The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 13 Nov. 1818, page 2

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Tremendous gale on lake Michigan, and wreck of the Hercules

The following letter containing the melancholy information of the wreck of the Schr. Hercules, Capt. Church, was received a few days since, by express through the interior of the territory.

"Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Oct. 19 1818

"I have to communicate the painful intelligence of the loss of the schooner Hercules, with every person on board. She sailed from this port on the evening of the 2d instant, and was wrecked near the head of the lake, during one of the most dreadful gales of wind within the recollection of the oldest inhabitants of this country. It came on early on the morning of the third, and continued to rage with unremitting violence until the evening of the fourth, when it in some measure subsided, and the lake became more calm. But no information of the schr. could be obtained until the evening of the ninth, when her untimely fate was communicated by a party of Ottawa Indians from grand River, and confirmed by the production of several articles they had picked upon their way, known to have belonged to her, together with a scale, recollected as the property of Lieut. Eveleth, of the corps of Engineers, the only passenger on board. On the morning of the 10th, I detached Lieut. Dean, in company with Mr. Dean, agent for the contractor at this post, in search of the dead bodies, and to obtain, if possible , a more circumstantial account of the melancholy event. They returned last evening, and report that they found the remains of one of the unfortunate sufferers only, and that in a situation not to be identified; that the shore was literally strewed with the fragments of the vessels, from twelve to fifteen miles in length; that the main-mast must have been cut away during the gale and remained entire; and the fore-mast broken in several pieces. But no information could be gained of the hull, nor could they recover any of the lost property, except an old uniform coat of Lieut. Eveleth's, two handkerchiefs, and a part of his flute, and some articles of no value belonging to the vessel which they took from an indian canoe. The Ottawas, who are the only Indians that have made any report on the subject, state that the Potawatamies, a band of whom reside near the fatal spot, carried off every article of value they could lay their hands upon, that one party, loaded with the spoil, have gone down the Illinois, and another in the direction of the Wabash. This statement is corroborated by the fact, that the Potawatamies from that quarter were previously in the habit of visiting us almost daily, and not one of them has since made his appearance at this post.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major U.S.Army
Major General MACOMB

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Column 3
Date of Original:
13 Nov. 1818
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 13 Nov. 1818, page 2