Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Wreck of the Vancouver

Rose Spit was again to take its toll on coastal shipping in August, 1854, when the Hudson's Bay brigantine "Vancouver" was wrecked. She was a comparatively new vessel, having only arrived at Victoria from England the previous May. Under command of Captain James M. Reid, the "Vancouver" went on the spit in a great gale and it was found impossible to float her. A messenger was sent to Fort Simpson, and Captain Charles Dodd was dispatched to the scene in the steamer Beaver. Though the Haida people claimed the wreck, Captain Reid, no doubt recalling the difficulties arising from the loss of the first "Vancouver" at this same spot, set fire to her.

A letter from W.H. McNeill from Fort Simpson to the Board of Management of the Company at Victoria again gives details of this fresh disaster:--
Rose Spit point

"The Vancouver is now no more, she was run on shore on Point Rose Spit early on the morning of the 13th inst. going Seven knots. Mr. Swanson and Griffin arrived here on the 15th with the astounding news about 10 a.m. The Steamer Beaver was fortunately lying here with 25 cords wood on deck waiting the arrival of a vessel with supplies. Captain Dodd ordered the steam to be got up immediately, and started at 2 p.m. for the unfortunate Vancouver and arrived at the scene of trouble at about 10 p.m. The steamer arrived back here on the 18th late in the evening having on board Captain Reid, his officers and crew. All the Powder, six cases Guns, a fur Bale and cases of sundries and some of the stores an account of which is now sent. I will not enter into details as Captain Dodd and Reid will be with you to inform of all particulars . . . I must mention that after all had been done possible to save the "Vancouver," Captain Reid set fire to her, as he says she was breaking up and the Sea making a complete breach over her. The Indians [Haida people] had begun to plunder and break up the vessel. Those Massetts again, as it was they gave some annoyance. It is now time that this Edenso and his gang were punished." []