“The Gale” (from the Connecticut Mirror, September 10, 1821; pp. 2-3)
We were visited by a gale of wind on Monday evening last which was more severe than any which we recollect to have witnessed before, not excepting the September gale in 1815. It began to blow in this city at 7 o’clock in the evening—the wind to the S. E. In New-Haven it began an hour earlier, and in New-York it commenced at 5 o’clock with the wind to the N. E. In Philadelphia the storm began as early as 2 o’clock in the afternoon. It appears not to have been very severe farther south than New-Jersey, nor farther east than New-London. In Worcester and Boston the gale was not violent and did but little damage. In the western part of Connecticut there was little wind, but a very heavy fall of rain which did great damage to bridges and roads. We have heard from most of the towns above us on the Connecticut River for the distance of 50 or 60 miles, and the storm seems to have been about as violent as it was here.
In this city a number of chimneys were blown down, and a great many fruit and shade trees prostrated. In the morning after the gale no less than seven large trees were lying across the street within a stone’s throw of this office. Scarce an apple or peach is left on the trees in this part of the state, and most of the corn is levelled to the ground. Several out buildings were demolished in this place, and a new house in the upper part of the city was blown down. A part of the rope walk, owned by Mr. James Church, was blown down, and a large new distillery barn unroofed. Of the vessels lying at the wharves 6 or 8 suffered injury, such as the breaking of bowsprits, booms, bulwarks, quarter-railings, &c. The sloop John, lying in the stream, dragged her anchor and drove up the river until she was stopped by the bridge, having split her bowsprit about 7 feet and carried away some of her fore rigging. The floating baths were upset and strewed upon both sides of the river. A scow which went adrift was found with her bottom up—a work which would require the strength of twenty men to accomplish. Slates were blown from the roofs of houses and carried a hundred feet with such force as to dash in windows, and in many instances the lead was ripped up and torn from the roofs of houses. We hear from the towns around that much of the forest timber is destroyed, and many fruit orchards greatly injured.
At Windsor and East-Hartford many buildings were blown down or unroofed, and we learn that Mather’s Glass works, in the latter town, are totally destroyed.
In the town of Wethersfield, we are told, there are not less than 40 buildings blown down, unroofed, or otherwise materially injured. The doors of one house, the family of which were absent, were forced open, the fire blown from the hearth, and the
building consumed. A brick school house standing on the green was unroofed, and the two end walls blown down, leaving the side walls which were parallel with the wind standing upright. A ship lying opposite the town was drove ashore near the Cove, and two or three sloops dismasted at the wharf. In Newington Society the steeple of the Episcopal Church was blown down. In Rocky Hill a distillery and several other buildings were blown down.
At Middletown the steeple of the Episcopal Church was blown down and the roof of the Methodist Meeting-House blown off. Many other buildings were more or less injured.
Fortunately it was low water along the coast in the time of the gale, so that less injury has been done in our seaport towns than might have been expected had it not been for that circumstance.—At New-Haven the damage was triflng to the shipping in the harbor, but we are sorry to record the destruction of the new Methodist meeting-house, the roof of which was finished but a few hours before the gale. It was a large brick building, and it was expected would cost more than $20,000 when finished. The walls are demolished to within three feet of the ground. The steam-boats Connecticut, Capt. Bunker, and the Fulton, Capt. Law, got under way, (one for New-York and the other for New-London,) just as the gale commenced. The Fulton was unable to get into the Sound and returned. The Connecticut kept on for a while but afterwards came to an anchor within the harbor, and notwithstanding the aid of her steam-engine, she parted her cables, and went ashore where she now lies high and dry.
At Bridgeport several buildings were blown down and unroofed, and the steeple of the Presbyterian meeting-house was prostrated. Most of the vessels in port parted their fastenings and went ashore. The sloop Elizabeth of Long-Island was towed into Black-rock harbor on Tuesday with the loss of mast. A sloop was lost in the Sound near Bridgeport in 60 feet water, and it supposed that all the crew perished. It is not known where this sloop was from—her mast-head reaches out of the water; it is painted green with a new gaff and truck. The Light-house at Black-rock was blown down, and many other very considerable losses were experienced in that neighborhood.
