Page 1

No.10

NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY

SPRING 1978


Whya Mercedes-Benz doesn't lose its dignity on sharp curves, in panic stops or on washboaro roads. ¡1

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':Wllll-- - + - - -

Independent vertical wheel action. The spring action of one rear wheel --z'.11~"'""' fiill' / "- -?"'°"'~~.z..+- The differential is mounted to the + - - - - - + does not affect the other. Each wheel body through the axle carrier. This can adhere to its road surface. reduces the unsprung weight, providing a better ride.

H - - - - + Constant-velocity couplings in the

axle shafts transmit torque evenly while permitting each wheel to move independently. These couplings operate quietly and without vibration.

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c Mercedes-Benz 1977

n 1931 Mercedes-Benz engineers Iperformance launched a new era of driving comfort, and safety by introducing 4-wheel independent suspension. For the next 46 years they continued to modify and improve this revolutionary concept in the quest of perfection. Their achievements are reflected in the new Mercedes-Benz automobiles of today. Surer grip of the road Four-wheel independent suspension put the automobile on the road to greater safety. For the first time every wheel of a passenger car could adapt to rough road surfaces without losing a sure grip. And since the wheels acted independently, if one encountered a soft shoulder or pothole, the remaining three wheels could handle the annoyance with greater safety than was ever before possible. Handle bumps without jostle In 1954 Mercedes-Benz introduced single-joint swing axles to passenger cars. This gave the driver a surer feel of the road. It also let a Mercedes-Benz step nimbly, up and over brutal bumps and around tight curves with much less transmitted vibration. In 1961 air suspension with automatic level adjustment was engineered into the 300 SE sedans. It eliminated even more vibration and added an even

smoother ride. In 1968 diagonal-pivot swing rear axles with four constantvelocity couplings were designed in to keep that smooth ride constant. Then in 1972 Mercedes-Benz introduced zero-offset steering on the front suspension of the 450 Series sedans. This helped straight-line tracking under heavy braking conditions and provided more precise steering control in emergencies like blowouts. The suspension of the future It's the ingeniously engineered hydropneumatic suspension on all four wheels of the Mercedes-Benz 6.9. It gives the driver a level of control almost unmatched by any other 4-door sedan. It provides exceptional stability, even on curves or dirt roads laced with potholes. Why does Mercedes-Benz go to all this trouble just to keep four wheels on the road? Simple: The engineers believe their job is to advance the state of the automotive art. They continually strive to find better ways to make a Mercedes-Benz even easier to drive. So the driver has more time to keep his mind on the road ahead. Fatigue is reduced by blessing him with an absence of vibration, bouncing, swaying and undue noise. Safety first All cars surround you with safety belts. A Mercedes-Benz also surrounds you

with an additional belt of safety: a unitized steel protected passenger shell which is designed to help absorb impact energy. In an unavoidable accident situation a Mercedes-Benz is designed to crumple progressively. For exampleon impact the forward subframe can absorb shock by gradually closing like a metal accordion. All in all a Mercedes-Benz surrounds you with over 100 safety featuresmost of which you 'll probably never notice or need. But they're there-just in case. Engineered like no other car in the world People give many reasons for choosing a Mercedes-Benz. But the company's aim in designing and constructing them is doggedly single-minded. It is to build safe, comfortable, practical cars-with as few imperfections as possible. This philosophy puts engineering ahead of petty economies and precludes the mass production of inexpensive cars. It allows little room for compromise or for shortcuts; just the pursuit of engineering excellence. A Mercedes-Benz is engineered like no other car in the world.

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No.10

SPRING 1978

l LETTERS

3 IN CLIO'S CAUSE, by Lance Lee 6 A PECULIAR NOTE OF ROMANCE, by Peter Stanford

EDITOR'S LOG

9 STEAM NAVIGATION ON THE HUDSON, by Conrad Milster

13 HISTORIC STEAMERS IN THE NORTHEAST, by Norman Brouwer 14 THE FIRST AND LAST VOYAGE OF THE ST. MARY,

by Sanford Hart Low with Peter Throckmorton

19 MERCHANT MARINE OFFICER EDUCATION, by Ray Heitzmann 22 SAN FRANCISCO BAY TUGBOA TING, by Barbara Fetesoff 25 OIL AND FISHERMEN, by Michael & Susan Cohn 26 THE BLACK HERITAGE IN SEAFARING, by Michael Platzer 28 SHIP AND SEAPORT NOTES

31 MARINE ART: ARTHUR BRISCOE, by Alex A . Hurst 36 BOOKS 41 THE SHIP THAT RAN AGAINST CONGRESS,

by Richard Sanders Allen A SHIP TRUST COMMITTEE inside back cover SEA HISTORY is the journal of the National Maritime Historical Society, an educational, tax-exempt membership organization devoted to furthering the understanding of our maritime heritage. OFFICES are at 2 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY I 1201; at the San Francisco Maritime Museum, Foot of Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; and Suite 643, 151 I K Street, Washington, D.C. 20005. MEMBERSHIP is invited and should be sent to the Brookl yn office: Sponsor, $1 ,000; Patron, $100; Regular , $10; Student or Retired , $5. OFFICERS & TRUSTEES: Chairman: Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech , Jr., USN (ret.); President: Peter Stanford; Vice Presidents: Karl Kortum, John Thurman; Secretary: Alan G. Choate; Trustees: Frank 0. Braynard, Norman J . Brouwer, Robert Carl, Alan G. Choate, Harold D. Huycke, Karl Kortum, Edward J. Pierson, Kenneth D. Reynard, Walter F. Schlech, Jr., Howard Slotnick, Peter Stanford, John N. Thurman, Shannon Wall, Barclay H. Warburton, III, Charles Wittholz; President Emeritus: Alan D. Hutchinson. ADVISORY COUNCIL: Chairman: Frank 0. Braynard , New York Harbor Festival; George Campbell, American Museum of

Natural History; Frank G. G. Carr, Cutty Sark Society; Harry Dring, San Francisco Maritime Historic Park; Richard GooldAdams, Great Britain Restoration; Robert G. Herbert; Melvin H. Jack son, Smithsonian Institution; R. C. Jefferson; John Kemble, Pomona College; Rick Miller; Conrad Milster, Prall Institute, NY; Robert Murphy; John Noble, artist; Capt. David E. Perkins, USCG (ret.); Ralph L. Snow, Bath Marine Museum; Albert Swanson , Commonwealth of Massachusells; Peter Throckmorton; Alan Villiers, seaman author; Admiral John M. Will, USN (ret.); Alen York, Antique Boal & Yacht Club. SEA HISTORY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Timothy G . Foote, Time, Inc., Oliver Jen sen, American Heritage, Karl Kortum, San Francisco Maritime Museum; Clifford Lord , New Jersey Historical Society; J. Roy McKechnie, Gallagher Group, Inc.; Robert A. Weinstein. SEA HISTORY STAFF Editor, Peter Stanford; Managing Editor, Norma Stanford ; Associate Editors, Norman J . Brouwer, Francis J. Duffy, Ted Miles, Maryanne Murphy, Albert Swanson ; Advertising Sales, David 0. Durrell; Circulation, Jo Meisner; Membership, Marie Lore. Copyright © 1978 by the National Maritime Historical Society.

The heritage of the steamer Alexander Hamilton, which sank at her Atlantic Highlands pier in a November storm, is taken up in three articles in this issue. This includes a list of surviving vessels of her general class. In our next we hope to report progress toward a maritime cultural center on the Hudson, where that heritage may be entered into and enjoyed by all. From the other side of the pier the Hamilton sank at, equipment for the Second Falkland Islands Expedition was loaded aboard a ship of the ever-helpful U.S. Navy a few weeks later, for transport south to those storm-beaten islands where sailing ships smashed up off Cape Horn took refuge. Under our sponsorship, the remains of the St. Mary, whose loss in the Falklands in I 890 is recounted in this issue, will be recovered (see "Ship and Seaport News"). Your Society announces, on the back cover of this issue, a Ship Trust Committee to focus efforts to avert such calamity as fell upon the Hamilton, and to bring public attention and support to such projects as the recovery of historic ships and artifacts from the Falkland Islands. At our Ninth Annual James Monroe seminar, held last fall aboard the Peking in South Street Seaport Museum, Captain Irving Johnson spoke of his sailing in that great ship, and marveled that men could with their hands drive such a vessel with her cargo through the sea. With their hands, and with something else. It's that something else we must keep in life for this generation, and generations of man to come. SEA HISTORY is the journal of a cause in motion. A ship, if you will, with a voyage to make. All hands who care for our sea heritage are needed on that voyage.

COVER: The Alexander Hamilton, last of the Hudson River paddlewheelers, carried on a proud tradition in grand style. Painting by William G. Muller.

NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY NEW YORK

WASHINGTON , D . C.

SAN FRANCISCO


National Maritime Union of America, AFL-CIO Shannon J. Wall, President

Mel Barisic, Secretary-Treasurer

National Headquarters: 346 W. 17th St., New York, N.Y. 10011 Offices in major port cities on all coasts and overseas


LETTERS In Memoriam: John Lyman John Lyman, founding Trustee and Advisor to the National Society, departed this life November 17, after a brief illness. He is missed by his many friends, whose hearts go out to his wife Mitchell and his family. To the Editor: Many of us with an interest in maritime history are saddened at the news of the death of John Lyman, whose contributions to the field were so great. After Naval service in World War ll , John moved from Ca li fornia to Washington and a job at the H ydrographic Office . Already wellk nown to me throu gh his scholarl y articles in The American Neptune, Pacific Marine Review and other journals, I was delighted to meet him at the Smithsonian in 1947. From 1948 to 1959 he published a little monthly magazine called Log Chips as a means of dissemin ati ng data such as launching lists, which otherwise would never get into print, and much else, the product of his industry and brilliant mind. I have probably consu lted it since more than any book 1 have. Notwithstanding his many interests which ranged rather far afie ld , John was always glad to answer requests for information, which in most cases he was able to supply from his own extensive library. H e was of great assistance to me on more than one occasion. It is not often one meets so intelligent and generous a person yet so modest, and we shall miss him . ANDREW NESDALL Waban, Massachusetts To the Editor: John Donne was ri ght. "No man," he said, " is an island. Every man's death diminishes all of mankind." How greatly we are impoveris hed by the loss of our friend, John Lyman. He taught much to each person he touched . He shared his great knowledge easil y, gracefu ll y. Those who benefited by his friendship will each comment on his qualities they cherished most. John Lyman was fortunate. He learned to value the es teem of his friends and his colleagues; accolades richl y deserved. The warmth of appreciation surrounding him reinforced his labors and energized him. How else can we understand the encyclopedic quantity of his contributions. The hori zo n of John Lyman's inquiry was limitless. Everything interested him , nothing casually. His attention was ever serious, detailed a nd thoughtful. The hallmark s of his work were the scholar's

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

thoroughness and the dedicated passion of the true amateur, the "lover," a definition of th e word too often ignored presently. He was ge nerous with hi s gifts, ignoring no requ est for his help . No request of mine was ever disdained or put off. Not once, even though to a workma n so occupied they co uld only have been interruptions or unnecessary distractions. His loya lt y to his co-workers and his devotion to the needs of hi s friend s was unflagging. Now that it, a nd he, are both gone we are shattered. His many contributions in his several fields multiplied his value to his fellows and marked him, now in memory, as an uncommon man . How much we depended on correspondence with him, relying on his immense knowledge and his gracious willingness to help . It is painful to ack nowledge his leavetaking. His loss cannot be reckoned adequately. I cannot assess it now . To all who make use of his labors we ask: remember him into time. He has more than earned our grat itude. ROBERT A. WEINSTEIN Los Angeles, California The White Swan To the Editor: The wreck of the beautiful "white swan of the Hudson" capped a long series of incidents connected with the steamboat Alexander Hamilton. She was at South Street Museum, but the museum just did not have the funds to support her, let alone do any of the needed improvements. She moved from hand to hand, each time losing more of her priceless artifacts and going downphysically. Her wreck in a severe storm at a Navy pier at Sandy Hook might almost have been anticipated. It shows how vital it is to have a national policy of steamboat preserva tion-not just sail but steam must be preserved. FRANK 0 . BRA YNARD Chairman, Op Ship New York, New York " ... but what a river!" To the Editor: Should it be argued that the Alexander Hamilton is only a river steamer, one has only to answer " but what a river!" And let it not be forgotten that the rivers were essentially the arteries through which flowed the life-blood of American enterprise, enriched by the wealth of American genius. They were also the inland extensions of the seas, those universal highways across which came the pioneers in ships who founded the United States of America. They

came from all the great seafaring peoples of the earth and brought with them the traditions that make the American maritime heritage the richest in the world. In that heritage I see the Alexander Hamilton as a particularly bright jewel, too precious by far ever to be lost; and I hope with all my heart that the means to save her will be found. FRANK G . G . CARR London, England

Mr. Carr's and Mr. Braynard 's letters are but two of many that marked the sinking of the Alexander Hamilton, reported in this issue. Both are advisors of the National Society and active in the campaign to save the White Swan of the Hudson.-ED. Keep it Up? To the Editor: I was certainly pleased with my visit to the Calvert Maritime Museum, which I learned of through your pages . It took SEA HISTORY to tell me about this. I can't do without you people, that is for sure! I am terribly sorry to hear about the setback with the Alexander Hamilton. I know you people don't like to give one up, but don't let such disasters sink SEA H !STORY, because a lot of people depend on you. E LISABETH MILLER MARTEL Philadelphia, Pennsylvania To the Editor: The current iss ue is splendid; just wonder if you can kee p it up . I hugely re-enjoyed Glencannon. How well I recall reading the story when it first appeared. Hope there' ll be more. Please don't take the time to reply; use it instead on your next issue. P . S. de BEAUMONT Worthington, Massachusetts

We hope to keep it up, and get better. The support received in each day's mail is a great encouragement to all who work on the National Society's projects-ED. USS Monitor In Robert Sheridan's careful and exciting report in our last issue, we neglected to say how readers can learn more of this project. They can do so by applying to: John Newton, Director Monitor Research and Recovery Foundation Box 1862 Beaufort, North Carolina 28516 Associate Membership is $25, and members are kept in touch through a quarterly newsletter.


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IN CLIO'S CAUSE

Why Educate by Building Wooden Boats? By Lance R. Lee

"We must afford the next generation more than passive participation in order to overcome a disenchantment with the quality of life. "

The arts and craftsmanship are of high cultural value for a single reason. They inspire. Such inspiration is not an accident; it is the result or yield of the spiritual qualities in the artist or craftsman. That spirit is comprised of the care, verve and pride of achievement of the individual, qualities wrought by the art, the skill, the demands of materials and process. Art takes on an inspiring quality from the artist. Equally true is that individuals, artists, are imbued with such qualities, such spirit, by the practice of their art. This vital, but elusive, fund-the human spirit-must be sustained. We may conquer need, discrimination, intolerance and even discomfort. But if we do all of this and ignore the human spirit, we will live in a superficial abundance which breeds discontent. Inspiring ourselves and our children must be one of the ends toward which we strive. Education must perform this service; let us shape our learning to the end required. Let us inspire the next generation through the practice of a demanding discipline which engages the head, hands and the heart. Doing this will be nurturing the whole individual. We will be sustaining the care, pride and spirit of a culture . We will be retaining an art otherwise all too likely to perish in our enthusiasm for attaining the shapes and forms of expedience without the spirit and feeling of those shapes. Let us go on building small wooden boats then, not for the objects and not for the process, but for the qualities to be nurtured in the practitioners of an art. To say that this is impractical, that it is too expensive or time consuming, is to respond to our wants and ignore our

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

needs. It is to recognize the apparent rather than the real cost, which is to the human spirit and qualities. But this cost can be quantified now. The rise in crime, cost of crime prevention, courts and institutionalization, costs of poor mental health, drug abuse, alienation and school drop-out rates are each addressed through rising taxation. We must afford the next generation more than passive participation in order to overcome a disenchantment with the quality of life. We must immerse that generation in a process which sustains the spirit, involves the mind and exercises the hands. Small wooden boat building can afford us this process, this education, this inspiration and thus deepened qualities of man and womanhood.

MR. LEE is founder and director of the Apprenticeshop at the Bath Marine Museum. This remarkable endeavor took root in the fall of 1972, when a group concerned with keeping the "hands-on" learning of the Maine boa/builders outfitted a workshop that produces traditional craft by traditional methods. Their work has been an inspiration to many others, and a fine set of publications on it is available at modest cost from The Apprenticeshop, 375 Front Street, Bath, Maine 04530. Contributions to support this work, which does so much for us all, are welcome, and help more people enter into this deep-seated and challenging learning which the world cannot afford to lose.


LETTERS A Museum Born Aboard a Tug To the Editor: One of the tugs listed in SH 8 holds particular memories for me. It was on board the steam tug Clyde B. Holmes, formerly the John Wanamaker of the City of Philadelphia, that we held the first and founding board meeting of Trustees of the Atwater Kent Museum. This was in Philadelphia, on a trip on the Delaware River in 1936. The Atwater Kent Museum was established in the old Franklin Institute, built in 1836. It is dedicated to the history of Philadelphia and was given by my father to the city. I have served as its president since the founding, so I have particularly fond memories of the Wanamaker, as she was when I knew her . ATWATER KENT, JR . Wilmington, Delaware

The 'Aiyassa To the Editor: I am preparing a proposal for a complete, scholarly documentation of the lateen-rigged Nile River commercial sail-

Needed: a Texas Navy! To the Editor: We need help to stop petrochemical interests from taking over the last 4,000 feet of uncommitted frontage on Galveston Bay in or near Houston. Though flanked on both sides by long established and still expanding residential communities, two big outfits have permit requests in and construction crews at the ready to take over this frontage in the heart of the Houston recreational boating area . We have seen the impressive accomplishments of Baltimore's Inner Harbor in rejuvenating their waterfront and making it an asset to the life of the city. We know similar rejuvenation and development is going on in New York, Boston and other cities. Now is the time, we feel, to let people know that even here in Texas, coastal lands are not an unlimited resource. Just as with oil and gas, we're running out and it makes no sense to do a thing today we shall be clamoring to undo in as little as 5 or IO years. I and others interested in the sea heritage and future of this great port city feel that the Bay frontage, which is now about to be closed to people, should be devoted to a marina, launching ramps, parks, fishing piers, a museum and other marine-oriented facilities. RUFUS G. SMITH La Porte, Texas

ing boats called 'aiyassa, and the people who build and sail them. The study should be nautically competent first of all, under the umbrellas of anthropology, lexicography and socioeconomics. I am not an expert in any of these fields, and my role is simply to help initiate and draw up the project, get the team and get it funded-and most important, to set up early safeguards against the pitfalls you have described in SEA HISTORY . Several Egyptians who share among them knowledge and talents in architecture, language study, anthropology, and nautical experience are interested. The next step 'is to find an American scholar who could be principal investigator, perhaps not as resident, but as advisor. The eventual team, and timing, will depend upon the talents that can be attracted. While there is only one scholarly article (1921) on these boats, there is a work published only a year ago that is a splendid example of nautical research, whose subject is the lateen Swiss cousin of these Nile boats (Les Barques du Leman, Ger.ard Cornaz, Grenoble, 1976). I would appreciate suggestions concerning project formation, published scholarly studies on traditional working boats in other parts of the world (as library resources are lacking here) that might serve as models, or names of scholars and mariners whom I might contact. MARY DUNGAN MEGALLI Cairo, Egypt

We understand there is a short fuse on this situation and urge concerned readers to address letters to Mr. Smith at 1612 Roscoe Street, La Porte, Texas 77571, or through SEA HISTORY. We hope to report progress on this issue in our next-if the issue is still open.-ED. 4

The True Glory To the Editor: As author of the book Glory of the Seas, the history of Donald McKay's last clipper ship, I was present at India House for the launching of the book. Glory's figurehead graces the head of the staircase at India House, and I was shown some of the exhibits pertaining to Glory of the Seas; however, no mention was made of the builder's model there which is supposedly from Glory (see page 52 of The Marine Collection at India House, second edition). On page IO of my book is a photograph of a builder's model at Mariners Museum which according to Richard C. McKay, author of Some

Famous Ships and Their Builder Donald McKay, is the actual builder's model.

Those having an inters! in this project are invited to be in touch with Ms. Mega/Ii through SEA HISTORY. We have suggested some sources. -ED.

