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Senate Executive Document No. 26
45th Congress, 2d Session
U.S. Serial Set
No. 1780 fiche 9-10



PROCEEDINGS OF COURT OF INQUIRY ON THE LOSS OF THE HURON.




Record of proceedings of a court of inquiry, convened by the Secretary of the Navy, by the precept hereto annexed and marked A.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, Wednesday, December 5, 1877.



The court met at 11.15 a. m. Present, all the members, viz: S. C. Rowan, Vice-Admiral and president; John Rodgers, rear-admiral, and R. H. Wyman, commodore, members; also, the judge-advocate, John A. Bolles, naval solicitor.

The said precept was read and also the orders of detail and appointment of the several officers composing the court and of the judge-advocate; and copies of said orders are hereto annexed and marked, respectively, B, C, D, and E.

The judge-advocate then administered to the members of the court the oath prescribed by law, and then the president of the court swore the judge-advocate according to law.

The court, with closed doors, then inspected the precept and orders aforesaid, and having so done proceeded with open doors to take testimony in conformity with the instructions contained in the precept.

The first witness called and examined was Rear-Admiral TRENCHARD, United States Navy, who, being first duly sworn by the president of the court, was interrogated and answered as follows, viz:

1st question by the judge-advocate. State your name and rank and what was your command on the 23d day of November last.
Answer. Stephen D. Trenchard, United States Navy; rear-admiral. I was in command of the North Atlantic station at Hampton Roads.

2d question by the judge-advocate. Was the United States steamer Huron at that time a part of your command, and where was she on that day?
Answer. Yes; she was at anchor at Hampton Roads.

3d question by the judge-advocate. Who was her commander?
Answer. Commander George P. Ryan, United States Navy.

4th question by the judge-advocate. What official communication, if any, did you have with Commander Ryan that day ?
Answer. He signaled during the afternoon for permission to go to sea. The reply was, "Use your discretion." He sailed soon after, during that afternoon.

5th question by the judge-advocate. What was the weather that afternoon?
Answer. Very mild; nearly calm.

6th question by the judge-advocate. When did the Huron arrive at Hampton Roads from New York?
Answer. The previous Saturday. She was detained by order of the department for the draughtsman.

7th question by the judge-advocate. Did you send an inquiry to Commander Ryan the day he sailed, as to the arrival of the draughtsman?
Answer. Yes.

8th question by the judge-advocate. Was this before or after he signaled for permission to go to sea ?
Answer. Before.

9th question by the judge-advocate. Was the order of detention spoken of in your sixth answer transmitted through you?
Answer. Yes.

10th question by the Judge-advocate. State any other matter within your knowledge that relates to the movements of the Huron on the day she sailed.
Answer. She passed the flagship going out, apparently under easy steam. The water was very smooth and the weather favorable. The barometer had averaged 29.75 inches for about twenty hours.

The judge-advocate proposed no further question.

1st question by the court. From your knowledge of the Huron, was she a thoroughly-equipped and a staunch, seaworthy vessel in every particular?
Answer. Yes; she had been quite recently inspected by the board of squadron inspectors appointed by me, and with very satisfactory result.

2d question by the court. Have you any knowledge whether the Huron, during her stay in Hampton Roads, used any means to ascertain the correctness of her compasses?
Answer. I had not. She had not swung ship.

3d question by the court. Is there any weather-signal station at Hampton Roads?
Answer. None nearer than Norfolk.

4th question by the court. What cruises did the Huron make from the time she was commissioned to the date of sailing last from Fortress Monroe ?
Answer. She made one cruise before and two after I took command. The two last were, first to Barbadoes, Anacoa, Aspinwall, Mobile, Port Royal, and back to Hampton Roads; and, second, from Hampton Roads to New York, to be docked and receive a new propeller, and thence to Hampton Roads, as I have already stated, the Saturday before she last sailed.

No further questions were proposed to the witness. The record of his evidence was read aloud, and he asked to amend his answer as to the Huron's detention by inserting the words "for three days" at the end of that answer; and, also, to add the word "Trinidad," before the word "Curacoa," in his last answer.

As thus amended he affirmed the correctness of the record, and withdrew from the court.

The judge advocate then put into the case as evidence three charts and one pamphlet catalogue of charts from the Bureau of Hydrography, which are marked, respectively, F, G, H, and I, and are appended to this record.

The judge advocate then called as witness Wm. P. Conway, master, United States Navy, who was duly sworn by the president of the court, and then was interrogated and made answer as follows, viz:

1st question by judge advocate. State your name and rank, and to what vessel you were attached, and in what capacity, on November 23, 1877.
Answer. William P. Conway, master, United States Navy. I was attached to the United States ship Huron, as watch-officer.

2d question by the judge advocate. State all the facts within your knowledge in regard to the Huron on the day she last sailed.
Answer. She sailed from Hampton Roads about 10 o'clock a. m.. November 23; passed Cape Henry between 1 and 2 o'clock p. m. that day. Just after passing Cape Henry a departure was taken, and the course was south by east one-quarter east, a half point westerly of local deviation, not including the variation of the compass. At 6 o'clock p. m. I went on watch and took charge of the deck. The ship was then steering the above mentioned course and making six and a half knots under steam, with jib, fore and main trisails [sic] and spanker.

Currituck light was then from one-half to a whole point forward of the starboard beam. It bore exactly on the beam at half-past six o'clock, distant seven or eight miles. The jib-stay, soon after six o'clock, carried away. We secured the sail and set the fore storm stay-sail; took in spanker; put a single reef in fore trisail, and a double reef in the main trisail. At a quarter before seven o'clock the lead was cast, and found about fourteen fathoms. The quartermaster gave the sounding as fifteen fathoms. Mr. Palmer, the navigator, asked me if the line was up and down. I answered, "A little off on the beam, and should allow about one fathom."

In sounding, the Huron luffed up on the port beam for about five minutes. After that, Mr. Palmer told me that this sounding agreed with the course and the bearing of Currituck light.

The reefs of which I spoke were not taken in till about eight o'clock. At eight o'clock the Currituck light was on the starboard quarter. I left the deck at eight o'clock, at the end of my watch. Master J. N. Wight relieved me. The ship was then going five and a half knots, with steam and sail close on the wind; the sails, were one-third in the wind on the port tack, and steering the same course. The wind then was, and during all my watch had been, about east-southeast, with a force of seven to eight. The barometer had, for three hours, indicated 30.04 inches. I went into the cabin at eight o'clock, and saw the chart on the table, and Commander Ryan standing by. I looked at the charts, and Commander Ryan remarked that that course ought to take the ship far enough out, and said he was afraid if he steered farther out he would get into the Gulf Stream, as he had done last fall in going to Port Royal. He spoke of not turning in till he made Hatteras light, or daylight; and afterward he said he thought the safest plan would be to put her head offshore and turn in. I remarked that he would not be able to sleep if he did put her head off-shore, as the there was a heavy sea, and we should be running into it.

After that I went below, and was on deck again about half past ten o'clock, and Currituck light was then about one or two points on the starboard quarter, just visible as the ship rose on the waves. I then went below and turned in. I was awoke by a heavy shock. Thought at first it was a collision with another vessel, as I heard the water rushing over the rail. At the next thump I knew the ship was ashore, and heard some one say so, and heard some one on deck sing out, "Hard a-starboard." I went on deck as quickly as possible. Found the ship on her port bilge, inclining about 40°.

Mr. Simons, the executive officer, gave orders to batten down the hatches and throw the guns over. The captain gave orders to lower the sails. I went forward to my station, when all hands were called, after those orders, and assisted in getting down the fore trisail. The sea was then coming over so that I could not stand on the port side of the main deck. It was dangerous to stand there. We got the trisail down and covered the hatch with it, as well as we could. After that I went aft to ask the captain if we should cut away the masts, as was suggested to me by the chief boatswain's mate. He said, "Yes; but not just now." I then went to the starboard gangway, and saw what I considered to be beach-land. About that time I asked Mr. French, who had been on watch, what was the time, and he answered, "About one-quarter of two o'clock."

When the ship keeled over, the port boats were all carried away.

When the main gaff came down, it knocked an awning-stanchion through the starboard cutter. After seeing what I thought was land, I asked the captain if we could not get a line ashore. He said, "Yes; lower the cutter and try it." We got the cutter down—the same I have spoken of ; we had but one—and made a line fast to it, and I called for volunteers to go with me in the boat. Several said they would, and started to get into the boat.

Previous to this there was a report that there were two rocks ahead. The captain asked me where. I told him, "Ashore, ahead of the ship," and he went to the gangway and asked where the shore was. I showed him, and he said. "My God! how did we get in here?" Some officer and others standing round said it was not the shore; that there was smooth water inside the reef. It was thick, the spray flying so that we could not see clearly. I went forward on the forecastle to make out if it were land or not, and in a few minutes the boat swamped. We had had to cut the stanchion out four or five inches above the water-line. When she swamped there were no men in her. I did not go aft again, and I heard Mr. French sing out, "Cut away the masts." He had the watch when she struck. They cut the starboard lanyards of the fore-rigging, and the mast fell on the port side, fell to windward, carrying with it the jib-boom and main topmast.

I told men to go down and get up the bolsa [sic]. They found the hoops and the barrels, but said they could not find the bellows to blow it up. I also had the lights on the berth-deck put out, for fear of fire. Not being able to do anything further, I got down on the forecastle-rail with a lot of the men. No one thought we should lose our lives, but that the ship would be lost and that at daybreak we should all get off.

Some time after this some of the officers and men came forward, and others went into the main rigging. Later I moved out on the bowsprit. No one had then been lost or drowned, as far as I knew. This was before daylight. The waves were then breaking clear over the ship, and it was difficult for any one to hold on. I soon noticed that the water was getting higher on the ship, and supposed it was flood-tide. When the vessel first keeled over the water was not quite, but almost, flush with the top of the rail.

Just before daylight the men began to be swept from the forecastle. About 7 o'clock a. m., as near as I could judge, I asked a man to give me a life-preserver he had, and I would try to swim ashore and get assistance. He answered that he would not give it to me, as be could not swim. At this time I am not certain that any one had got ashore. Everything that got adrift seemed as if floating out to sea. Finding after this I could not hold on much longer, I allowed myself to be washed off and swam ashore. Two or three of the men left at the same time. I don't know what officers and men were left on the ship. The launch was washed away before I left, and I was told that Lieutenant Palmer and Commander Ryan were in it. Ensign Young and seaman Antone Williams had previously left on the bolsa. I was about five minutes in the water, and then struck the beach and was hauled out by some fishermen, two of whom carried me, holding by each arm, up to a hut. I met Mr. Young as I was going towards the hut. At the hut I found several men, who gave me some of their clothes, as I had nothing on when I reached the shore. I was naked when I was washed overboard.

I then started up the beach and met Mr. Young again, and he told me there was a life-saving station about three miles down the beach, which the fishermen did not dare to break open. I told Mr. Young to take some of our men and go break it open and get the mortar and lines while I went up the beach and tried to assist any from the ship who were trying to swim ashore. The undertow was so strong that no one who was at all exhausted could get through it. When Mr. Young got back no one was living on the ship. He brought up the mortar in a cart, but no use was made of it. Mr. Denig, Mr. Warburton, and some men came ashore after I did, and eight dead bodies washed ashore that day.

The fore and main mast went over the side some time before Mr. Young got back from the life-saving station. No one was in the rigging when the masts went over. At night the men went to the life saving station, and the officers to the house of Sheriff Brinkley. Next day about twelve o'clock we received assistance from Norfolk. The Powhatan, the Swatara, the Fortune, and the wrecking steamer B. & J. Baker had arrived, but could not land because of the surf. A boat from the B. &. J. Baker attempted to land between 3 and 4 o'clock, p. m., but capsized, and four men were drowned.

That evening we, the survivors of the Huron, with the bodies that had come ashore, proceeded to Norfolk, where we arrived the next morning.

3d question by the judge-advocate. What was the weather when the Huron left Hampton Roads?
Answer. Cloudy; with moderate breeze, and clear.

4th question by the judge-advocate. What was it when you took your departure and course beyond Cape Henry?
Answer. About the same.

5th question by the judge-advocate. How was it at the end of your watch, at 8 o'clock p. m.?
Answer. Rather clear; overcast; fresh gale blowing.

6th question by the judge-advocate. How was it when you came on deck, at 10:30 o'clock p. m.?
Answer. Squally and rainy; rather, but not much, misty and hazy.

7th question by the judge-advocate. When you came on deck after the ship struck, was her engine working?
Answer. Yes; but I cannot say how long it continued to work.

8th question by the judge-advocate. When you left the Huron, was she broken, or what was her condition ?
Answer. The only thing broken was her hammock-rails. They were carried away.

9th question by the judge-advocate. State, if you can, anything further that was done, on the Huron or ashore, to save her or her officers and men.
Answer. I know of nothing else.

10th question by the judge advocate. Were any of the guns thrown over?
Answer. No, sir

11th question by the judge advocate. Do you know why not?
Answer. No, sir; though the reason why the eleven-inch gun was not thrown over was the fear that it would break the side of the ship, and it would have been dangerous to attempt it.

The judge-advocate had no further questions to propose, and the court, at half past three o'clock, adjourned to tomorrow, Thursday, December 6. at 10.30 a. m., at which time the witness was directed to appear for further examination by the court.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate of the Court

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
December 6,1877.



The court met pursuant to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.
The record of yesterdays proceeding was read and approved.

Master WILLIAM P. CONWAY was then recalled and examined by the court, and testified as follows, viz:

1st question by the court. You stated that when the Huron took her departure the deviation of the compass was one-half point westerly on the course south by east one-quarter east. How do you know this?
Answer. Lieutenant Palmer, the navigator, told me so.

2d question by the court.        When was the local deviation of the standard compass of the Huron last determined?
Answer. I think in New York, by Lieutenant Palmer, after the Huron came out of dock, just before leaving for Norfolk the last time.

3d question by the court. During the cruise of the Huron to the Caribbean Sea, were there any special errors discovered in her compasses?
Answer. Yes; the deviation there was less than in New York.

4th question by the court. Look at the chart on the table and see whether it is like the one you saw at 8 o'clock p. m. on the table of the Huron?

The witness looks at chart No. 5, and says, "I think it is."

5th question by the court. Did the engines of the Huron work well, and how long were they running after the vessel struck?
Answer. I don't know.

6th question by the court. After grounding, was everything possible done to insure the safety of the crew?
Answer. I cannot answer that, for I do not know.

