California Bound by

New York Daily Times, May 9, 1853 ---


A Sailor's Life at Sea. --- A Brave Boy.
[From the Boston Journal.]

It will be remembered that some two months ago, the ship Golden Light, from this port for California, was struck by lightening and burnt, when only a few days out, and that her passengers and crew took to boats, four in number. Those in two of the boats were picked up by a vessel and brought to this port; and afterwards a third boat, with seven of the crew on board, succeeded in reaching Antigua, one of the West India Islands. Five of these latter reached this city last night, in the ship Sarah, from St. Thomas, having been forwarded by the U. S. Consul there.

From the lips of one of the shipwrecked men, we learn the history of their deliverance from death. Before the four boats left the burning ship, they all having been provisioned and supplied with a barrel of water, the captain gave them certain instructions as to their course. The sailors of whom we speak were in a whaleboat, which was one of the three sent out in the ship as freight. After starting from the ship they soon fell to leeward of the other boats and lost sight of them, the fourth boat, which is still missing, being the last one they saw. They tried to speak to her, but could not make themselves heard. Finding themselves alone upon the ocean in a frail boat, they put it before the wind with many misgivings as to their fate. Among them was a young Yankee boy, but ill prepared for such hardships as he was about to undergo. He had saved from the wreck his Bible and his mother's miniature, and he often occupied the weary hours of suffering by reading the former. Continued vigilance was necessary to keep the boat from swamping, and the boy in question calmly performed his allotted share of duty, his conduct being, in this respect, a striking contrast to that of two Portuguese sailors, who, with loud outcries and lamentations, declared that there was no hope, and spent most of the time in tears. Several times great waves filled their little boat with water, and it seemed as if they must go down, but by active exertions they bailed it out, and pressed for ward for the land. They had no compass, and steered by the sun in the day-time and the stars at night. The salt water had spoiled their food, and they found to their dismay that their precious barrel of water had half leaked out.

After this discovery, they were put on short allowance of water, and their sufferings from thirst were great, so much so, that they could eat but little as it increased their desire for water. They were fearful that each would rob the barrel during the sleep of the others, and this, with their inconvenient position, and the continued call upon them for active exertion, prevented them from taking much repose. When they left the ship they had a large sail, and they manufactured from their clothing a small sail, which they put up in stormy weather. Twice, vessels came across their track. In one case the vessel, a schooner, came within a half mile, and their hopes of deliverance rose high; but, notwithstanding their signals, she put about and was soon out of sight, to them a most bitter disappointment, for they feared that they should never be able to reach the land.

At length, after running before the wind for seven or eight days, they were of opinion that they were near some of the West India Islands, and accordingly put about and continued to beat for two or three days longer. Finally, after having been in the boat for nearly eleven days, they came in sight of land, which proved to be Willows bay, Antigua, where, they were hospitably received, and forwarded to St. Thomas.

The fourth boat, which is still missing, contained some seven or eight of the ship's crew, among whom were several boys. They were well provided with provisions and instruments, and the boat was a good one. It is possible that they may have been picked up by some outward bound vessel.


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