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Hermann’s Times in Japan   Leave a comment

Land and Naval battle of Hakodate

The Boshin War was a civil war in Japan. The troop favorable to the restoration of political authority to the Emperor fought against the government of the Tokugawa shogunate from 1868 to 1869.

The origins of war were found  in dissatisfaction among many nobles and young samurai with the Shogunate’s handling of foreigners following the opening of Japan during the prior decade.

The Shogunate power had became gradually weak by the mid-19th century, the military tide rapidly turned in favor of the relatively modernized imperial faction.

The Meiji government defeated the forces of the Shogun army in almost fronts and subsequently occupied the Shogun’s capital at Edo.

But the commander of the Shogunate Navy, refused to remit his fleet to the new government and departed Edo for Hakodate in Aug.,1868 with four steam warships and four steam transports  as well as 2,000 soldiers, several officials of the former government including members of the French Military Mission to Japan.

In this way, the Shogunate forces eventually retreated to Hakodate where they took control of Goryokaku and the battle of Hakodate began on 4th Dec., 1868.

On the other hand, s.s.”Hermann” was sold to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. from the previous owner in 1866, she was 19 years old already as tonnage year. She was refitted for a voyage to Yokohama, where the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. planned to use her as a store ship and spare steamer. On 1st Mar., 1867, she sailed from San Francisco for Yokohama. The company soon understood more profitable to put her to active use in Japanese circumstances, and in 1868 she was placed in coastal service, from time to time being chartered by Japanese new government.

At the tumultuous end of the battle of Hakodate, the remainders of the Tokugawa shogunate army hold the fortress of Goryokaku in Hakodate. And they resisted the imperial army obstinately.

The Tsugaru had been ordered to repress the fortress of Goryokaku by the  Restoration government. So the Tsugaru domain requested assistance to the Higo domain depending upon relations of feudal lord.

Accepting the request from the Tsugaru, the Higo domain determined to send 350 soldiers, and chartered s.s.”Hermann.”

On 12th Feb., 1869, she departed Edo for the Tsugaru Strait. But on that night and following day, she encountered a heavy weather, and went aground and sank off Katsuura.

Many soldiers and crew were swept away from her. Although the villagers of Katsuura were in charge of rescue all together, more 200 Japanese soldiers and 20 American crews were dead.

 

 

At last, the new government won the Battle of Hakodate, and ruled supreme throughout the whole of Japan.

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Posted July 22, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized

The estimated position of the shipwreck   Leave a comment

the Kawatsu fishing port

the Kawatsu fishing port

Katsuura is located in the southeast part of Chiba prefecture. Its seashore facing the Pacific Ocean, have many fishing ports using coves along beautiful coast line.
The estimated position of the shipwreck is the seabed apart about 1.2km from Kawatsu fishing port, and many reefs and rocks zone all over the seashore, so-called by local fishermen “Demon’s Island” by reason of a difficult part of the coastal service.
The estimated exactly position is about 35° 08′N, 140°20′E, 8~10 m in-depth of water.
Until now, some artificial things of copper or bronze are discovered from ruins.

As supplementary note : In  1609, a Spanish ship “San Francisco” had run on a rock and sunk on Onjuku-cho Iwawada seashore of the neighboring town.

