Great Western (Steamboat), collision, 8 Aug 1842
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Steamboat Collision - We are indebted to the passengers of the GREAT WESTERN
arrived this morning from Chicago, for the following statement of an unfortunate collision between that boat and the ILLINOIS, which occured on the morning of the 8th inst., about 2:00, on Lake Michigan. From the statement of the writer it would seem that the ILLINOIS was in fault, but we are slow to believe any officer on board of that noble boat would designedly by guilty of wrong intention.
The ILLINOIS was bound to Chicago; and when about 8 miles south of Manitou Light, she ran into the GREAT WESTERN on her larboard bow, carrying away a portion of her bulwark, bowsprit, cutwater and figure head, and split her stem.
The shock was violent. Capt. Douglas of the brig VIRGINIA, who was standing at the time on the hurricane deck of the WESTERN by the wheel, was thrown over the rail by the force of the blow and landed on the prominade deck. Fearing severe consequences from the collision he sprung upon the ILLINOIS and there remained. Had the blow been received by the GREAT WESTERN amidships she would in all probability have gone to the bottom, the crush was so great.
It is not as yet known with certainty how the collision originated; but it appears from what was learned of those who witnessed the scene, that the WESTERN was on her proper course passing to the right, and that on the appoach of the two boats, she headed off her course 3 or 4 points to avoid the ILLINOIS. The ILLINOIS rounded to at an angle of about 45 degrees, striking the WESTERN with her starboard bow. The point at which the WESTERN received the blow (about 4 ft. from her cutwater on her larboard bow) and the position of the two boats after the collision (being alongside and both headed to the Michigan shore) indicates pretty strongly that the WESTERN was running in the proper direction.
The collision carried great alarm among the passengers, even being thrown from their berths; but no personal injury was sustained. On exanination of the WESTERN it has been ascertained that she will be able to perform her regular return time up the Lakes.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
August 11, 1842
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- Reason: collision
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- William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes