Georgia Traditions of the Sea

Version without LIBERTY Moultrie -- SC/GA: 
Some show LIBERTY on the Blue Field in white Moultrie -- SC/GA: 
version with LIBERTY on the Blue Field in white

A scan of Robert Baden-Powell's "Sea Scouting for Boys " is found at . This was published in 1911 and is the first printed reference to our program. This is a first generation scan from the original. The Canadian source was made from the original scan on the Sea Scout BSA website. The text of the front-matter and Chapter 2 of "Sea Scouting and Seamanship for Boys" by W. Baden-Powell is available online at . The rest of the publication is a general seamanship book that is not specifically Sea Scouting-related. Sea Scout story from the USA is HERE.

The sinking of the Vanguard

Hear the hymn, They that go Down to the Sea in Ships by Herbert Sumsion, through this link --

A Poetic Resource:

If ye should find yerself drawn towards the sea,
Take the moral compass of poetry.

1807-1882 Evangeline -- The Jewish Cemetery at Newport

  • Discovery:
  • Like unto shipwrecked Paul on Melita's desolate sea-shore,
    Thus he approached the place where Evangeline sat . . . .
    At sea once more we had to pass the Sirens, 
     whose sweet singing lures sailors to their doom. 
    I had stopped up the ears of my crew with wax, 
     and I alone listened while lashed to the mast, 
     powerless to steer toward shipwreck. 
    Next came Charybdis, who swallows the sea in a whirlpool, 
     then spits it up again. 
    Avoiding this we skirted the cliff where Scylla exacts her toll. 
    Each of her six slavering maws grabbed a sailor
     and wolfed him down. 
    Finally we were becalmed on the island of the Sun . . . .
    see also,

  • Exploration: Cabot's two voyages became the basis for England's claim to most of the eastern seaboard of North America--including Georgia. Had Cabot indeed sailed along Georgia's coast in 1498, his ship would have been flying England's flag, which at that time consisted of red St. George's Cross on a white field. This also was the flag in use when England created the colony of Carolina (embracing almost all of present-day Georgia in 1663).

  • Early Flag: . . . historical paintings and other evidence suggest that the flag bearing the arms of Castile and Léon remained widely used into the 16th century--particularly on ships at sea. The first European known to have set foot on the southeastern mainland of North America was Spaniard Juan Ponce de Léon, who landed somewhere on Florida's eastern coast in 1513. He likely brought the castle-and-lion banner, as did Pedro Menendez de Aviles who came fifty years later to colonize La Florida (a broad area of the Southeast that included present-day Georgia).

  • May 3, 1525: A Spanish slave-trader, Pedro de Quejo, piloted two ships from Hispaniola on a preliminary expedition for Lucas Vasquez de Ayllón in order to explore the coast of land granted Ayllón by the King of Spain. On this day, Quejo's ships land at the mouth of the Savannah River, marking the first known time Europeans set foot on present-day Georgia. Quejo had previously passed by the coast in 1521 seeking more natives, because the native population of the original Island on which Columbus settled was almost completely wiped out A more complete timeline:; see also

  • September 29, 1526: Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón and 600 Spanish colonists (including African slaves and perhaps freemen) landed on the Georgia mainland opposite Sapelo Sound and founded the settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape. This was the first European settlement in North America since the Vikings' exploration around year 1000 A.D. The colonists had sailed from the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in July aboard six ships. In August, they had landed at Winyah Bay on the Carolina coast, but failing to find an Indian settlement (which would be necessary for food until crops could be planted and harvested) they sailed southward. On the Georgia coast, Ayllón found Guale Indians. Although physical remains of their settlement have not been found, historians and geographers have utilized surviving navigation logs and other records to reconstruct the 1526 voyage. (See Jeannine Cook, ed., Columbus and the Land of Ayllón, 1992.) Based on the latest research, the San Miguel de Gualdape settlement probably was situated on the mainland of what today is McIntosh County opposite Sapelo Sound. (Click here to view map.) One source feels the most likely location was within the present-day Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, which is located near the mouth of the Newport River facing St. Catherines Island. (To view a timeline of Spanish explortion and colonization in the New World, click here.) from

  • April 30, 1562: Off the Coast of Florida near what would become (under the Spanish) Saint Augustine, a French privateer and explorer first sights the New World. A Huguenot of Dieppe, Jean Ribault was a successful captain for Admiral Gaspar de Coligny's navy. Coligny selected him to establish a Huguenot colony in Florida. Actually, it was to be a French colony, populated by persons of the Protestant faith (Huguenots), to stand in opposition to the Spanish, as well as to prove the loyalty of the Huguenots to the greater French cause.

    With Rene Laudonnière as his lieutenant, Ribault reached the St. Johns River on April 30, 1562. Ribault selected a place to settle beside what is today known as Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, calling it Charlesfort. Today we know it as Paris Island. Returning to Europe to get supplies, Ribault discovered the French ports closed by the religious war between Protestants and Catholics. Seeking help from England, Ribault went to London, where he was arrested. By the time he was released, a new settlement near present-day Jacksonville (Fort Caroline) was under the command of Laudonnière, eventhough the Charlesfort effort had failed.

    Spain sought the destruction of Fort Caroline. Spanish forces under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the relief effort under Ribault left Europe virtually at the same moment, the Spanish greatly outnumbering the French, but in ships of poorer quality. The French arrived a ahead of the Spanish fleet and beat off the first attack. Ribault went on the offensive, but a hurricane wrecked most of the his fleet. The Spanish, meanwhile, during the height of the storm, marched overland and caught the French offguard. A massacre ensued. Ribault later surrendered what was left of his men and he was executed by Menéndez, along with those who were not or would not become Catholic again on October 12, 1565 (Le massacre de Matanzas Inlet).
    There is no record of a French Colony in Georgia. One can assume, however, that this French explorer observed the Golden Isles in their pristine state, perhaps gathering water and checking for safe harbours.