7th question by the court. Did you regard the gale as a serious one before going on shore, and did it at all prevent the free navigation of the vessel?
Answer. No, sir; I was not alarmed about the gale at all.

8th question by the court. You state that the sails were one-third in the wind. Do you mean to convey the idea that the sails were lifting, and did you keep the ship off her course to keep the sails full?
Answer. The sails were lifting, but the course was not changed.

9th question by the court. Why did you not take the sails in if they did not draw?
Answer. The spanker was taken in on that account. At times the other sails did draw.

10th question by the court.  Did the crew and officers behave well after the vessel grounded and give evidence of good discipline ?
Answer. Yes; I saw nothing to the contrary. All behaved well.

11th question by the court.  When you hove the lead you found it tended on the weather-beam. Did there seem to be much drift toward the shore ?
Answer. No; none.

12th question by the court.  Was the log or the steam-log of the Huron, or any, and, if any, what, of the papers saved?
Answer. Some of the paymaster's papers, and, I think, the steam-log; but am not sure.

13th question by the court.  To what cause do you now attribute the loss of the Huron?
Answer. To a current, or set of the sea, that put the ship in toward the shore; and, also, to thick weather that prevented seeing the lights.

14th question by the court. Were the cables bent and the anchors ready to let go during the night of the 23d?
Answer. The chain-cables were unbent.

15th question by the court.  How far from the shore do you now believe the Huron grounded, and how far from it were you when you first saw it in the morning?
Answer. She first struck a quarter of a mile from shore, I think. When I first saw it in the morning, it was about two hundred and fifty yards distant.

16th question by the court.  During the time in which Currituck light was in sight, were careful, bearings taken of it ?
Answer. I am unable to say.

17th question by the court.  Was paragraph 145, page 51, Navy Regulations, complied with in all respects ?

(The paragraph referred, to reads as follows: "On approaching land or anchorage of any kind, he (the commander of the vessel) will have the cables bent. When going into a port or harbor, or approaching shoals or rocks, whether with or without a pilot, he will cause soundings to be taken; and will, when on soundings, have casts of the lead taken frequently and noted on the charts.")

Answer. Yes, though I only know of one sounding taken; but I have heard that others were taken during the first watch, and that one was taken about one o'clock, just before we struck, and that ten fathoms were then reported.

(The witness then marks, in red ink, on the chart No. 5 the spot where he thinks the Huron struck.)

18th question by the court.  Was paragraph 56, page 41, of the Nary Regulations, complied with?

(Paragraph 56, page 41, reads as follows: "He will keep an order-book, in which will be entered all orders given to the officer of the deck for his government during the night.")

Answer. I can't say as to that night, but I never knew Commander Ryan to omit it.

19th question by the court.  Who had charge of the deck when the ship struck?
Answer. Master W. L. French, who was lost.

20th question by the court. Is any one of the quartermasters of the Huron living that had the first watch on the night the ship struck?
Answer. No, sir; all the quartermasters were lost.

21st question by the court. Who are the surviving officers of the Huron?
Answer. Myself, Ensign Lucien Young, Assistant Engineer Robert G. Denig, and Cadet Engineer E. T. Warburton.

22d question by the court.  Do you know whether bearings to Currituck light and assumed distances from it were used to plot the place of the vessel?
Answer. I do not positively know, but I think they were.

23d question by the court. Were all practicable means taken to save the ship and the lives of the officers and crew after the vessel had grounded?
Answer. Yes, sir.

24th question by the court. Was the Huron, in your judgment, a thoroughly sea-worthy and well-equipped vessel ?

Answer. Yes, sir.

No further questions were proposed to the witness. The record of his testimony was then read to him by the judge-advocate, and pronounced correct. The witness then withdrew.

Rear-Admiral Trenchard then asked permission, and was allowed by the court, to amend his yesterday's testimony as follows, viz:

" I desire to correct my answer of yesterday to the 4th question of the judge advocate, by stating that since yesterday I have consulted my signal-record and a copy of the log of the Powhatan, from which it appears that the signaling between me and Commander Ryan commenced at 1 o'clock p. m., November 22, and ended at a quarter past 10 a. m. on the 23d, when Commander Ryan asked permission to get under weigh. The Huron did get under weigh at that hour."

The record of this amended statement was read to the witness, and by him pronounced correct. The witness then withdrew. The judge-advocate then introduced and read in evidence two documents which are hereto annexed, and marked, respectively, J and K. The court then adjourned to tomorrow at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES.
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Friday, December 7, 1877—10.30 a. m.



The court met pursuant to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge advocate.

The record of yesterday's proceedings was read and approved. Master CONWAY was then recalled and further examined by the court, and testified as follows, viz:

25th question by the court. Were the proper lookouts stationed and were the regular lights properly burning during your watch?
Answer. Yes, sir.

26th question by the court.  Did the ship strike frequently and heavily after grounding?
Answer. Yes; she was striking for two hours, the latter part of the time easily.

27th question by the court.  Was paragraph 4, page 58, of the Navy Regulations, fully complied with?

(The witness examined that paragraph.)

Answer. I do not know as to the lead-lines. The log-lines and the glasses also were attended to, and they were very careful about the compasses. I think that I myself, just before leaving New York, marked the log-line that was used by the Huron the night she grounded.

28th question by the court.  Were not the breakers heavy when you struck, and were they not heard before striking?
Answer. Yes; they were heavy when the Huron struck, but I did not hear them before that.

No further question was asked. The record of his answers being read to the witness, he pronounced it correct and withdrew.

The judge-advocate then called Assistant-Engineer R. G. DENIG, who was then duly sworn by the president of the court, and, being examined, testified as follows, viz :

1st question by the judge-advocate. Please state your name and rank, and inform the court to what ship you were attached November 23, 1877.
Answer. Robert G. Denig, assistant engineer. I was attached to the United States steamer Huron.

2d question by the judge-advocate. How long had you been attached to her?
Answer. Ever since she went into commission, November 15,1875.

3d question by the judge-advocate. When did the Huron last leave New York and when did she reach Norfolk?
Answer. She left New York November 15,1877, and arrived at Norfolk November 17.

4th question by judge-advocate. When did she sail from Hampton Roads?
Answer. November 23, after 10 o'clock a. m.

5th question by the judge advocate. What was the state of the weather?
Answer. Cloudy, lowering, and misty, with a light wind.

6th question by the judge-advocate. What was the weather after you rounded Cape Henry?
Answer. When I went on watch at 4 p. m. it was cloudy, and there was a stiff breeze on the port bow.

7th question by the judge-advocate. How long were you on watch?
Answer. Four hours; from 4 p. m. till 8 p. m.

8th question by the judge-advocate. Did wind or weather change materially during those four hours.
Answer. Yes, the weather became worse; there was a higher sea and a stronger wind. At eight o'clock I logged the ship as rolling from five to twenty degrees to leeward. The engines were racing slightly. The throttle was kept at three and a half holes. It was unnecessary to close the throttle at each racing of the engine. Eight holes would have been wide open.

9th question by the judge-advocate. How did the engines work up to eight o'clock p. m. ?
Answer. Perfectly well.

10th question by the judge-advocate. State what occurred after that.
Answer. I then, at eight o'clock, went on deck and found them reefing sails. They had taken soundings at six o'clock and fifty-five minutes. The engine was then stopped four minutes for that purpose, the time ordinarily taken —in three to four minutes. I do not remember what that sounding was. A quarter before nine o'clock I turned in.

11th question by the judge-advocate. What next occurred?
Answer. I heard the engines stopped more than once to take soundings; at the end of each hour, I think. At 1 o'clock a. in. they took soundings. I had not left my berth during that time. I heard Master French, the watch-officer, report ten fathoms to Commander Ryan at the cabin-door. Four bells were then struck as signal to the engines to go fast, and I heard Lieutenant Palmer, the navigator, give the order, "Let her go off a point." I think she struck before she would have minded her helm. The captain gave the order "Hard down" about as she struck. All this happened within about two minutes.

By the time she struck the third time I was in the engine room. The engine was still working, and with the throttle wide open, and more than fifty pounds of steam on. Chief-Engineer Olson followed me immediately into the engine-room, and Cadet-Engineer Warburton a few minutes later. Cadet-Engineer Loomis was in charge of the engine room. After the ship bumped a few times, the engine was stopped by a signal from the deck. Lieutenant Palmer came to the hatch and asked, "Can you back her ?" The chief engineer answered, "We can." After this he went to the top of the hatch and asked, "Shall we back her?" The engine was idle about a minute. A signal then came to "back her." The engine then, and always, backed readily and very fast. She continued to back until about two o'clock—nearly an hour—when the engines stopped of their own accord. The steam-gauge then registered more than forty pounds.

When I first came into the engine-room I heard the order to "batten down the hatches." It was then impossible to batten down the engine-room hatch, because the main guff and main trysail had fallen over it. In assisting to partially cover the hatch with a tarpaulin, I was on deck and found Master Wight making an effort to dismount the nine-inch gun, which was near the hatch. It was the port gun. I gave him a moment's assistance. He was holding on by one hand and with the other taking a turn out of the fall. I then returned to the engine-room. The tops of heavy seas were then coming through the hatch into the engine-room. The ship was heeled over about thirty degrees to the windward and off shore.

To clear her from water, Chief Engineer Olson gave the order, "Put on the bilge-injection." I did this myself, and closed the outboard injection. Two Blake pumps were put on the bilge for the same purpose. Both pumps worked well. The vacuum in the condenser was more than fifteen inches. The Blake pumps were five feet above the floor of the engine-room. All the water, so far, had come down the batch, and the pumps would, at that time, clear the ship of water. The pumps took the water from above the false bottom, which extended five feet above the base-line of the ship, and the greatest depth of the false bottom was eighteen inches. The doors of the coal bunkers on the starboard side burst partially open, and the fire-room was being constantly filled with coal. A man was stationed at each stop-valve of the boilers to close them in case of any serious accident to boilers or steam-pipe. That position was one of danger, but the men staid there.

From the time the ship heeled over, it was impossible to ascertain the height of water in the boiler. Chief Engineer Olson spoke a word of encouragement to the men and ordered good fires to be kept under the boilers under all circumstances, unless it became absolutely necessary to haul the fires. There were three machinists and about fourteen men in the engine-room and fire-room during all this time.

At each thump of the ship her bottom buckled inward, and each time apparently resumed its original form. I heard several loud cracks, as if some portion of the engine-frame were breaking; but the engine still continued to work, backing all this time. The boilers on the starboard side were much shaken and gradually shifting to port, up to the time when the engine stopped. We discovered no breakage at all about the boiler or engines. The propeller-shaft had a coupling at each end, which would allow the shaft to be somewhat out of line and still the engine would work. The engine probably stopped because of the shoal depth of water the ship was in. There was steam in four of the five boilers. After the engine stopped we made attempts to start it again. The pumps were still kept on the bilge. The outboard delivery-valve of the main engine was closed tight, shut by a machinist. The boilers showed such a tendency to shift, to carrying away, that Chief Engineer Olson asked permission to haul the starboard fire.

I reported the engines stopped to Master French, officer of the deck. At 2.15 a. m., by Commander Ryan's permission, all fires were hauled, and the order passed, "All hands on deck."

Previous to this the whistle was blown as a signal of distress, and it continued to blow till some time after I had left the engine-room, and probably until all the steam was out of the boiler.

When I left the engine-room, a few moments after the fires were hauled, the ship had not, apparently, sprung a leak, though several feet of water were banked up on the port side of the engine-room.

I passed through the engine-room twice after this, and the water was gradually rising, though not apparently from leak. Several men were in the engine-room. Cadet-Engineer Loomis was stationed at the throttle-valve all this time. Most of the time I was in the lower engine-room and the fire-room. Chief Engineer Olson gave his orders from the engine-platform. I then went on deck and remained in Commander Ryan's office until the ship bilged. This was after half past three o'clock. During the latter part of the time that I was in his office, he and Chief Engineer Olson, Surgeon Culbreth, Lieutenant Simons, Paymaster Sanders, Cadet-Engineer Loomis, and Draughtsman Evans were all there with me. Lieutenant Palmer and Ensign Young were in the after cabin burning signals. Master Conway and Ensign Danner I did not see after the ship struck, and I saw Masters Wight and French but once. Lieutenant Simons was constantly passing from the deck to Commander Ryan and back.

When the ship bilged I went to the mizzen rigging, and saved myself by swimming ashore after staying till about nine o'clock. When I left the ship the poop-deck and cabin were completely washed away. The hammock-netting, most of the deck of the topgallant forecastle, the port-sills, and considerable inside wood-work were carried away. The main-mast and mizzen-mast, the smoke-stack, and the starboard gun were still in place. A few moments after I reached the shore the main and mizzen masts and the smoke-stack were gone.

I will now state what I heard said while I was in Commander Ryan's office. I heard the barometer reported as having stood at 29.92 some time before one o'clock. Twice I heard it reported as being above 30 while I was in the office. Commander Ryan sent to the officer of the deck, asking if the ship's log had been saved. Search was made for the log, but the office in which it was kept was full of water and it could not be found. I had heard Commander Ryan, when the Huron first struck, sing out to Mr. French to save the log. In the office I heard Commander Ryan say that we were probably ashore on Nag's Head. He asked Lieutenant Simons if he had given the order to cut away the foremast. It had then been cut away. He answered, "Yes, sir; I gave the order to 'stand by,' as you directed, and they probably understood me to say, 'Cut it away.' Commander Ryan said, "It is all right, for I intended immediately to give the order."

The second whale-boat hung in its davits until after daylight and was then carried away. The launch and dinghy were carried away at early dawn. There were in the launch several men with Commander Ryan and, I think, Lieutenant Palmer when she was carried away. I saw her stove. She fell stern first and hung by one davit at the other end, to which davit two men clung until they were drowned. The steam-log was lost. The fragments of the boats washed up on the beach. The temperature of the water at midnight was 59°.

The Huron drew about 11 ½ feet forward, and about 13 feet 2 inches aft, when she went to sea. The diameter of her screw was 12 feet.

12th question by the judge-advocate. When the Huron sailed, November 23, 1877, was she staunch and seaworthy, her engines and machinery in perfect order, and her equipment complete?
Answer. Yes, sir.

13th question by the judge-advocate. What was then the condition of her hull?
Answer. As good as new, I should say; thoroughly staunch and strong.

The judge advocate asked no further questions. The court continued the examination, as follows, viz:

1st question by the court. When the launch was carried away were any of the crew still on board the Huron?
Answer. Yes, sir; more than one-half.

