HMS Columbia

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Columbia, 1829
Type: Survey vessel, formerly a Packet ; Armament 3
Launched : 1 Jul 1829 ; Disposal date or year : 1859
BM: 361 tons ; Displacement: 504 tons
Propulsion: Paddle
Machinery notes: 100

1 Aug 1830 arrived Plymouth yesterday from Woolwich, and departed Falmouth today.

6 Aug 1830 departed Falmouth for the Mediterranean.

15 Aug 1830 arrived Gibraltar.

19 Aug 1830 passed by Algiers.

23 Aug 1830 arrived Malta and departed for Corfu the following day.

27 Aug 1830 arrived Corfu.

29 Aug 1830 departed Corfu for Malta.

31 Aug 1830 arrived Malta.

2 Sep 1830 departed Malta for Malaga.

8 Sep 1830 arrived Malaga and departed the following day.

9 Sep 1830 arrived Gibraltar.

12 Sep 1830 departed Gibraltar for Cadiz, arriving the same evening.

13 Sep 1830 departed Cadiz for Falmouth.

21 Sep 1830 arrived Falmouth with mail and departed for Plymouth, where she arrived the same day.

29 Dec 1830 arrived from Malta, Lieut. Ede, in command.

9 Jan 1831 preparing at Woolwich for sea with all despatch.

29 Mar 1831 arrived Falmouth from Malta (12th), Gibraltar (21st), Cadiz (23d).

29 Mar 1831 arrived Plymouth from Falmouth.

28 Mar 1831 arrived Falmouth from Corfu (6 Mar) ; Malta (12th) ; Gibraltar (21st) ; Cadiz (22nd).

29 Mar 1831 departed Falmouth for Plymouth.

30 Apr 1831 departed Plymouth for Portsmouth.

1 May 1831 arrived Portsmouth from Plymouth.

10 May 1831 departed Portsmouth for Newhaven.

12 May 1831 arrived Portsmouth with the Hyperion, 42, late Sussex Coast Guard, Capt. Mingaye, from Newhaven, in tow of the Confiance and Columbia steam-vessels, to be paid off.

4 Jun 1831 arrived Portsmouth.

23 Jun 1831 in Portsmouth Harbour.

16 Sep 1831 in Portsmouth Harbour.

1 Nov 1831 refitting at Woolwich.

Jan 1832 is reported to be completed and ready for sea.

28 May 1832 departed Portsmouth for Plymouth and Falmouth.

31 May 1832 arrived Falmouth from Woolwich.

8 Jun 1832 has been earmarked, along with the Columbia to carry the Lisbon mails.

17 Jun 1832 departed Lisbon for Falmouth.

23 Jun 1832 arrived Falmouth from Lisbon.

15 Jul 1832 departed Falmouth for Lisbon.

18 Aug 1832 departed Lisbon for Oporto.

19 Aug 1832 departed Oporto at 7 p.m.

23 Aug 1832 arrived Falmouth from Lisbon and Oporto with the latest news : however since there has been little change since the arrival of the Alban there is little to report.

1 Nov 1832 arrived at Falmouth, from the Mediterranean.

2 Feb 1833 at Woolwich.

20 May 1833 departed Falmouth with mail for Oporto and Lisbon, but her engines have failed and she is reported to be returning.

28 May 1833 has arrived back at Falmouth under tow.

21 Aug 1833 arrived Falmouth from the Mediterranean.

4 Sep 1833 departed Falmouth for Woolwich.

27 Sep 1833 Fitting out at Woolwich.

19 Oct 1833 in harbour at Portsmouth.

29 Oct 1833 arrived Falmouth from Milford.

13 Jul 1834 off Cadiz.

19 Jul 1834 arrived Plymouth from the Malta and Gibraltar, last from Falmouth, and departed for Woolwich to refit.

23 Jul 1834 arrived Portsmouth from Plymouth with marines paid off from the Malabar, and departed to Woolwich.

10 Oct 1835 arrived Falmouth from Jamaica Sunday last 11 Nov 1835 at Barbadoes.

circa 21 Feb 1836 was reported to have departed Antigua for Barbadoes with mail.