  • June 20,1661: On this day, a fleet of canoes carrying Westo, or Chichimeco, Indian raiders descended the Altamaha River to attack and destroy the Guale mission of Santo Domingo de Talaje near present-day Darien, Ga. The survivors from the mission fled to Sapelo Island and later re-established their town on the north end of St. Simons Island. The Westo/Chichimeco, armed with muskets from Virginia and later South Carolina, preyed for the next two decades on Georgia missions and other villages in the interior in search of Indian slaves they could capture and sell to the English. [Contributed by Dr. John Worth, The Coosawattee Foundation] from

  • South Georgia (in the Scotia Sea) 1675: A London-born merchant Antoine de la Roche may have been the very first person to sight South Georgia. In April 1675, as he was sailing from Lima in Peru to England, his ship was blown south on rounding Cape Horn and he saw ice-covered mountains. He and his crew may have been the first people to see any of the sub-Antarctic islands.

    Many historians, particularly those who support Argentina's claim to ownership of South Georgia, believe that de la Roche was wrong, and that he had in fact sighted Beauchene Island, 800 miles further west. This is highly unlikely, as Beauchene Island does not possess the high mountains or bays specifically referred to in de la Roche's account.

  • Transition:
  • Gascoigne Bluff: Overlooking the Frederica River, Gascoigne Bluff was a favorite Native American campground. In the 16th century a Franciscan monastery, San Buenaventura, was built near this site. During colonial days the landing at the bluff became Georgia's first naval base and bears the name of the man, Gascoigne, who first surveyed the Georgia coast for England. When the Spanish fleet sailed up from St. Augustine to attack Oglethorpe's settlement at Fort Frederica, they landed here at Gascoigne.

    During the Plantation Era, sea island long staple cotton was shipped to ports around the world from the Hamilton Plantation dock at Gascoigne. Exports stopped during the Civil War when the bluff became United States Navy Headquarters.

    In the years following that war, life at Gascoigne took on renewed vigor as a sawmill industry flourished on the riverbanks. Live Oaks growing on St. Simons were cut and milled at Gascoigne for the U.S.S. Constitution - "Old Ironsides" so named because of the nearly impenetrable strength of the Live Oak timber.

  • November 17, 1732: After repeated delays, the frigate Anne set sail from Gravesend down the Thames River into the Straits of Dover, then southward into the English Channel, and then westward along the southern coast of England before embarking into the Atlantic Ocean. At last, James Oglethorpe and the 114 colonists being sent at Trustees' expense were on their way to build the first settlement in the new colony of Georgia.

  • March 10, 1734: Escorting the Salzburger emigrants to Georgia, Baron von Reck recorded their first siting of their new homeland from the mouth of the Savannah River:

    "Mar. 10. God blessed us this Day with the Sight of our Country, our wish'd-for Georgia, which we saw at ten in the Morning; and brought us unto the Savannah River, and caused us to remember the Vows we had made unto him, if He did through his infinite goodness bring us hither. . . . At Noon, we cast Anchor because of the Tide: at eight, during the Evening Prayers, we enter'd the River of Savannah; and were shelter'd by the Divine Goodness, from all Dangers and Inconveniences of the Sea. This River is in some Places broader than the Rhine, and from 16 to 25 foot deep; and abounds with Oysters, Sturgeon, and other Fish. Its Banks were cloathed with fresh Grass; resounding with the Musick of Birds, who sung the praise of their Creator."

  • March 23, 1734: James Oglethorpe sailed from Savannah aboard the man-of-war Aldborough for Charleston, where he would catch another ship for London. His return to England was prompted by the desire of other Trustees to have him report more completely on the state of affairs in the colony. In particular, they were concerned with Oglethorpe's lack of communication and what was perceived as excessive expenditures. In a bit of showmanship, Oglethorpe decided to bring a contingent of Yamacraw natives with him. So aboard the Aldborough with Oglethorpe were chief Tomochichi, Senauki (Tomochichi's wife), Toonahowi (Tomochichi's great nephew and successor), five Yamacraw warriors, and John Musgrove (who would interpret). The voyage to Charleston took a week, after which they waited until May 7 to catch a ship to London. from

    They set sail on the seventy day voyage. When they arrived in England, Tomo-chi-chi was not prepared for the sights he would see. First, they had never seen so many people -- so many horses and carriages. Tomo-chi-chi could not believe the size of London and the great houses and buildings in it. In August, Tomo-chi-chi and his group were presented to King George II at Kensington Palace.
    Tomo-chi-chi and his family would depart for Yamacraw on October 31st and arrive home in December. Not until 15 months later would General Oglethorpe return to the New World. With him, he brought John Wesley, a missionary who had come to preach to gospel to the Creeks [and his brother Charles].

    from Tomo-chi-chi OA Lodge 119.
    Wesley would fail in his attempts to convert the Creeks, but his experience was vital in his Christian Journey. While both John and his brother Charles tried in vain to convert large numbers of Creeks, the Methodist Church was founded years after the Wesleys' death as an offshoot of the Church of England (Anglican Communion). Both of were young Anglican Priests and returned to England where their preaching and hymn writing made history. Their efforts did eventually lead to establishing the Methodist Church, a very significant supporter of Scouting in the USA. They were instrumental in the success of Christ Church (Episcopal - established 1733) on Johnson Square in Savannah and Christ Church (Episcopal) on St. Simon's Island. John was the third rector in Savannah and was followed by George Whitefield, another Church giant. Charles worked at Fredrika on St. Simon's Island. See generally --