A Schooner is wrecked at the mouth of New-London harbor, and another on Fisher’s Island; five wrecks have been counted between New-London and New-Haven, one of which is the brig Underhill, Clark, from Martineco.
A horse and waggon containing two persons while crossing Dragon-bridge were blown into the river, and narrowly escaped drowning.
The doors of a house in Windham were blown open—the fire scattered, and the house consumed.
The morning after the gale the steam-boat Fulton left New-Haven for New-London, where she arrived safely the same day. She has since made two trials to get back to New-Haven, but failed in consequence of a heavy sea in the sound. In her first attempt she half accomplished the trip, but could not get through, and put back; and on a second trial the following day she lost her rudder. The passengers have since passed through this place in stages for New-York.
We have thus given a few of the many losses in Connecticut occasioned by the gale; below is a still more melancholy detail at the destruction which it occasioned in New-York.
We noticed yesterday morning, in very general terms, the sudden and extraordinary gale experienced here on Monday last, without having it in our power to give but very few particulars of the damages sustained in the harbour and in the city. Throughout the preceding day as well as on Monday, there had been an uncommon succession of fine showers, which, as the season had for several weeks been very dry, proved highly refreshing and beneficial. The gale commenced on the afternoon of Monday, and very soon became almost a hurricane—blowing with more violence, it is said, than has been ever know[n] even by the oldest inhabitants. It raged for about three hours; and so sudden and unexpected was its approach, that the inhabitants and those who had the charge of the vessels in harbour and neighbourhood of the city had very little warning or opportunity to guard against its violence. Although much injury in many different ways has been sustained, considering the state of the case we are only surprized that it has not been much greater. Some idea of the strength of the gale may be derived from the fact, that though it occurred at the time of low water, the tide almost immediately rose to such a height as to overflow the wharves in the east river, and entirely to cover South street.
The following instances of damage experienced on land and in the water have been received—probably we shall hear of many more. There is much reason to fear that vessels on the coast must have been great sufferers.
Brig Nancy, Taylor, of Portland, with molasses, ashore and bilged, high and dry, at quarantine dock. Schr. Enterpize [sic], Maxwell, of Providence, at do. do. considerably damaged, parted both cables. Sloop Protector, of Perth Amboy, loaded with wood, with her stern stove in, ashore at do. Sloop Sappho, of Albany, Van Shalek, from New Orleans, with cotton and pimento, do. do. bilged. Schr. Augenora, Pike, of Fairfield, from Carleston, with rice and cotton, considerably injured, lost both anchors and cables. Swedish brig Andreas, for St. Domingo loss of foremast, rudder & bowsprit; otherwise much damaged. Schr. William and Joseph, Ransom, of Baltimore, from Savannah, loss of foremast, bowsprit, stern stove in, and full of water. Schr. Betsey, Hallett, of Plymouth, N. C. from Wilmington, N. C. in ballast, a complete wreck, both masts gone. Schr. Carpenter, Barnes, of Bath, from Oratara, with a cargo of wine, bilged, loss of rudder, stern stove in. The ship Lucy Ann had been ashore but got off without much damage. Ship Antonin, from New Orleans, is ashore on the Jersey shore. Ship Angelica, ashore on the south side of Staten Island. Ship Ann Maria,
p. 3, col 1
Gale, from Havana, with loss of rudder, and some other damage. Ship Amphion, Blinn, carried away her head, and otherwise damaged. Brig Mary Ann, Swain, from Curracoa, with coffee and dry goods, full of water. Brig Fox, from T. Island, with salt, ashore near Red Hook. Brig Hannibal, Lambert, from Havanna, ballast, bilged. Schr. John Allen, Sampson, of Duxbury, with wheat and flaxseed, ashore abreast of the hospital. Brig Copernican, Brown, from St. Jago, with sugars, ashore and bilged, between the Public Store and Quarantine deck, parted one cable. Ship Belle, Beebe, from Savannah, with cotton, bilged, ashore at do. Brig Andromache, Stillman, of New York, from St. Thomas, with 5 bhds. sugar, being the remaining part of the cargo saved—the brig leaky.