2d question by the court. Was there, to your knowledge, any disposition made for saving the crew, or any order given for the officers and crew to save themselves if possible?
Answer. I heard that efforts had been made to send the cutter ashore, and that Mr. Young was to make an effort to get a line ashore; but I had no knowledge of either.

3d question by the court. Have you any knowledge of the courses steered by the Huron from the time of taking the departure to the time of her striking?
Answer. Yes; I looked at the compass and it indicated east of south, about south by east.

4th question by the court. Do you attribute the loss of the Huron to stress of weather, or to lack of efficiency in hull, machinery, or appointments?
Answer. The machinery and hull were both sufficient and efficient. As to the weather, the ship, being under steam, was at liberty to go where the commander pleased.

5th question by the court. After you came on deck, was any measure possible to save the crew, or was nothing possible?
Answer. Nothing was possible.

6th question by the court. What speed, under the circumstances of wind and weather, with fifty pounds of steam, would three and a half holes of the throttle give the ship?
Answer. Five knots.

7th question by the court. During the time the Huron was aground were the officers and crew collected and attentive to orders, and did the discipline remain efficient to the end?
Answer. Yes, sir.

8th question by the court. Do you know when the Huron was last swung for the purpose of correcting the compass?
Answer. I think she was swung in New York last November.

No further questions were proposed to the witness. The record of his evidence was read to him and by him declared correct, and he then withdrew.

The court then adjourned to to-morrow, December 8, at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Saturday, December 8, 1877—10.30 a. m.



The court met pursuant to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.

The record of yesterday's proceedings was read and approved.

Ensign LUCIEN YOUNG, United States Navy, was then called as a witness, was duly sworn by the president of the court, and was interrogated and made answers as follows, viz:

1st question by the judge-advocate. What are your name and rank, and in what capacity were you on the Huron in November last?
Answer. Lucien Young, ensign, United States Navy; and watch-officer.

2d question by the judge-advocate. How long had you been attached to her?
Answer. Nearly two years.

3d question by judge-advocate. When did she last sail from Hampton Roads?
Answer. November 23, 1877, between 10 and 11 o'clock a. m.

4th question by judge-advocate. What was then the wind and weather?
Answer. The wind was about five or six in force, and was steady in both force and direction at our departure and outside. It was overcast and slightly misty. We couldn't see objects very far off, but could see the sails of vessels whose hulls were down.

5th question by judge advocate. State all the facts in your observation and knowledge in regard to the Huron, from her sailing till you left her, and the scene of her disaster.
Answer. I had the watch from 12 noon to 4 p. m. I relieved Master French. I completed the work he had begun, securing boats and guns and getting up chafing gear. We were in charge of a pilot getting down and heading out of harbor, and discharged him before we passed Cape Henry, at about one o'clock.

We then steered about southeast by east. A few minutes before passing Cape Henry the pass-over valve got jammed open, and steam escaped for a few minutes from the cylinder. We stopped a few minutes and fixed it. This was the only accident that happened to the engine at all from Hampton Roads till the Huron struck. The navigator, Lieutenant Palmer, gave me instructions to inform him when Cape Henry light bore west by south. At 1.25 p. m. Cape Henry light was on that bearing, distant about five to seven miles. Put over two patent logs; course south by east three-quarters east. Lieutenant Palmer, when he set the course, told me there was a buoy on a wreck exactly on our course ten miles off. We passed this buoy about two hundred yards to windward of it. About 3.10 p. m. Lieutenant Palmer told me that the logging and course were exactly right by the chart. About 1.30 p. m. Lieutenant Simons gave me instructions to get the anchors on the bow, secure them, and unbend the chains. I asked him if he wanted the anchors across the top-gallant forecastle deck. He said, "Wait a minute," and went and spoke to Commander Ryan; came back and told me to get them on the bill-board. I told him I had already got the jack-asses into the hawse-pipes. He said, "Never mind; unbend the chains and send them below." I did so, and secured the anchors. At two o'clock I made all plain sail except mizzen-gaff topsail. Wind about east-southeast, force five to six; think I marked it six in the log. The log was not saved that I know. The gaff topsails shook so that Commander Ryan told me to take them in, and I did. During that watch we passed one square-rigged vessel heading in toward the capes with all plain sails set and topmast and lower port studding sails. We passed several other vessels, one of which was a brigantine, standing toward us, which shifted her helm three times, the third time going about one hundred yards to leeward of us, standing to northward and westward, all sails set. The barometer was steady in that watch at 30.04. The Huron behaved well at this time, riding well to a moderate sea, with a roll to leeward of ten degrees, and an average heel of about three to four degrees, and little or no pitch or send. I was relieved at 4 p. m. by Ensign Danner, and passed to him the course by compass as south by east three-quarters east, logging 6.2. I went below.

At six o'clock Mr. Danner, who was relieved by Mr. Conway, came into my room, said it was blowing very fresh, that the jib-stay and flying jib-stay had both carried away, and that they were setting a fore-storm stay sail. Several officers, Lieutenant Simons and Mr. Danner were in my room. They left at 8.30 p. m., and then I went to bed. The Huron was then rolling more than during my p. m. watch. At twelve, midnight, I was waked by the quartermaster calling Mr. French, who asked him the state of the weather. The answer was, "Bad."' Mr. French came in and got my overcoat and went on deck and I went to sleep again, but not soundly.

We had had during my watch only a hand-lead going, and took that in about 3 p. m., finding no bottom. The depth had been steadily increasing from four fathoms within the capes to no bottom with the hand-lead. I took the bearing off Cape Henry, but have forgotten what it was. This was about 3.50 p. m. At 1.10 or 1.15 o'clock. I was waked by the ship's striking bottom; thought what it was at once; heard Commander Ryan sing out, "Hard down, hard astarboard," sounding as if coming from his cabin. I immediately jumped up, put on a blouse and pants and ran on deck. Commander Ryan was there with all his clothes on. He had not undressed at all. Heard him give orders to "brail up the trysails." Meantime the ship had made two rolls, one to windward and one to leeward, and then she bilged to windward. Seas breaking over carried away all the port boats. I manned the brails and helped all I could to take in the trysails; when we saw we couldn't do it, a man went aloft and cut the halyards and let it come down. I then asked Commander Ryan, who was near me, if I should throw the guns (nine-inch) overboard. He said, " Yes," and gave the order. I got the port pennant tackle and hitched [hooked]* it to the nine-inch gun and told a man to cut the gun adrift, but he could not do it, nor could I keep men on the pennant tackle, because they were washed away and some very nearly overboard.

I then heard the captain order, "Lower the first cutter," which was the starboard middle boat. I went to the signal-officer and secured two boxes of signals before they got wet. The captain then asked if I had saved signals, and I answered, "Yes," and he said, "Burn all you can." I took three quartermasters in to the captain's water-closet, the only place from which I could burn signals, and had to burn them from lighted candles. While in there, several officers and men came in and out. I burned over a hundred lights and sent up five rockets with sticks we made from strips from the cabin door. Lieutenant Palmer was in there with me most of the time to look at the barometer. We were in there about three hours. The barometer was steady at 29.90. We looked often at the tell-tale compass in the cabin, and the ship headed south by west the whole time we were in there. I asked him where we had struck. He said he did not know; knew we were three or four miles below Kittyhawk, somewhere opposite Nag's Head, and that we ought to see Body Island light. I asked him if be thought we had struck a sand-bar formed by a wreck. He said, "No; it struck too solid, too hard." I thought so too. I asked what distance he thought we were from shore. He said, "We could not be inside of eight or nine miles," and told me he had taken bearings off Currituck light as he

* Substituted for "hitched.'"—J. A. B.

ran by, and that he was on the quarter deck, I think, when the Huron struck; that when he left Currituck light he had 14 ½ to 15 fathoms' soundings, which [with the bearings] * he said put him exactly where the course ought to put her; and that he knew from that that we had not drifted much, and that he had the course-lead (25 pounds lead) going every hour, and, I think, at one half hour, 11 ½ or 12 ½ , after we lost Currituck light, which we lost between half-past ten and eleven o'clock; that he got bottom from 14 ½ to 15, and at one o'clock in 13 fathoms; and that she struck ten to fifteen minutes afterward. We both went and looked at the chart, and he pointed and said, "We are about off there." Commander Ryan came into the cabin to look at the chart. I asked him where we had struck. He said, "Somewhere about Nag's Head, must be near the shore," but how we got there he didn't know. The seas all this time were breaking all over the ship. I heard an order, "All hands go forward," and at almost the same time heard the crash of the poop deck and upper part of the light works on the port side, aft, crushed in. I hurried all out of the cabin, repeating the order. I came last. At the cabin door, Surgeon Culbreth was next ahead of me in the door. I told him to go forward. He turned and looked at me, but did not move. He seemed very cool. I said, "If you're not going, get out of the way and I'll go." He started just ahead of me, and I saw Mr. French leaning against the wheel, who asked me if I was the last one. I said, "Yes," and he said, "Better be quick or we'll not be able to get forward." I got as far as the Gatling gun, had hold of the spokes, when a very heavy roller came over and caught me and all (six or seven more) who were between me and the gangway and washed us all down to leeward. They caught under the sail, and I in the bag of it, hurting my legs very badly against the gaff. By very great effort, I braced myself against the steerage-hatch and sprang and caught the gear of the nine-inch gun on the starboard (upper) side. The vessel was heeled over 40° to 45°, so that you couldn't stand up at all. I put my arm down among the gearing so that I couldn't be washed off unless my arm came off. I heard several men call for help, who were swept off by the next roller. It went over me, but my arm held me. Mr. French called out, "Are you saved ?" I answered, "So far, but I don't know how long, at this rate; come on; now's our time." He came and I saw him go into the main rigging.

I worked myself forward and was helped onto the top-gallant forecastle; saw several men under it. We all got together on it, forty or fifty of us; were very cold ; tried to get blankets; could get very few. Master Conway had one and covered my head and several others with it; saw a number of men with life-preservers on. I told a man to get a belaying-pin and sound. He did, and found about six feet. I saw a rubber balsa on the forecastle blown up; saw several men killed on the forecastle; saw the launch washed out. Commander Ryan fell between it and the ship, and, I think, was struck by it. Lieutenant Palmer, near him, held on to a davit but was washed off by the next roller. I sounded again in about an hour and got a little over eight feet of water; thought the tide was rising or the ship sinking in the sand, and was uneasy about her breaking.

We saw a light in what we thought a house about a point on the starboard bow. We could see what I thought to be the shore, but I mistook the beach for smooth water inside the breakers. This was a little, before daylight. When I saw the rise of the water and the increasing wash of the sea, I thought that if we didn't get assistance from the shore we

*Interlineations.

couldn't be saved. Some one said, "If we can hold on till daylight we can get assistance." Mr. Conway suggested getting a line from the ship. [Mr. Conway did not hear what I said.]* I said, "If I can some one to go with me I'll go." No one came. I waited a few minutes and thought I stood a better chance to hold on where I was, but yet would try to go; and I sung out if they would lower the balsa I would try it. They did try to lower the balsa and it got tangled among the spars that were under the starboard bow, spars that had fallen overboard.

I told the captain of the forecastle to cut adrift the spars or they would kill all who got among them. He said he was holding them for a raft. I thought it a good idea, and got down on the torpedo-spar, braced myself against a chain-plate, as each sea would wash over me, and for ten minutes tried to clear the balsa. I got on top of it and braced my legs around the fore-and-aft piece and sung out for some one to go with me. Ensign Danner got up and said he'd go, but when he got near he said he was too weak, and I said, "Get on, if you can ; our only hope is to get that line." He said he could not, but would wait for the line.

I saw Antoine Williams, whom I knew to be a cool and intelligent man, and called to him to come. He came, and for twenty minutes we worked to clear the balsa and get it over, ahead of the spars, when we were washed under and I was struck twice on back and hips. Mr. Simons, repeated by Mr. Wight, sung out, "Cut the line; no more aboard." I sung out, "Veer away, quick." He and others sung out, "Cut the line and get ashore if you can for assistance; notify them"

I cut the line with a small penknife, and we were swept aft. Tried to paddle back. When near the stern, were struck by a heavy sea; the balsa capsized end for end, and we nearly drowned." We regained the balsa; told Williams to push the balsa ahead, both of us swimming and pushing it forward. The next roller capsized us again, end for end (The balsa was about eight feet long). Williams was thrown about fifteen feet, I fell on my back in the water. He caught the balsa again.

There was then a sort of lull in the sea and we saw poles that I thought were the masts of fishing-smacks. (They were telegraph-poles.) I said, "Pull fast and get to them ; they may save us." A third time, and again a fourth time we were upset. I then let go of the balsa, thought I saw the beach and then my knee struck bottom. Williams and I got ashore at the same time; told him we would take the balsa ashore and use it as a car if we could get a line. We hauled two men out of the surf alive, and then picked up the balsa. We landed three fourths of a mile to a mile north of the wreck. I ran to a shed; there was no one in it, it was about 7 a. m. ; the fog had lifted ; I could see everything clearly. Started towards the Huron ; hauled out two more men; saw a cluster of fishermen on the beach, opposite the wreck, looking at her. One of these men kindled a fire for us in a hut. I sent others of them up the beach to look for and help those who might come ashore. I lifted an overcoat as a signal to those still on the Huron ; they answered from the main rigging by waving a cap. I met two men bringing Mr. Conway to the hut. A man on horseback had told me that there was a life-saving station seven miles up and another four miles down the shore. I inquired for a telegraph-station; was told there was one near the seven-mile off life station. Told the horseman to go there and telegraph the department for help, and say that the Huron was a total wreck.

I asked the fishermen if they had seen our signals. They said, "Yes, almost the first one." I asked, "Why didn't you get the life-boat?"
*Interlineation.

The horseman said he had sent, some two or three hours before, over to Roanoke where the life-crew was. I asked, "Why didn't you get up the car and line yourself?" He said it was locked and they were afraid to break it open. I said, "Come, and I'll break it open"; four or five said they'd go. As I passed the hut where Mr. Conway had gone to put on some clothes, I told him I was going to one and had sent to the other station, and he said, "Go ahead and break it open," and that he was going [up]* the beach.

I was barefoot, my legs bruised and sore, and it hurt me fearfully to walk on the sand, but I got there, running and walking, about 9.30 a. m, ; found no one there; broke open the station; got out the mortar and lines and powder. Sheriff Brinkley coming by with his mule-team, took them up abreast the wreck and did all he could. As I got within about a quarter of a mile of the ship I saw her last mast go over.

