Communication to a father about his sailor son's death aboard ship

Date Written

March 29, 1842

Benjamin Bangs was 58 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Nathaniel Pillsbury, was 51 when it was received.

Benjamin Bangs died 18 years, 2 months, 20 days after writing this.
It was written 181 years, 6 months, 4 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.

March 29, 1842

Dear Sir,

I received your letter of the 4th Instant. I was much engaged at the time & left it to Capt. Small to answer and the person brot the letter was to call for an answer but did not. Capt. Snell inform me that immediately on the death of your son all his affects were locked are nailed up securely and everything he had on board was delivered as you directed I believe to Capt. Brown. From the character of Capt. Snell, I have no doubt that he has forwarded everything that your son had with him, but they may have taken damage from the dampness of the ship.

Capt. Snell informs me that your son was instantly killed by the falling of a heavy block from aloft. The men were getting the anchor on the body in the night and the anchor getting caught under the bow of the ship. The men at the windlass continued to heave until the fall or strap parted and your son being most unfortunately incidentally under the block, it struck him on the head and deprived him of life instantly. It was quite a misfortune to Capt. Snell as he depended much upon his assistance for the voyage. He was on board but a few days & I paid him $30 in advance.

Capt. Snell has written you I believe but the captain of the Coaster has not called for the letter as he promised. He is now about sailing again & the letter will remain in my counting room awaiting the call of any one who you may direct for it. Capt. Snell would be the last person in the world to keep anything back or allow pillage or waste of property so circumstanced as was your sons.

I sincerely regret your loss and can truly sympathize with you on the occasion.

Yours truly,
Benjamin Bangs

Scans of Letter