19th Century Literature on Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea

A Selected Bibliography

[Andrus and Starr]. Remarkable Shipwrecks, or A Collection of Interesting Accounts of Naval Disasters. Hartford: Andrus and Starr, 1813. 419 pp. 18 cm.

Bradley, Mrs. Eliza. An Authentic Narrative of the Shipwreck and Sufferings of Mrs. Eliza Bradley… Boston: Printed by James Walden, 1820. 107 pp. 18 cm. “… by the blessings of God, this amiable woman endured deprivation and hardship with incredible fortitude – in a barbarous land she became a convert to the religion of a blessed redeemer.”

By a Late 54th Officer. Narrative of the Burning of the “Sarah Sands” Screw Steam Ship, with the Head Quarters of H.M. 54th Regiment on Board. London: Bemrose and Sons, 1870. 29 pp. 18.5 cm. “By extraordinary exertions the ship was saved from destruction, and enabled to reach Port Louis.

By a Passenger. A Narrative of the Loss of the Kent East Indiaman, by Fire, in the Bay of Biscay, on 1st March, 1825. In a Letter to a Friend. Edinburgh: Waugh and Inness, 1825. 78 pp. 18 cm. “I think, not to discover and gratefully acknowledge, in the beneficence of their arrangement, the over-ruling providence of that blessed Being, who is sometimes pleased, in his mysterious operations, to produce the same effects from causes apparently different; and on the other hand, as in our case, to bring forth results the most opposite, from one and the same cause.”

Campbell, Donald. A Narrative of the Extraordinary Adventures, and Sufferings by Shipwreck and Imprisonment, of Donald Campbell, Esq. Of Barbreck... New York: Evert Duyckinck, 1798. 417 pp. 18 cm.

Clarke, W.B., ed. Wreck of the Favorite on the Island of Desolation: Detailing the Adventures, Sufferings and Privations of John Nunn; and Historical Account of the Island, and its Whale and Seal Fisheries: with a Chart and Numerous Wood Engravings. London: William Edward Painter, 1850. xx, 236, 16 pp. 23 cm. Superb fold-out map of Kerguelen Island

Dreadful Wreck of the Brig St. Lawrence, from Quebec to New York, 1780, which Struck on an Island of Ice, Near the Gulph of St. Lawrence; Including the Melancholy Fate of Some of the Crew, Who Were Frozen to Death; and the Perilous Situation and Extreme Hardships of the Survivors, on an Unknown and Dreary Shore; Particularly of William Prenties, Esq. Ensign of the 84th Regiment of Foot, By whose Enterprising and Active Spirit, His Own, and the Preservation of Three of His Companions, was Effected in a Crazy Boat. London: Thomas Tegg, 1809. 28 pp. 19.5 cm. Illustrated with a virtually unique aquatint with line engraving.  “As to the captain, to whom it was natural to look up for assistance in this predicament (a leaking vessel) instead of attending to the preservation of the ship, he passed the time in getting drunk in his cabin, without bestowing a thought upon either her or her crew.”

Fate of the Steam-ship President, Which Sailed from New York, March 11th, 1841, Bound for Liverpool. Boston: For Sale at the Periodical Depots, 1845. 34 pp. 22.5 cm.

Greig, Alexander M. Fate of the Blenden Hall, East Indiaman, Captain Alexander Greig, Bound to Bombay: With an Account of Her Wreck, and the Sufferings and Privations Endured by the Survivors, for Six Months, on the Desolate Islands of Inaccessible and Tristan D’Acunha. By Alexander M. Greig, One of the Passengers, From a Journal Kept on the Islands, and Written with the Blood of the Penguin. New York: William H. Colyer, 1847. 209 pp. 19 cm. “The appearance of the wretched group surrounding (the fire) was such as my feeble powers are totally inadequate to describe – the passengers and sailors were sitting indiscriminately around; the latter, mad with liquor, were quarrelling and nearly murdering one another, and at length they commenced grossly insulting their more helpless shipmates, particularly the passengers; swearing with the most horrible imprecations, that they would kill and eat the children when next in want of food. The screams and terror of the females were dreadful in the extreme.”

The Loss of the Kent, East Indiaman. Boston: Henry Hoyt, n.d. 93 pp. 15.5 cm. Inscribed: “Nancy Cross. Premium from the Somerville Baptist Sab. School. Aug. 186(?)” Evidently a prize or reward for good behavior or schoolwork. It is significant that this title is representative of good Christian works. “In conclusion I would observe that if any class of men, more than another, ought to be struck with awe and gratitude by the goodness and providence of God, it is they who go down to the sea in ships…”

Narratives of Shipwrecks and Other Calamities, Incident to a Life of Maritime Enterprise: Comprising Authentic Particulars of the Loss of the Wager Man of War, One of Commodore Anson’s Squadron, and the Subsequent Distresses Suffered by the Crew, During a Period of More than Five Years. By the Honorable John Byron. Also, the Loss of the Halsewell Eastindiaman, Wrecked off Seacombs, in the Isla of Purbeek, on the Coast of Dorsetshire, Janiary 6, 1786. New Haven: Sidney’s Press, 1812. 107 pp. 14.5 cm.

Notable Shipwrecks: Being Tales of Disaster and Heroism at Sea. Retold by Uncle Hardy. Third Edition. London, Paris and New York: cassell, Petter, and Galpin, n.d. viii, 328. 18.5 cm.

The Sea. Narratives of Adventure and Shipwreck, Tales and Sketches, Illustrative of Life on the Ocean. Edinburgh: William and Robert Chambers, 1849.  144 pp. 24 cm. “To those whose duty it is to traverse the sea in ships, and there observe the wonders of the mighty deep, the present little miscellany will perhaps be found to offer many useful examples for their guidance or instruction. The instances of manly fortitude under the most awful difficulties, the constancy and patience that were untiring, the pious hopes and fears in the moment of deadly peril, the inflexible adherence to duty when obedience was most required, the tempered happiness in the rescue – all afford matter for instruction, exclusively of rational entertainment.”

The Society for Promoting the United and Scriptural Education of the Poor of Ireland. The Shipwreck of the Alceste, An English Frigate, in the Straits of Gasper. Also the Shipwreck of the Medusa, a French Frigate , on the Coast of Africa. Dublin: P.D. Hardy, n.d. 170 pp. 14.5 cm.

Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents in the United States. To which are Appended Accounts of Recent Shipwrecks, Fires at Sea, Thrilling Incidents, Etc. Worcester: Warren Lazell, 1846. 408 pp. 20 cm.