Shipwrecks come in all shapes and sizes. Some result in the total loss of a vessel while others are but a speed bump in an otherwise prosperous career. Today’s forgotten wreck was one of those mundane shipwrecks that became commonplace along the nineteenth-century American shoreline. But intrigue lurks everywhere. Notice the end of this wreck blurb, published in The Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics on February 8, 1840. Seems odd that they would throw the whiskey over first. Maybe a few drams warmed up the shipwrecked and salvors… maybe not.
Brig Chatham of this port [Portsmouth, NH] at N. York, from Wilmington, Del. with meal, flour &c. went ashore on West Bank, Tuesday afternoon where she was taken by ice. She was afterwards towed off and up to Staten Island, by a steamer,–having lost both anchors and chains, and had to stave several bbds. whiskey to lighten her.