Irish Ships and Shipping

Articles and News

Jack O'Leary Maritime Journalist

These articles are taken from the Wexford Free Press which I have researched and written over a good number of years
and I hope are both informative and interesting to you.



A tale of  hardship and deprivation
The Voyage of the
Statesman 1834
    The Loss of the “Lismore”
Wexford’s last deep -sea sailing vessel

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Yet another tale of hardship ,recalling, as the story  above, the  tales of Robinson Crusoe and The Rhymes of the Ancient Mariner came to light with the saga of the crew of the Glasgow four masted  barque “Dundonald “ .  The “Dundonald “ had sailed from Cardiff  two years before( 1906)  with a cargo of coal and left Sydney ,New South Wales homeward bound on the 17th of February 1907. They met continuous head winds and due to the absence of sun were forced to navigate by dead reckoning. On the 6th of March the captain reckoned that they should be about forty miles North West   of the    Auckland group .The weather was still heavy and thick .Just after midnight on  the 7th breakers were seen straight ahead. The ship was right under a lee shore and although every effort was made to bring her around, she drove in and struck under high cliffs, stern first.

 At once she began to settle by the head ,with her masts leaning towards the shore. White water broke all around them and with the noise of the hull breaking up and gear falling down on them it was every man for him. Some went back aft with the captain, others got up into the rigging ,while more , fearing the masts would give in the storm , tried to get shelter under the fo’castle head. The latter group were soon washed around ,as the ships bow was now settling into the water .Then a mighty sea broke over the decks and before any of them could gain a secure hand hold they were all washed over the side.

As daylight came there were ten men left clinging  on to one of the yards , three more that had managed to climb from the jigger mast to the cliff top and a further two half way up the cliff on a ledge ,unable either to get back onto the ship or climb any higher up the cliff because of a great overhang that stopped them from progressing any further.  Of the captain and the men who had gone aft with him, there was no sign. A line was made fast from the foretop’sl yard to the cliff and one by one, hand over hand,  over a sixty foot drop in awful weather ,all the men on the ship got ashore. Once they were safe they lowered a rope to the men on the ledge and hauled them up too. The ship quickly vanished into the water.

The cliffs were about 300 feet high but fortunately for the stranded men there was a slope just above where they were , making it relatively easy for them to get to the main part of the island. They were on Disappointment Island ,one of the Auckland group .Disappointment Island is a forlorn desolate spot ,about three miles long and one and a half miles wide, without any redeeming features. Stormy ,violent weather is the norm there and nothing lives on it but seals and seabirds. Vegetation is scarce and what little there is consists of a few thickets of trees ,”stagheaded “by the furious winds that permeate the place . So ,as you can imagine their position was, without food or adequate clothing  ,to say the least, precarious. But , Mr. Jabez  Peters ,the mate ,had a glimmer of hope. He thought that somewhere on the island was a provision depot, a cache of food that would help tide them over until help came. He was wrong .The men searched the island high and low but no such cache was to be found. (It turned out that there were three of these caches on the Auckland group of islands but they were on the main island,  unfortunately not on Disappointment Island. There were also boats on the main island, left there to aid any shipwreck victims   ). 

The men had no means of lighting a fire and were forced to live off the raw flesh of the many seabirds that lived on the island. There was fresh water but it was brackish and not really drinkable. At night they slept in holes in the ground, as the violent gales prevalent in the area would have destroyed any standing structure, covering themselves with old sail cloths retrieved from the wreck. It was fortunate for them that at least they had come ashore in “summertime” , as they would not have survived being landed there in winter. Then they had a stroke of luck. One of them found he had eleven wax vestas and another found half as box of matches’ .These were laid out and carefully dried. But despite being careful and sparing them , they could not last forever . The last one was used to light a bunch of dried grass and this fire was kept burning throughout the remainder of their time there. It was of the utmost importance that he fire be kept lit and so it was tended and watched twenty four hours a day ,every day . They once sighted a ship and a great fire  was  made but they weren’t seen . The unusual diet and the bitter cold began to take effect on the men and after only twenty days ,the mate Jabez Peters died. (Peters was a Glasgow man and both his father and his brother had also died in New Zealand waters.)


After five months the castaways decided that they had to get to the main island or else die where they were. They could not expect the birds and seals to stay around  provide them with food forever. The problem was that the main island was six miles away through very stormy seas and they had no way of getting there . Some wood was found and somehow shaped into a boat and the men then unpicked their cloths and stretched them over the boat to form a skin. So, on the first calm day three men headed out for the main island. They reached the island but could find nothing there to aid them and returned to their comrades, disappointed no doubt. Two months later they tried again. Once again they reached the main island, but this time their makeshift boat was smashed in bits. Worse than that though, was that a fire that they had brought across with them, in a sod, went out. But, these intrepid men were luckier than the previous expedition, for they did find the cache of food and the boat left there for shipwrecked seamen. However, they were stuck on the main island for a week, when the weather changed again. But they did get back and on the 16th of October all on Disappointment Island crossed over to the main island. Among the various food stuffs that was found there they also found a gun and ammunition and as there was a good supply of wild cattle food was no longer a problem. A month later, on the 16th of November, the “Hinemoa” a New Zealand government steamer spotted their signals, hove to and brought the men safely onboard.

 Later the men returned to the island, unearthed the remains of Mr. Peters, put him in a coffin and gave him a decent burial at Hardwicke Cemetery, Port Ross on the main island .

The survivors included two Irish sailors, John Grattan of Arklow and Walter Judge of Passage West, Cork ,both ABs. The others were ,Daniel Mc Laughlin, second mate of Dumbarton, Scotland, Karl Knudsen ,third mate ,of Oslo, and ABs, Charles Eyre, of Dulwich, London, Alfred Finlow, of Manchester, Santiago Marino, of Chile, Michael Pul, of Russia, John Putze, of Russia, Herman Querfelds of Germany., John Stewart, of Cambridge, New Zealand, Harry Walters of Norway and Ordinary Seaman Robert Ellis of Adelaide, Deck Boy George Ivimey of Southampton and Cabin Boy Albert Roberts of Cardiff.

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Wexford’s last deep -sea sailing vessel

More people than normal for a summer’s morning crowded the quays of Wexford on the 19th of August 1903 as the barquentine   “Jasper”, Wexford’s last ocean going Sailing vessel prepared to leave her berth. For this was her last trip under the flag of her local owners, Jasper Walsh and Company, Timber Merchants of Crescent Quay.”

