from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A hollow in the stern of some ships into which the propeller can be lifted after being detached from the shaft, when the ship is to run under canvas only.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The "Urgent" is a screw steamer, and right over the blades of the screw was an orifice called the screw-well, through which one could look from the poop down upon the screw.
Midway down, a plank crossed the screw-well from side to side; on this I placed myself and observed the action of the screw underneath.
Getting the battery to rights, and caulking the screw-well, which leaks badly when she is under way.