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The Fleets

United States Mail Line of 1848-1859

The United States Mail Line was formed in 1848 by George Law, Marshall O. Roberts, Bowes R. McIlvaine and the trustees of the mail contract . The line was to run services from the Atlantic coast of the USA to the Isthmus of Panama with calls at New Orleans and Havana. They only operated for 11 years and with the expiry of the mail contract in 1859, the company withdrew from the trade. There was little public regret at the passing of the line and it's directors were said to be more interested in immediate financial returns, than in providing a good service. For full details of the line and Panama services, see "The Panama Route 1848-1869" by J.H.Kemble, ISBN 0-8432-0018-9. see also Panama Route Ships (on-site)

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 (on-site) or the Immigrant Ship web site.

Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Central America 1852 ex- George Law, 1857 renamed Central America. 1857 sank on voyage from Chagres to New York, Septemer 12, 1857 with reported loss of 423 lives. Central America on-site and more details and here.) 2,141
Empire City 1849 1861-1864 used as a Civil War transport. 2,000

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Last updated: February 02, 2005 and maintained by and M. Kohli