The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 13 Jul 1856

Full Text

STEAMER JEFFERSON DAVIS - The new U.S. surveying steamer, built under contract with the War Department by Merrick & Sons, Philadelphia, which port she left on the 27th of May last, came into this port on Saturday evening, from Cleveland, having on board the Chief of the Survey, Capt. J.W. Macomb, of the corps of Topographical Engineers, Capt. Woodruff, Topographical Engineers, Light-House Inspector, and Mr. J.A. Potter, Civil Engineer of the Lake Survey. She is intended to supply the place of the old surveying steamer, now being repaired in this city, and more especially for Lakes Superior and Huron, for which the former was not well adapted, either in size or in sailing capacity, but which will, when her repairs are completed, be used for inland bays, &c. The new boat is not likely to retain her present name, we learn, it having been given her merely to procure her clearance papers. She is now lying in dock for the purpose of making the final arrangements and fitting out, previous to her departure for the upper lakes, and will be ready, we understand, in about a week. Her first trip has been very satisfactory. She was brought around from Philadelphia through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, by Lieut. R.M. McArann, U.S.N. Before reaching the gulf she experienced a succession of gales, proving herself a capital sea boat. She is 138 feet overall, 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, [sic] and stern-posts are of wrought iron, 6 by 1 1/2 inches thick, and her upperworks are of wood. She has two cabins, one 48 feet by 8 feet, that will accommodate eight officers, with staterooms, pantry, &c., and a forecastle that will accommodate 24 men. The engine is what is termed a vertical steeple engine, condensing. The cylinder is 50 inches in diameter, with a 4 foot stroke. The wheels are 19 feet 4 inches in diameter by 5 feet 3 inches wide, are entirely iron, and are of the 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. She will not burn to exceed six tons of coal per day. With her coal and stores aboard, her draft is but five feet eleven inches. It is said the Canadians were much exercised at her being permitted to pass up through 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.

Media Type:
Item Type:
The JEFFERSON DAVIS, for obvious reasons, was renamed SEARCH during the Civil War; she was on the Lakes for many years.
Date of Original:
13 Jul 1856
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 13 Jul 1856