The Saga of the Anegada Island Shipwrecks


SALVATOR MUNDI, Armed Merchant Vessel, Danish, wrecked August 15, 1729. Ref. "The Danish West Indies 1671 - 1917", Westergaard, 1924 (?), page 122: "The SALVATOR MUNDI was wrecked, August 15th, 1729, on Anegada Reef near Virgin Gorda while en route from St. Thomas to Copenhagen with a return cargo." Also Kay Larsen File (Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen): "....SALVATOR MUNDI ... kompagni skib. Laa sejlklar i København i efteraaret 1720 ... Stødte paa Lappen ved Kronborg og maatte vende tilbage ... hjemkom 16 juli 1728, udgik samme aar igen til Vestindien. Forulykkede paa hjemrejsen den 15. august 1729 paa Annegade Rev ved Virgine Gordas."

SAN IGNACIO, 55-gun Gallion, Spanish-Venezuelan, wrecked March 20, 1742. This vessel was owned by the Royal Carraca Company. Contrary to accounts in some popular shipwreck books, the SAN IGNACIO was on a East-West voyage, and not on a West-East voyage carrying silver and gold. The best and most reliable source of information about this vessel can be found in Beatson's Naval and Military Memoirs, Volume I, pp: 148/149 for 1742, which reads as follows: "The Court in Madrid having resolved to reinforce their garrisons on the Spanish Main, embarked the Almanza regiment of dragoons; commanded by Colonel Don Alonzo de Arcos y Morena, consisting of five hundred and twenty men, and the same number of infantry, being a battalion of the regiment of Portugal, commanded by Don Francisco Villavicencio. They were ordered to Carthagena, where it was apprehended the British would make another attack. The troops were put on board the following ships, belonging to the Royal Caracca Company, viz. El Coro, and the St. Ignatio, of sixty guns each, but which, on this occasion, mounted only forty; the St. Sebastian and St. Joachim, of thirty guns each, and the St. Antonio of twelve guns. Don Joachim de Miranda, the new Governor of Carthagena, embarked on board the El Coro; and from the quantity of rich merchandise shipped, the was supposed the most valuable fleet that ever sailed from Cadiz; which port they left on the 12th of February, and were soon after overtaken by a terrible storm. The St. Ignatio was wrecked on the shoals of Anegada, one of the Caribbee islands; and there the Commandant of the regiment of Portugal, several officers, and one hundred and fifty men were drowned: The St. Antonio was never heard of. The other three ships of this fleet joined company again; made prize of an American vessel; and, on the 12th of April, when off the Virgin Islands; fell in with the Eltham of forty, and the Lively of twenty guns, two British ships of war, commanded by Captains Smith and Stuart, who gave chase to the Spaniards, came up with them, and began a very warm battle. The Spanish Commodore signified his desire to surrender several times, but was always prevented by an Irish officer of the land forces on board. After a severe conflict of some hours, night put an end to the engagement, otherwise all the three ships must have been taken; for the Spanish were so much damaged, that it was with the utmost difficulty they got into Puerto Rico three days afterwards, having had between six and seven hundred men killed and wounded; among the former was the Governor of Carthagena. The loss of men in the British ships was inconsiderable; but their riging had suffered so much, that they could not prevent the enemy from escaping in the night."

SAN JOSEPH, Felucca, Spanish, wrecked August 1818. Ref. St.Th.Arvls., 2nd September, 1818: "Forliste paa Anegada me ... Sant Joseph, Capt ... fra Cadiz ... til LaGuayra." (Original text very difficult to read); also Admiralty, 1825: "Spanish Felucca, cargo lost, September 1818." Also, St.Th.Tid, 28th August, 1818: "By a private letter just received from Tortola, we are informed that a Spanish Feluche from Cadiz, with a very valuable cargo of Wines, Brandy, Oil, &c., was wrecked on the shoals of Anegada some time last week - and on the night of the 21st inst. an American ship, laden with flour, &c., the whole of the cargoes of both vessels saved. As yet we have not learned the name of either of the vessels."

