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The New York Times, November 26, 1872

Dismantling of a British Bark in a Hurricane.
Eleven Men Washed from the Wreck and Drowned.
Sufferings of Four Others Found in the Rigging.
Mark Twain's Account of the Rescue of the Survivors.
Destructive Gale on Saturday in the British Channel.

Special Dispatch to The New York Times.

BOSTON, NOV. 25. - The Cunard steamship Batavia, Capt. Moulard, arrived at this port today, and reports that on the 19th of November, when in latitude 49 [degrees] 16' north, longitude 41 [degrees] 27' west, she fell in with the British bark Charles Ward, of Newcastle, England, water-logged and dismasted in a hurricane, on the morning of the 18th, and took off the survivors of the bark's complement of twenty men, the other eleven having been washed off the wreck. Mark Twain, who was a passenger on the Batavia, addresses a communication to the Royal Human Society, giving a detailed account of the wreck, and bestowing the warmest praise on he officers of the Batavia. He says, under date Wednesday:

On Sunday night a strong west wind began to blow, and not long after midnight it increased to a gale. By 4 o'clock the sea was running very high. At 71/2 our starboard bulwarks were stove in, and the water entered the main saloon. At a later hour the gangway on the port side came in with a crash, and the sea followed, flooding many of the state rooms on that side. At the same time a sea crossed the roof of the vessel, and carried away one of our boats, splintering it to pieces, and taking one of the davits with it. At 91/2 the glass was down to 28.35, and the gale was blowing with a severity which the officers say is not experienced oftener than once in five or ten years. The storm continued during the day and all night, and also all day yesterday, but with moderated violence. At 4 P.M. a dismasted vessel was sighted. A furious squall had just broken upon us, and the sea was running mountains high, to use the popular expression. Nevertheless Capt. Mouland immediately bore up for the wreck, which was making signals of distress, ordered out a life-boat, and called for volunteers. To a landsman it seemed like deliberate suicide to go out in such a storm, but our third and fourth officers and eight men answered the call with a promptness that compelled a cheer. They carried a long line with them, several life-buoys, and a lighted lantern, for the atmosphere was murky with the storm, and sunset was not far off. The wreck, a bark, was in a pitiful condition; her mizzenmast and her bowsprit were gone, and her foremast was but a stump wreathed and cumbered with a ruin of sails and cordage from the fallen foretop and foretop-gallant masts and yards. We could see nine men clinging to the main rigging. The stern of the vessel was gone, and the sea made a clean breach over her, pouring in a cataract out of the broken stern, and spouting through the parted planks of her bows. Our boat pulled 300 yards, and approached the wreck on the lee side. Then it had a hard fight, for the waves and the wind beat it constantly back. I do not know when anything has alternately so stirred me through and through and then disheartened me, as it did to see the boat every little while, get almost close enough, and then be hurled three lengths away again by a prodigious wave; and the darkness settling down all the time. But at last they got the line and buoy aboard, and after that we could make out nothing more. Presently we discovered the boat approaching us, and found she had saved every soul - nine men. They had had to drag these men, one at a time, through the sea to the life-boat with the line, and buoy, for of course they did not dare to touch the plunging vessel with the boat. The peril increased now, for every time the boat got close to our lee, our ship rolled over on her and hid her from sight. But our people managed to haul the party aboard one at a time, without losing a man, though I said they would lose every single one of them. I am, therefore, but a poor success as a prophet. As the fury of the squall had not diminished, and as the sea was so heavy, it was feared we might lose some men if we tried to hoist the life-boat aboard, so she was turned adrift by the Captain's order, poor thing, after helping in such a gallant deed.

To speak by the log, and to be accurate, Capt. Mouland gave the order to change our ship's course, and bear down toward the wreck at 4:14 P.M. At 5 1/4 our ship was under way again with those nine poor devils on board; that is to say, this admirable thing was done in a tremendous sea, and in the face of a hurricane, in sixty minutes by the watch, and if your honorable Society could be moved to give to Capt. Mouland and his boat's crew that reward which a sailor prizes and covets above all other distinctions, the Royal Humane Society's medal, the parties whose names are attached to this paper will feel as grateful as if they themselves were the recipients of this great honor. The wrecked bark was the Charles Ward, Capt. Bell, bound from Quebec to Scotland, with lumber. The vessel went over on her beam ends at 9 o'clock Monday morning, and eleven men were washed overboard and lost. Capt. Bell and eight men remained, and these our boat saved. They had been in the main rigging some thirty-one hours without food or water, and were so frozen and exhausted, that, when we got them aboard, they could hardly speak, and the minds of several of them were wandering. The wreck was out of the ordinary track of vessels, and was 1,500 miles from land. She was in the center of the Atlantic. Our life boat crew of volunteers consisted of the following: D. Gillies, third officer; R. Kyle, fourth officer; Nicholas Foley, quartermaster; Henry Foley, quartermaster; Nathaniel Clark, quartermaster; Thomas Henry, seaman; John Park, seaman; Richard Brennan, seaman. After speaking of the enthusiasm of the passengers, Mark Twain continues: "As might have been anticipated, if I have been of any service toward rescuing these nine shipwrecked human beings by standing around the deck in a furious storm, without any umbrella, keeping an eye on things and seeing that they were done right, and yelling whenever a cheer seemed to be the important thing, I am glad and I am satisfied. I ask no reward. I would do it again under the same circumstances. But what I do plead for, earnestly and sincerely, is that the Royal Humane Society will remember our Captain and our lifeboat crew, and in so remembering them increase the high honor and esteem in which the Society is held all over the civilized world. In this appeal our passengers all join with hearty sincerity, and in testimony thereof will sign their names, begging that you will pardon me, a stranger, for addressing your honored Society with such confidence and such absence of ceremony, and, trusting that my motive may redeem my manner, I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant, (signed,)


Here follow the names of all the passengers, among whom were Sidney D. Palmer, and Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Moss of New York, and James Hall, State Geologist of Albany. Mr. Clemens was Chairman of the Committee on Address, and C. C. Walworth of the meeting of passengers. Mr. Clemens wrote a characteristic address, which was delivered to Capt. Moreland.

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