Due to its dangerously hidden and constantly moving shoals located just off-shore, Cape Cod's coastline from Chatham to Provincetown – a mere fifty-mile stretch of sea – has been called an "ocean graveyard", containing over 3,000 shipwrecks.
A brig shipwrecked off of Truro under Capt. John Callahan. Passengers included John Wheelock and James Wheelock who were returning from a fundraising tour in Europe for Dartmouth College, they lost all of their papers and the money raised in the wreck.
A 57-foot scallop fishing vessel that capsized and sank during a powerful storm off the coast of Martha's Vineyard with four crew members aboard. Only one survivor was found, and the other three are presumed deceased.
The navy tug was steaming from Portsmouth to Boston carrying a cargo of chains, anchors and search light equipment for the USS Missouri. She capsized and sank when a deck load shifted in heavy seas off Cape Ann. Of the 9 person crew, there were 4 fatalities
A brig that was drove ashore at Duxbury Beach in the Blizzard of 1805. "Loss of Brig Ann. A gentleman, arrived in town [Boston], last evening from Duxbury, informs, that the brig Ann, Capt. Lathrop, was drove on shore, at Duxbury Beach, on Monday night last, about 11 o'clock. The crew got on shore safe, and it is expected the cargo will be saved. The Ann is owned by Mr. William Parsons, of this town [Boston]. Capt Lothrop, informs, that she saw a brig on shore at Race Point, [Provincetown] as he passed that place, but could not understand who she was."
28 January 1805
A ship that went shore on Salt House Beach off Marshfield and Duxbury in the Blizzard of 1805. "A new ship went ashore on Salt House Beach, a few hours before the loss of the Hibernia; this intelligence is corroborated by Mr. Payne, the surviving mate of the above vessel, who stated to our informant, that he saw her driving towards the shore, and that she is the Ceres, Capt. Sampson, who sailed in company with the Hibernia, from this place, for Charleston. No further particulars of the situation of the ship or crew have been received."
A ship that was stranded on High Pines, a section of Duxbury beach off the Gurnet. "In March 1792, the ship Columbia, of three hundred tons, of Portland, Capt. Isaac Chauncy, was stranded on the beach at the High Pines, and fourteen men lost, and two, the second mate and a boy, were saved."
A ship Favorite bilged off Rocky Point, Plymouth in the Blizzard of 1805. "Boston, January 31. Loss of Ship Favorite. The ship Favorite, Nathaniel M. Perley, master, sailed from hence, on Saturday morning, for Lisbon: After standing off with a light breeze from 11 A.M. until 8 P.M. the wind beginning to haul to the N.E. and coming on to snow, the weather very thick. Capt. Perley thought best to heave about and stand in, and endeavor to make a harbor - he run in about a mile above the light and came too, with both anchors ahead, rode until five o'clock, on Monday Morning, it then blowing very hard from E. N. E. the ship parted both cables, and in 10 minutes struck on Rocky Point, and is bilged; it is expected a large part of the cargo will be saved."
A schooner wrecked off High Pines, Duxbury in the Snow Hurricane of 1804. "Further Accounts of the Late Storm... A wreck was seen near the high pines, after the gale; has since been towed into Plymouth; proves to be the schooner Franklin, of Falmouth; about 100 tons. The body of a seaman has been found on the Outer Beach, two others have been found in the wreck."
25 December 1778
An American brig that shipwrecked in Plymouth Bay during the Revolutionary War in a blizzard. "On Friday the 25th ult. at 6 A.M. the wind to the westward, sailed from this port the brig General Arnold, James Magee, commander; and about meridian the wind chop'd round to N.E. and looking likely for a gale they thought best to put into Plymouth, and came to anchor in a place called the Cow Yard. On Saturday, the gale encreasing, she started from her anchor, and struck on the White Flat; they then cut both cables and masts away, in hopes to drive over but she immediately bilged; it being low water, left her quarter-deck dry, where all hands got relief. A schooner lying within hail, heard their cries, but could not assist them. On Saturday the inhabitants were cutting ice most of the day before they got on board, when they saw 75 of the men had perished, and 34 very much froze, which they got on shore; and on Monday they got on shore and buried the dead. Great part of the brig's stores will be saved."
