The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Milwaukee (Steamboat), 19 May 1859

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LAUNCH OF ONE OF THE NEW STEAMERS. -- The new steamer DETROIT now building at the shipyard of Bidwell & Mason for the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad Company, and to run between Grand Haven and Milwaukee, will be launched at 4 o'clock this afternoon. The steamer will be launched broadside into the creek, and will be a splendid sight. Julius Movius, Esq., the General Agent of the road, will issue a few hundred tickets to parties who are desirous of being on board during the launching. Captain McBride, formerly of the QUEEN OF THE WEST, and who is to sail the DETROIT, will be on hand to do the honors on the occasion.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      May 19, 1859
      THE LAUNCH. -- The launch of one of the new steamers built in this city by Mason & Bidwell, for the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad Company, under the supervision of Julius Movius, Esq., attracted between ten and fifteen thousand people, on the banks of the creek, docks, vessels, roofs, rigging and boats. Aboard the DETROIT, which was gaily decorated with flags, there was two or three hundred invited guests, who had received tickets, admitting them to the vessel. The DETROIT lay upon her ways all ready, when we arrived, to slide from her unnatural into her natural element, a model of beauty, and unparalleled in strength.
      The time announced for the launch was four o'clock, and precisely as the clock struck four a signal gun was fired, the cry "knock away" was heard, and before the echoes of the gun had died away, the noble vessel trembled a moment as she started, and with smooth onward movement, a surging plunge, she dashed into the water, when, a moment shaking the water from her sides, gradually settled upon an even keel. Then shout upon shout went up from the multitude on shore, responded to cheerily by those on board. It was a brave launch, and without the slightest drawback. It was as perfect as the vessel is strong and beautiful.
      After this, the company on board adjourned to the cabin where refreshments were laid, and soon cabinet champagne --(we confess to a tender affection for this description of wine, which is the product of the firm of Bouche, Fils & Droet, and was furnished for this occasion by Mr. V. L. Tiphaine, the agent) -- was flowing like water, and all was hilarity and enjoyment. Three immense cheers, with a decided "tiger," was given for the new vessel l-- the DETROIT, three more for Mr. Julius Movius, three more for Mason & Bidwell, three more for Captain McBride, and three final ones for the Detroit & Milwaukee Railway Company.
      The occasion was a delightful one, and all present confessed to an afternoon of pleasing excitement and enjoyment. After the launch the DETROIT was taken to a dock opposite, where she now lies.
      Among the many distinguished individuals on board, we noticed particularly the following:
      John Young, Esq., Vice President Great Western Railway of Canada.
      C. J. Brydges, President Detroit and Milwaukee Railway, and Managing Director Great Western Railway.
      Thomas Reynolds, Vice President Detroit and Milwaukee Railway.
      Mr. Gates, Director Great Wester Railway.
      Mr. Park, Manager Commercial Bank of Montreal.
      W. K. Muir, Esq., General Supt. Detroit and Milwaukee Railway
      James Armstrong, Esq., Freight Agent, Detroit and Milwaukee Railway.
      Mr. Pitman, Accountant, Detroit and Milwaukee Railway.
      Otis Kimball, Esq., General Agent, Great Central Route, Boston.
Although we have before published a description of this vessel, we append the following from the Express.
      The boats were built at the ship yard of Messrs. Mason & Bidwell, under the superintendence of Julius Movius, Esq., for the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway Company.
      Length over all 247 feet six inches, breadth of beam 34 feet, depth of hold 13 feet 4 inches. The keels are of white oak 12 x 14 inches, center keelsons 14 x 14 and 14 x 12. The frames' side 6 inches, are moulded 15 inches at the heels and 6 inches at the top height, and are placed 2 feet from the centers. They are diagonally braced with iron straps 3-1/2 inches wide and 5/8 inches thick. They are placed the same distances from centers as the frames. The space under the engines and boilers is filled in between the frames, forming a solid mass of timber 90 feet long, and bolted with iron bolts 1 inch in diameter. The engine keelsons are 2 feet 9 inches wide and 4 feet 6 inches high, securely bolted to the floor timbers with 1-3/4 inch screw bolts. There are six side keelsons 12 x 12 inches square, running the entire length of the vessel, and square bolted with one inch iron bolts. Above these are 6 bilge strakes 6 x 12 inches, and also square fastened with 7/8 inch bolts. The clamps are 5 inches thick, and 32 inches wide; the ceiling between the clamps and bilge strakes is 3 inches thick, and well fastened with 8 inch spikes. Beside this on the inside of the ceiling are six strakes of arches 5 inches thick and 8-1/2 inches wide, running from the keelsons, at each end of the vessels, up under the beams amidships. These are secured by 7/8 inch bolts driven from the outsides and riveted to the inside of the arches. The bolts are as close together as the frame will admit. The deck beams are 9 x 9 inches square and placed 3 feet from the centers. The wheel beams are sided 18 inches, and moulded 16 inches in the center, and 12 inches at the ends. The guard beams will vary from 10 to 12 inches square. The entire deck frame is secured to the hull with 160 lodge knees and 122 diagonal knees, sided from 5 to 7 inches, beside a large number of hanging knees, sided from 9 to 12 inches. These are all fastened with iron bolts from 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Under the main deck is a tier of stanchions , running from the center keelsons to a stringer fitted to the lower side of the beams. These are securely fastened with 3/4 inch bolts. The lower decks are also secured to the hull with knees, well fastened. The guards are braced with heavy white oak timbers, secured to the hull with iron straps, and besides the usual "hog braces," they are well kneed on the outside.
      The garband strakes are 9 inches thick, and 16 inches wide, and are bolted through the keel with 1 inch bolts. Between each frame the plank on the bottom is 3 inches thick; those on the sides from 3 to 5 inches thick, all of the best quality of white oak, square fastened, with large spikes, but bolted with 3/4 inch bolts, driven through the plank timbers and ceiling, and riveted inside. From the deck to the rail the frames are the same as below, and the bulwarks, on the inside and outside, are 2 inches thick. Under the rail both inside and out, and running the entire length of the steamers, are two oak stringers, 3 inches thick and 12 inches wide. These are bolted together through the timbers; and the rail, which is 4 inches thick and 14 inches wide, is securely bolted to the end of the timbers, and also to these stringers, thus forming a complete arch, and adding 4 feet to the depth of the hull. This is the entire new feature in steamboat building. They will be the same rig as the ocean steamships, and will spread about 1,600 yards of canvass. The standing rigging is manufactured from the best Russian hemp, and the running rigging from the best manila.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      May 20, 1859