Which is the real builder's model? We need help to verify the source of both models, and the basis for establishing the true one as the model for Glory of

the Seas. MICHAEL JAY MJELDE Bremerton, Washington Buccaneer: It Wouldn'I Hurt to Try! To the Editor: The Gloucester schooner Buccaneer, reported sunk and raised again in the fall SH, is in sorry condition. Despite this, she is still the most beautiful ship in Pensacola! She is completely flooded and rests on the mud with the deck about 18 inches above water level. The deckhouse is smashed , the spars have been sawed off, the low side railings are gone from the starboard side leaving great openings that expose the frames . 1 was all over her-no one was around so 1 took the liberty to go on board. 1 can't see that anything is being done to save her. 1 wish 1 could do something. She is the last of many of her type that used to sail this coast. 1 suppose money is the main stumbling block in her restoration. But 1 see nothing happening to even raise this. Everyone that l have talked to around here knows of her and speaks rather fondly of her but 1 can feel an underlying attitude from these people: "There really is nothing that can be done, so why bother?" 1 am getting in touch with the State Historical Society , and am thinking of volunteering to do whatever 1can-! can certainly spend every Sunday doing anything that needs doing. Maybe even Saturdays too! One idea 1 had was getting a few people together, dress them in sailor outfits and sing sea songs at local flea markets or wherever there are gathe1ings of people, to collect donations to be used in her restoration. We

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


should have some sort of pictorial display too-maybe a model of her to show the people. I'd like to do this. I can strum a guitar and play the dulcimer. With a small group of people to cover me up I don't sound too bad singing, and I am familiar with sea songs. And I can put together some sort of display of pictures (drawings, photos, etc.) of the ship, plus nautical gear. it wouldn't hurt to try, and these are things I can do. I'm also thinking that with such a large naval population here, and such a maritime heritage, that there should be no lack of interest and helpful people. JOHN C. GILLIAN Pensacola, Florida

To these life-bringing ideas we say Amen, and we have suggested some other people in Florida who might help. We hope others will respond.-ED. Employment in Maritime History To the Editor: I wonder if there is any way that a central clearinghouse for maritime studies employment opportunities could be set up, through such organizations as the National Society and The North American Society for Oceanic History, perhaps. It is very difficult to learn of such positions. They must come vacant from time to time, even though there is a large pool of talent to fill them. What do you think might be the possibility of setting up such a central service, either through a magazine like yours, a newsletter like that of the NASOH, or other organ? LINDA M. MALONEY Columbia, South Carolina

We at/empt lo maintain a file of jobs and applicants in the field and are glad lo learn of both. We're going lo see what we can do lo coordinate this with NASOH.-ED. SH Reprints To the Editor: SEA HISTORY far surpasses all the periodicals in its field. One interesting article we'd like particularly to reprint in our Binnacle is Professor Sheridan's report on the USS Monitor in your last. May we do so? ABRAHAM TAUBMAN, Secretary The Shipcraft Guild Jersey City, New Jersey

We're delighted lo have articles reprinted. Just tell us, and we'll supply a reprint line, pro_tecting our copyright and letting people know where it comes from.-ED.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

Signing on-Again To the Editor: I find SEA HISTORY a very interesting treasure of the sea-full of knowledge, true and tested. The pictures are true windows on the past, and stories are not told better sitting in the forecastle of a ship that really plowed the blue water of deepsea sailors, or knew the strain of inland waterways with dirty weather and a wild tow astern. I am a retired seaman and started to sail in schooners in 1928, seeing the last glory of sailing vessels. I went on to steam and modern ships. I retired at age 64 last fall, but next to being at sea is to read about it. Count me in! I'll sign on for your voyage into history. ED JANNSON Camara Island, Washington

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''A Peculiar Note of Romance'' The Heritage of the Hudson River Steamer By Peter Stanford Paintings by William G. Muller

"A decent respect for the Hudson," said Henry Hames, "would confine us to the use of the boat-all the more that American river-steamers have had, from the earliest time, for the true raffini, their peculiar note of romance." Our Henry, ineffable and at times insufferable Henry-but di stinctively ours, forever and irremediably an American writer, a New Yorker, and celebrant of the age whose passing he mourned (dying in England, he was informed that he'd been decorated by King George V, and said, nearly his last whispered words: "Spare my blushes") -is echoed today by critics like John Seelye, who writes: Unlike the railroad , the riverboat from the beginning was a thing of beauty that fitted into th e land scape as harmoniou sly as the porti coed villas a long the banks. Famous Hud so n River boat s like the Mary Powell were graceful sy mbol s of a commercial spirit that had not yet abandoned an esthetic sense in the name of progress, symbols of the lost , transitional moment in time that was our Go ld en Age.

Steam navigation was not, however, universally welcomed at the outset on the river that gave it birth and served as its principal nursery in the United States. After Robert Fulton's epochal trip from New York to Albany in 1807 in his North River Steamboat (renamed Clermont by careless historians after his death), small steamers spread upon the

waters. There were eight in se rvice on the Hudson by the time of the War of 1812. One, the Paragon, carrying Eckford's shipwrights north to build warships on the Lakes, narrowly escaped ramming by a river sloop whose crew was not pro-British, just antisteam. So hardheaded a fellow as Commodore Perry, "Old Bruin," the opener of Japan, regularly went by Hudson River sloop from his Tarrytown home to New York, disdaining the railroad that severed his grounds from the waterdisdaining the mechanical age in any form in Hudso n travels, however willing he was to introduce it to the Japanese. By his day, in the 1840s, boats of 300 feet and longer were being built for the burgeoning river traffic between New York and Albany and river ports along the way. The New World of 1848 was 352 ' 8", the largest for a half century after, and a few feet longer than the Hamilton of our day. Boats of such size, with fine lines for speed and shoal draft to cope with river shallows, needed huge hogging trusses to hold them straight, and were frequently rebuilt-and quite often lengthened to provide still finer lines and higher speed. Boilers were placed outboard on the guard rails, to reassure passengers that an explosion would be harmless. After the death of 72 persons in the loss by fire of the Henry Clay in 1852, in an insensate race waged

by her captain, Thomas Collyer, against the Armenia (a boat he'd earlier owned) the chief danger, steamboat racing, was banned and became a thing of the past. Perhaps the fastest, certainly the best loved and most talked-of river steamboat was the Mary Powell, built for the New York-Kingston run in 1861, which she pursued until her retirement in 1917. She opened, and ended, the grand era of steamboating. When she came on the river, over 200 Hudso n River sloops still plied its waters; when she left, only a few, so me converted to schooners for easier handling, remained-chugging along with gas engine auxiliaries. The Powell's Captain Absalom L. Anderson ran her as "a family boat," as he regularly declaimed to the press in di sc ussing his record runs. He lengthened her in 1863, from 267' to 288 ' , making her fully the match of the famous Daniel Drew and Chauncey Vibbard, which began running the longer course to Albany a few years later. Bu siness men commuted, fami li es travelled, romances flourished aboard these boats, which reached such a height of elegance and service that a novelist comparing the Rhine to the Hudso n concluded: "But the Rhine has no Mary Powell," knowing he ' d be understood. Trompe l'oeil designs replaced the earlier patriotic motifs on the huge paddleboxes; one on the St. John of 1863 , showed a corridor that appeared to go continued on page 8

The 350' Alexander Hamilton of 1924, last sidewheeler on the Hudson, steams past Hook Mountain at the head of the Tappan Zee above Tarry town bound north on rh e Albany run in the 1940s, her flags snapping ro a boisterous westerly and rhe steamer 's own 19-20 MPH speed. Known far and wide as the "White Swan of the Hudson," she ended her steaming in 1971 and is now in chancery as a wreck in New Jersey, the last of her breed.


The iron-hulled, 295' Albany built in 1880, was lengthened in 1893 to 325 ' 6". Born in an age of elegance for a "carriage trade" traffic, she was more ornately outfitted than the Hamilton and was an exceptionally fast boat, making a sustained 25 MPH. She ended her days as a barge on the Chesapeake; her 30-ton A-frame and walking beam are preserved at Th e Mariners Museum in Virginia.

The Robert Fulton of 1909 was the last built with walking-beam engine (salvaged from the burnt carcass of the New York) which here drives her past shad fishermen and a small sloop which would do well to get out of th,e way, off Croton Point, Running in harness with the Hamilton, of about the same size, until her retirement in 1954, she was then converted to a shopping center ashore in the Bahamas, and has since been demolished.

The immortal Mary Powell comes home to Rondout Creek, Kingston. This handsome wooden flyer of 1861 ran until 191 7; her keel lies in Rondout Creek today, where it is thought the new maritime cultural center might be established to honor her story and that of all river navigation.


Steam

HERITAGE OF THE HUDSON

By Conrad Milster

The City of Keansburg, las/ boar builr at Marvel's yard in Newburgh, was completed in 1926. This 231' propeller-driven vessel ended her excurion days in 1968, and now awaits her fate al City Island, New York, where plans 10 make her a restauranr ship have fallen through.

through the vessel. Iron and steel hulls came in while wooden superstructures looking like frosted wedding-cakes continued. (The first iron steamer had been built in 1825 in York, Pennsylvania; it took half a century for this innovation to reach the big riverboats. ) Eventually the feathering paddle bucket permitted smaller paddleboxes, and these began to be hidden behiHd dummy windows in the severer designs of the twentieth century . Men of wealth began to keep less casual business hours; the automobile changed our habits. After World War I, luxuries were progressively reduced, as a grand and leisured tradition of travel died away. But still the boats ran, reflecting a memorable tradition in their design, and attracting bands of the faithful, or those who wished a memorable trip in fresh air with the paddlewheels beating out a foaming swat h across the water , in what had become essentially an excursion business-until the Alexander Hamilton made her last run on Labor Day Weekend, 1971.

The story of the Hudson of course reaches beyond the steamboats whose heritage , we fumblingly seek to recover today . As Alan Keller observes in Life Along the Hudson (Sleepy Hollow, 1976), a rich and evocative exploration of river life: "Along its banks human beings for centuries have enjoyed the blessings of riverin e plenty and beauty." Carl Carmer's The Hudson, a mighty work, is often reprinted since its initial appearance in 1939. Roland van Zandt's superb Chronicles of the Hudson (Rutgers, 1971) gives us 300 years of traveller' s accounts of their voyaging on the river. Donald C. Ringwald' s Mary Powell and Hudson River Day Line (both Howell-North, 1965, 1972) are classics of the steamboat heritage, and the Clearwater Association of Poughkeepsie has a fine illustrated Hudson

River Sloops.

* * * * * * * * * *

But beyond books, and talk, and the river itself, beyond even the sailing of the magnificent sloop Clearwater, should we not now establish a center for this heritage of navigation from Indian times on? w

The Proud and Graceful Heritage The tragic sinking of sidewheeler Alexander Hamilton, just when her restoration seemed finally assured, need not be totally distressing if from her ruins there emerges an inspired new vision and determination. The many people who fought to save that ship are now being joined by many more who share an interest in perpetuating the Hamilton's proud and graceful heritage through the creation of a proposed, vitally needed

Hudson River Maritime Center at a midHudson port. Here, the wonder of the Hudson River sloops, canal boats and the great floating-palace sidewheelers of this exceptionally beautiful and historic region may be brought vigorously into focus for the pleasure and education of our own and future generations, and here whatever we can save of the Hamilton herself should find its ultimate home . WILLIAM G. MULLER

8

The association between the Hudson River and the steamboat was a long and happy one with its origin in that bright August morning 171 years ago when Robert Fulton's primitive steamboat left New York City and rumbled and churned its way towards Albany. "Rumbled" is indeed an appropriate word-early steamboats used gear driven flywheels to help smooth out surges from their one cylinder engines, and the clatter and rumble of the poorly fitted gear teeth must have assaulted ears which were used to hearing no shipboard sounds louder than creaking rigging. Many historians inaccurately claim that the Clermont was the first steamboat, invented by Robert Fulton; but the steamboat was not invented by Fulton, and thi s was not the first he built. And she was not named Clermont. Steam propelled vessels had been in operation, although somewhat haphazardly and usually proving commercial failures, for 20 years before Fulton's momentous trip. Fulton combined a cylinder, condenso r, and air pump built by Boulton and Watt of Birmingham, England, with a boiler and valve gear built in America and putting the whole assembly into a hull built at the East River yard of Charles Brown (so metimes spelled "Browne"), proved that steam propelled vessels were commercially feasible. The boat was actually Fulton's second steamboat (his first, built in 1803 in Paris, failed to arouse any serious commercial interest). There seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding the boat's actual name on that first hi storic trip, claims ranging from Katherine of Clermont (aft er Fulton's wife) to North River Steamboat of Clermont, but it is as the latter that she is li sted in the oldest surviving Custom House enrollment of ¡ 1808 with Clermont, Chancellor Livingsto n' s estate, presumably listed as home port. Despite all this, the Clermont, to give her her popular name, was a commercial success and the point from which steam powered navigation is co nsidered to have begun . Paddlewheels Triumphant Livingston, Fulton's financial backer, had secured a monopoly on steam navigation in the waters of New York from the State Legislature in 1798 but failed to meet its requirement: a vessel which had a speed of four miles per hour. An extension of this was applied

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


Navigation on the Hudson River: Its Origins, Glorious Achievements, Slow Decline and Apparent Demise in Our Time for, and granted, and the Clermont's successfu l trip now gave the partners an exclusive right to navigate the waters of New York. (A sim ilar monopoly was received from New Orleans!) Fulton and Livingston became engaged in a series of court battles to protect these rights. The effect of this legislation was to subject any potential rival to lawsu its and injunctions which had a discouraging effect until 1824, when Chief Justice Marshal delivered what was to be a landmark decision in declaring the monopoly illegal. From this point on the develop-

The Clermont or North River by Richard V. De Will, 1861. Courtesy N. Y. Historical Society.

ment of the steamboat advanced rapidly in the fierce competition of an open market. A practical propeller steamer had been built in 1804 by that eminent engineer Col. John Stevens, but the side paddlewheel remained in universal use. Many engineers believed that a "water screw" would not propel a boat and it was not until the late 1830s that propellers began to come into general use. The strength and quality of boiler iron available during this period severely limited the pressures of steam which could be carried safely. Thus, engine cylinders of necessity were of large physical size and the machinery turned at slow rates of speed. Both conditions, limited the use of screw propulsion, but were ideally suited for paddlewheels . The lack of drydocks and marine railways for raising vessels out of the water played a part, too, for the paddle machinery was all above the waterline, materially easing repairs-which were at that time quite frequent. By 1818 Fulton's clumsy side lever and flywheel engine had given way to the overhead "walking beam" and the "crosshead" types of engine. (The latter enjoyed only a brief period of use, and was rarely built after 1840.) The "vertical beam engine," to give it its proper

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

name, was slowly improved, and by 1822 the steamboat Hoboken, built by Robert L. Stevens, had an engine of a type which, with the substitution of better materials as they became available, remained virtually unchanged in its design for nearly 100 years.

A Standard Pattern The standard pattern of Hudson River steamboat soon developed. The hulls were long and fairly narrow with very fine lines for speed. Length to breadth ratios started at about 4-to-I but by the 1850s they had reached 8-to- I which remained an average figure down to the end of steamboat construction . (The Alexander Hamilton, last sidewheeler built for service on the Hudson, had a ratio of 8.3-to-I .) Drafts were limited by shoal water in the upper river and usually were in the 8-to-12-foot range. The main deck was built out to the outside limit of the paddle boxes and until the 1860s this was a favorite location for the huge boilers and their smoke stacks, which gave the boats a characteristic energetic look. The superstructures were two or three decks high and more or less open depending on whether the boat ran in day service or was fitted with cabins for overnight runs. Massive wood hog frames ran from bow to stern and iron truss rods were fitted athwartships to act as structural members capable of taking the weight of boilers and engines and distributing them over the long wooden hulls . Propulsion was almost exclusively by means of sidewheels driven by beam engines. This type of engine had a large vertical cylinder whose piston rod was connected to one end of a diamondshaped walking beam by means of two links. The beam was pivoted at its middle and mounted atop an "A" shaped wooden frame which ran down into the boat's hull. The beams other end had a connecting rod which went down to the crankshaft and which in turn was connected to the paddlewheels. The beam engines drove huge paddle wheels; 30 to 35 feet in diameter on some boats, 10 to 12 feet wide and turned at quite low speeds, 15 to 18 RPM being common. The introduction of steel feathering wheels in the 1880s allowed a reduction of 20 to 30 percent in wheel diameters and engine speeds increased accordingly to 22-24 revolutions per minute.

Fulton's Clermont had a cylinder 24" in diameter with a 4' stroke. As hull sizes increased and engine builders were able to turn out more powerful engines, sizes gradually increased. By 1816 the Chancellor Livingston had a cylinder 44" by 5 '; by 1836 the fabled Norwich had a cylinder 40" by JO'; by 1848 the Bay State was propelling her 317-foot hull with an engine cylinder 76" by 12 '. (One of the largest marine engine cylinders ever made was fitted to the 1883 Fall River Line steamer Pilgrim. It had a single cylinder with a bore of 110" and a stroke of 168 ".) Boiler pressures remained in the 30 to 40 pounds per sq uare inch range till the post-Civil War period when they slowly climbed to 50 to 60 pounds, reaching the 100-pound mark by the end of the century. By the 1870s iron was coming into use for hull construction and better boiler plate allowed higher steam pressures. The newly developed vertical compound engine and the screw propeller slowly began to encroach upon the domain of the paddlewheel but never completely replaced it. Hulls and superstructure framing were made at first of wood, then iron, then steel, but the actual decks and superstructures remained wood until the end of the steam era. By the time of the Civil War many inland steamboats were running along at 15 MPH with a few racing along at 18 MPH and one, the Mary Powell of 1861, achieving over 20 MPH. She was soon followed by others in this class. The last paddlewheelers, in the 1920s had top speeds of only 21-22 MPH, with most boats still in the 16-18 MPH range (though some exceptional vessels such as the Hendrick Hudson could achieve speeds of 24 MPH) . The vertical beam (or walking beam) engine of the Mary Powell, 1861. d'

9


STEAM ON THE HUDSON Zenith and Decline Although some of the most palatial steamers had yet to be built, by the 1880s steamboating had reached its zenith. The signs of this decline were difficult as yet to see, but the railroads were by this time competing seriously with river traffic; there was enough for both until the period after World War I when the truck and automobile became serious contenders as well. By the 1920s river traffic had severely declined and the bleak post-Depression years of the 1930s fairly well ended the package freight and night passenger business. Bulk barge traffic and day excursion companies held on and were given a temporary respite by the traffic and rationing of World War II. Then declining use of bricks in construction, transferral of sand and stone traffic to road and rail finished towboats and barges in the 1950s, and by the mid-60s the automobile and changing social patterns had pretty well finished the amusement park / picnic grove complexes which were the mainstay of day excursion steamers. As the 1970s arrived only one steamer, the Alexander Hamilton, was still in regular scheduled service on the Hudson River. At last, on Labor Day, 1971, the Hamilton, victim of changing economies, made her last trip. As her engine slowly ran astern that night, backing her into her berth, each splash of a paddle bucket could have called the name of one of the steamers which had preceeded her: Car of Neptune, Alida, Francis

Skiddy, City of Troy, Onteora, Robert Fulton, and countless more. After 164 years there were no more descendants of the Clermont to carry on. The year 1972 was the first since the beginning of steam navigation during which the waters of the Hudson were not beaten to froth by churning paddle wheels.

Firsts, Lasts, and Revivals Historians are concerned with "firsts" and "lasts," and so it should be noted that the last steam-propelled commercial vessel with reciprocating engines to ply the Hudson will probably be one of the Verrazzano class of Staten Island ferries which have frequently passed partially up the Hudson in the course of special charter trips. Robert Fulton inaugurated service to Albany in 1807; in 1948 the Hudson River Day Line, the last steamboat company still operating regular service on the New York-Albany route, ended it due to lack of patronage. During the 1950s and 60s the Day Line inaugurated a special Labor Day Weekend New York-

10

Aibany round trip using both the propeller Peter Stuyvesant and sidewheel Alexander Hamilton at various times. The normal procedure was for the steamer to go upriver Saturday, run a daytrip and moonlight cruise Sunday t:: :i and return to New York Monday morn- 0 ing. This practice was ended after the "'

>-,! ..

