New-York Tribune

It Takes the Adriatic Four Hours to Pull Free in Upper Bay After Having
Grounded in Dense Fog
He Called Attention to Danger Before Starting---The Hamilton, Which Brought
Luckenbach Survivors Here, Rams a Fort Pier
J. P. Morgan stuck in the mud yesterday. For four hours the White Star liner
Adriatic, on which he was starting a voyage to Egypt, hung on a mud bank off
the southern end of Governor's Island. She slid off at 5:45 o'clock with the
rising tide and the help of a couple of tugs, and two hours later was
feeling her way down the bay through the lifting fog.

Mr. Morgan, a director of the International Mercantile Marine, of which the
White Star Line is a part, had a premonition that something was going to
happen before the ship left her pier at noon. He arrived at 11:30 o'clock
and fifteen minutes later met P. A. S. Franklin, vice-president of the line,
on deck.

"Isn't it pretty thick outside?" inquired Mr. Morgan, in his best nautical
terminology. "Do you think it's safe to venture out?"

Mr. Franklin consulted with Captain D. J. Hays [sic; should be "B.
F.Hayes"] and came back with the information that the mails were aboard and
that it would take more than a fog to hold the ship, if the captain had
anything to say about it. With this knowledge to cheer him Mr. Morgan
resigned himself to the inevitable. So far as is known, he made no attempt
to leave the liner when she grounded an hour and a half later.

[Several paragraphs about an accident about an Old Dominion liner called
"Hamilton" have been omitted as irrelevant.]

Caution Fatal to Adriatic

When Captain Hays of the Adriatic saw how bad the fog really was he
determined to content himself with getting his ship away from the pier and
dropping anchor off the Statue of Liberty until the clouds rolled by. To
keep himself from being carried along too swiftly by the current, he hugged
the Manhattan shore. This caution proved his undoing, however, for he
finally fetched up 300 yards east of the Staten Island ferry course, which
was about 800 yards east of where he should have been.

Realizing that he was out of the way, the captain let go his anchor at 1:30
o'clock. The hook failed to hold and the boat's stern, swinging to port,
grounded on what is known to mariners as Red Hook Spit, about half a mile
due south of Governor's Island.

Captain Hays sent out no call for help, and the first intimation of his
predicament reached shore by the Staten Island ferryboat, which docked at
the Battery at 2:30 o'clock. After that the tug Henry D. McCord, the tug
Catherine Moran and the 39th street, Brooklyn, ferryboat Gowanus brought in
the news in quick succession, to be finally confirmed by a wireless message
from the captain to the White Star offices, which read:

Endeavoring to anchor, anchor would not immediately hold. Ship, going
forward, rested against bank south of Governor's Island. Expect to get off
high tide. No damage.

Captain "Tom" Whelan of the Gowanus, which left its Brooklyn slip at 3
o'clock and took an hour and three-quarters to make the trip to the Battery,
usually occupying twenty minutes, reported he had run alongside the stranded
steamer and asked if she needed assistance. To him Captain Hays returned the
same reply which he made to the inquiries of all the other vessels offering
help, that he would get off at high tide under his own steam. He told
newspaper men who came alongside in a tug that if it had not been for their
questions the passengers would never have known be was anchored any more
firmly than he originally intended to be.

Tide Aided by Tugs

In spite of his confidence, however, the company dispatched four wrecking
tugs to stand by in case assistance was needed and to reassure the
passengers if any exhibited signs of timidity. Skipper Frank McBride of the
Catherine Moran said the vessel was drawing thirty-three feet and was lying
in not much more than twenty-five feet of water when he left her at low
tide.When a reporter for The Tribune arrived alongside just as the vessel
slid off the bank two of the wrecking tugs were puffing industriously at her
bow, the hawsers which helped to float her still taut with the tension.

"When did you go aground?" Captain Hays was asked.

"We didn't so aground," replied the captain, with technical precision,
meaning to imply that they had merely leaned up against a mudbank. "We're
going to sail as soon as the weather lifts."

One thing for which Captain Hays had to be thankful was that the vessel
carried no cargo, being bound on a Mediterranean pleasure cruise.
Practically the only dead weight in her was the coal in her bunkers, for her
trip to Alexandria and back. She had aboard four hundred first class
passengers, three hundred second class and nine hundred steerage.

Mr. Morgan engaged passage on the Adriatic, with the intention of spending
the rest of the winter in Egypt. He was accompanied by his daughter, Mrs.
Herbert L. Satterlee, and his granddaughter, Miss Ellen Morgan Hamilton.
Inquiries as to Mr. Morgan's plans were met with the reply that "he was
going to sail to Europe on the Adriatic."

Aldrich a Passenger

A number of Mr. Morgan's relatives and business associates went to the pier
to wish him bon voyage. Former Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, of Rhode Island,
was also a passenger on the Adriatic, and he and Mr. Morgan greeted each
other warmly when they met on deck. It is understood that Mr. Morgan will go
directly to Egypt, where he will board his houseboat and sail up the Nile,
inspecting the work of excavating expeditions which he helped finance. It is
also said that on returning in the spring he will stop in Italy to visit art

[More paragraphs about the Hamilton accident have been omitted.]

Related Biographies:

John Pierpont Morgan
P.A. S. Franklin

Relates to Place:

New York City, New York, United States

Relates to Ship:



Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,


Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) MORGAN SPENDS AN AFTERNOON IN MUD (New-York Tribune, Wednesday 8th January 1913, ref: #19270, published 23 January 2013, generated 26th September 2020 03:37:48 PM); URL :