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Pilot Boat Coquette of Baltimore


Pen and ink, watercolor over graphite on paper drawing of "Pilot Boat Coquette of Baltimore", ca. 1850, by Joseph Wilcox. This drawing depicts the capsizing and sinking of the schooner "Thomas Russell" off of Cape May, New Jersey, on May 26, 1849. During a heavy gale from the northeast, "Thomas Russell" capsized and the nearby schooner "Coquette," sailed close to assist. Captain Joseph B. Sabel, Thomas M. Watts, John Haney, African American Cook James De Coursey, and two others rowed their small boat over to the overturned ship. Pilots Alexander Milburn, T. H. Bolt, and Robert M. Ling remained on board "Coquette." After climbing aboard, the men heard knocking from the inside and determined that there were sailors trapped alive inside. They began hacking at the hull with axes and opened up a small hole. One sailor stuck his face out and reported that four other sailors were with him. The rescuers resumed hacking into the hull to free the men when suddenly all of the air was forced from the remainder of the hull and the five survivors went down with the ship. The rescuers escaped back to "Coquette" and survived the storm.



circa 1850


Pen, ink, and watercolor on paper


24.5 x 38 inches

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Credit Line

Gift of the Friends of Coquette

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.