The tug boat “Wexford “ under the command of her renowned master Captain Laurence Busher made fast the tow rope and hauled the “Jasper” away from her berth and out into the river. Friends and family of crew members waved goodbye to their loved one s as with a long blast on her siren the  “Wexford” headed for the bar, the first section of the “Jasper’s” trip across the Atlantic to   Halifax, Nova Scotia. By the time she reached the Bar and was towed into the South Bay all her sails were unfurled and she was in full sailing rig ready for the long voyage ahead.

She met fair weather along the coast but met with gales and storms out in the Western Ocean. Eventually she reached her destination and began loading her cargo of 500 tons of deal for Walshe’s sawmills. Then freshly watered and provisioned the “Jasper” set out for home. The weather was good and the winds favourable and she made the South Bay of Wexford in 18 days. As she was loaded to the gunwales she had to be lightened to enable her to cross the Bar. This was accomplished by the Dockyards Company’s schooner “Zouave” taking a good proportion of her cargo, and then she was made fast to the “Wexford” and towed over the Bar and up to the quays. She arrived at the quays on the 02-12-03, and the crew payed off the next day.  After her discharge the “Jasper “ was towed and laid up opposite the North Station where she remained for some months before being sold to Italian buyers. She was then renamed “Italia” Her departure from Wexford the following June was a source of regret to the many of the old sailors and to the port she had served so well.  A month later, on the 6th of July a Swedish ship arrived at the Port of Bristol carrying a lifeboat she had picked up, which was recognised as belonging to the “Jasper” It was feared that she had been lost in the Bay of Biscay but later reports had her arriving at her destination. Wexford’s “Jasper” ended her days as a coal hulk in Genoa Harbour in the 1930’s

A few months before her last voyage for Walsh’s  “Jasper” had been rumoured to be lost at sea and while it caused more than a little concern in the town it proved to be malicious.          The “Jasper’s” career had almost come to a premature end three years previously when she was run down by a 10,000 ton steamer, but thankfully she managed to limp back to Wexford under jury rig, where repairs were carried out, allowing her to continue on her voyage. At the time she was bound for Newfoundland; the roundtrip took her 68 days.

The Barquentine “Jasper” had served her owners well. She was built by Richardson’s of Hylton, Co Durham in 1875 as “Ruth Topping” and was later renamed “Ruth Waldron .It was when she came into Wexford ownership that she was named  “Jasper”, in honour of her owner Jasper Walsh. On her final voyage her master was 29-year-old Captain J.J. Maddock of Fishers Row, (Byrne’s Lane, to us traditionalists) Wexford, at the time a young well-regarded master. Captain Maddock had taken command of the “Jasper” after her master Captain Clancy of Michael St. died, and was buried, at sea, outward bound to Halifax.  J.J. Maddock went on to an adventurous   career at sea. He was awarded a medal by the Norwegian Government for saving the lives of crewmen from the Norwegian brig “Lillesand”which foundered in the Atlantic in 1916 and was on the S.S.”Cluden” when she was torpedoed off Cape Tenez, Algeria in October of that year. Captain Maddock, by then a resident of Rosslare Harbour, ended his career as master of the Rosslare/Fishguard mail boats.

The mate was James. Murphy of The Faythe, aged 60, and the bosun was Thomas. Murphy also aged 60 and also of The Faythe. A.B’s were P. Quirke of Batt St. age 31, J. O’Brien, age 34, Clifford St. and, P. White, age 30 The Faythe. Cook/ A.B. was Peter Cleary age 29, of Roche’s Terrace. Ordinary Seamen were J. Saunders, of William St., who was just 15 years old. And


Thomas   Potts, another Faythe man, who was 21. In later years Thomas Potts joined the Royal Navy and served as a gunner throughout The Great War. Saunders also carried on at sea, he was a member of  a family of seafarers from Byrnes Lane who included Wexford Harbour Masters and Pilots for generations. Quirke became a lightship man. Like Captain Maddock, Peter Cleary also worked on the Rosslare /Fishguard service and was Q.M. there until an accident aboard ship put an end to his sea-going life. Unfortunately I know nothing of the two Murphy’s. Perhaps they were related, (unless they were twins it’s not possible that they were brothers). I have also no idea who   White was or what became of him. I’ve spoken to the   oldest native of The Faythe still in the area (Mrs. Hurley of St Bernadette Place, a daughter of Thomas Potts, the Ordinary Seaman on the “Jasper’s last trip) and she was unable to throw any light on either of the Murphy’s or White. O’Brien is also a mystery.

It is noticeable yet again, that almost all of the crew came from The Faythe area. It is also interesting to note the rates of pay the men earned (and you can bet “earned” is the correct word).  The mate was on £6.00 per month, the bosun £3.15, the A.B.’s £3.10, the Cook/ A.B. £3.15.Potts, the older O.S. got £2.10 and 15 year old Saunders, £1.10. Even back then the rates could hardly be considered a King’s ransome.

The photographs of Captain Maddock and of the “Three Master” which are reproduced here, comes from the book” Rosslare Harbour, Past and Present” (an excellent history of the Harbour written by John Maddock, Captain Maddock’s Grandson and published with his permission)


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 A tale of  hardship and deprivation.


A tale of  hardship and deprivation recalling the stories of “The Rhymes of the Ancient Mariner “ and of “Robinson  Crusoe” was told by Donald Morison ,second mate of the Norwegian barque “ Alexander Oubis” who was landed at Southampton by the Royal Mail steamer “”Orinoco” on the 27th of December 1907.

 The “Alexander Oubis”, a sixteen hundred tonner arrived at Buenos Aires in August of 1906 in search of a cargo and failing to find one set out in ballast for New South Wales.  

 Mr. Morrison takes up the tale.” I joined the craft at this point .On reaching Newcastle N.S.W. , we took on coal and with twenty hands all told we set sail for Panama on November 26th .For about two months we had good weather and  favourable winds. Then we entered a period of calm, out of which we could never extricate ourselves .We started to drift towards the Equator and each day’s bearings only the fear that we were daily getting out of the route of traffic. As the weeks went by our movement became more sluggish, in consequence of the great growth of barnacles below the waterline. The keel became so foul that it would have needed a pretty stiff breeze to put us under weigh ,but months passed by without a puff of wind coming our way ,and never once did we sight any kind of craft. “

“At the end of four months our situation was ugly in the extreme. Food was giving out and water was getting unpleasant. The captain gave orders that the ship was to be put on half rations, the first official signal of some distress. Every day, almost every minute we scanned but it always told the same dispiriting tale, and left us feeling lonelier than ever. For a month we lived, or rather eked out an existence, on the half allowance of food and were then transported into a wild delirium of the wildest enthusiasm by catching sight of land. We all joined in a conference near the place where the captain stored his charts and made out that we were approaching the Galapagos Islands. We ascertained that they were of volcanic formation, that they spread themselves over a sea area of about 2,500 miles, and that only one or two were inhabited.

