CORSICAN

Vessel Type: Wooden Two-Masted Schooner
Location: Thunder Bay, MI
Vessel Build Info: 1862, Rogers, Olcott, NY
Shipwreck Specs: 112x25x10 210g 200n
Official Number: 4922
Names Other: None

Sinking Detail
On the foggy morning of June 2nd the steel steam barge Corsica collided with the schooner Corsican off Thunder Bay. The schooner was nearly cut in two and went to the bottom instantly with its entire crew.
Loss Date: 6/2/1893
Loss Place: off Thunder Bay Island
Loss Life: 6 (all)
Loss Reason: Collision
Vessel Cargo: Coal

Shipwreck Description
The cabin and stern of the wreck are badly damaged with large sections missing and piles of jumbled wreckage above the deck. The wheel with steering box is wrenched upwards and no longer attached to the rudder. Deck hatches are still intact revealing a coal cargo, though the entire deck has collapsed into the hull. The bow windlass, still wrapped with anchor chain, and a capstan remain upright. Rigged spars rest atop the wreckage and in adjacent sediments.

Dive Type: Entry level technical
Depth Deck(ft): 155 ft
Depth Bottom(ft): 160 ft
Depth Deck(m): 47 m
Depth Bottom(m): 49 m

Vessel Name
CORSICAN
Also Known As
(AKA) CIRCASSIAN,
Build Year
1862
Official Number
US4922
Construction
Build City
Olcott
Build State
NY
Vessel Type
Schooner
Hull Materials
Wood
Builder Name
H. Rogers
Ownership
Original Owner
Albert F. Smith and John Post
Original Owner Location
Oswego, NY
Dimensions
Length
112.4
Beam
25.4
Depth
10
Tonnage Old Style
281
Capacity
14,000 bushels
Final Disposition
Final Location
Off Thunder Bay Island near Alpena, MI.
Lake Huron.
Final Date Month
6
Final Date Day
2
Final Date Year
1893
Final How
Sunk.
Final Notes
Sunk in collision with steamer CORSICA, all 6 hands lost.
History and Notes
History
1862, Sep 17 Enrolled Oswego, NY; 210.43 gross tons.
1865 219 gross tons.
1868 210.43 gross tons.
1872, Nov 7 Collision with HERCUES, a damaged vessel by collision of MEDBURY two days previous.
1872, Nov 23 Wrecked 21 miles W. Pt. Maitland, Lake Erie with iron ore; stripped and lightened Nov 26.
1873 Large repairs.
1876 Owned Griffin and Moon, Youngstown, NY.
1883 Ashore Pt. Pelee.
1884 Collision with iron carferry GREAT WESTERN in Detroit River.
1887 Partially rebuilt.
1888, May 3 Owned Kate McLean, Detroit, MI.
1891, Apr 22 Owned Luther J. Lindsay, Detroit, MI.
1893, Jun 2 Sunk in collision with CORSICA; owned Stephen B. Grummond, Detroit, MI.

The Corsica-Corsican Collision

Fog was an enemy to the lake boats when they were competing against the clock. To keep their schedules lake masters often broke navigation roles and kept their vessels operating at good steam even when the gloom was so thick they couldn’t see more than 100 feet off the bow.

The steamer Corsica, with Capt. William Cumming at the helm, was moving across fog shrouded Lake Huron at an estimated 11 miles an hour when it ran down and sank an unidentified schooner off Thunder Bay on the morning of June 2, 1893.

It was later learned that the lost schooner was the Corsican, a vessel with an almost identical name as the steamer that struck it. The Corsican, under the command of Capt. Edward Burner of Detroit, was sailing from Cleveland to St. Ignace with a load of coal. It sank with its crew of five men.

The steamer’s mate, who was at the helm when the accident happened, said there was no forewarning. He said the schooner appeared in front of the steamer so suddenly that neither he nor the other officers had time to react. The 300-foot-long steel steamship hit the smaller wooden vessel amidships, cutting it in two.

The Corsican sank so fast, Cumming said, that nobody on the Corsica had time to get the boat’s name or even a good description of it. He said it was cut into two parts and disappeared within moments, leaving no survivors. In the wreckage was found a man’s coat, which had a letter in a pocket. The letter, which did not have an envelope, was sent from Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was addressed simply to “Dear brother.”

The hull of the ore laden Corsica was so badly damage the steamer also was sinking. Lifeboats were raised on the davits, but before they were launched, Cumming made a dash for nearby Alpena.

The steamer didn’t make it to Alpena but it got to shallow water. Cumming saved his boat by grounding it on the nearest beach.

The Corsica was salvaged and remained on the lakes until 1926, when it was scrapped.