During a ferocious 1850 nor'easter, volunteers on a New Jersey beach used a well-aimed shot and an innovative boat to rescue passengers and crew from an offshore shipwreck.
John Maxson crouched low over the reloaded mortar. Shoving the blowing sand and snow away, he carefully repositioned the artillery piece for a second shot. The northeast gale had carried Maxson's first shot to leeward of his target, the English bark Aryshire. Squinting through the heavy weather, Maxson adjusted his aim to the left. Satisfied, he touched the glowing end of a slow match to the mortar's vent and ducked aside as a bright flash erupted from the muzzle simultaneously with its report. A 4??-inch iron ball arced toward the ship. The shot fell true.