“We decided that we should try and reach Chatham Island, but the currents at this point took a dead set against us. The Antarctic stream, after following the coast of Peru as far as Cape Blanco, bears off to the North West, pursues its course swiftly through the Galapagos group and then makes for the centre of the Pacific. Consequently, we were not only unable to drift towards the islands but we ran the risk of encountering the full force of the Antarctic stream and being carried back into mid ocean. This meant certain destruction, and there was nothing for it but to abandon the barque and take to the boats. We swung out the small sailing boats, which the barque carried , stocked them with every scrap of available food ,filled the water tanks and took on board whatever covering we could get – for the nights would be very cold. On May the 8th we left the old barque to her fate and made for whet we thought was Chatham Island .The tide did its best to thwart us and although we used the oars the current was nearly strong enough to neutralize our efforts- the efforts of half starved and dispirited men. There were ten men in each boat and we arranged to keep close together. We had long exhausted our ability to keep up a running conversation .An American could speak English but he was the only other man who could. All the rest were Norwegian, Scandinavians and Germans. We tried singing, but we had not enough strength left, even for that. The boat that I was in began to leak and it took the efforts of two men going day and night to keep the craft from flooding.”

 “For ten days the battle against a strong contrary current continued, and at last we neared a forbidding looking island .It was both barren and deserted and as it was obviously no use in trying to land there we altered our course, heading as we imagined, for Chatham. In the darkness the two boats parted company .To add to our woes the plug fell out of our water tank and before the mishap was discovered our entire supply was gone. Our predicament was now graver than all our previous trials. We began to suffer the unspeakable horrors of thirst under a tropical sun .Our only hope was to pull for all we were worth towards the island and trust that there we would find relief from our sufferings.”

  “At the end of the eleventh day from quitting the barque we found ourselves opposite a small bay, in which the sea was lashing itself into a fury over an ugly array of half-sunken reefs. We steered our course through successfully and reached land. Many of the crew was unable to walk in consequence of the cramped positions they had been forced into so long.”

 “We got clear of the water, and immediately went in search of something to drink. The island was about as uninviting as anything I have ever seen in my thirty six years of seafaring life. The centre, some miles inland, was occupied by a mountain whose slopes were quiet bleak, probably from streams of lava. Except at the coastline, the place was thickly covered with leafless, thorny shrub. There were a few trees of sparse foliage and an immense variety of cacti .All this was apparent at first glance and as may be well imagined did not lend us much encouragement.”

 “Fresh water however was what we most urgently needed, and there was no sign of it anywhere, but the captain’s resourcefulness came to our aid. Slicing up leaves from a large cactus tree, he distributed portions around, and I shall never forget the delight of tasting the cool juice. Thus refreshed, we formed ourselves into small parties and set out to gather dry wood for a fire. We had sixteen matches between us –of which we still had nine when we left the island and we treasured them as if they were the most precious things on earth. We lighted our fire just before daylight was dying, and stretching ourselves on the ground we watched for a while the unceasing circling   of the carrion buzzard above us, then sought respite from our sufferings in repose.”


“Early the next morning we were astir, and much benefited from the rest, we again formed ourselves into search parties. I went to the right in the direction of a volcanic eminence , which gave a view of a considerable portion of the coast line. We had all resolve to follow any track which might suggest the presence of natives, but nothing of the sort could be found , and when we came to compare the conformation of the coast with our map ,we were plunged into despair by the discovery that we were on Indefatigable Island which for centuries had been shunned even by the natives of the Archipelago.”


“While we were still wondering what we should do news arrived that enormous turtles were disporting themselves on a beach close at hand. Arming ourselves with clubs cut from the branches, we crept over the rocks on either side of the bay, and cutting off the turtles retreat we beat them to death. They measured about 5 feet long by 4 feet broad, and it required four men to haul them along the ground. We slaked our thirst with the blood and had a hearty meal of turtle’s flesh, the first real meal we had in nearly a month. “


“A suggestion was made that we should again take to the boat and try to find Chatham Island. This was approved but on going to the spot at which we landed we found that the craft had been dashed to pieces. We managed to rescue from among the wreckage the metal air tight compartments, and by converting a section into a boiler we made provision for getting turtle soup if we ever found a supply of water.”

“For four or five days we hunted for water without finding any. We felt pretty certain that if only we could make our way to the foot of the mountains, which seemed to frown on us, we would find a stream. We tried to cut our way inland, but after hewing a path through the brushwood for nearly two miles, we found it an impossible task and gave it up. On the journey we came across what looked like  crab-apples , and carried them home in triumph, but shortly after eating them we all suffered from violent sickness and acute pain. In that we escaped death from poisoning I think we had much to be thankful for.


“In a cave we at last came across water. It was somewhat brackish but to us it seemed delicious. I made some canvas bags and we carried a good supply to the camp. That night we had our first turtle soup, and at last began to feel that the period of starvation was at an end.

 The turtles however, were not always to be caught napping .Instead of coming on to the beach they took to remaining in the bay, where they browsed on a vivid kind of green growth on the bottom. There they thought perhaps they were safe from interference, but it was a case of turtle’s instinct versus the artifice of desperate and hungry men and we won. There was a half submerged reef at the entrance of the bay, and as steadily as possible some of the crew took up their position at it. As soon as they were ready, I as the best swimmer in the company dived into the sea and rounded up the turtles in the direction of the reef. Once within reach the men turned the fugitives on their backs and so rendered them powerless to resist capture.   But even this ruse failed in time and we had to look elsewhere for our food “

 Later they found some gigantic tortoises inland and captured one .He goes on to describe them and how they were cooked.

 “They had thick legs, suggesting the elephant and were strong enough to carry a man. The shell encasing their body was solid and so hard that we had to use a chisel to get access to the flesh. The tortoise was a trifle larger than the sea turtle, but they were more difficult to find and were not such good eating.

We boiled it slowly and we boiled it to shreds; we fried it, we roasted it, and in fact subjected it to every form of preparation our limited means would allow, and we frequently had attacks of nausea. From some of the small holes in the rocks we found a deposit of salt, left by long years of sea water action and this helped to make the flesh food more palatable.”