  • In the 1730's a voyage across the Atlantic was a very different thing from what it is in this year of grace 1904. To-day a mighty steamship equipped with powerful engines, plows its way across the billows with little regard for wind and weather, bearing thousands of passengers, many of whom are given all the luxury that space permits, a table that equals any provided by the best hotels ashore, and attendance that is unsurpassed. Then weeks were consumed in the mere effort to get away from the British Isles, the breeze sometimes permitting the small sailing vessels to slip from one port to another, and then holding them prisoner for days before another mile could be gained. Even the most aristocratic voyager was forced to be content with accommodations and fare little better than that supplied to a modern steerage passenger, and those who could afford it took with them a private stock of provisions to supplement the ship's table.
    And yet the spell of adventure or philanthropy, gain or religion, was strong upon the souls of men, and thousands sought the New World, where their imagination saw the realization of all their dreams. Bravely they crossed the fathomless deep which heaved beneath them, cutting them off so absolutely from the loved ones left at home, from the wise counsels of those on whom they were accustomed to depend, and from the strong arm of the Government under whose promised protection they sailed, to work out their own salvation in a country where each man claimed to be a law unto himself, and where years were to pass before Experience had once more taught the lesson that real freedom was to be gained only through a general recognition of the rights of others.
    On the 3rd of February, 1735, the Moravians arose early in their London lodging house, prayed heartily together, and then prepared to go aboard their vessel . . . .

  • January 17, 1736: "Many People were very impatient at the contrary Wind. At Seven in the Evening they were quieted by a Storm. It rose higher and higher till . . . the Sea broke over us from Stem to Stern: burst through the Windows of the State Cabin, where three or four of us were, and cover'd us all over, tho' a Bureau shelter'd me from the main Shock. About 11, I lay down in the great Cabin, and in a short time fell asleep, tho' very uncertain whether I should wake alive, and much ashamed of my Unwillingness to die. O how pure in Heart must he be, who wou'd rejoice to appear before God at a Moment's Warning! Toward Morning, he rebuked the Winds and the Sea, and there was a great Calm." -- John Wesley (Georgia Missionary)

  • February 27, 1736: Aboard the Symond near the mouth of Tybee Creek, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees about the arrival of the first colonists on St. Simons island and his subsequent visit with the Scot Highlanders at Darien:

    ". . . I arrived at Saint Simon the 18th and found the sloop and a detachment of men whom I had sent with her there. . . . We immediately got up a house and thatched it with palmettoes, dug a cellar, traced out a fort with four bastions by cutting up the turf from the ground, dug enough of the ditch and raised enough of the rampart for a sample for the men to work upon.

    "On the 22nd a boat arrived with a detachment of the workmen and the same day I left Saint Simon, rowing up the Altamaha three hours. I arrived at the Scotch settlement which they desire may be called Darien. They were all under arms upon seeing a boat and made a most manly appearance with their plaids, broadswords, targets and firearms . . . . They have mounted a battery of four pieces of cannon, built a guard house, a storehouse, a chapel and several huts for particular people. . . ."

    Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. I, pp. 239-240. -- found at

  • July 26, 1736: John Wesley recorded a harrowing experience he and his brother endured:

    "My Brother [Charles] and I set out for Charles-Town, in order to begin his embarking for England. But the Wind being contrary, we did not reach Port-Royal, 40 miles from Savannah, till Wedn. evening. The next morning we left it. But the Wind was so high in the Afternoon, as we were crossing the neck of St. Helena's Sound, that our oldest sailor cry'd out, 'Now everyone must take Care for himself.' I told him, 'God would take Care of us all.' Almost as soon as the Words were spoken, the Mast fell. I kept on the Edge of the Boat, to be clear of her when she sunk, (which we expected every Moment) tho' with little Prospect of swimming to Shore, against such a Wind and Sea. But How is it that thou hadst no Faith? The Moment the Mast fell, two Men caught it and pull'd it into the Boat; the other three rowed with all their Might, and God gave Command to the Winds and Seas, so that in an Hour we were safe on Land."

  • December 29, 1737: An important source of labor for Georgia colonists were emigrants from various European countries who agreed to serve as indentured servants in return for the Trustees providing for the cost of their transportation to Georgia. In his journal, Salzburger minister John Martin Boltzius noted the arrival of one such group from Germany:

    "A few days ago a boat full of Germans from the Palatinate [a region of Germany stretching from Heidelberg to the French border] came to Savannah, the passage for whom was provided by the Honorable Trustees, in return for which these people and their children are bound to work as servants for a number of years. . . .

    "In the coming week, Mr. Causton desires to speak to these people through my offices, so as to offer some proposals as to how their children, of whom there are many among them, should attend school while pursuing their work. . . ."

    Source: George Fenwick Jones and Renate Wilson, Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America . . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Volume Four, 1737 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1976), p. 227. from

  • December 23, 1739: The Trustees' secretary William Stephens, recorded two acts of piracy, one which resulted in a gift to a church!

    ". . . a Sloop Privateer which came from Providence Island, that anchored at Cockspur last Night: Their Business was with the General, to get their Commission approved and strengthened by him; but missing him here, they would lose no Time in going to find him at St. Simon's: They had taken some small Prizes from the Spaniards (as they said) which they sent home; but they told us of a privateer belonging unto Rhode-Island had the good Fortune lately, though but a small sloop with forty Hands, to take a rich Spaniard [ship] lately on the Spaniards' own Coast, with such a Quantity of Silver aboard, that they shared four hundred dollars apiece, besides solid Plate for the Use of a Church. . . ."

    Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceeding in Georgia ([no city cited]: Readex Microprint Corporation, 1966), Vol. II, p. 228. from

  • February 27, 1743: In 1740, James Oglethorpe led an unsuccessful attempt to take the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine. Now, buoyed by his victory over the Spanish invasion force on St. Simons Island in 1742, Oglethorpe -- now an official brigadier general in the British Army -- was ready to try a second time to take the capital of Spanish Florida. On St. Simons Island, Edward Kimber, a volunteer in Gen. Oglethorpe's invasion force, recorded their departure from St. Simons Island in his diary:

    "The whole detachment, rangers, &c. embark'd on board the guard schooner and the two hir'd schooners at ten in the morning. At two, weigh'd and fell down below the point-guard, saluting the town [Frederica] with twenty-one guns."

    Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 24. -- found at

  • March 3, 1776: "Battle of the Rice Boats" -- Further north a group of boats containing rice are the target of a British attack on March 2, 1776. The Council of Safety reacts quickly, ordering the local militia to set boats on fire and drive the British away. The Inverness, loaded with rice and deerskins, is set on fire and cut loose, drifting into the brig Nelly. While some 500 Whigs from South Carolina join the 600 Georgia rebels, the two ships drift downstream, setting three more ships on fire. Governor Wright barely escapes. (Wright's description of the action is significantly different.)

  • June 19, 1776: It was a rather routine day for the Council of Safety, Georgia's temporary ruling body during the Revolution. After affirming one man as a lieutenant and three others as Justices of the Peace, they issued the following order:

    ". . . Capt. Woodruffe attended the Board and laid before them sundry papers and affidavits, respecting a vessel that arrived in Sapelo River, loaded with rum, sugar, osnabergs [?], etc., that as the said sloop was registered at St. Augustine, he, the said Woodruffe took possession of the said vessel, etc. The Board taking the premises into consideration issued the following orders to Capt. Woodruffe. 'Sir: - You are hereby ordered immediately to discharge the sloop and Schooner with their cargoes which you boarded in Sapelo River and brought round to Sunbury, as also all the hands and every other thing belonging to the said vessels. (Signed) A. Bulloch'"


  • January 28th, 1777: Savannah merchant and revolutionary soldier Joseph Clay wrote to an American naval captain with advice on how to elude the British blockade of Georgia --

    ". . . I am informed that a Frigate was Cruising off their Barr, & that they had reason to expect another wood be there shortly which has induc'd me to drop you a line at a Venture, shoud it meet you it may be of use to You. I am also well assumed that the Otter Sloop is generally between St. Johns & Augustine, sometimes she goes to St. Marys besides which there is generally two or three Tenders, say small Schooners & Sloops Arm'd about St Marys, tho' I believe they dont cruise much, being principally intended for the protection of E. Florida...otherways we have heard of nothing on the coast since you left this. We have had several arrivals since you left this Nevertheless. Dry goods, good Rum, Sugar & Salt still bear good prices shoud you get in safe you may probably do tolerably well the Man of War being off will rather be of service to your Sales . . . ."

    Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, Letters of Joseph Clay, Merchant of Savannah, 1776-1793 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1913), pp. 19-20. from

  • April 19, 1778:  During the American Revolution four heavily-armed row galleys were constructed in Savannah for the Georgia Navy, all underwritten by the Continental Congress. In nearby Frederica River, beginning at dawn on April 19, 1778, Georgia galleys Lee, Washington and Bulloch, the armada commanded by Colonel Samuel Elbert, attacked HM Brigantine Hinchinbrook, the armed Sloop Rebecca and an armed watering brig. The British were out-gunned and out-maneuvered. As they tried to gain an advantage by moving down river their ships grounded, were abandoned and captured. This remarkable victory boosted patriot morale and delayed by eight months the inevitable British invasion of Georgia.

  • December 29, 1778:  Savannah fell to a British force of 2,000 soldiers under Col. Archibald Campbell. Gen. Robert Howe and a force of 700 patriots had defended the road into the city, but a black slave named Quamino Dolly led the British on a path through the swamp so that they were able to surprise the Americans from the rear. The patriots were routed and fled. Meanwhile, a British fleet sailed up the river, capturing eleven American vessels. By the end of the day, over 100 patriots had been killed, and the British flag flew over Savannah for the first time in two years. from

    For the encouragement and support of the Loyalists in the interior, and to awe the Republicans in that quarter after the fall of Savannah, Colonel Campbell, who commanded at the siege of that city, was ordered by General Prevost to advance with about two thousand regulars and Loyalists [Jan., 1779.], upon Augusta. Already he had sent emissaries among the South Carolina Tories to encourage them to make a general insurrection; and he assured them that, if they would cross the Savannah and join him at Augusta, the Republicans might be easily crushed, and the whole South freed from their pestilential influence. Thus encouraged, about eight hundred Loyalists of North and South Carolina assembled westward of the Broad River, under Colonel Boyd, and marched along the frontier of South Carolina, toward the Savannah. Like a plundering banditti, they appropriated every species of property to their own use, abused the inhabitants, and wantonly butchered several who opposed their rapacious demands.

    While these depredators were organizing, and Campbell was proceeding toward Augusta, General Elbert crossed the Savannah, joined Colonels Twiggs and Few, and skirmished with the British van-guard at Brier Creek and other places, to impede their progress. They effected but little, and on the twenty-ninth of January [1779.] Campbell took possession of Augusta, and placed the garrison under Lieutenant-colonel Brown, the Loyalist just mentioned, who, with Lieutenant-colonel M‘Girth, had preceded him thither. Campbell then proceeded to establish military posts in other parts of Western Georgia. The Whigs who could leave with their families crossed the Savannah into Carolina. The oath of allegiance was every where administered; the habitations of those who had fled into Carolina were consumed; and Georgia seemed, for the moment, permanently prostrate at the feet of the invaders . . . . from Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter XIX.

  • September 3, 1779: Jean-Baptiste-Charles-Henri-Hector, Comte d'ESTAING (Marquis de SAILLANS) and a French fleet of 22 ships and 4,000 men arrived off the coast of Georgia to participate in a joint American-French effort to take Savannah from the British. Thus began the unsuccessful Siege of Savannah. Les Régiments Français & a general description of the War in Georgia.

