Argo - The General Screw Steam Shipping Co. Ltd.
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Built by:C. J. Mare & Co. of Blackwall
Yard No.
Launched:24th December 1852
Tonnage:1,653 46/94
Length:244 5/10 feet
Breadth:38 4/10 feet
Depth:25 5/10 feet
Machinery:300h.p. 2cy by Maudslay, Sons, & Field. 9 knots.
Built of:Iron.
Type:Auxiliary Screw.Three masts.
Registered:No.190 on 14th April 1853 in London.
Reg. transferred to Glasgow 25th October 1855.
Other info:Crew 120
Cost £75,000
History:10th January 1853. Due to sail from East India Docks for Plymouth.
15th January 1853. Due to sail from Plymouth for Calcutta.
25th January 1853. Fitting out in London.
March 1853. Due to sail for Australia.
20th May 1853. Test run down the Channel.
24th April 1853. Arrived at Southampton, from London, Captain George Hyde.
27th April 1853. Went on a trial trip down to the Scilly Islands, and returned back to Southampton.
4th May 1853. Due to sail from Southampton for Port Phillip and Sydney. Captain Hyde.
8th May 1853. Sailed from Southampton to Australia. Captain George Hyde, with 55 passengers and a full cargo of 375 tons, comprising of specie, value £26,000. Jewellery value £11,500. It is intended to touch only at St. Vincents for coals. This is due to the general discredit to steamships on the Australian run, due to repeated failures undertaken on the voyage, and how long the voyage is. So not calling at other ports hope to speed the passage time.
18th May 1853. Arrived at St.Vincent.
23rd May 1853. Sailed from St. Vincent. Scandalous coaling arrangements.
14th July 1853. Arrived at Sydney. Detained at her mooring in the harbour for seven days by the mutinous conduct of her crew, who all attempted to run from the ship immediately on her arrival at the colony. The captain acting upon instructions given to him before leaving England, had the crew taken into custody and lodged on board a convict hulk, there to remain until the ship sailed back to England.
21st July 1853. Sailed from Port Phillips at 6 p.m.
24th July 1853. Arrived at Sydney with 65 passengers.
5th August 1853. Off Moore’s Wharf, Sydney.
11th August 1853. Sailed from Sydney with 30,678 ounces of gold. One-half of her accommodation was reserved for passengers to be taken on board at Melbourne where, it is understood; it has all been engaged.
14th August 1853. Arrived at Melbourne. During the passage the screw was feathered, and although the wind was light she sailed 9 knots.
27th August 1853. Sailed from Port Phillip with 103,766 ounces of gold, total value, at £4 the ounce (1853 prices) £567,777. Also about 100 passengers, after experiencing unexpected difficulty with the crew. She should have sailed two days before. Captain Hyde had calculated upon being able to draft off some sailors of those he had brought out with him, now undergoing their sentences at Williamstown; but upon being taken on board they not only showed a most mutinous spirit, but actually assaulted Captain Hyde in the presence of the police. Fresh seamen had therefore to be sought. It came out during the affair that the seamen were rather too comfortable on board the hulk; and that, well-fed, with little to do, and the hopes of high wages when they had “done their time,” they preferred lying quietly at Willaimstown, although under lock and key, to roughing it round the Horn even in such vessels as the ‘Argo’.
17th September 1853. Rounded Cape Horn.
7th October 1853. Crossed the line.
13th October 1853. Arrived at St. Vincent.
15th October 1853. Sailed from St. Vincent.
27th October 1853. Arrived at Plymouth. There was one death on the passage – an invalid when she had just left Sydney.
28th October 1853. Arrived at Southampton from Melbourne wih eighty-six passengers plus 134,000 ounces gold dust besides a general cargo, wool, and heavy mails of more than 200 boxes. One passenger, Mr. W. Harrison, of Great Yarmouth, brings home 3000 ounces of gold.
14th February 1854. Sailed from Southampton, via Plymouth, for India. Captain Geo. Hyde. On freight this vessel has specie value £35,000 sterling and 420 tons of cargo for various ports, besides 60 tons of baggage and 210 fuel for the homeward voyage.
24th February 1854. Arrived at St.Vincent. She only consumed 75 tons of coal.
26th March 1854. Arrived at Cape Town.
29th March 1854. Sailed from Cape Town.
13th April 1854. Sailed from St.Helena.
17th June 1854. Sailed from Calcutta.
23rd June 1854. Sailed from Madras.
24th June 1854. Mr. William Jefferson issued a lithograph of the 'Argo' entering the Needles from Australia after having performed the first steam voyage round the world in 121 days, last October.
28th June 1854. Sailed from Point de Gallie.
10th July 1854. Sailed from Mauritius.