Posted July 12, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized

Outline of s.s.”Hermann” are as follows   Leave a comment

According to Palmer List of Merchant Vessels
We are looking for descedants of s.s.”Hermann” crew in US.
The steamship HERMANN was built for the Ocean Steam Navigation Co by Jacob A. Westervelt & William Mackey, New York, and was launched on 30 September 1847. Original configuration: 1,734 45/95 tons; 234 feet 11 inches x 39 feet 6 inches x 31 feet 7 inches; 1 funnel (short, tucked in between the paddle boxes), 3 masts (bark rig); wooden construction, 3 decks, square stern, billethead, figurehead of Hermann, the Germanic hero; side-wheel propulsion, 2 side-lever engines (Novelty Iron Works, New York), bore 6 feet x stroke 10 feet, 12 psi, 11 revolutions per minute, aproximate ihp 821 (measured in service); diameter of paddle wheels 36 feet, width of floats 8 feet; service speed 9 knots; accommodation for approximately 180 passengers in 1st class; cost $360,000 (Ridgely-Nevitt) / $410,000 (Kemble).
The HERMANN was the second of two steamships completed for the Ocean Steam Navigation Co, which had been incorporated in May 1846 to carry the mails between New York and Continental Europe for a renewable term of five years. The mail contract offered two alternatives: (1) the company could build two steamships and send them to Bremerhaven, with two sailings per month from New York, for an annual payment of $400,000, or (2) if, preferred, once all four steamships were built it could dispatch the other two of them to Le Havre, with once sailing a month from New York to Bremen and one sailing a month from New York to Le Havre, for an annual payment of $350,000. The lesser amount of this second alternative was in consideration of the shorter distance from New York to Le Havre.
The HERMANN was laid down sometime after the launch of her sister ship, the WASHINGTON, on 30 January 1847, the delay in starting being the
result of financial problems, the company being unable to raise sufficient capital to fund her construction. Her intended name was LAFAYETTE,
suggesting that the company intended to use her on the proposed New York-Le Havre service. However, she was launched as HERMANN. She was outwardly identical to the WASHINGTON, but was four and one half feet longer, almost a foot broader, and surveyed at 74 tons more; her weather deck was clear except for the wheel house aft and two small houses near the paddle boxes which served as entryways to the cabins below. On the main deck was the Grand Saloon, over 85 feet long, with “family” rooms for four to six passengers installed on the deck below.
21 March 1848, maiden voyage, Eleazer Crabtree, master, New York – Halifax (entered in distress, 28 March) – Cowes (arrived 11 April) – Bremen; 600 miles out encountered a storm and for 40 hours lay to, head to sea, making no progress; headrails smashed, part of the overhanging housing of the wheels torn away, and the hull deflected so much that both injection pipes carrying water into the condensers were broken; repaired at Halifax and proceeded. On return passage, sailed from Bremerhaven 19 April, calling at Southampton for further engine repairs; sailed from Southampton 6 May, arriving off Sandy Hook 21 May, but forced to wait 36 hours for the fog to clear before she could come up to her dock; passengers included a dozen camels and two Arab drivers, especially imported from Egypt by the S. B. Howes Circus.
The HERMANN made 4 voyages in 1848 and 5 in 1849, most of them marked by mechanical difficulties, a result of the fact that her hull, like that of the WASHINGTON, was insufficiently rigid to counter the weight of the paddle wheels, shafting, and machinery, which resulted in frequent breaking of pipes and shafts. In addition, while the engines were large enough to propel the ship at a respectable speed, the boilers failed to raise sufficient pressure to power them effectively, and what steam they did produce required the consumption of inordinate quantities of coal. 9 October 1850 – 29 March 1851, HERMANN withdrawn from service for modifications; two original boilers replaced by four smaller ones; short single funnel tucked in between the paddle boxes replaced by two much taller funnels, very close together, fore of the paddle boxes; service speed increased to 10.5 knots; bark rig retained, but the main yard usually stowed on deck, giving the rig the appearance of a barkentine.
Upon the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, France and England began to charter transport to carry men and supplies to the Black Sea. The Cunard Line lost so many steamships to war service that she abandoned the New York half of her operations after December 1854. As a result of the withdrawal of British ships, the Ocean Steam Navigation Co’s Bremen service gained freight and passengers, and 1855 became the most successful year in the line’s history.
However, with the end of hostilities, the chartered vessels returned home, interrupted routes were resumed, and many new services planned. In June 1856, the Hamburg-America Line initiated steamship service between Hamburg and New
York, and in December 1856, a consortium of Bremen merchants founded Norddeutscher Lloyd, ordering four screw steamships of over 2,000 tons apiece, to be placed in service in 1858. On 25 April 1857, the British steamship QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, sailed from Bremen via Southampton for New York. On the American side of the Atlantic, Cornelius Vanderbilt turned from the New York – California trade to the transatlantic trade, and on 16 April 1857 his steamship ARIEL inaugurated his service between New York and Bremen. With revenues declining disastrously as other lines entered the field, and without the funds to replace its aging ships, the Ocean Steam Navigation Co was forced to complete its existing mail contract and to go out of business. 1 June 1857, expiration of the mail contract. 17 June 1857, last voyage, Bremen – Southampton – New York (47 roundtrip voyage completed).
31 July 1857, offered for sale together with the WASHINGTON, but because of a severe business depression the vessels were not sold until they were purchased at auction for $40,000 in June 1858 by the newly formed California, New York & European Steamship Co.
23 August 1858, Edward Cavendy, master (and part owner), sailed from New York for San Francisco with over 500 passengers. Capt. Cavendy had only $300 on board to finance the voyage; called for coal at Valparaiso (18 September), Lota, Chile, and Valparaiso (24 October), the purchases made on credit, with bonds on the ship left as surety. At Valparaiso, Capt. Cavendy received orders from New York instructing him to call at Panama, to pick up passengers from the WASHINGTON, which was supposed to stop at Aspinwall on her way to the Pacific. 9 November 1858, arrived at Panama; Capt. Cavendy found no passengers and no news of the WASHINGTON, which he expected to meet. The California, New York & European Steamship Co had failed and had been replaced by an organization of even more dubious integrity, the American Atlantic & Ship Canal Co, whose agent in Panama had no credentials, no funds and a large, unpaid hotel bill. The agent presented Capt. Cavendy with a letter ordering the HERMANN to stop at San Juan del Sur, on the western coast of Nicaragua, to meet passengers on the WASHINGTON, which was to have sailed from New York on 6 November for San Juan del Norte, on the eastern coast of Nicaragua.
Unable to purchase coal because the freight bill was unpaid, and as part owner of the ship facing financial ruin in New York on account of her debts, Capt. Cavendy left the HERMANN under the command of the first officer, Mr. Patterson, and returned to New York to rescue his situation. Using the coal and provisions still on board, Patterson sailed the HERMANN to San Francisco, where she arrived on 27 November 1858.
February 1859, seized at San Francisco by the authorities for her debts and sold by the U.S. Marshal to Capt. George Wright for $40,000; made one trip to the Northwest coast, after which she was said to have been “bought off” by the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. The HERMANN saw little service on the Pacific, as she was not adapted for tropical service to Panama and was too costly to send on the northern run to the Columbia river. By this time she had lost her bowsprit, clipper bow, and figurehead; the stem was now straight, with a forward rake. Winter 1862-63, made one voyage from San Francisco to Panama for M. O. Roberts’s People’s Line. 14 August 1866, auctioned off to T. J. L. Smiley for $17,000, and by him sold to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. 14 November 1866, proceeded to Mare Island, to be refitted for a voyage to Yokohama, where the Pacific Mail planned to use her as a store ship and spare steamer. 1 March 1867, sailed from San Francisco for Yokohama. Since she was still an operational, a rarity in Japanese waters, it was soon considered more profitable to put her to active use, and in 1868 she was placed in coastwise service, from time to time being chartered as a transport by feudal Japanese authorities. 13 February 1869, en route from Yokohama to the Straits of Sangar, wrecked on Point Kawatzu, with a loss of over half the 350 Japanese troops aboard.