~

1962 trip, made by the Alexander ~~--··•II••• Hamilton, and Albany once again was ;:i

bereft of steam passenger traffic by water to New York. In 1976 a group of ship fans decided that there still was a commecial potential in the river; so October 9 found the motor vessel Yankee on a special run fighting her way up the Hudson to Albany in the teeth of winds which peaked at over 60 MPH . The trip was a resounding success and the fans now started to plan in earnest. The result was the formation of the New England Steam Ship Company, reviving a proud name once associated with steamers on Long Island Sound. Another New YorkAlbany round trip was planned for 1977. The Yankee had served well on the trial run but was considered both too small and too slow for the needs of the service . It was therefore announced that the M. V. Martha's Vineyard would be making the 1977 trip on October 15 and 16. The Martha's Vineyard The Martha's Vineyard, a 210-foot boat, was built in 1923 for the (original) New England Steam Ship Co. at the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. Her original name was Islander and she was designed by the staff of the company's Newport, Rhode Island, shops. N.E. S.S. Co. was the end result of a number of mergers which involved the Fall River Line, most of whose later steamers were designed by the same Newport shops staff. (Islander could therefore claim kinship with such fabled steamers as Puritan, Priscilla and Commonwealth, a pedigree not to be sneezed at!) As Islander was planned to enter service on the Martha's Vineyard-Nantucket run she was designed to carry automobiles on her main deck, the first of the company's vessels to be so fitted. She was engined by the Bath Iron Works with an open-frame four-cylinder tripleexpansion engine having cylinders 16 "x 26" by 30"x 30"x 24". Two Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers supplied steam at 200 pounds pressure. She proved so successful in service that two other steamers were patterned after her, the Nobska of 1925 (now preserved in Baltimore with her original steam machinery still intact) and the New Bedford of 1928. Islander became Martha's Vineyard in 1928 and spent the next 28

u.

M - a-rt-ha_.'... s ~~neyard, Oct. 15, 1977.

years in the service for which she was built. Her last run as a steamboat was made on October 14, 1956, after which she was laid up. She was converted to diesel power in 1959 and served several routes in the New England area until 1968, when she operated under charter as a ferry between Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Port Jefferson, Long Island. The following year she was purchased to replace the aging steamer Catskill which had previously operated on this route, and she continues on the cross-sound run in summer months today. Steaming into History The boat left Port Jefferson in the small hours of Saturday morning, having failed to secure an overnight berth in New York, and arrived at her Hudson River Pier by 7 AM. Saturday morning was grim, with heavily overcast skies and a stiff cold wind from the northwest. Nevertheless, some 400 passengers joined the handful of hardy souls who had elected to take the extra-Sound cruise . The Martha's Vineyard made .a grand sight tied up to the south side of the pier. Her lines were angular but honest and she proclaimed her steamboat heritage for all to see. Volunteers from N.E.S.S. Co. had spent the previous week cleaning the season's grime from decks, hull, and superstructure and when possible applying a fresh coat of paint. The result was most notable although few passengers were aware of the effort of these unpaid enthusiasts. Although Martha's Vineyard is a motor vessel and her main engines consist of two opposed piston diesel engines from the submarine USS Finback, she still sports her original tall stack on which is mounted a brass whistle now blown by compressed air. The whistle appropriately enough is from the Catskill, thus preserving a little bit of the ferry line's history. While this is a fine sounding whistle in its own right, the officers of N .E.S.S. Co. felt that there were several whistles in private collections with direct relationships to the river, and a pipe, with several valves on

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


it was set up on deck Just abaft the wheel house, connected by high-pressure hose to the ship's compressed air system in the engine room. Assorted whistles were mounted on the valves and could be blown at will. The voices of two former ferries, the Orange of 1914 and the Brinckerhoff of 1899, were once again heard echoing back from the shores of Newburgh and Poughkeepsie where they saluted the town from which they had sailed countless times in the past. A railroad locomotive whistle saluted Amtrak trains running on the river's east bank. Several other whistles including that of the Lansdowne of 1884 sei:it booming echoes back from bridges across the river. Two stops had been announced for the trip, Yonkers and West Point, and several hundred additional passengers joined the trip at these points. The strong wind which had given the boat a pronounced starboard list shifted slightly, causing some difficulty in making the Yonkers landing but eventually the plank went out and the traditional cry "all aboard" sounded. Those aficionados of the Hudson who braved the outdoor cold were amply rewarded by sight of the most magnificent river scenery in America. From the stark grandeur of the Palisades to the mist-shrouded vastness of Haverstraw Bay, the Hudson reminds us of how eternal natural beauty can be compared to the brief span of man. The lower river still wore the last of summer's green but fall colors abounded further up the river. A running commentary of historic and interesting points was kept up; this also served to remind us of how much maritime history has already been lost from the Hudson Valley. The Highlands soon loomed on either side as Bear Mountain was passed and West Point came into view. The wind, funneled by the mountains, once again did its best to complicate the landing with the result that Martha's Vineyard was blown away from the dock before lines could be secured. Her master wisely let her swing completely around and made a starboard, instead of port side landing. The boat had been fitted with extra flag poles on the upper deck from which historic house flags were flown, and the pipe poles were bowing in the wind as we rounded West Point turn. The passage upriver turned a page of history as the names of legendary steamboat towns were ticked off on maps: Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Rondout Creek, Catskill and many more. Today it is difficult in most cases and impossible in some, to find any trace of

SEA HISTORY, SPRING I978

the waterfront of years ago. A few rotten pilings or a weedgrown rock bulkhead are the monuments to the commerce which made the river such a vital link to the economic growth of the Hudson Valley. For most small towns, a main street which ends at the water's edge for no seeming purpose with a few seedy buildings which are barely recognizable from old photos, bears mute testimony to the days when the steamboat wharf was located in the center of town and business revolved around the steamboat schedules. The Hudson River never had a Mark Twain to write about its glory days and so while today's river residents are familiar with the Robert E. Lee or New Orleans or Vicksburg steamboating they have lost the heritage from their own backyards. Worse, they are not aware of the enormity of the loss. The shallows of the upper Hudson River through which sidewheelers once raced, pulling swells several feet high behind them to break on shore like ocean surf, are gone too. A dredged ship channel, complete with islands formed by the removed material, still sees much traffic but in the form of deep-sea ships bound for Port Albany or countless tugs and oil barges carrying fuel to the interior of New York State. The Martha's Vineyard at last arrived at Port Albany with its fuel oil and bulk cement loading facilities, and tied up at the northern end of the ship bulkhead. The original steamboat landings in Albany are also long gone and the downtown waterfront is now a highway complex. With passengers unloaded, Martha's Vineyard and her crew settled down for a well earned rest, for many of them, especially the volunteers, had been al work for almost 24 hours. Home-to an Uncertain Future Sunday brought respite from the wind, and some sun for the return passage. The sloop Clearwater was passed and saluted, a reminder of the nineteenth century. (Hudson River sloops coexisted with the steamers, sailing into the 1920s). Shortly afterwards, Amtrak's Turbotrain was saluted and we were baek in the twentieth century. All too soon we landed our West Point passengers, without difficulty this time, and passed through the last of the Highlands. As we left Bear Mountain and Anthony's Nose astern and rounded Verplanck's Point we passed from a mountain-walled river almost 200 feet deep to a 3 Yi mile wide bay with a dredged channel, illustrating again the wide range of scenic beauty to be found on what has romantically been called the

American Rhine. We also passed into a short but intense rain squall which cleared the top deck. All too soon the throbbing of the diesel eased and we arrived at Yonkers and discharged passengers. The whistle salute to the pier on leaving had an especially poignant quality to it for this would be the last time a passenger vessel would land here. The pier, built in the open two deck "recreation" style popular at the turn of the century, is due for demolition, after countless steamboat landings and years of municipal neglect. The arrival at New York that night was somewhat an anticlimax and brought to an end an experience that most passengers will long remember. .Revival of Steamboating One of the original purposes behind the formation of the New England Steam Ship Company was to restore traditional steamboat service. With our slowly awakening awareness of marine history, this would seem a feasible goal, but it is one which will require the general public's being made aware of our river heritage. If we can build replicas of sailing ships, and steam-powered craft for amusement parks, is it too much to hope for a replica Hudson River steamboat someday? The whole key would seem to be general public interest but this appears to have been the weakest part of the trip. It was done and enjoyed by steamboat fans alone. The lack of interest on the part of the media speaks columns for the way in which we have ignored the heritage of our waterfronts and waterways. The fate of the Alexander Hamilton, sunk within reach of help, is a tragic indication of the enormity of the problem -of an important part of our heritage ignored and slipping from our grasps.w

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~ 15 ~

u ~

E:::

MR. MILSTER, a stalwart of the Steamship Historical Society, works as Chief Engineer at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and is an Advisor of the National Society.

II


Brook lyn/International Longshoremen's Association,

BEST WISHES LOCAL 1814 ·INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION· AFL-CIO

ANTHONY SCOTTO

PRESIDENT

343 COURT STREET· BROOKLYN, N.Y. 11231

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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


Historic River, Bay & Island Steamers Surviving in the Northeast United States: A Partial List By Norman Brouwer

The Hudson served as nursery of steam navigation, but from an early date steamers began to make their way south to New Jersey, east into Long Island Sound and beyond. Different types emerged in the Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound and Maine islands, but all pretty much within a distinctive family heritage. Here are listed the survivors of these once-flourishing traffics, with the roles they have survived in.-ED. Alexander Hamilton, built 1924 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding at Sparrows Point, Maryland for the Day Line service between New York and Albany. Ended her last run as excursion steamer in the fall of 1971, went to South Street Seaport Museum and other locations for possible restaurant development. Sunk November 1977 at Navy Pier, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey . Block Island, built 1926 at Wilmington, Delaware as the Fishers Island, for the New London, Conn. to Fishers Island, N.Y. run; steel, screw, 150 ft. 1957 converted to diesel, renamed, and placed on the New London to Block Island run . Still in service. Chauncey M. Depew, built 1913 by the Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine as the Rangeley, for service along the Maine Coast; steel, screw, 185 . I ft. Purchased by the Hudson River Day Line and renamed in 1925 . Operated by Line until 1940. In Government service during World War II. Purchased by Government of Bermuda in 1950 for use as tender to passenger liners. Retired in mid-1960's, and bought by group in Northeast, Maryland for use as floating restaurant. Sank there, but was refloated and refurbished, and sold to a New Jersey owner for use as a floating restaurant at Secaucus. Opened for business in 1977. City of Keansburg, built 1926 by Harry A. Marvel Co. at Newburgh, New York for the Keansburg Steamboat Co.; steel, screw, 231 ft. Ran between Manhattan and Keansburg, New Jersey 1961-1965, ran between Manhattan and Atlantic Highlands, N .J . then made New York harbor cruises until laid up in 1968. In 1974 was drydocked and taken to City Island, N. Y. to serve as floating restaurant, but never opened. Currently for sale.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

Dutchess, built 1910 by Harlan & Hollingsworth at Wilmington, Delaware as the City of Wilmington for service on the Delaware River; steel, screw, 201.7 ft. Later modernized and renamed Bay Belle. Brought to New York in 1966 to operate between Yonkers and Rockaway. 1969-1976 making harbor excursions, renamed in 1975. Currently laid up in Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Steamboat Co; steel, screw, 297.8 ft. Sold to the Old Bay Line of Baltimore, Maryland in 1949. Line terminated service in 1962. 1962-1963 renamed, and placed in service between Boston and Provincetown, Mass. Returned to Baltimore and laid up in 1964. Damaged by fire , and eventually moved to Curtis Creek, Maryland where she now lies sunk.

Martha's Vineyard, built 1923 at Bath, Maine as the Islander, for the run to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket; steel, screw, 202.4 ft. Subsequently renamed and converted to diesel. Now in service between Bridgeport , Conn. and Port Jefferson, L. l. during summer months .

Quonset, built 1915 by New Jersey Drydock Co. at Elizabeth, New Jersey as the Elizabeth Monroe Smith for the Sanitarium Assoc. of Philadelphia, Pa. (serving the same function as New York's floating hospitals); steel, screw, 135 .5 ft. In 1940's was brought to New York, renamed Bojangles, and used on Manhattan to Coney Island run. In 1950 sold for use on the New London to Block Island run, converted to diesel, modernized, and renamed Quonset. Still in service.

Mount Vernon, built 1916 at Wilmington, Delaware as the City of Camden, for service on the Delaware River; steel, screw, 201.7 ft. Rebuilt in 1940 and renamed for excursion use on Potomac River out of Washington, D.C. Sank at Washington berth in 1963, refloated but not returned to service. In 1968 was converted to floating classrooms for Harry Lundeberg School of the Seafarers International Union, at Piney Point, Maryland. Mount Washington, built 1888 at Shelburne Harbor, Vermont of iron as the sidewheeler Chateaugay, for service on Lake Champlain. In 1939 hull was cut into sections and transported overland to Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, where it was rebuilt as a screw motor vessel, renamed, and is in service as a motor vessel. Nobska, built 1925 at Bath, Maine as the

Nantucket, for the run to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard; steel, screw, 202.4 ft. Later renamed . Retired in early 1970s, and converted to floating restaurant at Baltimore. Peter Stuyvesant, built 1927 by Pusey and Jones at Wilmington, Delaware for the Hudson River Day Line; steel, screw, 260.5 ft. Laid up in 1962, eventually sold to Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant in Boston, where she serves as a restaurant and bar. Provincetown, built 1925 at Wilmington, Delaware as the District of Columbia, for the Norfolk & Washington

Sabino, built 1908 at East Boothbay, Maine for service along Maine Coast; wood, screw, 49.8 ft. Now an active museum vessel making excursions in and around Mystic, Conn. Maintained by Mystic Seaport. State of Pennsylvania, built 1923 by Pusey and Jones at Wilmington, Delaware for passenger excursions on the Delaware River; steel, screw, 219.1 ft. 1948-1954 on run between Jersey City, N.J. and Rockaway, L.I., subsequently returned to Delaware River. Laid up in Christina River at Wilmington, Delaware in 1960. Now lying sunk there. Ticonderoga, built 1926 at Shelburne Harbor, Vermont for service on Lake Champlain; steel, sidewheel, 220 ft. Retired in 1953 , purchased by the Shelburne Museum which hauled her inland four miles where she is currently a museum display. Yankee, built 1907 at Philadelphia, Pa. as the Machigonne, for use on the New England Coast; steel, screw, 136.5 ft. Later ran as Hook Mountain in New York Harbor, then ran as Block Island between New London, Conn. and Block Island, replaced by present Block Island (q .v.) in 1957. Still in service making cruises, converted to diesel.

www 13


The First and Last Voyage of the St. Mary Part II

By Sanford H. Low, Ph.D. with Peter Throckmorton

The St. Mary slipped her towing cable on May 30, 1890, after 27 hectic days of fitting out in New York. Captain Jesse Carver ordered his mate to make sail and the ship swung slowly to her heading for Cape Horn. The new ship had been chartered for $28,840 roughly one quarter of her construction cost. As New York slipped away astern, Carver may have briefly considered what his share in the ship would yield. These calculations were important to him for this was a lifetime gamble . The Captain owned one quarter of the new Down Easter, but he owed $10,000 to the ship's builder, C. V. Minott of Phippsburg Center, Maine. His note fell due on December 24, and if it was not paid in time he could lose his entire share in the ship. It was a big risk. At age 57, Carver presumably looked forward to retirement soon. A quarter share in a Down Easter, with luck, would keep him snug and comfortable for the rest of his life. But that note had to be paid .... On her voyage to the Horn, St. Mary proved a smart sailer. "The St. Mary sails well in small winds .. .in a strong breeze I think she would do just a dozen," the captain commented in a letter to his wife. The ship experienced 57 days of fine weather and was ab le to keep skysails set all the way to the Horn .

On August 6, she overhauled and spoke the James Drummond, another Minott ship, during the day. The Drummond had left Philadelphia more than two weeks ahead of the St. Mary and it must have given Carver some satisfaction to leave her hull down on the horizon that evening. This triumph was tragically short-lived. That night, there were eleven ships in close company off Cape Horn, 130 miles west of Diego Ramirez rocks . Ten of them were on the port tack heading almost due north with enough sea room to clear the Cape. The St. Mary was on the starboard tack, on a southwesterly course, standing away from the Horn . A map drawn by Captain Curtis of the Drummond shows the St. Mary on a collision course with the British ship Magellan. In the early morning hours of August 7, at 1:30 A.M., The Magellan drove into the port quarter of the St. Mary and gravely damaged the new ship. Among the Haggett documents is a letter written by Carver to his wife describing the accident: I am again in trouble, after pass ing all the ships that sail ed ahead of me, and strange to say l saw them all, and after getting one hundred and thirty miles to the west of the Diego Romereze we were run into by another ship and badly stove up. All the mizze n rigging on

the Port si de is gone and all the sails, and the chain plates all gone, quarter stove in , mainsa il and mainyard gone, and a lot of other things all cleaned out on the lee side . .. This is one of the most stupid accidents that I ever saw. We were on the starboard tack with wind about W. by N. with reefs in the upper topsail s, with the foresa il , mainsa il, jibs, and spanker set, and the sea quite smooth for Cape Horn-ju st I A.M. when the 2nd mate ca lled out to me "Here is a fellow who won't keep off." I was on deck at 12 as usual , the moon was shining brightly and clear as co uld be asked. l was on deck in less than half a minute, just in time to see hi s jibboom over the end of our main yard, and then he burnt his danger signal. Had l only known that he was a ship that could not be kept off l could have got out of his way . The "S t. Mary " was going 7 y, and could have been go t out of the way . l think that when the thing is hunted up, that the mate of the watch was look ing for so mething to eat, and the lookout had lighted hi s pipe, and returned to some closet to meditate. All the sai ls they had was lower topsail s, and we were under easy sail with what we had, we cou ld have carr ied topgallant sa ils if the wind had been where we cou ld have made a better course.

At Pier 19, New York in May 1890, the St. Mary takes on cargo for her first voyage. Courtesy, Bath Marine Museum.


The Aryan was built at Phippsburg Center, Maine to the same lines as the St. Mary. She is seen here at Minott's yard just before her launch in July 1893. The church steeple is just visible above her jibboom. Courtesy Balh Marine Museum. Below, Phippsburg Center as it looks today, the site of Minott's yard in the foreground. Photo, Sanford Low. It is a letter filled with grave despair. "I am again in trouble," the Captain writes. This is not the first time that Carver had experienced difficulties. He had lost a ship previously, the Richard P. Buck, a Bath-built full-rigger of 1,567 tons. She was consumed by a fire which had been set by drunken sailors while in the port of St. Georges, Bermuda, during the summer of 1889. On top of this bad damage the weather turned sour. Carver's letter continues: ... and then to make matters worse a bad storm set in, which drove us back to the Diegos, for three days this lasted with a bad sea and all this time we had all hands on deck, as long as there was any daylight, and then those got a few hours sleep. After this storm was over the wind shifted to the S. W. and howled. The men could do no more and I kept off for here (Port Stanley). It was that, and E. or a South wind, or leave the ship ... It was the jinx of the Horn, bad

weather hounding a damaged ship. Things were infinitely worse for the Magellan. She sank with all hands, leaving only traces of wreckage. Excerpts from the "Wrecks and Casualties" section of the New York Maritime Register in the Haggett archives outline the loss of the Magellan: Oct. I: Magellan, Marshall, from Boston May JO for Valparaiso, has been passed in a waterlogged condition. Her crew are supposed to have been drowned ...

from Philadelphia to San Francisco, sustained damage in a cyclone, August 6th, 1890, but it is without full particulars. Please fill out each numbered question on the enclosed blank Wreck Report and return it to this office as soon as possible.

the captain turned in and told the steward not to allow anyone to call him. Changed the course from E.N.E. to N. (which was directly onto the land). At 8 P .M. the carpenter told the mate that the ship was near land. The mate was not of that opinion. The carpenter not feeling satisfied went aloft on the fore royal yard and could distinctly see the white line of breakers to the N. W. and slid down the back stays. Ran aft and reported the same to the Chief Officer, who replied that there was nothing of the kind. He begged him to call the Captain, but he would not do so. The moment he came up he ordered the helm put up, and whilst the vesssel was on the swing she struck. It was then 9:15 P.M. just one hour and fifteen minutes after the Carpenter had reported the breakers ahead. The vessel struck Pinnacle Rock, and it was high water. When the tide went down, they found the ship was hung in the middle.

Other evidence in the Haggett archives confirms the severity of the storm that Carver and his crew endured. On January 2nd, 1891, the Custom House at Bath wrote to Minott requesting particulars on damage sustained in that same storm by the James Drummond:

A simple bureaucratic request for information concerning a storm at sea. This document rests amid more poignant reminders of Carver's struggle. Warm offices and the scratching of quill pens contrasts with the howl of wind off Cape Horn .... ~rver and his crew fought the storm for four sleepless days and nights. On August 10 the ship was making for Port Stanley and the exhaused Captain sought some rest, giving up the watch to his first mate. A peculiar document in the Haggett archives describes that night's activities. Typewritten and unsigned, it is perhaps a copy of an original report made by one of the sailors or, as Mrs. Haggett guesses, by someone in authority at Port Stanley.

