United States Senate Inquiry

Day 9

Testimony of Captain James Henry Moore

(The witness was sworn by the chairman.)

Senator SMITH.
Where do you reside, Captain?

Mr. MOORE.
Liverpool, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What is your business?

Mr. MOORE.
I am master of the steamship Mount Temple, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And your business is that of a navigator or mariner?

Mr. MOORE.
A navigator; yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How long have you been engaged in that business?

Mr. MOORE.
I have been going to sea for 32 years, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How much of that time in the north Atlantic Ocean?

Mr. MOORE.
Twenty-seven years, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Are you familiar with ice and icebergs?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Tell the committee what you know about ice and icebergs and the prevalence of ice in the north Atlantic?

Mr. MOORE.
An iceberg is a piece of ice broken away from a glacier up in the Arctic regions. It may be composed of anything; ice, rocks, or anything it can gather up on its way to the sea.

Senator SMITH.
Do you know how much of an iceberg is submerged?

Mr. MOORE.
It is generally supposed that seven-eighths of it is submerged, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What is the largest iceberg you have ever seen?

Mr. MOORE.
I could not say just at the moment, but I dare say I have seen them 300 or 400 feet long and about the same height, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you notice the National Capitol when you came up here this morning? Did you notice that building?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes; but it would be hard to judge from that, sir. I dare say I have seen some larger than that, but I am giving that as a conservative size.

Senator SMITH.
Do you know of any manner or method of obtaining information regarding the proximity of vessels at sea to icebergs other than by actual vision?

Mr. MOORE.
We usually take the temperature of both the air and the water, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What does that indicate?

Mr. MOORE.
If we are approaching an ice field, the chances are that the temperature will go down; but when approaching an iceberg it does not make any difference whatever, sir, except you get very, very close to it.

Senator SMITH.
Have you ever heard of the practice of sounding the steam whistle in order to get an indication as to whether or not icebergs are ahead?

Mr. MOORE.
I do not think that that is generally done. I have never tried it, but I have tried it when I have been near high cliffs.

Senator SMITH.
What was the result?

Mr. MOORE.
You do sometimes get an echo back, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What does that indicate?

Mr. MOORE.
That you are close to something that is obstructing the waves of sound.

Senator SMITH.
What is the purpose of taking the water, and testing it, on a voyage?

Mr. MOORE.
We take it right along, sir. We have logs we make up for the Hydrographic Office in Washington, sir; and we also have them for the British Geographical Society, sir - the British Meteorological Society, rather - and we supply them with all those data. We give them the barometer and the thermometer, the temperature of the water, and all such things as that, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I believe you said the temperature of both the water and the air might indicate the presence of field ice?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
But not necessarily the presence of a floating iceberg?

Mr. MOORE.
No, sir; because a large field of ice, I think, would make some difference in the temperature, but just a solitary berg, without you are close to it, I do not think makes any difference at all. In fact, I tried it several times, and I did not find any difference. I do not think it indicates the presence of an iceberg, but it will indicate the presence of a large body of ice, such as an ice field.

Senator SMITH.
From your experience and observation have you ever heard explosions from icebergs?

Mr. MOORE.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Have you seen icebergs both by day and by night?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What is their color by day?

Mr. MOORE.
White, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What is their color by night?

Mr. MOORE.
It just depends which way you have the lights, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Suppose you have merely the sky light?

Mr. MOORE.
Then they will show up white, sir - white and luminous.

Senator SMITH.
Suppose you have moonlight?

Mr. MOORE.
It just depends on which way you have the moon, whether at the back of the iceberg or not, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Do they at any time look black?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Under what circumstances?

Mr. MOORE.
When you have the light behind them from you, sir.

Senator SMITH.
That is at night?

Mr. MOORE.
At night, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Where is your vessel now?

Mr. MOORE.
She is on her way to Halifax, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Where were you and your vessel on Sunday, April 14, last?

Mr. MOORE.
At 12.30 on Monday morning -

Senator SMITH. (interposing)
Give the date.

Mr. MOORE.
The 15th, sir. I was in latitude 41 25' and longitude 51 15', sir. I believe that is correct.

Senator SMITH.
What time of day was that?

Mr. MOORE.
At 12.30 a. m.

Senator SMITH.
Was it New York time or ship's time?

Mr. MOORE.
That was ship's time, sir. (After consulting a memorandum) 41º 25' north and 51º 41' west was my position.

Senator SMITH.
What hour was this in the morning?

Mr. MOORE.
12.30 a. m., sir.

Senator NEWLANDS.
Ship's time?

Mr. MOORE.
Ship's time.

Senator FLETCHER.
What date was that?

Mr. MOORE.
The 15th.

Senator FLETCHER.
Kindly give the longitude at that time.

