1813

On June 6, 1813, great animation prevailed when the Shannon brought in the captured Chesapeake. The picture in Grade IX school-books conveys an idea of what Dartmouth-ians rowed out to greet on that exciting Sunday. Captain Broke (Brook) of the Shannon was so badly wounded that the command of the ship devolved upon 2nd Lieut. Provo Wallis, 22-year old native of Halifax; and the same man after whom Port Wallis is misnamed. (Port Wallace is named for Hon. Michael Wallace, Canal President)

The restless and ever-changing harbor still churns up its foamy wrath at times, but never had the inhabitants seen the waters in such a freakish and tempestuous turmoil as was exhibited late in the autumn of the year 1813.

About five o’clock on Friday evening November 12, a terrific hurricane suddenly sprang up from the southeast, driving in an immense volume of sea-water. On that day there were about 100 ships in port. Although the tide was dead low at the time, within the short space of one hour, the height of water lifted almost every vessel from its anchorage and bore it madly along in a swirling tide.

The bulwark of Halifax wharves breasted the brunt of the surging ocean swell as it pounded small craft against the pilings until they were smashed and sunk. Larger vessels were torn violently from their moorings to be swung outward and pitched crazily into mid-stream where they wallowed and collided with other ships as everything movable kept sweeping up the harbor.

Along the stretch of lee-shore at Dartmouth some 30 or 40 vessels were washed up in all sorts of positions on the beaches where in many cases the hulls were damaged by hidden boulders. Broken bowsprits and stripped rigging bore evidence of more collisions. These ships must have been lifted ashore by the buoyant tidal-wave, and not by the wind.

The driving November rain, the inky darkness, the blue flares of rockets and the intermittent sounds of distress guns amid the piercing shrieks of drowning persons, made the night a memorable and awful one for the inhabitants.

As if in answer to a prayer, the freakish storm suddenly ceased about seven o’clock, when the wind veered to the northwest and the water became comparatively calm again.

Next morning, Haligonians looked across the harbor. They saw the extensive stretch of Dartmouth shore from Fort Clarence to Tufts’ Cove strewn with ships. Editor John Howe of the Halifax Journal must have sent a reporter to Dartmouth, because a few days later his newspaper published the following list:

  • The brig “Friendship” ashore near Fort Clarence, rudder and bowsprit gone.
  • Ship “Jubilee” ashore near Prescott’s limekiln.
  • A captured brig ashore near Prescott’s, bilged; foremast and bowsprit gone.
  • Brig “Astrea” ashore near McMain’s, much injured in her upper works.
  • An American prize sloop, ashore near McMain’s, rudder gone.
  • His Majesty’s schooner “Canso” (12 guns), bowsprit gone; ashore northward of McMain’s. (This is the rocky shore shown on page 14).
  • Schooner “Four Sisters” (204 tons), ashore near ‘ii«’ “Canso”, bowsprit gone, damaged in upper works.
  • Schooner Dove” ashore near the Lap-Stone, foremast and bowsprit gone.
  • Shooner “Rachel & Mary” ashore near the “Dove”, not much Injured.
  • A small Lunenburg schooner ashore near Ryan’s ferry-wharf.
  • Schooner “Mary” of Portland, ashore in Dartmouth, not much injured.
  • A small shallop ashore on Dartmouth, A schooner laden with sugar, sunk near above vessel.
  • Schooner “Ferdinand” ashore near Skerry’s house, much damage to her upper works.
  • Brig “William” ashore near Coleman’s, foremast and bowsprit gone, stern much injured.
  • Sloop with country produce struck shore near Coleman’s wharf, and soon went to pieces, the whole cargo lost.
  • Mr. Coleman’s boat-shop blown down. Schooner “Sally” of Nantucket, prize-ship to H.M.S. Loire, ashore near Coleman’s.
  • Sloop “Gleaner” brought up near Coleman’s wharf, lost her bowsprit.
  • H. M. brig “Manly”, ashore to the north of the “Sally”, much damaged, feared total loss.
  • The transport schooner “Three Sisters” sunk near the “Manly”, total loss. H.M. sliip “Maidstone” ashore to the north of this.
  • H.M.S. “La Hogue” ashore near Black Rock.
  • Schr “Concord” ashore nearby.
  • Schr “Paragon” ashore north of the “Concord”.
  • American ship “Massachusetts” prize to the “Canso”, ashore to the north of Black Rock.
  • A Portuguese brig and an American sloop near the “Massachusetts”, not much injured.
  • A neutral brig and a lumber-loaded schooner ashore to the northward of the above.
  • H.M.S. “San Domingo” ashore near Foster’s wharf.
  • Ship “Juno”, the re-captured brig “Ann” and a schooner ashore above Foster’s.
  • The transport ship no. 429 ashore near Foster’s Point.
  • The brig “Mariner” ashore near Pryor’s windmill.
  • Schr. “Edward” ashore north of above.
  • Spanish poleacre ship “Catherine Patriota” ashore near Albro’s tanyard.
  • Sloop “Elvira” ashore above Albro’s, overset— her owner Mr. Koch and two men lost.
  • Brig. “Christiana” ashore north of the “Elvira”.
  • Ships “Ned” and “Divina Pastore” ashore in Tufts’ Cove.
  • A Lunenburg sloop sunk near the above vessels, the crew of four said to have perished.
  • Men-of-War brigs “Fantome” (18 guns) and “Epervier” ashore north of Tufts’ Cove. (Five months later, “Epervier” was captured by the Americans. “Fantome” was wrecked in 1814 at Prospect).

The above lengthy list gives one an idea of the number of vessels usually anchored on our side of the harbor. Foster’s wharf was near the “watering-place” at the foot of Jamieson Street, mentioned on page 67. The schooner “Three Sisters” may have been the one owned by Jonathan and John Tremain on which Edward Jordan committed murder and mutiny in 1809. Her wreck would be near the foot of North Street. (See “Jordan, the Pirate” by Dr. MacMechan).

George Westphal was in the news again that year. He was then in command of the “Anaconda”, and in the attack on New Orleans during 1813, had lost his right hand.