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Cape Cod Fatal Collision Off Cape Cod

This is the short, sad tale of a collision between a steamer and a schooner off Cape Cod just over a century and a half ago.

The steamer was the William Penn, a smart craft belonging to a new line of packets running between Boston and Philadelphia. On one of her trips she ran into the schooner Belleisle of Provincetown. So hard was the crash that the Belleisle went down to the bottom a few minutes later, and four of her small crew were drowned. The William Penn managed to rescue the rest of her men from the water and landed them at Falmouth.

Meanwhile, it was apparent that the steamer herself had not escaped unscathed. She leaked so bad that it took hard work by all hands to keep her afloat, and after landing the rescued mariners, she left at once for New Bedford to undergo repairs.

The unlucky schooner had been homeward bound from the Western Island whale fishery. She had only thirty barrels of oil to show for her cruise. Moreover, only a few weeks before she foundered, her mate, after managing to get his iron into a whale, was unable to secure the whale and drowned himself. The crew of the Belleisle were all men of Sandwich, Cape Cod.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 06/05/06
Categories: History
Keywords: history, maritime, shipwrecks


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