Mr. MOORE.
The longitude was 51º 14' west.

Senator SMITH.
When was your ship's clock set?

Mr. MOORE.
At noon the day before, air.

Senator SMITH.
That would be Sunday?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir; or, rather, before noon. It was during what they call the forenoon watch, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I would like to have you tell in your own way what, if anything especially, occurred on that voyage of yours on Sunday and Monday. Just tell what you did, what you saw, and where you saw it.

Mr. MOORE.
At 12:30 a.m. on the 15th I was awakened by the steward from my sleep with a message from the Marconi operator, sir.

Senator SMITH.
On your ship?

Mr. MOORE.
On my ship; Yes, sir. I immediately switched on the light and took a message that the operator sent up to me which said that the Titanic was sending out the C. Q. D. message, and in the message it said "iceberg."

Senator SMITH.
Have you the message?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Just read it, please.

Mr. MOORE.
Titanic sends -

Senator SMITH. (interposing)
Kindly give the date line, if any; the hour, if any; and to whom that message is addressed, if to anyone.

Mr. MOORE.
It was a general message, sir.

Titanic sends C. Q. D. Requires assistance. Position 41° 44' north, longitude 50° 24' west Come at once. Iceberg.

Senator SMITH.
Who signed that, if anybody?

Mr. MOORE.
This is just a message he picked up, sir. He happened to hear it. He was sending this up at once to me.

Senator SMITH.
Can you file that with the reporter?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

(The message referred to was thereupon filed with the committee and marked "Exhibit Moore, No. 1.")

Senator SMITH.
Did you make any reply to that message?

Mr. MOORE.
None whatever. We did not want to stop these messages from going out, sir. He makes a remark at the bottom, "Can't hear me."

Senator SMITH.
On this message?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir. You will see it on the bottom there - "Can't hear me."

Senator SMITH.
What is the initial under that?

Mr. MOORE.
That is my operator's, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do after receiving this message?

Mr. MOORE.
I immediately blew the whistle on the bridge. I have a pipe leading down from the bridge, and I blew the whistle at once, and told the second officer to put the ship on north 45° east, sir, and to come down at once, and I informed him what was the matter, and told him to get the chart out. When I was sufficiently dressed I went up to my chart room, and we computed where the ship was, and we afterwards steered east by compass.

Senator SMITH.
Did you make any progress in your movements?

Mr. MOORE.
We turned her right around at once, sir, and then when he came down we took the chart out and found out where the Titanic was and steered her by the compass north 65° east true.

Senator SMITH.
In the direction of the Titanic?

Mr. MOORE.
In the direction of the Titanic; yes, sir. After I was sufficiently dressed I went down to the chief engineer and I told him that the Titanic was sending out messages for help, and I said "Go down and try to shake up the fireman, and, if necessary, even give him a tot of rum if you think he can do any more." I believe this was carried out. I also told him to inform the fireman that we wanted to get back as fast as we possibly could.

Senator SMITH.
At the time that you got this message from the Titanic, judging from the position that vessel was in and your position, 41º 44' north, longitude 50º 24' west, how far did you estimate the Titanic was at that time from your vessel?

Mr. MOORE.
Before we had laid the course off I received another position, which read 41º 46' north, 50º 14' west; so that was 10 miles farther to the eastward, and it was that position that I laid my course for.

Senator SMITH.
After satisfying yourself as to her position, how far was the Titanic from your vessel?

Mr. MOORE.
About 49 miles, sir.

Senator SMITH.
After you got well under way, what speed were you making?

Mr. MOORE.
I should imagine perhaps 11 1/2 knots. Of course, perhaps she would have a little of the Gulf Stream with her too, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What occurred then?

Mr. MOORE.
At about 3 o'clock we began to meet the ice, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Where? From what direction?

Mr. MOORE.
We were passing it on our course. We met ice on our course. I immediately telegraphed to the engine room to stand by the engines, and we double-lookouted, and put the fourth officer forward to report if he saw any ice coming along that was likely to injure us, or, in fact, any ice at all.

Senator SMITH.
You say you doubled the lookout?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Let us get into the record exactly what you mean by that.

Mr MOORE.
Before this we had only one man on the lockout, sir.

Senator SMITH.
One man in the crow's nest?

Mr. MOORE.
One man in the crow's nest, and we put another man on the forward bridge, and the fourth officer we put on the forecastle head, so, if the ice was low down, he perhaps could see it farther than we could on the bridge.

Senator SMITH.
Did you take any other precautions to avoid danger or accident?

Mr. MOORE.
Not at that time, sir. We had the lockout, and the engines were at "stand by," sir.

Senator SMITH.
So you were simply protecting yourself against ice at that time?

Mr. MOORE.
That is all, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you had stopped your boat?

