MILWAUKEE MARINE AND SHIPPING
SHIPWRECKS AND DISASTERS
STATEMENT OF CAPTAIN MALOTT
The History of Manitowoc County
by Louis Falge
The Augusta took on a cargo of lumber about three miles below Port Huron in St. Clair river, and sailed thence about four o'clock P.M. of the 1st of September. That nothing material occurred during the voyage until the 7th of September, the vessel then being off Milwaukee, about 7:30 o'clock, the wind about northeast. A strong breeze, vessel heading south by east with all sail set.
At two o'clock A.M. of the 8th was off Waukegan, wind in same direction and fresh, about four or five miles off shore, weather cloudy, moon up, not very dark, our lights all right and in order, vessel on same course. At about three o'clock took a heavy squall from the north, and vessel broached to--lowered away fore and main sail about half way, took in jibs and were running under these sails when we discovered a steamer's lights, both red and bright, supposed to be from a quarter to a half mile distant and steering between north and northeast. Raining very hard.
We kept our vessel on her course east by south until we saw a collision was probable, when we put helm hard up. Struck the steamer in about two or three minutes, first abaft the paddle box on her port side. The steamer kept on her course, engine in full motion, heading the Augusta around north alongside of the steamer. Got separated from steamer in about a minute, when the Augusta fell into the trough of the sea. Al our head gear, jib boom, staunches, etc., were carried away. Took in all sail and cleared away an anchor, supposing the vessel would fill. Lost sight of the steamer in five minutes after collision. After clearing up the wreck, got up forestaysail (finding the vessel was not leaking), and made efforts to get the vessel before the wind and save the masts as all the head stays were gone, except one forestay, but was obliged to hoist a part of the foresail, when we succeeded in getting before the wind and stood in for the land. When within three miles, stood down along the shore and arrived off Chicago harbor about half past ten o'clock A.M.,September 8th.
THE SCHOONER AUGUSTA.
She is now Engaged in the Stone-Carrying Trade Under a New Name.
I saw the schooner Augusta on the stocks at Oswego when she was being built. That was thirty-seven years ago and in those days a vessel of her size was considered a bit boat. She was a fore-and-aft schooner, one of the real old-fashioned “canalers,” with a short bowsprit and a cutwater. She was built in 1855 by James Navagh, at what is now known as Gobel & McFarland’s yard on the west side of the river and the crowds that came to see her when she was on the stocks looked at her with admiring eyes and said she would make a first class Chicago packet. The Augusta was built for Thomas Carrington, who was then the largest grain dealer at the port of Oswego. She measured 266 gross tons and her dimensions were as follows: Length of Keel, 128 feet; breadth of bean 25 feet 4 inches; depth of hold, 11 feet 2 inches. Her carrying capacity was about 15,000 bushels of grain and was valued at $15,000, for in those days the cost of a vessel was figured at $1 for every bushel of grain she would carry. AT that time a vessel drawing more than 9 feet 3 inches of water could not get through the Welland canal without lightering as the August lightered every time she went through she was looked upon as a “big ‘un.” The Augusta traded here almost continuously for Milwaukee was then the great wheat port of the lakes and Oswego did the biggest milling business. I think Capt. Pease was her first master. He was drowned in the Grand river, Canada, in 1870.
After the accident with the Lady Elgin the Augusta continued to come to this port, but there was a bitter feeling against the vessel. There were threats of burning or sinking her, but beyond violent talk no injury was ever done the vessel by Milwaukeeans. The owners of the Augusta, however, became frightened and concluded to change her name. The customary application was made to the Treasury Department and permission was obtained to call the unlucky craft “Col. Cook.” As the years passed and steamers crowded vessels like the Augusta out of the grain trade her visits to this port were less frequent. She is still plying the lakes, however, and is now owned by L.P. and J.A. Smith of Cleveland. Last fall she went ashore near Sandusky, but was released and repaired. Inland Lloyds rates her a B1 and gives her a valuation of $3,000.
Signed John V. Tuttle
(Source: Milwaukee Sentinel Sept 4, 1892)
CAPTAIN AMZA L. FITCH
(for more on Capt. Fitch see Marine bios Website
In the spring of 1857 he was appointed mate of the schooner Augusta, whose
history has been somewhat like that assigned to the Wandering Jew, since her collision
with the steamer Lady Elgin, September 7, 1860. In 1858 Captain Fitch, when but nineteen
years old, got his first boat, the schooner Arabella, to sail.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AUGUSTA?
History of the Great Lakes
Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co 1899
The ship Augusta was launched in 1855. The ship was damaged in the disaster and headed for shore. Threats against the crew and the Augusta were so prevelant after the disaster the AUGUSTA was renamed COLONEL COOK and repainted black. The COLONEL COOK sailed the ocean for years before returning to the great lakes. She eventually sank on April 27, 1895 1/4 mile off Avon Lake, Ohio (Lake Erie).