SANTA MONICA, English, 5th rate Frigate, wrecked in 1782, Captain John Linzee. Ref. Max, 1971: "Year 1782. Originally a Spanish ship taken by the British on September 14, 1779, the SANTA MONICA, Captain John Linzee, was lost near Tortola. All of her crew but one were saved, as well as many of her guns, stores and cargo." For a description of the vessel and of her capture from the Spanish see: "Battles of the British Navy", Joseph Allen, 1852, Volume I, pages 285/286.

SANTA ROSA, wrecked 1758. Ref. Max, 1971: "1758. Spanish merchantman SANTA ROSA wrecked on the reefs of Anegada."

SARAH, wrecked before 1832. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832, who simply states: "SARAH".

SECTOR, British, wrecked May 6, 1824. Ref. Max, 1971: "Year 1824. British ship SECTOR, from Trinidad to St. Thomas, wrecked on Anegada Shoals on May 6, crew and some cargo of dry goods saved."

SEXTA, Schooner, wrecked before 1832. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832. (Vessels SECTOR, above, and SEXTA could be the same vessel).

SICILY SUBRETTE, Barque, French, wrecked May 30, 1870, Captain Garbe La Plata. Ref. St.Th.Tid, 8th June, 1870: " The French barque SICILY SUBRETTE of Bordeau, Captain Garbe La Plata, from Philadelphia to this port, in ballast, was totally wrecked on Anegada on the night of the 30th May."

SIX FRERES, Brigantine, British (Newfoundland), wrecked September 29, 1875, Captain Michl. Collins. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 6th October, 1875: "The wreck, which we reported in our last number, on the Anegada Reef, proved to be the British brigte' SIX FRERES of and from St. Johns, Newfoundland, 119 tons, Capt. Michl. Collins with a cargo of fish, bound to St. Johns, Puerto Rico. The vessel got ashore at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 29th ultm. The crew arrived here from Tortola on Saturday afternoon." The History Dept. of the Nova Scotia Museum states: "SIX FRERES, Brigantine, 119 tons, 90' x 23' x 10.8', built 1863 Quebec, reg. Quebec, M. Michon & Others, owners. Also listed in American Record of Shipping, 1873).

SOPHIA, Schooner, British, wrecked or stranded (?) February, 1823. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832; also Admiralty, 1825 stating: "Schooner SOPHIA, cargo saved, hull worked off, 14th February, 1823." Also Max, 1971: "Year 1823. British schooner SOPHIA, of Antigua, bound to Curacao with cargo of mahogany wood, ran on the Anegada Reef and was totally lost, crew, rigging, and part of cargo saved."

SOLEDAD, Galleon, Spanish, wrecked November 14, 1739. Ref. "Sunken Treasure Ships of the World", Rieseberg & Mikalow: "SOLEDAD, Spanish Galleon, 11/14/1739, 6 fath. offshore reefs, 1/2 mile off Anegada Island." (We have found not been able to confirm the accuracy of this information).

SOPHIA SARAH, British, wrecked July, 1822, Captain Stairs. Ref Max, 1971: "Year 1822. British ship SOPHIA SARAH, Captain Stairs, of and from Halifax to Jamaica, was totally lost in July on the Anegada Shoals, but the crew and part of her cargo were saved."

S.P. HALL, Schooner, American, wrecked April 26, 1879, Captain M.T. Smith. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 30th April, 1879: "The American schooner S.P. HALL, 175 tons, of Bucksport, Maine, Captain M.T. Smith, from New York bound to Arroya, P.R., with a cargo of cooperage stranded on the morning of the 26th inst. on the Anegada reefs; the vessel is a total wreck. The captain and crew, numbering six men, were brought here last night in a small boat by Mr. George Varlack, of Anegada. On their arrival the captain reported to the Americal consul, who sent him and his crew to a boarding house, and gave the men who rescued them one hundred and seventy eight dollars. The men will, we understand, be sent to the United States by the first opportunity." Penobscot Marine Museum states: "S.P. HALL, Schooner, Bucksport, 175 tons, 105' x 27.4' x 8.8'. Billet hd., ell. stern, built Bucksport, Maine, 1870 by Wm Beazley. Owners: Hall-Gardner & Co. Signal Letters JHQD, official # 23834, 2 masts. Have no record of her loss."

