The 101-gun HMS Conqueror, Britain's first propeller driven warship, was built in Devon in 1855 and served in the Crimean War. She was lost on Sumner Point Reef, Rum Cay, on December 13, 1861. All 1,400 aboard survived to tell the tale: "She was 20 nm out in estimating her position and, after making her landfall, cut rounding the southeast point of Rum Cay too fine and went hard on the reef."
Her captain, fearing that his crew (most of whom could not swim in those days) would drink themselves insensible when it became obvious the ship was lost, ordered all ale, wine, and spirit casks to be broken and their contents ditched. He then had the crew unload everything they could salvage, and set about making a camp on the island. The captain remained on board with one midshipman and ten seamen until the ship broke up. Then all of them, less the boat parties, were marooned on Rum Cay. They were rescued soon after the news of the disaster was made known.
The shipwreck lies in 30 feet of water off Rum Cay. It is the property of The Bahamas Government and is preserved as the Underwater Museum of The Bahamas. None of the contents of the ship may be removed.
Southeast CoastRum Cay