Newspaper Articles About The Collision
Liner "Republic" Rammed at Sea; Four Lives Lost?
New York Times, January 24, 1909
THE "BALTIC" REPORTS LOSS OF LIFE
by Marconi Wireless Telegraph to the New York Times
Steamship "Baltic," via Siasconsett, Mass, Jan. 24, 1am--The steamship Florida collided with the "Republic" 175 miles east of the Ambrose Lightship at 5:30 am on Saturday. The "Republic's" passengers were transferred to the Florida.
The "Republic" is rapidly sinking. It is doubtful if she will remain afloat much longer. The "Baltic" is now taking all the passengers aboard. The "Lucania," "Lorraine" and the "Furnessia" are standing by to render assistance and convoy the "Florida" to New York.
It is reported on board that four passengers on the "Republic" have been killed.
The weather is threatening, and the "Florida" is seriously damaged. We hear that assistance is coming from New York.
Out in the fog-hidden waters of the Atlantic, some 250 miles from this city, and 26 miles southeast of the Nantucket Lightship which guards the Nantucket shoals, the White Star liner "Republic," outward bound from this city for Mediterranean ports, and laden with 461 passengers and supplies for the United States battleship fleet, met in collision early yesterday morning when an incoming steamer, now known to be the "Florida" of the Lloyd Italiano Line, bound for this port from Italian waters.
Fifteen hours or so later Capt. William I. Sealby of the "Republic," still stuck to his ship with his crew, but every one of the "Republic's" passengers had been transferred to the steamer "Florida," still afloat, although her bow was caved in. It was this damage to the Florida which soon afterward decided Capt. Ransom of the White Star liner "Baltic", which had arrived at the scene in response to wireless appeals from the "Republic," to remove all the passengers from the "Florida" into his own boat, including in the number the "Florida's" contingent as well as the men and women who had been transferred to her from the "Republic."
Transferring the Passengers
A wireless message from Capt. Ransom, received at the office of the White Star Line here at 11:40 last night, said that only the desperate condition of the "Florida" had persuaded him to the move and he added that he had begun the work of transfer with twenty boats, each capable of carrying ten persons besides the crew that manned it.
The message stated also that the vessels lay about a mile apart, and it was estimated for this reason that the "Baltic" could hardly accomplish the transfer of all the passengers before morning. The "Baltic" had on board 90 first-class passengers, 170 second-class passengers, and 220 steerage passengers. This number is far below her capacity, and Capt. Ransom wired that he would have no difficulty in caring for the 210 first-class passengers of the "Republic" as well as the 250 steerage passengers and the contingent from the "Florida," which brought the total number added to his own list up to 1,242.
In the same message Capt. Ransom stated that the "Republic" was still afloat and had drifted sixteen miles nearer to the Nantucket Lightship, lying then about ten miles southeast of the Nantucket Beacon.
Survivors on "Baltic"-"Republic" Abandoned.
The transfer of the passengers to the "Baltic" was accomplished speedily and without incident, and shortly before 1 o'clock this morning both the "Baltic" and "Florida" started for the city. If the "Baltic" proceeds at her usual speed, not delaying for the "Florida," she should reach here this afternoon.
A wireless message from the "Baltic" at 2 o'clock this morning, after many contradictory reports about the "Republic" had left her condition very much in doubt, said that she had been abandoned and the Capt. Sealby and his crew were aboard the "Baltic."
At 2:30 o'clock this morning, a dispatch from Nantucket said: "It is learned definitely that Capt. Sealby and a boat's crew still remain at the scene of the wreck. No one is on board the "Republic," but the Captain is in a small boat with a few men alongside. It is supposed that he awaits the final plunge of his vessel beneath the waves."
This was the news which reached this city in a series of fragmentary wireless messages yesterday and last night, and seafaring men declared that had it not been for the same wireless the story of the accident, when it finally reached this city, might have been far different.
The collision occurred at 5:30 in the morning when many of the "Republic's" passengers were still in their berths. Capt. Sealby was on the bridge. Ahead and upon all sides was an almost impenetrable fog. The "Republic" was coasting slowly along. She was a little off the beaten path for ocean liners, having turned a little north to get a start on the long sweep into the Mediterranean.
Suddenly there came a dozen quickly repeated blasts on a fog siren, apparently close at hand. Almost at the same instant a hazy shape loomed up in the mist bearing down on the "Republic." There was no time to stop or reverse the engines. The oncoming steamer crashed into the "Republic," lurching her over to one side as the sharp prow of the colliding vessel gouged throughout the iron plates into the engine room of the White Star liner. Then the vessel pulled away, righted herself, and staggered off into the fog.
