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Hearts of Oak

SS Amazon


Destruction of the Steamship by Fire with Great Loss of Life


Statements: The Times 6th January


This account was brought into port this morning by the brig MARSDEN, Captain Evans, of London, from Cardiff, with iron, for South Carolina, which picked up from the lifeboat the following persons— viz., Mr. R Nielson, for Demerara; Mr. T. Sisely, for Chagres; John Hawke, second class passenger, Vera Cruz; Mr. Vincent, jun., midshipman; James Williamson, chief steward; Mr. John Dunford, quartermaster; W. Foster, AB; Thomas Carney, AB.; James Maylin, AB.; James Mowatt, AB.; William Stears, AB.; J. H. Passmore, AB.; H. Williams, AB.; William Stevenson, AB.; John Nerink, AB.; William Nutman, water tender; James White, fireman ; John Shearing, fireman; Charles Thorn, fireman; W Dummer, George King, Coulterman. Mr. Neilson and Mr. Vincent, proceed by train to-day to London, and the crew will be forwarded to the Sailors' Home, Well-street, by the Shipwrecked Mariners Society




Mr. Vincent (son of Captain Vincent of the SEVERN), the midshipman in the Amazon, who was saved, has been so good as to furnish us with the following narrative " We left Southampton with the West Indian and Mexican mails on board on Friday, the 2nd inst. On the 3rd, at noon, we were in latitude 49.12 north, longitude 4.57 west, steering west by south half-south, with an increasing fresh breeze. At 9.30 p.m. we stopped with, half bearings. At 11.20 we proceeded, wind still increasing. About 20 minutes to 1 on Sunday morning fire was observed bursting through the hatchway foreside of the fore funnel. Every possible exertion was made to put out the fire, but all was ineffectual The mail boat was lowered, with 20 or 25 persons in it, but was immediately swamped and went astern, the people clinging to one another. They were all lost.


The pinnace was next lowered, but she hung by the fore tackle, and being swamped, the people were all washed out of her. In lowering the second cutter the sea raised her and unhooked the fore tackle, so that she fell down perpendicularly, and all but two of the persons in her were washed out. Captain Symons was all this time using his utmost exertions to save his passengers and crew. Sixteen men, including two passengers, succeeded in lowering the lifeboat, and about the same time, I (Mr. Vincent), with two men, the steward and a passenger, got into and lowered the dingy. In about half an hour the lifeboat took the dinghy's people into her, and bore down for the ship with the dingy in tow, but the sea increasing, and being nearly swamped, they were obliged to cast the dingy off

and bring the boat head to sea. The masts went—first the foremast, and then the mainmast.


About this time a bark passed astern of the lifeboat; we hailed her with, our united 21 voices and thought she answered us, but she wore and stood under the stem of the burning vessel, and immediately hauled her wind and stood away again. The gig with five hands was at this time some little way from us, but the sea was running so high we could render her no assistance, and shortly afterwards lost sight of her. About 4 a.m. (Sunday) it was raining heavily, and the wind shifted to the northward; sea confused, but decreasing; put the boat before the sea. At 5 o'clock the ship's magazine exploded, and about half an hour afterwards the funnels went over the sides and she sunk. At noon we were picked up by the Marsden, of London, Captain Evans, by whom we were treated in the kindest manner possible. We were picked up in latitude 48.5 north, longitude 5.30 west; wind north to north-east. The captain stood in to the coast of France, but the wind shifting to the southward he bore up for Plymouth, where we arrived at 10.50 p.m. on the 5th, and were most hospitably and kindly received by the landlord of the Globe Hotel.




Mr. Neilson, one of the only two passengers saved, has sent the following communication :—

I have to report the total loss of the West Indian Mail steam packet Amazon on Saturday night, the 3rd inst., off the Bay of Biscay. At 12.40 the fire broke out. In less than 10 minutes it was bursting up the fore and main hatchways. Out of 156 people on board only 21 are, I believe, saved, for I was on the last boat that left the ship, and one of the two last men who got in after lowering her, by springing from the ship's side and sliding down the tackle fall. The fire caught the other and burnt the hair off his face before he sprang off.  We were picked up the next day by the brig Marsden, Captain Evans, who treated in with the greatest kindness and attention, and landed us about 1 this morning. We were received at the Globe by Mr, Padmore with the greatest kindness.





Raymond Forward