Ship Type Menu.
Paddle frigates (450 nhp, converted packets)

Converted Packets (launched 1842-44)

Converted Packets paddle frigates

Displacement: 2591t
Dimensions:226ft 5in wl, 228ft 4in to 232ft 0in deck x 38ft 9in mld, 39ft 6in ext x 17ft 5in mean
Same, meters:69.00, 69.60 to 70.72 x 11.80, 12.05 x 5.30m
Machinery:450nhp (Schneider, Cavé, Hallette, Indret). Side-lever, 900ihp, trials 9.78kts (Magellan) to 11.4kts (Canada). Coal max. 650t
Hull material:Wood
Armament:Group 1: Carried only two small guns before 1854. In January 1854 Canada was listed with: GD forward: 2-30p No.2, 2-22cm No.2 shell; GD aft: 2-22cm No.2 shell, 2-30p No.2; SD 2-30p No.1, 4-22cm shell. In 1854 Darien received: GD 4-22cm No.2 shell, 4-30p No.2; SD 4-22cm No.1 shell, 2-30p No.1
Armament:Group 2: (Magellan, Caraïbe, and Cacique, 1846) GD 2-22cm shell forward, 4-30p No.2 aft (No.1 in Magellan); SD 2-22cm shell, 2-30p No.1; (Eldorado, 1847) GD 6-30p No.2; SD 4-22cm No.2 shell, 2-30p No.1
Armament:Group 3: (Orig.) 4-16cm shell. In the late 1850s Panama (along with Magellan and Cacique) had: GD 8-30p No.1; SD 6-22cm No.2 shell

Name          Builder    Laid downLaunched Compl.   Fate         
Group 1    
DARIEN (1)Cherbourg11.8.416.10.421843Stk. 15.7.69
ULLOA (2)Cherbourg12.5.417.8.423.10.43Stk. 8.6.65
CHRISTOPHE COLOMB (3)Brest26.5.4115.3.4326.9.43Stk. 4.6.68
CANADA (4)Brest13.4.4115.3.433.10.43Stk. 20.11.71
Group 2    
MAGELLAN (5)Brest26.5.4115.5.431846Stk. 9.5.79
CARAIBE (6)Lorient1.10.402.12.4220.4.44Lost 11.1.47
CACIQUE (7)Lorient2.12.409.9.437.10.45Stk. 31.5.69
ELDORADO (8)Lorient10.5.417.12.4317.7.46Stk. 20.11.71
Group 3    
GROENLAND (9)Rochefort6.4113.5.431844Lost 26.8.44
MONTEZUMA (10)Rochefort26.6.4128.6.431.7.44Lost 14.7.63
PANAMA (11)Rochefort26.8.4121.11.4312.11.44Stk. 20.11.71
ALBATROS (12)Rochefort3.12.4115.7.443.45Stk. 9.5.79
LABRADOR (13)Toulon1.417.8.421.5.43Stk. 20.11.71
ORENOQUE (14)Toulon7.4119.8.439.44Stk. 20.4.78

Class. On 16.7.40 the French passed a law forming four transatlantic steam packet lines to free France from dependence on England for steam communications with the New World. After a false start (see the Gomer class), the navy built 14 450nhp steamers for transatlantic service and 4 220nhp steamers for three satellite lines in the Americas. (The ships' program numbers are shown after their names in the tables--note that Panama may have been No.3 and Colomb No.4. while Groenland was No.12 before the program was adjusted in 2.41.) It soon became clear that the proposed lines would not pay, and the ships found their way into the navy, more or less in the three groups indicated above. The ships in the first group had received all of their luxury passenger fittings during construction and were kept in reserve at Cherbourg and Brest until being turned over to a private company under a law of 4.47 for transatlantic operations under the names New York, Missouri, Philadelphie, and Union. This enterprise suspended service in 1.48 due to financial losses and the ships soon became part of the navy, although they remained largely idle until the Crimean War. In the second group, Caraïbe was taken over in 7.45 as flagship of the West Africa station (where she was lost), Magellan and Cacique were transferred in 3.46 to support military operations in Algeria, and Eldorado was taken over around 9.46. The ships in the third group never received their passenger fittings and were used to support the navy's expedition against Morocco in 1844. Groenland was wrecked during this operation, and the other five were assigned to the navy in 7.45 to provide packet and transport services in the Mediterranean. The sail area of Orénoque was 1790 sq.yd.

All of these ships were built to different plans and technically form separate classes, but their dimensions were so similar that they are consolidated here into one group. Their beam over their paddle boxes was about 64ft. The plans for the ships were approved in March and April 1841. In 10.40 nine engines on plans by Schneider were ordered from private builders which, along with four ordered from Indret, provided for all but one of the ships. Two of the Indret engines were later reassigned to the navy frigate program because they would not be ready in time for the packets, and additional engines were ordered for Magellan, Albatros, and Orénoque in 5.42. Designers and engine builders of the ships are, by program number, (1) Besuchet/Cavé, (2) Allix/Cavé, (3) Prétot/Cavé, (4) Chedeville/Schneider, (5) Moissard/Cavé, (6) Boucher/Schneider, (7) Boucher/Indret, (8) Le Grix/Indret, (9) Hubert/Hallette, (10) Hubert/Hallette, (11) Garnier/Hallette, (12) Garnier/Schneider, (13) Joffre/Schneider, and (14) Pironneau/Schneider. The completion dates in the table above are mostly machinery trial dates. The engines of Cacique were ordered removed 25.5.65 and she became a sail transport.

Disposals. Darien was BU 1869. Ulloa (known as Ulua 1842-47) became a mooring hulk and was BU 1902. C. Colomb became a hulk and BU 1878. Canada was BU 1878 and Magellan was BU 1884. Caraïbe was wrecked near St. Louis, Senegal. Cacique was BU 1869 and Eldorado was BU 1875. Groenland was wrecked near Larache, Morocco. Montézuma was wrecked west of Goatzacolalios, Mexico and was intentionally burned 27.7.63. Panama became a barracks hulk and was BU 1896. Albatros was BU 1880. Labrador became a storage hulk and was BU 1878. Orénoque became a storage hulk and was BU 1880.

Copyright © Stephen S. Roberts 2004-2015.