Print, Steamship General Meade of Boston

Built by Pearse & Lockwood of Stockton-on-Tees, England, in August 1861, the blockade runner Bermuda (to be renamed General Meade) was chartered to Fraser, Trenholme & Co. The iron-hulled ship measured 211 feet long, 29 feet 7 inches wide, 21 feet 2 inches deep, and had a hold capacity of 893 tons. It had two engines making 135 hp and could reach speeds up to 10 knots with the help of its screw propeller. The Bermuda slipped safely thru the Northern blockade into Savannah, Georgia on September 18, 1861. During this trip it was bought by Henkel & Trenholme of Charleston, South Carolina. In February 1862 the Bermuda left Liverpool for the second time. On April 27, 1862 it was captured by U.S.S. Mercedita off the Bahamas. Sent to Philadelphia under a prize crew, the Bermuda was bought by the U.S. Navy Department for $120,000 in October 1862. Commissioned as U.S.S. Bermuda, it was given a three-gun battery and sent on blockade duty off Galveston, Texas. On August 14, 1863 it captured the British schooner Carmita, followed the next day by the British schooner Artist. On October 2, 1863 the schooner Florrie was seized, and on November 14, 1863 it recaptured a small American schooner off the Florida coast. At the end of the war in September 1865, the Bermuda was sold to Samuel C. Cook for $61,000. William F. Weld & Co. of Boston purchased it in 1868, renamed it General Meade and ran it between Boston, New York, Wilmington, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina under Capt. A.W. Sampson. The ship also occasionally ran to New Orleans and sometimes as far as Borneo. After the 1874 dissolution of the Weld firm, the General Meade was bought by F. Baker, one of the former partners. He sold it in 1878 to the Canadian Quebec & Gulf Ports SS Co. Renamed Bahamas, the steamer sailed out of Quebec in the summer, while during the winter it sailed from New York to the West Indies.
On February 4, 1882, the Bahamas left San Juan with a full hold. At midnight on February 9 it was struck by a terrific hurricane. At 3:00 AM it was thrown on its beam ends; water poured into the engine room and extinguished the fires. The life-boats were lowered. The captain's boat with 20 people capsized, and all were lost. The other boat held 13 (11 crew and 2 passengers); three crew refused to leave the ship, which went down a few hours later. At 12:30 PM February 10, 1822 the surviving life-boat was sighted by the ship Glenmorag, and the survivors were brought to New York on February 15, 1882.
Currently not on view
date made
Between 1848 and 1891
William Endicott and Company
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 19 3/4 in x 32 1/2 in; 50.165 cm x 82.55 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cigna Maritime Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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