When I got abreast the wreck there was no one on her, and so I did not use the mortar. They patrolled the beach, hauling men out, some alive, some dead. Eight dead were found; and thirty men and four officers, including myself, alive. In the hut we cooked some canned fruit and meat [corn and tomatoes],* and some bread that had come ashore. Some of the paymasters papers came ashore in his bureau. I telegraphed the facts to Rear-Admiral Trenchard and to the Chief Signal-Officer, General Myer. Sheriff Brinkley invited all of us, officers and men, to his house, and put those in his cart who could not walk. At the life-saving station he said as many of the men were nearly naked, and as the station was a comfortable place, they had better stay there, and he would (and did) furnish them there with beds, bedding,, and food. The officers went to his house. This was Saturday p. m., November 24. He and his hired men and teams patrolled the beach all night.

Sunday morning we heard that two men-of-war and a wrecking vessel were in the offing. I went to the life-station, got on top, and with a boat-hook and large blue flag tried to call their attention. They didn't see it nor a red flag that I used afterward. I wanted to wig-wag to them. We went up abreast the Huron; found there a signal-officer who had been signaling them, and I took his flag and repeated the signals. Meantime we had requested the sheriff to charter, and he did charter, a steamer that we had heard of below. About one o'clock Lieutenant Watson arrived with doctor, medicines, and stores brought through the canal in a tug from Norfolk. We put the bodies and went ourselves on board the tug to Norfolk. I ought to have stated that, while we were in the cabin on the Huron, Lieutenant Palmer told me that there was a half point of westerly deviation on the course we were steering, and that we had been on the same course all the way after the departure.

No more questions were asked by the judge-advocate. The witness was interrogated by the court, and made answer as follows:

1st. question by the court. Were Navy Regulations, page 41, paragraph 56 and page 51, paragraph 145, and page 58, paragraph 4, followed and observed on the Huron?

(These paragraphs were read aloud to the witness by the judge-advocate, and a copy of them is hereto annexed, marked L.)

Answer. Yes, as far as I know, except as to unbending chains. Can't say as to marking lead-line ; but it was in good order, and so were the compasses.

*Interlineation. J. A. B.

2d question by the court. Do you know when and where the Huron was last swung for deviation?
Answer. I think in New York, not long after she left dock.

3d question by the court. About how long before daylight did you see the captain and navigator washed overboard?
Answer. About five o'clock—an hour or an hour and a half before daylight.

4th question by the court. Did officers- and men behave well, and could any efficient measures have been taken to save life or property after the vessel struck which were neglected?
Answer. I can think of no measure that was not taken. The men behaved as well as I ever saw them on any drill or inspection on any vessel; were cool, cheerful, quick, and obedient, and showed no strong excitement. There was no confusion or disorder on any occasion.

5th question by the court. You say the launch was secured in her chocks on the rail, and that Commander Ryan and Lieutenant Palmer and some of the men were in her. Was Commander Ryan there for the purpose of overlooking and giving orders and was he properly there at the time?
Answer. The launch furnished the most prominent point of view and the safest place to overlook and direct operations. Commander Ryan was properly there, and not for the purpose of getting away from the Huron.

6th question by the court. Now that you can look back, to what do you attribute the loss of the Huron?
Answer. I noticed that the sand of the beach was impregnated with iron. That may have been part. There was a very strong in-setting current nearly parallel with the beach. I cannot speak positively—wind, current, set of the sea, and probably local variation of compass may all have been the cause of the loss.

7th question by the court. Have you any belief that the intelligence of the captain and navigator was dimmed or impaired in any way before the grounding?
Answer. No. They were in full possession of their faculties. They were both eminently temperate men.

8th question by the court. Was the Huron a staunch, sea-worthy, and well-equipped vessel in every particular?
Answer. Yes.

9th question by the court. What do you suppose to have been the reason that Body Island light was not seen before the vessel grounded?
Answer. Thick, foggy weather. We couldn't see the beach 200 yards off.

10th question by the court. While the ship was under sail in your watch, did you note or notice the leeway ?
Answer. She made none. I looked at her wake and also the buoy I spoke of.

Here the examination of the witness was suspended, and the court, at ten minutes before 3 p. m., adjourned to Monday next, December 10, at 10.30 a.m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge Advocate.



NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Monday, December 10,1877—10.30 o'clock a. m.



The court met according to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.

The record of last Saturdays proceedings was read and approved.

Ensign YOUNG was recalled, and heard read the record of his Saturday's testimony, and affirmed the same, with the following amendments, viz:

Substitute the word "hooked" for " hitched," p. 57, line 3 from bottom [p. 15]; on p. 59, 5th line from bottom, between the words "which" and "he" insert the words "with the bearings" [p. 16]; and on line 3 from the bottom, p. 63, after the words "the ship" add, "Mr. Conway did not hear what 1 said" [p. 17]; in the 13th line, on p. 68, substitute the word "up" for "down to" [p. 18]; on p. 69, line 10, substitute the words "corn and tomatoes" for "fruit and meat "[p. 18].

The examination of the witness by the court was then continued as follows, viz:

11th question by the court. You have stated that the course given you by the navigating-officer was south by east three-quarters east. Are you now confident that this was the course given you, or could you have mistaken it for south by east one quarter east?
Answer. I think it was south by east three-quarters east.

12th question by the court. Did you set this course by the standard compass and refer it to the steering compasses, and did these compasses agree with the standard compass?
Answer. We set the course by the standard compass. I did not refer to the steering compass. We had but two compasses in use on deck (standard and steering), and they differed over a point on some courses.

13th question by the court. Did the navigator examine the compasses to see that the ship was on her proper course?
Answer. He did; and, in addition, took the bearing of Cape Henry light after the ship was on her course.

14th question by the court. Did you observe during your watch whether the compasses were steady or otherwise?
Answer. I did; they were steady.

15th question by the court. Were you aware that keeling [sic] ten degrees would vitiate the Huron's ordinary allowance for deviation of the compass?
Answer. No, sir.

16th question by the court. Please plot the Huron's course from the buoy which you passed some ten miles southeast from Cape Henry light, and mark the place where you struck.

(The witness goes to the chart No. 5 (marked Young, T. A. B.), and marks in red ink the course and the point where the Huron struck, and says: "I have run the course through the buoy south-southeast one-quarter east, there being one-half point westerly deviation, and the place where she struck, about eight miles above Body Island light, on the edge of the beach.")

17th question by the court. Did you, on the night of the 23d and 24th of November, hear any one say that the Huron was being steered too much toward the shore?
Answer. I don't remember hearing it.

18th question by the court. You state that the ship was under steam and sail. Was she close on the wind and did the sails lift at any time, or was she kept off her course to keep the sails full?
Answer. She was close-hauled on the wind. The sails did not lift during my watch. She was kept on her course.

19th question by the court. What lookouts were kept during the night from sunset to sunrise, and where were they stationed, and were they always vigilant?
Answer. Two cat-head lookouts and one man on the life-buoy: none in the waist. So far as I knew, they were vigilant. I usually inspected and hailed them when on my watch at night.

20th question by the court. When you left the deck at four p. m., was the weather thick or foggy, and was the light-house on Currituck in sight? Was the light from this light-house seen as soon as night set in; and how far could this light or Body Island light be seen in such weather as that in your watch?
Answer. The weather was not foggy nor thick, but smoky or hazy. I could see land plainly. Currituck light was not in sight. I don't know as it was seen as soon as night set in. At four o'clock they could be seen fifteen or sixteen miles, if that weather had continued into the night.

21st question by the court. Was the Huron, before striking the bottom, so far as the weather and sea were concerned, free to go anywhere that the captain should choose to direct her course?
Answer. Yes, sir.

22d question by the court. Was the Huron, on leaving Hampton Roads, in all respects staunch, seaworthy, and well found?
Answer. Yes, sir.

23d question by the court. Is it your opinion that the ship was bilged by the violence of thumping, or was she bilged before you left her?
Answer. I do not know that she was bilged at all. In my former answer when I said "bilged over" I meant heeled over, and remained on her port bilge; and I didn't think that a hole was knocked in her bottom at all.

No further questions were proposed to the witness. His answers being read to him, he pronounced them correct and withdrew from the court.

The next witness called was Cadet Engineer WARBURTON, who, being duly sworn by the president of the court, was examined and answered as follows, viz:

1st question by the judge-advocate. State your name. rank. and position on the Huron.
Answer. Edgar T. Warburton, United States Navy: cadet engineer; watch-officer in the engineer corps.

2d question by the judge-advocate. How long have you been attached to the Huron?
Answer. Over two years. From November 15, 1875, with the exception that I was detached in October, 1870, and attached in December, 1876.

3d question by the judge advocate. When did she last sail from Hampton Roads?
Answer. November 23d, at 10 to 10.30 a. m.

4th question by the judge-advocate. What were then the weather, wind, and sea?
Answer. Cloudy, [not]* blowing hard, not so as to cause one to apprehend danger in going to sea; moderately smooth at Hampton Roads.

5th question by the judge-advocate. What was the condition of the ship and her machinery?
[ * Interlineation.—J. A. B.

Answer. Her machinery was in good order; had been thoroughly overhauled lately. The ship was in good order, so far as my knowledge extended.

6th question by the judge-advocate. Did her engines and other machinery work well until she struck?
Answer. Yes; satisfactorily.

7th question by the judge-advocate. Did any accident happen to the passover-valve before you left Cape Henry?
Answer. One of the water-valves, or the passover-valve of the low-pressure engine, was blowing steam for some time—for a short time—but not in my watch; it wouldn't affect the efficiency of the engine.

8th question by the judge-advocate. State all that you observed and knew of the Huron and her movements from Hampton Roads till she struck.
Answer. We sailed, as above stated, under steam alone; I was on watch in the engine-room from eight a.m. till noon, and was then relieved by Mr. Loomis. The ship stopped to discharge her pilot when I came off watch, and at eight p. m. I again went on watch till midnight, relieving Mr. Denig. The orders he passed to me were, to make from 43 to 45 revolutions per minute, and to keep good fires.

Shortly after eight o'clock, Chief Engineer Olson came into the engine-room and repeated the same orders. During that watch the engines were stopped three times for soundings: once between nine and ten o'clock, again about eleven, a third time about two minutes before twelve o'clock. At midnight I was relieved by Mr. Loomis, to whom I gave the orders that had been passed to me. I then turned in.

I was awakened by the shock of the vessel's striking, and went on deck immediately; heard the three men at the wheel calling for assistance to get the helm hard over. Patrick Kane was one of the men. I helped them two or three minutes, and then assisted in the attempt to brail up the main try-sail, and then went below into the engine-room and found Chief Engineer Olson, Mr. Denig, Mr. Loomis, and, as far as I could judge, the greater part of the engineer's [force.]* The engines were then working ahead, but the order was soon given to reverse the engines, and they were backed and continued so until about two a. m. on Saturday. The engine-room hatch was imperfectly battened down, and at times water came down the hatch. The auxiliary pumps were put on the bilge, the sea-injection closed and bilge-injection opened, to relieve the ship of water. I could at times hear cracking noises, as though the engine-frame were cracking, but could discover no break, and the engines were still in operation. Shortly before two o'clock the starboard boiler shifted slightly, bending the steam-pipe, and necessitating hauling the two starboard fires. About two o'clock the engines stopped suddenly, just as Mr. Olson had gone on deck to consult the captain about continuing to work them. Mr. Olson gave the order to stop them, but they had already stopped while they were still backing; they had been backing at least three-quarters of an hour, if not longer, and had been in operation, altogether, after the ship struck, almost an hour. Mr. Olson then ordered the other fires hauled, and at 2.15 a. m. passed the word to leave the engine-room and fire-room and go on deck as soon as the fires should be hauled. At 2.20 a. m. the first man started on deck up the engine-room hatch. I remained below until everybody had gone up, and then went myself.

* Substituted for the wold "corps".--J. A. B.

I stood on the starboard side of the quarter-deck, holding on to the Starboard try-sail-vang [sic]. Dr. Culbreth was with me. The seas would reach our knees, but we could stand with some comfort. While I was there the foremast was cut away and an effort made to throw over the port nine-inch gun; but the attempt was abandoned. Commander Ryan stopped where we were for two or three minutes, and Dr. Culbreth asked him if he was awake when the ship struck. He answered "Yes." Shortly afterwards Mr. Simons came there and told us a light had been seen on shore. Afterwards Mr. Simons, Mr. Wight, Dr. Culbreth went below through the engine-room hatch. While we were below it was three and a half o'clock. We all put on dry and heavier clothing to keep warm, and then returned on deck. We must have been below fifteen minutes, and during that time Paymaster Sanders came below, but went on deck ahead of me. Dr. Culbreth was still standing in his old position, holding on to the vang. I remained there but a few seconds, the first sea breaking completely over me. Dr. Culbreth remained there a short time longer, and then followed me under the break of the poop. There were then quite a number of officers and men in the cabin and under the break of the poop. In about twenty minutes the sea washed in the cabin, and the order was given to move forward to the topgallant forecastle. I had much difficulty in the passage; my feet several times were washed from under me, and I was obliged to cling to ropes to prevent being swept overboard; was assisted on to the top-gallant forecastle by some of the men already there, and took position on the inboard side of the starboard pin-rail. At this time the waves did not break over us on the forecastle; but flood-tide soon made, and then every wave went completely over us. For a short time three or four of us held a tarpaulin over our heads, but this was carried away by the sea.

Just before daylight a light was seen in a hut on the beach, and we all gave three cheers when we first saw it. Just after daylight Mr. Young volunteered to go ashore on the balsa and take a line ashore; didn't get far from the ship before the line jammed aboard ship and he was called to cut it. We were deterred from leaving the ship and swimming ashore by seeing that when any man was washed off he was carried past the ship in the direction out to sea; and we did not know, till each made the attempt, that the current afterward set in toward shore; and, besides, we momentarily expected assistance from the life-saving station. Some little time after Mr. Young started, I determined to follow him. I could retain my position no longer, as each sea beat me against the pin-rail. I took off my overcoat, and, before another sea could reach me, moved to the starboard fish-davit. Here I saw Lieutenant Simons and Mister Wight, both in the starboard fore chains, looking much exhausted. I tried to take off my clothes, but was washed off ship and carried to some spars lying near her on the bow. I almost exhausted myself by trying to get on top of them, but was washed away and carried past the ship out to sea. I didn't know I was going toward shore till I saw the telegraph-poles on the beach, which I first supposed to be masts of vessels outside. I should have been drowned about this time if I hadn't caught part of an oar floating by me. I got still closer in shore, and was about to give up when my feet struck bottom, and I made another effort. Quite close to the shore the undertow caught me, and I was in danger of being carried out again, when two shoresmen [sic] rushed in and hauled me out.