Mr. MOORE.
Oh, no, sir. We had only the engines at "stand by."

Senator SMITH.
Were you stopped at any time?

Mr. MOORE.
We were stopped; yes.

Senator SMITH.
So I understand you.

Mr. MOORE.
At 3:25 by our time we stopped.

Senator SMITH.
Where were you then; in what position was your ship?

Mr. MOORE.
I should say we were then about 14 miles off the Titanic's position.

Senator SMITH.
Can you tell me just what your position was; did you take it?

Mr. MOORE.
I could not; I could not take any position. There was nothing - I could not see -

Senator SMITH.
You judged you were 14 miles from the Titanic?

Mr. MOORE.
That is what I estimate.

Senator FLETCHER.
What time was that?

Mr. MOORE.
At 3:25 o'clock.

Senator SMITH.
Was it dark or was day breaking?

Mr. MOORE.
It was dark, then, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do then?

Mr. MOORE.
I stopped the ship. Before that I want to say that I met a schooner or some small craft, and I had to get out of the way of that vessel, and the light of that vessel seemed to go out.

Senator SMITH.
The light of the schooner seemed to go out?

Mr. MOORE.
The light of the schooner; yes. When this light was on my bow, a green light, I starboarded my helm.

Senator SMITH.
The schooner was between you and the Titanic's position?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And in your track?

Mr. MOORE.
She was a little off our bow, and I immediately starboarded the helm and got the two lights green to green, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was this schooner coming toward you?

Mr. MOORE.
I was steering east and this green light was opening to me.

Senator SMITH.
Was he evidently coming from the direction in which the Titanic lay?

Mr. MOORE.
Somewhere from there, sir. Of course, had he been coming straight he would have shown me his two lights, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I have been informed that a derelict schooner was in the sea in that vicinity that night without anyone aboard her. Can you tell me whether or not this schooner was inhabited?

Mr. MOORE.
I could not say, sir. All I could see was the lights. It was dark.

Senator SMITH.
You saw a light on the schooner?

Mr. MOORE.
A light on the schooner; yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Where was that light?

Mr. MOORE.
I could not say where the light was on the schooner, but I dare say -

Senator SMITH.
Whether it was fore or aft?

Mr. MOORE.
No, sir; I could not say.

Senator SMITH.
The light, however, would indicate that it was inhabited?

Mr. MOORE.
At that time; yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You had no communication with any person, and did not see any person, on that schooner, yourself?

Mr. MOORE.
Oh, no, sir. It was quite dark.

Senator SMITH.
How much nearer the Titanic's position do you think that schooner was than your boat at the time you have -

Mr. MOORE.
I should say this light could not have been more than a mile or a mile and a half away, because I immediately put my helm hard astarboard, because I saw the light, and after I got the light on the starboard bow then the light seemed to suddenly go out. I kept on and then the quartermaster must have let her come up toward the east again, because I heard the foghorn on this schooner. He blew his foghorn, and we immediately put the helm hard astarboard, and I ordered full speed astern and took the way off the boat.

Senator SMITH.
You think the schooner was within a short distance of the Titanic?

Mr. MOORE.
I thought she was within a short distance of us, because I put the engines full astern to avoid her.

Senator SMITH.
Now, let us see if we understand one another. How far was this schooner from you?

Mr. MOORE.
Well, I should think at that time we could not have been so far apart. I could not judge, because you cannot judge by a light at sea.

Senator SMITH.
At 3.25 a. m. you think you were 14 miles away from the Titanic?

Mr. MOORE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
At about that time you saw this schooner?

Mr. MOORE.
Oh, no; it was just shortly after 3 o'clock when I saw the schooner, sir.

Senator SMITH.
That is what I say - about 3.25?

Mr. MOORE.
No; just shortly after 3 o'clock I saw the schooner. That was before I stopped her on account of the ice getting so thick, sir. As a matter of fact, I did not stop her altogether; I simply stopped the engines and let the way run off the ship and then proceeded slowly.

Senator SMITH.
One light, you said, was on the schooner?

Mr. MOORE.
One light. I just saw the one light. He would have his starboard light open to me.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do then, after the schooner passed and got out of the way?

Mr. MOORE.
I put her on her course again, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I want to be certain that the schooner was as near the Titanic as I thought I understood you to say it was.

Mr. MOORE.
I should say the schooner, from the position of the Titanic, would be, perhaps, 12 1/2 to 13 miles.

Senator SMITH.
Exactly; and from you at the same time?

Mr. MOORE.
At that time it would be farther off, because it was 3.25 when I stopped the ship; I reckon it was shortly after 3 o'clock. I could not give the times, because I did not take them; but at 3.25 I was 14 miles off. This was shortly after 3 o'clock, when I met the schooner, and had to starboard to get out of the way. That meant I starboarded about two points.

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