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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

The Alfred Agate Collection: The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842

1841

After breaking off his first attempt to enter, Hudson steered the ship towards a portion of the water that appeared clear and smooth. The water was too shallow and the keel hit bottom and stuck. The current and tides then began to force the ship onto a shoal. Hudson ordered the sails taken in and prepared to drag the ship off by kedging - towing the ship's anchors out a distance and then pulling the ship towards them by winding the chains on the capstan. The weather in the sound defeated him before he could complete the plan. The sea began to lift and drop the ship, causing leaks. The crew manned the pumps. They fought to save the ship all day and night, and at dawn the tide receded so much that a canoe manned by Chinook Indians and carrying a pilot was able to come on board. Peacock launched it boats and filled them with as much as they could of the ships charts, books and papers. The boats made two trips between ship and shore, but eventually the scientific specimens on board had to be abandoned. Because of their survival, Alfred Agate presumably carried off some of his sketches. The surging currents rose again towards noon and overwhelmed the ship. Captain Hudson and some of crew remained on board during the evacuation, trying to save as much as they could, even by throwing light items overboard to be carried ashore by the tide. Finally at 5 pm Hudson was the last to leave the ship. By the next day Peacock had broken into pieces.

Peacock In Heavy Seas Off the Coast of Oregon
Alfred T. Agate
Engraving
98-89-AE

 

 

 

Wreck of the Peacock and Abandonment
Alfred T. Agate
Engraving
98-89-AF

 

 

 

Wreck of the Peacock
Alfred T. Agate
Pencil
98-89-AI

 

 

 

Wreck of the Peacock
Alfred T. Agate
Pencil
98-89-AJ

 

 

 

Peacock Drifting Hopelessly
Alfred T. Agate
Crayon
98-89-AN

 

 

Loss of the Peacock
Alfred T. Agate
Oil on board
98-89-GL

 


No lives had been lost in the wreck of Peacock, but some men had sustained significant injuries, including broken bones, and now they had no quarters. On shore, some people of the Methodist mission at Astoria brought them tents and supplies to make them comfortable. The sailors dubbed their little tent city "Peacockville."

Astoria on the Columbia River
Alfred T. Agate
Ink wash
98-89-GK

 

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27 March 2004