Captain Redford W. Sargent, S.S. Indiana, American Line
Captain Redford W. Sargent commands the American Line steam-ship Indiana, which runs between Liverpool and Philadelphia. The Indiana is only a freight-carrier now, but a few years ago she and her three sister ships, the Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio, were the only vessels in the ocean ferrying trade which sailed under the American flag.
There are not a few people on both sides of the sea who sincerely regret the change, for it prevents their having the pleasure of sailing with Captain Sargent—one of the pleasantest men who ever helped to make the long, tedious journey seem all too short.
He is only a young man now, but he carries a sailor's head on his thickset shoulders, and knows every wave of the sea as well as he knows every rope of his ship. He is perhaps not as spontaneously genial as either Captain McMickan or Captain Hains, but he impresses one first as a courteous gentleman, and the more one sees of him the better one grows to like him.
He is a New -Englander, and although quite a young man at the time, rendered distinguished service to his country during the late war. He served in the Union fleet which advanced up the James River to Richmond, and was subsequently an officer on different vessels of the blockading fleet engaged along the coast of the Southern States. He has several times been instrumental in saving life at sea.
The Canadian government conferred a certificate of honor upon him for saving the crew of the schooner Wild Rose, and the United States government presented him with a valuable telescope for rescuing the shipwrecked crew of the Forest State. Since he has been in the service of the American Line he has been rewarded for similar feats, and received a medal from the Royal Humane Society of Great Britain for rescuing the crew of the bark Avon in 1874.
Captain Sargent is the Commodore of the "Quartette"—embracing four distinct branches under the same general management—the other three captains having more recently succeeded to their posts, either through the retirement or death of predecessors. Captain Shackford formerly commanded the Illinois, but retired from the transatlantic service to accept the command of Mr. Jay Gould's yacht. Shackford was universally popular, and is remembered by many ocean voyagers as being for many years first officer on a Cunarder before he joined the Illinois. He was voted by the ladies the handsomest of Neptune's Atlantic sons.
Since the American Line was established two deaths have occurred among her commanders. The first captain of the Pennsylvania was lost overboard during a gale at sea on, if not the first, at least one of the earliest trips made by that ship. Another captain died of illness when a few days out from Philadelphia. The two officers named above, as indeed have been nearly all the captains of the " Key-stoners," are Americans.