Brig Neptune’s Barge, Michallette, from Charleston, with loss of foretopmast, bowsprit, &c. and bilged, ashore at do. Schr Spy, Osburn, of Norfolk, from Wilmington, N. C. wth pork, &c. bound to Norfolk, with her mainmast through her bottom, and much damaged. Brig Albert of Portland, from Guadaloupe, with molasses, oil, and wine, had her mast, maintopmast and bulwarks damaged, and cargo injured. Brig Nancy, Wybra, of New York, from Rum Key, with salt, full of water with the loss of keel, ashore at do. Schr. Pacific, Kempton, from Jaquemel, with cotton and ballast, bilged, part of her keel twisted off. Brig Belvidere, Richards, of New York, from Savannah, with cotton, with loss of her keel, foretopmast, rudder, &c. ashore at do. Brig Mentor, Pratt, of New York, from Matanzas, with sugar, coffee and molasses, bilged ashore at do. Dutchbrig Lion bilged. The steamboat Nautilus, has received considerable injury—her stern and railings broken down to the deck. The French frigate Galattea parted both cables, drove ashore, and lost her rudder, and one of her quarter galleries. The French 74 Colose parted both cables, and was brought up by a stream anchor, with which she rode out the gale. Brig South Caralina [sic], Steel, from Charleston, her bows stove in, much damaged. French ship La Hirondelle, with sugar and rum, bilged, full of water, bows all stove in. Sloop Spark, Johnson, from Havana, with 230 boxes of Havanna sugar, sloop and cargo totally lost. Schr. Native, Beadle, from St. Thomas, with rum and sugar, loss of rudder, stranded, the stern post leaking fast, ashore at do. The Franklin, Hornet, and other vessels, in the North River, rode out the gale, and sustained little or no injury.
The ships Gleaner, and Jones were considerably damaged—the latter ran foul of the schr. Elizabeth, Travers, which sustained some injury.—Ashore in the Kilns, two schooners and three sloops, and a brig ashore on the Jersey side near Communipau. The ship Ceres, Gifford, bound to Philadelphia, cut away both masts in the gale, and was towed up to town last night. The ship Cotton Plant, Field, bound to Savannah, cut away her mast, and was last evening towed into this port. The Steam Boat Connecticut, Capt. Bunker, is ashore this side of New-Haven, high and dry, damage not known. A dismantled ship, driven probably from Corlaer’s Hook, ashore on the south end of Blackwell’s Island.—A schooner high and dry on Long Island, about a mile above the ship.—The ship Lady Gallatin broke from Bell’s wharf and drifted on Blackwell’s Island; damage not known. Ship Debby & Eliza broke from Eckford’s yard and drifted on shore at Williamsburgh, L. I.—A sloop is sunk near the foot of Pike-street. There are a number of chimneys blown down in Cherry-street. A large wide plank was taken by the force of the wind from a lumber yard and carried into the fore top gallant rigging of a brig lying bout 200 feet distant, from which it was taken yesterday morning. Almost every lumber yard in the city has received damage. A new still house at Corlaer’s Hook had a part of the roof blown off.—Almost every wharf on the east river is so much torn up as to render them impassible for carts.—At Governor’s Island very considerable damage was done to the fortifications and buildings; a part of the foundation of Castle Williams was much injured. At Bedlow’s Island much damage was done to the barracks, fort, &c. At Ellis’s Island the water inundated almost the whole place, doing much injury to the fortifications and barracks.—The bridge and wharf leading to the fort opposite St. John’s Church, north river, sustained great injury. One of the Powles Hook steam boats was sunk. Several houses that were building near Corlaer’s Hook were entirely prostrated. The large brick house corner of Murray and Washington streets is unroofed. A barn in Canal-street blew down and killed 12 cows. A barn near the white-lead works blew down and killed 9 cows.—A barn in the Bowery blew down and killed 10 cows. It was remarkable to see the stores and shops throughout the city closed during the storm—all seemed aware of the necessity of self-preservation. Great damage was sustained at the Battery, a part of the embankment at the point being washed away. Many of the trees at that promenade, at the Park, and in the streets are prostrated. A new building corner of Dover and Front-street partly demolished—and the front of the store of W. & G. Post, in Water-street adjoining their dwelling was blown down. The destruction to windows is great—the rattling of glass was continual during the gale. The whole of the chimnies in Schermerhorn’s stores fronting on Fulton-slip, with the exception of that of the store occupied by Mott & Williams, were blown down—also, the chimney of the store 96 Coffee-House slip, and those of the houses on the Battery between Bridge street & Broadway. Mr. Tice’s Patent floor Cloth Manufactory, in Rivington-st blown down. The chimney of the frame house No. 96 Gold-street, was blown down, and in the fall carried with it the entire roof, and a part of the front of the building. At Bloomingdale, and along the East rier, some small houses and barns, and many trees were blown down and several houses unroofed.—At Jamaica, (L. I.) a black man was killed by the falling of some timbers of a barn, which had been blown, and from which he was assisting to ext[r]icate the horses. At Hoboken the bridge and dock washed away; Mr. Van Buskerk’s grocery on this side broken to pieces; the bridge and dock at the foot of Harrison-street nearly destroyed; most of the docks along the North and East Rivers so much injured as to prevent the passage of carts. The docks at the Quarantine ground Staten Island all destroyed; one of the Powles Hook [st]eam boats greatly injured—Mr. Babineau’s floating bath, near the Battery is knocked to pieces. The launch of the U. S. ship Franklin 74, lying in the North River, while carrying out cables to secure the ship, drove from her, and came ashore near the ferry stairs; seven of the men are missing, supposed to be drowned.
Among the multiplied disasters caused by the hurricane on Monday, the following is one of the most distressing that has hitherto reached us. The statement was made us by captain James Robinson, who alone was saved of the crews of four vessels wrecked near Rock[a]way. Captain Robinson was master of the schooner Glory Ann, of and from Quag loaded with wood and bound to New-York. About 7 o’clock P. M. on Monday, off Rockaway, the gale became dreadful, the sails were torn to pieces in a moment and the schooner overset, when all hands
were thrown into the water among the wood which was also afloat. Capt. R. had presence of mind enough to seize a stick of light wood which he secured under one of his arms, and by the aid of that reached the shore about two miles west of Cornell’s, after having been an hour on the water. His vessel drifted on shore a perfect wreck. Every person on board but himself perished.—Among the number lost were two young gentlemen, Mr. Samuel F. Robinson, son of Mr. William T. Robinson, and William R. Minturn, of the house of Franklin & Minturn, auctioneers. These respectable young men had been on the island for amusement, and had taken passage on board the Glory-Ann, for the purpose of returning to the city, when the drea[d]ful calamity overtook the vessel, and they together with the rest of the people on board were in a moment plunged into eternity. There was a third passenger, a Mr. Foster, belonging to Quag, on board, who shared the same fate as which befel[l] his companions.
Capt. Robinson’s appearance was such on his arrival in the city as to excite the strongest sympathy and compassion. He was dressed in the same garb in which he swam on shore, having left every thing else on board, having neither shoes nor stockings, and absorbed in the deepest distress.
Sloop Venus, Cene, of East Haddam, bilged on Norwich Islands—a lad on board, Daniel Russel, drowned.
The schr. Winyaw, [C]apt. Griffing, from Guilford for New-York, owing to the violence of the gale on Monday afternoon, was compelled to drop anchor off Cow Bay, and after riding a short time, parted both cables, and drifted over on the rocks at New Rochelle, on the Maine, and instantly went to pieces. The captain and the crew clung to parts of the wreck until the tide fell to low water, when they succeeded, at great hazard, in getting on shore, with the loss of all their cloathes [sic] except what they had on their backs. Captain Griffing lost his trunk containing about $600 in bank bills. It was dashed to pieces on the rocks and the bills floated out and were driven on the beach, some of them torn to atoms. Fifty dollars were all that was saved by pasting the pieces together.
