Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, The



IT was a solemn moment when the Carpathia heaved in sight. There she rested on the water, a blur of black—huge, mysterious, awe-inspiring—and yet withal a thing to send thrills of pity and then of admiration through the beholder.

It was a few minutes after seven o'clock when she arrived at the entrance to Ambrose Channel. She was coming fast steaming at better than fifteen knots an hour, and she was sighted long before she was expected. Except for the usual side and masthead lights she was almost dark, only the upper cabins showing a glimmer here and there.

Then began a period of waiting, the suspense of which proved almost too much for the hundreds gathered there to greet friends and relatives or to learn with certainty at last that those for whom they watched would never come ashore.

There was almost complete silence on the pier. Doctors and nurses, members of the Women's Relief Committee, city and government officials, as well as officials of the line, moved nervously about.

Seated where they had been assigned beneath the big customs letters corresponding to the initials of the names of the survivors they came to meet, sat the mass of 2000 on the pier.

Women wept, but they wept quietly, not hysterically, and the sound of the sobs made many times less noise than the hum and bustle which is usual on the pier among those awaiting an incoming liner.

Slowly and majestically the ship slid through the water, still bearing the details of that secret of what happened and who perished when the Titanic met her fate.

Convoying the Carpathia was a fleet of tugs bearing men and women anxious to learn the latest news. The Cunarder had been as silent for days as though it, too, were a ship of the dead. A list of survivors had been given out from its wireless station and that was all. Even the approximate time of its arrival had been kept a secret.


There was no response to the hail from one tug, and as others closed in, the steamship quickened her speed a little and left them behind as she swung up the channel.

There was an exploding of flashlights from some of the tugs, answered seemingly by sharp stabs of lightning in the northwest that served to accentuate the silence and absence of light aboard the rescue ship. Five or six persons, apparently members of the crew or the ship's officers, were seen along the rail; but otherwise the boat appeared to be deserted.

Off quarantine the Carpathia slowed down and, hailing the immigration inspection boat, asked if the health officer wished to board. She was told that he did, and came to a stop while Dr. O'Connell and two assistants climbed on board. Again the newspaper men asked for some word of the catastrophe to the Titanic, but there was no answer, and the Carpathia continued toward her pier.

As she passed the revenue cutter Mohawk and the derelict destroyer Seneca anchored off Tompkinsville the wireless on the Government vessels was seen to flash, but there was no answering spark from the Carpathia. Entering the North River she laid her course close to the New Jersey side in order to have room to swing into her pier.

By this time the rails were lined with men and women. They were very silent. There were a few requests for news from those on board and a few answers to questions shouted from the tugs.

The liner began to slacken her speed, and the tugboat soon was alongside. Up above the inky blackness of the hull figures could be made out, leaning over the port railing, as though peering eagerly at the little craft which was bearing down on the Carpathia.

Some of them, perhaps, had passed through that inferno of the deep sea which sprang up to destroy the mightiest steamship afloat.

"Carpathia, ahoy!" was shouted through a megaphone.

There was an interval of a few seconds, and then, "Aye, aye," came the reply.

"Is there any assistance that can be rendered?" was the next question.

"Thank you, no," was the answer in a tone that carried emotion with it. Meantime the tugboat was getting nearer and nearer to the Carpathia, and soon the faces of those leaning over the railing could be distinguished.


More faces appeared, and still more.

A woman who called to a man on the tugboat was asked? "Are you one the Titanic survivors?"

"Yes," said the voice, hesitatingly.

"Do you need help?"

"No," after a pause.

"If there is anything you want done it will be attended to."

"Thank you. I have been informed that my relatives will meet me at the pier."

"Is it true that some of the life-boats sank with the Titanic?"

"Yes. There was some trouble in manning them. They were not far enough away from her."

All of this questioning and receiving replies was carried on with the greatest difficulty. The pounding of the liner's engines, the washing of the sea, the tugboat's engines, made it hard to understand the woman's replies.


"Were the women properly cared for after the crash?" she was asked.