I was taken to a shanty a few yards off, where I found a fire lighted and a dry blanket. Had no idea how long I was in the water. The time seemed short, but I came ashore a mile from the wreck; was so bruised that I couldn't move when I had got ashore, and was obliged to remain in the shanty till late in the afternoon. When Mr. Conway decided to move the party to the life saving-station, I was carried in Sheriff Brinkly's cart with two or three men who were too lame to walk.

The rest of the men walked to the station, three miles down the beach, where they were left for the night, and the officers were taken to the sheriff's house, about a mile farther on, where we staid all night. In the morning Mr. Denig was too ill to be moved. As we were about to start for the station, Sunday morning, one of the men came to tell us that the Powhatan ,the Swatara, another steamer, and a tug were steaming up and down off the coast. We then started for the station, where I was left with most of the men. Mr. Young tried to make signals from the station to them, but couldn't attract their attention. Mr. Conway, Mr. Young, and part of the men went up the beach nearer the men-of-war.

I remained at the station till afternoon, too lame to walk. About 3 p. m. Mr. Brinkly passed by and gave me an order from Mr. Conway to start with the men who were with me for the steamer Bonita when Mr. Brinkly came back with Mr. Denig with teams. Just after this Assistant Surgeon Arthur, with a newspaper reporter from Norfolk, came to the station, having arrived in the tug Chowan with a relief party under Lieutenant Watson. After Dr. Arthur had looked at some of the men who were ill and bruised, I asked him to go to Sheriff Brinkly's house and see Assistant Engineer Denig. Soon afterward Sheriff Brinkly returned with three or four carts, Mr. Denig and Dr. Arthur in one of them; the sick and bruised we put in one of the carts, and we started for the Bonita, which was at Nag's Head, where we arrived shortly after sundown. We were taken aboard, and, after the rescued bodies were also brought aboard, we started for Norfolk, soon after seven o'clock, and got to the Norfolk navy-yard at nine o'clock Monday morning.

The examination of the witness at this point was discontinued, and the court adjourned to to-morrow (Tuesday) at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Tuesday, December 11, 1877—10.30 a. m.



The court met according to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.

The record of yesterday's proceedings was read and approved. So much of it as contained the testimony of Cadet Engineer Warburton was read aloud in his hearing and pronounced by him correct with the Interlineations, marked J. A. B. on pages 83 (p. 21] and 85 [p. 22]. His examination was then resumed, and he further testified as follows, viz:

9th question by the judge-advocate. What was the conduct of the officers and men of the Huron, so far as you observed, from Hampton Roads till she struck, and after?
Answer. I should say that the conduct of all on board until she struck was such as it should be on a man-of-war, and afterward the conduct was excellent. There was not the slightest confusion nor panic, and I saw no person exhibit signs of fear. The engineers force came more under my observation, and in the engine-room and fire-room the men remained at their stations and performed their duty as well as though the ship had not been aground. The men who were saved conducted on shore as well as they did on the ship and promptly obeyed all orders.

10th question by the judge-advocate. Was anything omitted by Commander Ryan and the officers which should have been done, after the Huron struck, to save the ship and the lives of her officers and crew?
Answer. As far as my knowledge goes, nothing was omitted.

The judge-advocate asked no more questions, and the court continued Mr. Warburton's examination, as follows, viz:

1st question by the court. At about what time were you washed overboard?
Answer. About seven o'clock. I was told by the men after I got ashore that it was between seven and eight o'clock.

2d question by the court. Do you know the course the Huron was steering when she struck?
Answer. Not from my own observation; but after she struck I was told that the course had been south by east three-quarters east.

3d question by the court. Was the Huron rolling deeply or uneasily during your watch?
Answer. She rolled deeply and at times as much as 25°. The average roll was 12° to 15°.

4th question by the court. How did the Huron stand the violent pounding incident to her grounding?
Answer. Remarkably well; and it was a wonder to all that any ship should stand it so well. Soon after she struck, she was heeled at an angle of 40° to 45°, and I think she maintained that position throughout. She apparently made no water but what came through the hatches.

6th question by the court. Did or did not the ship strike with much less violence after she had heeled over 40° to 45°, or did she strike at all after that?
Answer. I think she struck afterward, but not so violently as before. At the last she did not rise at all.

The witness further stated that as he was taken past the wreck, between four and five o'clock Saturday p. m., the wreck was about two hundred and fifty yards from the shore.

No further questions were proposed. His answers were read to the witness, and he said they were correctly recorded, and then withdrew.

The next witness called was MICHAEL TRAINOR, who, being duly sworn by the president of the court, was questioned, and answered as follows, viz:

1st question by the judge-advocate. State your name and rating on the Huron, and say how long you have been attached to her.
Answer. Michael Trainor; captain of the afterguard; ever since she went into commission, November, 1875.

2d question by the judge-advocate. What watches were you on, November 23 and 24, last month?
Answer. From 10 a. m. till noon, on the 23d, and from 4 to 6 p. m. and from 8 to 12 p. m. on the same day.

3d question by the judge advocate. From 8 p. m. to 12 midnight, was Currituck light in sight?
Answer. Yes, a few minutes before twelve: a red light and a white light—a flash-light.

4th question by the judge-advocate. What watch had you from noon till the Huron struck, and where were you stationed?
Answer. On the quarter-deck.

5th question by the judge-advocate. What course was the ship steered during your watches?
Answer. Southeast by south I think, but am not certain. I looked only at the steering-compass.

6th question by the judge-advocate. What soundings were taken in your watches, and what was the depth of water?
Answer. Soundings every hour; fifteen fathoms at twelve midnight, and all through my last watch.

7th question by the judge- advocate. Did the navigating officer make observations for correcting the compasses after the ship left the dry-dock in New York?
Answer. Yes; as the ship swung in the tide at New York.

8th question by the judge-advocate. How was the weather, and how strong was the wind, and was the sea very rough?
Answer. Quite light at the beginning; then breezed-up in the after-noon, and we had to take in gaff top-sails and flying-jib.

9th question by the judge-advocate. What sail was on the ship during your watches, and did the ship roll or heel over much?
Answer. When I came on deck in the p. m. she had on jib and fore and main try-sails. She rolled not very heavily then, nor ever; heeled over a streak or two. Between 7 and 8 p. m. we reefed fore and main try-sails and set storm stay-sail.

10th question by the judge-advocate. When you left the deck at midnight, did you hear the officer of the deck pass the course to his relief?
Answer. No.

11th question by the judge-advocate. Was the ship close-hauled during your watches?
Answer. Yes.

12th question by the judge-advocate. Where were you when the ship grounded, and what did you do on that occasion?
Answer. In my hammock. I got out when she struck, and dressed, and went aft as far as the main-mast; helped lower the main try-sail. She was ashore hard then. I stayed there till I heard the orders for the boat's crew to go to the first cutter, then I went into her. There were four men in her, and the end of a hawser. Four or five of us stopped in her some time, about ten minutes. I took a boat-hook and sounded over her side; found six feet of water; told Commander Ryan who was in the gangway, and he thought that I was mistaken; but I said, "Here's the bottom, captain; I am holding by it." A heavy swell came and half filled the boat. I said to the other men, "We had better get out of this boat," and we did. The next sea sunk her. There was no one in her. The captain then said to me, "Our hopes are all gone now."

I stood in the gangway on a davit awhile, then went to the main-chains, then to spar-deck, and stopped there till all the officers and men went forward. I then went back to the chains, and then was forced by heavy seas into the rigging; stuck there till the main-stay carried away. Then I and Mr. French jumped over and swam. All the boats were gone. This was two hours after daylight, about eight o'clock. The captain and Lieutenant Palmer had then been swept out of the launch, and the launch carried away. I swam ashore, and two men hauled me out. Mr. French was drowned.

13th question by the judge-advocate. How did the officers and men perform their duties during your last watch?
Answer. First rate. That was so all day and night, in every watch. Mr. Wight had the watch from eight to midnight, and was a very vigilant officer.

14th question by the Judge-advocate. Have you anything to lay to the charge of any officer or man with regard to the loss of the Huron?
Answer. No, sir; nothing.

15th question by the judge-advocate. Are any of the quartermasters who hove the lead living?
Answer. No.

16th question by the judge-advocate. In your judgment, was everything done that could be done to save the ship, officers, and men?
Answer. Yes.

17th question by the judge-advocate. From your two years' observation should you call the Huron a very staunch and seaworthy ship?
Answer. Yes, and a good sea-boat; never knew her to leak a drop.

18th question by the judge, advocate. What lookouts were stationed at night, and were they always vigilant, so far as you know?
Answer. Starboard and port cat-heads and life-buoy; all vigilant.

19th question by the judge-advocate. What was the conduct of the officers and men after the ship grounded; did all behave well or otherwise?
Answer. All behaved well.

No further questions were proposed, and the record of his evidence being read to the Witness he affirmed it and withdrew.

The court then adjourned to tomorrow at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
December 12, 1877.



The court met at 10.30 a. m., according to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.
The record of yesterday's proceedings was read and approved.

Professor GREENE was then called as a witness, and, being duly sworn by the president of the court, was examined and testified as follows, viz:

1st question by the judge-advocate. What is your name, rank, and duty?
Answer. Benjamin F. Greene, professor of mathematics United States Navy. My present duty is that of superintendent of compasses, attached to the Bureau of Navigation.

2d question by the judge-advocate. Did you establish the local deviation of the compass (standard or steering) of the Huron? If so, please state when, where, and how. And did you furnish a statement of the deviations in a tabulated form, and place the same in the hands of the commander of that vessel?
Answer. I did; on the 10th and 11th of February, 1876, in Hampton Roads; three sets of observations under steam, by solar azimuths, for both the standard and the steering compass. I made, but did not furnish to the commander of the Huron, observations of horizontal and vertical force to determine the effect of the ship's heeling and the other magnetic elements of the ship. The reason for not furnishing the result of these observations to the Huron was that the heeling coefficient was so small, and that her southern cruise would take her where the heeling deviation would become less and less.

3d question by the judge-advocate. What was the difference of deviation between the steering-compass and standard compass, from south-east to south, inclusive?
Answer. The following table gives the answer:


 
Table

 
Ship's headings
 
Deviations of standard-compass
W
Deviations of steering-compass
W
Southeast
18°.8
21°. 9
Southeast by south
15°.5
17°.5
South southeast
11°.2
12°.1
South by east
6°.1
6°.1
South
0°.2
1°.4

This shows the deviation means for observations on port and starboard helms.

4th question by the judge-advocate. In heeling ten degrees to starboard, what would be the deviation of the Huron's standard-compass upon a course of south by east, three-quarters east?

Answer. In February, 1876, it would have been 4°.2 west from the magnetic meridian; but at the time and place of the loss of the Huron it would be considerably different; whether less or more, it would be difficult to say.

No further questions were asked. His answers were read to Professor Greene, the witness, and by him affirmed, and he then withdrew.

Master Conway was then recalled, and was questioned and testified thus:

1st question by the court. You have stated that the course given you when you relieved the officer in charge of the deck at six o'clock on the evening of the 23d of November was south by east, one-quarter east. Do you, on further reflection, adhere to that course as the one given; and was this course by standard compass or by steering-compass? Give the name of the officer you relieved.
Answer. I do adhere. I relieved Ensign F. W. Dannan [sic - Danner]. The course was by the standard-compass.

2d question by the court. Did you look at the standard compass when you took charge of the watch, and was the Huron then heading sough by east, one-quarter east?
Answer. I did not - but asked the quartermaster what course he had got, and he answered south by east, one-quarter east. He stood by and answered from the standard compass. He was lost.

3d question by the court. Did the standard and binnacle compasses agree on the course south by east, one-quarter east?
Answer. No; there was about one-quarter point difference.

4th question by the court. Please lay down the track of the Huron  from Cape Henry, as you remember it, and sign your name to it.

The witness did so on the chart No. 5, used by Mr. Young in his testimony, and then withdrew after hearing read his answers, and affirming them.

The judge-advocate then called the following thirteen survivors of the Huron's crew, who were duly sworn by the president of the court, viz:

FRANK MAY, landsman of the engineer's force.
THO'S PRICE, landsman.
MICHAEL KENNEDY, landsman.
D'L DEVOY, first-class fireman.
FREDERICK HOFFMAN, ordinary seaman.
H. W. AVERY, second-class fireman.
D. O'DONNELL, ordinary seaman.
HARRY NELSON, landsman.
THOS. CARLEY, landsman.
MICHAEL DURKEY, landsman.
JOHN S. HOLLAND, master-at-arms.
AUGUST LINDGREST [sic], coxswain.
DENNIS DACEY, sailmaker's mate.

To these witnesses the judge-advocate proposed the following question: Have you any complaint to make against any of the surviving officers and crew of the Huron on the occasion of- her wreck?
To the above question, each and all of said thirteen witnesses answered "No, sir."

To these witnesses the judge-advocate proposed the following question: Have you anything to lay to the charge of any officer or man with regard to the loss of the Huron?
To this, as to the first question, each and all of said thirteen witnesses answered, "No sir."

3d question by the judge-advocate. Did any, and, if any, which of you, assist in getting casts of the lead, November 23?
Witnesses O'Donnell, Kennedy, Durkey, and Hoffman answered, "Yes, sir." All the other nine answered, "No, sir."

O'Donnell said: "I assisted four times in the eight o'clock to midnight watch. The three first casts were up and down and gave 17 fathoms. The fourth cast, at ten minutes to twelve o'clock, midnight, not up and down, gave 15 fathoms; but I estimated it at 10 fathoms, and so told the captain of the after-guard, Mr. Trainor. The quartermaster heard me, but reported it to the officer of the deck as 15 fathoms."

Kennedy said, "I assisted in the cast just before the Huron struck, at one o'clock, and found 17 fathoms; and again at one o-clock and ten minutes; can't say how many fathoms - not an up and down cast at either time."

Durkey said, "My answer is the same as O'Donnell's, except that I wish to state that Commander Ryan came on deck and directed Mr. Wight to take the last sounding."

Hoffman said, "My answer is the same as Kennedy's except that I did not see whether the line was up and down."

