Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Waddell Describes How He Destroys Prizes: How to Burn a Ship

JUNE 22ND, 1865:  Waddell burned most of the ships he captured in the northern seas.  Earlier in his journal he had discussed their destruction.

According to the freighting for some ships, one could simply "knock a hole in her bottom from inboard below the waterline and the vessels sinks rapidly and finally disappears leaving only a few pieces of plank floating over the great abyss which has closed over her.

"It frequently occurs that to destroy a prize, fire must be resorted to, and there is no escape from that ruthless element.  However much it may be condemned, it is better than to leave a prize disabled and injured as to be formidable enough to endanger the navigation of the ocean.  Fire serves as a beacon to inform the sailor of danger, but it leaves a small portion of the vessel, the floor and the keel to float upon the surface of the water.

"To prepare a vessel for destruction by fire, first remove all living animals, take out all useful equipment which may be wanted, discover what combustibles are in her hold, such as tar, pitch, turpentine, and see to the removal of gunpowder.  All of these things should be thrown into the sea.  Combustibles are then scattered throughout the vessel, bulkheads torn down and piled up in her cabins and forecastle.

"All hatches are opened and all halyards let go that sails may hang loosely and yards counter braced.  Fire is then taken from the galley or cooking stove and deposited in various parts of her hold and about her deck.

"If she is very old she burns like tinder.  The painful duty which sometimes becomes necessary would have been avoided had we been allowed to take our prizes into port for adjudication."

Now You Know How to destoy a Shop.  --Old B-Runner

No comments:

Post a Comment