On 6 December 1875, three seamen were landed at Jamestown. They had spent at least ten days on the ocean in an open boat, and they were the only survivors of a fire that broke out on board the emigrant ship Cospatrick. Most of the 476 men, women and children on board the ship were crushed, drowned or killed by fire and explosions aboard the vessel.
Only two lifeboats got away, with no food or water aboard. One was lost in a gale. On the other, 25 men died before it was found by a ship. Two had gone mad, and died before reaching Jamestown.
The full story is told here, in edited reports from The Illustrated London News.