The St. Mary was doomed. The unsigned report continues:

Information has been received at Washington that the ship "James Drummond", while on her passage

St. Mary, on making the Falkland Islands at 5 pm date not remembered but believed to be the 11th, August,

At 6 a.m. next day the crew got the boats out and wanted the captain to come with them, which he refused to

Oct. 15: Magellan, from Boston for Valparaiso, before reported ... The master of the German bark Pera, at Valparaiso from Hamburg, reports that on August 12 in lat. 57 28 s., long. 63 28 w., he passed large quantity of cases of parafine, some of which he picked up. He also saw a body of a man lashed to a cabin door. He picked up a board marked "Jenny's" extra refined petroleum, with H in a double triangle and l outside.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

15


Captain Jesse T. Carver. Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum. At left, the St. Mary 's sister, Aryan, looking forward. Courtesy Bath Marine Museum. At right, the wreck of the St. Mary, which has split down the middle. In the far right photo, the rail is on the right, the heavy margin plank of the main deck is in the center of the picture with the main deck beams standing upright. Photos, Peter Throckmorton. do saying: " Three times I have been in trouble, and thi s is my last" . The stewardess was the last to go alone to him, and she found him with a glass of reddish mixture which she snatched from him, the Captain remarking after she had thrown it out that he cou ld get another when she had left. She told the crew, and they attempted to take him by force. He pulled his revolver on them and treatened to blow the brains out of the fir st man that laid a hand on him. They left without him, and the carpenter next day went on board and found him dead with a bunch of froth at hi s mouth , looking like a bunch of raw cotton.

~~~!~ ~

~

Bd t leh Unkne>wn

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This is how Captain Curtis of the James Drummond showed the eleven ships in close proximity off Cape Horn as daylight faded in high winds and wintry seas, at 5:30 on the evening of August 6, 1890. Seven hours later, the St. Mary was damaged in collision with Magellan. St. Mary was forced to drive off for the Falklands in ensuing bad weather; Magellan was lost with all hands. Captain Carver blamed the other ship and his own second mate for the collision, in conditions in which another captain might have kept the deck all night-sailing through a fleet on opposing lack by night. His subsequent curious order "not to allow anyone lo call him" may have contributed directly to the wreck of the St. Mary when she reached the Falklands.

16

To this day, the Captain's death remains a mystery, but suicide is a strong possibility. Carver's debt to Minott cou ld never be repaid, and his entire investment in the ship was gone. His plans for a comfortable life as hore lay smashed with the wreckage of the St. Mary, and past troub les seemed to have returned to hound him. "I am again in trouble," he'd said in his last letter to his wife, and, "Three times I have been in trouble and this is my last," he told the stewardess . On August 18, the steward wrote to Minott: "Captain Carver died after the sh ip went ashore. After the collision happened, he seemed very much discouraged .... " We can surmise that even if the ship had been repaired in the Falklands, she could not have made enough trips to pay off Carver's note. The formal inquest into Carver's death was officia lly convened on August IS th by the American Consul at Port Stanley. A copy of his letter to Washington rests in the Haggett archives : It is my sad duty to report the dea th of Jesse T. Carver, late master of the ship "St. Mary " of Bath, Maine, now ly-

in g a wreck on the east coast of Eas t Fa lkland. He departed this life on the 11th of Au gust, 1890. According to the verdict of the jury at the inquest held by th e local authorities, he came to hi s death by syncope failure of the heart , accelerated b y grea t mental excitement and worry.

We can only conjecture whether the "glass of reddish mixture" Carver held to his lips contained strong spirits to alleviate his sorrows temporari ly, or a more lethal draught designed to end them permanently. After Carver's death, efforts were made to salvage the sh ip . The unsigned report quoted earlier gives us some details of this work: The ship laid eight da ys before anyon e went to save cargo . Then Mr. Cobb , agent for Lloyds, made arrangement s with himself for 40% salvage, and sent two of his schooners. They made one trip each when a S .E. gale came on , and thi s fine ship broke up and both end s are now in deep water with the middle on the rock s. The mate it seem s was worthless and wou ld always sleep on hi s watch. The Captain had not been in bed for five days and I presume broke down. This mate stole a chronometer , binnacle lights, com pass and some other portable thin gs , and sold them . When the crew left, the American Consul had iss ued an order of arrest for him . He has been engaged by the agent for Lloyds to look after the cargo that is washed up on the beach for two dollars a day. The very latest accounts say that there is much cargo washed up on shore, and that the natives are roll ing it up the side of the hill; but as it is 30 miles from Port Stanley it will cost much money to get it there , and of course will be robbed if left.

There is no further information con-

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


cerning salvage of anything worthwhile from the ship, or of the fate of the mate, who, by all reports, seemed to have been a scoundrel. Today, all that is left of the St. Mary is a midship section lying ashore at Kelp Lagoon. Lumps of rust lie scattered about on the beach, all that remains of the ship's cargo of toy locomotives . Peter Throckmorton reports that the Christmas of 1890 is still remembered by some old timers as the season when every youngster in Port Stanley received a cast iron toy locomotive . It took 36 days for the news of the St. Mary's loss to reach Phippsburg . It was a blow to the Minott family. On September 15, Alice Minott wrote to her brother Charles Jr., then a senior at Bowdoin College: Father received a telegram from Montevideo today saying the St. Mary had been in collision somewhere near Cape Horn and that Captain Carver was dead. Another that the ship had been beached to save the cargo and would probably be a total loss. Isn't it dreadful news? It would not be so bad if the captain were not reported dead. I hope that there is some mistake about that part, don ' t you? Father takes it very calmly . .. (He) says things have been going too smoothl y this summ er.

In sustaining this loss, the Minott family drew together. Charles, Jr. wrote home: ''Let me know i°f there is anything I can do or if Father thinks I better go to doing something besides spending money (going to college)." By return post, Alice replied: "There is nothing to do and Father told me to write you double your diligence ... I believe Father will try it again if he can get money enough together and is well enough ." The seafaring community, the Minott' s circle of

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

friends and business associates, lent gentle assistance to the stricken family. In that same letter Alice wrote: "Father has had several letters of condolence, and while they do not help matters any there is some consolation to know that there are some who sympathize with him in this loss .... " Sutton and Company lent practical aid by increasing their efforts to load the remaining Minott ships during the months following St. Mary's loss. On October 6 they reported: "We are doing all we can for the good ship" -the St. Charles, then loading in Philadelphia for San Francisco. On November 25, Suttons in New York inquired after Minott's ship Berlin and promised to "give the ship good dispatch, which we know will please you". The Minott archives also hold many letters from the insurance companies which covered St. Mary, indicating that prompt payments must have helped the family through this period. While the dreadful details of the death of Captain Carver and the loss of the St. Mary trickled into Phippsburg Center, the shipyard continued steadfast work on the schooner Merom, which was launched down Minott's ways in 1891. But the lines of St. Mary still exercised a hold on Minott, and so it was about two years after her loss that he laid down the keel for her "sister" ship -Aryan. On July 13th, 1893, the Aryan took to the waters of the Kennebec and began a very successful career of more than 25 years. She was to be the last fullrigged wooden sailing ship built in North America. After launching this ship, Minott turned to building schooners. In Bath, a few miles up the Kennebec from Phippsburg, the new Bath Iron Works was growing while the small yards

specializing in wooden shipbuilding were turning to the construction of schooners or closing down. Charles Minott, Jr., recently graduated from Bowdoin and now working for his father, noted this change from wood to iron and from sail to steam, writing in his diary on May 11, 1892: I do not wish to give the impression that I think wooden shipbuilding is over for I do not doubt that thousands of such vessels will be built in the next twent y-five years, but what I do believe and hold as an opinion , one which I have come to after muc h deliberation, is that he who now binds him self down to a wooden shipyard will, if he lives twenty-five years, find himself one of the has beens .... "

With the violent end of the St. Mary, a chapter in the history of American seafaring began to close. One by one the small Maine shipyards converted to building schooners or they closed their doors . Charles Minott, Sr. died in 1903, and fourteen years later his son, Charles Minott, Jr., sold the Minott family's last ship-a four-masted schooner, the Francis M. A casual visitor to Phippsburg Center today will be hard pressed to imagine that the empty shore was once filled with massive timbers, frames and spars. All that remains of the Minott yard are mud-clogged ship ways and crumbling foundations . .t

Mr. Low is a member of the National Society's Falkland Islands project, currently teaching and doing research in Maine. Mr. Throckmorton is director of the project, and as we go to press, is working in the Falkland Islands in an expedition co-sponsored by South Street Seaport Museum under Ship Historian Norman Brouwer (see "Seaport & Museum News, " this issue).

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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


Stormy Past- Bright Future The Story of Merchant Marine Officer Education By Wm. Ray Heitzmann, Ph.D.

The publication of C. Brad/ord Mitchell's history of the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy (reviewed in "Books") provides an occasion to look at efforts to get a coherent national scheme for trainAs early as 1793 the United States found itself listed as the world 's second leading commercial trading nation in tonnage. It would not be long before the country, first as a supplier of raw materials and then as a provider of manufactured goods and agricultural products, would become the premier trading nation. Despite the growth of the maritime enterprise on which this depended, the government moved slowly to provide for the education of merchant marine officers, holding with the view of many naval and merchant officers that sea service was "the only fit school. " Fortunately some enlightened leaders believed in formal and systematic training; this thinking resulted in the founding of the Naval Academy in 1845 , and, a generation later, the passage of the Marine Schools Act of 1874, as the first federal commitment to maritime trammg. Earlier that year Stephen Bleeker Luce, USN, wrote "The Man ning of Our Navy and Merchantile Marine, " which appeared as the lead article in the inaugural issue of the U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings. He argued that shipboard instruction lacked consistency and structure and in many cases existed only at the whim of the captain . And he wanted to encourage American youth to enter the sea services, in an age when over half our crews were foreign born . Luce's ideas moved Congress to authorize the Navy to lend ships to the nation' s major ports to provide for the instruction of yo uths in "navigation, seamanship, marine enginery and all matters pertaining to the proper construction, equipment and sailing of vessels." This act provided a rudimentary beginning for a maritime training system. It received only lukewarm reception by most of the nation' s ports. However, the New York Nautical School aboard the sloop-of-war St. Mary's was an immediate and successful reaction. Luce had the privilege of fitting out the ship in Boston and delivering her to her new location at the foot of East 23rd Street, in Manhattan. Pennsylvania in 1891 and Massachusetts m

SEA HISTORY , SPRING 1978

ing officers for sea service in this country. Dr. Heitzmann of Villanova University, author of numerous articles on maritime affairs, summarizes for us this story of many achievements and setbacks.

Cadets al the United Stales Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, 1977.

1893 opened similar schools, and some years later Maine, Texas, Michigan, Maryland, Washington and California joined the field. While clearly a step forward the schools contained a serious deficiency, being open only to residents of their respective states. During the years prior to the turn of the century Senator William P. Frye of Maine and a small group of colleagues dedicated themselves to correcting the sorry state of maritime enterprise. As a result a law was adopted in 1891 which provided that ships built under the act would carry one cadet to be "educated

in the duties of seamanship " for each 1,000 tons gross register. Lacking sufficient economic incentives and details as to instruction, the act was inconsistently complied with, but it did reaffirm the federal commitment to maritime ed ucation and training. The next attempt at merchant marine officer training came under the impetus of World War I. The six-week program of the Free Training Schools for Merchant Marine Officers provided 11,000 graduates by 1921. But as usual following a war emergency, our naval and maritime enterprise was subsequently allowed to slip back into the doldrums. Post-war era Congressional action was largely ineffective. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 did , however, state the goals of a maritime policy, in these words: That it is necessary for the National Defense and for the proper growth of the foreign and domestic co mmerce that the United States should have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels suffi cient to carry the greater portion of it s commerce and serve as a naval or military a uxi li ary in time of war or national emergency, ultimately to be owned and operated privately by citizens of th e United States.

In 1925 Congress established the Merchant Marine Reserve and three years later the Merchant Marine Act of 1928,

The Role of the Academies "Our country cannot afford to minimize the importance of a U .S.-flag merchant marine. With predicted maritime officer shortages in the early 1980s and the concurrent need to maintain the nation 's economic strength through ocean commerce, the role of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, as well as that of the state and industry schools, is essential. It is to provide intelligent, well trained and motived merchant marine officers today who will become the leaders of our maritime industry tomorrow. "In addition to the vital role the federal academy at Kings Point plays in

commerce, it also strengthens our nation's naval manpower pool. Each graduate of the Academy receives a naval reserve commission with his or her merchant marine license. The nation can therefore count on some two hundred merchant officers each year qualified to interact with the U.S. Navy during any national emergency. "We find Kings Point, therefore, at the center of America's maritime requirements." Rear Adm. ARTHUR B. ENGEL USCG (Ret.) Superintendent, USMMA

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STORMY PAST-BRIGHT FUTURE both of which had little effect on the industry. Coming into the 1930's, some reasons for cautious optimism existed: The California Maritime Academy, founded in 1929 could boast of a shore campus, plans were und erway to expand the New York Merchant Marine Academy, President Roosevelt expressed repeated concern for the state of the merchant marine and the nation's ship ping fleet for foreign trade expanded slowly, while domestic trade showed rapid growth. Moved by the state of the maritime enterprise, jarred by the Black Report, which detailed abuses in the mail subsidy system, and the Morro Castle disaster, which investigators disclosed had been magnified by incompetence and negligence, Congress adopted the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. This act contained the seeds of the National Academy; but the struggle was by no means over. Congress avoided the opportunity to authorize a national academy two years later when it amended the act, but did provide for the expansion of merchant marine ed ucation in establishing the United States Maritime Service. The Merchant Marine Cadet Corps, as it became known, used the New York, New Orleans and San Francisco facilities of the Maritime Commission which had been created by the 1936 legislation to reform and expand maritime training. As one might expect, the program got off to a difficult start. During the six months prior to Pearl Harbor, for example, the California School occupied several different locations, including the

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storied Delta Queen, a stern wheeler, which now ferries tourists on the Mississippi. The early fall of 1941 saw a rapid growth in student population, precipitating a desire for the Maritime Commission to obtain its own location . Arduous search produced the C hrys ler Estate at King 's Point on the North Shore of Long Island, on the eve of U.S . participation in World War IL The outbreak of war called for streamlining government functions, and accordingly the training responsibilities of the Maritime Commission were sw itched to the Coast Guard. This event, coupled with the founding of the Academy during the war, led many to believe the facility a wartime emergency measure. Despite the tenuous situation, expansion and construction quickly began to serve the growing corps. The Academy's first 18 months found world events dominating the concern of the corps. Unlike their Annapolis and West Point counterparts, who did not see act ion until after graduation, Kings Point cadets participated in combat-zone duty as part of their training. One hundred forty-two of the Academy's sons gave their lives during the conflict. Radio provided a national audience for the official dedication ceremony on September 30, 1943, which President Roosevelt described as "a momentous forward stride in the nation's planned program of maritime progress ." During the postwar era the Academy co uld proudly point to its contribution to the war effort and to forward steps in achieving four-year stat us, curriculum improvement and accreditation. Continuance of the college remained in question, however, and a vigorous campaign was mounted to publicize the achievements. Despite strong opposition in some quarters and periodic setbacks, this mobilized the maritime community along with man y friends and supporters to secure the passage of Public Law 415 on February 20, 1956, permanently established the Academy. Today the Academy fl ourishes in 68 acres overlooking Long Island Sound, an in spiration to th e ent ire maritime community, which regularly faces adve rsity in gaining recognition of its contribution to the development of the American nation . As President Roosevelt observed at its dedication, "This Academy, a fitting monument to those past generations who have hand ed down so noble a heritage, wi ll spur on present and future generatio ns of our men of the sea to even greater achievement .... " w

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


Eye of the Wind

Operation Drake-Round the World In 1577 during the reign of the First Queen Elizabeth of England, a small squadron of vessels, commanded by Francis Drake, sailed from Plymouth to embark on a round-the-world voyage which was to become an epic of British seamanship, and was to earn Drake a knighthood. Some 400 years later, in the autumn of 1978, another sailing ship, the brigantine Eye of the Wind will sail from Plymouth on the first phase of a very different round the world journey-Operation Drake. The Eye of the Wind, a 150-ton British registered brigantine will be the floating base for the 2-year, 9-phase expedition. Over 200 specially selected Young Explorers, from many different countries, will participate in the program, which combines adventure with serious scientific exploration and community projects. The well known English soldierexplorer Lieutenant Colonel John Blash ford-Snell will lead this expedition. Which is organized under the auspices of the Scientific Exploration Society and coordinated by an Executive Committee under the chairmanship of General Sir John Mogg. The Committee includes experienced administrators, explorers, sailors, scientists, and youth organizers. While the Young Explorers are at sea

they will act as ship's crew under the command of an experienced master and watch leaders. The two-year long series of expeditions will carry young people from Panama via the Pacific Islands to Port Moresby where studies of the rain forest, searches for rare animals, birds and flowers, and community building projects among the developing peoples of Papua New Guinea and its off shore islands will be undertaken. Rushing rivers never before navigated, and dense jungle seldom penetrated will be tackled by the Young Explorers. Similar work on Pacific Islands will follow and other young people will spend some weeks in the Red Sea assisting Anglo-Sudanese teams of scientists working underwater to investigate the rapid spread of the coral-eating starfish. Walter H. Annenberg, former Ambassador to the Court of St. James, serves as U.S. President of the expedition. Contributions to support young people's participation in this notable international interprise may be made to the National Society (marked "Operation Drake"), and further information may be had from us, or from Operation Drake, PO Box 23, 210 Euston Road, London NW! 2DA, England.

Many young people, I believe, long to have the chance of tasting adventure, of achieving something through personal endeavour or simply giving service where it is needed. Today, however, there seem to be few opportunities available to satisfy these aspirations. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to be so closely associated, as Patron, with Operation Drake-a two-year, round-the-world expedition for young people.

Operation Drake will help bring to fruition a number of scientific and community projects in several parts of the world but it will also provide many Young Explorers with the adventure of a lifetime .... This is a unique opportunity for young people not only to benefit from this experience but also to contribute to better international understanding.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

CHARLES H.R.H. The Prince of Wales

The 150-ton brigantine Eye of the Wind, floating base for Operation Drake, was built in 1911 at Braca on the River Weser, near Bremen, by the firm of C. Leuhring. Built for the GermanyArgentine-Cornwall-Germany trade, she carried salt from Germany, hides from the Argentine and china clay from Cornwall, making two trips a year. In 1923 she was bought by a Swedish family who owned her until 1958 when she was sold, again to a Swedish concern. During this time she traded with cargo in the Baltic and the North Sea in the winter months and drifted for herring off Iceland in the summer. In the late sixties there was a serious fire in her accommodation while she was ice-bound in the Baltic. She was eventually towed back to Gothenberg. Her present owners, two of whom come from the United Kingdom and three from Australia, are people who have considerable experience in sailing square-riggers, all of them at one time or another having been crew members on New Endeavour, a square-rigger now in Australian waters. They were determined to have their own ship and for years searched for a vessel for themselves. In early 1973 they heard of the burnt-out hulk in Gothenberg and after a lot of heart-searching purchased her. It took six months to patch her up sufficiently to get her from Sweden to England and she lay at Grimsby for twelve months while they drew up their final plans and raised the money required to fit her out. In April 1975 they moved her to a berth at Faversham and then began eighteen months hard work. An amazing variety of materials were employed in the rebuild. The magnificent oak floor of the main saloon, for example, came from a dance hall that was being converted to bingo. Benches around the walls are pews from an old church made of Oregon wood. The owners made the ¡spars from English larch from selected trees, felled and shaped by adze and spokeshave, and they also forged such items as the chainplates themselves. In September 1976, Eye of the Wind sailed for Australia by way of the Pacific. She is currently on her way back to the UK by way of Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean.

