The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Jefferson Davis (Steamboat), 1 Jun 1856

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THE SURVEYING STEAMER "JEFFERSON DAVIS." - This steamer, which left Philadelphia on the 27th. May last, was towed down yesterday from Gravelly Bay by the tug GEO. O. VAIL, and arrived in port on the afternoon. This steamer was built by Merrick & Sons, of Philadelphia, for the Government, and is intended for the use of the Topographical Corps of Engineers on these lakes. She is 138 feet over all, 21 feet 6 inches breadth of beam, 8 feet 9 inches depth of hold, and of about 250 tons. Her hull is of iron, of five sixteenth plate, and has three water-tight bulkheads. Her keel, stern and stern posts are of wrought iron, 6 by 1 1/2 inches thick, and her upper works are of wood. She has two cabins, one 42 feet by 8 feet, that will accommodate eight officers, with state rooms, pantry, &c., and a forecastle that will accommodate 24 men. Her engine is what is termed a verticle steeple engine, condensing. The cylinder is 50 inches in diameter, with 4 foot stroke. The wheels are 19 feet 4 inches in diameter by 5 feet 3 inches wide, are entirely iron, and are of a kind known as overhung, in which the shaft is supported on the gunwale of the vessel, and the guards are made high, so as to cover the wheels.
The vessel was built under contract with the Dept. of War, and has not yet been delivered over to, or accepted by the Government. The contract requires her to be delivered by the builder to the government officers, who shall be sent to this port to receive.
      Lieut. R.M. McArann, U.S.N., obtained permission from the Secretary of War to bring her around. J.G. Young, Chief Engineer, and B. Dauby, machinist, and four hands composed her crew. Lieut. McA., informs us that he left the Capes of the Delaware at 9 A.M., and experienced a succession of gales, and had not the vessel been one of the strongest, she could never have stood it out. She made in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence about 11 3/4 to 12 miles an hour. She left with 9 tons of coal---has been 17 days on the passage; and has considerable fuel left. She will not burn to exceed six tons per day. With her coal and stores aboard, her draft is but five feet eleven inches.
      Lieut. McA., says, our neighbors, the Canadians, were much exercised at her being permitted to pass up thro' their canals, in the present aspect of affairs for fear of her making surveys as she came along. At several points it was contemplated to call a meeting of the citizens to protest against her being allowed to proceed. This was especially the case along the line of the Welland Canal.
      She is now lying in the Coit Slip, Erie Basin,, fitting out.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      June 21, 1856

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new vessel from the ocean
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Jefferson Davis (Steamboat), 1 Jun 1856