American sailor’s letter in a bottle, January 10, 1806
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
During Great Britain’s long war against Napoleonic France (1803-1815), the Royal Navy searched American ships at sea looking for British sailors who had deserted. About 10,000 American-born sailors were carried off in these impressment raids, which were an important major cause of the War of 1812. This letter was written by an American taken from the merchant ship Lion, which sailed from New York on November 26, 1805 to trade in the Caribbean. He corked it into a bottle and dropped it into the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Colombia in South America. Carried by the powerful Atlantic Gulf Stream current, it came ashore at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina nearly six months later.
Loan from Gordon E. Eubanks, Jr.