Built: Braca, Germany, 1911; Rig: brigantine; Gross tonage: 149.85; Length: 90' on waterline, 103' on deck, 132' overall; Beam: 23'; Draft: 7' forward, 9' aft: Hull: Steel; Owners: The Adventure Under Sail Syndicate; Registry: Faversham 1976, No. 363398. 21


San Francisco By Barbara Fetesoff

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Ms. FETESOFF is secretary of Friends of the Alma, a volunteer organization affiliated with the San Francisco Historic S hips Park.

The Water Witch , built in 1866/or Goodall & Perkins, was the first tug built in San Francisco. Here she steams ou t into the bay past a big Down Easter.

San Francisco Bay maritime history-the phrase conjures up clipper ships, Down Easters, ferr ies and scow schooners. And tugboats. What is a harbor without tugs? Before the Gold Rush there was little demand for towboats in the bay. True, the winds, currents and fog can make sai ling into the bay a tricky business, but Yerba Buena, as the then Mexican settlement was called, had been a sleepy pueblo. Once inside the harbor, ships came to anchor off the shore, and were unloaded by lighter. The Gold Rush changed everything. In addit ion to increasing traffic and the hazard of collision on the bay, the Gold Rush brought the wharves. Long Wharf, Market Street wharf, Sacramento Street wharf-it seemed that every street ended on a pier. A stalwart captain might choose to run the risk of current , wind and fog at the Gate, as the entrance to the bay is called, but the need to get ships into dock ensured the growth of tugboat service . We don't know much about tugs in the earliest years. It is probable that any small powered craft available was enlisted for jobs that required more than could be accomplished by wind or windlass . San Francisco ' s first real tug arrived on 1851. A 136-foot sidewheeler built in New York by William H. Webb, the Goliah was the second vessel built in America expressly as a tug, and the largest in the world at that time. When her New York owners ran into debt, her crew pirated her out of the harbor and around Cape Horn to the gold fields . Once in California she served as a riverboat on the Delta. She later returned to service as a tug, and was sold in 1871 to a company in Puget Sound, where she worked until 1899. As the harbor of San Francisco grew and the size of the ships which stopped there increased, so did the demand for more tugs. Again it was the wharves which, badly deteriorated after the mid-

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1850s, helped business. One history of the port records that "the wharves were ramshackle affairs and during 'northers' or strong southeast winds vessels were frequently towed away from them and anchored in the bay. Tugboats reaped a harvest in the winter months." Tugboating had become big business by the 1880s, as the world's shipping came into the bay for Cali fornia grain, and lurid light is cast on some of its abuses in the memoirs of Caspar T. Hopkins, a prominent 49er. "Two local evils had oppressed the shipping visiting San Francisco," he notes . "One was the high rates of pilotage on vessels in the foreign trade .. . . The other was the steam tug monopoly owned by Goodall, Perkins and Company and Captain Millen Griffith its manager, which had been a terror to large ships, and especially to underwriters, for its terrific charges for towage, and for salvage of insured vessels in di stress." These evils were related to each other, as Hopkins successfully proved in testimony to get a new state la w regulating pilot fees. A "contract of long stand ing" was revealed, under which monopoly tugs wo uld not take ships to sea without a pilot (which they legally cou ld do), in return for which the pilot kicked back half the outgoing pilotage fee to the tug, and recommended none but monopoly tugs to inbound ships. With the $50,000 subsidy that resulted from this practice, the Tug Company was able to buy up its rivals and charge exorbitant rates. Hopkin s, acting for the shipowners of the port, was able to secure publication of the contract, and drew up a bill which reduced pilotage rates and made such contracts a public offense. Hopkins sadly records the fate of this bill: For a while we were sure of victory. But a multitud e of honest men were never a match for a few rogues in such matters. We were beaten aft er a

furious contest (la sting nearly the entire sess ion) by th e expend iture of $40,000 in bribes among the Senato rs; beaten by just one vote. It was so me sati s faction in making o ur published report to name the men who paid and received the money, not one of whom took the troub le to deny the charge!

The affair ended with Hopkins working with the ship owners to start their own com pany-the Ship Owners and Merchants Steam Tug Company. They built four tugs the first year, and since the company's stockholders owned nearly all ships emp loying tugs, the monopoly began to weaken. Finally, in 1888, the new company bought all their rival 's boats, and Millen Griffith was driven out of business. Tugboat companies on the bay around the turn of the century included Rolph Navigation and Coal, J .D . Spreck les & Bros., and the Ship Owners and Merchant Steam Tug Company, the latter two popularly called by the color of their stacks: Spreckles was Black Stack, Ship Owners was Red Stack . Yet even at their peak, an up-and-coming launch company owner was laying the foundation for a maritime empire which would eventually dominate the entire coast. That man was Tom Crowley. Thomas C. Crowley's stepfather had been in the launch business on the bay when Whitehall boats were sti ll used to carry crew ashore and to provision ships at anchor. After the 1906 earthquake he went into towing, and won the contract to tow barges of rock for fill for the Key Route Railway pier, now the site of the Bay Bridge. For a time, Crowley, Black Stack and Red Stack competed against each other. Competition cou ld get very stiff among the tugs. The rule was that the first tug there got the tow, but a second tug on the scene was always to the bargaining advantage of the ship's captain. The San Francisco Examiner records; an instance of a Crowley cap-

SJEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


Bay Tug Boating The tug Monarch is launched at North Point, San Francisco in 1875. Standing on the pilot house is Millen Griffiths, manager of Goodall, Perkins & Company, who held a monopoly on towing in the bay. Exorbitant rates and corrupt practices led ship owners lo start their own lowing company-Ship Owners and Merchants Steam Tug Company, and thirteen years after this picture was taken, Griffiths was driven out of business. All photos courtesy San Franciso Maritime Museum.

tain, one Jim Sinnott, snatching a tow from the jaws of a Red Stack tug on April 2, 1918. While Captain Oscar Jacobsen of the incoming Thayer dickered with the Red Stack man, "Sinnott chipped in with the remark that he would tow the Thayer in with his launch at a price considerably less." He got the tow, and on the way in was met by a second Red Stack tug carrying positive orders from the ship's owners to use Red Stack. Captain Jacobsen went to the forecastle head and hailed Sinnott to drop the tow. "It won't let go," yelled Sinnott. "Cut the line if you want to. It belongs to you and it costs about $183 .84, according to present prices. Cut it. We can use that much length. Pay for the tow or pay for the warp. Either one. I should bibble." And the two Red Stack tugs returned disco nso late.

Though the law required a licensed pilot through the Gate, there was no law that required a ship to hire a tug. The feat of the Peru reminded tugboat men of that point. A local newspaper reported: Captain Ohling of the German ship Peru has claimed independence for hi s ship as far as the serv ices of towboats are concerned. His vessel came into port a few days ago from Taltal with all her canvas set and dropped anchor off Alcatraz island. Her Capta in sa id he had been beating up and down off th e entrance of the harbor, wait in g for a tug to bring his vessel through the Golden Gate, but a ll the towboats missed her in the fog. While hunting for towboats he found a pilot and finally determined to be independent of the tugs and his vessel came to an anchorage in the bay under her own sai ls. Yesterday a berth was sec ured for the vessel at the sugar refinery wharf to discharge her cargo, and all offers of the tugboats to move the ship to her dock were spurned. With a fair breeze the sails were spread and when she was again brought up to the wind she was within a few yards of her berth

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

and riding at anchor . At high tide her crew passed lines to the wharf and with the aid of the donkey engine on board warped her up to her place. The Peru is the fir st sa iling vessel of over 2,000 tons that has ever attempted to go alongside a wharf in this port in many years without the aid of a tugboat, and towboat men had almost forgotten that the feat co uld be accomplished.

It was not reported whether local tugboat men were humbled, but they could, in any case, have pointed to the May Flint, which sailed into the Gate only to collide with the battleship Iowa when the wind suddenly died. The anchored battleship was unharmed, but the May Flint sank with many of her crew. Tugs themselves were not immune to disaster. Men cou ld be washed overboard in a high sea outside the Gate, and steam boilers were known to sometimes explode, taking lives . The tow could be an especially difficult one, such as lografts from Seattle; the rafts often took a mind to head toward Honolulu. Or the tow might turn on the tug itself. In 1918 the Liberty was towing a barge filled with rocks when the barge began to sink, pulling the tug back. Underwater, the barge dumped its load and came up directly under the tug, drydocking her in the middle of the bay.

Independents have a lways played a part in a business which encourages enterprise, and some tug operators are as independent as they come. But the trend in the San Francisco Bay towboat industry has been toward consolidation. Black Stack was absorbed by Red Stack, which in turn was bought by Crowley in 1918 (ultimate victory for indomitable Jim Sinnott!). World War I helped destroy the shipping fortune of James Rolph, and Crowley bought him out, too. Today, Crowley Maritime Industries, through Red Stack and Harbor Tug and Barge perform the bulk of tow jobs on the bay. That does not mean that individual enterprise on the bay is dead. Such independents as Bob Whipple with American Navigation, Buzz Hefron at Pier 46 in San Francisco, Jerry Morris in Redwood City, and Tom Decker with Slackwater Tugboat Company in Richmond keep that enterprise alive. The living to be made at independent towing may not be luc.rative, but tug opertors have the satisfaction of knowing that they will never be bored. No two jobs are alike, and that means a lot in the age of assemb ly-line jobs. With such willing crews, tugs will continue to contribute to the rich maritime history of San Francisco Bay . .V

The tugs of J. D. Spreckles (commonly called "Black Stack") and Ship Owners and Merchants ("Red Stack") have a well cared-for look. From left to right the Hercules (Red Stack), Dauntless (Black Stack), Sea Fox, Sea Rover, Sea Witch (all Red Stack) and Reliance (Black Stack).


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Unloading fish at the docks of the Albert basin, Aberdeen. Another trawler is awaiting unloading space behind the Ocean Sceptre being emptied here. Photos: Michael Cohn.

Oil and Fishermen

By Michael and Susan Cohn

The finding of oil on the North Sea bottom is changing the life of the people of the coasts for hundreds of miles around. New types of ships are nosing their way out of the harbors of eastern Scotland. Blunt-nosed supply ships that look like floating flat-bed trucks are a common sight, but there are also submarine mother ships, survey ships, fire-fighting ships, giant barges and many others that serve the oil business. The ports of Lerwick, Peterhead, Aberdeen, Montrose, Dundee and Leith have become oil supply ports. The new oil ships fly the flags of Canada, Norway, Germany and Holland as well as the ensign of Great Britain. Flying out over the Forties oil field, 110 miles ENE from Aberdeen, we saw six supply ships scuttling out to the rigs like water beetles. Alongside each giant drilling platform bobbed a fishing trawler acting as guard and rescue boat. Between the four wells was a larger trawler, rigged with a helicopter platform to play a new role as a fire fighter and a first line of defense against oil slicks. British United Trawler Corporation in Aberdeen has leased eight of their older fishing trawlers as standby boats for the operations in the Forties field alone. Additional trawlers from other ports are standing by the rigs on other fie lds that dot the ocean off the Shetlands, Orkneys and the Scottish mainland. The Scottish east-coast harbors are crowded with the oil service ships. In Aberdeen, the Victoria Basin is almost entirely given over to the oil industry. Even the Albert Basin, traditional home of the fishermen, has its dock used by

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

ex-trawlers now serving the oil fields. In Lerwick harbor in the Shetlands, a new terminal has been built to handle additional freight and passenger traffic, while the older municipal pier is heavily used by visiting oil ships. A new oil supply terminal has been built and another one is building. This is in addition to the giant tanker terminal facilities at Sullom Voe on the same island. Even secondary ports like Peterhead devote more space to oil-related shipping than they do to fishing boats. Some oil companies, like British Petroleum, are aware of the problems this creates and are running as many of their activities as possible out of under-utilised ports such as Dundee. Fishermen complain of nets torn by "junk" that was dumped on the ocean bottom by oil drillers and pipe layers. Some of the claims have been settled by the oil companies but not all of them. "We're being blamed for every bit of debris on the ocean floor, much of it miles away from where we have ever worked," say the oil men. But the fishermen also claim that the oil men have usurped some of the best fishing

spots for their rigs, mile-wide anchor buoy sites and pipe lines. Many of the fishermen want to have nothing to do with oil, but the alternative employment that the oil industry offers is always present in case of disaster to fish or fishing boats. And shipyards, ship chandlers and craftsmen of all kinds need no longer depend on the slow-paying fishermen. Banks have alternative uses for their money. Clerks are leaving for the oil business and have forced the closing of some stores and service facilities. Prices of all kinds have risen drastically in the "oil boom areas''. "Once a fishermen, always a fisherman," we were told. During the summer children are seen going out with their fathers to the fishing grounds and some young men are choosing careers in fishing in preference to the oil-related work. Despite the problems new middledistance and short-distance fishing boats are being built. The number of fishing boats out of Lerwick has remained constant over the last few years. Though the number of fishermen sailing out of Aberdeen, Hull and Grimsby has declined, some of the west coast harbors of Scotland are taking over as fishing bases from the North Sea ports. There seems to be room for both fishing and oil, .though adjustments must be made under the impact of the new uses of the sea.

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One German and two Norwegian oil supply vessels in Aberdeen harbor.

MICHAEL COHN of the Brooklyn Children's Museum is an anthropologist interested in seamen and fishermen. His wife, SUSAN, has worked for the Foreign Policy Association and for the late Congressman William F. Ryan.

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Rousting the towboat line aboard, the foredeck gang aboard the whaling bark Wanderer help their ship to sea. Courtesy Ted M. Holcombe, V.

The Black Heritage in Seafaring: Where It's To Be Found Today By Michael Platzer From Africa, seamen mastered the deepsea trades of the Indian Ocean, took part in the thriving commerce and ceaseless wars of the Mediterranean, and ventured to an unknown degree in the sterner waters of the Atlantic, preceding the European navigators in much of the voyagi ng that made the oceans highways for man' s traffics and discoveries . As result of this long heritage, black involvement in the American sea heritage runs deep . Photos and ships' registers of mixed crews are to be found in the major maritime museu ms, notably the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, the Mariners Muse um in Newport News, Virginia, and the San Francisco Maritime Museum . Beyond such general centers, this vi tal strand of our seafaring experience ma y be followed in so me special places reviewed here. The black seaman' s role in New England whaling may be pursued in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where crew lists kept by the Seamen's Bethel indicating complexion and country of origin of the whalemen, and a half-si ze replica of the whaling ship Lagoda may be seen in the New Bedford Whaling Museum. An exhibit of Arthur Packard's whaling photographs is permanently in sta lled in the nearby Fairhaven Town Hall. The original

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whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, in which many Cape Verdean and black seamen se rve d, survives in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, and there are many photographs of black coopers, shipwrights, dockworkers and sailors scattered throughout the exhibits. The Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, possesses a whaleboat, gear, and Robert Cushman Murphy's photographs of his voyage with a predominantly West Indian crew aboard the brig Daisy . A permanent photo exhibit on the black Chesapeake oystermen is on display in Maryland 's Calvert Marine Museum. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum of St. Michael's, Maryland , shows blacks oyster tongin g, clam dredging, shucking oysters, picking crabs, log canoe racing, and sailing a brogan in its watermen's exhibit and waterfowl exhibit and in the Dodso n House. At the muse um' s pier is a working bugeye, a shipjack, sailing canoe, crabbing skiffs, and a large shed containing the tools of the waterman's trade. Thirty or so sk ipjacks are still used on the Chesapeake. There is an annual skipjack race offshore Crisfield, Maryland, where a number of working skipjac ks are docked. Skipjacks can also be view-

ed at the Baltimore Seaport, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and Chandler's Wharf in Wilmington, North Carolina. The growing number of outdoor museums with real ships give a good impression of what life and work was like aboard deepwater sailing vessels. The height and size of the yards of the square-riggers-the Peking and Wavertree in New York, the Moshulu in Philadephia, the Balcutha in San Francisco, the Star of India in San Diego, and the Falls of Clyde in Honolulu -give an idea of what it meant to go aloft to handle sails in stormy weather off Cape Horn aboard such vessels, in which many blacks served. Sternwheel passenger steamboats, the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen, still operate on the Mississippi River as excursion boats. Steam tugboats that used to tow the sailing ships out to sea and lightships can be boarded at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York, at Newport News, Virginia, and at the San Francisco Maritime Historic Park. Lightships on which Cape Verdeans actually served are located in New Bedford and Nantucket. Replica vessels which carried Negro slaves are the Mayflower in Plymouth , Massac husetts, the Revolutionary War sloop Providence II in Newport, Rhode Island, and the clipper Pride of Baltimore. The site where African slaves were first landed in the English colonies in 1619 can be visited in the reconstructed Jamestown settlement. A replica of th e Santa Maria cruises the East Coast and can be boarded by the public for a fee. A copy of the British frigate HMS Rose, on which Negro seamen served, floats at King's Dock, Newport, while a replica of a 1778 privateer, the Swift, sa ils out of Santa Barbara , California, for hire . There is a memorial and an annual Crispus Attackus Day in Boston; a replica of the teaship Beaver is open for boarding in the harbor. Blacks are known to have sailed aboa rd the USS Constitution, docked in Boston , and the Constellation in Baltimore. The Spanish-American War c rui ser Olympia, on which Negro mess men served, is open to the public in Philadelphia. The World War 1 battl es hip Texas, built at Newport News, is

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


in Houston, Texas; World War II ships can be found in Philadelphia, Fall River, Massachusetts, Mobile, Alabama, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina. ln Washington, the Navy Memorial Museum has an oil painting by V. Zveg depicting blacks in the landing party for the attack on Fort Montague, Bahamas in 1776, and a memorial to John Henry Turpin, who survived the explosion on the Maine in 1898 and the Bennington in 1905 and was made the first Negro chief petty officer in the Navy during World War I. It also has the story and photos of Jesse Brown, the first black navy aviator to lose his life in Korea as well as three-dimensional exhibits on the Barbary Wars, 1812 Lake campaigns, Civil War, and the opening of Japan. A slide show on "Black Americans in the Navy" is available as part of the Minority Opportunities Exhibit from the Exhibit Center of the Navy. An original 1776 gunboat, an extensive ship-model collection, and many historic paintings are to be found in the Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology, along with a seachest, scrimshaw and canvas bag of a seaman from New Bedford, an exhibit on Negro slavery with a reference to the Salem slave traders in Zanzibar, a Wollof cloak and a Liberian leather pouch from the American Colonization Society. The first Washington residence of Frederick Douglass houses a fine museum of African art and a permanent exhibit of his life and times. The Annapolis Naval Historical Wax Museum shows slaves being sold off the docks of Annapolis, and blacks with Perry in Japan and aboard the Lawrence in the War of 1812. The Naval Academy has models of ships and paintings of naval actions in which black sailors were involved. The new Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia has a model of a slave ship with· a dramatic recording of the "middle passage" as experienced by a slave, a tapestry of the A mis tad incident, a copy of the painting of Cinque and likenesses of Crispus Attackus, Paul Cuffee, James Forten, and Frederick Douglass. There is mention of blacks accompanying Columbus, Cortes, Balboa, and Pizarro to the New World (and possibly preceding them here!), a panel on the Maroon societies, a photo of the Bush Negroes of Surinam burning out a log canoe, photographs of black crewmen aboard the Union warship Monitor, World War I messmen, the first Negro Waves, Marcus Garvey and the Yarmouth, and the Sun Shipyard finally

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

Street

Judson Saunders, young seaman out of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as photographed in Belfast, Ireland, 1881. From an exhibit of the Connecticut Afro-American Historical Society, whose director is this man 's grandson.

