The Miracle of the Kent: A Tale of Courage, Faith, and Fire

The Miracle of the Kent: A Tale of Courage, Faith, and Fire

by Nicholas Tracy

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“A naturally gripping adventure tale.”—Publishers Weekly
“Powerful and intensely focused.”—Booklist
“Tracy's satisfying narrative constitutes the first modern account. A finely detailed maritime history.”—Kirkus Reviews

In 1825, the Kent, an East Indiaman, set sail from England for India with a crew and nearly 600 men, women, and children on board. North of Spain, the ship was slammed by a ferocious gale, and while a sailor was inspecting the hold for damage, his lantern ignited a cask of spirits. A fire quickly erupted, and even with the desperate expedient of opening hatches and flooding the ship, the fire burned out of control. As night wore on, the ship became an inferno, with the flames moving toward stores of gunpowder. At this point, everyone on board knew that they would perish, and they began preparing for their ghastly deaths. Despite the raging tempest a sailor climbed one last time to the top of the Kent’s mainmast and—miraculously—a sail was sighted on the horizon. It was the Cambria, a small brig on its way to Mexico. The Cambria spied the burning Kent and through determination and dogged seamanship in towering seas, the little brig closed the doomed vessel. Launching their boats, the Kent’s and Cambria’s crews were able to transfer nearly all of the children, women, and men to the brig and pull away before the Kent exploded. Dangerously overloaded, the Cambria made the Cornish coast three days later.
In The Miracle of the Kent: A Tale of Courage, Faith, and Fire, award-winning historian Nicholas Tracy reconstructs this extraordinary tale through records left by the participants, revealing how those aboard the Kent faced their deaths, and their reactions to being offered a second chance. The story of the Kent is both a page-turning adventure and an inspirational homage to the capacity of the human spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594165818
Publisher: Westholme Publishing
Publication date: 04/24/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

Nicholas Tracy is adjunct professor of history and associate of the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He has written numerous books, including Nelson’s Battles, The Art of Victory in the Age of Sail and A Two-Edged Sword: The Navy as an Instrument of Canadian Foreign Policy, winner of the 2012 John Lyman Book Award for excellence in Canadian naval and maritime history.

Table of Contents

Preface: A Letter to a Friend ix

1 Fitting Out 1

2 Departure 27

3 The Fatal Spark 53

4 Cambria 73

5 Courage, Faith, and Fire 97

6 Abandoned 117

7 Caroline 129

8 Landfall 141

9 Home 155

10 A Story for the Ages 191

Glossary 197

Notes 201

Bibliography 221

Index 227

Acknowledgments 233

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