In a moment Capt. Sealby had called his crew to quarters and had the collision bulkheads closed down, shutting off the engine room from the rest of the ship. All that he could do himself had then been done, and he turned to the last hope that remained, the wireless instrument. The operator needed no orders. Already his fingers were pressing the key, and out from the masthead had leaped the ambulance call of the sea, the signal "CQD.," which, translated from the code, means, "All ships, Danger."
Call for Help Heard
Then message after message was flashed away from the stricken vessel, carrying the word that the "Republic" had been in collision, that she was in danger, and that she lay in latitude 40.17, longitude 70. On the steamer "Baltic," on the French liner "Lorraine," at the Nantucket wireless station, at the naval stations at Newport, Woods Hole, and Provincetown the message was picked up.
Each ship which got the message turned in her tracks and sped toward the stricken ship. The revenue cutters "Acushnet" and "Gresham" started toward the scene, and the "Lucania," incoming, notified from the shore, also turned off her course to hunt the "Republic."
Then messages were exchanged with the shore, Capt. Sealby got into communication with the White Star offices in this city, notifying the owners of the accident, but conveying the welcome news that there was no danger to life, and that his vessel would float for some time at least.
With the sending of these messages all that could be done on board the ship had been done, and there remained to Capt. Sealby, his passengers, and his crew, nothing to do but wait until they could be transferred to the "Florida," which was quickly done.
A late wireless report from Capt. Ransom stated that No. 1 hold on the "Florida" had been found to be filled with water.
Prior to the discovery of this fact it had been agreed that the "Florida," which had already taken off the "Republic's" passengers before the arrival of the "Baltic," should carry them to this port, the "Baltic" standing by as a convoy.
Story of The Disaster Crash Came in Thick Fog When Passengers Were Asleep
Full details of what occurred aboard the "Republic" when out of the fog of Nantucket, the "Florida," as it is supposed, smashed into her engine room amidships early yesterday morning will only be known when her passengers arrive here, probably to-day. Here is the story of the collision as it appears from the facts reported in brief wireless dispatches and from a knowledge of conditions aboard the liner:
The "Republic," outbound with her 260 cabin and 211 steerage passengers asleep in their berths, was groping slowly along through the dense fog about twenty-six miles east of the Nantucket Lightship, in the early morning. From out of the murk ahead came the little "Florida," only half the size of the big White Star line.
If she sounded a warning on her whistles, it was too late. The officers on the "Republic's" bridge saw the other vessel looming in the mist ahead, bear down on them, and the next moment they were struck amidships on the starboard side.
There must have been a terrific roll to port, as the "Republic's" side were torn asunder by the sharp prow of the colliding steamer. Iron and wood were rent apart, and the steel-clad bow of the "Florida" bored its way into the White Star liner's engine room, immediately to back out again and stagger off out of sight into the fog, while tons of water plunged through the hole, putting out the fires.
Engine Room Flooded.
The engine room force tumbled up the ladders to the decks, soaked, gasping, and frightened. From the bridge, the crew were called to quarters, and the collision bulkheads closed. With the vessel between seventy and eighty miles from the nearest land--for the Nantucket Lightship is fifty miles from shore--with water enough in the hold to sink the steamer with its cargo of human beings unless the bulkheads held, the wireless apparatus was then called upon to find the means of safety.
The operator had stuck to his post--he was sending a message when the collision occurred--and soon from the masthead of the "Republic" a message went out telling all who could understand within 200 miles, as concentric circles of little waves spread from a spot in the water in which a stone is dropped, that the "Republic" needed aid.
Response to Wireless Call.
The passengers who hurried on deck when the crash came were told to prepare to take to the boats if necessary, while being assured of the Captain's belief that the watertight compartments would hold and prevent the "Republic" from sinking. And it was soon seen that the bulkheads were performing their work while the wireless were sending out the distress call, which no ship would pass unheeded.
It was not many hours before it was known that the "Baltic," 100 miles from Sandy Hook, had turned in her tracks and was making for the stricken "Republic" at full speed; that the "Lorraine," 75 miles away from the Ambrose Channel, was coming full speed ahead through the fog, and that all there was to do was wait.
The vessel rolled in the seas, powerless to turn this way or that. The engineroom bulkheads still held, and there was now little doubt of the safety of all on board.
A Rescuer Appeared.