Loss of Ship Hibernia in the Blizzard of 1805. "The Hibernia, Capt. Farrill, also sailed from this port for Trinidad, on Saturday last. By a gentleman, arrived in town yesterday express from Plymouth, we learn, that the above ship drove ashore at that place, a mile and a half to the south of the Point - she is parted, and her stern drove about a quarter of a mile from her head; the cargo which was in her stern, is scattered along the shore; that in her bows being principally hogsheads, is still in her. The Capt. and all the crew, excepting the first mate, perished." "The Captain and all her crew, excepting her first mate, perished, viz, Andrew Farrill, master, of Boston; William Payne, first mate, formerly of Wellfleet, but now of Boston, the only survivor who was lashed to the helm, and taken from thence almost lifeless; Joseph Cordis, second mate, of Charlestown; and the following seamen, viz James D. Hammond of Marblehead, Ezra Bicknall of Weymouth, John Smith of Boston, Samuel Carter of Philadelphia, John Smith of Newport, Thomas Brown of Gloucester, William Howard, boy, of New York, and Francis Trask Cook of Newburyport."
A sloop cast ashore off High Pines Ledge on Duxbury Beach. "Duxbury, December 7. Mr. Russell, On the night of the 5th instant, the sloop Prudence, Captain Alexander Gardner, of Nantucket, was cast ashore and stranded, on the beach, two miles north of Plymouth Light House. There were five men on board; the mate and a passenger was saved, the Captain and his son [Charles Gardner] was found dead; the others not yet found. The cargo consisted of fifteen hogsheads spermaceti oil, 100 barrels tar, and the rigging and sails of the ship Charles, which was cast away near Nantucket - all of which will be saved with little damage. It is not known by the mate who the oil belongs to; it will be forwarded to Boston immediately. Your humble servant, Reuben Drew."
25 November 1792
A ship that shipwrecked on Duxbury beach. "Tribute of Gratitude. George Whytock, commander of the ship Rodney, of London, which sailed from Boston, on Thursday the 22d of November, and unfortunately was shipwrecked on Duxburough beach, the Sunday morning following, in the severe snowstorm, takes this public method to return his most grateful thanks to the benevolent people of Duxborough, Marshfield, and their vicinities, for their humane, spirited, and generousexertions, in affording him and his crew their assistance, in their distressing calamity. To ALL this tribute is sincerely proffered, and particularly to Captain Samuel Debona [sic, Delano], of Duxburough, for his singularly benevolent, noble, and spirited exertions, who at the risk of his own life, ventured into the boisterous waves, and providentially reached the wreck, for the kind purpose of preventing the sufferers attempting to land in their then situation, but to wait until the tide would admit of their getting safely on shore, and to inspire their almost exhausted spirits every possible degree of fortitude, with the assurance of a ready assistance as soon as it was possible for help to reach them from the beach. (Signed) GEORGE WHYTOCK for himself, family, and ship's company." "Nov. 25, 1792, the ship Rodney, of London, of between four and five hundred tons, Capt. Whytock, was cast ashore on the Branches ledge in a northeast storm, on her passage from Boston for Martinique, and loaded with lumber and brick. No lives were lost. Capt. Samuel Delano Jr., of Duxbury, while endeavoring to render her assistance, scarcely escaped drowning, and for his heroic conduct was rewarded by the Humane Society with a gold medal. Her passengers were rescued by a sloop, and among their number were several females, the Captain's family."
A brig that wrecked on Brant Rock, Marshfield. "FATAL SHIPWRECK. The Brig Success, Tobias Lear Porter, master, belonging to Messrs. J. & S. White of Salem, 84 days from St. Petersburg, on Wednesday evening last, struck on the Brant rock, Marshfield beach, by which accident the Captain, mate, and four seamen perished, two only being saved. The names of those lost besides the master, are, Mr. John Nichols of Salem, mate; Peter Union, John Chappell, Williams Brooks, and Giles Pike of Marblehead, seamen. Capt. Porter (in whose death society has lost a very respectable, enterprising, and valuable member) was son to the Rev. Nathaniel Porter, of Conway, N.H., a clergyman much respected for learning, and venerable for his age and piety. It appeared that on the approach of night, the wind blowing fresh at the eastward, Capt. Porter consulting his mate on the expediency of running in for the land, they being very short of water, having but about 3 gallons on board, and as they supposed they knew their situation (having spoken a vessel out for the land that day) on mutual deliberation concluded to run in; sounding several times in the evening until they shoaled the water to 17 fathoms. Concluding that they were on the northern shore they hauled off to the southward; shortly after they sounded and had 40 fathom water; continued their course to the southward until nearly 8 o'clock P.M. when they saw breakers, and immediately were ship and stood off - directly after which she struck. After beating for two hours she bilged and filled the cabin with water: the mate and people then left the cabin (except the two that were saved) and went forward and lashed themselves [to] the bows, being then quite out of water; sometime after the bows settled away in the cavity of the rocks, when all those lashed forward were drowned; the captain continued about the decks doing everything in his power for the preservation of the whole until after three o'clock A.M.; he then called to the people that were holding on the combings of the companion way, and asked if they were alive; they answered, though the water was nearly up to their mouths; in a few moments he was heard no more. His body was taken up together with those of the mate and the people that morning, and on the following Sabbath were carried into the meeting-house, where a sermon adapted to the occasion was preached to a large concourse of people by the Rev. Mr. Shaw, from Prov. xxvii 1 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth," when the bodies were interred."
