HMS Sutlej
The Sutlej, a 75m-long, 3470-tonne steam vessel that boasted an armament of 35 guns,1 served as the flagship of the Royal Navy’s Pacific Fleet from 1863 to 1866.2 Originally a sailing vessel at the time of its launch in 1855, and switched to steam power in 1860,3 the Sutlej left Plymouth on 11 December 1862, and reached Esquimalt in June of the following year.4
The Sutlej saw its first major action in the Pacific during the “Chilcotin Uprising”, which arose from the alleged murder of 14 men at work on Waddington’s Road at the hands of a group of Chilcotin First Nations individuals.5 On June 18, 1864, the Sutlej ferried Kingcome, Governor Seymour, Brew, and a rifle corps to Bentinck Arm, where the search for the culprits began.6 On September 29, Begbie tried and executed Chilcotin Chiefs Klatsassin and Telloot, along with three other individuals found guilty of the murders.7
The Sutlej played a larger role in the “Ahousat Incident” that took place in August of 1864. The “Ahousat Incident” was the search for a group of Ahousat First Nations individuals who allegedly pillaged the sloop Kingfisher, and murdered its crew near Matilda Creek. The Sutlej, along with the Devastation, was responsible for much destruction of First Nations villages and property in the search that would ultimately be unsuccessful.8
The vessel, after which Pender named several British Columbia features, including Sutlej Channel, Sutlej Point, and Sutlej Reef,9 was broken up in 1869.10
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 576.
  • 2. John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1971), 478.
  • 3. Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, 576.
  • 4. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, 478.
  • 5. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Chronicle, 1847-1871 (Victoria: Discovery Press, 1977), 297-300.
  • 6. Ibid., 300.
  • 7. Ibid., 305.
  • 8. Barry M. Gough, Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-1890, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1984), 114.
  • 9. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, 479.
  • 10. Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, 576.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. HMS Sutlej. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/sutlej.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)