News from 1881 Schooner Julia Sinks in Collision with Britannic I

Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
[MAB Notes: 1. According to Eaton & Haas' Falling Star and Haws' Merchant Fleets, the name of the sunken schooner was Julia. The second and third numerals in the number in the third-to-last sentence are not clear in the copy I have; I think they're "3" and "5", but am not entirely certain.]

The New-York Times, 11 April 1881


The steam-ship Britannic, of the White Star line, which arrived from
Liverpool yesterday, came into collision with an unknown schooner, which
immediately went down, on the night of March 31, in the River Mersey.
The Britannic had left Liverpool the same afternoon, and at 9 o'clock in
the evening was steaming cautiously toward the bar. The side lights were
burning brightly, but the sky was overcast and it was quite dark. The
lookout on the whale-back deck could discern nothing ahead, but a small
coasting schooner bound up the river was seen very near the starboard
side. There was a heavy current running, which had evidently taken the
schooner out of her course. In an instant she drifted against the
starboard side of the steamer with a crash, and filled so rapidly that
she went down before the other vessel could pass ahead of her. The
engines of the Britannic were at once reversed and she lay to while two
of her boats were lowered. A search was made for the persons belonging
to the schooner. One boat returned without finding any traces of them,
but when the second came alongside the officer in charge reported that
he had hailed a brig which had picked up three men, the entire crew of
the lost schooner, the name of which was not ascertained. The starboard
side of the Britannic, where the other vessel had struck her, was found
to be uninjured, and she proceeded on her voyage after a delay of one
hour. The steerage was full, there being in the neighborhood of 1,400
emigrants on board, but the accident caused little or no excitement
among them. During the first few days out the weather was fine, but four
days of severe weather followed. The wind blew from the westward and the
sea was heavy. But for the delay caused by this rough weather the
Britannic would have reached port on Saturday. The City of Montreal, of
the Inman Line, from Liverpool, which arrived yesterday morning, brought
1,350 steerage passengers, for all of whom ample accommodations had been
provided. Several days of rough weather were experienced by the
Montreal. For 48 hours, when near the Banks of Newfoundland, it blew
heavily from westward, and the seas were very high.