The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Manitoba (Steamboat), aground, 11 Jul 1872


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" WRECK OF THE MANiTOBA "
      The fine new steamer, "MANITOBA," of the Sarnia and Lake Superior line, was wrecked on Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior on Thursday the II th. inst. A correspondent of the Mail gives the following account of the accident.
      The accident occurred a few minutes past noon. The ship was, I should think, going at about half speed, say five miles an hour. The first officer, Mr. McNab, was standing at the bow peering intently into the fog. The Captain was standing on the middle of the forward deck; Mr.Lammour, of the Grand Trunk Railway, was
standing on his right, and Mr. Miller of Detroit, on his left. They were all looking in the same direction, and all at the same time saw the rocks, which though they stood up thirty or forty feet high within a very few feet of the shore, had not been discovered until the boat was within her own length of them. The Captain instantly rang the bell that the engine might be reversed, and it was reversed; but it had only made a reversed revorution and
a half when she struck vvith a tremendous crash, the effect of which was heightened by the fact that one of the waiters at the moment was bringing a tray to the table with about seventy glass tumblers on it , which were dashed into atoms on the cabin floor.
      The after part of the vessel, on which I happened to be at the time that she struck, seemed at first to rise up and then to settle down deeply, and the impression was that she had gone upon a sunken rock, had either split or broken in two and was sinking.
      Not a shriek was uttered; there was no indication of any wild excitement , and yet every one felt that we were in imminent danger. It is impossible to conceive anything more admirable in fact than the conduct of the passengers, at a moment when they really did not know but that the next the waters of Superior would be washing over them. You may depend on it, however, that everyone breathed more freely when it was ascertained that her head was fast upon a rock which was scarcely covered with water, and that she lay about one half of her length alongside a bare rock which was almost within jumping distance from her deck.
      In a moment the Captain was seen in the water wading round her bow, endeavouring to ascertain the extent of the damage that she had sustained, and the chance which her position offered for getting her off. Then commenced a series of almost superhuman efforts upon the part of the Captain, officers and crew to rescue her from her perilous condition; for though she lay safely enough so long as the weather remained calm. it was felt that in the event of a heavy blow from the south or the southeast, her position would be dangerous in the extreme. Trees were felled, hugh logs were drawn from the wood, and in an incredibly short time a powerful derrick was constructed, and everything done that could be done with the appliances at their disposal, to so far lift her head as to enable her engine to draw her back into the water, but though these exertions were continued until a late hour in the night, no real progress had been made.
      The Passengers retired as soon as the efforts to get her off had been given up. All slept on board. Early in the morning all were stirririg, and as soon as breakfast was over most of the passengers went ashore, and the efforts of the previous day were renewed. But it became more and more evident every hour, that, without assistance, notwithstanding the energy and ingenuity which were called into requisition, all must prove unavailing.
      The calm determination of the noble Captain won golden opinions from everyone who witnessed his self-denying exertions, but it was felt that he was contending against odds too great for him to possibly succeed.
      You can easily imagine, therefore, the feelings of the passengers, though, perhaps, no one who has not been in similar circumstances can realize the feeling of the Captain, when the ship had been nearly 24 hours in this perilous position, that is to say at about eleven o'clock on the I2th. inst. a vessel was seen in the distance apparently making directly for the ship in distress. The whistle of the MANITOBA was blown, and before the sound could be heard the vigilant eye of the captain of the CUMBERLAND had discerned the steam.
As soon as he came near enough he answered the whistle, and about noon, or shortly after the CUMBERLAND lay immediately astern of the MANITOBA, prepared to do all in her power to render her the assistance required. But it was not until about thirty hours had been spent in apparently fruitless effort that she at length succeeded in drawing her off. It was after six O'clock on Saturday the I5th. that she was again afloat. But though not one of her timbers except the external keel had been shattered or displaced, her skin had been
too badly torn about the bow to keep her with her own pumps long from sinking. she was there taken into a little bay, about a quarter of a mile distant and allowed to fill and settle down in about eight or nine feet of water at her bow and twelve at her stern..
      Meaford Monitor
      Thursday July 25,1872



Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
1872
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.22601
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Manitoba (Steamboat), aground, 11 Jul 1872