Ocean Liner Row New York's Historic Harbor District 

Ocean Liner Memorabilia
Historical Maritime Events


--Table of Contents--
The Alamo
 The Battle of Trafalgar
The Andrea Doria Disaster
The Sinking of the R.M.S Titanic
The Steamer General Slocum Tragedy
The M.V. St. Louis returns to Europe

The Battle of the Alamo
San Antonio Texas
March 1836


Colonel William Barret Travis' last letter to General Sam Houston
seeking reinforcements.

We are completely surrounded by a thousand Mexican troops
under the command of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

To All Americans In The World...

We have been under siege for 13 days.

 Our flag is still flying high on the Wall.
The enemy has called for an unconditional surrender of which I have answered with a cannon shot.
I have drawn a line in the sand asking all volunteers to stay.
We will never surrender.

I am an officer and will defend our honor.

"Give me Victory or Death" signed Colonel William Barret Travis.

The Alamo fell on the 6th of March 1836
with all Patriots put to the sword.

The Legendary Honor Roll
for Heroism, Courage and Bravery

Colonel William Barret Travis

Colonel Jim Bowie

Texas Volunteer Army

Colonel Davy Crockett
King of the Wild Frontier 
Tennessee Long Rifles

General Sam Houston's Battle Cry--
"Remember The Alamo"
Six weeks after the Fall of The Alamo,
on the 21st of April 1836,
and at pre-dawn,
General Sam Houston,
while commanding the Texas Volunteer Army,
attacked General Santa Anna's Mexican Army
at San Jacinto Texas.
It was a crushing defeat.
The Mexican Army surrendered and Santa Anna was taken prisoner.
The Battle of San Jacinto Texas was a decisive victory
for Texas Independence.

story by Ian O. Robertson

The Battle of Trafalgar 
October 21, 1805 
The Days of Wooden Ships and Iron Men

The Napoleonic War, October 1805.

Admiral Viscount Lord Nelson

Admiralty House in London sent the following message,
with full dispatch to Admiral Viscount Lord Nelson
aboard the Royal Navy Flagship H.M.S. Victory---

"The Main French Naval force has joined with the Spanish Fleet off the Southern coast of Spain and is in preparation to engage in battle with our Fleet.  They are positioned off Cape Trafalgar.  Seek and destroy."

On the early morning of October the 21st, 1805--Nelson and the Fleet approached the battle line of ships, three deep.  Ready to engage.
England with 33 Ships
France and Spain 41 Ships

Before the battle began, Nelson instructed the signal flag message
be sent to the Fleet.

"Splice the Mainbrace, Double Tot of Rum Issue, For All Hands."

The battle plan was to engage with a different strategy.

Nelson formed two division lines to sail into the battle--
Leading line one, Nelson on the H.M.S. Victory,
Leading line two, Vice Admiral Collinwood on the
H.M.S. Royal Sovereign.

The usual strategy was to send second and third rate ships in first to deflect the enemy crossfire.

The cannons roared and the battle raged on.
The fighting was the fiercest around the Victory.  
The Victory broke through the line with a triple shotted broadside port and starboard.

Fully engaged with a three tier cannon bombardment, Nelson's strategy was a success.
At a quarter past one, at the height of the battle on maindeck, 
Nelson was mortally wounded with a musket shot,
which entered his left shoulder, and landed on his spine,
surrounded by his crew and war-torn bodies.  

At his command, Nelson still continued to lead the battle and
in 5 hours had devestated the enemy,
delivering one deadly round after another.

With precision accuracy, the enemy had lost 19 ships.
The English were winning.

The French Warship, Redoubtable, was pulling along side the Victory to board her.  The H.M.S. Temaraire, which the Royal Navy crew called her the Fighting Temaraire, came about the starboard stern
and let off a triple shotted broadside,
disabling the Redoubtable.

The gunners in battle would generally aim for the main brace and the rigging, 5 inches in diameter,the largest of the rigging.
If it was shot away, the ship would be unmaneuverable,
staying on the same tack.

At half past four, Nelson succumbed to his wound and died.

He was victorious in death.
His final words were--
"Thank God I have done my duty."

England had won the battle.

"Britannia Victorious"


The victory suffered the highest casualties--
61 Killed and 91 Wounded.

The Victory was unable to move under her own sail and was towed by the H.M.S. Neptune to Gibraltar for repairs.

Nelson's body was preserved in a canvas lined casket full of Brandy and returned back to England on the H.M.S. Victory for a hero's burial.

The funeral was held at Saint Paul's Cathedral, London,
where Nelson was buried with full military and naval honors.

England was no longer in any threat of being invaded
by Napoleon's forces.

The Battle of Trafalgar was one of the most decisive battles in Naval history.

In five hours, the British had defeated both
the French and the Spanish fleets.