SURINAM, Schooner, Surinam, wrecked January 15, 1826, Captain Strong. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832; also St.Th.Tid., 25th January, 1826: " The Schooner SURINAM, of Surinam, Captain Strong, sailed from Martinique on the 13th inst. in ballast bound to this island with three passengers, viz. Mr. Charles Philps of Boston, Mr. Garrott and Mr. Boog of Demerara: - On the night of the 15th inst. she struck the Horse Shoe Reef, three miles east of Anegada, and was entirely lost. The passengers and the crew happily succeeded in landing at Anegada the next morning, where they remained until the 20th inst. when an opportunity presented itself for this place."

TARTAR, Schooner, American, wrecked before 1832. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832.

TASK, Brig, American, wrecked before 1832. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832.

THELCLYDE, Brig, French, wrecked April 24, 1876, Captain Tongearat. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 26th April, 1876: "The French brig THELCLYDE, Captain Tongearat, laden with sugar, rum, and cocao, from Martinique bound to France, got ashore on the NE end of Anegada reef on the morning of the 24th inst., she was floated two hours later, without rudder, on account of which she drifted and struck on the SW end of the reef, and is now a total wreck. As much as can possibly be saved is being landed at Tortola."

UNION, British, wrecked December 12, 1823, Captain Purrington. Ref. Max, 1971: " Year 1823. British ship UNION, Captain Purrington, from Barbados to Bath, was lost on December 12 on Anegada."

UNION, Schooner, America, wrecked before 1832. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832. This vessel could be the one referred to above.

(UNNAMED WRECK - Year 1523), Nao, Spanish, wrecked 1523, Captain Francisco Vara. Ref. Max, 1971: "Two merchant Naos, sailing from Spain for Santo Domingo, one under the command of Capt. Francisco Vara, and the other under Capt. Diego Sanchez Colchero, were lost in the Virgin Islands. The location of Vara's ship was given as on some "shallows", but Colchero's was reported wrecked on the island of Anegada. After several days, Colchero was able to refloat his ship by having its cargo and anchors thrown overboard. Then, going two leagues away, they located Vara's wrecked ship but could save the men only.

(UNNAMED WRECK - Year 1625), English, wrecked 1625. Ref. Max, 1971: "The governor of Puerto Rico wrote the King of Spain stating that an English built ship of 70 tons with eighteen men on it sank at Anegada Island. They had sailed from Virginia for Bermuda to salvage a shipwreck, but the ship was damaged in bad weather and driven onto the reefs og Anegada."

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1731), Spanish, wrecked 1731. Ref. Max, 1971: " Unidentified Spanish Galleon carrying a very valuable cargo of mercury or quicksilver and destined for the silver and gold (mines) of Mexico, was wrecked on the reefs of Anegada."

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1750), Spanish (?), wrecked 1750. Ref. Max, 1971: "Sloop returning from the wreck of the NUESTRA SENORA de SOLEDAD (previously lost on Cape Hatteras, North Carolina) and supposedly carrying the valuables from that ship, wrecked off Anegada."

(UNNAMED STRANDING - 1817), Spanish, stranded 1817. Ref.Max, 1971: "A large unidentified Spanish ship with over 300 african slaves aboard ran aground on the Horseshoe part of Anegada. After throwing many heavy objects overboard she was light enough to be pulled off and proceeded on her voyage."

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1818), Ship, Spanish, wrecked May 15, 1818. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 21st May, 1818: "We are sorry to state that an English and also Spanish ship has wrecked on the reef of Anegada ... We have not been as yet able to learn the name of the Spanish vessel, but we are informed that she was from Bordeau (?) bound to New Orleans, with a valuable cargo consisting of Wine, spices, etc..." (There were no further mentioning of these vessels in the St. Thomas Tidende).

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1818). Feluche, Spanish, wrecked August, 1818. See next entry.

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1818), Ship, America, wrecked August 21, 1818. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 28th August, 1818: "By a private letter just received from Tortola, we are informed that a Spanish feluche from Cadiz .... and on the night of the 21st inst. and American ship laden with flour, & c., the whole of the cargoes of both vessels saved. As yet we have not learned the names of either of the vessels." (There were no further mentioning of these vessels in the St. Thomas Tidende.)

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1827), wrecked July 27, 1827. Ref. St.Th.Tid, 1st August, 1827: "A person recently from Tortola informs that the mailboat which left this (port ?) last week for windward, was wrecked at Anegada on Friday night, and six persons belonging to her drowned."

(UNNAMED WRECK - 1835), wrecked July, 1835. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 18th July, 1835: "We are sorry to announce the loss of the eight day mail boat on the Anegada Reefs on Thursday night last. The letters and papers was saved from the wreck, and brought here yesterday by a sloop from Tortola."

 VIGILANT, Schooner, British, wrecked June 1851, Captain Dunscomb.

VOLVART, Brig, Danish, wrecked February, 1819, Captain Kryger. Ref. Schomburgk, 1832; also Admiralty, 1825: "Danish Brig VOLVART, January, 1819" (Probably wrong date); also St.Th.Arvl., 29th Fenruary, 1819: "Strandet paa ... af Anegada med briggen VOSWARTS (?), Capt. Kryger ..."

W.I. WATSON, Brig, American, wrecked December 21, 1851, Captain B. Bunhill. Ref. St.Th.Tid, 27th December, 1851: "By the SEA GULL, from Tortola, last evening, we have received the intelligence of another wreck at Anegada, being the second within the period of three days. The American brig W.I. Watson, of 275 tons, Captain B. Bunhill, left the island of Barbados in balast-trim on her voyage to New Haven, and was cast away on the shoals of Anegada, on the morning of the 21st inst, about a mile from the spot where the MARY IRVINE (see above) was stranded. The crew of the brig immediately quitted her, as there appeared no likelihood of her being got off. They arrived here last evening, and report that when they left the wreck of their vessel there was but the smallest vestige of the barque visible."

WILHAMET (?), Ship, wrecked January, 1850. Ref. St.Th.Arvl., 26th January, 1850: "Forliste paa Anegada i Skibet WILHAMET (spelling uncertain) ... fra Marseille to Nye ... " Most of the names of the rescued crew members are Spanish and/or French.

ØRNEN, Barque, Norwegian, wrecked November 6, 1879, Captain S. Løkke. Ref. St.Th.Tid., 12th November, 1879: "The Norwegian barque "ØRNEN", of Christiana, Captain Løkke, bound to Galveston from Rotterdam, in ballast, stranded on the night of the 6th inst. on the Anegada Reef, and is a total loss. The captain and crew arrived here." Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum states that "ØRNEN, build in Maine, 1856, 426 reg. tonn, appears in the Norwegian Veritas Register first time in 1867. Owner: P. Backer, Kristiana (now Oslo)."


References mentioned in the text:
Admiralty, 1825: Chart Publication issued March 16th, 1825 by the British Admiralty - Chart Adm. G83/AG2.
Lockwood, 1813: Chart published in 1813 by the British Admiralty - Chart Adm. 263/AG2.
Max, 1971: "Shipwrecks of the Western Hemisphere", R.F. Max, Published 1971.
Schomburgk, 1832: "Remarks on Anegada", including Anegada Shipwreck Chart, Published by Schomburgk, 1832.
St.Th.Tid: Daily Newspaper "St. Thomas Tidende" published on St. Thomas  throughout the 19th century and earlier.
St.Th.Arvls: The St. Thomas Register of Arrivals, Manuscript, St. Thomas. This register was mostly written in Danish.


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