We have been favored with the following particulars concerning the steam boat Connecticut:—
The steam boat Connecticut, Capt. Robert Bunker, left N. Haven on Monday evening at half past six, with 49 gentlemen, 16 ladies, and some children, for New York; the sky was overcast and lowering—the wind fresh, and every appearance of a stormy night. The wind freshened, and coming on to blow a gale, the boat was anchored in the bay within the light, and about 3-4ths of a mile of the land. About ten o’clock the wind became violent, and a very heavy sea running, fears were entertained that she would part her cables. The stern and bower anchors holding steadily, the wind shifted suddenly four or five points, blowing with increased fury heavily upon the land; the anchors yielding to the force of the winds and waves, began to drag; the captain ordered the buoys to be fixed, and sliped her cables, with the intention to resist the storm with the engine. The machinery was put in motion—the cogs of the pinion wheel broke, and the wheels became useless; the gib was then ordered up, which tore to piece instantly. The vessel was then unmanageable, driving violently with her broadside on shore, and cradled in the mountain waves, rolled exceedingly.—The vessel and passengers on board, were then considered at the mercy of the storm, and every person prepared to meet the fate that awaited them—distant 150 yards from shore, she struck heavily upon a reef of rocks, broad-side on, and after two or three concussions drove over, without bilging or capsizing. At this moment no hope was entertained for the vessel. The rage of the tempest, the swelling surf breaking over the decks, the darkness of the night, the confusion of sounds, the beating of the boat, rendered the scene awful and appalling.
The gentlemen behaved with unusual coolness and firmness, and looked steadily upon the danger. The ladies, confined to the cabin under circumstances the most trying and hopleless, evinced suitable fortitude: some looked calm and composed upon the scene around them, others evinced a christian resignation to the will of heaven; some appeared devoutly imploring the mercy of God, while others yielded submissively to their fate, or wildly to their fears: one hung distractedly to her husband, while another pressed her infant to her bosom. After a considerable time the vessel had worked slowly towards the shore, which was now clear and discernible, and all apprehension of danger ceased. The ladies were taken ashore about 12, conducted to a house, and rendered comfortable. A clergyman offered up a solemn and impressive prayer, in which he was joined with a holy and devotional feeling.
It is due to Capt. R. Bunker to state, that, while the vessel was manageable he behaved with great presence of mind, delivered his orders in a manly and firm tone, and did every thing the occasion required.
The sloop Farmer’s daughter, of Coeymans, sunk at Exchange slip; the exchange dock much injured. A Schooner was driven up in the same dock. A sloop lost her mast and another her bowsprit near Coenties-slip. The middle pier of Coenties-slip torn up. Sloop Intrepid, of Black Rock, lost her bowsprit at pier No. 8. Sloop Ann, of Flushing, L. I. lost part of stern at Old-slip. Ship Weser, starboard, waste and channels stone in. Dutch ship De Hoffnung, seen much injured. Brig Ann at Jones’ wharf, stern stove in. A sloop sunk at Coffee House-slip. Smack Yankee, sunk at Pine-street wharf. Sloop Rachel and Rhoda, of Philadelphia, with wheat and flour, stern and side stove in, and is making much water. On the east of Pine-street dock—ship Greyhound, stern stove in, mizen top and topmast gone. Sloop Sally Ann, of Milford, Del. mast gone and other damage. Sloop Harriet, mast gone, and side stove in. Two Smacks and several market boats sunk at Fly Market wharf; docks torn up. The sloop Young Hunter, at Fly Market, lost her bowsprit, long boat stove in, and other injury. In Rutgers-slip, a sloop was sunk, and much damage done among the boats.—Between Roosevelt & Dover slips, a number of small boats were knocked to pieces. Two ships driven ashore above the ferry at Williamsburg.—The beach near the ferry is covered with small craft and lumber. The schooner Hope, has returned with the loss of bowsprit and other injury.—The schooner Belvidere, Slaight, bound to Petersburg, at the commencement of the gale was at anchor in the Bay. The schr. dragged about 5 miles, when Capt. S. was obliged to slip the cable and stood up for town, and arrived at White Hall dock, with the loss of anchors, cables and boat.—During the gale the schooner Tell Tale passed dragging towards Princes Bay. The schr. Post Boy, from Baltimore, is ashore at the Kilns. Ship Chase, from St. Croix, drifted up the Kilns, and lost her best bower. At Coenties-slip, the sloop Leopard, of Troy, was completely wrecked, and the President, of do. and the sloop N. Jersey, of Egg Harbor, were considerably damaged, having
their sterns knocked in, and bowsprit and booms carried away. The schr. Four Brothers, of Kennebunk, and some other small craft in the same slip were more or less injured. Brig Hero, at Gouverneur’s wharf had her side knocked in; and the sloop Caroline, with molasses and sugar, sunk at the same wharf. The ship Chase, Caxter, rode out the gale and came up this forenoon: brig Day, do. The chimney of a house in Pumpstreet, was blown down, crushed the roof, and came to through to the lower story. The chimney of the City Bank was blown down. The chimneys of the stores of Robertson Kelso, and Rogers & Gracie, were blown down. The chimney of the house No. 47 Pine-street, owned by Mr. Powers, was blown over on to the roof of the adjoining house, occupied by D. B. Ogden, Esq. and slid off into the street, without injuring any one. The chimney of the house 202 Broadway, was blown over and fell through the second floor, fortunately the house was unoccupied in the upper stories.
