges broken from the other, and the engine more or less injured. She presents a sad spectacle.

The Rochester lies in the creek where she was left by the ice. Her upper cabin, abaft the wheel houses, is much broken, and her bulwarks and stanchions are carried away forward.

The St. Louis was moored across the creek, opposite where the Rochester lies, and although not moved from her fastenings, was much exposed to the raking progress of the Wisconsin. The stanchions forward of the larboard wheel house, were nearly all taken out - the kitchen torn up, and the wheel houses and upper works in its vicinity much broken.

The Dole, which had been lying in the creek just above where the ice first struck the Wisconsin, was borne down, and now lies sunk nearly opposite the foot of Main street. She was useless before, but is now a most thorough wreck.

The brig Europe lies in the lake, near the steamboat United States, but slightly injured.

The brig Empire is just above the Europe - her bowsprit gone, and otherwise injured.

The brig Toledo was lying in the ship canal, with her jib-boom out in the stream, which was carried away.

The brig Maryland, in the creek, remained at her moorings, but lost her figure-head, cut-water, and breast hooks.

The brig Illinois is minus her figure-head, and pretty badly bruised.

The brig Hoosier had her figure-head, bowsprit, and head rails carried away.

The brig Osceola, windlass torn out, starboard bulwarks all off, and main rigging carried away.

The brig Globe had her main rigging carried away, and her rails broken.

The brig Toledo lost her jib boom, and slightly injured otherwise.

Schooners in the Lake.

The Martha Freme, Lexington, and Toledo, are in the ice, near the steamboat United States, having received but little injury.

The Marengo, outside, lost her bowsprit, had her bulwarks and rigging injured.

The Woodbridge, mainmast carried away, and bulwarks broken up.

The Henry M. Kinnee, bowsprit and davits gone.

The Conroy, bulwarks stove, and otherwise injured.

The Free Trader, slightly damaged.

The G.H. McWhorter, head gear all gone.

The Harriet Calvin, bulwarks broken, and otherwise broken up.

The Mariam passed in the crowd with but little damage.

The Barcelona lost her bowsprit, and had her starboard bulwarks swept clean.

The Dayton - bowsprit carried away and spars broken.

The Jane Louisa, of Ogdensburgh - main mast gone, and bulwarks stove.

The Rainbow lost her main mast, bulwarks, and bowsprit.

The Superior had her bulwarks all carried away.

Schooners In The Creek.

The Dolphin - starboard bulwarks all carried away, and otherwise damaged.

The Velocity - bowsprit and head gear all gone.

The Avenger had her foremast and bowsprit carried away, and bulwarks partially torn off.

The Milan had her taffrail broken away, and was damaged otherwise.

The United States was very much broken up and injured.

The Emlin had both masts carried away.

The Baltic had her windlass torn out, and shows rough usage otherwise.

The Daniel Webster lost her bowsprit, rudder, main boom, main gaff, and had her stern broken in.

The Vermont had her starboard bulwarks, her jib-boom, and main rigging all carried away.

The Adair is partially filled with water, and in a sinking condition.

The Stranger lost her figure-head, and other wise bruised.

The Huron had her fore and main rigging carried away.

The damage was not altogether confined to the shipping, as the appearance of some portion of the docks will show. Until the Rochester became fast, and the mast passed on and left her, it made a clean sweep of every moveable thing in front of the warehouses. The gallows frames, timbers, and hoisting wheels, in front of the warehouses occupied by C. Burnett, W. Churd, C. Hitchcock, Purdy & Co., Ward & Co., P. Purtec ? & Co., and Root & Lewit ?, were all swept away, and scattered in fragments along the dock.

Two canal boats, belonging to Ward & Co., were swept away. One has been found near Bird Island, and the other has probably gone down the river, or sunk.

The amount of damage done, it is very difficult to estimate, but that it is very considerable there is no doubt. Various estimates have been made, varying from $30,000 to $60,000, but not being competent judges, we will not venture an opinion as to the correctness of any of them.

Captain Whittaker, of the steamer United States, is making preparations to get up steam, and extricate his boat from the ice this afternoon. He will then tow the wrecks into port.

Yesterday afternoon, the Wisconsin was hauled up alongside the pier.

We are informed by those who are better judges of these things than we can be, that had the Wisconsin been more securely moored, this damage to our shipping might have been saved. She lay in the middle of the stream, presenting to the moving ice her whole bulk, and although she had both her heavy chain cables out, yet by many experienced persons she was deemed insecure, and serious apprehensions were entertained, and we understand expressed to her owner during Saturday, that she might be torn from her fastenings, and be the cause of damage below. [Buffalo Express]

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March 20, 1846
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Colonist (Toronto, ON), March 20, 1846