The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Great Britain (Steamboat), collision, 1 Aug 1939

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STEAMBOAT ACCIDENT.---We learn that last evening, as the steamboat UNITED STATES was going out of port, she encountered the GREAT BRITAIN, or, the two boats struck each other, by which each were much injured. A large break was made in the UNITED STATES, and the GREAT BRITAIN lost most of her deck, insomuch that her boilers were left entirely bare. The UNITED STATES immediately returned to make repairs, and after a short time again put out, but after going about forty miles, she was obliged to return, on account of a great leakage and a strong headwind. ---- Rochester Democrat.
      Cleveland Daily Herald & Gazette
      Monday, August 12, 1839 p.3 cl.1

      . . . . .
      Accident on the Lake. - Last Friday morning about one o'clock, thesteamers UNITED STATES and GREAT BRITAIN, the former on her passage up, the latter on her passage down the lake, while on their regular trips between this place and Lewiston, came in contact while passing near the mouth of the Genesee River. The accident happened entirely through a misunderstanding, each boat, instead of keeping to the right as established by custom if not law, altered their course at the same time, and in the same direction -otherwise it could not have happened, as they were both apprised of eachother's approach when three quarters of a mile apart; and this will probably forever prevent a similar occurrence. As all manner of stories will be circulated by those interested in the other route, for the purpose of injuring this, we deem it proper to state, that although both boats were injured more or less, the STATES is already repaired and again on her regular trips, and the place of the BRITAIN is supplied by the COBOURG till such times as she be able to resume her course, which will probably be as early as tomorrow or the next day. This is the first accident that has occurred since the organization of this line to interrupt the regular tips, and as all who have tried this route have spoken of it in the highest terms, and given it a decided preference for comfort, expedition and economy, we have no idea this will prove any very serious drawback, all the bug-bear stories that may be put afloat to injure it to the contrary notwithstanding.
      Oswego County Whig
      Tuesday, August 13, 1839

Media Type:
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Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Damaged
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.15478 Longitude: -77.61556
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Great Britain (Steamboat), collision, 1 Aug 1939