"Oh, yes," came the shrill reply. "The men were brave—very brave." Here her voice broke and she turned and left the railing, to reappear a few moments later and cry:

"Please report me as saved."

"What name?" was asked. She shouted a name that could not be understood, and, apparently believing that it had been, turned away again and disappeared.

"Nearly all of us are very ill," cried another woman. Here several other tugboats appeared, and those standing at the railing were besieged with questions.

"Did the crash come without warning?" a voice on one of the smaller boats megaphoned.

"Yes," a woman answered. "Most of us had retired. We saved a few of our belongings."

"How long did it take the boat to sink?" asked the voice.


"Not long," came the reply? "The crew and the men were very brave. Oh, it is dreadful—dreadful to think of!"

"Is Mr. John Jacob Astor on board?"


"Did he remain on the Titanic after the collision?"

"I do not know."

Questions of this kind were showered at the few survivors who stood at the railing, but they seemed too confused to answer them intelligibly, and after replying evasively to some they would disappear.


"Are you going to anchor for the night?" Captain Rostron was asked by megaphone as his boat approached Ambrose Light. It was then raining heavily.

"No," came the reply. "I am going into port. There are sick people on board."

"We tried to learn when she would dock," said Dr. Walter Kennedy, head of the big ambulance corps on the mist-shrouded pier, "and we were told it would not be before midnight and that most probably it would not be before dawn to-morrow. The childish deception that has been practiced for days by the people who are responsible for the Titanic has been carried up to the very moment of the landing of the survivors."

She proceeded past the Cunard pier, where 2000 persons were waiting her, and steamed to a spot opposite the White Star piers at Twenty-first Street.

The ports in the big inclosed pier of the Cunard Line were opened, and through them the waiting hundreds, almost frantic with anxiety over what the Carpathia might reveal, watched her as with nerve-destroying leisure she swung about in the river, dropping over the life-boats of the Titanic that they might be taken to the piers of the White Star Line.


It was dark in the river, but the lowering away of the life-boats could be seen from the Carpathia's pier, and a deep sigh arose from the multitude there as they caught this first glance of anything associated with the Titanic.

Then the Carpathia started for her own pier. As she approached it the ports on the north side of pier 54 were closed that the Carpathia might land there, but through the two left open to accommodate the forward and after gangplanks of the big liner the watchers could see her looming larger and larger in the darkness till finally she was directly alongside the pier.

As the boats were towed away the picture taking and shouting of questions began again. John Badenoch, a buyer for Macy & Co., called down to a representative of the firm that neither Mr. nor Mrs. Isidor Straus were among the rescued on board the Carpathia. An officer of the Carpathia called down that 710 of the Titanic's passengers were on board, but refused to reply to other questions.

The heavy hawsers were made fast without the customary shouting of ship's officers and pier hands. From the crowd on the pier came a long, shuddering murmur. In it were blended sighs and hundreds of whispers. The burden of it all was: "Here they come."


About each gangplank a portable fence had been put in place, marking off some fifty feet of the pier, within which stood one hundred or more customs officials. Next to the fence, crowded close against it, were anxious men and women, their gaze strained for a glance of the first from the ship, their mouths opened to draw their breaths in spasmodic, quivering gasps, their very bodies shaking with suppressed excitement, excitement which only the suspense itself was keeping in subjection.

These were the husbands and wives, children, parents, sweethearts and friends of those who had sailed upon the Titanic on its maiden voyage.

They pressed to the head of the pier, marking the boats of the wrecked ship as they dangled at the side of the Carpathia and were revealed in the sudden flashes of the photographers upon the tugs. They spoke in whispers, each group intent upon its own sad business. Newspaper writers, with pier passes showing in their hat bands, were everywhere.

A sailor hurried outside the fence and disappeared, apparently on a mission for his company. There was a deep-drawn sigh as he walked away, shaking his head toward those who peered eagerly at him. Then came a man and woman of the Carpathia's own passengers, as their orderly dress showed them to be.