“Later we found the haunt of the sea-lion or bear seal. Never having been disturbed, the seal used to swim into shallow water at high tide, allow the sea to ebb out and bask for hours in the sun. This made them easy prey. They showed fight to begin with, and belabouring them about the head we had a rough job to gain the mastery, but we soon ascertained that the end of the nose was the vulnerable spot.”

 “Each day however, increased the wariness of the seal, and a shortage forced us to fall upon the land lizard, a loathsome looking quadruped about five feet in length and a foot in circumference, with a row of spikes extending from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. The lizards were extremely timid, and would, if startled, dart into any crevice that happened to be near. They appeared entirely unconcerned about the fact they left their tails exposed to their pursuers. It so happened that the tail part was the one part we desired to possess and consequently we did not trouble to haul the lizard from his lair; we simply chopped his tail off and continued with the hunt. Occasionally we were lucky enough to catch a few crayfish, but there was nothing else on the island that was eatable.

 “By the end of the first month we were heartily sick of it all. The cook was reduced to a dead level of impotency. We had to fall back on turtle soup more frequently than anything else.


“But what we craved for most of all was bread. We looked high and low for something which could be ground into flour, but nothing presented itself. The captain suggested that we should kill some birds and bleach the bones and make biscuits, but the process was an utter failure.

“So far our researches around the coast had been limited because of the precipitous character of some of the cliffs which rose from the water’s edge at low tide. The jungles of thorny shrub held us in check overland at these points, and the only course open to us was to swim the bays and try our luck in that way. A party of four set out on this venture, and after a perilous and exciting journey returned to camp with news that they had found fresh water at the western end of the island. We decided to change our headquarters, for there was more chance of being picked up from the western point.”


“The American, however, refused to budge .He pleaded that we were all bound to perish, sooner or later and that he was content to stay and die in the old camp. No amount of persuasion would shake him and reluctantly we left him there. I understand that a search party is still looking for him, but I should imagine that he has long since paid the penalty for his obstinacy. We cut a very sorry figure as we set out for the new camp, three days journey off. We had practically no clothing left , and our shoes had long since been cut to shreds climbing over the lava rocks, which cut like knives.“ Most of us wore improvised boots made of sealskin, while the captain wore a pair of turtle flippers on his feet.

                  “On reaching the western camp we sought shelter from the rain by taking cover in the brushwood, but the place swarmed with mosquitoes and sand ants, and we elected to sleep out in the open  again The solitude of the situation was beginning to have it’s effect, more particularly in my case, because there was no else in the camp who could speak English .The deadly silence of the whole place added to the gloominess of the outlook ,and the gradually dwindling hope of rescue drove us almost frantic . The captain lost his reason and his mind remained unhinged for five weeks. The German ,Shaffer ,rashly went out on a quest in search of food , and clutching at a bush to help him out of the bay, he had just crossed he missed his hold and disappeared .We organized a search party a few days afterwards and discovered his bones picked clean by birds and bleached by the sun. We buried the bones with all reverence.”

  “Our one luxury was  a solitary pipe which we took in turns to smoke – if you can use that word of dried leaves and bark with which we filled it.”


“Months passed by and the torture of our predicament grew more acute. Our diet of flesh  unrelieved produced weakness and a degree of blindness . The constant staring out to sea helped us to see unreal images in the day and lights at night , and we abandoned ourselves to despair to the belief that no one would  ever see our  signal of distress ,which was flying from the top of a pole, when ,on October 29, a sloop which had been specially sent out from Iquique appeared on the horizon .It turned out the other boat from the “Alexandra Oubis” had reached the mainland and had given information of our disappearance “.

 “I cannot even attempt to depict the frenzied joy we felt. But for the dispatching of the sloop I don’t think we should ever have been taken off ,and I feel we must have perished if we had remained much longer in that wretched island with it’s accumulation of horrors                                           


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The voyage of the “STATESMAN” 1834.

  On Thursday the 11th of December 1834 the ship “Statesman” left London for Sydney, New South Wales with cargo and passengers. On board were, at least, three Irishmen, Mr. Jasper Coughlan, Chief Officer, Thomas Roche, apprentice and John Gaffney. All were from Wexford town. Coughlan was brother of William Coughlan J.P., Roche was from Carrigeen and Gaffney was the son of Mr. Timothy Gaffney, the Wexford shipowner.

       Roche kept a log and part of it tells the story of a meeting with Spanish pirates on the high seas. The pertinent section begins on January the 19th 1835.

     The early  morning was clear and seas were calm, but later came a heavy thunderstorm, which was welcomed by the crew, as by this time in the voyage water must have been scarce. About 11 a.m. the lookout spotted a sail about 8 miles ahead on the starboard bow. By 2 p.m she was more westerly and bearing down on them. The captain of the “Statesman” raised the British ensign but there was no acknowledgement from the approaching ship. Captain Quillan of the British ship kept the approaching ship under close observation through his telescope, as he considered her to be suspicious. He noticed a number of black people on deck, which lead him to think that she was a slaver. Her foremast was shattered and her sails were in tatters from gunshot. But, what must have been of greater concern was that she appeared to be very well armed, with a swivel of ten large guns. Captain Quillen gave the order for his guns (four in number) to be got ready and within minutes they were unlashed and pointed to their portholes.

       Still the strange ship continued to bear down on them and orders were given to fire a shot. Continuing on her course towards the British ship, the stranger hoisted her colours, which showed her to be Spanish. Capt. Quillan ordered all the ships small arms to be brought up and loaded. The ship’s boat was then lowered and Coughlan, the mate , was dispatched to reconnoitre the Spanish vessel. Coughlan took his boat alongside the Spanish ship, which was still about a mile away from the “Statesman” whose crew waited anxiously to see what would transpire. About half a hour later the boat returned and reported that the Spaniard was a dangerous customer, called the “Formidable”, a prize taken by the “Buzzard”, man o’war, of Fernando Po and that her crew were from the “Buzzard” and bound for Sierra Leone. She had been carrying 500 slaves, but was now reduced to about 300, many in need of medical assistance. A surgeon was urgently required to look after the wounded.

     They also claimed to have been struck by lightening which damaged their chronometer but shortly afterwards contradicted themselves by saying it had gone out by not having been wound. This and other contradictory statements did nothing to allay the captain’s suspicion of them.

