No. 295.
Mr. von Alvensleben to Mr. Bayard.


Mr. Secretary of State: The German ship Elisabeth was wrecked on the 8th of January last, on the coast of Virginia, about 14 miles from Gape Henry, on which occasion the entire crew, consisting of twenty-one officers and men, including the captain, lost their lives.

This calamity has aroused very general sympathy, both in the United States and Germany, especially since, in con sequence thereof, of the seven men who formed the life-saving crew that came to the assistance of the distressed vessel, thereby faithfully performing their duty, five were drowned.

As soon as the desperate situation of the Elisabeth was observed from the coast, Captain Belanga, of life saving station No. 4, at Bam Neck Mills, started in a boat, at about day-break, with six men from stations 3 and 4, for the purpose of rescuing the imperiled crew, Captain Belanga had succeeded in getting seven of the crew of the Elisabeth on board of the life-saving boat, while the rest were provided with life [Page 423] preservers, when a heavy sea capsized the boat and but two men of the life-saving crew, viz, Frank Tedford and Joseph E. Etheridge, escaped drowning; the others, together with the crew of the Elisabeth, perished. Captain Belanga and one of the men belonging to the crew of the wrecked vessel were got ashore alive, but expired immediately afterwards.

I deemed it my duty to transmit to His Majesty the Emperor and King a report concerning the heroic conduct of the life-saving crew in the performance of their arduous duty, and also concerning the sad fate of the majority of the said crew, in consequence of which their families were left destitute.

His Majesty the Emperor and King has been pleased to order that a gift of $1,000 in money be equally divided among the families of the five men who perished in the attempt to save the German crew, and whose names are given in the accompanying list. Each family is therefore entitled to receive $200. His Majesty has also ordered that Frank Ted-ford and Joseph E. Etheridge, the surviving members of the life-saving crew, shall each be presented with a gold watch, together with his likeness and monogram.

In obedience to instructions received, I have the honor, Mr. Secretary of State, to ask your kind mediation for the transmission of these gifts of His Majesty to the parties for whom they are intended.

I consequently have the honor to inclose a check for $1,000, together with the two watches, and I respectfully request that the receipts of the proper parties may in due time be transmitted to me.

Accept, etc.,

H. v. Alvensleben.

List of the members of the life-saving crew who perished while attempting to save the crew of the Elisabeth.

Capt. Abel Belanga; leaves a wife.
John Land; leaves a wife and children.
Joseph Stone; leaves a wife and child.
Joseph Spratley; leaves a wife and children.
Joseph E. Belanga, brother of the captain of the same name; leaves a wife and child.