Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders, and Maritime Disasters Along the Delmarva Coast, 1632–2004

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JHU Press, Dec 17, 2007 - History - 435 pages
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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.

 

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Contents

Introduction From Cape Henlopen to Cape Charles
1
Indians with English Jackets
8
A Good Many Chests of Money
18
The Roebucks Horns
41
A Column of Liquid Fire
57
Le Serpent
66
The Infamous Tar
75
Now That Is What I Call Combat
83
Suits of Ice
163
Chips of Wood on the Angry Waves
177
Poor Pussy
196
FivePoler
206
The Rules of Engagement 2 1 3
213
Billy and the Battleship
227
Chopping the Bank Right Off
241
Unterseeboot
261

Plunder till They Could Plunder No More
94
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 13 8
138
Unprecedented Disregard
150
Like a Knife Gutting a Fish
271
A Long Shudder
286
Treasure Redux
304
Notes
373
Select Bibliography
413
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

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.

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