Natural Resources


Date: September 1775

Location: Placentia

Easting: 275700

Northing: 5236550

Latitude: 48° 48' 00" N

Longitude: 58° 06' 00" W

Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Source: The Evening Telgram, Feb 1 1988, The Great Flood of 1775opens new window opens new window

A letter in the Newfoundland Archives, dated at Placentia on Sept. 25, 1775 describes a flood. It is presumed to be written by some officers or lesser ranks in the British garrison there and is addressed to Captain Robert Pringle, the Chief Engineer (Royal Engineers) in St. John's.

"Sir: We have received by Mr. Saunders' shallop your favour and the 10 lords of lime which you have been pleased to order for the necessary repairs of this place. We should have been glad to have had the bricks and boards with some shingles as we are in great want of them. We beg leave to acquaint you in that on the 11th instant between the hours of nine and 10 at night, we had a violent gale of wind at the best part of the night; and by its violence, and the rising of the water, every house in this place had some two, three, and some four feet of water in them, everyone living obliged to mount up to the Garret.

"The Fort also suffered considerably, bolts (and) gates being blown down, and shivered to pieces, with several scores of Palisadoes, and carried fairly out to sea, and the Barracks half-full of water. We are picking up what we can find of the gates in order to save the ironwork, the wood belonging to them being so rotten as renders it impossible to make use of them.

"Our Flag staff was likewise blown down, and broke to pieces, with everything belonging to it. The Buildings have not suffered but in the shingling, but the ordnance stores, and the victualling storehouses lay now so open to the sea, that we are afraid the heavy seas in the winter, and the floating ice in the Spring, will undermine their foundation and carry the whole away; to prevent which we are going, with the few hands we have, to make a breakwater or dry wall at the back gate of a proper breadth and thickness to break the violence of the sea from hurting the within-mentioned storehouses.

"In our present situation it is all we can do, having not materials to do it in any other manner. We beg to know how you approve of what we are doing, and any orders of directions which you may think proper to give us shall punctually be complied with..."

The letter is signed by Col. Pringle's "most humble servants, Tervais Grossard (and William Baker)."

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