This page was last updated on 11 August 2021

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

PS Douglas






ps DOUGLAS douglas 1858
The Paddle Steamer Douglas was built by Robert Napier, Govan, Scotland in 1858.

She was launched on Friday, 28th May 1858, she was a steam propelled iron paddle steamer with side paddles. She had been reported as achieving 17.25 knots and was considered the fastest steamboat of her day when new. Liverpool to Douglas in 4hr 20mins

She was also named Margaret and Jessie (1862) and the USS Gettysburg (1863)

The Douglas was owned by Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, in 1862 by Frazer Trenholm & Co and in 1863 by the United States Navy. She was scrapped in 1879.

In Nov 1862 under the pretext of being sold to Cunard, Wilson & Co she actually went to Confederate agents, Fraser, Trenholm & Co, for £24,000, renamed Margaret and Jessie and was deployed as a blockade runner in the American Civil War.

On 1st June 1863 she was gunned down and forced to run ashore at Eleuthera Island by the Union gunship USS Rhode Island

The following appeared in the Nassau Guardian relating to her last exploits in this role:

" We have to record this evening another unjustifiable outrage committed by a Federal gunboat within the prescribed limits of our shores. On Saturday last, the 'Margaret and Jessie,' Captain Wilson, from Charleston for this port, was fallen in with by the Federal steamer 'Rhode island,' off Abaco, and chased till she arrived close to the shore off Jennes Point, Eleuthera. There would be no legal cause of complaint had the pursuit and firing ceased as soon as the 'Margaret and Jessie' approached within the distance of three miles from the land; but as she neared the coast, and was only 20 yards off ~ that is, between the reef and the land ~ the gunboat, which was not more than from a quarter to half~a~mile distant, commenced pouring in broadside after broadside, varying the performance with shot, grape and shell ~ not only to the imminent danger of all on board (and there were ladies among the passengers), but to the serious alarm of the inhabitants of the Island, who suddenly found themselves subjected to a sharp and decisive bombardment. The missiles fired from the 'Rhode Island' ploughed up the earth in various directions, and came in close proximity to, it not actually passing through, dwellings, and drove people to seek refuge between rocks and other projections. This was kept up for miles, and at length the 'Margaret and Jessie' received a shot through her boiler, and another through her bows, which forced her to take the beach, then only fifty yards distant " (5).

She was later refloated and re~entered the blockade running trade until captured on 5th November 1863 by the USS Nansemond and USS Fulton en route to Wilmington. She was bought by the US Navy at the New York Prize Court and commissioned as the gunboat USS GETTYSBURG at New York Navy Yard on 2nd May 1864. Fitted with 30 pounder Parrott gun, two 12 pounders and four 24 pounder howitzers.

She returned to the scenes of her former exploits, but as was the case with many ships built on the Clyde that became blockade runners, her role was reversed and the hunted became the hunter.

On 24th December 1864 she took part in a naval bombardment of Fort Fisher

In 1868 she was protecting American interests in the Carribean

In 1875 she was employed in important Hydrography work compiling charts of the seas around the West Indes.

In November 1876 she sailed back across the Atlantic to Europe spending two years doing surveys in the Mediterranean including detailed observations of the coasts of Turkey, Egypt and North Africa, the entire coastline of Italy, the south of France and the Adriatic islands. US Navy records states that she visited nearly every port in the Mediterranean.

Decommissioned on 6th May 1879 and sold two days later ~ presumed scrapped at Genoa as the condition she was in, both hull and engines, had deteriorated from her years of hard use.

See also:

  • Ships named Douglas




    Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



    Errors and Omissions

    The Forum

    What's new?

    We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

    If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


    Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


    You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


    If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

    You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

    Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


    2 Minute Survey

    To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


    We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

    We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

    Help with costs

    Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



    If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!



    Back to top


    The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

    The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

    As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

    Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

    Contact Us

    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024