Again a sigh like a sob swept over the crowd, and again they turned back to the canopied gangplank.


Several minutes passed and then out of the first cabin gangway; tunneled by a somber awning, streamed the first survivors. A young woman, hatless, her light brown hair disordered and the leaden weight of crushing sorrow heavy upon eyes and sensitive mouth, was in the van. She stopped, perplexed, almost ready to drop with terror and exhaustion, and was caught by a customs official.

"A survivor?" he questioned rapidly, and a nod of the head answering him, he demanded:

"Your name."

The answer given, he started to lead her toward that section of the pier where her friends would be waiting.

When she stepped from the gangplank there was quiet on the pier. The answers of the woman could almost be heard by those fifty feet away, but as she staggered, rather than walked, toward the waiting throng outside the fence, a low wailing sound arose from the crowd.

"Dorothy, Dorothy!" cried a man from the number. He broke through the double line of customs inspectors as though it was composed of wooden toys and caught the woman to his breast. She opened her lips inarticulately, weakly raised her arms and would have pitched forward upon her face had she not been supported. Her fair head fell weakly to one side as the man picked her up in his arms, and, with tears streaming down his face, stalked down the long avenue of the pier and down the long stairway to a waiting taxicab.

The wailing of the crowd—its cadences, wild and weird—grew steadily louder and louder till they culminated in a mighty shriek, which swept the whole big pier as though at the direction of some master hand.


The arrival of the Carpathia was the signal for the most sensational rumors to circulate through the crowd on the pier.

First, Mrs. John Jacob Astor was reported to have died at 8.06 o'clock, when the Carpathia was on her way up the harbor.

Captain Smith and the first engineer were reported to have shot themselves when they found that the Titanic was doomed to sink. Afterward it was learned that Captain Smith and the engineer went down with their ship in perfect courage and coolness.

Major Archibald Butt, President Taft's military aide, was said to have entered into an agreement with George D. Widener, Colonel John Jacob Astor and Isidor Straus to kill them first and then shoot himself before the boat sank. It was said that this agreement had been carried out. Later it was shown that, like many other men on the ship, they had gone down without the exhibition of a sign of fear.


Magistrate Cornell's wife and her two sisters were among the first to leave the ship. They were met at the first cabin pier entrance by Magistrate Cornell and a party of friends. None of the three women had hats. One of those who met them was Magistrate Cornell's son. One of Mrs. Cornell's sisters was overheard to remark that "it would be a dreadful thing when the ship began really to unload."

The three women appeared to be in a very nervous state. Their hair was more or less dishevelled. They were apparently fully dressed save for their hats. Clothing had been supplied them in their need and everything had been done to make them comfortable. One of the party said that the collision occurred at 9.45.

Following closely the Cornell party was H. J. Allison of Montreal, who came to meet his family. One of the party, who was weeping bitterly as he left the pier, explained that the only one of the family that was rescued was the young brother.


In a few minutes young Mrs. Astor with her maid appeared. She came down the gangplank unassisted. She was wearing a white sweater. Vincent Astor and William Dobbyn, Colonel Astor's secretary, greeted her and hurried her to a waiting limousine which contained clothing and other necessaries of which it was thought she might be in need. The young woman was white-faced and silent. Nobody cared to intrude upon her thoughts. Her stepson said little to her. He did not feel like questioning her at such a time, he said.


Walter M. Clark, a nephew of the senator, said that he had seen Colonel Astor put his wife in a boat, after assuring her that he would soon follow her in another. Mr. Clark and others said that Colonel and Mrs. Astor were in their suite when the crash came, and that they appeared quietly on deck a few minutes afterward.

Here and there among the passengers of the Carpathia and from the survivors of the Titanic the story was gleaned of the rescue. Nothing in life will ever approach the joy felt by the hundreds who were waiting in little boats on the spot where the Titanic foundered when the lights of the Carpathia were first distinguished. That was at 4 o'clock on Monday morning.


