Pub date: May 29, 2009
It's a cold April night on the high seas. A ship steams quickly toward port. Aboard are wealthy passengers enjoying their luxurious accommo-dations. In the holds below, steerage passengers sit in crowded berths, excited about starting a new life in a new world. In the bridge above, the Captain retires for the evening. The lookouts think they see something ahead. Too late, they warn the bridge . . .
This was the fate of the SS Atlantic, the second ship built by the White Star Line for its new fleet. Built forty-two years before the RMS Titanic, the Atlantic had successfully completed eighteen crossings before it ran aground off the coast of Nova Scotia on April 1, 1873, killing 562 of the 952 on board. It was the worst marine disaster of the nineteenth century, yet, until now, the full story has never been told.