This section is from the book "A Library Of Wonders And Curiosities Found In Nature And Art, Science And Literature", by I. Platt. Also available from Amazon: A library of wonders and curiosities.
The following account of The American Sea Serpent, is given in the words of an eye-witness : - "1, the undersigned Joseph Woodward, captain of the Adamant schooner, of Hing-ham, being on my rout from Penobscot to Hingham, steering W. N. W., and being about ten leagues from the coast, perceived, last Sunday, at two p. m. something on the surface of the water, which seemed to me to be of the size of a large boat. Supposing that it might be part of the wreck of a ship, I approached; but when I was within a few fathoms of it, it appeared, to my great surprise, and that of my whole crew, that it was a monstrous serpent. When I approached nearer, it coiled itself up, instantly uncoiling itself again, and withdrew with extreme rapidity. On my approaching again, it coiled itself up a second time, and placed itself at the distance of sixty feet at most, from the bow of the ship.
"I had one of my guns loaded with a cannon ball and musket bullets. I fired it at the head of the monster; my crew and myself distinctly heard the ball and bullets strike against the body, from which they rebounded, as if they had struck against a rock. The serpent shook his head and tail in an extraordinary manner, and advanced toward the ship with open jaws. I had caused the cannon to be reloaded, and pointed it at his throat; but he had come so near, that all the crew were seized with terror, and we thought only of getting out of his way. He almost touched the vessel, and had not I tacked as I did, he would certainly have come on board. He dived; but in a moment we saw him appear again, with his head on one side of the vessel, and his tail on the other, as if he was going to lift us up and upset us. However, we did not feel any shock. He remained five hours near us, only going backward and forward.
A Sea Serpent
"The fears with which he at first inspired us having sub-sided, we were able to examine him attentively. I estimate, that his length is at least twice that of my schooner, that is to say, 130 feet; his head is full twelve or fourteen; the diameter of the body below the neck, is not less than six feet; the size of the head is in proportion to that of the body. He is of a blackish colour, his ear-holes, (ornes,) are about twelve feet from the extremity of his head. In short, the whole has a terrible look. When he coils himself up, he places his tail in such a manner, that it aids him in darting forward with great force: he moves in all directions with the greatest facility and astonishing rapidity.
(Signed,) "Joseph Woodward."
"Hingham, May 12, 1818."
This declaration is attested by Peter Holmes and John Mayo, who made affidavit of the truth of it before a justice of peace,