At ten o'clock the colliding steamer, which proved to be the Lloyd's Italian liner "Florida," with her bows smashed in, reappeared. She announced herself able and willing to take the "Republic's" passengers, and the transfer was begun.
It was 12:30 o'clock when the last of the passengers left the stricken ship. Still Capt. Sealby and the crew stayed, hoping to save the vessel, now sinking lower and lower in the water.
Capt. Sealby and the crew stuck to the wrecked vessel through the afternoon. At 7:30 o'clock the "Baltic" found the "Republic" and stood by her and the "Florida," on which were the rescued passengers. The "Republic's" crew were transferred, but still Capt. Sealby refused to leave his vessel.
Angeles for the rest of Arguello's teenage years. His childhood in Nicaragua was a formative time.
Connolly's Writes His Story of the Wreck for Post
by James B. Connolly
Boston Post, January 25, 1909
It was about 5:40 Saturday in a black fog, about 190 miles out from New York and 15 miles south of Nantucket, that the Italian emigrant ship "Florida," of Naples, inward bound, and the "Republic," outbound, came together.
The bow of the "Florida" struck the side of the "Republic" and kept on grinding toward the stern. When she at last cleared five state rooms on the saloon deck of the "Republic" and two on the deck below were ripped out.
The rooms on the lower deck, which were against the ship side, were torn out by the flukes of the "Florida's" anchor, which finally was wrenched off the bow and found later in one of the wrecked staterooms.
The rooms on the saloon deck were all inboard, protected by a 10-foot width of deck and yet the "Florida" cut clear through that deck and splintered everything--wash basins, trunks, mirrors--left everything in them a mess and the rooms gaping to the outerworld.
Mrs. Lynch in 34 and Mr. Mooney in 28 were killed almost instantly, cut in pieces by the jagged bow.
Mr. Lynch, husband of the dead woman, had his leg broken while in another of the rooms. Mrs. Murphy, wife of a South Dakota banker, was badly smashed up but will live.
Neither Mrs. Mooney, in a bunk beneath her husband, nor Mr. Murphy, in a bunk above his wife, were injured. The plates of the "Republic" were started below the waterline, and so the engine room was filled almost immediately. In six minutes or so the electric lights went out, which made matters bad for a while threatening to bring on a panic with men and women lightly clad fleeing around the dark passageways.
The ship brought no emergency lanterns in service and only for frequent match sputterings by passengers and a few candle ends produced by stewards, nobody could see anything until daylight came.
The "Florida," which had her bow smashed in flat beneath her forward bulkhead, looked worse than the "Republic."
Three Italian sailors sleeping in the forecastle of the "Florida" were plastered like so much clay against the steel wall and two more injured.
After two hours boats were cleared away and passengers of the "Republic" taken to the "Florida," which stood by. Some trouble came in disembarking, but all were brought over safely. Passengers remained on board the "Florida" till 11 at night and then were transferred to the "Baltic," which had come on scene at 7 o'clock.
Why the "Baltic" did not take passengers off sooner is not made clear.
It took off all night in fog and rain to get off "Republic's" passengers and crew, and the "Florida's" immigrants, of which there were 850, 1,500 all told, transported to the "Baltic."
Many women, possibly 50 in all, collapsed or fainted on reaching the "Baltic's" deck.
Several boats were allowed to knock around in the sea for half or three-quarters of an hour before the "Baltic" was made ready to receive them.
One woman went between the boat and the ship's side, losing her bag of jewels, but was herself saved.
There was quite a small sea on during a part of the time of transfer with rain and fog, making terrible weather.
Earlier in the evening, while the "Baltic" was lying by, the sea was smooth and the sky clear. There seemed to be some difficulty in getting competent men to man the boats and so much delay and some risk to passengers in transfer, which was not completed until daylight in the morning.
The passengers generally behaved well and the 850 of the "Florida's" immigrants behaved splendidly.
The passengers generally are in good condition now, and a few are worn out with anxiety, but nobody is really to be feared for.
Captain Ransom and Purser Palmer flatly refused to allow any press messages whatever to be sent regarding the collision.
The "Republic" was settling in the water when last seen in 10 o'clock yesterday morning.
The "Florida" will proceed to New York under her own steam with the Romanic standing by for emergencies.
Mr. Lynch, with a broken leg, remains on the "Florida," the pain of removal being too great.
The passengers baggage is still on the "Republic" and is lost of course. Barring a general mourning for the loss of clothes everybody is in good spirits.