Efforts were made to learn from Dr. Henry Franenthal{sic} something about the details of how he was rescued. Just then, or as he was leaving the pier, beaming with evident delight, he was surrounded by a big crowd of his friends.

"There's Harry! There he is!" they yelled and made a rush for him.

All the doctor's face that wasn't covered with red beard was aglow with smiles as his friends hugged him and slapped him on the back. They rushed him off bodily through the crowd and he too was whirled home.


How others followed—how heartrending stories of partings and of thrilling rescues were poured out in an amazing stream—this has all been told over and over again in the news that for days amazed, saddened and angered the entire world. It is the story of a disaster that nations, it is hoped, will make impossible in the years to come.

In the stream of survivors were a peer of the realm, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, and his secretary, side by side with plain Jack Jones, of Birmingham, able seaman, millionaires and paupers, women with bags of jewels and others with nightgowns their only property.


More than seventy widows were in the weeping company. The only large family that was saved in its entirety was that of the Carters, of Philadelphia. Contrasting with this remarkable salvage of wealthy Pennsylvanians was the sleeping eleven-months-old baby of the Allisons, whose father, mother and sister went down to death after it and its nurse had been placed in a life-boat.

Millionaire and pauper, titled grandee and weeping immigrant, Ismay, the head of the White Star Company, and Jack Jones from the stoke hole were surrounded instantly. Some would gladly have escaped observation. Every man among the survivors acted as though it were first necessary to explain how he came to be in a life-boat. Some of the stories smacked of Munchausen. Others were as plain and unvarnished as a pike staff. Those that were most sincere and trustworthy had to be fairly pulled from those who gave their sad testimony.

Far into the night the recitals were made. They were told in the rooms of hotels, in the wards of hospitals and upon trains that sped toward saddened homes. It was a symposium of horror and heroism, the like of which has not been known in the civilized world since man established his dominion over the sea.


The two hundred and more steerage passengers did not leave the ship until 11 o'clock. They were in a sad condition. The women were without wraps and the few men there were wore very little clothing. A poor Syrian woman who said she was Mrs. Habush, bound for Youngstown, Ohio, carried in her arms a six-year-old baby girl. This woman had lost her husband and three brothers. "I lost four of my men folks," she cried.


Among the survivors who elicited a large measure of sympathy were two little French boys who were dropped, almost naked, from the deck of the sinking Titanic into a life-boat. From what place in France did they come and to what place in the New World were they bound? There was not one iota of information to be had as to the identity of the waifs of the deep, the orphans of the Titanic.

The two baby boys, two and four years old, respectively, were in charge of Miss Margaret Hays, who is a fluent speaker of French, and she had tried vainly to get from the lisping lips of the two little ones some information that would lead to the finding of their relatives.

Miss Hays, also a survivor of the Titanic, took charge of the almost naked waifs on the Carpathia. She became warmly attached to the two boys, who unconcernedly played about, not understanding the great tragedy that had come into their lives.

The two little curly-heads did not understand it all. Had not their pretty nineteen-year-old foster mother provided them with pretty suits and little white shoes and playthings a-plenty? Then, too, Miss Hays had a Pom dog that she brought with her from Paris and which she carried in her arms when she left the Titanic and held to her bosom through the long night in the life-boat, and to which the children became warmly attached. All three became aliens on an alien shore.

Miss Hays, unable to learn the names of the little fellows, had dubbed the older Louis and the younger "Lump." "Lump" was all that his name implies, for he weighed almost as much as his brother. They were dark-eyed and brown curly-haired children, who knew how to smile as only French children can.

On the fateful night of the Titanic disaster and just as the last boats were pulling away with their human freight, a man rushed to the rail holding the babes under his arms. He cried to the passengers in one of the boats and held the children aloft. Three or four sailors and passengers held up their arms. The father dropped the older boy. He was safely caught. Then he dropped the little fellow and saw him folded in the arms of a sailor. Then the boat pulled away.

The last seen of the father, whose last living act was to save his babes, he was waving his hand in a final parting. Then the Titanic plunged to the ocean's bed.


