Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters along the Delmarva Coast, 1632-2004

Overview

Nor'easters, blizzards, and hurricanes. Spanish galleons, German U-boats, and presidential yachts. Pirates and privateers. The ephemeral and deadly nature of islands, dunes, inlets, and shoals. The history of the Delmarva Peninsula's Atlantic coast is rich with tales of fantasy and adventure, heroism and tragedy, greed and charity. Claiming more than 2,300 vessels since 1632, it rivals North Carolina's Outer Banks for the infamous title "The Graveyard of the Atlantic."

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Overview

Nor'easters, blizzards, and hurricanes. Spanish galleons, German U-boats, and presidential yachts. Pirates and privateers. The ephemeral and deadly nature of islands, dunes, inlets, and shoals. The history of the Delmarva Peninsula's Atlantic coast is rich with tales of fantasy and adventure, heroism and tragedy, greed and charity. Claiming more than 2,300 vessels since 1632, it rivals North Carolina's Outer Banks for the infamous title "The Graveyard of the Atlantic."

Maritime historian Donald G. Shomette brings these stories to life. Featuring the accounts of twenty-five ill-starred vessels—some notorious and some forgotten until now—this anthology provides a fascinating history of a local maritime culture and charts how the catastrophic events along this shore significantly affected U.S. merchant shipping as a whole. Shomette weaves together history, folklore, and legend in accounts of the tragic loss of the 1750 Spanish treasure fleet, the British blockade of the Delaware in the American Revolution, the depredations of Confederate commerce raiders during the Civil War, the Billy Mitchell affair, the Hurricane of 1933, and the Nazi U-boat offensive of World War II. His appendix provides a complete catalog of all 2,300 recorded wrecks, including coordinates and location descriptions where available.

A vivid montage of seafaring adventures and pivotal events in American history, this volume makes an essential contribution to the library of the history buff, wreck diver, and local adventurer.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Nautical Research Journal
Well written and filled with details and facts that bring the story of the campaign to life.

— James Greathouse

Northern Mariner
Solidly researched and vividly told, this book is a wonderful read.

— Michael F. Dove

Choice

[Shomette] serves up yet another inspired volume... a well-produced, painstakingly researched, and wonderfully written work of enormous value.

Pirates and Privateers
Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters is well written and interesting... provides invaluable research information.

— Cindy Vallar

Steamboat Bill
This book is an extremely valuable contribution that further raises the author's status as a premier historian of the maritime traditions of the Chesapeake region.

— Brian J. Cudahy

International Journal of Maritime History
Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters is an impressive, well-researched volume that will be of value both to those interested in the maritime history of the east coast of the US and those who simply find tales of disaster at sea fascinating.

— Gregory D. Cook

Blue and Gray Magazine
For those interested in details of shipwrecks along the Eastern seaboard, this is an indispensable book.

— Rick Sauer

Nautical Research Journal - Susan B. M. Langley

Each relatively brief chapter is an intelligent, stand-alone story making it a good traveling companion... Shomette does an admirable job of stripping away layers of myth grown up around some events.

Northern Mariner - Michael F. Dove

Solidly researched and vividly told, this book is a wonderful read.

Pirates and Privateers - Cindy Vallar

Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters is well written and interesting... provides invaluable research information.

Steamboat Bill - Brian J. Cudahy

This book is an extremely valuable contribution that further raises the author's status as a premier historian of the maritime traditions of the Chesapeake region.

International Journal of Maritime History - Gregory D. Cook

Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters is an impressive, well-researched volume that will be of value both to those interested in the maritime history of the east coast of the US and those who simply find tales of disaster at sea fascinating.

Blue and Gray Magazine - Rick Sauer

For those interested in details of shipwrecks along the Eastern seaboard, this is an indispensable book.

Nautical Research Journal - James Greathouse

Well written and filled with details and facts that bring the story of the campaign to life.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801886706
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,442,064
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald G. Shomette is a marine archeologist and cultural resource manager in Dunkirk, Maryland. He is the author of many books, including Maritime Alexandria: The Rise and Fall of an American Entrepôt; Lost Towns of Tidewater Maryland; Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay and Other Tales of the Lost Chesapeake; and Pirates on the Chesapeake: Being a True History of Pirates, Picaroons, and Raiders on Chesapeake Bay, 1610–1807.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Introduction: From Cape Henlopen to Cape Charles     1
Indians with English Jackets     8
A Good Many Chests of Money     18
The Roebuck's Horns     41
A Column of Liquid Fire     57
Le Serpent     66
The Infamous Tar     75
Now That Is What I Call Combat     83
Plunder till They Could Plunder No More     94
So Much for Attending Congress     101
The Captain Was in a Hilarious Mood     105
The Unfortunate Spaniards Waved Their Handkerchiefs     119
Rothschilds among the Toilers of the Sea     124
Assailed by Overwhelming Odds     138
Unprecedented Disregard     150
Suits of Ice     163
Chips of Wood on the Angry Waves     177
Poor Pussy     196
Five-Poler     206
The Rules of Engagement     213
Billy and the Battleship     227
Chopping the Bank Right Off     241
Unterseeboot     261
Like a Knife Gutting a Fish     271
A Long Shudder     286
The Trouble with Treasure     294
Treasure Redux     304
Chronological Index to Vessel Losses on the Delmarva Coast     321
Notes     373
Select Bibliography     413
Index     421
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