    Coughlan had offered whatever help he could but told them to stay off his ship. The Spaniard replied that they were not in need of anything and tried to persuade Coughlan and his men to come aboard the ship. When Coughlan declined their offer they became abusive and complained at their treatment at the hands of the British ship. Still the “Formidable” continued on her course towards the “Statesman”, as fast as the little wind would bring her .He told the captain of the Spanish ship that unless she bore off the “Statesman, which was well armed and ready, was under orders to open fire on her as soon as he (Coughlan) was clear. The Spanish captain ignored him and said that he would go along side directly, giving orders for his guns to be loaded. The men on the “Statesman’s boat heard the guns being loaded and asked if they intended to fire on an unarmed boat. Just then a young Englishman put his head out of a porthole, indicating to them to pull away, which they did, heading back to the “Statesman”, expecting at any minute to be halted by a shot from one of the Spanish guns.

     After the boat arrived back to make its report to Captain Quillan a boat with an officer and four men onboard was seen leaving the “Formidable”.  Captain Quillan immediately ordered a fresh crew into his boat and set out to meet them. His though must have been to keep them away from his vessel so that they could not determine the strength of his crew or armaments. He met them half way and ordered them off, but told them that he would give any help he could and would send it by boat. Again the other ship’s men were upset by this, insisting that they would board the “Statesman”. Quiller lied to them and told them he had part of the 50th Regiment on board, bound for Sydney and that it would be folly for them to attempt to molest them. The men on the “Formidable’s” boat became agitated at this and returned to their ship, still advancing towards the “Statesman”.

Quiller’s Bluff

      Quiller’s bluff worked as shortly after the Spaniard was seen to alter course and sail away from the “Statesman”. Later in the day they spotted three sails in the distance but could not distinguish if either was the Spanish ship. The wind increased and shortly after the sails disappeared from sight. Now, Captain’s Quiller’s claim that there were some of the 50th Regiment onboard was not totally a bluff; for there was actually one member of the regiment on the “Statesman”, a Captain Bartley!

Eaten by natives

     Later in the voyage Gaffney was sent ashore in a boat, somewhere near what we now call New Zealand and was never seen again. It was thought that he had been eaten by natives. After that trip Coughlan joined The American Navy where he reached the rank of Commodore, retiring after the War Between the States.

             It was never determined if the crew of the “Formidable” actually were what they claimed to be, a prize crew taking their capture to a friendly port. In fact, it was never stated that they actually were Spaniards as their ensign claimed them to be. There were inconsistencies in the story told by the “Spanish” captain. For instance, had she been taken as a prize as he claimed, surely any wounded from the engagement would have been seen to by their “mother” ship before sending them to Sierra Leone? There also appeared to be English and some Black men among the crew, not what you would expect in a Spanish vessel of the time.

            It was obvious that she had recently been in a battle of some kind but seemed more likely to the captain of the “Statesman” that she had escaped from her opponent off Fernando Po, and was not a captured prize as they claimed. It also seems more likely that they were pirates, intent on getting their hands on the “Statesman” whose sails alone, considering the poor state of their ship, would have been invaluable to them.  


   I have often wondered about the demise of the Gaffney name in Wexford shipping. The company ended up in the control of three females, Mary, Angela, and Catherine Gaffney, all I think, were either widows or unmarried ladies. Perhaps the unfortunate John, the son of Timothy, was the last in the male line. Timothy Gaffney owned many ships over the years. The ownership was then transferred to Cecilia Gaffney, (his widow and mother of John?), then to the above named trio (daughters of Timothy and Cecilia?). The three ladies sold   their holdings, consisting of three sailing ships and a coal yard, in 1896 and retired from business. And that was the last of the  Gaffney ship owning family in Wexford maritime history. 

     Messrs. Wm Hutchinson and Harold Owens bought the coal yard for the sum of £380. The ships went to John E. Barry who bought the 65-ton,  “Glynn”for £185 and the 76 tonner, “Caledonia” for £225. Their smaller vessel, the 44 ton “Charles Walker” went to Captain Hutchinson, Harbour Commissioner, for £ 85

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             On the 15th of March 1888 the Wexford barque “Saltee” was lost on Wexford bar. She was homeward bound from Brunswick with a cargo of Pitch Pine. ”Saltee”  left Brunswick on the 1st of February and arrived off Wexford on the 14th of March. Her master, Captain John Smith signalled for a pilot to take her into the harbour, and at noon the same day Pilot Robert Breen boarded her. She then proceeded into the south bay where she went to anchor. At this stage she was drawing 13ft 5 ins aft and 12ft 3ins for’ard. It was deemed prudent to lighten her to get her over the bar. The Lighters came, lightened her and she then drew 12ft 4ins for’ard and 12ft 10 ins aft. The next day, the 15th, they signalled for the tug to bring her up. The tug arrived about 6.30, the weather was fair but occasionally squally. The “Saltee” was taken in tow and reached the bar about 3.30 or 3.40 that afternoon. At the time the signals at the Fort showed that there was 13ft of water at the bar, but in fact there were about 5ft more than was shown.

  Arriving at the bar the “Saltee” had her fore and aft sails set. About 8.30 the squalls hit and it appeared that the tug was unable to keep the ships head to the marks, and she (the “Saltee”) took to the south side, struck the ground and banked heavily. The tug stayed alongside her for some time, but realising that there was nothing more they could do for her, they left. At 11 o’clock 3ft of water was found in her hold. Signals were made for the lifeboat, which arrived and brought the crew of 9 men ashore. The “Saltee” was lost.


A Board of Trade Inquiry that was held in Wexford Courthouse on the of May 1888, before Colonel Miller R.M. and Captains Bragg  and Washington, Naval Assessors.

  Mr. Huggard appeared on behalf of The Board of Trade, Mr. Elgee for the Harbour Commissioners, Mr. Cooper for the captain of the “Saltee” , Mr. O’Flaherty, for Lambert and Walsh, the owners and Mr. Taylor on behalf of The Pilots Association of the United Kingdom.

   Mr. Huggard stated that” The pilot attributed the loss of the ship to the tug not being able to keep her head to the marks owing to the squall coming on, whereas the master of the “Saltee” attributed it to not being able to keep her in the fairway. But, the tug master said there was no want of power on the part of the tug. There were 11 pilots and a boy at the fort and they were assisted by 4 Hbr. pilots who take vessels down the harbour. On account of the bar constantly shifting after storms Captain Cogley, Pilot Master takes soundings and he will explain how this is done”. (Captain Cogley was not in charge at the time of the incident with the “Saltee”.)  In addition to the signals mentioned there is a danger one; but the pilots are left to exercise their own judgement when this is up. The high water is the same here as Llanelly unless there is a S.S.W. or E. when it is a little longer. On this day the signals were in charge of Captain Cogley’s son, a boy of 16; but Captain Cogley says he is perfectly competent to undertake the duties, and that he was often in charge of them before.2

 “ The cause of Captain Cogley’s absence was that he was sent by the Harbour Commissioners to South Shields to bring over the new tug “Wexford”; 2 pilots were away onboard vessels, 1 sick which left only 6 on station. He would offer the master of the “Montague” steamer as a witness in order to dispose as to the state of the sea; and to give his observations as to the “Saltee”; as to her chance of getting over the bar at the time, also   Brady, who   was in charge of the Pilot Station, and Briggs, a Customs Officer that was onboard”.

  “It was ordered that all witnesses, unless holding Board Of Trade Certs should leave the court.”

            Mr. James Stafford, examined by Mr. Huggard said he was acting as manager of the “Saltee”; she was not insured, her cargo was insured for £425 and her freight for £163.

 In his evidence Captain John Smith told the court that he  was the master of the “Saltee”, and that she had a registered tonnage of 265 tons. He said that she left Brunswick on the 1st of February at about 10.30 in the morning with 9 hands onboard, with a cargo of Pitch Pine for Wexford. They arrived off Wexford at about 8.10 a.m on the 14th of, March. Pilot Robert Breen boarded and brought the ship into the South Bay. He then gave details of the amount of water she drew. He further stated that the pilot gave him no directions but said that he wanted her lightened before she went in. They got her ready for lightening and next morning proceeded to lighten her. Lightening was completed about 4 or 5 that evening.

  He told the court that he was a native of Wexford but had not sailed out of the port for some time and that he had shipped out of Cardiff. He was of the opinion that the Tug Master was doing his best and that if he himself had been in charge of the vessel without a pilot he would not have attempted to have brought her in. But the pilot was in charge of the ship and that if he thought that there was anything wrong he would have taken charge from him. 

Robert Breen , the pilot who had charge of the “Saltee” attributed the loss to the tug not being able to her head to the marks, owing to the squall coming on. He said that  the vessel was steered by his directions and that it was no part of the masters duty to interfere with this unless he saw something wrong. “I blame the squall for the casualty . Vessels come in with from 6 to 10 ins less than their draft when water is smooth”. He said he calculated by  the Manx Almanac that the vessel was too deep for’ard  to come into the harbour without being lightened. He also maintained that it was not usual for a ship to draw more water for’ard than aft.  It was usual for a large vessel to strike as she comes over the bar. He did not mention this to Captain Smith as it was not the practice  to tell Wexford masters, as they already knew this.                                       


     To reach their conclusion the Board had to ask themselves the following questions.

1.      What was the cause of the stranding of the vessel ?

2.      Whether on the morning of the 16th of March the guage at the signal station correctly registered the water on the bar?

3.       Whether Robert Breen the pilot informed the master of the “Saltee” as to the extent the vessel needed to be lightened, and whether on that morning the vessel was lightened sufficiently to enable her to cross the bar, if the depth of water was as signalled  (  Breen informed the master on going aboard that he wanted her lightened to 12ft 9ins or 12 ft 10. This was done but she was not lightened enough to get her over Wexford Bar, even if the water there was as signalled.)

4.      What was the condition of the weather and the sea on the bar at the time?

5.      Whether , having regard to the “Saltee’s” draft the pilot was justified in attempting to cross the bar?

6.      Whether the vessel was navigated with proper, seaman like care?

7.      Whether the master is at fault and whether any blame attached to the pilot?


 The inquiry found that the wreck was caused by trying to get over the bar on a falling tide and with insufficient draft. They were unable to state, from the evidence given, that the tide gauge at the station  correctly registered the water on the bar . The sea was moderate at the bar that morning, blowing  N.N.E. to N.E., with a squall and a moderate sea, but rising.

 Having regard to the draft of the vessel the court concluded that the pilot was not justified in trying to bring her over the bar and that the ship was not navigated in a proper and seamanlike condition. As to the question of whether the master was in default and if any blame attached to the pilot, the inquiry concluded that considering  that the pilot told the  master  to lighten the ship to 12ft 10ins , he( the pilot)  must have known the ships draft and  the master,  knowing that the signals at the station were for 13ft only, was not justified in allowing the pilot to attempt crossing the bar.

 Breen ,the pilot was deemed mainly to blame for the casualty. They made no judgement regarding costs.


On the 21st of May 1888 as a result of the Board of Trade Inquiry Wexford Harbour Commissioners suspended Robert Breen for three months, without pay. (This must have been the start of Breen’s fortunes in the Pilot Establishment. On the 20th of November 1888 Breen’s pilots licence was cancelled. He had been appointed in June of 1879.)

 On the same date Brady, who was the Acting Pilot Master in the absence of Captain Cogley, was suspended for two weeks for leaving the station without a qualified pilot.(Captain Cogley’s son who manned the signals on the  day of the loss was not employed by the Commissioners.)

 Captain Blake, Tug Master, had stated to the inquiry that he had doubts about the manouvere the pilot was  undertaking but did not communicate these  doubts to the pilot. For not informing the pilot of his reservations he  was censured by the Committee. (This did not have any detrimental effect his career as since the loss of the “Saltee” and before he was censured he was appointed both  Pilot Master and Tug Master.)

  Of Captain Smyth, I have no idea. He would almost certainly, be censured by The Board of Trade or some other official body. But if he was, and what the censure was, I have no idea.

 The “Saltee”, a three masted barque, was built in Weymouth, Nova Scotia in 1863 .

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The Loss of the “Lismore

In July 1924 Wexford town was shocked by the news of the loss of the “Lismore”, 16 miles off Hook Head. Any disaster off our coast aroused a great deal of concern and sympathy for the victims, particularly if local seamen were involved. In the case of the “Lismore” there were three Wexford seamen on board. They were Charles Cullen ,of The Faythe, Nicholas Saunders  of Green Street, and John Carley of William Street all in Wexford town. The remainder of the crew were from Cork , Spain and the U.K. With the exception of John Carley all hands were lost. Among the victims was 13 year old Patrick Goulding of Corporation Buildings, Cork, who had been brought on a “pleasure trip” by his uncle , one of the cattlemen.  Carley, the sole survivor, was 48 years old and an experienced seaman. But for his survival, nothing would ever have been known of the fate of the “Lismore”. Without his evidence the subsequent inquiry would have been incomplete and any conclusion arising from it would have been just conjecture.