Both ships were placed in luck to have the accident occur in a smooth sea and a remarkably mild day for this time of year and to have "wireless" at hand, otherwise it would have been a terrible catastrophe.
Angeles for the rest of Arguello's teenage years. His childhood in Nicaragua was a formative time.
Binn's Story Of Wireless Work
by John R. Binns
New York Times, January 27, 1909
I had just turned in for a few hours after the previous day's work when the shock of the impact shook me out of my bunk. A crunching ripping noise followed as the "Florida's" bow crumpled up on our side. The panels and side of our cabin fell in, one panel being smashed to splinters, but fortunately the wireless apparatus was unhurt and remained standing.
I had a fear, however, that the aerial wires between the masts might have been shaken down, so I hastily tested them, and most fortunately they were still intact.
My first impression was that we had run ashore, which was strengthened when I peered through the interstices of the wrecked woodwork of my cabin and saw a dark object outside over which the sea was washing. This I took to be rock, but later found it was Boat #15, which is always swung out from the ship and which had been torn from its davits.
The First CQD Message Sent
Five minutes after the collision the lights all through the ship went out and we were all in total darkness. I tried to make my way to the bridge in order to report to the Captain that my gear was all right, but unable to make my way through the wreckage, I returned to my wrecked cabin. The dynamics of being stopped, greatly handicapped the working distance of our station, but the accumulators were in good condition, and so I immediately sounded the CQD. signal, which announced to surrounding ships the peril of our position.
Just then the Captain's steward came to me from the bridge and piloted me through the debris. On the boat deck all the passengers were assembled and the crew had already got the boats swung about, for, despite the darkness, everything was done in an orderly and smart manner.
I reported to Captain Sealby that everything was all right with my wireless instruments and he hastened to reassure the passengers, brave but anxious, with this most comforting bit of news.
This having been done, I returned immediately to my cabin and had the satisfaction of gaining the attention of our station at Siasconsett on Nantucket Island. This is the message flashed to A.H. Glaman, the operator there:
The Republic. We are shipwrecked. Stand by for Captain's message.
This was the answer that was immediately flashed back to us:
All right old man. Where are you?
At this stage our chief officer came and anxiously inquired if I had yet got in communication with anybody and was greatly relieved to learn that Siasconsett had answered me. He at once hastened to the Captain to convey this intelligence. Captain Sealby then sent me this message for transmission:
Republic rammed by unknown steamer. Twenty-six miles southwest of Nantucket Lightship. Badly in need of immediate assistance, but no danger to life.
Five minutes later Siasconsett informed me that he had sent for the revenue cutter Acushnet, then lying at Wood's Hole, and that it was to proceed to assist us. Word had also been sent to the steamships "Baltic," "La Lorraine," and "City of Everett."
I was now working under extreme difficulties, as it was very dark. I had unfortunately broken the lever of my sending key just after the lights went out, but eventually managed all right by holding the broken lever with one hand and sending with the other.
The Dead Discovered
Then came the first respite I had had since the force of the crash had hurled me from my bunk. It was now getting light, and with the first streaks of dawn I was enabled to look about me and comprehend the damage that had been wrought, together with the extreme peril of our position. This was more vividly brought home to me when, glancing at the door just outside my wrecked cabin, I saw the mangled bodies of two passengers. The light was not strong enough for me to make out who they were or whether they were the bodies of men or women, but both were mangled beyond recognition, and for the first time I knew that human lives had been sacrificed in the crash of the fog-bound ships.
Capt. Sealby was on the bridge all this time, but soon after I discovered the bodies lying near me. Dr. Marsh came along, and, after examining the bodies, announced that both had been killed outright. Blankets were stretched over the two still forms, and a little later they were laid in coffins. It was not until a roll call had been made that the identity of the dead was established.
Sick with the horror of the scene that had been enacted before my very eyes, I was indeed grateful for the brief respite that followed. I drew on my boots and a waistcoat and was lucky enough to find an apple and some water at hand, but it was bitterly cold in the cabin, for a stiff breeze was blowing through the splintered wood work, and then, too, the blinding fog filtered all about me, chilling me to the marrow. I was soon busy again, however, and once more in communication with the Siasconsett station, doing my utmost to locate the "Baltic." I could hear the "Baltic's" wireless signals as they were being flashed to shore, but my disabled spark was too weak to reach the "Baltic's" operator.
Just as the "Florida" returned to us the "Baltic" began to pick up my signals, and from then on I was kept busy notifying that ship of our position, and from that time forward it was a steady interchange of messages between Tattersall and Balfour, the "Baltic's" operators, and myself.
