In lightning time, Captain Jernegan had run into the cabin and saved the pistol he acquired after the mutiny at the Marquesas, and two chronometers. He and his men watched helplessly as the ice caught their ship on each side and continued to squeeze her. The jaws of ice came together upon the Roman causing her to break apart and sink to the bottom. It took less than forty five minutes for the entire episode to unfold. The Roman and the rest of her contents, all except crew, disappeared beneath the icy water.
The Roman's Captain and crew had to then laboriously haul their boats across the rugged ice floes to find safety on some other vessel. It didn't take long for the news to spread that more than half the fleet were either frozen fast in the ice or crowded nearly to the beach with no way out to open water.
Library of Congress