J[ohn] M. Vanderbilt
00958 severe weather for the past two months, unusually so in the large proportion of rainy days and gales of wind from South east. On the 26th of October this whole section was visited by a frightful cyclone followed by successive shocks of earthquake some of them being severe enough to stop clocks, ring the church bell in Sitka, overturn pictures & other objects hanging and standing in rooms & causing terror both among whites and Indians nothing like it was known before, that is so severe. We gathered reports from [Takoo?] to [illegible] & [Cross?] Sound, everywhere it was severe, doing considerable damage in the Indian settlements & destroying large number of trees. We had nine hours warning by the actions of our barometer & so 00958 took refuge in what we supposed to be a perfect harbor, Fresh Water Bay about ten miles below [Point Augusta?] (Cross Sound) in Chatham Straits we laid there with both anchors down & steam up, when it came it struck us suddenly with terrific force and we were compelled to to steam at full speed to keep from being torn form our anchors & dashed on the rocks — our barometer went down to 28.44 as Sitka the bar went to 28.18 — At Chileat many of the Indian houses were unroofed, graves & monuments blown or knocked down while the Indians were temped by the rumblings that sounded like the discharge of heavy [illegible]. Large tracts of trees were blown down, we received no damage at any of our posts. At Ho[illegible] a large number of canoes were destroyed, houses blown down and one
1880 Nov 20
Original letter dimensions: 25 x 20 cm.
Reel 04, Image 0358
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