Daily Event for January 17

On Jan. 17, 1743 the HMS Astraea burned and sank near present day Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Astraea
was a former Spanish ship captured by the British on Mar. 3, 1739 and taken into the Royal Navy and used as
a storeship. At the time of her loss she anchored and awaiting to load lumber. The winter weather was bitter
cold and the crew were having difficulty heating the ship, this caused them to over-fire the stove which set the
timbers of the ship ablaze. The only fire control was buckets of water, but due to the cold temperatures the water in the river was mainly frozen and useless for fighting fires. The crew abandoned the ship and she drifted to Goat Island were she burned to the waterline and sank.

The wreck remained where she sank undisturbed until the 1800 when a bridge builder drove pilings through
the wreck destroying much of it. Some items have since been salvaged. There were several casualties but the
exact number is unknown.
© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

2005 Daily Event
2007 Daily Event