The passengers were successfully transferred to the "Florida," and not a single mishap occurred to mar this perilous work. The fog lifted for a few minutes shortly before noon on Saturday, and I happened to look out at that moment and saw the "Florida" with her bow gone almost to the bridge, the majority of her remaining plates forward of the bridge, being in ribbons and twisted beyond recognition.
About 2 o'clock I realized for the first time than I was hungry and Douglas, my steward, who had been running to and from the bridge all morning with messages for and from the Captain, was able to get a bite of food and a cup of coffee for me, which I devoured while sending and receiving messages.
The Lorraine Gets in Touch
Early in the afternoon the Lorraine was able to read us, and we began to give her steering directions, but it was very difficult for her navigator to find us on account of the blanket of fog that enveloped the sea. The hours of the afternoon dragged slowly, and they were filled with anxiety for the Captain and all on board. Darkness set in early, superinduced, of course, by the thick weather. The most anxious hour of the day was at about 6 o'clock in the evening, when Captain Sealby heard, only faintly, the explosion of a bomb in the far distance. He at once communicated with me and I made inquiries, learning that the "Baltic" had been exploding bombs in an effort to apprise us of her whereabouts. We, too, had been exploding bombs, but exhausted our supply, and, from now on, had nothing but our almost exhausted and fast-weakening wireless apparatus to which we could pin our hopes of rescue.
The "Baltic" then informed me that she had but a solitary bomb left, and arranged with us that this would be exploded at a certain moment. This was done, and as we heard the faint rumble there was no further doubt in our minds that the Baltic would soon find us as we tossed about, marooned, as it were, in the fog, and not knowing how long we could remain afloat.
Capt. Sealby took the direction from which the sound came, and so I was then able to give the "Baltic" Capt. Sealby's orders as to which course the sister ship was to steer to reach us.
These steering directions Capt. Sealby changed at times in accordance with the change of sound direction, and a little later we heard the "Baltic's" fog horn blowing faintly, and this increased in volume as she lessened the distance between us. Occasionally we fired rockets, but they cold not be seen through fog although, a little later the "Baltic's" siren was heard so plainly that we know the ship was close by. Realizing this, Capt. Sealby issued orders that the "Baltic" be told to proceed as carefully as possible, as she was now too close on our port side to be safe.
The "Baltic" at Hand at Last
I had just communicated this message when I heard a cheer and I at once realized that these sounds of rejoicing could not come from our men, as only Capt. Sealby, the officers, myself and the crew were aboard our ship, and they were all busily engaged in standing by the boats. Looking aft through my splintered cabin I made out the "Baltic" quite near the stern of our ship, the fog having again lifted somewhat. She was a blaze of light and as I sat there in my little cabin the thought occurred to me that the most beautiful sight in the world is a ship at sea, especially then that ship is needed to supply a link between life and death. Time and again it occurred to me, as I worked away in feverish haste, a mere machine voicing the words of our gallant Captain who so heroically watched over the safety of those who had intrusted their lives to him, that the end was near; that it was only a question of how long the ship could withstand the wound that pierced her very vitals, and I had practically resigned myself to the fate that every seafaring man has before him at some time in his career. I never expected to see New York again and as I sit here writing this narrative it all comes back to me like a terrible nightmare.
Come to our leeward and take up our boats. Have Lorraine and Lucania convey the Florida.
This message concluded with the words: Wireless now closed.
The Captain then sent word to me to come forward from my cabin as soon as I had sent the message off. Reporting to the Captain, I was told to take to the boats with the officers and the crew who were about to be transferred to the "Baltic." By that time the weather had cleared to a considerable extent, but a heavy swell was running. After a stiff pull we reached the "Baltic," whose people gave the heartiest kind of a cheer as we came alongside. Our sailors were about to respond to the welcome when Mr. Williams, the second officer, who was at the tiller, said: "Now my heartiest, steady, Keep cool and let them see us come up in good style!" And without a word, we ran in alongside the gangway.
As soon as all the sailors and officers were aboard, with the exception of Capt. Sealby, Chief Officer Crossland, the boatswain, and a boat's crew, who were standing by the ship, Capt. Sealby megaphoned to Capt. Ranson of the Baltic, asking him to go to the assistance of the "Florida" and "leave me, as I am alright."
Perilous Transfer Successful
When the "Baltic" came alongside of the "Florida," the "Baltic's," and "Republic's" officers and sailors, using the "Republic's" boats, began to transfer the passengers from the disabled "Florida" to the "Baltic." This task was extremely difficult and perilous, as there was a heavy swell running, with the sea momentarily increasing, causing the boats to bump violently against the gangway. The greatest difficulty had was in inducing the women passengers to leap at the right moment.
