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The Fleets

Compagnie Generale des Paquebots Transatlantiques / French Line

The Compagnie Generale des Paquebots Transatlantiques started sailing in 1847. The general English translation in The Times newspaper was Transatlantic General Steam Packet Co. They started Cherbourg/Havre - New York sailings in 1847 but the ships incurred severe storm damage and were found to be unsuitable for North Atlantic conditions and sailings ceased in early 1848. The ships were returned to the French Navy and reverted to their previous names.

The 1847 newspapers were full of the arrivals of this new French Line, not just because it was new, but for other reasons. The vessels seemed to run out of coal and would have to put into Halifax to refuel. Several times this happened. Then, in a December issue of the New Orleans Picayune an item appears stating that several people in France had been charged with fraud. It appears that when the ships ordered 1,000 tons of coal, they were only receiving about 800 tons instead!

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Route: Cherbourg / Havre - New York.

Funnel: Black

Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Union 1843 ex- Canada, 1847 purchased from French Navy, renamed Union. 1848 reverted to Canada and the French Navy 1,500
Philadelphie 1843 ex- Christophe Colomb, 1847 purchased from the French Navy, renamed Philadelphie. 1848 reverted to Christophe Colomb and the French Navy. 1,500
Missouri 1842 ex- Ulloa, 1847 purchased from the French Navy, renamed Missouri. 1848 reverted to Ulloa and the French Navy. 1,500
New York 1842 ex- Darien, 1847 purchased from the French Navy, renamed New York. 1848 reverted to Darien and the French Navy. 1,500

From the New Brunswick Courier of July 17, 1847:

New York, July 9.--

The Union, Capt. Herbert, the pioneer of the French line of Ocean Mail Steamers, arrived yesterday from Cherbourg, France, after a fine passage of sixteen days. She left that port on the 22d ult.

The Union has a black hull, and three masts, and appears very much like the Great Western. She moves handsomely, and came up the bay with good speed, and took her place at the Great Western's dock in the East River.

The impression made by the new comer as she entered the harbor was decidedly favorable, and the officers and passengers seemed greatly pleased with all that they saw and heard. Thus the new ear in our commercial relations with La Belle France may be said to have fairly arrived, and here-after we are to look for the French steamers as regularly as for the English mail packets.

This new line of steamers is composed of the following ships, each of four hundred and fifty horse power:-Union, Philadelphia, New York, Missouri. The second steamer of this line, the Philadelphia, was at Cherbourg.

The Union brought 43 first class passengers, and 96 in the steerage. She is advertised to leave New York on Saturday the 24th instant.

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