Daily Event for February 22, 2009

On February 16, 1882 the Inman Line's City of Berlin sailed from Liverpool under the command of Capt. Leitch
for another crossing to New York. She was due in the Big Apple with her 600 passengers on or about Feb. 26.
Delays due to rough seas or mechanical breakdowns were common place at that time so a ship a few days
overdue was no cause for alarm, at least not yet.

On Mar. 2, 1882 a report was filed which stated that the City of Berlin was overdue, at lease two other ships
had sailed from Europe at about the same time and had already arrived, but there was no word of the City of
Berlin. Neither of the captains of the other two liners reported unusual weather or over rough seas, yet the
City of Berlin was no where to be seen.

No storms and relatively calm seas was somewhat good news, however the reports of icebergs and large
quantities of drift ice were not. While the unthinkable was probably on many minds the agents for the Inman
Line in New York said "We do not think there are any grounds for apprehensions in regard to the City of
What they did not say was there was equally no reason to think the ship was still above the waves, as they had heard nothing of her either way.

On Mar. 3, 1882 the City of Lincoln arrived in New York from Cardiff, yet no news of the City of Berlin, however her captain did have a report of ice at 46° N-47° 54' W, a position north of the route Leitch was supposed to take. Leitch had orders to take a more southward course than normal to avoid the ice, 42° latitude.

Mar. 4, 1882 the City of Paris, another Inman ship, arrived at New York from Liverpool, the same port the City
of Berlin had sailed from, her captain had no word about the City of Berlin, but did report broken ice flows and at least one large berg at 43° latitude. The North German Lloyd liner Main also arrived and reported more ice at 48° latitude, but no word about the City of Berlin.

By now people must have been getting worried, reports of ice and the fact that not a word had been spoken of the missing liner must have been agony for those waiting for loved ones. Had she become another victim of the North Atlantic, an unforgiving ocean whose depths hold the secrets to the deaths of thousands who perished without a word.

It was on March 5th that finally news about the fate of the ship was spoken, the Ville d' Alger arrived in Boston that morning with the news that the shaft on the City of Berlin had broken on the evening of Feb. 22-23 and she had been adrift until Feb. 27 when that ship came along. They took her in tow, but the line parted, the next day the Samaria arrived and took the City of Berlin into Boston arriving late in the evening of Mar. 5. The wait was over and all on board arrived if not on time, at least alive.
© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

Postcard of the City of Berlin.