Upward of 2,000 people were transferred during the night, and the greatest credit is due to our officers and seamen for the magnificent and cool manner in which they conducted this most arduous undertaking, as it was it was only their strenuous and unceasing efforts that prevented loss of life. Cowards? Not a bit of it! Never, and I mean it absolutely, was there a braver lot of men whose courage was put to the most crucial test. They came through the trying ordeal with colors flying, and reflected wonderful credit upon that most splendid and bravest of masters, Capt. Sealby.
Our officers and crew had no sleep Saturday night. I was more fortunate, having snatched a few hours rest in one of the cabins. The following morning the "Florida" (she had a very perceptible list to port Saturday night) had righted herself somewhat and her Captain apparently had decided to go to New York without assistance.
The "Baltic" steamed back to the "Republic," and Capt. Sealby shouted across asking for volunteers to go and stand by the "Republic." The officers, many sailors, a cook, and one or two stewards, including Chief Steward Stanyar and the second class chief steward, the saloon steward, and myself, all went over, which including the Captain, who had remained aboard all night, made thirty-eight of us all told.
Arriving on board, I tested my wireless apparatus, found it to be all right, and so reported the same to the Captain, who at once made wireless inquiries for the tugs that had been sent to our assistance.
By this time the "Furnessia" had arrived and had been standing by; then the Florida came alongside of the "Republic," remaining there as a safeguard for those of us left on our ship and the "Baltic" took up her journey to New York with her tremendous burden of human freight. As she steamed by our stern, where our Captain and officers had assembled, every living soul aboard the Baltic gave us a hearty cheer.
After seeing the "Baltic" vanish from view, I bethought me of my wrecked cabin, and later, nailing up some blankets around the rent sides, I soon made it more habitable, and was able to keep sheltered from the chill air. Once more I was ready for business.
The volunteer cook had prepared us a meal, and this we had just partaken of when the revenue cutter "Gresham" arrived. She took one of our lines on board, and, steaming ahead, commenced to tow us, with the "Furnessia" attached by two lines to our stern, to steer us.
Ordered to Abandon Ship
At about 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon we had shipped so much water that Capt. Sealby decided to order the crew to the boats, and transfer them to the "Gresham." I had put a box of cigarettes at my side, so that in case we left in a hurry I could snatch them up, but so unexpectedly did the order come that I forgot to take them, and, being somewhat addicted to the tobacco habit, and with nothing to smoke, my pangs became more and more acute as the night wore on.
One of the officers then ordered me to the boat, Capt. Sealby and Second Officer Williams remaining on the fast-settling "Republic."
This time we were taken aboard the Gresham. Reaching across the stern of the Gresham were two steel hawsers, which were attached to the "Republic's" bows. Capt. Perry then ordered that a nine-inch rope hawser be attached to that end of the steel hawser, and then paid out until the rope was wrapped around the bit of the Gresham. An axe was laid alongside of the rope hawser, so that in case the "Republic" settled further or sunk the rope could be cut, and thus set free the Gresham. A boat was lying alongside the Gresham, ready to rescue Capt. Sealby and Williams in case it was necessary.
At about 5 o'clock the derelict destroyer "Seneca," under command of Capt. Reynolds, came along, and put a line aboard the Gresham and helped the latter tow the "Republic." Two hours later we missed the lights of the "Furnessia." At 8 o'clock a signal was sent up from the "Republic" and the Gresham's hawser was severed. The crew was in the lifeboat, and the searching was playing upon the spot almost before the rest of us, who were standing around, could realize it. We caught one fleeting glimpse of the poor "Republic's" bows, which were shown up by the searchlight. After that we saw no more of her.
Cheers for Sealby and Williams
A heavy seas was running and every man standing on the Gresham's quarter-deck was straining his eyes to follow the movements of the little boat that was casting about in search of Capt. Sealby and Second Officer Williams. On account of the high sea running we could not make anything out, and it was an anxious time we spent until we finally hailed her and learned that Capt. Sealby and Williams were safe. Rousing cheers were given and it was with the heartiest of warm welcomes that we received the two men on board who had last trod the decks of the "Republic."
The officers of the "Gresham" and the "Seneca" are men and sailors in every sense of the word, and too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them for the part they played in the stirring incidents that have just closed, and the treatment they accorded us while under their care.