opened to black workers during World War II. The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has a model of the John R. Manta and other ship models as well as a deckhouse where children can turn the wheel. The Philadelphia Maritime Museum has models and plans of slave ship clippers and operates the Portuguese barkentine Gaze/a Primeiro, the last square rigger working in the North Atlantic, as a sail training vessel for young people of all backgrounds. The New Haven Afro-American Historical Society has gathered a collection of thirty pictures showing black whalers, Civil War seamen, early Coast Guard sailors, and blacks in other maritime occupations, which it intends to exhibit throughout Connecticut. A memorial to Paul Cuffee is affixed to the Friends Meeting House in Westport, Massachusetts, while Cuffee's manuscripts are in the New Bedford Public Library. The documents relating to the A mistad incident and the colonization of Sierra Leone and Liberia are kept at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans. The Center has also the largest collection of letters and original material relating to Negro life in America, incl uding sea chanties and riverboat work songs. The Schomburn Collection in New York has extensive newspaper clipings of the struggle for equality in the maritime professions. The South Street Seaport Museum organized the exhibit "The Black Man and the Sea" in 1974, and the Winter 1973-74 issue of the South

Reporter carried seventeen photos, sketches, and brief notes about the black maritime heritage. Research on the black man and the sea has been conducted at Howard University and at the Hampton Institute. A major study of racial policies in the shipbuilding, longshore, and offshore maritime industries was completed by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The headquarters of the National Maritime Historical Society, on the East River waterfront in Brooklyn, New York, has an exhibit devoted to the last sailing ship to make the voyage to Africa, the Ernestina, and has published several articles on black seamen in its journal Sea History. It is hoped that the National Society's project to return the Ernestina to the United States will encourage new interest in the black sea heritage, and stimulate further research in the field. .:V

MR. PLATZER, who works at the United Nations in New York, is Director of the National Society's Ernestina/Morrissey project. This article is adapted from an appendix to a forthcoming book he has written with Michael Cohn, Black Men of the Sea, to be published this spring by Dodd Mead. & Co.

PHOTOGRAPHS From the complete collection of Arthur F. Packard , award-winning photographer of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Prints available from the original glass plate negatives covering all aspects of the whaling era in New Bedford and the vicinity from 1894 to 1925. For a listing of subject titles write :

Whaling Ships & Scenes 46 LAUREL LANE LEVITIOWN , PA 19054 Tel: 2 15· 94 5· 848 3 or 21 5- 946-6888

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SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS The work of the Ernestina Committee is of great international significance. I hope that the Ernestina will become an important symbol in demonstrating the close ties that exist between the United States and Africa .... I salute the friends of the Ernestina and in particular the Cape Verdean Government for its generous return of a piece of our common heritage so that many more may learn about Cape Verde and its contributions to America.

r1

Hon. ANDREW YOUNG Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations

',L ,:.b l.._.

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Melissa Wells, Economic and Social Affairs Ambassador to the United Na/ions, smiles encouragemenl as Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, urges support for the Ernestina/Morrissey projecl.

Ernestina / Morrissey Report The Ernestina ex-Effie M. Morrissey, Gloucester fisherman, Arctic explorer, and last sailing ship in the storied Cape Verdean immigrant packet trade, acquired State sponsorship on January 6, when Governor Dukakis of Massachusets signed into law a Schooner Ernestina Commission, a body empowered to "hold, administer, control, operate and repair the said vessel for educational or training purposes." On the five-person commission will be three nominated by Friends of the Ernestina/ Morrissey from Gloucester, New Bedford, and Wareham . New Bedford has already allocated $25,000 from Community Development funds for repairs to the Ernestina and preparation of a pier area for docking . Wareham has held several fund-raising affairs and has prepared a proposal for construction of a dock, dredging, and shore facilities. Providence has offered free docking space at India Point Park and it is expected that the State of Rhode Island I

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will soon establish a commission to cooperate with the Massachusetts body. Plans call for the schooner to operate out of several communities, in program tied into shore-based job training and educational activities. In the past year, Friends of the Ernestina/ Morrissey have arranged educational tours and outings under sail in several seaport towns between New York and Wareham, with the cooperation of maritime museums and such vessels as Barba Negra, Clearwater, and Mary E. At the Annual Meeting of Friends of the Ernestina/ Morrissey, held in the Brooklyn headquarters of the National Society on November 12, it was resolved to continue the Committee under the sponsorship of the National Society and to extend the vigorous campaigning that has been conducted to see to the repatriation of the vessel to the United States. Work on the schooner continues in the Cape Verdes, with sails being made in Lisbon to supplement those donated in this country, deadeyes being made in Belize, and help flowing in from many quarters to assist the ship to complete her long voyage home. MICHAEL PLATZER Project Director

Falkland lslands/Malvinas Expedition The U.S. Military Sealift Command Ship Mirfac (T-AK271) departed New Jersey for Argentina in December, carrying chain saws donated by Homelite and molding materials donated by Val Corning to recover sections of the St. Mary wreck in the Falklands, and to make moldings of ship carvings on other hulks lying in the remote, windswept South Atlantic islands (known in Argentina as the Islas Malvinas). Alan Burrough, distiller of Beefeater Gin, and Frank Mitchell, director of the Falklands Islands Company, met with Frank Carr, Advisor to the National Society in London, to arrange the English part in this expedition, in which Prince Philip and Prime Minister Callaghan have taken an interest. Peter Throckmorton, Falklands Project Director for the National Society, visited in England and elsewhere to plan this effort, and Dr. Eric Berryman of the University of New Mexico, Project Secretary, arranged transportation through the generous cooperation of the Argentine Ambassador, Jorge Aja Espil, and the Argentine Naval Attache. The main stem of this international effort is the South Street Seaport Museum survey team, led by Norman Brouwer, Ship Historian at South Street and Trustee of the National Society. Other participating institutions are the State of Maine Museum, British Antarctic Survey, Earthwatch, Maritime Museum of Vancouver, Islands Museum of the Falkland Islands, San Francisco Maritime Museum, Merseyside County Museums, Liverpool, and the Universities of Liverpool and North Wales. It is planned to recover a section of the St. Mary for exhibition at the State of Maine Museum, and to set up another section of the hull in the Islands Museum at Port Stanley, whose curator John Smith is author of the National Society booklet "Condemned at Stanley" (available from the Society, $1.50 postpaid).

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LIBERTY SHIP SEMINAR The National Society announces a meeting Friday, May 19 (preceding Sea Day Weekend) at Seamen's Church Institute in New York, to explore the Liberty Ship heritage and plans to save ships on East and West Coasts. Morning panels, luncheon, afternoon tour of John W. Brown (shown at left with her replacement lying alongside). Registratrion: $25 including lunch, Save a Liberty Kit. FRANCIS JAMES DUFFY Liberty Project Director

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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


Captain Scott becomes Youth of Oman Launched in 1971, for Scottish youth training programs run by the Dulverton Trust, the 129-foot, 380-ton threemasted topsail schooner Captain Scott left the UK for Arabia in October. The English magazine Yachts and Yachting had this to report , according to our Advisor Frank Carr : Th e ship is now ca lled Youth of Oman a nd has a new fi gurehead to symboli se th e name. Youth of Oman is on her wa y to Muscat a nd is scheduled to a rri ve on November 18 which is Omani Day . The crew co nsists o f 18 Om a ni cadets and 3 pett y o ffi cers of the Omani Na vy, wo rkin g a longside 18 Briti sh Sea Cadet s a nd watch -keepin g o fficer s on loan from th e Royal Navy.

Giorgio Cini, ex-Fantome II, ex-Belem The graceful 611-ton bark Giorgio Cini is announced for sale in the November Mariner's Mirror (UK) . Built as the Belem in 1896 in Nantes, she traded to America until 1914, when she was converted to a yacht by the Duke of Westminster. In 1921 she was bought by Lord Guiness and renamed Fantome I!, and in 1950 Earl C ini bought her, giving her her present name, arid used her as a school ship attached to the Giorgio C ini Foundation on the island of San Giorgio off Venice . Thi s 168-foot steel vessel is now offered for sale by Cantieri Navali e Officine Mecca niche di Venizia, Castello Campo Celestia, 30122, in Venice, Italy .

Mystic Seaport Photo by Kenneth Mahler

The full-rigged ship Joseph Conrad has been hauled at the duPont Restoration Shipyard at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut for basic hull overhaul including bottom plate replacement (above). Meantime, across the country, the wooden steam schooner Wapama of the San Francisco Historic Ships Park, has been hauled for remedial work on her bottom; the fundamental job that is needed, as her master Harry Dring, keeper of the San Francisco ships, points out, cannot yet be undertaken .

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

Oceans Week '78, sponsored by the American Oceanic Organization, will bring exhibits, debates, events and ships to Washington DC , April 19-23. Shipcarving and other marine crafts will be demonstrated on the waterfront, and among shoreside activities the National Society expects to sponsor a Marine Art Show . For information: Oce"TlS Week, 1000 Water Street SW , Washington DC 20024. Proceedings of the Maritime Preservation Conference held in Baltimore, June 24, 1977 are now available from the Nation Trust for Historic Preservation , 740 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC, for $4 postpaid. Waldo C. M. Johnston became Director Emeritus of Mystic Seaport last fall . After twelve epochal years as Director, he called for continuing dedication to the integrity of a world-renowned center that exists to help bring the citizen to a "realization that his people and his country possess a proud heritage, and a treasured nobility of spirit." Revell Carr, former Curator, is his successor as Director.

Hooting in the New Year The steam whistle is an almost vanished breed today. Many are preserved in museums but few visitors have any conception of the thrilling chords which these instruments were capable of producing. Steam will find a way! Each year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, some of these voices can be heard "singing" again at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, at the annual whistle welcome to the New Year. This year an even twenty whistles were sounded including those of steamship, ferry, tu g , railroad, and factory ancestry. This sight and sound spectacular (clouds of steam roll 5 and 6 stories into the air) attracted hundreds of people who come to photograph, record, or drink champagne toas ts to the New Year. CONRAD MILSTER The Shipcraft Guild This association of ship model builders and marine artists now meets regularly at the National Society's headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Regular membership is $10, associate (for those who can ' t attend meetings) is $8 . Members meet monthly to review their work, which is reported in the lively Binnacle. Write Abraham Taubman, Secretary, 11 College Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07306 .

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FIRST SHOWING IN THE UNITED STA TES

MONTAGUE DAWSON Royal Soc ie ty of Marine Artists-Fellow Royal Society of Arts.

Royal Navy WW II oil paintings in monochrome We have just received a new lot of these famous paintings. Acknowledged the greatest marine painter of our time , Mr. Dawson created these masterpieces while at the scene during British combat operations. Thus these paintings are not only brilliantly conceived and executed , but are totally authentic and of great historical importance. We illustrate two of the new arrivals.

Clipper Entering A Busy Port

by JAMES E . BUTTERWORTH Oil on canvas, 14x22 inches. Signed in lower right.

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SEA\ HISTORY , SPRING 1978


Arthur Briscoe, Marine Artist

By Alex A. Hurst Arthur Briscoe was fortunate to be born to a well-to-do family in Birkenhead on the River Mersey in 1873, his father being a wealthy cotton-broker and his mother's family well established. It is easy to imagine that, initially brought up by the passing panoply of the Liverpool shipping, he should have been inspired by the graceful hulls and lofty masts of the finest sai ling ships in the world. In fact, there is no evidence that they had any effect on him whatever. When his father retired inland in Wales, he was virtually removed from sight of the sea and ships while still a boy, and, being sent to a British public school (which, in E ngland , mean s an elite fee-paying one), his parents intended him to take up the life of a country gentleman and encouraged him in such pursuits as fishing and shooting. He had certainly displayed a talent for drawing when at school and, when he left, hiS\ father arranged for him to spend the summer sketching with a local artist, though it seems that this was because he intended to make a world tour and to take the boy with him, thinking that he might make sketches of the various places that they would visit. In fact, it does not seem that Arthur sketched at all during this rather exotic trip, but there is little doubt that it did develop his character in many ways and that he returned a very different young man from the rather shy youth who had started. On his return he announced his desire to study art, and, although it must have been contrary to all his parents' ambitions for him, it is much to their credit that they acquiesced. He spent two years at the Slade in London, followed by a year at the Academie Julian in Paris. Briscoe emerged from his studies as an accomplished portrait-painter, a fine landscapist and such a brilliant cartoonist that Sir John Tennie!, then famous for his work in Punch and his Alice illustrations, was prepared to forward his interests.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

Watercolor, the German bark Passat. The Pilot

31


ARTHUR BRISCOE-MARINE ARTIST

The Heaving Line is testimony to the grace and beauty of the ordinary bloke who knows his job and does it with skill and sureness. The unity of effort redeems this tough, angular seaman.

Watercolor Heavy Weather painted in 1938.

32

However, Briscoe declined this golden road to fame and, inspired by the landscapes of John Wilson Steer-another famous Liverpool artist-moved to Maldon in Essex, attracted by the unique East Anglian scenery. As a boy he had sometimes accompanied his father in a converted Isle of Man fishing boat, but had not evinced undue interest. Now he made friends locally and was soon fired with enthusiasm for dinghy sailing and, being a useful carpenter, he built his own. The dinghy gave way to a 3-ton gaff-rigged cutter, in which he started cruising, and this he continued when he married a local girl who joined his sailing activities with zest and expertise. Soon a son was born and joined them aboard in the long sailing season, though this entailed buying the Vera, a bigger craft. In 1906 Briscoe made a trip to the Baltic in a Danish barquentine which had been discharging timber near their home, and it was in this year that he held a most successful one-man exhibition in a London gallery entitled "Round the North Sea and Zuyder Zee." His tide had definitely turned, and he was from then on primarily a marine artist. The Briscoe family cruised extensively in the North Sea, the Dutch canals and the English Channel, and he became a frequent contributor of articles in a well known yachting magazine. He was a fast worker, particularly in water colours, yet he was not prolific. Although he could and did execute water colours aboard his yacht, larger oils had to wait until he was ashore in his studio. Although he was supposed to be earning his own living (which he could easily have done), he had a generous allowance from his mother. Indeed, when his famous yacht the Golden Vanity was built in 1908, and when he moved into a fine house further along the coast two years later, it was his mother who financed these operations. Thus, he was not motivated in the manner of artists less financially secure, and that is why we rarely find his work as illustration (save as favours to editors who were his friends), as advertisements or as prints. Basically he was painting for his own pleasure and satisfaction.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


During the First World War he served as a Naval volunteer reserve officer, but at the end of the war, at the age of 43, immediately returned to his painting. In 1923 he became aquainteci with James McBey, who was will known for his etchings, and Briscoe began to etch seriously. And so, at age fifty, he began work in the field for which he may be best remembered. His forte was men in action. ln The Heaving Line the whole twist of the torso is implicit beneath the shirt, as is the whole linkage of effort from the hands, through the shoulders, chest and legs. Studies of men hauling, or heaving round a capstan, or muzzling a split topsail made him unique. He was a perfectionist and would destroy a plate just to effect some minor adjustment. He had made a short voyage to Genoa in the Polish barque Lwow in 1922. He made another short voyage in 1928, in the iron barque Alastor from the Thames to the Gulf of Finland. The sum of his experience in square rig was very short, but having had all his sketch books in my possession, l can testify to their delight as well as to the technical details of individual vessels. In 1934 he and his wife moved back to East Anglia, a year after his mother had died. Eight years later his wife died, and Briscoe died the following year in 1943, age70. Some of Arthur Briscoe's pictures of vessels at sea, particularly in hard weather, are wholly satisfying; but it is in his deck scenes and the working of square riggers that he is without peer. When he sketched The Wheel, that was his subject. Thus he needed no distracting spanker sheets-shown in the preliminary sketches. The picture is not entitled The After End of a Barque. There is no sin in that omission, and those of commission in his work are few and far between. We are fortunate that he left behind so much of a vanished way of life that died with the age of sail. w

Youlh invesls its brawn and age ifs wisdom in handling a big square rigger running hard.

Flooded Decks and !he men must put forth an ejforl that numbs the mind and body. The parled lips on !he figure al jar left seem a mute prayer for relief from the war wilh old ocean.

Mr. Hurst is author of Arthur Briscoe-Marine Artist a book on the life and work of the artist, i//ustrated and containing, inter alia, al/ his etchings, including ihose not published during his lifetime.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

33


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JOHN NOBLE has a new lithograph out, "Wreck , Studio, Artist and 2 Barrels." This signed and numbered edition of 300 was hand pulled from stone, as are all Mr. Noble's lithographs. Questions for Stobart In our next issue, the Marine Art section will feature an interview with John Stobart. You can join in this! Send in your questions for Mr. Stobart to answer. ASMA Names President, Plans Show The American Society of Marine Artists has named Charles Lundgren as president. John Stobart is vice president of the newly formed organization , Alan Choate is secretary, and Maryanne Murphy, treasurer and executive director. An exhibition of members' work is planned for next fall, following up on plans previo usly discussed in these pages. Charter members are welcome at $25; apply to the Society c/ o NMHS, 2 Fulton Street, Brooklyn N.Y. 11201. MARYANNE MURPHY Marine Art Editor

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Leslie A. Wilcox, RI, RSMA, by Frank G .G. Carr, CB, CBE (Leigh-on-sea, England, F. Lewis Publishers, 1977. 85 pp., 72 illus. Distributed in the US by William Blair , 4838 Del Ray Avenue , Bethesda, MD 20014, in a limited edition of 600 copies; 100 copies available signed by Wilcox. $40.00 postpaid). Leslie A. Wilcox, at 74, is one of the world's foremost marine arti sts. He was elected in 1947 as a member of the RSMA, and served as Honorary Secretary from 1960 until his resignation in 1974. The first part of this book catalogs his work, with an informative description of the paintings from his entry into the Royal Society with "Harbour Scene," an oi l on panel, to the nine works completed in 1976, at which time Wilcox had completed 267 paintings, of which 72 are illustrated in this book . The earliest painting shown is "Ship Ashore" ( 1949); "The Battle of Bunker's Hill," " Lord Nelson in the Vanguard," and "The Californian Clipper Queen of the Seas" represent his most recent works. Wilcox has painted in watercolor and gouache as well as oil. His subjects range from intricately detailed and accurate historical marine scenes, to protraits, modern navy vessels, steamers and yachts, to a beautiful painting of o ld Saint Paul 's Church. A very competent, versatile artist, is Leslie A. Wilcox-his message is well received . MM Arthur Briscoe-Marine Artist, His Life and Works, by Alex A . Hurst (Teredo · Books, PO Box 430, Brighton BN16GT, Sussex, England: £23.90 postpaid) is a superbly written and illustrated book on this great but rather unknown British marine artist. The book includes all Briscoe's etchings and dry-points, with many of his oils and water colors, together with pages from his sketchbooks, and several photographs . Four-hundred and five pages, with four hundred and fifteen enticing illu strations, six appendi xes (including the " History and Methods of Etching," "Briscoe's Etching Market ," "A Complete List Of Briscoe's Etchings and Dry-points" with original retail prices, and a "Glossary of Nautical Terms") and an intimate biography of the artist make this a magnificentl y complete appreciation of Briscoe's inimitable oeuvre. Handsomely clothbound, and enclosed in its own slip case, this book, a ·work of art itself, is available in limited supply from Teredo Books as noted above. MM

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