22nd July 1854. Arrived at Cape Town.
26th July 1854. Sailed from the Cape of Good Hope.
4th August 1854. Sailed from St.Helena.
8th August 1854. Sailed from Ascension.
19th August 1854. Sailed from St.Vincent.
25th August 1854. Due to arrive at Southampton from India.
4th September 1854. Arrived at Plymouth from India with 90 passengers. Captain Hyde.
5th September 1854. Arrived at Southampton from Plymouth. 4th October 1854. Sailed from Southampton for Australia with 170 passengers. Captain George Hyde. There was an efficient German band also on board and enlivened the departure with some excellent music.
5th October 1854. She passed Plymouth and landed her pilot.
16th October 1854. Arrived at St. Vincent after encountered a heavy gale of wind on the edge of the Bay of Biscay which sent her out of her course a long distance.
19th October 1854. Sailed from St. Vincent.
25th October 1854. Crossed in line in long 18•35W.
3rd November 1854. Spoke to the ‘Prince Heinrick’, a Dutch ship in lat 28•40S., and long 20•20W.
14th November 1854. Sighted some very large icebergs.
21st November 1854. She reached her furthest southing - 55•29 in long. 67•0E.
6th December 1854. Arrived at Melbourne.
14th December 1854. Arrived in Sydney with 34 passengers.
1st January 1855. Sailed from Sydney with 25 passengers.
3rd January 1855. Arrived and sailed from Adelaide.
9th January 1855. Sailed from Melbourne.
14th January 1855. Sailed from Sydney with 46,268 oz. of gold dust, £2,600 in specie, and a few cases of general merchandise.
13th February 1855. Spoke to the ‘Morse’ at lat. 28•0S., long 32•4W.
27th February 1855. Arrived at St.Vincent.
3rd March 1855. Sailed from St. Vincent.
15th March 1855. Arrived in Plymouth from Sydney to land her mail.
16th March 1855. Arrived at Southampton with 85 passengers and gold dust and jewellery valued at £310,918 • 5s • 8d, and 138 cases of sundries for the Paris Exhibition.
1855. Became a transport for the Government.
8th April 1855. Has been fitted up for cavalry, and is expected to sail soon.
12th April 1855. 190 horses and a troop of the Royal Horse Artillery embarked, also a battery of artillery consisted of a four brass nine-pounders, two twenty-four pound howitzers, one twelve-pound rocket tube and a lot of ammunition.
13th April 1855. Sailed for the Crimea.
22nd August 1855. Arrived at Malta from Marseilles with 110 horses, and 166 officers, rank and file, and having in tow the ‘Northfleet’, sailing transport, and both sailed that afternoon.
26th December 1855. Arrived at Malta from Constantinople.
28th December 1855. Sailed from Malta.
3rd January 1856. Sailed from Gibraltar.
3rd January 1856. Due back to a home port soon has been ordered by the Admiralty to be paid off from the transport service.
11th January 1856. Experienced frightful weather, and during the worst portion she was driven nearly on the coast of Madeira. In taking in sail two men were blown from the foreyardarm, and received serious injury.
19th January 1856. Arrived at Southampton with returned Government stores.
February 1856. She was involved in a deal with French buyers, the price included stores as well. The Societe Generale des Clippers Francais paid a deposit but when they defaulted on further payments the transaction fell through leaving the ship in the hands of the General Screw Steam Shipping Co.
18th February 1856. The General Screw Company have received an intimation that the Government might require the use of their four large ships now lying in Southampton Docks – the ‘Calcutta’, ‘Argo’, ‘Hydaspes’, and ‘Queen of the South’, for the transport service. The company are acting upon the intimation, and the vessels are being prepared for sea.
28th February 1856. Laying at Southampton ready to embark troops for the Crimea.
3rd March 1856. Lying at Southampton engaged in the transport service.
5th March 1856. Captain Hyde, transport ? 81, embarked horses and troops of the Royal Horse Artillery.
7th March 1856. Sailed from Southampton with C battery of Royal Artillery and horses for the Crimea, plus 210 tons of freight, consisting of guns, gun-carriages. Transport ? 81. Captain H. B. Benson.
18th March 1856. Arrived at Malta from Southampton.
28th March 1856. Arrived at Balaklava.
2nd April 1856. Sailed from Balaklava. As peace was declared before disembarkation of the horses and troops had taken place, orders were immediately given for her to return home.
4th April 1856, Arrived at Constantinople and embarked troops and horses plus 12 distressed seamen.
6th April 1856. Sailed from Constantinople.
7th April 1856. Being windbound she was compelled to anchor at the entrance to the Dardanelles for 40 hours.
13th April 1856. Arrived at Malta.
