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TALBOT, John Gunnel, naval officer, born in Danville, Kentucky, 16 August, 1844; died near Kilihikai, Sandwich islands, 19 December, 1870. He entered the navy as a midshipman, 15 April, 1862, and was graduated at the naval academy, 2 June, 1866. He was promoted to ensign, 12 March, 1868, to master, 26 March, 1869, and to lieutenant, 21 March, 1870. Lieutenant Talbot was the executive officer of the "Saginaw" when she was wrecked on Ocean island, French Frigate shoals, on 29 October, 1870. There was a heavy surf, and the vessel was a total loss. All the officers and crew, numbering ninety, escaped without loss of life, but the surf prevented them from saving sufficient provisions, so that it was necessary to put them on quartet' rations. The strictest discipline was maintained, and fish and the eggs of sea-birds contributed to their supplies. The captain's gig was fitted out to send to Honolulu, the nearest port, 1,200 miles distant, for relief, since the island is in such an unfrequented part of the ocean that there was no hope of rescue by a passing vessel. Lieutenant Talbot and four men--Peter Francis, James Muir, John Andrew, and William Halford--volunteered to go in the boat. They left the island at noon on 18 November, and sighted Kauai, the most northwesterly of the Sandwich islands, on 16 December, but, owing to unfavorable winds and bad weather, they (lid not reach the shore until the morning of the 19th. They were all so exhausted by the prolonged privations and sufferings that Lieutenant Talbot and two of the crew were drowned in the surf. James Muir became insane after he had been assisted to the shore by the sole survivor, and he died while the latter, William Halford, went to get assistance from the natives. Halford met some missionaries, and sailed to Honolulu, where he communicated with the American minister, who promptly sent a chartered steamer to the relief of the shipwrecked crew. Talbot's ability in handling and navigating his boat has been greatly admired. A tablet has been placed in the chapel of the naval academy to commemorate his heroic service.
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