LETTERS To the Editor : At the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, on November 4th, we discussed at some length the overtures you had made through Mark Myers, to form an American Society of Marine Artists along the lines of thi s Society and to build close ties between us. I want you to know that the suggestion met with universal approval from our members. We shall be more than happy to do anything we can to help over the launching stages and look forward eagerly to the chance of close cooperation in the future. I understand too, that one of our members, John Stobart, is in touch with you . This is all to the good and I am ·sure he can give much helpful advice on the structure and aims of the RSMA . Please count on us for any help we may be able to give and be assured we wish your venture well in every way. KEITH SHACKLETON President Royal Society of Marine Artists London, England To the Editor : Earlier this year I was informed by the New York State Sales Tax Bureau in Albany that I was liable for the payment of sales tax, which I had failed to collect over the last three years, on the sale of my marine canvases. I had been under the erronious notion that creative expression in the arts was not subject to sales tax . Creative writing, l subsequently learned, is exempt from this tax, but unfortunately, not painting. l also learned that painting is still categorised by its archaic definition, and an artist is consequently classified as a "manufacturer." l do feel, however, that this regressive tax will only succeed in inhibiting the communication and free expression of ideas, to say nothing of being a demeaning imposition on the artist's creativity. Had the American Society of Marine Artists already been established and active as a representative body, it would have been an appropriate and most valuable medium through which reliable information could be obtained in this and all matters affecting the vital interests of marine artists. It should also prove to be a unique forum through which their concerns could be voiced and represented in the future. OSWALD L. BRETT Levittown, N.Y.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

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Diving for Treasure, by Peter Throckmorton (New York, The Viking Press, 1977, 136 pp., illus., $10.95). A glance at the index of Peter Throckmorton's latest, marvelously illustrated book on marine archaeology shows my name as the most frequently mentioned subject. The references are flattering. How, then, can this review be impersonal? Throckmorton's solitary surveys for shipwreck s in the Mediterranean, and his passion to see the wrecks excavated properly, were the major factors in the shift from simple salvage to the newly res pected science of nautical archaeology. The work he started has passed largely into the hands of professional archaeologists, but we followed a

path he laid out. Today he has turned much of his missionary zeal toward the preservation of more recent, nineteenthcentury sai ling ships, and I hope that his new efforts are equally rewarding. The book mirrors its author perfectly. Throckmorton is a dreamer, a pioneer, but not always one to spend days checking minute details-leave that to the scholars who follow! If he can write: "Richard Steffey, ship specialist at George Bass's American Institute of Nautical Archaeology, has, along with Fred Van Doornink, managed to reconst ruct the lines of the Yassi Ada on paper, as well as the Hellenistic ship found at Kyrenia, Greece. Ole Crumlin Peterson .. . ", where Steffy, Van Doorninck, and Crumlin-Pedersen are

The Book Locker By David 0. Durrell Publications Director

A principal ingredient one finds in most literature that concerns itself with the sea is an almost fanatical determination to achieve a goal. Forester writes of a determined Hornblower who, through his persistence, inevitably attains victory and rank despite the overwhelming odds that are stacked up against him . Conrad also dwells on this quality as a fundamental ingredient in the character of his protagonists. His Youth, the story of an ill-fated voyage to the Orient dogged by misfortune from the start, concerns itself with this almost exclusively. Nordhoff and Hall 's most successful colaboration, Mutiny on the Bounty, is a true yarn about the force of that determination on the part of one man, and the equally strong wi ll to thwart his goal on the part of another. (It's interesting that both Christian and Bligh succeed; Captain Bligh, always the true seaman, after an historic 3000 mile voyage in an open boat.) This fanaticism is even more obvious in the accounts of single-handers. Chai Blyth writes in his Impossible Voyage of monstrous seas and howling winds in the Roaring Forties that make him want only to lie below, hidden in the warmth of his berth, safe from the raging storm, and of the insistent force within him that compels him on deck again and again to combat the elements. Sir Francis Chichester is almost obsessed in his writings with driven mariners who continue to work sh ip, though they should by all logic not be able even to move about her decks. It is astonishing how deeply this persistence is ingrained in seamen, to the ex-

tent that superhuman acts on their part are often taken for granted by them. This comes from a life spent in a small, self-contained world in which one can expect no outside help when things go wrong. The sailor's survival instinct is sharpened by the knowledge that the safe arrival of his ship at its destination requires him to subordinate all considerations except the immediate completion of whatever tasks that are required for the safety of the ship. There is an often quoted story of a sailing ship in the Forties off Cape Horn, knocked on her side by heavy gales, her cargo of grain badly shifted, her crew clinging to her canted deck defeated, hopeless, waiting for the elements to claim her and them. The Captain, his attention never straying from the goal at hand, requires the crew to reshift cargo and to set sails and wear ship! The crew views this as a pointless task; work a ship lying on her side? Sails are painfully set, and eventuall y she rights herself and completes her voyage. The question that needs answering is whether so me of us participants in the historic preservation field have not lost sight of the goals we have set ourselves, while sailing in the hard winds of adversity and confused seas of politics . Perhaps, like the crew of the hardpressed ship, we too often see only the problems and difficulties that abound, rather than the need to overcome the problems as at first step in attaining the purported go.al, the establishment of a well founded maritime heritage in this country.

SEA HIISTORY, SPRING 1978


misspelled, Kyrenia is placed in the wrong country, Yassi Ada (an island) is used as if it were a ship, and van Doorninck is incorrectly credited with working on the lines of the Kyrenia s hip . .. if he can do that, knowing better, then how can I be certain of the passages I read only as a layman? Are there, as he says, only three surviving ships of the type of Conrad's Otago? Probably the answer is that it doesn't matter. Certainly there are precious few such ships, and Throckmorton's eloquent plea for their preservation rings true, regardless of his accuracy . Most of the book makes for pleasant and stimulating reading. Chapters on sponge divers or the discovery of the Anti kythera wreck are valuable and fascinating; in "Treasure Diving" and "Politics" and an Afterword, the author writes truths as few professional archaeologists would dare . But chapters are uneven: one on ship reconstruction, reprinted from an archaeological journal, seems overly technical in this popular work, and a section on underwater photography is a jumble of poorly organized headings and sub-headings. Passages of wonderful common sense are mixed with cavalier statements about deep diving that could endanger a novice diver reading them. The value of scientific excavation, as at Cape Gelidonya and Yassi Ada, is stressed, but the major historical results of such work are passed over. I assume the misleading title of the book was the publisher's choice. I could end with a plea for the author to slow down, to spend an extra month reading proofs and checking references on his next book. But I dare not bank his fires. No one more forcefully and clearly tells us what is at stake and how quickly our true marine treasures are vanishing. There are young scholars aplenty to sort out the details . So fly off again to the Falkland Islands, Peter, or to Sri Lanka or Italy, and come back to preach your gospel. I, for one, will continue to read it! GEORGE F. BASS

Mr. Bass, President of the American Institute of Nautical Archaeology, is one of the Americans primarily responsible for bringing the disciplines of archaeology to the underwater world. The Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea, ed. Peter Kemp (New York, Oxford University Press, 1976. 972 pp., ill., $35). Lend this marvellous compendium to a friend with any interest in the sea. He'll soon start smiling, perhaps when he finds the familiar word "aloof" properly described in its origins as a sea

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

term. Respect will creep across his features when he finds such things as admirable brief biographies of both Churchill and Fisher which do not contradict but complement each other (no mean feat, one these giant men themselves ultimately failed at). American entries could do with some overhaul (no South Street Seaport Museum is listed: it exists!), and there are other things to argue over in this work of many hands. But in sum the volume is reliable, joyously readable, and beautifully illustrated with contemporary prints, paintings and photographs (the armillary sphere -did I get you with that one?-is shown clearly in a I 7th-century woodcut; and we learn that Martin Frobisher's cost ÂŁ4.7s.6d. in 1576). Peter Kemp, known to many scholars for his help in their work, orchestrated and I suspect wrote many of the 3,700 alphabetically arranged articles; he has achieved a true masterwork in this rich sea harvest. Oh, about your friend. He' ll never give the book back, go out and get another copy. PS Anton Otto Fischer-Marine Artist: His Life and Work, by Katrina Sigsbee Fischer in collaboration with Alex. A. Hurst. (North Vancouver, British Columbia, Nevasa, 1977. 288 pp., illus., $46.95). Story-telling with substance far outdistances a combination of endless anecdotes and fact-listing . The author of this splendid book on Anton Otto Fischer, A.O.F. 's only daughter, speaks with filial intensity in seeking to capture the sweep and richness of his work. She is not a professional writer, but she handles records and reminiscences ably to her purpose. With the aid of her collaborator, she has fashioned a seaworthy porthole onto her father's character and the context of his life . The work is at once incisive and emotional, neither approach tainting the other. In Oswald Brett 's "Foreword" A.0.F. is quot ed from a letter to Mr. Brett: "I am personally more interested in the struggle between a man-made contraption like a vessel, and an elemental force like the sea . " The use of the phrase "man-made contraption" bespeaks A.0.F.'s orientation towards people and their emotions in a struggle. The existence of melodrama, of poignancy, of tragedy and comedy is celebrated in his work. The experiences which cumulatively illuminate his artistry are drawn in fine relief in the biographical sketch. Ms . Fi scher uses quotation s from letters to good advantage. The illustrations, in-

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BOOKS

Folklore and the Sea, by Horace Beck (Middletown, Conn ., Wesleyan University Press/ Mystic Seaport, 1977. 463 pp., illus., paperback $6.95). This massive survey of lore and legends on both sides of the Atlantic is welcome in its new paperbound edition. A chapter that exemplifies the depth of material is "Seals and Muckle Men," which is devoted to tales of shape changers emerging from the sea to move among men as people. They were held in deeply rooted fear among coastal dwellers, going back to pre-Christian times. Here also are mermaids and seals, some thought to house the souls of dead fishermen. Shipbuilding, place names, weather lore, sea songs and chanties, art, monsters . . . one's only regret is that in so vast a survey, some things are only lightly touched on . ERIC RUSSELL

The Twelve Meter Challenges for the America's Cup, by Norris D. Hoyt, with paintings & drawings by Admiral Joseph W . Golinken (New York, E.P . Dutton, 1977. 252 pp., illus ., $25 .00) . It is a fortunate thing that Norris Hoyt and Joseph Golinken met in 1964, for they have put together a book that must surely be required reading for anyone interested in racing for the America's Cup since 12-meter yachts replaced the great "J" boats of the preWorld War II era. Mr. Hoyt, of course, as a long-time resident of Newport, Rhode Island, has probably witnessed first-hand as many trial and cup races as any knowledgeable sailor, and is eminently qualified to speak on such a complex subject with all its nuances. Admiral Golinken was always meticulous about details, and his delightful and unusual water colors reflect this dedication . As Mr. Hoyt, points out in his foreword, "Twelves consume much labor and few materials . " But a good deal of the "labor" consists of some of the best sailors in the world, and some of the "materials" are so exotic that they are discarded in infancy as being so expensive or intricate that they should only be developed by NASA . Yet a great deal of both do find their way into the boating business in one way or another, to say nothing of Newport, Rhode Island. The details of technology and personalities with which this volume deals seem to reflect a sincere interest by the author to give the facts as they pertain to the many races beginning in 1958 . As the reader is bound to realize ere long, 12 meter racing for the America's Cup would seem to be here to stay, in spite of an absolutely lop-sided series of results in favor of the defenders. A friend of mine once compared this game as being like racing fillies, and there is some analogy here. Mr. Hoyt explains that several of the premier yacht designers of the world have been called upon to design 12 meters as challengers and defenders. Their efforts frequently fell short of expectations, generally when they were hot favorites. As the thoroughbred fraternity knows, beautifully bred Secretariats or such are not necessarily guaranteed winners . All of which adds to the spice of defending and challenging for the America's Cup. F. BRIGGS DALZELL

Mr. Russell, guitarist and National Society volunteer, is co-author with Mark Lovewell of Songs of South Street-Street of Ships.

Mr. Dalzell, Secretary of South Street Seaport Museum, got to know his fillies pretty well in several terms as Fleet Captain of the New York Yacht Club.

eluding paintings and photographs, and the text work well in tandem. A system of footnoting elaborates on certain points without distracting from the flow of the text. As the sketch comes to a close, the author touches on the subject of technical accuracy. Though Fischer was a representational artist who often worked in illustrating prose, he chose not to document nautical technology so much as humankind in its "contraption ." To fault him for technical inaccuracy is to overlook the true thrust of his artistry . The commentary of the "Pictures" section suffers slightly from too little succinct artistic analysis. In general, it complem.ents the plates-which speak for themselves . An overabundance of exclamations! in this section tends to diminish the meaning of the prose. Inexplicably, neither the present locations nor the dimensions of the painting are given. The author at one point explains that "humans make mistakes" and perhaps A.0.F.'s mistakes can be explained through the lack of perspective that an artist's closeness to his oeuvre creates . This difference in perspective is what makes the work of this man not the product of a camera's eye but rather a record of the view from an artist' s onto our humanity. LYNNE FISHER PHILLIPS

Ms. Phillips, a student of art history, is a freelance writer.

38

The Peking Battles Cape Horn, by Captain Irving Johnson (New York, Sea History Press, 1977 . 182 pp., illus ., hardcover $11.95, paper $5.95). I had read Captain Johnson's 1932 Peking book several years ago, with astonishment. Peking had not come to South Street yet in her final career, and all I knew was that here was grand writing of a kind of sea life that is completely gone now . Sea History Press's new version of that book-coming now as it does to complement the presence of the ship herself at South Street-is a wonderful publication . NMHS President Peter Stanford's Foreword tells us that Peking "carried masts seventeen stories high" and tells us too of Captain Johnson's later world sailings in other vessels and in his own three Yankees. Captain Johnson's own Afterword is rather an intimate statement, written 48 years later, "to add some memories of things that were too close for me to see significantly at the time." To get ready for Cape Horn and for shipboard fighting someday, he writes, he read Jack London and "secretly sent away for a physical culture course" and "trained till I could stand on my head on top of every telephone pole within a half mile of home." He never had a fight, as it turned out, but felt the training worthwhile, "for shipmates .. . appreciate a man who can pull, jerk, heave, lift and climb in a way that counts ." And South Street ship historian Norman Brouwer's factual history of Peking expanded from a Spring 1975 article in the Reporter, ties it all together. It is a good book, this one. It caused me to wish urgently to implant my name inside its front cover, which I did. TERRY WALTON Ms. Walton is editor of South Street Seaport Museum's journal the Reporter, from which this review is reprinted, with thanks. The Liners, A History of the North Atlantic Crossing, by Terry Coleman (New York , G .P. Putnam's Sons, 1977. 231 pp . illus ., $14.95). When a book accomplishes what its author and publisher intend for it to do, it is a pleasure indeed . Such a book must remain clearly focussed on its subject and report it with a minimum of wasted words. If it is illustrated the material must be appropriate, in balance with the text and effective in bringing the narrative to life . Terry Coleman's Liners is such a book . From the magnificent French Line representation of the

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


beautiful Normandie on the dust jacket (fortunately reproduced as the frontispiece) to the final, symbolic photo of the France docking in Havre after her final voyage under the tricolor, the liveliness of the pictorial material exactly compliments the text. After reading The Liners one emerges with a distinct feeling for the era of these trans-Atlantic titans. Odd bits of information keep appearing that nicely flesh out the story of the multinational competitors for the lucrative North Atlantic Market-and the great importance of shipping to the commerce of the day. Cunard's early decision to dock at Boston when that city was locked in head-to-head battle with New York for the passenger business led to a grateful Mayor and business community freeing the icebound Britannia with ice ploughs in the winter of 1844. The ship proceeded eastward through the passage accompanied by half the population skating by her side. Different companies concentrated on different trades. The development of the immigrant traffic necessitated a different approach to basic ship design than did the glamour ships of the speedy first-class vessels. The great liners emerged as a class by themselves. DOD

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The Island Steamers, by Paul C. Morris and Joseph F. Morin (Nantucket, Nantucket Nautical Publishers, 1977. 196 pp., illus., $19.50). The rich maritime history of Nantucket and Martha's Vinyard islands lives on in the ferry service that to this day provides the major link to the mainland. The Island Steamers traces this vital public transportation from the early days of steam to the present motorship era. A pleasant blend of photographs collected from a wide range of sources and a nicely written text make this fine cocktail-table fare. The vessels, routes and people are dealt with in a style that makes for easy entertainment. This work should not, however, be considered a reference, as maddening omissions tend to weaken the authors' credibility as authorities on their subject. Current service between the Vineyard and Hyannis, Falmouth and New Bedford goes unmentioned, for example. Woods Hole, currently the major mainland terminal, is given only passing mention. Bibliographical compilation is meant to help scholars and verify the author's research. Listing newspapers and magazines without dates, and books without publishers, cities of origin, or dates does neither. LEONARD C. SMITH

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We'll Deliver, by C. Bradford Mitchell (Kings Point, N. Y., U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, 1977. 253 pp., illus., $13.25). The creation of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy by act of Congress in 1938 is only one part of a story that began with a moored training brig off Nantucket one hundred and fifty years ago. We'll Deliver traces this story, the heroism of its students and graduates in the dark days of World War II, when the academy at Kings Point was rated at a par with its sister institutions at New London and Annapolis, and the sustained effort that led to its continuance after the war, when it was threatened with dismemberment as a "war agency". Mitchell aptly dedicates his book to the 142 Kings Pointers who lost their lives in enemy action. But there is more to the story than the wartime emergency. In this extraordinary well informed book, Mitchell has shown how dedicated people made possible a national academy suited to the mission of American Merchant traffics at sea. This work records the doubts and struggles that accompanied the effort, as well as the solid and rewarding results. DOD

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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


The Mar Cantabrico gets underway in New York Harbor on January 6, 1937 with a controversial cargo of crated aircraft for the Spanish Republic. Courtesy, Peabody Museum.

The Ship That Ran Against Congress By Richard Sanders Allen She was hardly an ocean greyhound -the ship's speed was normally about twelve to fourteen knots-but her race was with the Congress of the United States. The race was against time and the ship was an obscure Spanish freighter named the Mar Cantabrico. Her sailing from New York harbor in January 1937 was front-page news on four continents. This unarmed motor vessel became involved in domestic and international politics, and in naval action that came perilously close to sending her to the bottom. The Mar Cantabrico was built at Bilbao, Spain in 1930, the beginning of a decade which saw the rise of dictatorships and the drifting of nations into a new world war. The owners of the twinscrew, diesel-powered motor vessel were Compania Maritima de! Nervion of Bilbao, in the Basque country on the shore of her namesake sea. When Spain became a republic in 1931, the Mar's colors were dutifully changed to the new tricolor design. This fluttered at her stern as she carried mixed cargo from Gulf ports of the United States to Spain and Portugal, making the westward trip in ballast. These were the days when the new Spanish Republic struggled, not always with success, to establish democracy on the Iberian peninsula. Conservative elements in Spain felt that the new government was leaning toward communism, and in July 1936 a group of army generals launched an uprising against the republic, opening the Spanish Civil War. On the high seas, individual ships' crews decided whether their vessels would be "Loyalist" or "Nationalist." In the case of the Mar Cantabrico the independence-minded Basque sailors declared "for the Republic," and the freighter was placed under

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

orders of the legally constituted government in Madrid. For the first uncertain months of Spain's civil war, the Mar rode idly at anchor in the roadstead of Valencia, serving as a prison ship. On October 10, 1936 a decree was issued that made all Spanish merchant vessels part of the Spanish Republican Navy. Soon, under orders from the War Ministry, Captain Jose Santa Maria headed his vessel out of the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic and into New York harbor. After some drydock and engine work, he was to await cargo. The captain had no idea that the Mar Cantabrico would soon be a storm center. But down in the nation's capital the clouds were already gathering. Beginning in 1935, Congress had passed a series of "neutrality laws" which placed mandatory embargoes on the sale of arms to belligerents. A control board was established in the Department of State to register all arms exporters. Every foreign shipment had to be detailed, cleared and issued an export license in advance. Watchdog of the operation and head of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control was a longtime State Department official, Joseph C. Green. The Spanish Civil War became an issue in American politics when the Republic, in addition to seeking foreign aid from France and Russia, endeavored to purchase material and supplies in the United States. The existing neutrality law applied only to war between countries, and the United States government called the Spanish conflict "civil strife." There was extreme pressure on Franklin D. Roosevelt, then in the midst of a presidential campaign for a second term in office, to apply neutrality legislation to Spain. Liberals and those who feared the spread of fascism (Germany