14th April 1856. Sailed from Malta.
21st April 1856. Sailed from Gibraltar.
27th April 1856. Arrived at Southampton with C battery of Royal Artillery. Due to all the weather out and home she did not lose know more than 16 horses.
16th May 1856. Arrived at Malta from Southampton.
17th May 1856. Sailed from Malta for Balaklava.
22nd May 1956. Arrived at Balaklava from Malta.
24th May 1856. Sailed from Balaklava, Captain Benson, with the Royal Artillery.
26th May 1856. Sailed from Constantinople.
27th May 1856. She proceeded as far as the Island of Marmora, when a collision occurred with a French line-of-battle ship ‘Tourville’, which the ‘Argo’ had to return to Constantinople and transfer the men, horses and guns to the steamship ‘Medway’. Although the damage sustained was very extensive, the repairs were completed in less than three weeks, when she again proceeded to Balaklava in time to embark the cavalry. The ‘Argo’ staved two portholes of the liner into one and her bowsprit carried away.
21st July 1856. Spoke to the ‘Chasseur’ in lat. 37•37 N, long 4•54 E.
Arrived at Malta from Balaklava with 180 horses.
22nd July 1856. Sailed for England.
4th August 1856. Landed some of the troops at Portsmouth.
5th August 1856. Arrived at Spithead with 116 horses and 120 men.
7th August 1856. Arrived in London from Portsmouth.
7th February 1857. In collision with the ‘Welthen’ while steaming down the Thames.
6th March 1857. Owned by the European and American Steam Shipping Company.
24th June 1857. Sailed from New York with 150 passengers. Captain Benson.
9th July 1857. Arrived at Southampton from New York, then sailed for Bremen.
21st July 1857. Captain Benson, arrived at Southampton from Bremen.
23rd July 1857. Sailed for New York with 360 passengers and 400 tons of freight.
7th August 1857. Arrived at New York.
19th August 1857. Sailed from New York.
25th August 1857. She spoke in lat. 43N., long. 53 W with the ‘Achilles’. The ‘Argo’ in strong easterly winds.
2nd September 1857. Spoke in lat. 47 N., long. 16 W.N.W. the ‘Baltimore’ steaming east.
3rd September 1857. Spoke in lat. 48•40 N., long. 10 W the ‘Louise Brigandon’ and the ‘Seraphina’.
6th September 1857. Captain Benson, arrived at Cowes from New York, with 173 passengers (25 are first-class, 36 second, and 112 steerage) for Southampton, London , and Havre, and 83 for Bremen. then proceeded for London with 1,000 tons of general merchandise (flour, cheese. Indigo, cochineal, silk, tobacco, and copper) for London, Victoria Dock, and Bremen, and $20,000 in specie.
15th September 1857. Sailed from New York.
28th September 1857. Passed Deal from Quebec.
30th September 1857. Arrived at Gravesend.
14th October 1857. Sailed from New York.
26th October 1857. Arrived at Falmouth.
30th October 1857. Captain H. B. Benson, arrived at Cowes. She has 165 passengers and a full cargo for London.
10th November 1857. Arrived at Gravesend from Dantsic.
11th November 1857. Arrived at Southampton from London, Captain Benson.
11th December 1857. Arrived at Portsmouth.
15th December 1857. The European and American Steam Navigation Company’s splendid ship ‘Argo’, Captain Benson, will receive her troops this day alongside Portsmouth Dockyard jetty. Captain Benson had barely eight clear working days to metamorphose the ‘Argo’ from a first-class Transatlantic passenger packet into a Government troop-transport, rendering necessary an entire revolution in the whole interior of the ship except the state saloon. This has been done in an able and masterly manner. The ‘Argo’ is an iron ship, of 2,249 tons burden, 300-horse (screw) power, and the height between decks is 7 feet 2 inches. She prepared for berthing 850 troops and about 50 officers, but now her orders are those which we published yesterday, making her numbers 100 short of the above. Her ventilation is unequalled. She has 68 port holes or scuttles on the troop deck, which is a clean sweep of space fore and aft, uninterruptedly presenting a line of benches and hammocks like a vista of stalls. She has also 11 ventilating shafts and a number of rotary ventilators in various parts of her, rendering the below berths as cool as the saloon deck. She is a good sailer, having Cunningham’s patent self-reefing topsails and every other modern improvement; she steams on an average nine knots, and only consumes about 35 tons of coal per day. It is estimated with such advantages, and most experienced officers, she must make at least as good a passage out to India as the Company’s other steamer, the Golden Fleece’. She will sail tomorrow.
17th December 1857. Sailed from Portsmouth with the detachment of the 13th Light Infantry, needed to complete the allotment of troops for India arrived from Wales, and the medicine chest having also found its way on board from Devon, for Spithead.