      The steamships building at Bidwell & Masons yard, for the Detroit & Milwaukee Railway, are fast progressing towards completion. The MILWAUKEE, is to be launched Thursday. The DETROIT, that is now in the water, has nearly all her machinery in her. They are both beauties and bid fair to all that was expected of them and more too.
      The Milwaukee Sentinel, in noticing the launch to come off, says " Captain W. S. Cross, who is to sail her, goes down to attend the launch.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      May 31, 1859
      THE LAUNCH. -- To-morrow afternoon, the splendid steamboat MILWAUKEE, built by Mason & Bidwell, under the superintendence of Julius Movius, Esq., for the Detroit and Milwaukee railway Company, is to be launched from Mason & Bidwell's ship-yard. She is the twin of the DETROIT which was launched so beautifully and perfectly a week or two since. The launch taked place at half-past three P. M. precisely. There will be a good number of invited guests on hand. None will be allowed on board without a ticket, which can be obtained at the office of Julius Movius, on Washington street.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      June 1, 1859
      THE LAUNCH. -- The MILWAUKEE, the second boat of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway line, built by Mason & Bidwell, was launched yesterday from their ship yard. There were thousands of people present, ladies and gentlemen, lining the banks of the creek, covering the roofs of buildings, and the decks of propellers and tugs. There was seven or eight hundred on board the MILWAUKEE, among them a number of distinguished gentlemen from abroad, connected with different steamboat and railroad lines. Also, Mr. Bingham, of the Milwaukee Light Guard, who with his brass piece, which he had brought from Milwaukee for the purpose stood ready to salute the gallant vessel as soon as she kissed the wave.
      Precisely at the hour appointed for the launch a gun was fired and the huge bulk of this splendid vessel began to move slowly towards the water. After going a few yards, she seemed to hesitate, and then apparently satisfied of her capacity, gave a leviathan shake and plunged bravely into the water. Then rang the cheers from shore to shore, and above all could be heard the gun of Mr. Bingham holding noisy jubilee over the successful event.
      Both vessels are now in a measure complete, and in a few days will be ready to take their place in the line, and run regularly between Milwaukee and Grand Haven. Previous to their departure, however, a trial trip is to be given by the DETROIT, of which we shall at some future time have occasion to speak.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      June 4, 1859

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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Milwaukee (Steamboat), 19 May 1859