Log: June 12, 1846
The CHARLES W. MORGAN was sailing on her 2nd voyage in the South Pacific under command of Captain John Samson. The log entry for this day states, “Commences with a fine breeze from the E heading by the wind to the N middle part the same at 4 AM run into a vein of ashes the air was so thick that we could not look to windward the ship was literally covered with it the sun was up and shone through it but the air was dark so ends these ashes extended about 40 miles N and S Lat 18..03 Long 171..45.”
The ‘vein of ashes’ that the Morgan had mysteriously come across was likely to have come from a nearby volcanic eruption. On June 11, 1846 the volcanic island of Fonualei in the island region of Tonga underwent a massive eruption that the Morgan very likely came into contact with firsthand. Coordinates given in the log book confirm the ship’s location within the locale of the island as it had spent a good deal of time in this region resupplying.