The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Argus (Kingston, ON), Nov. 23, 1847

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The Buffalo papers give some particulars of a disastrous gale on Lake Michigan, on the 6th inst., which has caused not a few disasters. At Milwaukie, the brig Orleans, and schooner Cherokee, were in a perilous position, but escaped. The schooner Sam Hale was driven ashore at Southport; 12,000 bushels wheat on board will be a total loss. Vessel and cargo insured. Schooner Cleopatra from Southport, for Buffalo, with wheat, put into Milwaukie in a leaky state, but got out again, after stopping the leak. The Oneida from Cleveland, with a general cargo for Buffalo, went ashore and lies in about five feet water. Hope to get the vessel off without damage to cargo. The Propeller Princeton got into Chicago, with loss of one smoke-pipe. The schooner E. Morgan struck the schooner Ontonango, and damaged her considerably. The Brig Illinois is ashore at Twin Rivers, Michigan, nearly stripped, and would be abandoned as a total wreck.

The Buffalo Express gives the following account of the narrow escape of the steamer London, on Lake Erie, during the gale:-

"We learn from Capt. Willoughby, of the steamer London, that on Saturday night last, when the gale came on, he was off Rondeau, C.W., and made that port for safety. After making everything secure, as he supposed, with his best fastenings, the fires were put out, and the crew turned in, leaving only himself and mate on watch. The wind increased in force, and after a short time there came one gust that eclipsed all the rest, and broke her entirely from her moorings almost instantly. The wind, aided by a strong current, then swept her directly out of the mouth of the harbor into the Lake where the sea was lashed into a fury by the force of the winds. The boat was entirely at the mercy of the storm, as she had neither steam nor sails with which to work her out to sea or into port again. It was a perilous moment for the noble vessel, as every wave seemed of sufficient magnitude and power to swallow her up, but she stood it out most gallantly, until the force of the wind blew her on the shore. In the morning the storm abated, and the Captain ascertained that she was on a bar, with water enough to float her but a short distance over her bows, if she could only reach it. Her deck load was then thrown overboard, and by means of her anchors he hove her off again. It was a most fortunate escape, not only for the boat, but for the passengers, and to the cool judgement and intrepidity of Capt. Willoughby and his crew, are they greatly indebted for this preservation."

The Gale of Saturday - We learn from our Buffalo exchanges, that much damage was done to the sailing craft on Lake Erie. The steamer Canada was injured. The brig J.R. Giddings ran ashore, and threw her deckload of flour overboard. The schooner Gibson T. Williams came into collision with another vessel. The schooners George Watson and E.H. Scott came into contact, but both were saved. The brigs Maurice and Blossom have returned to port crippled; and it is reported that the propeller Independence has been lost on Lake Superior. [Colonist]


We regret to state that on the upward trip of this vessel from Montreal, she struck a

rock in the river near the entrance at this end of the Beauharnois Canal, which so seriously injured her bows as to fill the forward compartment with water and sink the steamer by her stem. She will be floated in a day or two, and probably put on the Railway here for repairs.

The Magnet is, we believe, divided into three compartments. Had the number been three times three, the probability is, that this accident would not have delayed her an hour, as the quantity of water admitted would have been comparatively trifling; nor would there have been any fear of the pressure breaking through the partitions.

In relation to this accident, a friend thus addresses us:

"Nothing can shew more plainly than the late accident to the Magnet steamer, that it will be utterly impossible to continue Lake and River Navigation from the upper Lakes to Montreal and Quebec; there must be transhipment somewhere, and that will evidently be where the greatest saving of time, labor and expense takes place.

Now when it is known that the greatest amount of freight which any of the Lake craft can proceed with from this point (Kingston) downwards, cannot exceed three or four thousand barrels of flour, while with three or four barges and a small but powerful Tug steamer we can convey in less time and at no greater expense, 10 or 12,000 barrels, we would like to be informed what can compete with us in this branch of the Forwarding Trade; in fact we can by this mode convey direct to Quebec a cargo large enough for the largest class ship entering their Port. It but remains, in our opinion, with those engaged in the trade here at this particular juncture, to render certain that which has hitherto been held in doubt, not by us, but by some of the respectable firms whose interests are more immediately affected."

Launch - On Saturday, the fine large Steam Freight Boat, built for Messrs. Gunn of Hamilton, was launched in splendid style, and called the Britannia. [St. Catharines Journal].

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Nov. 23, 1847
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Rick Neilson
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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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Argus (Kingston, ON), Nov. 23, 1847