The Wreck and War of Bethuel G. Handy

This page will archive all posts about Captain Bethuel Gifford Handy, a Cotuit whaling captain, gold miner, Civil War veteran and survivor of a Siberian shipwreck. I’ll occasionally publish excerpts from my book about Handy: The Wreck and War of Bethuel G. Handy here, as well as supporting material such as primary sources and manuscripts, genealogical information, charts and maps, photographs and links to related resources.

I have also transcribed the logbook of Handy’s 1858 voyage to the Sea of Okhotsk, as well as his brother-in-law Thomas Chatfield’s Reminiscences. As part of that transcription I have been building a virtual tour of his voyage using Google Earth to fix the position of the ship as noted in the daily log entries.

I will not be publishing the full text of the book here. Once I’m comfortable with the state of the manuscript I’ll be seeking a publisher, and am considering other options such as an e-book version via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, a print-on-demand model, and other innovations in the realm of publishing. If I decide to go the self-publish route I will be seeking an experienced copy editor to work through the draft manuscript. At this point in time, as I revise the first draft written over the winter of 2020, I am looking for “beta” readers, particularly people with knowledge of tall ship seamanship and whaling, Siberia and Russian policy in the Ostrog system of the mid-19th century, and Civil War experts with specific expertise in the Mississippi River campaigns of the Union Navy and the “Brown Water Navy.” The book is copyrighted and I ask that any use of this material be credited to me and links back to this page for reference purposes.  Unless otherwise noted, all photographs, charts, and source material is in the public domain, only the manuscript of the book is covered by copyright.

A huge debt of gratitude to Handy’s descendants who have kindly shared their research and manuscripts: James Russell in particular has been of great assistance.

Captain Bethuel Gifford Handy



Copyright 2020 © David Churbuck