 A  new ship 

   The “Lismore” was a new ship, built earlier that year in Ardrossan, Scotland, for the City of Cork Steam Packet Company Ltd. She was built specifically for the Wexford to Liverpool service and because of the difficulties experienced crossing the Bar of Wexford Harbour, was of shallower draft and broader beam than was normal for a vessel of her size. The new cattle facilities that were being built for the projected arrival of the new vessel were behind schedule and she was sent to run from Cork until their  completion.  It was on this service and on her third ever voyage that she capsized and was lost on the10th of July 1924. 

               John Carley was on watch when the ship left Penrose Quay in Cork .As they steamed down the river , he noticed that she was listing to port. She was still listing that evening at eight o’clock as he went off watch. When he came back on deck at a few minutes to midnight he noticed the list was more pronounced. The list was so bad that, as he went along the deck he feared the lashings on the deck cargo would give under the strain. He knew that the ship was in a dangerous position. Carley and his watch mate Nicholas Saunders were sent below to the cattle deck to check on the scuppers. When they arrived there the found another A.B, a Liverpool man by the name of Watterson was already helping the cattlemen . The place was in chaos. There was two and a half feet of water on the deck and the scuppers were choked with dirt from the animal pens and by fodder .By then some of the cattle had fallen over and drowned. Carley went uptop to inform the captain  of the situation They both went back down to the cattle deck  and as soon as the captain  saw the situation said to Carley, ” It’s all up John, she‘s going over”. They all rushed back up top, captain went up to the bridge and blew several blasts on the ships whistle to attract the attention of a steamer whose lights could be seen in the distance but the steamer stayed on her course.

  The  Ship Capsizes                

 The list was getting worse, so  Mr Cole, the second mate ordered Carley and Cullen to cut away the lifeboats. They had just begun the task when she went over. Carley had barely time to whip off his sea boots, when she went down, bringing him with her. Under water he managed to  get free and kicked out for the surface, coming up near a hatch cover. He grabbed onto it and hauled himself aboard. Once he was safely up on the cover, he took off his muffler and his belt and lashed himself to it.  After about 15 minutes on his makeshift raft he heard a voice call out and recognised it as the second mate. He called back and then saw him on top of some wreckage about 40 or 50 yards off. The 2nd Mate called out to try and stay close together but they gradually drifted apart and Carley never heard him again. He also heard , but never saw, Cullen. Daylight came to find him alone on the sea.  He grabbed a piece of a packing case and fashioned a type of paddle from it and struck out towards the land. The seas were fairly choppy, however, and the rudimentary paddle was of little use. It was cold and the seas were rough and even though he knew the paddle was of little use, he carried on paddling, for he knew also that if he didn’t he might succumb to the elements. The weather worsened, the sea got rougher and fog descended. He could hear fog signals booming out but  didn't  know whether it was the Hook or Tuskar.  

            The raft was taken back and forth by the tides, once or twice he came close to  land  only to be brought back out again by the tide. At one period he came close to the Keeragh Islands, but was washed back up the coast.  He  spotted ships or fishing boats in the distance and at one time thought he saw a raft with someone onboard . Each time he stood and waved , but none of them spotted him. He came close to the Hook Light and signalled them with his kerchief  attached to his paddle. He waved it for about four hours but , again nobody saw him .Hungry and thirsty, he remembered hearing of fishermen in the West of Ireland who, in a similar position ate seaweed so he caught some passing  and ate it.     It was 28 hours before the tide brought him near land and washed him into ”Slade Bay”, near Porters Gate. The tide brought him in among rocks and he was in danger of being dashed against them  so, he decided that his best chance was to abandon the raft and  hope to be  taken in by the sea. He took his opportunity and dived in to a breaking wave  which took him up on the rocks surrounding the shore. There he clung on for dear life as the water washed back to the sea. Once he was clear of the drag of the water he clambered, exhausted, up the 30 or 40 - foot cliff to find himself  at last on dry land. Carley then spotted some lights in the distance and set out for them, pausing only for a drink of water as he crossed a marshy field. The first house he came to didn’t answer his knocking, the second was empty, but the people at the third house, a  Mr. Walshe’s answered his frantic knocks and let him in. As  he told his story he was  fed, given  some dry, clean  clothes, after his ordeal  he was fairly scantily dressed, and put to bed.

“Lismore gone; John  safe                             

 The next morning he arose about 6 o’clock  and set out to relay the news of the loss of the “Lismore”. Mr Fortune of Fethard ,  the local representative of The Shipwrecked Mariners Society arranged for him to be sent home from Ballycullane by

train, but before he left for the station he sent a telegram to his wife in Wexford which said “Lismore gone; John safe,” The arrival of the telegram in Wexford was the first indication that anything was amiss with the ”Lismore”. There were rumours around town that  she hadn’t reached Liverpool ,but nothing definite. City of Cork’s manager in Wexford a Mr. Reihill  was approached by anxious relatives of the local men on the “Lismore” who were ,understandably, upset by the rumours. He phoned the offices in Cork and found  that  they were not rumours but fact,  the “Lismore” hadn’t arrived in Liverpool and there was no sign of her. In the meantime Reihill was told of the telegram to Carley’s family. On reading the telegram he immediately drove to Fethard and from there to Ballyculane where Carley was still waiting for his train home and there he learned for the first time the story of the loss of the “Lismore”. He  then set about informing the  Lifeboats along the coast and the local  Garda stations. They delayed their return to Wexford until the Fort Lifeboat under Coxwain Wickham came around from Wexford, Carley  gave them  what  he thought was the approximate position of the ship when she went down and only then did himself and Reihill set out for home.

The search was fruitless, no one was found. Some days later sheep carcasses  along with shattered cases bearing the Ford of Cork logo were washed up in various parts of the Hook area but of survivors there were none.  

A large crowd assembled in William Street to welcome John Carley home, among them the families of the two other Wexford sailors, hoping against hope that  the reports were wrong and that  their loved ones had survived too. But Carley was unable to offer them any hope and they had to return to their homes dejected.                     

Despite his horrendous experience it has to be said that  John Carley was a very lucky and also a very resourceful man. For this was not his first brush with death. He had survived  a torpedo attack in the 1st. World War and two years previous to his experience on the “Lismore” he had survived being washed overboard in bad weather. It happened when he was on the “Elsie Annie” of Wexford,  bound for Ghent. A wave broke over the ship, taking Carley with it. But as luck would have it , the next wave washed him back on board.