French Commander Villeneuve was held prisoner
on his own ship--Bucentaure-- 
and taken back to England.

The Spanish Admiral Gravina escaped
on his ship--Prince of Asturias-- 
but later died of his battle wounds.  

Three thousand prisoners were taken.

French and Spanish casualties--
3,243 Dead and 2,538 Wounded.

England did not lose any ships but suffered heavy damage.

England's casualties--
458 Dead and 1,208 Wounded.

Every man did his duty.

"God Bless The Royal Navy."

There is a monument for Lord Nelson at Trafalgar Square in London.

"Rule Britannia, Britannia Rules The Waves."

The HMS Victory is a 104 gun, First-Rate Man-O-War.
The keel was laid down in 1759.
Built in Chatham.
3,556 Tons
Length: 227 Feet
Beam: 49 Feet

Launched on July 23, 1765.

The victory is more than 250 years old.
The Battle of Waterloo

 The Napoleonic War ended at the Battle of Waterloo
on Sunday, the 18th of June 1815,
near Waterloo in Belgium by the Anglo led army
allied under the command of England's Duke of Wellington.

After Napoleon's defeat, he was exiled to St. Helena island,
in the South Atlantic,
where he died on the 5th of May 1821,
at Longwood House.

His body was later exhumed and taken back to France
for a military funeral.

Story by Ian Robertson


Royal Navy Flagship
HMS Victory
Portsmouth, England
The H.M.S. Victory is open for viewing today.
A plaque on her main deck marks the spot where Nelson was mortally Wounded.


HMS Foudroyant Nelson Ship

Admiral Nelson Medal from Ship's Salvage

Medals struck from Metal from the remains of Nelson's ship--
HMS Foudroyant


A Great Novel by James McGuane

The Victory Chair on Board 1806

The Keel With Copper Bolt In the Victories' Bilge

The Largest Long Barreled CANNON in Standard Use in Nelson's Navy
fires a 32 Pound Cannon Ball

The Royal Navy and the Submarine Museum are located in Portsmouth, England.

The Royal Navy Fleet off Spithead 
between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight


Queen Victoria aboard the armed cruiser Teutonic.

The Andrea Doria Disaster

The Andrea Doria in New York Harbor 1956

The Andrea Doria and the SS Stockholm

There was heavy fog on the North Atlantic 
on the evening of the 25th of July 1956. 
And the pride of the Italian Line, 
the 29,000 ton Andrea Doria 
was heading Westbound for New York, on her last night at sea. 

At the same time, the 12,000 ton Stockholm, Swedish Amerika line 
was heading Eastbound, having left New York harbor earlier
 at about the same time as the French liner the Ile de France, 
a ship that would later play a major role in the tragedy.

Both ships were monitoring their radars 
and following the applicable rules of the road. 
All guidance necessary to avoid a collision was available 
for the situation that was about to unfold. 

The Collision

The Andrea Doria was steaming in fog on track 
to pass the Nantucket lightship and shaped her course for New York. The lightship reported visibility at 50 yards. 
The Andrea Doria only reduced her speed from 23 knots to 21 knots.

 Captain Calamai was on the bridge. 
The radar was being observed. 
Shortly after passing the Nantucket lightship, 
an echo sounded that proved to be 
the Stockholm on a head on situation. 
From his visual observation of the radar scope, 
Captain Calamai determined that 
an apparent starboard to starboard passing was developing. 
He adjusted course a few degrees to port to open up the distance.

On the bridge of the Stockholm, 
3rd Mate Carstens-Johannsen detected the echo of the Andrea Doria. He determined a running fix on his plotter 
that a port to port passing was developing. 
He turned the Stockholm 4 degrees to starboard 
and from the upcoming radar beeps, 
he felt assured there was no need 
to summon Captain Nordenson to the bridge. 
He had the situation under control. 

Both ships were sounding fog horns in the thick fog
 with lookouts on their watch. 

Each bridge was developing opposing strategy 
for passing on radar readings. 
Each bridge viewed masthead lights and running lights. 
The Stockholm turned hard to starboard.
 Captain Calamai ordered,
 "Full Left Rudder with no decrease in speed." 
He would attempt to outrun the oncoming Stockholm. 

The rest is history.

At 23:10 hours, these two great ships collided
 with a steel grinding spark-filled disastrous shudder 
and tangle of steel. 

46 passengers were killed on the Andrea Doria 
and 6 crew members died on the Stockholm. 
The immediate distress signals were sent out. 

"SOS. Need immediate assistance." 
SOS at 0320GMT at the position of Lat 40-30N/69-53W." 

The radioman on the Ile de France
also received the distress signal call 
and relayed it to Captain Rauol de Beaudean 
and the captain turned the Ile de France around
and headed toward the disaster on a rescue mission. 

