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Rumour has it that those beloved  TV "Wreck Detectives" have been sighted out in the turquoise waters of Liverpool Bay. They where paying particular attention to The Lelia, a paddle steamer bound for the Confederate states during the American civil war.
Not long after this visit a well known charter out of Anglesey was spotted with an airlift of suitably large proportions diving the site?
Any ideas as to what may have caused such interest?
 

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Mmm, yes, he did say that he found a few trinkets on that trip. Wonder what the Wreck Numpties will make of the Lelia, what with the vis and the marine growth and the juvenile fish. I understand the Archaeological Group filmed it a while back and deemed it not to be of significant enough archaeological interest to place a protection order on it.

Actually the story of the Lelia is one of the sadder tales of Liverpool Bay shipwrecks. For those who are interested I note the reports from the press of the day.

The Lelia

Extracts from Articles of the day and the Board of Trade Enquiry…….

“Iron paddle steamer built at Liverpool for use as a blockade runner

Sank in Liverpool bay 14/1/1865 owing to one of the flukes of her anchor penetrating her side and breaking several scuttles. A number of her people succeeded in rowing to the North West Lightship where they were rescued by the tug “Blazer””

“Commander Arthur Sinclair, CSN, drowned in the sinking of the Lelia off North Wales”

“Commander Arthur Sinclair arrived in Liverpool in late 1864 to supervise the completion of a 640 ton cutter rigged paddle steamer at the Toxteth yard of William C Miller & Sons. She was given the name Lelia, shared by Sinclair’s wife and daughter, and by the time the ship was ready for her maiden voyage there were no doubts about her purpose. It is said that Sinclair knelt in prayer before leaving the Mersey under orders, and against his better judgement, in a storm on January 14th 1865.Following the familiar pattern of Confederate Secret Service intrigue in Liverpool, the Lelia was nominally under a British master, a captain Thomas Buckston Skinner. Her cargo was 700 tons of coal, but she would have taken a much more valuable cargo in Bermuda to attempt to run the blockade at Wilmington”

The account of what happened subsequently is pieced together from the evidence of the few survivors. When the Lelia arrived off the Great Orme at 2pm., she had been paddling into the teeth of a gale for over four hours. With the prospect of even worse weather ahead, in the more exposed sector up to Point Lynas, Captain Skinner slowed his ship and ordered the anchors to be hoisted inboard. It was during this operation hat a heavy wave caused the pea of one of the anchors to penetrate the deck, and while the damage was being assessed, another wave washed away the iron covering of a nearby scuttle. With huge waves breaking over her bows, the forepart soon filled with water, the Lelia stopped answering her helm. While again slowed, for an inspection of the damage, the ship was struck by a series of heavy waves, which smashed her forward hatches. Thereafter she drifted helplessly before the wind, and when north of Prestatyn began to sink. Her boats were ordered to be lowered and there is much confusion as to what happened afterwards. Commander Sinclair and the Pilot are believed to have been in the first boat, which was swamped as soon as it reached the water. Two other boats got away, carrying a total of about 30 men. It is not known for certain whether the fourth boat had been lowered before the captain was seen to go down with his ship. Two of the boats made for the North West Lightship, Prince, some six miles away, but one was swamped when she struck the larger vessel. Only twelve survivors got aboard the lightship. Both Sinclair and Skinner died in the sinking.

The tragedy did not end there. The tug Blazer, was dispatched from the Liverpool Prices Landing Stage with scant news of the of the loss, as signalled from the lightship. The tug set out to return to the scene, towing “Liverpool Lifeboat No1”. They passed through the Rock Channel, but when by buoy 79, a short distance from East Hoyle, the lifeboat was swamped and only four of her crew managed to swim to the tug, the other seven being lost. Yet another day had to go by before the Lelia’s survivors could be taken off the lightship.

A total of 47 persons perished that day.

The ship was owned by Henry Elias Moss of Rumford Place, Liverpool. Her port number was 11, and her official number was 51,407. She was Schooner Rigged, Clipper built, had a steel framework and one deck. Her gross tonnage was 640 and her register tonnage was 431. She had two engines of the combined horsepower of 300 horses. Her length was 252 feet and her breadth 30 feet and her depth of hold 12 feet.

She was carrying 85 tons cargo and 460 tons of coal.

Her bulwarks were 4ft 6in high and were of steel. She had five wash ports on each side and four scuppers on each side. She steered either from the bridge or the wheelhouse aft. She had six bulkheads and the forepeak would be 19ft from the bulkhead to the stern. Her forehold was 75 feet in length from the foremast bulkhead to the bulkhead before the bunker. Her after hold was 42 feet in length between the bulkheads.

The engines were made by Messrs Fawcett and Preston. They were oscillating engines, direct action, tubular boilers. There were four main boilers, two before and two abaft of the engines and fired athwart ship. The bunkers were before and abaft of the engines and would contain about 340 tonns of coal. There was no other coal space.

The customs clearance papers which consist of the manifest, contents and victualling bill, showed what she had on board, which was mainly hardware.
 

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Crispy,
without wishing to point out the obvious, from above

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Extracts from Articles of the day and the Board of Trade Enquiry…….

“Iron paddle steamer built at Liverpool for use as a blockade runner

Sank in Liverpool bay 14/1/1865 owing to one of the flukes of her anchor penetrating her side and breaking several scuttles. A number of her people succeeded in rowing to the North West Lightship where they were rescued by the tug “Blazer””
Matt
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Crisspy Fiver @ Aug. 21 2003,12:15)]As this ship was headed for the Confederate states was she to be a blockade runner?

Thanks
Quite possibly, Great Britain did back the Conderate States during the recent unpleasantness.
 

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We supplied the Confederate States with lots of ships during the American Civil War. I think paddle steamers were very popular because they had shallow draughts (spelt correctly ?) and could be run in closer to shore than the Federal blockaders. Some of the time they went across the Atlantic with mainly British crews. If you brought the ship, the crew came with it.  If you look at the crew list of the southern raider, CSS Alabama (currently the subject of an archaelological project off the coast of N.W. France) you`ll see that a large percentage of the crew were Brits. & Irish.

Just though y`all might be interested


Steve
 
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