16 November 1766
An unknown sloop lost off Duxbury. "Boston, November 24... We hear from Duxbury, that in the storm last Sabbath night the 16th instant, a sloop from the Eastward laden with lumber bound in there, where she was owned, one Ripley, master, was cast away on Duxbury Beach, and all the hands (being three in number) perished, viz, [William] Ripley, master, John Alden, son of Briggs Alden Esq. of Duxbury, and Daniel Weston. One of the dead bodies was found lashed to the quarter, and another floated ashore, the third was not found."
28 October 1767
A sloop from Connecticut off Duxbury. "Boston, November 5. Last week we had a very heavy storm of wind and rain, the severity of it was on Wednesday, no great damage down in this Harbour; but in the Bay the wind being violent at N.E. many vessels were in great distress. It is said 17 sail, chiefly sloops, were drove on the Southern Shore [including]... a sloop near Duxbury, the vessel, cargo, and all the people lost; two dead bodies have been taken up, several chests, some bedding, great quantities of cheese, butter, cyder &c. were washed a-shore, by which it is supposed she was from Connecticut; but have not learnt the Master's name." "The vessel that was cast away at Duxbury, in a violent storm as lately mentioned in the papers, every soul on board perished, viz Thomas Griffin, master, Jonathan Babcock, James Miner, John Irish, and two others, whose names we have not yet learnt."
28 October 1767
A sloop from North Carolina off Marshfield. "Boston, November 5. Last week we had a very heavy storm of wind and rain, the severity of it was on Wednesday, no great damage down in this Harbour; but in the Bay the wind being violent at N.E. many vessels were in great distress. It is said 17 sail, chiefly sloops, were drove on the Southern Shore [including]... A sloop, Andrews, master, from North Carolina, ashore near Marshfield, the vessel lost but the cargo saved."
14 December 1767
A ship drove ashore in Duxbury during a snow storm. "December 24. On Monday the 14th we had here an easterly snow storm, but the wind not severe until late in the evening, when it came about to the westward, and blew exceeding hard all the night, and very cold. No damage that we hear of near this place, excepting two vessels drove ashore, viz, Captain Cobb from Quebec for this post [Boston]; and one outward bound for Philadelphia, on George's Island, both likely to be got off."
9 December 1786
A sloop ran ashore on Duxbury Beach during The Great Snow of 1786. "Boston, December 22. Among the many terrible effects of the late violent snow storm, a correspondent, who was personally concerned, has sent us the following: "Between one and two o'clock, Saturday morning, December 9, Capt. Samuel Robbins sailed from the Long Wharf in Boston, in a coasting sloop, bound for Plymouth, with a number of passengers on board, among whom were the Rev. Mr. Robbins of Plymouth, with 13 others; the wind about N by E. We had passed the light house about two leagues, when the wind veering round to E.N.E the heavens grew suddenly black and a squall of snow."
10 April 1801
A sloop wrecked off Duxbury Beach. "Duxbury Mass. April 13. On Friday afternoon last was discovered at anchor a sloop of about 70 or 80 tons, about half a mile off Duxbury beach; on which there went off some men in a boat. They found no person on board; but a rauses boat with three oars was discovered which was supposed to belong to her. On Saturday morning the sloop disappeared. On that morning the body of a drowned man was taken up on the beach; and the next day two others were taken up. There was nothing found with them to discover who they were or from whence they came, except a watch, with A. S. engraved on it, should do it. It is conjectured she belonged to the Eastward." "In April 1801, a sloop was wrecked, and three men drowned and two saved."
28 January 1805
A schooner wrecked near Rocky Point, Plymouth in the Blizzard of 1805. "At the same time [of the wrecking of Hibernia] a schooner, name unknown, was drove on shore at a short distance from where the ship [Hibernia] was struck, and immediately went to pieces. It is feared every soul on board was lost."