Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Burning of the SS General Lyon-- Part 5: The Captain Among First to Abandon Ship

The Gen. Lyon began launching its boats, but they weren't able to survive long in those horrible seas.

Ten men were on the first boat away, including the Lyon's captain.  Now, this is very shocking as the captain is, by tradition supposed to go down with his ship.  The Captain, however was reported as having "lost all control of himself and evidently crazed with fear."

This boat was swept into the still turning screw propeller and went right down.  "Irah Lewis, a private in the Eighty-ninth New York Regiment, who was on the boat at the time, states that he saw the Captain sink."  he and two others survived.

The second boat off had 27 people, including First Mate John Hayden (who should have taken over after the captain left) was able to reach the Gen. Sedgwick where a wave dashed it violently against the side of the steamer.  It quickly filled with water and went down, including the mate, , James Gibbs, Barney Losey of the 5th Virginia and John Fitzgerald of the 56th Illinois.

You'd have to question the role played by the crew of the Gen. Lyon.

--Old Secesh

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