A Mr. Taylor in Ludlow street was struck with lightning during storm, and badly burnt.—The brick bats, tile, slates, lead, &c. from the tops of houses, and limbs of trees, were flying in every direction. A man was struck by a sign board in the Bowery, and had his arm broken. The Bloomingdale Road we understand is almost impassible by the falling of trees. In the Bowery much damage was sustained by the blowing down of houses, fences, &c. Two frame dwelling houses, near Hester-street, blown down. One occupied as a grocery, by Mr. Grayson, the other by Mr. Madden Taylor. The chimney of Mr. Downing’s house between Spring and Prince-streets, blown down and crushed in the roof. Roof blown off from Mr. Boyce’s house, between Bleecker and Front-streets. The chimney of the house adjoining Mr. Inglehart’s was blown down and fell through the roof, which so much shattered the building, that it was afterwards blown down to the first story. A woman was slightly hurt. On Broadway, the new buildings belonging to Gen. Van Rensalear, of Albany, Mr. Bucknor, and Mr. Hunter had their gable ends blown down. The cupola of Mr. Brower’s Panorama, in the rear of Mr. Rabineau’s, was carried into the Hospital yard. One of the chimnies of the Hospital was blown down and fell through the roof of the building. A number of the trees in the Hospital yard were split, and present an appearance as if struck by lightning. The tastefully arranged garden of Mr. Heaton, is completely prostrate: the fences having been blown down and are scattered all over the garden. The lead on one of the buildings attached to the hospital, was ripped from the roof and may now be seen erect in two or three places. The fences, gutter, back piazza, &c. attached to Mr. Glover’s house were levelled with the ground. A barn near the ju[n]ction of the Bowery, was blown down, and nine cows killed. Between Walker and Canal-streets, a large tree was blown on a small dwelling-house and injured the roof considerably. Part of a chimney of a bakehouse in the rear of 20 Roosevert-st. was blown down, and the gutters attached to several houses in the neighborhood blown off.
The steeple of the Brick Meeting-house was observed to rock, as near as could be ascertained, to the distance of three feet each way. This was witnessed by many persons assembled in the Park.—An elderly colored man in endeavouring to reach the foot walk at the corner of Mott and Cross-streets, stepped on a floating board which giving way, he fell into the current, and was carried down Cross-street from Mott to Mulberry-streets. A house in Cherry near Montgomery-street was blown down. Many chimnies were blown down in Cherry, Front and Water-streets, which we have not time to notice further. The large oil factory in Allen-street was blown down. A new brick building was blown down in Pump-street. The chimnies of the large marble building, near the Bowling Green were blown down. The wooden frames of the Ball Alley in Allen-street were blown down. Four Ropewalks near Manhattan Island, belonging to Jones & Clinch, Peter Schermerhorn, James & Pittman, and B. Brown, were all injured, some entirely destroyed. At the Navy-Yard, a long row of blacksmiths shops were laid prostrate—the coverings of some of the large ships are blown off. At Brooklyn, numerous lighters and small craft were thrown upon the wharves and left high and dry, when the water receded. Large quantities of wood were swept away, and trees and fences prostrated. Two or three new buildings were blown down. Mr. Frake, lost some flour and wheat by the water flowing into his mill, and Mr. Denton’s black man was drowned in attempting to raise the flood-gates. A small sailboat was upset on Monday in the Kilns, the crew supposed to be drowned.