The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ogdensburg (Propeller), collision, 20 Aug 1852

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OGDENSBURGH Propeller, damaged in collision with Steamer ATLANTIC off Long Point L. E., in which the ATLANTIC was sunk, a total loss with about 200 lives lost. Damage to the OGDENSBURGH $2,500.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      Dec. 25, 1852 (casualty list)

      . . . . .

      S T E A M E R A T L A N T I C S U N K.
      O V E R 200 L I V E S L O S T.
      ( by the O'Reilly Line.)
      At 2 o'clock this morning the steamer ATLANTIC came into collision with the propeller OGDENSBURGH, about 6 miles above Long Point. The steamer ran across the bows of the propeller, striking her forward of her wheel on the larboard.
      The propeller's engine had been reversed some ten minutes before the collision -- the steamer continued on her course until she had run some 3 miles from the place of contact before her engine was stopped, which was caused by the water extinguishing her fire.
      As soon as the damage of the propeller was ascertained and fixed she started for the steamer and found her sinking very fast.
      The lake was covered for miles with floating fragments and persons clinging for life.
      Every exertion to save the sufferers was resorted to, but we have no doubt a great number were drowned.
      The Clerk of the ATLANTIC did not save his trip sheet, and therefore cannot tell how many are lost. He judges there was from 500 to 600 passengers on board. A large portion of whom were emigrants. The propeller picked up and took from the wreck, some over 200. It is impossible to say how many are lost. A man is now gathering the names of those saved.
      Further Particulars From The Wreck.
      The steamer SULTANA left Erie about noon today, for Cleveland with, it is said, some two hundred persons saved from the wreck of the ATLANTIC. She will reach Cleveland about 5 or 6 o'clock tonight, and it will be impossible to procure the names of those saved until then.
      Capt. Petty, Clerk and First mate are known to be saved. Seven of the crew are reported lost. The Steward was not on board, but his assistant was lost.
      The Express Messenger was saved. The Company lost all their goods and about $30,000 in specie.
      A. W. Bedell, of this city, agent of the Lake Ontario route, is reported lost.
      George Dana, head waiter, is also reported lost.
      There was a dense fog at the time, which is supposed to be the cause of the disaster. The fog was so dense that the steamer CLEVELAND had to cast anchor.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, August 20, 1852

      . . . . .

      An inquest was held this morning before the coroner on the bodies of those who had been taken ashore, when the following evidence was taken:
      De Grass McNeil, sworn -- I am First mate of propeller OGDENSBURGH. I commenced my watch at midnight. About half past one saw the steamer. She had a light aloft and two white lights at the center and another signal light in front of the wheel house. When I first saw her she was probably three miles distant. We were steering for the Welland Canal, and I judge from her course that we should pass a half mile south of her, upon nearing her, she appeared to have changed her course, and to be making across our bows. I now ordered our engines stopped. It was about ten minutes before the collision seeing that we were likely to strike together. I ordered the engine to back, and the wheel to be put hard a-starboard. I shouted as hard as I could.
      Our whistle was out of order. In about two minutes we struck the bow of our vessel between the forward gang-way and the wheel-house on the larboard side. I did not see or hear any person on board the steamer. When we struck we had nearly stopped. The ATLANTIC was under full headway. After ascertaining that our vessel would not sink we went to her relief, although we did not see any signal of distress or hear her bell ring, but on nearing we heard the cry of persons on board and in the water. We came up to her in an hour. Her lights had disappeared and her bow under water. her stern was in sight, we came alongside and took off all the persons who had remained on her till now. Our boats were engaged in picking up those who were in the water. We afterwards made a circle of a mile in circumference around the wreck, keeping the boats inside the circle and we think we got on board all the living persons in the water and on the steamer. We took probably 200 from the steamer and one hundred from the lake. The ATLANTIC remained in the same position when we left her.
      Questioned by a Juror. -- If you had given the order to the man at the wheel five minutes sooner, would the collision have taken place.
      Answer -- It probably would not.
      The above is all we received up to the hour of going to press.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, August 21, 1852
      . . . . .

      The injuries to the OGDENSBURGH were repaired so that she left Erie for Ogdensburg on Saturday morning. She was in the Welland Canal on Sunday.
      Buffalo daily Republic
      Thursday, August 26, 1852

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Reason: collision
Lives: 200
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
William R. McNeil
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Ogdensburg (Propeller), collision, 20 Aug 1852