18th December 1857. The steamship ‘Argo’, Captain Benson, with upwards of 800 troops on board for India, has not sailed yet from Portsmouth. On the ship being ready to haul off the dockyard jetty and out into the steam, preparatory to the start, it was discovered that the medicine-chest had been sent from London to Plymouth, instead of Portsmouth, and that one of the largest detachments, quartered at Pembroke, had been forgotten in the issue of the “routes” to the other detachments; and thus at least a couple of days delay in the despatch of the vessel is occasioned. The detachment is expected at Portsmouth to-day, and if they arrive she may put to sea tomorrow. As Plymouth lies between Pembroke and Portsmouth, it would have been a “business” way of remedying the above blunders had the ‘Argo’, when all else were on board, been ordered to pick up the miss sent medicine chest at Plymouth, on her way out, at which place the detachment from Pembroke might have been telegraphed to embark in her, thus both time and money (about £1,000) might have been saved.
19th December 1857. Sailed from Spithead for India with detachments of troops to the number of nearly 900. All on board went away with the best spirits and very comfortable, having got well into berth during the unexpected detention of the ship in port by the Government or India Board authorities. Fine weather prevailed on their departure.
1st January 1858. Arrived at St. Vincent’s from Portsmouth with troops for India. An extract from a letter from the ship reads “Every one on board is in excellent health and tiptop spirits, and I think I may say that there is not a discontented man in the ship out of nearly 900. Yesterday (the 2nd inst) we astonished the natives by having a cricket match, which went off very successfully – tents pitched and band playing. The ‘Australasian’, with the head-quarters of the 68th, and the ‘Medway’, which takes home this mail, arrived here yesterday afternoon, and we are consequently quite a party in this desolate island. Coaling is very slow here, labour being extremely scarce, and Captain Benson thinks the 6th about the time we shall get away.”
6th January 1858. Sail from St. Vincent’s.
17th March 1858. Arrived at Calcutta, Captain Benson.
19th March 1858. Troops landed, all well. Then moved and put on berth for passengers and cargo.
13th April 1858. Sailed from Calcutta for London with invalids.
16th April 1858. Sailed from Sandheads.
20th April 1858. Sailed from Madras.
25th April 1858. Sailed from Galle.
12th May 1858. Lieutenant R. G. Bell, of the 37th Regiment, who left England in December, 1857, in the ‘Argo’, and was invalided home for consumption immediately on arrival at Calcutta, and re-embarked on her leaving in April, died.
24th May 1858. Sailed from the Cape.
3rd June 1858. Sailed from St. Helena.
6th June 1858. Lieutenant D. Hay, who took a prominent part in the defence of Lucknow, invalided home, died from consumption, caused by fatigue and privation.
17th June 1858. Arrived at St. Vincent. Four men died among the invalid troops on the passage from the Cape.
20th June 1858. Sailed from St. Vincent’s after coaling.
6th July 1858. Arrived at Plymouth. Most of the troops had considerable disease which existed among them on embarkation, bid fair soon to dispense with hospital treatment.
8th July 1858. Arrived at Portsmouth.
9th July 1858. Arrived in the Thames with invalid troops from India, who were landed at Gravesend and forwarded to Fort Pitt Hospital, Chatham.
1859. Chartered from G.S.S.S.Co. by the New York and Galway Line for one voyage, Galway to Boston route via Newfoundland.
29th May 1859. Sailed from Galway for New York.
9th June 1859. Arrived at New York, Captain White, at 10 p.m.
23rd June 1859. Sailed from New York for Galway.
26th May 1859. The Atlantic Royal Mail Steam Navigation Company’s ship ‘Argo’, carrying Her Majesty’s mail’s, will sail from Galway for St. John’s, Newfoundland, and New York.
23rd June 1859. Sailed from New York for St. Johns.
28th June 1859. Wrecked in Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland. No lives lost.
7th July 1859. The steamship ‘Glasgow’ sailed from New York for Glasgow, with 54 cabin and 86 steerage passengers – total, 140. She calls at St. Johns for the wrecked passengers of the ‘Argo’.
14th July 1859. The steamships ‘Glasgow’ and ‘Edinburgh’ left St. John’s, Newfoundland, for Glasgow, having on board the passengers from the wrecked steamer ‘Argo’.
12th July 1859. The ‘Glasgow’ arrived at St. Johns.
15th July 1859. The gunboat ‘Forward’, Lient. Robetson, was masted at Devonport partly rigged, and warped to the hulk ‘Argo’.
4th September 1859. The Board of Trade issued the report of Mr. Porter, the magistrate, and Captain Harris held at Dublin.

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