    More Details and Coincidences of History: The American Revolution officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on the same day four years later (1783). Of particular importance to Georgia was that the treaty stipulated the southern boundary of the United States as the point in the middle of the Mississippi River intersected by the 31st parallel of latitude eastward to the middle of the Chattahoochee River, then southward to the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers, then eastward in a straight line to the head of the St. Marys River, then eastward down the middle of the St. Marys to the Atlantic Ocean. Georgia was the southernmost of the United States. Thus, the Treaty of Paris established the Country's and Georgia's southern boundary. Moreover, it "clarified" the Spanish claims over Florida and points west, so long an issue on the Georgia frontier, these claims being settled by treaty in 1795 -- from

    John Adams, who would become the second President, was one of four named American Representatives on the negotiating team (Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and Henry Laurens were the other three). His son, John Quincy Adams (the sixth President) would negotiate the Treaty of Ghent (December 24, 1814) ending the War of 1812. News of the signing would not reach the USA until 1815, just after the Battle of New Orleans. Because of its provisions regarding the Georgia borders, many Georgia politicians called on the President to renounce the treaty and continue the war. The Florida Territories would come into US possession by treaty in 1819.

  • Steam and Sail:
  • June 20, 1819: After a 29-day voyage, the Savannah steamed into Liverpool, England becoming the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. With smoke billowing from its stacks, the Savannah sailed from its namesake city in Georgia on May 22. Once at sea, however, most of the voyage would be made under sail, as the ship's supply of fuel (coal and wood) was exhausted after 105 hours of steam power. It returned on November 30th.

  • Shipwrecks: Although 1859 may have been a particularly perilous year for British sailors, shipwreck was an ever-present threat to sailors of all nations . As anyone who has visited the maritime museums of old and New England can attest, disaster in mid-ocean or upon a coast ended the careers of an astonishingly high percentage of nineteenth- and twentieth-century vessels. Looking at a sampling of well-known ships from this period, one observes how many were lost at sea. For example . . . the American revenue cutter Roger B. Taney, which was built in 1833, was destroyed by lightning near Savannah, Georgia, in 1857.

    Such sea disasters occurred frequently enough during the past two centuries that many artistic and literary figures not only could have encountered them in newspaper accounts and other published shipwreck narratives but also could have been acquainted with them more intimately. In fact, many artistic and literary figures had experienced shipwreck at first hand, had observed them taking place or had friends or family who perished in them. William Falconer, whose poem in three cantos, The Shipwreck (1762), did much to popularize the subject, himself drowned at sea, as did Shelley, whose poetry makes frequent use of such situations. Stephen Crane survived shipwreck on the Commodore in 1897 and lived to base a newspaper article, short story, and poem upon his confrontation with a coldly indifferent nature.

  • Riverboats, sternwheelers, steamboats and more

    Re: The rich history of the Coosa River in Georgia and Alabama --

    U.S.M. Coosa (circa 1845) -- "The Coosa had been built at Cincinnati, had been steamed down Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, through inland passages of the Gulf of Mexico to Mobile, and up the Mobile, Alabama and Coosa rivers to Wetumpka . . . At Wetumpka she had been taken apart and hauled piecemeal on heavy wagons drawn by oxen over wretched roads to Greensport, where she had been reassembled and made read for the first journey . . . Evidently she was a very small boat and very crude. Whether or not she carried a small cannon to announce her presence as she steamed up the river, as was the custom of steamboats of those early days, is not known. But the fact that a steam propelled boat was on the way upstream brought settlers to the river for miles around."

    * * *

    "In 1873 six boats plied the Coosa, bring 30,000 bales of cotton to Rome in a single season. The steamer Undine, arriving at that time, listed as its cargo 357 bales of cotton, 40,000 shingles, 625 pelts, 50 cowhides, 50 baskets of poultry, 200 bushels of corn, 250 bags of wheat, and 27 passengers . . . Of the thirty-seven steamboats which plied the Coosa, the finest was the Magnolia. Close behind her was the Sidney P. Smith, Joel Marbable, John J. Seay, Clifford B. Seay and Alabama . . . The Leota also was a beautiful boat, but she was a government steamer used only in connection with construction work, building locks and dams and handling dredges for improving channels."

    * * *

    "The most sensational event in the peacetime history of steamboating on the Coosa occurred in the middle 1870's and involved the Magnolia and the Sidney P. Smith . . . [When the Captain of one ship stole a load from the other,] the Magnolia came up along side the Smith, and her captain ordered the two boats lashed together and the cotton transferred. Just to guard against dire threats of the Smith's captain, a man on the upper deck of the Magnolia, armed with a double-barreled ten-gauge goose gun loaded with buckshot, kept close watch until the last bale of cotton had been transferred.

    "The Magnolia continued on her way to Rome. On her next trip to Gadsden she was confronted by a Federal Marshall, who arrested her captain and seized the boat, charging piracy. Bond was promptly furnished by Major Hollingsworth. The case was tried in the United States Court at Huntsville and, after a long legal battle, was decided in favor of the Magnolia."

    Strong to the Finish: The Coosa River can claim the world's most famous sailor as one of her own. The story goes back to 1913.

    The lock and dam at Mayo's Bar had been completed by the Corps of Engineers and the level of the Coosa had been raised to make navigation over the trecherous Horseleg Shoals much easier. The dam successfully raised the water level about 10 feet.

    Now the day to day task of keeping the channel clear fell to the Corps. They purchased the "Annie M" and renamed her "Leota". Her Captain was an Ohatchee, Alabama resident by the name of Sims. His son, Tom Sims, began drawing the comic strip "Thimble Theater" when it's creator Elzie Segar died in 1938. The strip's story line dealt with the Oyl family that owned a shipping business. Commodore Oyl had a son, Castor, and a daughter, Olive. One of the sailors that worked for the Commodore was a "wise cracking, spinich eating, chap" named Popeye. Tom Sims took that character, spun him off and gave him his own strip thus creating "Popeye the Sailorman".

