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Red Faced Rescuers

Capt. Moses RogersOn May 22nd, 1819, The "Savannah" put to sea, with steam and sails on the historic trip which would take her from America across the Atlantic Ocean to England, Sweden & Russia with stops in Norway and Denmark before returning home. The ships commander Captain Moses Roberts well understood the reaction of the uninformed persons seeing for the first time the "Savannah" sailing with bare poles under steam. He eagerly waited for the first European to react, which happened off the coast of Ireland.

An attendant at a Signal Station spotted the "Savannah" and immediately assumed she was on fire. The speedy British revenue cutter "Kite" was dispatched to the rescue. However, the "Kite" found herself chasing the "Savannah" for four or five hours before she caught up with her, enabling the "rescuing" Lieutenant Bowie to board her and discover the incredible truth.

As can be imagined, the newspapers told and retold the story to delight their readers - even expanding on the length of the chase and the prowess of the American vessel and her Captain. A Russian newspaper not only changed the location of the chase to Scotland but also claimed that the "Kite" never caught up.

Actually, the most amusing part of the incident was not revealed till years later in separate accounts by Stevens Rogers and A. Thomas, as fireman on board. The only way the "Kite" could stop the "Savannah" was by firing several warning shots across her stern.

Source; as suggested by Roger MacWilliam

0 Comments · 6395 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on December 05 2007


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