2 May 1836 is reported to be carrying mails between the various islands in the West Indies.

17 May 1836 has been furnished with instructions under the Treaty with Spain for the suppression of the Slave Trade by the Flag Officer, North America and West Indies Station.

21 May 1837 was reported to be at Passages and due to sail to Bilboa.

29 Mar 1840 Woolwich The state of the Columbia, which was nearly lost during her late voyage from St. Sebastian, ought to operate as a caution to the proper officers carefully to examine the various steam-engines before they leave. The Columbia experienced most tempestuous weather on her voyage from St. Sebastian ; many old men-of-warsmen declared they had never seen a greater storm during the whole of their lengthened service. Great complaints were made in consequence of the crowded state of this small vessel, nearly two hundred marines and officers being on board ; many were actually exposed to the inclemency of the weather nearly the whole of the voyage night and day on deck. Crossing the Bay of Biscay the hurricane raged tremendously, when it was discovered the engines did not work freely ; search was made, and it was found out by Mr. Price, the chief engineer, that some person had diabolically inserted a chisel under the engine, which was fast scuttling her ; the pumps were almost constantly at work to keep her afloat ; although destined for Woolwich, she was compelled to put into Portsmouth to be repaired.

1 Apr 1840 Lisbon departed for the West Indies.

26 Oct 1840 Halifax sections of the 64th regiment were expected shortly from Jamaica, in the Columbia and Dee steamers and Raven sloop, to garrison Halifax.

15 Feb 1841 at Barbadoes.

3 Apr 1841 Master B. W. Robinson (late Winchester), appointed to Columbia, vice Thompson, deceased ;

3 Apr 1841 Master James Fowler, appointed to Winchester (late Cleopatra), vice Robinson. appointed to Columbia.

3 Jul 1841 Lieutenant Thomas Carpenter, Columbia, promoted to Commander

13 Sep 1841 departed Antigua, for England.

11 Oct 1841 arrived Portsmouth, from Antigua, with damaged machinery.

13 Oct 1841 departed Portsmouth for Woolwich to be paid off.

16 Oct 1841 arrived at Woolwich and to be paid off.

23 Oct 1841 Woolwich, was paid off.

29 Oct 1841 Woolwich, in the basin.

26 Mar 1842 undergoing repairs at Woolwich.

28 May 1842 the Avon has been reported as unsuitable as a survey vessel by Captain WF Owen, and her officer and men are to be transferred to the Columbia, which is being fitted out accordingly.

May 1842 commissioned as a surveying vessel.

5 Aug 1842 departed Woolwich for Plymouth to be paid and will then depart to survey the Bay of Fundy.

8 Aug 1842 arrived Plymouth from the Eastward, en route for the Bay of Fundy.

1 Oct 1842 at Halifax when the Volcano and Resistance departed for England.

2 Nov 1842 survey vessel at Halifax.

21 Nov 1847 departed from Halifax for Portsmouth, England.

17 Dec 1847 arrived Plymouth, England. See below for report of stormy passage home from North America.

19 Dec 1847 Service of Thanksgiving for safe arrival

20 Dec 1848 Chatham

30 Aug 1851 North America

1857 Coal hulk

We have already announced the arrival at Devonport of the Columbia, steam surveying-vessel, Lieut. Commander Shortland, from North America, with Captain (since Rear Admiral) and Mrs. Owen, the gallant captain having been in command of the surveying expedition in the Bay of Fundy for the last five years.

The Columbia had been long expected at Portsmouth, but independently of the length of time she was on her passage, it was impossible that she could have reached this country in a shorter period since she received her orders, in consequence of the time required for calling together and collecting the different surveying parties belonging to her which had been detached to many points at considerable distance from each other. With reference to her voyage home, we may say that the condition of the ship, on reaching Devonport, afforded evidence palpable enough of the cause of delay. Indeed, we scarcely remember to have seen a vessel actually afloat so much of a wreck, and we cannot but admire that feeling of gratitude which induced the captain, officers, and crew of the Columbia, on Sunday week, at the Royal dockyard chapel, publicly to offer through the chaplain (the Rev. T. Briggs) their thanks to Almighty God for the preservation of their lives.