Still more pitiable in one way was the lot of the baby survivor, eleven-months-old Travers Allison, the only member of a family of four to survive the wreck. His father, H. J. Allison, and mother and Lorraine, a child of three, were victims of the catastrophe. Baby Travers, in the excitement following the crash, was separated from the rest of the family just before the Titanic went down. With the party were two nurses and a maid.

Major Arthur Peuchen, of Montreal, one of the survivors, standing near the little fellow, who, swathed in blankets, lay blinking at his nurse, described the death of Mrs. Allison. She had gone to the deck without her husband, and, frantically seeking him, was directed by an officer to the other side of the ship.

She failed to find Mr. Allison and was quickly hustled into one of the collapsible life-boats, and when last seen by Major Peuchen she was toppling out of the half-swamped boat. J. W. Allison, a cousin of H. J. Allison, was at the pier to care for Baby Travers and his nurse. They were taken to the Manhattan Hotel.

Describing the details of the perishing of the Allison family, the rescued nurse said they were all in bed when the Titanic hit the berg.

"We did not get up immediately," said she, "for we had


{illust. caption = Copyright, 1912, Underwood & Underwood. CAPTAIN A. H. ROSTROM

Commander of the Carpathia, which rescued the survivors of the Titanic from the life-boats in the open sea and brought them to New York. After the Senatorial Investigating Committee had examined Captain Rostrom, at which time this specially posed photograph was taken, Senator William Alden Smith, chairman of the committee, said of Captain Rostrom: "His conduct of the rescue shows that he is not only an efficient seaman, but one of nature's noblemen."}

not thought of danger. Later we were told to get up, and I hurriedly dressed the baby. We hastened up on deck, and confusion was all about. With other women and children we clambered to the life-boats, just as a matter of precaution, believing that there was no immediate danger. In about an hour there was an explosion and the ship appeared to fall apart. We were in the life-boat about six hours before we were picked up."


Probably few deaths have caused more tears than Arthur Ryerson's, in view of the sad circumstances which called him home from a lengthy tour in Europe. Mr. Ryerson's eldest son, Arthur Larned Ryerson, a Yale student, was killed in an automobile accident Easter Monday, 1912.

A cablegram announcing the death plunged the Ryerson family into mourning and they boarded the first steamship for this country. If{sic} happened to be the Titanic, and the death note came near being the cause of the blotting out of the entire family.

The children who accompanied them were Miss Susan P. Ryerson, Miss Emily B. Ryerson and John Ryerson. The latter is 12 years old.

They did not know their son intended to spend the Easter holidays at their home at Haverford, Pa. until they were informed of his death. John Lewis Hoffman, also of Haverford and a student of Yale, was killed with young Ryerson.

The two were hurrying to Philadelphia to escort a fellow-student to his train. In turning out of the road to pass a cart the motor car crashed into a pole in front of the entrance to the estate of Mrs. B. Frank Clyde. The college men were picked up unconscious and died in the Bryn Mawr Hospital.

G. Heide Norris of Philadelphia, who went to New York to meet the surviving members of the Ryerson family, told of a happy incident at the last moment as the Carpathia swung close to the pier. There had been no positive information that young "Jack" Ryerson was among those saved—indeed, it was feared that he had gone down with the Titanic, like his father, Arthur Ryerson.

Mr. Norris spoke of the feeling of relief that came over him as, watching from the pier, he saw "Jack" Ryerson come from a cabin and stand at the railing. The name of the boy was missing from some of the lists and for two days it was reported that he had perished.


Less than 24 hours after the Cunard Line steamship Carpathia came in as a rescue ship with survivors of the Titanic disaster, she sailed again for the Mediterranean cruise which she originally started upon last week. Just before the liner sailed, H. S. Bride, the second Marconi wireless operator of the Titanic, who had both of his legs crushed on a life-boat, was carried off on the shoulders of the ship's officers to St. Vincent's Hospital.