Posted July 10, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized

There is something in common between Japanese behaviors at the east Japan great earthquake and “Hermann” shipwreck.   Leave a comment

 
We are looking for descedants of s.s.”Hermann” crew in US.
 
The Tokyo Newspaper dated 12th Feb., 2012
–I am sorry for my rough translation.–
 
Talks gathered in the trip
The basics of obligation
Katsuura city, Chiba
The Tokyo Newspaper dated 12th Feb., 2012
I would like to surely state finally at Japanese people’s heroic action. The U.S. steamship “Hermann” ran on a rock off Katsuura Chiba Prefecture on 13th Feb. 1869,  and more than 200 persons of passengers and crew were killed. After an accident, Captain Newell wrote in the article of the “New York Times” as follows. All the passengers were soldiers of Satsuma domain, who were going to Hokkaido for the battle against the remainders of the Tokugawa shogunate army in Hakodate. At the shipwreck, she was broken into two parts and many people were swept into the dark and cold sea. Villagers in Kawatzu rowed many fishing boats desperately, and on the beach many women cooked and nursed drifters by burning logs. On the other hand, soldiers and others onboard were calm and not to mention neither panic nor riots from beginning to end. They all obeyed the orders of  Captain Newell. Mr.Mikio Ono (68 old) said “I can understand painfully as a same mariner how the captain was impressed deeply.” For many years, he was a captain of the ocean-going vessel, and after retirement he has moved to Katsuura near the sea. The “Imperial army monument” remains from the past to the future, but there are recently too few people who know the Japanese rescue and actions at this accident. Capt. Ono prepares to offer his remaining life to introduction of this heartwarming facts.
He said “At the East Japan great earthquake, the world praised Japanese behaviors, the behaviors between at great earthquake and “Hermann” rescue have something in common. The basics of obligatbaion, in other word,  the Japanese spirit underlies all those facts.”
(Shinjiro Akazawa)

Posted July 9, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized

The nice view of the Pacific Ocean from the monument nearby s.s.”Hermann” shipwreck   Leave a comment

 

We are looking for descedants of s.s.”Hermann” crew in US.

