100 years ago today was Titanic's last glimpse of daylight. It was the 16th birthday of 3rd class passenger Alfred Rush who got trousers for the occasion. Later the next morning, the sailors would try and get Alfred Rush into one of the last lifeboats on the ship. Alfred pulled back and said, "No! I'm staying here with the men!" Alfred stayed with the men and died like a man that night. It was Sunday, so the passengers had church services. 1st class passengers had services in the 1st class Dining Saloon officiated by Captain E.J. Smith. 2nd and 3rd class had their services in their Dining Saloons and officiated by priests and preachers who were passengers and had volunteered. That afternoon was lovely for a stroll and other recreational activities like exercise. At 5:50, Captain Smith heeded the ice warnings and changed the course to a more southerly route. Little did anyone realize that this decision would prove fatal. In the Marconi Room, Jack Phillips having fixed the machine with Harold Bride was back at the key, sending messages and receiving messages, some of them ice warnings from ships ahead. Suddenly, the Californian's ice warning came blasting through Phillips' headset. Phillips replied, "Shut up, shut up, I am working Cape Race." The Californian would play a large and shameful role in the sinking later. Dinner in 1st class was interesting. The Wideners had a party in honor Captain Smith whose voyage was to be his last before retiring. The party held the creme of the crop of American and British society including the Thayers, Astors, Strauses, J. Bruce Ismay, and some other notable people.
At 11:40 P.M., the Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee high in the crow's nest spotted an enormous iceberg looming in the distance. Fleet saw it first and rang the bell 3 times. He then proceeded to call the Bridge. 6th Officer James Paul Moody answered the phone and said, "What do you see?" Frederick Fleet replied, "Iceberg dead ahead sir!" and Moody said, "Thank you." 1st Officer Murdoch now saw the iceberg and ordered Quartermaster Robert Hichens who was at the wheel to turn the wheel Hard a Starboard. Then he told the bridge to reverse the engines. The Titanic kept going slowly towards the iceberg. Then, she slowly but surely turned. The iceberg was too close and the iceberg scraped the side of the Titanic. She could float with 2-4 of her compartments flooded, but the iceberg opened up 5. The water came rushing into the Boiler Rooms and Mail Room. The mail clerks worked to get the mail to the next decks, trying to beat the rising water. Neither the mail nor the clerks survived the disaster. Captain Smith came onto the Bridge right after the iceberg struck and asked Murdoch, "What have we struck?" Murdoch answered, "An iceberg, sir." In the passenger areas, the men enjoying some last card games or cigars felt or heard what was going on, and came out on deck to see an enormous iceberg just behind them. Those inside that felt it said that it was a bump, a shudder, or a heave of the engines. Captain Smith sent for Thomas Andrews, the ship's chief designer and told the wireless operators to get ready to send the call for assistance. When Andrews got there, the two of them explored the damaged part of the ship. Thomas Andrews told Captain Smith that the ship would sink in an hour or two. Captain Smith then told the wireless operators to send the international call for help which was C.Q.D. Then Captain Smith told the stewards to arouse the passengers, get them to put on the lifebelts, and get them on deck. He then told the officers to ready the lifeboats for lowering. The 1st class passengers began congregating in the Lounge where it was warmer while the band assembled and started playing cheery ragtime music to keep the passengers calm. In the Marconi Room Jack Phillips at 12:07 contacted the Carpathia. The operator on the Carpathia rushed to the Bridge with the news. The officer thought he was joking and proceeded to force him off the bridge. The operator opened the door to the Captain's room and then the officer realized it was serious. The Captain, Rostron, made all possible speed for the Titanic. They would reach the site 4 hours later, too late for over 1,500 people. 5th Officer Harold Lowe had readied some of them and waited for orders to lower. Ismay came out and asked why the boats weren't being loaded and lowered. Lowe, not recognizing him, said that he hadn't been ordered to. Ismay went to the Bridge and asked Smith about it. The order then came to load and lower the lifeboats. The first lifeboat that was lowered had 12 where there was room for 40. Among these first survivors were the Duff Gordons whose behavior was wrongly subjected to criticism later. At 12:55 A.M., 4th Officer Boxhall launched the first white rocket which was supposed to be a call to those that could see them that they needed assistance. Several miles away, the Californian saw a big steamer firing rockets but did nothing. The Wireless Operator was asleep. At the time the first rocket was launched, Margaret Brown who helped put other women into the lifeboats was going to stay and see what was going on when a sailor picked her up and placed her into a lifeboat. Later, Hichens who was at the wheel when the iceberg and was now in charge of the lifeboat used fear like the possibility of the ship sucking them down to motivate the rowers. Later, he wouldn't go back to the people in the water because he feared that those in the water would capsize the boat. Brown tried to get them to go back, but most of those in the boat wouldn't.