5th question by the judge-advocate. Was the ship going ahead fast when she sounded?
O'Donnell answered, "No, sir; the steam was stopped; the helm was down; the sails were on, but they shook."
Kennedy answered, "No, sir; the engine was stopped."
Durkey answered, "No, sir."

6th question by the judge-advocate. Did any of you see the coasting lead-line marked?
Answer by the whole thirteen, "No, sir."

7th question by the judge-advocate. Was the lead and line used; the coasting line and lead?
Answer by O'Donnell: "The first times we used the deep-sea line and 25-pound lead; the two last times a smaller line, but same weight of lead."
Answer by Kennedy: "At the one o'clock a. m. casting the casting line was used. I can't say as to the other castings."

No further questions were proposed to these, or any of these, thirteen witnesses. Their answers were read to them and by them affirmed, and they then withdrew from the court.

The court then adjourned to tomorrow at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge. Advocate.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
December 13, 1877.



The court met at 10.30 a. m., according to adjournment. Present all the members and the judge-advocate.

The record of yesterday's proceedings was read and approved.

Professor Greene was then allowed, at his own request, to amend his fourth answer, on page 28, by substituting the Word, "somewhat" for the word "considerably," and by adding to his answer the words, "in the absence of recent observations." He then retired.

The next witness called was THOS. S. NEGUS, who was duly sworn by the president of the court and cautioned, and was questioned and answered as follows, viz:

1st question by the judge-advocate. What is your name, place of business, and occupation?
Answer. Thos. S. Negus; New York City; of the firm of T. S. & J. D. Negus, manufacturers of marine chronometers and dealers in sextants, &c.

2d question by the judge-advocate. Have you heard of the loss of the United States steamer Huron, on the night of November 23 and 24, 1877, on the North Carolina coast?
Answer. Yes, sir.

3d question by the judge-advocate. State if you know of the loss of other vessels under similar circumstances on that coast.
Answer. I am aware of the loss of the wooden side-wheel steamer Vera Cruz, commanded by Captain Murray, lost some months before the war broke out. I think the loss was in the fall of 1860. She was built in New York expressly for the Vera Cruz trade, to establish a new line, and was first-class in all respects. Captain Murray had previously been in charge of steamships running between New York and Charleston, S. C. His character was good, so far as I know, and his reputation for skill was good.

The steamship Eagle, a wooden side-wheeler, built in New York for the Havana trade, commanded by Captain Greene, was lost in March, 1870, on Body Island. Captain Greene's reputation was excellent, and he was of long experience on that coast and in that trade.

 The steamship General Sherman was lost during the war at ,or near, Body island light. I can't say whether she was a wooden steamer, nor whether she had side-wheels.

The iron screw-ship Oriental, Captain Tuzo, was lost May 8, 1862. She was a new steamer, ten months to a year old, of American build, and was bound from New York to Port Royal, with troops. My impression is that her compasses were corrected by local magnets. I know that those in her sister steamer Matauras were. The captain's character was that of an able and skillful commander, up to the loss of the ship.

The steamer Ariadne, I think wooden, and built at Mystic, was lost in February, 1874. She was commanded by Captain Doane, and bound to Galveston, or some Gulf port. She was one of the New York and Galveston line of steamers. Captain Doane's reputation was excellent up to the time of her loss, and he was supposed to be thoroughly acquainted with the navigation of this coast for a number of years.

I have impressions of other losses, but can't recall them distinctly.

4th question by the judge-advocate. Have you heard that there have been recently observed on that coast currents of unusual character?
Answer. I have recently heard that there have been unusually strong westerly currents in that vicinity, between Hatteras and Barnegat.

5th question by judge-advocate. To what cause have the losses of which you speak been attributed by the captains of the lost vessels?
Answer. To an unusually strong westerly current. Captain Greene told me on his return from the wreck that he steered on the voyage when he lost his ship on precisely the same course which he had pursued on many voyages before, and with the same compasses, and that he had taken a cast of the lead at from fifteen to thirty minutes before his vessel struck, and that he believed that the true depth of water was not reported to him. None of the ships were forced in shore by stress of weather, so far as I ever heard.

6th question by judge-advocate. Was there a light-house on Body Island when the ships you named were lost?
Answer. That light was put out early during the war, and remained so some years after the war. Some of the captains attributed the loss of their vessels to the absence of that light. I was well acquainted with all those captains, and our firm had supplied their ships with charts and nautical instruments, and thus came to hear of these facts.

No more questions were asked of this witness. The record of his evidence was read to him and he approved the same and withdrew.

The next witnesses called and examined and duly sworn by the president of the court were seven survivors of the crew of the Huron, who gave their names and rating on that ship, as follows, viz:

WILLIAM McHUGH, ordinary seaman.
JOHN COLLINS, captain of the forecastle.
JOS. MURPHY, ship's cook.
PATRICK KANE, ordinary seaman.
SAMUEL CLARK, second-class fireman.
PETER DUFF, second-class fireman.
EDWARD ARENBURG, private marine.

Having thus stated their names and ratings under Oath, they were examined and made to answer, as follows, viz:

1st question by judge-advocate. Have you any complaint to make against any of the surviving officers and men of the Huron on the occasion of her shipwreck?
To this question all these witnesses answered, "No, sir."

2d question by judge-advocate. Have you anything to lay to the charge of any Officer or man with regard to the loss of that ship?
To this question all these witnesses answered, "No, sir."

3d question by judge-advocate. Did any of you assist in heaving the lead on the Huron on the 23d or 24th of November last?
To this question all but Patrick Kane and John Collins answered, "No, sir."

Collins said that he did, from off the bridge, assist in heaving the lead at nine, eleven, and twelve o'clock, night; that these casts were not up and down; and that the quartermaster reported them as 14, 13, and 12 fathoms, and does not know whether the quartermaster made any allowance.

Kane said he helped in three castings, between twelve and one o'clock, night, which were reported as 13, 10, and 7 fathoms, and were not up and down; that at those times the ship was perfectly still, the engines not moving and the ship hove up in the wind; that the captain of the after-guard, Charles Keightly, gave these reports (and made an allowance of seven fathoms for drift) to the officer of the deck. "I heard him say so. He was not saved."

4th question by judge-advocate. Did any of you see the coasting lead-line marked?
Answer. "No, sir," by all except Collins, who said he had seen the signal quartermaster mark the deep-sea, the coasting, and the lead lines, in New York just before sailing the last time.

5th question by judge-advocate. Was any officer present, to see that the soundings were correctly given by the quartermaster?
Answer. "No, sir," by all but Collins and Kane, both of whom state that Master Wight, the officer of the deck from eight to twelve o'clock, and Master French, from twelve to one o'clock, were so present.

6th question by judge-advocate. Were any of you at the wheel between twelve o'clock noon and the grounding of the ship?
Answer by all. "No, sir."

7th question by judge-advocate. Do you, any of you, know personally the course of the Huron down the coast?
Answer by all but Patrick Kane. "No, sir."

Kane answered, "Yes, sir; south by east three fourths east."

8th question by judge-advocate. How long after the last cast did the Huron strike?
No one answered this question but Patrick Kane, who said, "I should say about twenty minutes."

9th question by judge-advocate. Was the vessel kept on her course when her sails flapped?
Answer by all. "We can't say."

10th question by judge-advocate. When did any of you last see the light on Currituck?
Answer by Collins. "About twelve o'clock midnight, well on the starboard quarter as I went below. It was a red and flash light."

11th question by the judge-advocate. After the Huron struck was any thing omitted which it was possible to do to save the vessel or the lives of the men?
Answer by all. "No, sir."

12th question by [the] judge-advocate. After the grounding, what was the conduct of the officers and crew?
Answer by all. "Perfectly good."

13th question by [the] judge-advocate. Were the captain and navigator frequently on deck during the night that the Huron went ashore?
None of the witnesses could any, except McHugh, who said, "I saw them both on the quarter-deck between 4 o'clock and 6 o'clock p. m.

No further question was proposed to these seven witnesses. The record of their evidence was read to them and by them declared correct.

They then withdrew from the court.

The judge-advocate then read to the court the following paper by him subscribed, viz:


COURT OF INQUIRY,
NAVY DEPARTMENT,
December 13, 1877—1.30 p. m.



The judge-advocate, on his construction of the precept, will, unless otherwise directed by the court, summon and examine as witnesses in this inquiry the various constructors, engineers, and equipment officers who have had anything to do with the Huron's build, machinery, and equipments from the time she was delivered by the contractor to the government officers until she left New York in November last.

Very respectfully,
JOHN A. BOLLES,
Judge-Advocate,

Vice-Admiral S. C. ROWAN, President, and the other members of the court of inquiry.
The court, after hearing this paper and deliberating thereon, decided not to have the witnesses therein referred to summoned, because, in the judgment of the court, the court is instructed to ascertain the cause or causes of the loss of the Huron by examining the surviving officers and men, and was not directed to inquire into her construction. "There is, " as the court affirms, "an abundance of proof that the ship was a strong, seaworthy ship, and well-found in every particular."

Having thus decided the motion submitted by the judge-advocate, the court adjourned to to-morrow, Friday, December 14,1877, at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
December 14, 1877.



The court met at 10.30 a. m., according to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.

The record of yesterday's proceeding was read and approved.

There being no more witnesses and no further evidence that the court desired to have introduced, the court was cleared for deliberation, and, after careful examination of the foregoing evidence and of the instructions contained in the precept, agreed upon and adopted the following

REPORT:

Agreeably to the order of the Navy Department, dated November 30, 1877, the court has diligently "inquired into the cause or causes which led to, and the particulars of, the grounding and loss of the United States steamer Huron, Commander G. P. Ryan then commanding, on the coast of the State of North Carolina, and into the facts and incidents connected therewith."

The court has also carefully inquired "whether the instructions to officers commanding vessels of war on approaching land or shoals were observed, and especially whether paragraph 145, page 51, paragraph 56, page 41, and paragraph 4, page 58, Navy Regulations of A. D. 1876, were in all respects complied with."

From the evidence in the case, it appears that soundings were regularly taken every hour during the night of the 23d and 24th of November last.

There is a discrepancy in the evidence as to the depth of water as reported by the witnesses. From this discrepancy the court is unable to find what soundings were actually reported, and, consequently, how far the indications of the lead would have served to keep the vessel off the coast. The court finds that some of the witnesses report the soundings as being up and down, and others that there was considerable drift.

The court finds that the deviation of the compasses was carefully established by Benjamin F. Greene, professor of mathematics, United States Navy, who is attached to the Bureau of Navigation and in charge of the compasses of the Navy, at Hampton Roads, in February, 1876: and that these deviations were furnished to the commanding officer of the Huron in a tabulated form for each point of the compass [for horizontal and heeling variations.]* These, together with the variation of the compass, should have made the direction of the Huron's keel south-southeast quarter east when steering a course south by east three-quarters east.

The court finds that with these compasses the ship made a cruise through the Windward Islands to Aspinwall and to Mobile and to Hampton Roads; that the navigating-officer made observations for local deviations in lower latitudes and again in the harbor of New York in November last, after the ship came out of dock; that the Huron was inspected in Hampton Roads in November, 1877, by a board of officers, ordered by Rear-Admiral Trenchard, Commander-in-chief of the North Atlantic Squadron, to which the Huron was attached, which board reported the ship perfect in all her equipments and stores, and in good condition and ready for sea in all respects; that the Huron sailed from Hampton Roads on the 23d of November, 1877, by permission asked by signal of Rear-Admiral Trenchard by Commander Ryan, and was not ordered to proceed to sea without regard to weather by any authority whatever; that there was no weather-signal at Hampton Roads; that she took her departure at 1.25 p. m., Cape Henry light bearing west by south at the estimated distance of five to seven miles; that the course given by the standard compass was south by east three-quarters east, as testified by Ensign Young; that Master Conway gives the course south by east quarter east, differing from Ensign Young half point to the south; that Ensign Young's course is corroborated by Patrick Kane, ordinary seaman, who states that be looked at the standard compass three times while stationed at the life-buoy, and was certain that south by east three-quarter east was the course steered then; that the ship was steered on this course under reefed sails and steam, close-hauled, logging five to six knots, with forty to fifty pounds of steam, and three and a half holes of the throttle-valve open; moderate to fresh wind from the [southward of east],* moderate weather and hazy, with considerable sea; that the bearing, by standard compass, of Currituck light was taken at 6.45 p. m., estimated distance seven to eight miles; that this light was in sight at midnight, bearing sharp on the quarter; that the lookouts were stationed and vigilant; that nothing was omitted which could be done to save life and property after the vessel grounded; that the conduct of the officers and crew was admirable—cool and obedient to orders to the last; that officers and crew testify that they have no complaint to make against any of the surviving officers and crew of the Huron, and nothing to lay to the charge of any officer or man on the occasion of her loss or with regard thereto; and that she grounded and was lost about eight miles north of Body Island, as indicated on the chart attached to this report, soon after 1 o'clock a. m., November 24,1877.

* Interlineation.—J. A. B.


The court finds that after the grounding of the vessel the sea swept so furiously over her, that all attempts to use the remaining boats were useless, some having been swept away or disabled before they could be used; that attempts to throw over the guns were made, but in vain, as the men were swept by the sea from the falls.

The concurrent testimony of all the officers and men is that the Huron was, at the time of sailing from Hampton Roads and until her grounding, thoroughly strong, staunch, sea-worthy, and well found. It is doubted by some of the witnesses whether she bilged under the heavy pressure to which she was subjected in driving up to six feet water, and one witness states that "it was a wonder to all that any ship should stand" such thumping "so well."

One witness also states that as she bumped her bottom buckled upward, and afterward, to all appearances, resumed each time its original form.

The engines performed well throughout, and only finally stopped when, apparently, the accumulation of sand under the stern and the deviation from line of the shaft stopped the revolving of the propeller.

The court find that paragraphs of the Navy Regulations of 1876, No. 145, page 51, No. 56, page 41, and No. 4, page 58, were complied with in all respects, and that the regulation in regard to bending chains refers, the court apprehends, only to vessels coming from sea; yet the court thinks it unwise and unseamanlike to unbend the chains in making what was intended to be a coasting voyage. The grounding of the Huron, however, is in no degree attributable to this error, for after she was on shore, it was too late for the anchors to be of use.

Every officer in command of a ship is in supreme command. It is he who is responsible for her course; it is he who is to see that proper allowances are made for every cause which may deflect the vessel from her intended direction ; and it is he who is responsible for any accident which may occur [from an error]* in her navigation.