The following accurate details of the voyage will show that their presence at Divine worship, on the 19th instant, was indeed as occasion for devout thanksgiving. The Columbia is a steamer which has seen better days and considerable service in the navy, and most especially so when in command of Mr. Henderson, now master attendant at Devonport Dockyard. She is one of the old gun brigs which were cut in two by Sir Robert Seppings, above twenty years since, had a pair of engines put in amidships, and was converted not Penelope fashion, but according to common sense and " rule of three" calculation, into one of the most efficient men of war steamers of the day. She had run so long, however, that in May, 1842, when commissioned for surveying service there was little faith placed in the soundness of her condition, notwithstanding which, she proceeded to North America, and was there up to Sunday, the 21st November last, when she left Halifax for Portsmouth. After receiving a temporary refit, having landed her armament, and taken on board 115 tons of coals, 18 tons of them on deck, she arrived at Sidney on the 26th, left there on the 28th, and steamed for two days and a half until she got off the banks of Newfoundland, encountering heavy weather at the commencement. November 29, in lat. 47 11 ', long. 51 20 ', she unshipped her paddle-floats and proceeded under sail, the wind blowing a fresh gale from N.E., accompanied with snow, but shifting to the N., with drifting ice, the vessel was hove to. November 30, the ship proceeded. At noon the sky became overcast, with snow, and heavy squalls with rain succeeded, and the wind increasing to a hurricane at 2 p.m. the vessel was again hove to under main trysail.

December 1, at 6 a.m., she shipped so heavy a sea that the first gig was stove in. In the night the head of the funnel was carried away by the heavy rolling of the ship, and the funnel was found so corroded that it was not repairable. At 8-15, the force of the wind being 8, the ship bore away, and the weather moderated. December 2, at 11 p.m., the force of the wind increased to 9, the ship making a great deal of water, and each watch engaged in pumping. In the course of the night the force of the wind increased to 11 ; and at 11.45, on December 3, the ship rounded to under single-reefed main try sail, and continued until 11.30 p.m., when she bore away again. December 4, at 5 p m., the gale again increased, with squalls, up to 4 a.m. on the 5th, when its force was 10, with a heavy following sea, and they were obliged to steer the ship by the sea.

About 1 p.m., it moderated to 9, and then gradually lessened. December 8, it was again blowing very strong, and the ship was fast making water ; she had from 9 to 13 inches and at one time up to 17 inches in her hold. December 11, in lat. 49 13 ', long. 17 30 ', she re-shipped her paddle-floats. There were light winds until evening, when they opened the boiler cocks, and found the blown-off pipes choked. December 12, at 4 p.m., another gale commenced - the sky overcast, squalls and heavy rains ; they were obliged to shut the communication valve of the starboard boiler, engines working at reduced speed. At this time they found considerable leakage in the starboard boiler, and stopped them with wooden plugs. December 13, the force of the wind was 8, and at 4.30 they were obliged to cut away the wreck of the boat which was stove in on the 1st. At 7.30, the sea stove in the larboard bow ; the ports had been several times stove in.

At 1.40 p.m., they found the foremast badly sprung under the futtock hook ; shortened all sail, and at five o'clock in striking the topmast the foremast gave way and went over the side, carrying two men who were on the crosstrees looking out for the fid, with the wreck. The lives of these men were almost miraculously preserved ; they had just time to stop the engines, but not before one man was struck and his jaw broken ; the other man was not hurt at all.

December 13, they were obliged to shut the communication valve of the port boiler, to clear the cocks, they having become choked in the same degree as those of the other boiler. The crew were then employed in rigging a jury foremast and making paddle-floats, and they succeeded on Thursday, the 16th, at 2.10 p.m. in making the Lizard ; and on the following day anchored in Plymouth Sound. The gun-room was flooded during the entire passage, and not a man in the ship was dry for an hour. The stern ports were caulked in and battened. The decks were cleared of everything ; the paddle-wheels themselves were defective from old age, and by the washing away of the outsides of the boxes, they were exhibited in all their skeleton wretchedness. The compasses, in consequence of their great vibration, were next to useless.

SG & SGTL ; Vol 5 ; Pages 103-4.