    Tom Sims is quoted saying, "Fantastic as Popeye is, the whole story is based on facts. As a boy I was raised on the Coosa River. When I began writing the script for Popeye I put my characters back on the old "Leota" that I knew as a boy, transformed it into a ship and made the Coosa River a salty sea."

    Steamboat Company of Georgia (GA) -- Formed in 1817 by Samuel and Charles Howard

    Enterprise (circa 1816) -- GA

    Altamaha (circa 1817) -- Savannah River -- GA

    Georgia (circa 1819) -- Savannah River -- GA

    Samuel Howard (circa 1819) -- Altamaha and Oconee Rs. -- GA

    Savannah (circa 1820's) -- Savannah River -- GA

    Edgefield (circa 1824) -- sank at Burton's Ferry on the Savannah River -- GA

  • November 23, 1846: The Augusta Canal system began operation. Conceived two years earlier as a way to to provide water power for manufacturing and thus aid Augusta's depressed economy, the canal system diverted water from the Savannah River seven miles north of Augusta. Because the city was situated on the Fall Line, the ground elevation was higher seven miles to the north. The thirteen-foot difference in elevations would cause the water in the canal to flow southward into Augusta with enough speed to power factory turbines. Water first flowed into the canal on Nov. 23, 1846 and Petersburg cotton boats quickly began using the canal. True to its intended purpose, the canal led to construction of the Augusta Factory -- a cloth manufacturing firm -- in 1847.

  • Recollections of a Naval Life: Including the Cruises of the Confederate States Steamers, "Sumter" and "Alabama". John McIntosh Kell Executive Officer of the "SUMTER" AND "ALABAMA" (1823-1900). Washington: The Neale Company, 1900. --

  • Recollections of a Rebel Reefer. James Morris Morgan (1845-1928). Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1917. --

  • The Savannah River Squadron: The Savannah River Squadron is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the roles played by the Confederate and Union Navies during the War of the Rebellion. This preservation is accomplished by performing Living History programs and battle reenactments at various private, state, and national parks.

    The Savannah River Squadron, is a working unit and our programs vary from site to site. Whether we are doing living history at Parris Island or practicing heavy gun drill at Old Fort Jackson, our weekends are very active. Individual impressions are encouraged. Blacksmiths, carpenters, sailmakers, armorers, etc., are all utilized by the SRS

    The Savannah River Squadron, strives to maintain an accurate appearance with its uniforms and equipment. Uniforms, weapons, and other equipment are researched and documented before use of such equipment is permitted.

    The Savannah River Squadron's home base is Fort Jackson in Savannah, Georgia. Living History programs are performed there twice a year, in February and August, and are open to the general public. Other regular program sites include Drewry’s Bluff in Richmond, Virginia; the CasweIl - Neuse State Historic Site in Kinston, NC, which is the home of the remains of the CSS Neuse; the Battle of Sayler's Creek, FarmviIle, Virginia; the Battle of Fort Branch, Hamilton, NC; and the Battle of Andersonville, Andersonville, Ga. Either the U.S. or C. S. Navy was present at all sites.

  • February 28, 1863: Four Union gunboats -- the USS Montauk, Wissahickon, Seneca, and Dawn -- shelled and ultimately destroyed the blockade runner Rattlesnake (formerly the CSS Nashville) near Fort McAllister, Georgia. This loss was two years and a week to the day of the birth of the Confederate Navy. On of its first ships was the USS (now CSS) United States. Built in 1797, the vessel saw distinguished action during the War of 1812 and on Pacific duty along with the USS Yorktown. The ship was recaptured by the North and broken up after the War Between the States

  • CSS Chattahoochee: A 30-foot section of the stern and steam engines of the Confederate gunboat Chattahoochee were recovered from her namesake river in 1964 where the vessel was scuttled by Confederate forces in 1865.  A rare surviving example of Confederate shipbuilding, Chattahoochee represents the innovative and resourceful improvisation of the Confederacy as it built a fleet of river and coastal defense gunboats and ironclads during the Civil War.  Chattahoochee’s stern is displayed next to the remains of the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Jackson at the Port Columbus-Civil War Naval Center.  The museum and boats will be moving into a new $7 million facility on the river in May, 2000.  The new exhibits will include the latest in experiential displays along with the Civil War Naval Research Center.  This facility will have the most comprehensive exhibit of Civil War navy stories and material in the country.

  • CSS Jackson: One of the prime exhibits of Port Columbus is the hull of the ironclad ram Jackson which was designed as an armored, steam-powered ram for river and coast defense.  The Jackson’s design was based on the successful model of CSS Virginia (Merrimac).  The ship was also known as CSS Muscogee and exemplified the type of vessel employed by the Confederacy in naval combat during the Civil War.  The nearly completed ship was burned to the waterline and sunk at the war’s end by Union cavalry General Wilson’s raiders in April of 1865.  Jackson was discovered and raised in 1963.

    The CSS's Jackson and Chattahoochee are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • December 22, 1864: General Sherman had already sent part of his army into Savannah; he followed on this day, as he describes his arrival:

    "On the morning of December 22d I followed with my own headquarters and rode down Bull Street to the custom-house, from the roof of which we had an extensive view over the city, the river, and the vast extent of marsh and rice-fields on the South Carolina side. The navy-yard and the wreck of the iron-clad ram Savannah were still smouldering, but all else looked quiet enough. Turning back, we rode to the Pulaski Hotel, which I had known in years long ago and found it kept by a Vermont man with a lame leg, and I inquired about the capacity of his hotel for headquarters. He was very anxious to have us for boarders, but I soon explained to him that we had a full mess equipment along, and that we were not in the habit of paying board..."

    Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Marching Through Georgia: William T. Sherman's Personal Narrative of His March Through Georgia (New York: Arno Press, 1978), p. 178. from

  • First Georgia flag (circa 1861-1879): This banner consists of the columned archway from the Georgia coat of arms in white cotton on a field of red wool without any words or the customary soldier. Museum records identify this as a "storm flag," possibly meaning that the large flag was used to signal the strength of winds blowing in from the sea (the assumption being that only strong winds could cause it to fly full extended).

  • A more modern era:
  • The Portuguese Shrimp Fisherman in Georgia: In the following string of stories I will try to paint a picture of what it was like to be a member of the Portuguese community here in Brunswick Ga. back at a time when the community was intact and shrimp fishing was the way of life. Brunswick is a port city with a mild winter climate and very hot and humid summers. The shrimping industry here was founded by a community of Portuguese immigrant fishermen of which my Grandparents, Great grandparents, Uncles and parents were part of. They had immigrated from the mainland of Portugal in the early 1900's (my family in 1917). Brunswick at that time was designated the shrimp capital of the USA. Shrimp was plentiful. My mother has in a jar of formaldehyde some shrimp from that era that weighted in as "4's". That is four headless shrimp to the pound. They were like mini-lobsters. Today large shrimp weigh in at about 18 to the pound and it is more common to have a catch of 24-36 to the pound.The docks are located on a small river branching off from the Turtle River about three miles inland from the St.Simons sound and the open ocean. The original docks were built and owned entirely by the Portuguese community . They were, and still are, wooden built on pilings driven into the river bottom. There is still a large fleet here but to my knowledge there are no Portuguese left among them. All of the old ones are gone now, but not forgotten. The community as a whole is no more . Descendants have been absorbed into the melting pot that makes up so much of America. I am writing this for history and for my grandchildren and for all Portuguese/Americans.

  • Quote of the year (1907):

    When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experience in nearly forty years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like. But in all my experience, I have never been in an accident ... of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. Edward J. Smith, Captain, RMS Titanic

  • April 14, 1912: On its maiden voyage carrying 2,200 passengers from Southampton, England to New York City, shortly before midnight the Titanic struck an iceberg off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and sunk. Among the more than 1,500 passengers lost was Maj. Archibald Butt of Augusta, military aide to presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

    From the Project Gutenberg text on the sinking of the Titanic comes this report of Butt's heroism and bravery:

    Captain Smith and Major Archibald Butt, military aide to the President of the United States, were among the coolest men on board. A number of steerage passengers were yelling and screaming and fighting to get to the boats. Officers drew guns and told them that if they moved toward the boats they would be shot dead. Major Butt had a gun in his hand and covered the men who tried to get to the boats. The following story of his bravery was told by Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of the theatrical manager:

    'The world should rise in praise of Major Butt. That man's conduct will remain in my memory forever. The American army is honored by him and the way he taught some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear of death. Major Butt was near me and I noticed everything that he did. "When the order to man the boats came, the captain whispered something to Major Butt. The two of them had become friends. The major immediately became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House reception. A dozen or more women became hysterical all at once, as something connected with a life-boat went wrong. Major Butt stepped over to them and said: "Really, you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing." He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with a touch of gallantry. Not only was there a complete lack of any fear in his manner, but there was the action of an aristocrat.

    'When the time came he was a man to be feared. In one of the earlier boats fifty women, it seemed, were about to be lowered, when a man, suddenly panicicken, ran to the stern of it. Major Butt shot one arm out, caught him by the back of the neck and jerked him backward like a pillow. His head cracked against a rail and he was stunned. 'Sorry,' said Major Butt, 'women will be attended to first or I'll break every damned bone in your body.'

    'The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, 'Thank God, for Archie Butt.' Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face toward us for a second and smiled. Just at that moment, a young man was arguing to get into a life-boat, and Major Butt had a hold of the lad by the arm, like a big brother, and was telling him to keep his head and be a man. 'Major Butt helped those poor frightened steerage people so wonderfully, so tenderly and yet with such cool and manly firmness that he prevented the loss of many lives from panic. He was a soldier to the last. He was one of God's greatest noblemen, and I think I can say he was an example of bravery even to men on the ship.'

    Miss Marie Young, who was a music instructor to President Roosevelt's children and had known Major Butt during the Roosevelt occupancy of the White House, told this story of his heroism. 'Archie himself put me into the boat, wrapped blankets about me and tucked me in as carefully as if we were starting on a motor ride. He, himself, entered the boat with me, performing the little courtesies as calmly and with as smiling a face as if death were far away, instead of being but a few moments removed from him. When he had carefully wrapped me up he stepped upon the gunwale of the boat, and lifting his hat, smiled down at me. "Good-bye, Miss Young," he said. "Good luck to you, and don't forget to remember me to the folks back home." Then he stepped back and waved his hand to me as the boat was lowered. I think I was the last woman he had a chance to help, for the boat went down shortly after we cleared the suction zone.'

  • December 23, 1941: Margaret Mitchell traveled to New York to attend commissioning ceremonies (on the 24th) for the new light cruiser U.S.S. Atlanta. Ms. Mitchell was the new ship's sponsor. The U.S.S. Atlanta was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard. The light cruiser, unfortunately, would be lost less than a year later at the Battle of Guadalcanal, November 1942.

  • The Decatur Navy: Our county seat, Decatur, Georgia, was named for American hero Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), a distinquished officer of the U. S. Navy, known for his saying: “Our country, in her [relations] with foreign nations may she always be right; but our country, right or wrong.” Also well known is his daring raid (1804) to burn the U.S. Frigate Philadelphia, which had been captured by pirates and held at Tripoli harbor. He later served with honor in command of the warships USS United States and USS President during the War of 1812. Cities in Illinois, Alabama and Tennessee (as well as countless schools) are named for him, too. The neighboring county, which was carved out of DeKalb, was named after a man named Robert Fulton of steamship folly fame.

