United States Senate Inquiry

Day 18

Affidavit of Catherine Crosby

CATHERINE E. CROSBY, being first duly sworn, upon her oath says that she is the widow of Capt. Edward Gifford Crosby, deceased; that she resides at 474 Marshall Street, city of Milwaukee, which is her home.

Deponent further says that, on the 10th day of April, 1912, at Southampton, England, she embarked as a passenger on the steamer Titanic for the port of New York; that her husband, Edward G. Crosby, and her daughter, Harriete H. Crosby, were with her on said steamer; that she and her husband occupied stateroom No. 22 and her daughter occupied stateroom No. 26, they being first class passengers on said steamer. Deponent noticed nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, either in the equipment of the vessel or in the handling of her, and nothing unusual occurred until Sunday, the 14th day of April, 1912, when deponent noticed that the seamen on board the Titanic were taking the temperature of the water on the afternoon of that day, and it was stated by those engaged in doing this that the temperature of the water was colder and indicated that the boat was in the vicinity of ice fields; this was about the middle of the afternoon, as I recollect it.

At that time my husband and I were walking up and down the promenade deck, which, as I recollect it, was the deck below the hurricane deck, and it was while we were walking up and down this deck that I first noticed these seamen taking the temperature of the water. My husband was a sailor all his lifetime, and he told me all about it, and it was from that that I knew what they were doing. I could see what they were doing. My husband retired at about 9 o'clock that evening, and I retired about 10.30. Elmer Taylor, one of the passengers who went over with us on the steamer, told me afterwards, when we were on the Carpathia, that at the time I retired that night he noticed the boat was going full speed. I had not retired long when I was suddenly awakened by the thumping of the boat. The engines stopped suddenly. This was about 11.30. Capt. Crosby got up, dressed, and went out, and came back again and said to me, "You will lie there and drown," and went out again. He said to my daughter, "The boat is badly damaged; but I think the watertight compartments will hold her up." I then got up and dressed, and my daughter dressed, and followed my husband on deck, and she got up on deck, and the officer told her to go back and get on her life preserver and come back on deck as soon as possible. She reported that to me, and we both went out on deck where the officer told us to come. I think it was the first or second boat that we got into. I do not recollect other boats being lowered at that time. I did not see them. This was on the left-hand side where the officer told us to come, and it was the deck above the one on which our staterooms were located; our staterooms were located on the B deck, and we went to the A deck where the officer and lifeboat were. We got into the lifeboat that was hanging over the rail alongside the deck; we got in and men and women, with their families, got in the boat with us; there was no discrimination between men and women. About 36 persons got in the boat with us. There were only two officers in the boat, and the rest were all first class passengers. My husband did not come back again after he left me, and I don't know what became of him, except that his body was found and brought to Milwaukee and buried.

There were absolutely no lights in the lifeboats, and they did not even know whether the plug was in the bottom of the boat to prevent the boat from sinking; there were no lanterns, no provisions, no lights, nothing at all in these boats but the oars. One of the officers asked one of the passengers for a watch with which to light up the bottom of the boat to see if the plug was in place; the officers rowed the boat a short distance from the Titanic, and I was unable to see the lowering of any other boats, and we must have rowed quite a distance, but could see the steamer very plainly; saw them firing rockets, and heard a gun fired as distress signals to indicate that the steamer was in danger; we continued a safe distance away from the steamer, probably a quarter of a mile at least, and finally saw the steamer go down very distinctly; we did not see nor hear about any trouble on the steamer that is reported to have taken place afterwards; we got away first, and got away a safe distance, so that we could not see nor hear what took place, until the steamer went down, which was about 2.20 a. m. on the morning of the 15th; I heard the terrible cries of the people that were on board when the boat went down, and heard repeated explosions, as though the boilers had exploded, and we then knew that the steamer had gone down, as her lights were out, and the cries of the people and the explosions were terrible; our boat drifted around in that vicinity until about daybreak, when the Carpathia was sighted and were taken on board; we had to row quite a long time and quite a distance before we were taken on board the Carpathia; I was suffering from the cold while I was drifting around, and one of the officers put a sail around me and over my head to keep me warm, and I was hindered from seeing any of the other lifeboats, drifting in the vicinity or observe anything that took place while we were drifting around until the Carpathia took us on board: we received very good treatment on the Carpathia, and finally arrived to New York; it was reported on the Carpathia by passengers, whose names I do not recollect, that the lookout who was on duty at the time the Titanic struck the iceberg had said: "I know they will blame me for it, because I was on duty, but it was not my fault; I had warned the officers three or four times before striking the iceberg that we were in the vicinity of icebergs, but the officer on the bridge paid no attention to my signals." I can not give the name of any passenger who made that statement, but it was common talk on the Carpathia that that is what the lookout said.

I don't know anything about workmen being on the boat, and that the boat was not finished, and that the watertight compartments refused to work: I have read it in the papers, but I personally know nothing about it; I also heard that there were no glasses on board the vessel; they were loaned from a vessel to be used on the voyage from Liverpool to Southampton and then returned to the vessel, and the Titanic proceeded without any glasses; Mr. Elmer Taylor informed me after we got on the Carpathia that a dinner was in progress at the time the boat struck, this banquet was given for the captain, and the wine flowed freely; personally I know nothing or did not recollect anything of importance that occurred anymore than I have stated.


Subscribed and sworn to before me this 17th day of May, 1912.


My commission expires September 13, 1914.