Shipwreck of the Schooner, D. H. Ingraham
Hereford Inlet Station, New Jersey
*Minor editorial privileges were taken to clarify the text and writing style of the period.
December 4 (1886) -- At half past 10 o'clock at night, during a northeast gale of wind and thick snowstorm, the patrol of the Hereford Inlet Station, (Fourth District,) coast of New Jersey, was attracted by the gleam of a torch in the direction of the north bar, about two miles east of the station. It being quite evident to his mind that a vessel was ashore and in distress, he hurried back with all speed and alarmed the life-saving crew. The surf boat was launched as quickly as possible, and after a hard pull in the heavy sea lasting more than two hours, with nothing to guide them through the blinding storm and darkness but the glimmer of the torch, they finally arrived alongside the craft at 1 o'clock in the morning, (5th.) She proved to be the schooner D. H. Ingraham, of and from Rockland, Maine, bound to Richmond, Virginia, with a cargo of lime. The latter was on fire, and the sailors, numbering five men, were fearful lest assistance should not reach them in time and they would be obliged to abandon the vessel in their small yawl-boat, a proceeding that would doubtless have been attended with fatal results. They were taken into the surf boat without delay, conveyed safely ashore, and conducted to the station. By sunrise the deck had burned completely off and the schooner began breaking up. She soon became a total wreck. Her crew were sheltered and fed by the surfmen for four days. The following letter appeared in a subsequent issue of the New York Herald:
"To the Editor of the Herald:
"I desire through the columns of the Herald to extend to Capt. Christopher Ludlam and crew, of life-saving station No. 36, my most heartfelt thanks for the assistance rendered my crew and self in taking us off the schooner D. H. Ingraham, which went ashore at half past 10 p.m., on December 4, during the heavy snow storm of that date, and amid an exceedingly heavy sea. As our striking so far off the beach, about a mile and a half, we could scarcely expect the life-saving crew to come to our assistance before daylight; but Captain Ludlam, seeing our pitch and oakum torches burning, and knowing our perilous position, was equal to the occasion, and after a hard row of two hours succeeded in coming alongside and taking us off the vessel, which was on fire. At half past 1 a.m., the morning of December 5, we made our landing on the beach, a very thankful party, as you can readily understand, and were treated in the most humane manner possible and our wants were in every way supplied. Realizing that an hour's delay would have compelled us to take to our own small yawl-boat we can never forget the brave deed of this captain and crew.