  • Scouting: Bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty given to Georgia by the Boy Scouts of America, located on the northwest corner of Georgia's state capitol grounds.

  • Off the Golden Isles: Gray's Reef comprises one of the largest nearshore sandstone reefs in the southeastern United States. It is located 32 kilometers (17.5 nautical miles) off Sapelo Island, Georgia. Sanctuary boundaries protect 17 square miles of open ocean. Sandstone outcroppings and ledges up to three meters in height separate the sandy, flat-bottomed troughs in a reef that combines temperate and tropical qualities. The rocky platform, some 60 to 70 feet below the Atlantic Ocean's surface, is wreathed in a carpet of attached organisms and is known locally as a "live bottom habitat."

    . . . Following close behind the schools of fish are the many sport fishing and diving enthusiasts who have made Gray's Reef one of the most popular recreation areas along the Georgia coast.

    Gray's Reef Sanctuary is also an important part of the only known winter calving ground for the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.

  • Intracoastal Waterway, MILE 583, GA - THUNDERBOLT: This famous, large, aging marina is geared to megayacht repair but is friendly to small craft and has full facilities and services, including daily newspaper and an email line. Excellent restaurant 1/4 mile walk from yard. It is the most convenient waterfront to Savannah, which is well worth a taxi ride to see. Visit Factor's Walk there, a restored warehouse district with stone streets and buildings.

  • November 28, 2007: Churches and schools for many years sponsored Boy and Girl Scout units in Waltham. Indeed, in 1974, the W.R. Nichols Company was the chartering organization for a Sea-Scout Ship. Today such a group would be a crew within Venturing, a program for young men and women under the BSA umbrella. This evening, was the 97th anniversary of the founding of the earliest documented maritime-themed Scout unit in the United States. That date in 1910 was a Monday and the time was evening at 321 Crescent Dr, Waltham, Massachusetts. The man who first brought a Sea Scout group together (in the USA), Arthur Astor Carey, lived in Waltham, which is on the Charles River. A prominent worker in the burgeoning arena of youth development of the period, Carey founded the local Scout district council, too. Carey's Little chapel Harbor -- Waltham, Massachusetts Public Library from same time period.

    Carey's unit began as a Scout troop, of course, as that was the only type of Scouting program that existed then. Less than a month later these Scouts had acquired the use of an eighty-two (82) foot converted fishing boat, then moored in nearby Boston. The group spent much of the following months working on their water skills at Camp Sherwood on the Sudbury River. In the summer of 1911, the newly-christened BSS Pioneer conducted the first Long Cruise.

    Mr. Carey apparently was never actually a Sea Scout Skipper [often called a Seascoutmaster in the early days], he functioned more as a combination Chartered Partner Representative and Committee Chairman in today's terms. He did go out on the Pioneer and participated in the Long Cruise. A wealthy man who was active in such diverse fields as the arts deco and neurasthenic studies, he is considered to be the first national Sea Scout director, preceding James Wilder of Hawaii.

    November 28, 2007: Churches and schools for many years sponsored Boy and Girl Scout units in Waltham. Indeed, in 1974, the W.R. Nichols Company was the chartering organization for a Sea-Scout Ship. Today such a group would be a crew within Venturing, a program for young men and women under the BSA umbrella. This evening, was the 97th anniversary of the founding of the earliest documented maritime-themed Scout unit in the United States. That date in 1910 was a Monday and the time was evening at 321 Crescent Dr, Waltham, Massachusetts. The man who first brought a Sea Scout group together (in the USA), Arthur Astor Carey, lived in Waltham, which is on the Charles River. A prominent worker in the burgeoning arena of youth development of the period, Carey founded the local Scout district council, too. Carey's Little chapel Harbor -- Waltham, Massachusetts Public Library from same time period.

    Carey's unit began as a Scout troop, of course, as that was the only type of Scouting program that existed then. Less than a month later these Scouts had acquired the use of an eighty-two (82) foot converted fishing boat, then moored in nearby Boston. The group spent much of the following months working on their water skills at Camp Sherwood on the Sudbury River. In the summer of 1911, the newly-christened BSS Pioneer conducted the first Long Cruise.

    Mr. Carey apparently was never actually a Sea Scout Skipper [often called a Seascoutmaster in the early days], he functioned more as a combination Chartered Partner Representative and Committee Chairman in today's terms. He did go out on the Pioneer and participated in the Long Cruise. A wealthy man who was active in such diverse fields as the arts deco and neurasthenic studies, he is considered to be the first national Sea Scout director, preceding James Wilder of Hawaii.

    There is some evidence pointing to a possibility that Mr. Carey had been acquainted with General Baden-Powell in England (1909) and that his encounter may have been a factor in his interest in Scouting. His daughter Alida married into the Gulick family, the founders of the Campfire Girls. Carey was the same age as Sir Robert Baden-Powell, but predeceased him by some 18 years (1923). information researched by D R McKeon SSS Sargasso Ship 22 (Atlanta Area Council) Tucker, GA. There is some evidence pointing to a possibility that Mr. Carey had been acquainted with General Baden-Powell in England (1909) and that his encounter may have been a factor in his interest in Scouting. His daughter Alida married into the Gulick family, the founders of the Campfire Girls. Carey was the same age as Sir Robert Baden-Powell, but predeceased him by some 18 years (1923). information researched by D R McKeon SSS Sargasso Ship 22 (Atlanta Area Council) Tucker, GA. Dr. McKeon is the Georgia connection in this story, and is one of the learned gentlemen of the Sea Badge staff of SR17 (Fall 2002).

  • Après nous être sauvés, nous reconnûmes que l'île s'appelait Malte
    Chapitre 28, Actes. Paul à Rome - Les Actes des Apôtres

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