At the tumultuous end of Edo Era in Japan, the remainders of the Tokugawa shogunate army hold the fortress of Goryokaku in Hakodate, Hokkaido, the Northern Japan.
And they resisted the imperial army obstinately. The new government ordered the Tsugaru domain to send many soldiers to the front. The Tsugaru requested assistances to the Higo domain depending upon relations of feudal lord. Accepting the request, the Higo domain chartered a U.S. ship s.s.”Hermann.” She departed Tokyo for Tsugaru Strait carrying 350 Japanese passengers and 80 American crew on 12th Feb., 1869.
But on that night and following day, the ship encountered a heavy weather all day, so she went aground and sank off Katsuura.
People near point Kawazu had a hard rescue, but more than 200 Japanese passengers and 20 American crews were killed. For mourning victims, they built a stone monument on the cape overlooking well the shipwreck point.
Nearby the monument, there is a stone tablet inscribed with a haiku of Teijo Nakamura born in the same Higo region and a tanka of famous poet Mokichi Saito.
Those poets express longing for memories of old days of victim’s home towns.
Attached video is the nice view of the Pacific Ocean from the monument.

http://youtu.be/cSsiXY4Qiqs
 
 
 

 

 

Posted July 9, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized

Marine Art Exhibition for the repose of souls of “Hermann” victims   Leave a comment

We are looking for descedants of s.s.”Hermann” crew in US.
The chibanippo website version dated 2011.12.12
http://www.chibanippo.co.jp/c/news/local/65945
–I am sorry for my rough translation.–
Article of the Chibanippo dated 12th Dec.,2011
The art works exhibition “Marine Art Exhibition -Requiem for the Imperial army mound-” is opened in the prefectural museum of marine museum of Katsuura, the. exhibition drove the thought to the wreck of the paddle steamer “Hermann” of the U.S. ship, off Katsuura in Feb. 1869. The exhibition will be held up to January 9. The artists group “White sand” (the representative of  Kofu Ono) exhibited more 50 works. Calligraphy writings, and variegated works, colored pencil pictures, cutting-paper works, and panoramic photographs introduce about the scenery of the Imperial army mound, the historical facts of the shipwreck..Also, the copy of the picture scroll making a subject of the “Hermann” also exhibited. The “Hermann” was bound to Tohoku region, in the northern part of Japan to suppress the remainders of the Tokugawa shogunate army. She was carrying about 350 Imperial armies of the Kumamoto region about 80 American crew on board. On January 3, 1869, she ran aground off Kawatsu in Katsuura under a heavy weather. While a total of 200 or more persons were rescued, a total of 200 or more persons including 22 Americans fell victim, and the Imperial army mound was made on nearby shipwreck site for the repose of souls.

Posted July 9, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized

The first mourning was held for American victims of the “Hermann” shipwreck.   Leave a comment



We are looking for descedants of s.s.”Hermann” crew in US.

[Mainichi Newspapers] Website version dated 2012.02.14

–I am sorry for my rough translation.—

memorial service held on 13th Feb., 2012
photo offered by Cat.Ono
In February, 1869 , the steamship “Hermann” of the U.S. was stranded and sunk off Kawatzu in Katsuura, and 250 victims were sacrificed.
She was carring more 350 soldiers of Kumamoto domain and others who were going to subjugate the remnants of the Tokugawa shogunate army holding Hakodate in Hokkaido, the Northern Japan.
On the 13th same day of the shipwreck, a memorial service was held at the “Imperial army mound” where we can see a fine view of the Pacific Ocean.
The services have been carried out together with Japanese victims of other shipwrecks  in nearby sea on every August 16, untill last year.
At this time,  the memorial service for many Japanese and about 20 American victims of the “Hermann” was held independently for the first time.
The Japanese and American national flags were set in the ceremony square, and the national anthem of both countries was played after another.
The service was sponsored by the “meeting which takes out the Black Ships “Hermann” to the world” (the chairman: mayor Mr. Hisao Saruta) established in September, last year.
At the shipwreck, all the residents of the Kawatzu helped the rescue activities, and they they did help about 200 persons including about 60 Americans  through the severe cold night.
With memorial service holding on the same day of the accident, it is able to hand down to future generations for a long time that

memorial service held on 13th Feb., 2012
photo offered by Cat.Ono

the people of Kawatzu did their best to help men irrespective of nationality.

Capt. Mikio Ono (68 old) the secretary-general of the meeting said “I would like to appeal for cooperation to the U.S. embassy, so that the bereaved families of American victims  will be able to attend the service after next year.”
He was a captain of ocean going vessel for a long time.

Posted July 9, 2012 by Capt. Numata in Uncategorized