San Jacinto
The San Jacinto derives its name from the San Jacinto River in Texas, which was the site of a decisive victory over the Mexican Army, on 21 April 1836, in the battle for Texas's independence.1
The San Jacinto was built at the New York Naval yard in 1847 as an experimental ship to test new propulsion concepts. Finally launched in 1850, the San Jacinto had a long and notable career of service, despite a number of engine and machinery problems.2
After the vessel served in the West Indies in 1855, the San Jacinto ferried Townsend Harris, the American consul general to Japan, to Shimoda, Japan, where Harris became the first foreign diplomat allowed on Japanese soil, and also helped open Japan to foreign relations.3
Later in 1856, the San Jacinto served with the United States Navy's East India Squadron in a civil war in Chinese waters, as well as in the Second Opium War.4
In 1859, while with the Africa Squadron, the San Jacinto aided in the efforts to curb the slave trade. Captain Charles Wilkes took over command of the San Jacinto in August 1861 prior to its journey back to the United States to join the Union Navy in the US Civil War.5
While en route, Wilkes intercepted the English Mail Packet Trent, east of Havana, which carried a number of Confederate diplomats.6 Douglas makes note of the incident in this correspondence.
The vessel spent several more years in the service of the Union Navy. On 1 January 1865, the San Jacinto hit a reef in the Bahamas; while some of the equipment was salvaged, the vessel itself took too much damage. The San Jacinto's hulk was sold on May 17, 1871.7
  • 1. San Jacinto, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents