Forgotten Wreck: Oceanus (1839)

The following appeared in Philadelphia’s The North American on May 15, 1839 and describes the wreck of the ship Oceanus near Charleston, South Carolina.

SHIPWRECK.–The ship Oceanus, (of Portland) (Captain) Prince, from Boston for Savannah, in ballast, went ashore on the 10th inst. on Stone Breakers, and will be a total loss. Capt Prince and a part of the crew arrived at Charleston on the 10th inst. in the afternoon for assistance; the mate and the balance of the crew got in her long boat, and landed at Stone. Previous to their leaving, the ship had about two feet water in her hold, but had not bilged. Captain Prince will return to the wreck, and endeavor to save what he can. The Oceanus had a Savannah pilot on board at the time of her going ashore.

Since writing the above, the steamer James Adams has proceeded to the week [sic]. 

The record is not too clear about what happened, but three months later the “Marine Journal” column for Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s New-Hampshire Gazette reported: “Arr(ived) ship Oceananus, (Capt. Willey), (from) Charleston” on August 12th. It had departed Charleston on August 2nd with a cargo that included “hard pine lumber.” See the advertisement below, which ran through the first week of September.

Of course we can’t be sure this is the same Oceanus, but it seems like a good bet they are one and the same. In any case, this Oceanus was ready to sail again by the end of October. It departed Portsmouth for Charleston on Saturday, November 9, 1839.



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Filed under Forgotten Wrecks, Notes from the Field

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