The court is therefore of opinion that Commander Ryan is primarily responsible for the grounding and loss of the Huron. The navigating-officer is also responsible for not taking bearings to Currituck light after passing it and while it remained in sight, which, by showing the direction from a fixed point, would have established the Huron's proximity to land. It was his duty to take such bearings, even though not ordered to do so by the commanding officer.

The court does not find that any other officer or man is in any way responsible for the loss of the Huron, except, possibly, that the officers of the deck may not have personally inspected the soundings and seen that the depths reported were the perpendicular depths obtained.

The court, on examining the chart which is returned herewith as part of this record [and which is a duplicate of the one used on the Huron,]* that the soundings off this portion of the coast are so irregular, that depths less than twenty fathoms can give no reliable information in regard to position or distance from the shore.

In the opinion of the court, as before stated, the United States steamer Huron was a well-built, staunch, and sea-worthy vessel. Her engines performed well under all circumstances. There was no stress of wind or weather; and she proceeded to sea at the discretion of her commanding officer.

The requirements of sounding and taking bearings seem to have been observed [except that no back bearings appear to have been taken, as

"Interlineation.

has already been stated, and]* [but]+ the court does not consider that a seamanlike attention and precision were given to either the soundings or the bearings taken.

The court is of the opinion that no sufficient allowance was made for the inset toward the coast, and that the course steered was, from error of judgment, too much to the southward.

It is the opinion of the court that with due caution and by carefully taken and plotted bearings of Currituck light, the close proximity of the Huron to the coast would have been made manifest; and, further-more, that it was unseamanlike to carry sail on a lee-shore, those sails lifting, and the natural desire to keep the sails full probably inducing the quartermaster to run to leeward of his course, and the lifting sails having a tendency to drag the vessel to leeward.

The foregoing report, findings, and opinion having been agreed on and adopted by the court, the court, to enable the judge advocate to make up the record, adjourned to to-morrow, Saturday, December 15, at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
December 15,1877.



The court met as per adjournment, and the judge-advocate not having been able to complete the record, it adjourned to Monday next, December 17, at 10.30 a. m.

JOHN A. BOLLES.
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Monday, December 17,1877.



The court met according to adjournment. Present, all the members and the judge-advocate.

Friday's and Saturday's record was read and approved, with the following amendments, viz: Three words interlined on page 135 [p. 34], and four erased on same page; the words and figures, "56, page 41," erased on page 132 [p. 33]; the words "for horizontal and heeling variations," inserted on [p. 34]; the words "from an error," inserted on page 139 [p. 35 ]; two (?) lines inserted on page 140, [p. 35J; one word erased and one (?) line inserted on pages 140,141 [p. 35]; as indicated by the initials J. A. B. in the margins of those pages.

The following sentence was adopted as the concluding passage in the finding and opinion of the court, viz:

"In conclusion, the court would state that the evidence shows that many well-found merchant-steamers, wooden and iron, commanded by experienced navigators of our coast, have been wrecked near the point on which the Huron was lost."

As thus amended, the court adopted the report.

S. C. ROWAN,
Vice-Admiral, and President.

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge Advocate.

* Interlineation, + Interlineation, but erased.


A.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., November 30,1877.



By virtue of the authority contained in section 1624 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, article 55, for the government of the Navy, I hereby appoint Vice-Admiral S. C. Rowan president, and Rear-Admiral John Rodgers and Commodore K. H. Wyman members, and John A. Bolles judge-advocate, of a court of inquiry, which is ordered to convene at the Navy Department, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, on Wednesday, the 5th day of December next, for the purpose of inquiring into the cause or causes which led to, and the particulars of, the grounding and loss of the United States steamer Huron, Commander G. P. Ryan at that time commanding, on the coast of the State of North Carolina, United States of America, in about 35° 54' north latitude, and in about 75° 34' west longitude, upon the 24th day of November, A. D. 1877, and into all the facts and incidents connected therewith.

The court will carefully inquire whether the instructions to officers commanding vessels of war, on approaching land or shoals, were observed, especially whether paragraph 145, page 51, paragraph 56, page 41, and paragraph 4, page 58, Navy Regulations of A. D. 1876, were in all respects complied with.

The court is directed to give an opinion as to who are, or who were, in its judgment, responsible for the grounding and loss of the United States steamer Huron at the time and place before mentioned in this precept; and it will also give an opinion, based upon such testimony as may be elicited from the examination of surviving officers and men of the United States steamer Huron, as to whether all practicable means were taken to save the ship, and the lives of the officers and crew, after the vessel had grounded; and as to the seaworthiness, or otherwise, of the United States steamer Huron upon the 24th day of November, 1877, the day upon which that vessel sailed from Hampton Roads; and also whether the United States steamer Huron was ordered to proceed to sea, without regard to the state of the weather, by any person superior in rank or in authority to the late Commander G. P. Ryan.

The court will be governed in its investigation by the "Orders, Regulations, and Instructions for the Administration of Law and Justice in the United States Navy," issued by the Navy Department of the United States April 15, 1870.

Given under my hand at the Navy Department of the United States, this 30th day of November, A. D. 1877.

R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.

The following are true copies.
Attest: JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge Advocate.

B.




NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 30,1877.



SIR : I transmit herewith a precept for a naval court of inquiry, of which you are appointed president; ordered to convene at the Navy Department, Washington, D. C., on Wednesday, the 5th day of December next.

Very respectfully,

R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.

Vice-Admiral S. C. ROWAN, U. S. N.,
Washington, D. C.


C.




NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 30, 1877.



Sir: A naval court of inquiry, of which you are appointed a member, is ordered to convene at the Navy Department, Washington, D. C., on the 5th day of December, 1877, at which time and place you will appear and report yourself to the presiding officer of the court.

I am, respectfully, yours,
R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.

Rear-Admiral JOHN RODGERS, U. S. N.,
Superintendent Naval Observatory, Washington, D. C.


D.




NAVY DEPARTMENT,
November 30, 1877.



SIR: A naval court of inquiry, of which you are appointed a member, is ordered to convene at the Navy Department, Washington, D. C., on the 5th day of December, 1877, at which time and place you will appear and report yourself to the presiding officer of the court.

I am, respectfully, yours,

R. W. THOMPSON.
Secretary of the Navy.
Commodore R. H. WYMAN
Superintendent Hydrographic Office, Washington, D. C.


E.




NAVY DEPARTMENT,
November 30, 1877.



SIR: A naval court of inquiry, of which you are appointed judge-advocate, is ordered to convene at the Navy Department, Washington, D. C., on the 5th day of December, 1877, at which time and place you will appear and report yourself to the presiding officer of the court.

I am, respectfully, yours,

R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.

Hon. JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Navy Department, Washington, D. C.


The foregoing papers, marked B, C, D, and E, are true copies of the originals.

Attest:

JOHN A. BOLLES,
Naval Solicitor, Judge-Advocate
DECEMBER 5,1877.


F.




UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., December 5,1877.



I hereby certify that the annexed are true copies from the records and files of this department:

Letter of the Secretary of the Navy to Commander Ryan, October 13, 1877.
Telegram from the Secretary of the Navy to Rear-Admiral Trenchard, November 16, 1877.
Telegram from the Secretary of the Navy to Rear-Admiral Trenchard, November 17, 1877.
Telegram from Rear-Admiral Trenchard to the Secretary of Navy, November 17, 1877.
Letter from Rear-Admiral Trenchard to the Secretary of the Navy, November 19, 1877.
Telegrams from the commandant of the navy-yard, Norfolk, to the Secretary of the Navy, November 19 and November 20, 1877, and telegram from Rear-Admiral Trenchard to the Secretary of the Navy, November 23,1877.

JNO. W, HOGG,
Chief Clerk.

Be it known that John W. Hogg, whose name is signed to the above certificate, is now, and was at the time of so signing, chief clerk in the Navy Department, and that all faith and credit are due to his official attestations as such.

In testimony whereof I have hereto subscribed my name and caused the seal of the Navy Department of the United States to be affixed, at the city of Washington, this fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and second.

[SEAL.]
E. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, October 13, 1877.



SIR: On the 15th November proximo, or as soon after as the Huron, under your command, is ready for sea, you will proceed to Havana, island of Cuba, whence carrying your longitude from the determined position of the Mora, 82? 21' 30" west, you will make a reconnaissance of the coast of Cuba, determining the doubtful points in positions, in coast-lines and in outlying dangers, in accordance with the summary showing the discrepancies on standard charts, &c., with references and notes for your guidance, furnished by the Hydrographic Office to the Bureau of Navigation by direction of this department, and already forwarded you by express.

The vessel under your command is still attached to the North Atlantic station and performing this special service in connection with those of a cruiser. You will therefore keep the commander-in-chief fully advised, and in advance, of your movements, as far as possible, as well as this department and the Bureau of Navigation of the progress of the scientific work in which you are engaged.

Very respectfully,

R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.

Commander G. P. RYAN,
Commanding United States Steamer Huron,
Navy-Yard, New York.


[Telegram.]


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 16, 1877.



Rear-Admiral TRENCHARD, United States Navy,
Fortress Monroe, Virginia:

Department would like to communicate with Huron before she sails, if not too late.

R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.


[Telegram.]


NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 17, 1877.



Rear-Admiral TRENCHARD,
Hampton Roads, Virginia:

Let Huron wait arrival of draughtsman, to go out in her.

R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.


[Telegram.]


FORTR. MONROE,
November 17, 1877.



To Hon. R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of Navy, Washington, D. C.:

Huron arrived from New York this p. m.

S. D. TRENCHARD,
Rear-Admiral, Commanding.


[Telegram.]


FORT. MONROE, VIRGINIA,
November 17, 1877—8.15 p. m.



To Hon. R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

The Huron will be detained to await the pleasure of the department.

S. D. TRENCHARD.
Rear-Admiral.


[N0. 164.J
FLAG-SHIP POWHATAN,
Hampton Roads, Virginia,
November 19, 1877.



SIR: The department's telegrams of November 17, concerning the movements of the United States steamer Huron, have been received. She will await the arrival of the draughtsman.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

STEPHEN D. TRENCHARD,
Rear-Admiral, Commanding United States Naval
Force on North Atlantic Station.

Hon. R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


[Telegram.]


PORTSMOUTH, VA.,
November 19, 1877. (Received at 10.34 a. m.)



To Hon. SECRETARY OF THE NAVY,
Washington, D. C.:

The Huron arrived at this yard last Saturday evening for coal.

J. BLAKELEY CREIGHTON,
Commodore and Commandant.

[Telegram.]


PORTSMOUTH, VA.,
November 20, 1877. (Received at 3.28 p. m.)



To Hon. SECRETARY OF THE NAVY,
Washington, D. C. :

The Huron, having finished coaling, left the yard this afternoon.

J. BLAKELEY CREIGHTON,
Commodore and Commandant.


[Telegram.]


FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA,
November 23, 1877. (Received at 11.40 a.m.)



To Hon. R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.;

The Huron sailed for Havana ten this morning.

S. D. TRENCHARD,
Rear-Admiral.


G.



UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., December 5, 1877.



I hereby certify that the annexed is a true copy of the report of a maximum steam trial of the United States steamer Huron, of four hours' duration, on the Hudson River, dated October 30, 1877.

JOHN W. HOGG,
Chief Clerk.


Be it known that John W. Hogg, whose name is signed to the above certificate, is now, and was at the time of so signing, chief clerk in the Navy Department, and that full faith and credit are due to all his official attestations as such.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the seal of the Navy Department of the United States to be affixed at the city of Washington this fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and second.

[SEAL.]
R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.


Report of a maximum steam trial of the United States steamer Huron.


NAVY-YARD, NEW YORK,
October 30, 1877.



SIR: In obedience to your order dated October 4, 1877, we have made a maximum steam trial of the United States steamer Huron, of four hours' duration, on the Hudson River.

The trial was made on the 29th instant, commencing directly opposite Thirty-seventh street, New York, at ten minutes past eleven o'clock a. m., and after a run up the river as far as Irvington, was ended at thirty-two minutes past three p. m., at the same point whence the start was made.

Two stoppages were made during this time; the first was at 12.16 p. m., for twelve minutes, to pick up a man who fell overboard, and the second was for seven minutes, at 12.59 p. m., in making the turn at Irvington.

The vessel was propelled by steam alone. The tide was slack low water when the trial commenced, and running strong flood when it ended, with a velocity estimated by the pilot and board as equal to two and one-half knots per hour. The wind was aft going up the river, and ahead on the return. Its force was from three to four. The river was smooth. The draught of the vessel was carefully taken at the commencement and end of the trial. It was eleven feet and six inches forward, and thirteen feet and seven inches aft. The bunkers were full of coal, and the vessel in all respects ready for sea. The speed recorded was obtained by Massey's patent log, and observations of bearings on shore. The maximum speed obtained by the ship-log was nine and three-quarter knots per hour. The total distance run, as recorded by the Massey log, during the trial was forty and one-half knots. Average speed, ten knots of 6,080 feet per hour, by Massey's log and the observation of bearings on shore.

The vessel came out the dry-dock about two months ago, and its iron hull is only tolerably clean. All the furnaces in the five boilers were used during the trial, and the steam-jet was used most of the time. The condition of the fires was carefully observed by the board at the commencement of the trial, and they were left in as nearly the same condition as possible at its close.

The coal used was anthracite of good quality. The total amount consumed was 8,608 pounds; total amount of refuse remaining, 590 pounds. The per cent. of refuse was seven. The maximum indicated horse-power of the high-pressure engine during the trial was 325, and of the low-pressure engine during the same time, 350.65. The average indicated horse-power, during the trial, of the high-pressure engine was 300.4; of the low-pressure engine, 304.90. Total average indicated horse-power of both engines, 605.30. Average amount of coal consumed per indicated horse-power was 3.55 pounds for each. This large expenditure was caused by feeding and blowing to stop boilers from foaming. The boilers were tight and their appendants were in good order.

The auxiliary feed-pumps had to be used at frequent intervals on account of the boilers foaming. Near the close of the trial, a tube commenced to leak in No. 3 boiler.

The indicators used were those belonging to the vessel, known as the Richards patent. Their springs were tested and found correct before they were used. The scale of the high-pressure indicator is forty pounds per inch, and that of the low-pressure indicator is twenty pounds per inch. Diagrams were taken every fifteen minutes during the trial.