With in minutes of the collision, 
the Andrea Doria had listed 25 degrees to starboard. 
The list rendered the portside life boats unusable 
with over 1,600 passengers and crew to evacuate, 
creating a huge problem. 

And the engine room crew were working frantically 
to control the flooding and maintain power 
but the flooding proved too much. 
They were losing the battle. 

The abandon ship order was given. 

On board the Stockholm, 
Captain Nordersen was assured of his ship's stability. 
He lowered his own lifeboats to the rescue 
and took on passengers from the Andrea Doria 
to the Stockholm's lifeboats. 

Several other ships had arrived to join in the rescue. 
The Ile de France received the most passengers and crew--750. 

The Stockholm was badly damaged at her bow. 
Her two anchors had deployed to the ocean floor. 

The Stockholm took the initial passengers on board--542 safely aboard.

 In all, 1,660 passengers and crew 
had been rescued from the Andrea Doria as a new day was dawning. 

The Andrea Doria was doomed, 
continuing to list to her starboard side. 

 At 1009 hours, she rolled over 
and finally listed, 
disappearing beneath the waves, 

with all the ships whistles blowing in salute 
of the death of this great liner. 

The Stockholm safely made it back to the port of New York. 

Story by Ian O. Robertson

RMS Titanic Disaster

On the 10th of April 1912, 
the RMS Titanic 
sailed from Southampton 
on its Maiden Voyage--
the greatest liner of its time--
with stops at 
Cherbourg and Queenstown--
on its way to New York.

On the night of the 14th of April at 11:40pm, 
the liner struck an iceberg.

After 20 minutes, 
Captain E.J.Smith was aware the ship was going to sink. 
He issued the abandon ship order.

The ship sank at 2:20am
on the 15th of April.

868 were rescued
by the RMS Capathia
and taken to New York City.
1,250 Souls
went down with the ship.

Story by Ocean Liner Row
The Side Paddle Steamer
General Slocum Disaster

by Ian Robertson

It was a sunny Sunday morning, the 15th of June, 1904.

The Slocum was chartered for the day by the St. Mark's Lutheran Church for 350 dollars and loading the passengers, mainly European settlers, for what was to be a fun-filled day and picnic 
at Eaton's Neck, Long Island.

Over 1,400 men, women and children 
had boarded at the Lower Eastside Pier.

The ship got underway at 9:30am
and headed northbound on the East River towards Long Island.

At 10:00am, as it was passing East 96th Street at Hell's gate,
a fire broke out in the lamp room on the forward part of the ship, possibly caused by a discarded cigarette or match, fueled by oil, rags, straw, paint and other flammable liquids.

Captain Van Schaick was not notified
until 10 minutes after the fire started.

The ship's crew had never had a fire drill.
This was a disaster waiting to happen.

The Captain decided to stay on course, while trying to extinguish the fire, but the head winds only the fanned the flames.

The ship turned a raging inferno.

Passengers were jumping into the river and drowning,
their heavy clothing dragging them under.
Mothers were jumping with babies in their arms.
Many also died when the Main Deck
collapsed from the weight of the passengers.
As others jumped over the side of the ship,
they were battered by the still turning paddles.

If the proper safety regulations had been in place.
This tragedy could have been avoided.

The Slocum sank is shallow water,
just off Brother Island, on the Bronx shoreline.
A Burned Out Shell.

An estimated 1021 souls burned to death or drowned.

There were 321 survivors.

Many acts of heroism were performed by passenger and crew.
Many people from the shoreline joined in the rescue efforts,
forming a human chain pulling victims from the water.

The East River was strewn with bodies along the shoreline,
a tragic day for this family neighborhood.

The owner, the Knickerbocker Steamship Company,
were sighted for unsafe conditions.

This disaster motivated Federal and State regulators
to improve emergency procedures
to properly maintain onboard emergency equipment.

There is a marble memorial fountain, honoring all who perished, at
Tompkins Square Park, in New York City.

M.V. ST. LOUIS Returns Jewish Refugees To Europe 1939

Hamburg Amerika Line
In May 1939, the German liner M.S. ST LOUIS

sailed from Hamburg with 937 Jewish refugees,
fleeing Nazi Persecution.

Their destination--Havana, Cuba.

Upon arriving in Havana,
 Cuban Government rejected their visas, refusing them entry.

The ship was ordered to leave port.

Captain Gustav Schroder headed
for the eastern coast of the United States.
Yet here, they were also denied entry at any US port.

With no other options available,
the ship was forced to return back to Europe.

This would prove to be a death sentence for many of these refugees
who would eventually end up in the Nazi concentration camps.

This became known as
The Voyage Of The Damned.

Captain Gustav Schroder

On September 1, 1939,
German Troops marched into Poland
marking the beginning of WWII.

Story by Ian O Robertson


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