H.M.S. Herald

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H.M.S Herald


H.M.S. Herald (fl. 1845-1851), British vessel under Captain Henry Kellett that sailed from England in 1845 with the primary mission of surveying the coast of North America from Guayaquil to Vancouver, including the Galápagos Islands. H.M.S. Herald also made three trips to the Arctic in search of Sir John Franklin.

The vessel also searched for Franklin's missing ship. expedition noted several Channel Islands.

1847-1851:
  • Surgeon on board was John Goodridge;
  • Naturalist on board, British-born botanist, Thomas Edmondston (1825-1846), was killed by an accidentally discharged gun while disembarking from a boat on the coast of South America. Berthold Seeman (1825-1871), a German botanist, was appointed naturalist after his death, joining the vessel in July 1846 in Panama.


H.M.S. Herald south to Panama past Channel Islands in October 1846.
  • 18 Sep 1846, arrived at San Francisco, where an officer from the US corvette Portsmouth came on board and announced that America was now in possession of California, probably not unexpected, taking into account the recent problems with Oregon, and the problems at San Francisco, with no government in the region following the departure of the educated Spanish, and it had become a free for all, there being no law or order.
  • 22 Sep 1846, departed San Francisco, for Monterey, where the Pandora went in to pick up a letter from the Admiral, and found the Americans in occupation.
  • 27 Sep 1846, fixed the position of John Begge's Reef, and surveyed the islands of San Nicholas [sic], San Clemente, and the Coronados Islands.
  • 2 Oct 1846, visited the southernmost island of the Coronados.
  • 11 Oct 1846, anchored off Cape Collnett.
  • 14 Oct 1846, off the Island of San Martin, and the following day anchored off San Quentin.
  • 22 Oct 1846, passed by San Geronimo, and on the 25th anchored off San Cerros Island, where two graves with head boards were found dated 1819 : one being for a John Brown Sinclair, drowned on the Harriet ; and the other for Justin Finch of the Shakespeare.
  • 2 Nov 1846, anchored in Magdalena Bay and refitted : hunting ashore and fishing from the ship was successful, bass, mullet, and other varieties being caught, in addition to the occasional turtle and shark.
  • 11 Nov 1846, arrived Cap San Lucas, and the following day at Mazatlan, and found that mail was waiting at San Blas, and that stores and provisions were on board the Palinurus transport, in the bay. Whilst Mazatlan was not a proper port, it was a far more healthy place than San Blas, between November and June and had grown accordingly.
January 1847 H.M.S. Herald returned to Panama



SAN NICOLAS ISLAND: October 1846: “On the 27th [September] we fixed the position of John Begge's [sic] reef in 30 degrees 22' north, 119 degrees 44' west. This dangerous rock has deep water round it, and lies to the west-north-west of San Nicolas Island, one of the groups which line the Californian coast in this latitude. We also surveyed San Nicolas, San Clemente, and the Coronados Islands. The Pandora went into San Diego, the Herald remained off the low, arid, and uninteresting shores...”


October 3, 1846 [Californian]: “Marine Intelligence. Port of San Francisco—Sept. 28th, 1846. 18th, H.B.M. [Her British Majesty] Frigate Herald, Capt. Kellett, R.N., on surveying service. 18th, H.B.M. Brig Pandora, Capt. Wood, R.N., same service.”


CEDROS ISLAND: October 1846: “On the 2nd of October we were enveloped in a thick fog; all at once it cleared off, and we found ourselves close to the barren and lofty Coronados, a group composed of three islands. We anchored off the southern-most island; this, though the most fertile, only produces grass and low shrubs.”


December 8, 1847 [Californian]: “H.B.M. Surveying ship Herald and brig Pandora arrived here last week from the Straits of Juan de Fuca, having touched at San Francisco, San Diego, Monterey, Mazatlan and all the principal harbors on the Mexican coast.”


June 5, 1850 [DAC]: “H.B.M. Surveying Herald — This vessel was lying at Honolulu at the date of our last advices from that port. The following is a list of officers serving on board, 10th of May, 1850: Captain, Henry Kellett, Esq., C.B.; Lieutenants, Rochfort Maguire, Henry Trollope, — Lee; Master, W. F. Parsons; Surgeon, John O. Goodridge; Paymaster and Purser, Thomas Woodward; Mates, (acting,) William Chimmo, John Hutchinson, B. C. T. Pim, T. B. Collinson; Second Master, George Allen; Acting additional 2nd Master, Thomas Bourchier; Assistant Surgeon, W. T. Billings; Clerks, J. G. Whiffin, Edwin Jago; Midshipmen, Richard Roche, R. F. Packenham, J. B. Anderson; Master's Assistant, Thom. A. Hull; Gunner, William J. Ford; Boatswain, Thos. Chandler; Carpenter, S. Croggan; Naturalist, Berthold Seemann. E. J. L. Cooper, formerly Second Lieutenant, on board the Herald, has been transferred to the Pandora. J. C. Hill, formerly Master of the Herald, and John Hill, Carpenter, have gone home.”


June 25, 1863 [SDU]: “Bibliografa Californica Compiled by Alex. S. Taylor. In default of a proper Bibliography of California, the following Biblioteca is offered to the public as the most extended pubkished on the subject, to the year 1863... 1852.—British ship Herald, Captain Kellett. Voyage to Berhing's Straits and North Pacific in 1845, et sig. Zolology of. By Forbes & Richardson. 4to. London, 1852.”