The performance of the machinery was entirely satisfactory in every respect. A copy of the steam-log and copies of all the indicator diagrams are forwarded herewith. The power of the screw to back the vessel was carefully tested, and found to be entirely satisfactory. When the ship was going at full speed ahead, the order was given to back the engines, and the ship was going astern in one minute and fifteen seconds. From a state of rest, stern-board was obtained by backing the engines for fifteen seconds.

Very respectfully,
E. D. ROBIE,
Chief Engineer, United States Navy.

E. J. WHITTAKER,
Chief Engineer, United States Navy.

E. M. OLSON,
Chief Engineer, United States Navy.

Commodore J. W. A. NICHOLSON, U. S. N. .
Commandant Navy-Yard, New York.


Letter from Commodore J. B. Creighton, Commandant Navy-Yard, Norfolk.


UNITED STATES NAVY YARD,
Norfolk, December 15, 1877.



SIR: I have the honor to submit to the department the accompanying report, &c., from Lieut. Commander James G. Green, United States Navy, relative to the duties he was sent to perform in connection with the wreck of the Huron.

It is a source of great gratification that he and his party discharged their duties with such zeal, fidelity, and thoroughness; and I respectfully recommend Lieutenant-Commander Green, his officers and men, to the favorable notice and consideration of the department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. BLAKELEY CREIGHTON,
Commodore, Commanding.

Hon. K. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy
Navy Department, Washington, D. C.


Report of Lieut. Commander J. G. Green,


UNITED STATES NAVY-YARD,
Norfolk, Va., December 14, 1877.



SIR: In obedience to orders from Capt. W. T. Truxton, United States Navy, acting commandant of this station, dated November 27, 1877, I proceeded to Nag's Head in charge of a party consisting of Master Chas. A. Clark, United States Navy, First Lieut. F. H. Harrington, United States Marine Corps, and Assistant Surgeon George Arthur, United States Navy, with thirteen sailors and marines. On my arrival there, I proceeded immediately to the scene of the wreck of the United States steamer Huron, and found the bodies of two men (Carson and Armstrong) that had just been brought on shore from the wreck. I had them buried there, and, learning at the same time that other bodies had been found further north, I left Lieutenant Harrington, Assistant Surgeon Arthur, and the marines at the wreck to take charge of anything of value that might come on shore, and started with Mr. Clark and five sailors, survivors from the Huron, up the coast. As I proceeded up the beach, I found bodies scattered along, from one to seven miles apart, for a distance of forty miles from the scene of the wreck.

I examined, in all, the bodies of eight officers and seventy-five men, identifying eight officers and sixty-one men.

All the bodies were buried at the poles of the government telegraph lines, the poles being numbered systematically, the number of miles from Norfolk being designated by numeral and the poles in each mile by Roman characters.

Having examined all the bodies that I could hear of as having come on shore, I reported the fact by telegraph to Captain Truxton and to the honorable Secretary of the Navy, and returned to Nag's Head to await further instructions.

All the bodies recovered were in an advanced state of decomposition, rendering metallic cases necessary for transportation.

Only six of the bodies could be identified by their features, the others by marks on their bodies and clothes.

On the 11th instant, I received a telegram from the honorable Secretary of the Navy, authorizing me to return to Norfolk with the whole party. I left immediately, arriving here on the 12th, bringing the body of Charles Chapman (paymaster's yeoman), taken from the wreck by the divers.

I feel indebted to the members of the Palmer Island, Currituck, and Currituck Light-House Clubs, and particularly to the keeper of the Currituck Beach light-house (Mr. Burroughs and family), for their kindness and hospitality to myself and party.

Mr. William T. Brinkley, of Nag's Head, and Messrs. Baum and Payner, of Currituck, did everything in their power to assist me, as well as the keepers of life-saving stations Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

Before closing my report I would respectfully call your favorable attention to the conduct of Master Charles A. Clark, United States Navy. He was ever zealous, vigilant, and indefatigable in the discharge of his laborious duties while assisting me during my stay on the beach ; and also my thanks are due to Lieut. F. H. Harrington, United States Marine Corps, and Assistant Surgeon Arthur, for their untiring efforts to assist me in every way in their power.

The marines rendered efficient service in patrolling the beach night and day, for a distance of seven miles north and south of the wreck. The sailors who were with me did their disagreeable duty of recovering and identifying the bodies cheerfully, under all circumstances, particularly Samuel Clark (0. S. E. F.), by whom most of the bodies were identified, he having marked a great many with India ink and recognized the mark wherever found.

I inclose [sic] a list of the graves, also a chart giving the location of each grave.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. G. GREEN
Lieutenant-Commander, United States Navy.

Commodore J. BLAKELEY CREIGHTON, U. S. N.,
Commanding Naval Station, Norfolk, Va.

List and location of graves of officers and men lost on the United States steamer Huron, November 24, 1877.


      LIST OF OFFICERS.

Commander Geo. P. Ryan 69-IV Passed Assistant Paymaster C. S. Sanders 65-XXI
Lieut. S. A. Simons 71-XIX Captain's Clerk Gillett 69-VII
Lieut. L. G. Palmer 67-V Cadet-Engineer E. W. Loomis 70-VI
Ensign F.W. Danner 75-IV Surgeon Geo. S. Culbreth 66-XI

      CREW.

Armstrong Nag's Head. Jackson, Green 67-XII
Burns, Frank 71 -V Jones, George 64-XXII
Brophy 68-XIV, N Keatly, Charles 77-XXV
Brown, Thomas 68-VI Laughlin, Thos. 63-XII
Buder, Wm. 62-III Martin, J. 75-IX
Clark, Jos. 70-VI Morris, M. 76-VIII
Coffee 68-XXI Malcolm, George 68-VI
Curry, John 67-XXII McCourt, Henry 65-IV
Carey, Alonzo 67-XII McLane, Charles 63-XXIV
Childs, Alex. M. 67-V McCullum, Frank 62-XXVI
Carroll, James 65-XVIII, N. 4 Murray, Alex 62-V
Chadwick, Wm. 65-XVIII, N. 3. Monroe 66-XXVI
Collins, Patrick 65-XVIII, N. 1 Mahone, John 57-V
Clayton, D.M. 52-XX Olliver, Adam 74-XIX
Cooper 75-VI Overbaugh, Acman 70-IV
Chapman, Charles Nag's Head Pierce, Franklin 75-XIX
Carson, Charles Nag's Head Price, G. W. 71-XIX
Donnelly, Ewd. 65-XXI Pooler, Charles 70-XVII
Davis, Alma 59-XXVI Pine, Edward 61-IX
Emerson, H. F. 79-V Rogers, Bernard 82-II
Entwistle, W. S. 66-XV Roberts, George 83-II
Feusse, Herman 71-I Rorick, Frederick 62-XXII
Green, Mathew 53-XI Stanton, Wm. 72-XVI
Harrity, Hugh 68-XXIV Saylor, Albert 71-XXV
Hodge, Willam 68-XVI Snyder, Charles 66-XV
Hanlon, Joseph 67-XVII Sullivan 63-XXVIII
Hayes, John 65-XVIII Stringer, David 63-XIII
Hans, Conrad 62-XIX Toomey, John J. 62-XXI
Hamilton, George 52-XX Tiemas, John 61-IX
Ingraham, Robt. 71-XIV    
     

   BODIES NOT IDENTIFIED.


Unknown (leg and arm) 79-0
Unknown (ward-room boy) 65-XVIII
Unknown (marine) 76-XXV
Unknown (colored) 65-VIII
Unknown 76-VIII
Unknown 63-X
Unknown (No. 86, leg, foot, arm; seaman) 70-VI, N
Ward-room steward 70-VI, S
Unknown (marine) 62-III
Unknown (marine) 66-XXV
Unknown 61-IX
Unknown 61-IV
Unknown (A. C. Arms; leg, foot, arm} 65-XX
Unknown (colored) 67-XV

Officers identified 9
Men identified 61
Men not identified 14
Total 83


Respectfully submitted.

JAMES G. GREEN,
Lieutenant-Commander, United States Navy.


   Officers saved from the wreck of the United States steamer Huron.

Master William P. Convey [Conway]. Assistant Engineer Robert G. Denig.
Ensign Lucien Young. Cadet Engineer Edgar T. Warburton.

   List of officers lost on the Huron.

Commander Geo. P. Ryan. Surgeon George S. Culbreth.
Lieutenant Sidney A. Simons. Passed Assistant Paymaster C. N. Sanders.
Lieutenant L. G. Palmer. Chief Engineer E. M. Olson.
Master J. M. Wight. Cadet Engineer E. N. Loomis.
Master W. S. French. Draughtsman John J. Evans.
Ensign F. W. Danner. Captain's Clerk Gillett.

      Enlisted men of the Huron saved.

Edward Aaronburg Private marine [TN-Listed twice]
Harry W. Avery Second-class fireman.
W. W. Brooks Second-class painter.
Daniel Burgan Ordinary seaman.
Samuel Clark Second-class fireman.
John Collins Captain forecastle.
Thomas Carley Landsman.
Peter Duffy Second-class fireman.
Michael Durkin Landsman.
Daniel Devoy First-class fireman.
Denis Deasey Cooper.
Frederick Hoffman Ordinary seaman.
W. L. Houseman Carpenter.
John E. Holland Master at arms.
Joseph Hynes Master at arms.
Patrick Kane Ordinary seaman.
Michael Kennedy Landsman.
August Lindguist Coxswain.
Joseph Murphy Ship's cook.
Frank May Landsman.
William McHugh Ordinary seaman.
Harry Nelson Landsman.
Dom. O'Donnell Ordinary seaman.
Thomas Price Landsman.
J. J. Robertson Ordinary seaman.
Robert Sampson Landsman.
E. P. Trainor Seaman.
Michael Trainor Captain of guard.
FrankWatts First-class fireman.
Antonio Williams Seaman

      List of men lost in the late United States steamer Huron.

Armstrong, Thomas   Seaman.
Barrett, Wm. L.   Second-class fireman.
Boyle, William   Bayman
Brown, Thomas M.   Second-class fireman.
Burns, Frank   Seaman.
Buder, Wm.   Landsman.
Banks, Patrick   Landsman.
Carey, A. W.   Landsman.
Carson, Alfred   Machinist.
Carson, Chas.   Landsman.
Chadwick, Wm.   Quartermaster.
Chapman, Chas.   Paymaster's yeoman.
Childs, Alex. M.   Chief gunner's mate.
Clayton, David   First-class fireman.
Collins, Patrick   First-class fireman.
Cooper, James   Ship's corporal.
Cooper, R. J.   Landsman.
Couch, James   Captain forecastle.
Curry, John   Second-class fireman.
Clark, Jos. N.   Landsman.
Davies, Alma   Baker.
Donnally, Edward   First-class fireman.
Emerson, H. F.   Quartermaster.
Entwistle, W. S.   Engineer's yeoman.
Fuess, Herman   Cook's mate.
Green, Matthew   Chief boatswain's mate.
Green, William   Yeoman.
Hahn, Conrad H.   First-class fireman,
Hayes, John   Ordinary seaman.
Hayes, Matthias   Wardroom cook.
Hamilton, George   Machinist.
Harris, Elias   Landsman.
Harrity, Hugh   Boiler-maker.
Hodge, Wm.   Ordinary seaman.
Ingham, Robt.   Boatswain's mate.
Jackson, Green   Coal-heaver.
Jones, Geo.   Wardroom officer's cook.
Keithley, Chas. W.   Captain afterguard.
Loughran, Thos.   Quarter-gunner.
Monroe, ———   Apothecary.
Mahon, John   Bugler.
Malcolm, George   Machinist.
Martin, Joseph   Cabin steward.
McCallum, Frank   Quartermaster.
McCourt, Henry   Machinist.
McFarlane, Thos.   Coppersmith.
McLance, Chas.   Seaman.
Merrill, Jno. M   Chief quartermaster.
Millar, Geo. W.   Cabin cook.
Overbaugh, Acman   Landsman.
Pierce, Jas. F.   Carpenter.
Pooler, Chas.   Armorer.
Price, Geo. W.   Ship's writer.
Pyne, George   Landsman.
Ponteflet, Adolphus    
Rivola, Gustav C.   Steerage steward.
Roberts, George   Jack of dust.
Rathje, O. F.   Seaman.
Roll, Jesse   Ordinary seaman.
Rogers, Bernard   Landsman.
Sailor, Albert   Quarter-gunner.
Schneider, Chas.   Cockswain.
Stanton, William   First-class fireman.
Stringer, David   Captain hold.
Sullivan, J. W.   Wardroom officer's steward.
Tierney, John   Landsman.
Twoomey, John   Cockswain.
Waters, Henry   Second-class fireman.
Yuger, Jeremiah   Landsman.


The foregoing list is made up from returns received by this bureau.


Three other men are believed to have been lost in the Huron, but the bureau is not yet fully satisfied as to their names.

R. W. SHUFELDT,
Chief of Bureau.
UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Bureau Equipment and Recruiting,
January 7, 1878.


Muster-roll of a guard of non-commissioned officers and privates of United States Marines, on board the United States steamer Huron, in charge of First Sergeant William Torrance, November 24, 1877.


Names. Rank. Remarks.
1. Torrence, [sic] William 1st Serg't. Drowned.
2. Oliver, Adam Corporal Do.
3. Burke, Joseph J. Do. Do.
4. Aaronburg, Edward Private Saved (so reported); now on board Franklin.
5. Brophy, James Do. Drowned.
6. Cameron, Alexander Do. Drowned; buried at Naval Hospital, Norfolk, Va.
7. Carroll, William Do. Drowned.
8. Coffey, Stephen J. Do. Do.
9. Hanlon, Joseph Do. Do.
10. Linch, Alexander Do. Do.
11. Murray, Alexander Do. Do.
12. McDevitt, James Do. Do.
13. Robrick, John Do. Do.
14. Shea, Patrick Do. Do.
15. Wilkins, William Do. Do.


C. G. McCAWLEY,
Colonel, Commandant.

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS,
Washington, D. C., November 29, 1877.

For the information of Navy Department.


Report on construction and strength of the Huron.
NAVY DEPARTMENT,
BUREAU of STEAM ENGINEERING,
Washington, December 14, 1877.

SIR: In obedience to your order of the 13th instant, I have the honor to inclose herewith the calculations and conclusions on the strength of the hull of the United States steamer Huron. Upon examination it will be seen that it was amply strong for that class of vessels, and would no doubt have rendered good and efficient service for many years if there had been nothing to contend with more than the usual wear and tear incident to ocean service.

Very respectfully,
W. H. SHOCK,
Chief of Bureau.

HON. R. W. THOMPSON,
Secretary of the Navy.