Sixty of the survivors, including the Eastons, chose to sail to New York aboard the Empire City. Chief Engineer Ashby–the man passengers blamed for allowing the engines that operated the pumps to break down–also wanted to make that voyage.
According to Adeline, Captain McGown prohibited Ashby from boarding the Empire City. “Not on my steamers,” he said. “You can’t come aboard.”
News of the wreck was slow to reach San Francisco, and it was uncertain who had been saved. When a vessel was wrecked, it was maritime practice for the next ship to bring the passenger list. That meant an agonizing wait for the information.
Meanwhile, the brig Marine telegraphed that 100 of the shipwreck victims had landed at Norfolk and an additional 91 sailed to New York via the Empire City. This was good news but San Franciscans still didn’t know if their loved ones survived.
(Next Part 12)