and Italy were helping the Nationalists) were meanwhile asking that the legal right of the Spanish government to buy arms not to be denied. As a stopgap, Roosevelt asked for a "moral embargo'', appealing to arms manufacturers and dealers to voluntarily refrain from sales to either side in Spain. The president's "moral embargo" worked surprisingly well for several months, and was adhered to by even the large munitions and aircraft manufacturers. The inevitable challenge came from an unexpected source. On December 24, 1936 the Vimalert Company of Jersey City, N.J. openly applied for the export of eighteen second-hand commerical transport aircraft and 411 used airplane engines. Total value of the shipment was stated to be $2, 777 ,000. The consignee was a Sr. Franciso Cruz-Salido of Bilbao, Spain. The president of Vimalert, and the man who dared to face both adverse public opinion and govermental wrath was Robert Cuse, a 37-year old naturalized American citizen. Although described by the press as a "New Jersey junk dealer," Cuse was in fact something of a mechanical genius, who had built up his company by the purchase of surplus military aircraft engines for conversion to marine and commercial use. Vimalert not only resold the motors to the United States Coast Guard, but did considerable export business with the USSR. Since Russia was quietly handling some foreign purchases for the Spanish Republic, they put the Spaniards in contact with Vimalert. Despite the immediate uproar, branding him "a merchant of death," Cuse stuck to his determination to sell and ship the engines he had accumulated, and the aircraft he had bought up from

41


THE SHIP THAT RAN AGAINST CONGRESS

various firms and private owners. He insisted on his legal rights in making the shipment, and Joseph C. Green's Office of Arms and Munitions Control duly issued the proper licenses to the Vimalert Company on December 28. Green grudgingly termed Cuse "the most engaging rascal I have ever met!" The next day at his news conference President Roosevelt chastised the New Jersey dealer. He called the shipment for Spain "a thoroughly unpatriotic act," and promised to request legislation to block it. Congress, however was not due to convene for over a week . There were gloomy predictions that "the planes and engines wouldn't be ready to ship for months." Mr. Cuse and a host of hastily-hired mechanics, carpenters and dock workers set out to prove this wrong . There was just a chance to beat the legislative action that was sure to be sparked in Washington. It was no secret as to what ship was going to transport the Cuse purchases to their new owners in beleaguered Republican Spain. Her engines newlyoverhauled, the Mar Cantabrico now lay alongside Pier 35 at the foot of Coffey Street in Brooklyn . She'd been busy taking on a cargo of chicken soup, flour, mattresses, shoes, medical supplies and "nine cases of women's fur coats." Up at North Beach Airport (today's LaGuardia Field) Hanger 3 became a hive of industry. Pilots landed planes and taxiied them inside to be met by a swarm of workmen armed with dismantling tools. Carpenters whacked together huge crates of white pine, tailored to known wing dimensions. Within hours, Merritt-Chapman lighters were on their way to Brooklyn with the aircraft The feverish activity was accented on Pier 35, where the Mar Cantabrico's cranes loaded the planes in their bulky crates. Bandages, coffee and cases of evaporated milk were also hastily slung off the dock and into the ship's holds. When the Seventy-fifth Congress of the United States convened on January 6, 1937, President Roosevelt, as predicted, asked the joint session for "an addition to the existing Neutrality Act to cover. .. the unfortunate civil strife in Spain.'' No time was lost in making such a resolution the first order of Senate business. The ensuing debate centered on the need to maintain neutrality, and Cuse was blamed as "a junk dealer putting Congress in an embarrassing position." The Senators passed the resolution 80 to 0. Over in the House of Representatives Chairman Sam D. McReynolds introduced an identical resolution, stating:

42

"This is a race between the Congress and the people who want to send these. deadly instruments of warfare to Spain .... " The House debate dwelt more on the idea that no nation, not just Spain, should receive war goods of any kind from the United States. The peace of the world was threatened. This was the hurried thought of the lone dissenter against 406 representatives who voted for the measure . He was a freshman Congressman, Rep. John T. Bernard of Minnesota. Even as the Congressmt:n in Washington were debating, the cranes in Brooklyn swung four more crated airplanes aboard the Mar Cantabrico, and stevedores toted bundle after bundle of used clothes up the gangplanks. With word expected momentarily from Washington, officials waited to impound the vessel. There was a minor contretemps when the customs men insisted on seeing that the words "U.S. Army" had been obliterated on thirty surplus military field kitchens, stored in the hold. There were only eight of the eighteen airplanes on board, and only one of the hundreds of engines, but by noon of January 6, Captain Santa Maria had decided to cast off and get away. On the dock were still thousands of tons of cargo, including lumber, a small automobile and cartons of clothing collected in small lots by sympathizers with the Spanish Republic . "We can't delay for a few dresses and suits," was the skipper's last recorded remark. Tugs inched the Mar Cantabrico away from Pier 35 at 1:47 P. M. As the Spanish ship stood out into Buttermilk Channel, a taxicab careened onto the pier, dodging the pitiful piles of short-shipped cargo. It disgorged three US. Marshals, who waved an importantlooking paper. This turned out to be a writ to get compensation for two American aviators who claimed non-payment for recent services in Spain. Their Manhattan Lawyer, Lewis Landes, also had the aim of delaying the Mar until Congress could act on the embargo measure. The marshals, the Coast Guard and the New York City Police Department all went into immediate action that chilly January afternoon . On radioed orders the Spanish vessel obediently dropped anchor in the harbor's Upper Bay. The Coast Guard cutter Icarus stood alongside and both a Guard amphibian and a police plane hovered above. For an hour the radios crackled with messages. Finally, Collector of the Port Harry M. Durning made a ruling. The Landes writ applied only to property

belonging to the Spanish Air Minister, and not to the ship itself. Without word from Washington, no authority existed to hold the vessel, and she was signaled to proceed. Observers noted that the Mar Cantabrico churned her way down the Narrows at what seemed more than her rated knots . By 3:47 P. M. she had dropped her pilot and cleared the bar at Sandy Hook. Half an hour later she was out of U.S. territorial waters. In Washington the Congressmen were still talking. The ship that ran against them had won her race . Had he known, Captain Santa Maria had nearly 40 hours more to load additional cargo on his ship and still get her safely out to sea. The Senate, after unanimously passing the Spanish Embargo Resolution, neglected to authorize Vice President John N. Garner to sign it, and that worthy went home to supper. It was not until 12:30 P .M. on January 8, 1937 that the joint Pittman-McReynolds resolution, prohibiting arms for Spain, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. By that time the Mar Cantabrico was two days out in the Atlantic, on her was to Vera Cruz, Mexico . It would be pleasent to record that the Mar Cantabrico and her famous cargo of eight commercial planes and one engine reached Republican Spain, and was influential in lifting the siege of Madrid, or some equivalent dramatic event. But this was not to be. Arriving at Vera Cruz within ten days, the ship that had so precipitously left New York had over a month to rearrange her cargo. Most of the crated planes were put below decks. Some thirty-eight carloads of obsolete Mexican artillery, rifles and grenades went to complete the filling of her holds, and there was even a shipment of garbanzos for hungry Spaniards in the blockaded ports. Several false sailings were announced, and the Mar finally slipped out of Mexican waters on the night of February 19. Her movements were the subject of frequent press reports, and there were secret supporters of General Francisco Franco in both the United States and Mexico who daily reported on the Mar. Italian and Portugese intelligence sources were also called upon to prevent the Spanish ship and her cargo from passing the Nationalist sea blockade encircling Bilbao and the loyal Basque Provinces . For over two weeks the Mar Cantabrico kept radio silence. The officers of the bridge had orders to shoot anyone

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978


who tried to enter the radio room . The master of the vessel intended to enter Santander at full speed and without a pilot. What happened next is perhaps best told in an abbreviated , laconic report to be found in the records of the British Foreign Office: H.M.S. Echo at St. Jean de Lu z, France, rec'd a radio signal March 8, 1937 at 1412 hrs.: "From Adda to Land's End Radio. In Danger 45 °10" N, 3 ° 20" W." Signals continued of a panic nature and almost continuous: " We are being stopped by battleship. Don't know what may happen, " " We need help," "SOS." The English Echo, Eclipse, En counter and Escapade, patrolling the Spanish Coast, all set out at full speed, adjusting torpedoes for action . At 2115 Comma nder Barnes of Eclipse found ten ships to the north, with a searchlight sweeping th e seas. Eclipse: "Can you please give me any information on Adda, who was making SOS?" Response : " Motor ship Adda is not Adda. Is Spanish steamer Mar Canlabrico." The British force then withdrew.

In a chancy attempt to run the Nationalist naval blockade, the Mar had made radio masquerade as the British Dempster liner Adda, which occasionally plied the Cantabrian Sea on Liverpool-West African runs. The ruse failed when she was accidentally discovered and stopped 125 miles north of the Basque Coast by the Nationalist cruiser Canarias. The ship's engineer, on the captain's orders, opened the valves to sink the vessel, unaware that the strong ship's pumps were still at work. A crewman started for the ammunition hold in a valiant attempt to blow up the ship. Ironically, he was killed outright by the only shell fired by the Canarias. The missile lodged in the Mar's No. 2 hold, and started a fire from the gasoline the man was carrying. In the resulting confusion the crew took to lifeboats when a boarding party arrived to put out the fire. A seaman named Juan Boo jumped overboard and swam to a French trawler that was standing by . The rest of the crew and passengers were picked up by the Canarias, and paid for their loyalty to the Republic . They were all executed or served long prison terms. With a prize crew, the Mar Cantabrico was escorted by her captor into the Nationalist-held port of El Ferro!, and Butgos Radio jubilantly announced her seizure. The cargo became war booty, and the eight airplanes were incorporated into the Nationalist Air Force to serve as air transport for senior officers .

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1978

Sep/ember 12, 1962, lugs move the burning Mar Cantabrico away from shipping lanes lo a mudbank on Lake Sabine, Texas. The fire, started by a ruptured fuel line, took lwo weeks to burn out. Photo, Watkins Studio.

In the hands of the Franco forces, the

Mar Cantabrico became an auxiliary cruiser. Masts and cranes removed, she was stripped down and fitted with cannon, anti-aircraft and machine guns. She was put to work in the Mediterranean to intercept vessels suspected of running supplies to Republican Spain, and she participated in various seizures. By the end of the Spanish Civil War in March I 939, the erstwhile blockaderunner was serving as the flagship of Don Francisco Moreno, Chief Admiral of the Blockade itself, and took part in the final operations against Cartagena. With peace, the Compania Maritima de! Nervion, her old owners, regained and refurbished the Mar. Once more she was put on the company's regular service to the Gulf ports of the United States. For over twenty years few Americans realized the vessel that was briefly "the most notorious ship in the world ," was paying regular visits to U.S. ports. On the night of September 11, 1962 the Mar Cantabrico was in the course of a short voyage between Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Beaumont, Texas. A little after midnight, while passing through the Sabine-Neches Ship Channel off the business section of Port Arthur, Texas, a ruptured fuel line started a fire in her engine room. This spread quickly to holds amidships containing lumber, creosoted railroad ties, bales of rags and the ship's bunkers of Diesel fuel. Twenty-five tons of synthetic rubber added to the holocaust.

Converging from all over southeast Texas, four hundred fire fighters battled the inferno for nearly twenty-six hours. By daylight the Mar had taken on so much water from the fire boats that she listed to port and rode low in the channel. Fearing blockage, six heavy tugs were sent to move the stricken vessel some ten miles upstream , away from ship traffic . During this last race against time the fire erupted anew in a hold loaded with sulphur, enveloping all her superstructure. Despite noxious fumes, the tugs managed to ease the burning ship onto a mud bar near the mouth of the Neches River. Here the Mar Cantabrico, smoldering and smoking, took two weeks to burn herself out. Incredibly, having survived both the Spanish war and the fire in Texas, the Mar still had one last voyage to make. Abandoned for a year, she was refloated by an English salvage operator, and towed out of Sabine Pass into the Gulf of Mexico . Here the sea-going Polish tug Koral picked up the hulk and towed it across the Atlantic to Antwerp. Only then did the Mar Cantabrico-the ship that once ran against Congress-end her days in Belgian scrapyard.

Mr. Allen, Director of the N. Y. State Bicentennial Commission, is an aficionado of maritime history and the author of several books including Covered Bridges of the Northeast and Kevolution in the Sky.

43


NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY SPONSORS WALTER H. ANNENBERG Radnor, Pennsylva nia

CHARLES F. CHAPMAN MEMORIAL per Ralph P. Evinrude Je nsen Beach, Florida

JACK R. ARON J . Aron Charitable Foundation New York, N ew York

WILLIAM W. D URRELL Barnstable, Massachusetts

JOSEPH CANTALUPO Cantalupo Carting Compa ny New York, New York

PAUL R. H ENRY Portland, Oregon R. c. J EFFERSON Wayzata, Minnesota

EVA GEBHARD-GOURGAUD FDTN . New York, New York

IRVING JOHNSON Had ley, Massachusetts

W. R. GRACE FOUNDATION New York, New York

J. M. KAPLAN FUND New York, New York

A. ATWATER KEN T, JR. Wilmington, Delaware ) AMES MACDONALD FOUNDATION New York, New York NAVY LEAGUE New York Council MR. & MRS. P ETER SEEGER Beacon, New York MR. & MRS. P ETER STANFORD Yorktown Heights, New York

PATRONS ABRAHAM & STRAUS Brooklyn, New York AMERICAN BUREAU OF SHIPPING New York, New York PETER B. BAKER New York, New York JOH N B. BALCH Annapolis, Maryland BANKERS TRUST Co. Brooklyn, New York RUSSELL BANKS Grow C hemical Corp. New York, New York BARBA NEGRA A. SEIDL & G. SCHWISOW New London, Connecticut FRANCIS J. BARRY C ircle Line New York, New York FREDERICK W. REINECKE, II New York, New York ALLEN G. BERRIEN Milford Boat Works Milford, Connecticut OLGA BLUM Music Barge, Inc. Brooklyn, New York FREDERICK BREWSTER Two Harbors, Minnesota BROOKLYN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Brooklyn, New York STEVEN W. BRUMMEL Santa Cruz, California WM. F. BUCKLEY, JR. New York, New York ROBERT J.8 URKE U nion Dry D ock & Repairs Weehawken, New Jersey ALAN BURROUGH, C BE London, Engla nd MEL CARLIN Scarsdale, New York CHEM ICAL BANK New York, New York 0. CAREY New York Dock Railway Brooklyn, New York J AMES E. CHAPMAN Cleveland, Ohio GEORGE F. CLEMENTS Greenwich , Connecticut J. FERRELL COLTON Tahiti Polynesie Francaise WILLIAM H. COMBS Vi ll anova, Pennsylvania CON EDISON Brooklyn, New York ALICE D ADOURIAN New York, New York F. BRIGGS D ALZELL New York, New York DI ME SAVINGS BANK Brooklyn, New York THOMAS P . Dowo N. Y. Ma rine Fuel Co. New York, New York J EREM IAH T . DRISCOLL N. Y. Marine Fuel Co. New York, New York R. J . D UNPHY Dick Dunph y Ad vertising Specialties New York, New York

REYNOLDS DUPONT Wilmington, D elawa re DAVID D URRELL New York, New York EAST NEW YORK SAVINGS BANK Brooklyn, New York DAMON L. ENGLE Union Carbide Co. Texas City, Texas FARRELL LINES New York, New York ) OHN S. FULLERTON Intercom New York, New York CAPTAIN ]AM ES GABY Balgowlah, NSW Australia MR. & MRS. CHARLES GALLAGHER Oceanics School New York, New York ROBERT G. GAMBEE Investment Banker New York, New York J. T. GILBRIDE Todd Shipyards New York, New York ROGER GILMAN

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey MARK GREENE Artist New Rochelle, New York GYDNIA AMERICA LINE New York, New York MRS. MARGARET s. H ECTOR Fargo, North Dakota E. J . HEINE United States Lines New York, New York HELLENIC LINES New York, New York TOWNSEND HORNOR Osterville, Massachusetts ROBERT W. HUBNER IBM Corp. Armonk, New York GEORGE IVEY Charlotte, North Carolina BARBARA J OHNSON

Princeton, New Jersey DAVID B. JARVIS W. Babylon, New York NEILS W. JOHNSON Central Gulf Lines, Inc. New York, New York ERY w. KEHAYA New York, New York JAMES C. KELLOGG, Ill Spear, Leeds & Kellogg New York, New York PROF. J OHN HASKELL KEMBLE Pomona College Claremont, California NORMAN KJELDSEN Cardwell Condenser Corp. Long Isla nd, New York KOBRAND CORPORATION New York, New York LINCOLN SAVINGS BANK Brooklyn , New York THOMAS J. MAGUIRE Ventura, Ca lifornia PETER MANIGAULT Charleston, South Carolina

SAM MANN Inverness Corp. E nglewood, New Jersey MANUFACTURERS HANOVER TRUST New York, New York MRS. WALTER MAYNARD New York, New York CAPTA IN J. McGovERN Sandy Hook Pilots Assoc. New York, New York J. RUSSELL MOIR Transway International Corp. New York , New York MONTAN TRANSPORT (USA) I NC. New York, New York MR. & MRS. EMIL MOSBACHER, JR. New York, New York ROBERT G. MURPHY Spea r Leeds & Kellogg New York, N ew York OGILVY & MATHER New York, New York ) AMES O'KEEFE Wallington, New Jersey WALTER H. PAGE Morgan Guaranty Trust New York, New York

D. K. PATTON The Real Estate Board of New York New York, Ne w York PHILADELPHIA MARITIME M USEUM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania CAPTA IN W. R. PETERSON Sandy H ook Pilots Assoc. New York, New York CAPTAIN E . J. PIERSON New York, New York PINKERTON 'S

New York, New York RICHARDSON PRATT, JR. Pratt Institute Brooklyn, New York RI CHARD RATH Boating Magazine New York, New York PAUL T. RENNELL Hobe Sound, Florida HON. FRED RICHMOND Congressman Brooklyn, New York MR. & MRS. RODM AN ROCKEFELLER New York, New York DANIEL ROSE Rose Associates New York, New York ALLEN S. RUPLEY W. R . Grace Foundation New York, New York D. R. SAGARINO Wethersfield, Connecticut WILLIAM SAWYER Buffalo, New York FRANK SCAVO Queens, New York R. J. SCHAEFER Larchmont, New York RADM. WALTER F . SCHLECH, JR., USN (RET.) Annapolis, Maryland SEAMEN'S CHURCH INSTITUTE New York, New York

MRS. AVICE M . SEWALL Redlands, California SHIPS OF THE SEA MUSEUM Savannah, Georgia JAMES R . SHEPLEY Time Inc. New York, New York ROBERT F . SHERMAN Savannah Machine & Sh ipyard Co. Savannah, Georgia HOWARD SLOTNICK Gotham Auto Lease New Rochelle, New York A. MACY SMITH Houston, Texas THOMAS SOULES The Port of San Francisco ALFRED STANFORD Milford, Connec ticut EDMUND A. STANLEY, JR. Bowne & Co., Inc. New York, New York EDNA & ISAAC STERN FDTN. Brooklyn, New York JOHN STOBART Artist Po tomac, Maryland MR. & MRS. MARSHALL STREIBERT The Fu nd For Yale New York, New York H UMPHREY SULLIVAN Lever Bros. New York, New York SWISS AMERICAN SECURITIES INC. New York, New York ROBERT TACHER Brooklyn, New York ROBERT TAYLOR W. Vancouver, B.C . JOHN THURMAN W. R. Grace & Co. Washington, D.C. GEORGE F. TOLLEFSEN New York, New York TRADEWINDS GALLERY Thomas Aalund Mystic, Connecticut GILBERT VERNEY Bennington, New Hampshire SHANNON WALL National Maritime Union New York, New York VIRGINIA DAR E EXTRACT CO. Brooklyn , New York MRS. ELIZABETH WEEDON Charlottesville, Virginia WESTLAND FOUNDATION Portland, Oregon ADM. JOHN M . WILL, USN (RET.) Arthur Tickle E ngineering Brooklyn, New York CAPT. & MRS. J OHN M. WILL, JR. USN USS Canopus LOUIS WINSTON The Print Shop New York, New York CHA RLES WITTHOLZ Naval Architect Silver Springs, Maryland T. H. WRfGHT, JR. Wilmington, North Carolina YOUNG & RueICAM New York. New York


The White Swan brought low, November 1977. Photo: CPO Louis Levey, USCG, Courtesy Francis Duffy.

Announcing A Ship Trust Cormnittee The steamer Alexander Hamilton, "White Swan of the Hudson," sank at an Atlantic Highlands pier in the early hours of November 8, in high seas and gale winds. A secure and productive future had awaited her, as centerpiece of a midHudson port development. The first, most difficult steps in her long journey home had been taken. Her owner, knowing the longest journey begins with a single step, had invested substantial sums to repair her and recover her from the rocky shore she lay on, helped by willing contributions from the U.S. Navy and volunteers from all over. Further support was expected for this vessel, listed on the National Register, from government funds widely advertised as available for such purpose. But the promise-makers were not at home when the bills fell due. The vessel was wrecked while new funds were being sought from other sources. The National Society does not intend to give up on the Hamilton. A broad-

based coalition has been formed to save what can be saved and continue to work for a mid-Hudson maritime cultural center. And we now propose action on a national scale to save our heritage in ships. A needed investment A conference on this subject last summer produced a newspaper report calling historic ships a "costly plunge." But that is not what we learn in the wide and awakening world of our sea heritage. The monumental ships we have saved in this country have become the focal points of lively public centers. Such centers have grown to embrace sail training, local history and the arts of shipwright and sailor. People need, and strongly desire, that learning of our whole heritage in seafaring. Our ships commanded men's loyalties and bred these disciplines and fosti:!red this learning in the past. Today they summon people to enter into that full heritage. Recognizing the need for a coherent

national policy and effective program for our heritage in ships and the living arts and disciplines of their sailors and builders, we have asked a small committee to propose a course to reach this goal. We invite all who care for our sea heritage to support and contribute to the work of this Committee, whose findings will be widely published. Ship Trust Committee GEORGE F. BASS, President Institute of Nautical Archaeology KARL KORTUM, Director San Francisco Maritime Museum PETER STANFORD, President National Maritime Historical Society BARCLAY H. WARBURTON, III,

President American Sail Training Association International Chairman: FRANK G. G. CARR London, England

NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 2 FULTON STREET, BROOKLYN, N.Y. 11201


Estate Bottled.

BEEEEATER ®

Just as the·proprietor of a world-famous vineyard will "Estate Bottle'' liis wine on the premises, so Beefeater®Gin is distilled, bottled and sealed at the distillery in London. Only Beefeater, of the major imported London distilled~ gins, is Rroduced this way. Beefeater has been distilled by the same family, from the same formllla,since 1820. And,how fortunate, every • • avmtage ~

Sea History 010 - Spring 1978  

3 IN CLIO'S CAUSE, by Lance Lee • 6 A PECULIAR NOTE OF ROMANCE, by Peter Stanford • 9 STEAM NAVIGATION ON THE HUDSON, by Conrad Milster • 13...

Sea History 010 - Spring 1978  

3 IN CLIO'S CAUSE, by Lance Lee • 6 A PECULIAR NOTE OF ROMANCE, by Peter Stanford • 9 STEAM NAVIGATION ON THE HUDSON, by Conrad Milster • 13...