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On the 31st. of May 1777 the Wexford ship “Elizabeth”, under her master Peter Byrne, was in the Caribbean near the island of Martinique.( Martinico as it was known then)  Between seven and eight o’clock that  morning two sails were spotted  way off to the north. Some time later the “Elizabeth” came up on them and hoisted her colours to identify herself. The two strange vessels reciprocated and hoisted their colours, which identified them as Danish. Immediately after that they spotted two more ships bearing down on them. Within an hour one of them was near enough for the crew on the “Elizabeth” to recognise her as a privateer. By this time the two Danish vessels were ahead of the Wexford ship and nearer to the approaching privateer. The privateer elected to go for the Danish vessels and brought them to by firing a shot across their bows. At the same time they hoisted the English ”Jack” to identify themselves to the Danes as an English ship. 


  In the meantime the approaching Wexford men prepared for battle. As they neared the attacker he took down the English Jack and raised the American flag, dispelling any doubt they may have had about his nationality. The privateer was to the windward and bore down fast on the “Elizabeth”. Captain Byrne hoisted his colours (English.) and fired a broadside at the American. The privateer was much better armed than the Wexford ship and as she returned fire she maneuvered in close to the “Elizabeth” with the intention of boarding her. He moved in under her stern and was soon up along her starboard side. The privateers threw “powder flasks” on to the “Elizabeth”, setting fire to all her boats and to the starboard gunnels. Nine of the crew were caught in the explosions. Then they boarded.

      The fight cannot have lasted for very long.  The Wexford ship crew were badly outnumbered and outgunned. The privateer carried a complement of 104, 60 of them Marines, this compared to the “Elizabeth’s” crew of 39. She was also armed with 16 carriage guns, six pounders and 12 swivel guns. The Marines had kept up a constant barrage of small gunfire as they approached, wounding many of the crew of the merchant ship.


 In the ensuing fight three of the Wexford ships crew were killed and at least fifteen wounded, including Captain Byrne. He had engaged one of the attackers with a cutlass. The attacker too was armed with a cutlass and made a strike at Captain Byrne’s head. As he attempted to fend of the blow the privateer’s blade went through the guard of Byrne’s cutlass, cleaving his hand in two, another blow injured his right arm. Captain Byrne was later told that his rough treatment was because of his “impudence” in not striking his flag but persisting to fight.

 The privateers were “almost all Negroes or mulattos” only one other person on the ship, beside the captain, could speak English and he was the captain’s clerk. The captain’s name was Palmer and it seems that he was there only, to, as it was put, “Carry out the Congress Commission” which, I take to mean that although the ship was fitted out in “Martinico” (Martinique) and although   crewed by French officers and West Indian crew, she was in fact, an American privateer and was commissioned so by Congress.  

 The crew (and ship? I doubt it.) were landed in Martinique from where Captain informed his owners of the loss.

  The three killed were, Mr. Davies, 2nd. Mate, Thomas  Cousins, Steward, Michael Rowe, Apprentice. Among the wounded were, Dugald Campbell, Owen Meany, and Alex. Bailey, Daniel M’Rever, John Campbell, Samuel Hales, John M’Millan, Denis Keaton, Robert. Strong. Those mentioned above were the badly wounded and were hospitalised in Martinique , six others were slightly injured. 


 Captain Byrne’s letter home was published in “Stuart’s Wexford Chronicle” or “The Impartial Register of News, Politics and Literary Entertainment.” Of   Thursday August 21st. 1777.It was dated June 5th. And written in Martinique.

       . I have no idea who the owner of this vessel was or indeed what kind of vessel the “Elizabeth” was. She must have been of sufficient tonnage to have  sailed that distance and to have a crew of 39 men. Nor have I any information as to the identity of Captain Byrne. Of the names given only  three , Byrne, Cousins and perhaps to a lesser degree, Rowe , might be considered local surnames, the others look more likely to be Scottish .or Northern Irish. It is possible that she signed on in the North. and that would  account for the “strange” names. But then in those days crews were picked up all over the world, international and interracial crews were not unusual. It is also possible that they left Wexford with a full local crew and as the trip progressed men went sick or more likely jumped ship to be replaced by some of the men mentioned above.. 

  “It gives me great uneasiness to date from hence the account of particulars as underneath.

On the 31st of last month between seven and eight in the morning in latitude 16; 30 longitude , 57 degrees west, discovered two sail to the northwest of us, which we came up with, and by hoisting our colours found that they were Danish. Immediately after saw two other vessels bearing right down on us. In less than an hour found one of them ,by his near approach to be a privateer ,upon which we immediately got ready to engage, the before mentioned vessels being ahead of us, she choose rather than go to these first ,and brought them to by firing a gun and hoisting an English jack ; by this time we were pretty near them, he then took down the English jack and hoisted American colours and being to windward ,bore right down on us ,upon which we immediately hoisted our colours and fired at him a whole broadside when he immediately received his fire; we then perceived he had no other intention but to board us ; by having such a superior force of people and small arms; he then came under our storm chasers and was soon up along the starboard quarters; we had nothing to depend on except our small arms and pikes and at the time many of our men were wounded; our boats, by throwing of powder flasks ,were all on fire ; likewise in this fire and confusion nine of our people were blown up by the before mentioned flasks and in  the smoak (sic) they boarded and severely wounded me, by splitting my right hand in two; this happened by guarding the strike of a cutlass that was aimed at my head, but thank God it did not fracture my scull and another on my right arm.”

 “This abuse was for my impudence , they said, in not striking but persisting to fight the privateer. My hand is in very bad condition and am afraid shall never have the right use of it again.”

 All I have here to add, the ship’s crew behaved very well but 104 to 39 were great odds, 60 of them marines that kept up a constant fire with small arms, with 16 carriage guns, 6 pounders and 18 swivels .

 I only add, I am clear I have done my duty in every respect; from your most humble servant ,

                   Peter Byrne. “

“ PS.  I have sent an account of killed and wounded. Killed 2nd Mate Mr Davies, Thomas Cousins, alias Steward, Michael Rowe ,apprentice. Wounded, Dugald Campbell, Owen Meany, Alex Bailey, Dan M’Revor, John Campbell, Sam Hales, John McMillan, Denis Keaton, Robert Strong. In the hospital six more slightly wounded and out of danger.

 The men belonging to the privateer were almost negroes and mulattos ,for there was but one besides the captain who could speak a word of English , which was his clerk. The captain’s name is Palmer.  They were fitted out from  Martinico by a Frenchman who had all degrees of French officers aboard , even captains all others besides, Palmer only went out with them by way of carrying out the Congress Commission , for when it was over he durst hardly say one word amongst them . “

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