WOOD, James

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WOOD, James ( -1860), Lieutenant who entered the Royal Navy in 1825. Wood ran the packet brig H.M.S. Pandora (1833-1862) on her voyage in the Pacific Coast of North America (1845-1848). Pandora was a 319-ton, wood-hulled packet brig with three guns.

In June 1846, Capt. Henry Kellett of the Royal Navy arrived leading a two-ship surveying expedition on the Pacific Coast. He commanded HMS Herald, a 680-ton, six-gun frigate, and Lt. James Wood was aboard HMS Pandora, a speedier packet-brig of 319 tons. After two months surveying Victoria’s and other nearby harbors, they departed for Panama, fully intending to return to continue with their charting. Pandora examined the coasts of Columbia, Guatemala and California, and as far north as Vancouver Island. On his return to England, he was promoted to rank of Commander.

Two survey ships were dispatched from Plymouth in June 1845, H.M.S. Pandora and H.M.S. Herald, Captain Henry Kellett. The vessels worked off the Pacific Coast of North America and conducted a survey of the coast of British Columbia after the Oregon boundary dispute with the United States, arriving in June 1846.

Both ships were assigned for charting the coast of the Americas. The vessels reached Cape Flattery, Washington (most northwesterly tip of the contiguous 48 states) on 24 June 1846. The Herald and the Pandora spent several months charting the Puget Sound and Vancouver Island until September 2, 1846 when the vessels sailed south for Alta California. (In 1847, the Modeste was the only British ship in the region during 1847, and the Oregon Treaty "seemed to have taken the edge off of the Royal Navy's interest in the Northwest Coast.")

In 1848 Kellett and H.M.S. Herald was reassigned with to join the search for Sir John Franklin in the Bering Strait.

Specimens collected on these Pacific coast voyages are in the British Museum, including a Santa Rosa Island fox collected in 1847.