James Richmond's
California Story

Ships that pass in the night

March 18, 1860 Tonight as the sun was sinking below the horizon it seemed sinking into the ocean. Between us and it there was a full rigged Sailer, canvas all spread, it seemed that it was made by cloth of gold or liquid flame. The Captain called our attention to it. It was a beautiful sight I ever saw. The Captain said he had sailed for over thirty years and it was a sight he had never seen before and probably never would again.

March 19, 1860 Today we met a homeward bound vessel. Of course we were eager to exchange mail. The Captain gave orders to lower the boat , the second mate and two oarsmen seated themselves in the boat before it was lowered. Two men had hold of the ropes. One lost his grip and down went one end of the boat considerably faster than the other. Out went men, mail matter and all into the water head over heels. Boat upside down, men overboard. "Stop ship" shouted the first mate. In an instant time, the man at the wheel rang the bell to reverse. I had no idea we were going at such a rate of speed. When out vessel was stopped we were half a mile from the scene of our disaster. Men and boat were mere specks in the water. But we soon picked them up, wet, mad, and somewhat scared. But no sharks had part in an appearance although one was seen shortly after the men were taken from the water. He came too late for the fall. He had evidently been belated for which the men had reason to be thankful for he had a very hungry look on his continence. We made another effort to exchange mail which was more successful than the first and we were soon again well underway. The packages were recovered as well as the men. We were nearing our destination.