Captain A. H. Rostron, of the Carpathia, addressed an official report, giving his account of the Carpathia's rescue work, to the general manager of the Cunard Line, Liverpool. The report read: "I beg to report that at 12.35 A. M. Monday 18th inst. I was informed of urgent message from Titanic with her position. I immediately ordered ship turned around and put her in course for that position, we being then 58 miles S. 52—E. 'T' from her; had heads of all departments called and issued what I considered the necessary orders, to be in preparation for any emergency.

"At 2.40 A. M. saw flare half a point on port bow. Taking this for granted to be ship, shortly after we sighted our first iceberg. I had previously had lookouts doubled, knowing that Titanic had struck ice, and so took every care and precaution. We soon found ourselves in a field of bergs, and had to alter course several times to clear bergs; weather fine, and clear, light air on sea, beautifully clear night, though dark.

"We stopped at 4 A. M., thus doing distance in three hours and a half, picking up the first boat at 4.10 A. M.; boat in charge of officer, and he reported that Titanic had foundered. At 8.30 A. M. last boat picked up. All survivors aboard and all boats accounted for, viz., fifteen life-boats, one boat abandoned, two Berthon boats alongside (saw one floating upwards among wreckage), and according to second officer (senior officer saved) one Berthon boat had not been launched, it having got jammed, making sixteen life-boats and four Berthon boats accounted for. By the time we had cleared first boat it was breaking day, and I could see all within area of four miles. We also saw that we were surrounded by icebergs, large and small, huge field of drift ice with large and small bergs in it, the ice field trending from N. W. round W. and S. to S. E., as far as we could see either way.

"At 8 A. M. the Leyland S. S. California came up. I gave him the principal news and asked him to search and I would proceed to New York; at 8.50 proceeded full speed while researching over vicinity of disaster, and while we were getting people aboard I gave orders to get spare hands along and swing in all our boats, disconnect the fall and hoist up as many Titanic boats as possible in our davits; also get some on forecastle heads by derricks. We got thirteen lifeboats, six on forward deck and seven in davits. After getting all survivors aboard and while searching I got a clergyman to offer a short prayer of thankfulness for those saved, and also a short burial service for their loss, in saloon.

"Before deciding definitely where to make for, I conferred with Mr. Ismay, and as he told me to do what I thought best, I informed him, I considered New York best. I knew we should require clean blankets, provisions and clean linen, even if we went to the Azores, as most of the passsengers{sic} saved were women and children, and they hysterical, not knowing what medical attention they might require. I thought it best to go to New York. I also thought it would be better for Mr. Ismay to go to New York or England as soon as possible, and knowing I should be out of wireless communication very soon if I proceeded to Azores, it left Halifax, Boston and New York, so I chose the latter.

"Again, the passengers were all hysterical about ice, and I pointed out to Mr. Ismay the possibilities of seeing ice if I went to Halifax. Then I knew it would be best to keep in touch with land stations as best I could. We have experienced great difficulty in transmitting news, also names of survivors. Our wireless is very poor, and again we have had so many interruptions from other ships and also messages from shore (principally press, which we ignored). I gave instructions to send first all official messages, then names of passengers, then survivors' private messages. We had haze early Tuesday morning for several hours; again more or less all Wednesday from 5.30 A. M. to 5 P. M.; strong south-southwesterly winds and clear weather Thursday, with moderate rough sea.

"I am pleased to say that all survivors have been very plucky. The majority of women, first, second and third class, lost their husbands, and, considering all, have been wonderfully well. Tuesday our doctor reported all survivors physically well. Our first class passengers have behaved splendidly, given up their cabins voluntarily and supplied the ladies with clothes, etc. We all turned out of our cabins and gave them to survivors—saloon, smoking room, library, etc., also being used for sleeping accommodation. Our crew, also turned out to let the crew of the Titanic take their quarters. I am pleased to state that owing to preparations made for the comfort of survivors, none were the worse for exposure, etc. I beg to specially mention how willing and cheerful the whole of the ship's company behaved, receiving the highest praise from everybody. And I can assure you I am very proud to have such a company under my command.


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