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Cormorant, 1842
Type: 1st class steam sloop ; Armament 6 (later reduced to 3)
Launched : 29 Mar 1842 at Sheerness ;
Disposal date or year : 1853
BM: 1054 tons ; Displacement: 1379 tons
Propulsion: Paddle
Machinery notes: 300

Mar 1841 has been ordered to be built at Sheerness.

13 Apr 1841 Sheerness, preparations are being made for laying down the Cormorant.

26 Nov 1842 at Sheerness ready to be commissioned.

Nov 1843 sent to Tahiti by Admiral of the South Seas Station

1 May 1844 arrives Valparaiso with South Sea Consul, Mr Pritchard, who was arrested in Tahiti - Mr P was transferred to the Vindictive for passage home to the UK sans wife etc who were left in Tahiti.

9 Nov 1844 The Vestal has brought intelligence that, upon the receipt of the late transactions at Tahiti, the Admiral of the South American station immediately despatched H.M.S. Fisgard 42 guns, HMS Modeste, 18 guns, and H. M. second class steamer Cormorant, the purpose of protecting the Tahitians from the French aggressions, until further advices had been received from the Home Government.

Jun 1845 had gone to Panama to meet the June mail from England.

22 Dec 1845 arrived at Callao from Panama and Payta, with the mail and news from England up to the middle of October.

24 Jun 1846, in the Straits of Juan de Fuca when the survey vessels Herald and Pandora arrived, and in accordance with orders towed them the next 60 to 70 miles, or until they had passed Port Victoria, and then back again, dropping anchor on the 27th inst., and left them to their own devices.

Feb-Mar 1847 Had departed from Valparaiso to Callao.

20 Dec 1848 Portsmouth

13 Dec 1849 the Cormorant, in company with the Rifleman detained the slave barque Astrea, ID No 4635, late “Chester,” of New York, off the Alcatrasses, off the coast of Brazil, and having inspected the vessel and found her unseaworthy, agreeably to orders, the barque was destroyed by firing and scuttling her and in the morning she had disappeared, and in the process would appear to have done the job of the Vice Admiralty and / or Mixed Courts by condemning the vessel in the light of her condition. See Rifleman for more information. More details available in Google Books.

4 Jan 1850 detained, when in company with the Harpy, tender to the Southampton, in lat. 23° 43' S., lon. 45° 0' W. the slave vessel Santa Cruz, 88 ft. long, 21 ft. broad, 12 ft. deep.

12 Jan 1850 boarded the at 9.30 p.m. in lat. 25° 30' S., lon. 47° 40' W. the slave barque Paulina, 301 tons, 15 to 20 miles east of Paranagua. The master, Francisco da Rocha Pirez, was furious and show no colours, log, or any papers, except an old American register dated 13 Jun 1848, for a vessel called the Chester, and protested most violently, in the name of the American nation, against my lifting his hatches, which I did, considering myself justified by his failing to prove his nationality. Although he called the few men on deck his whole crew, whom he represented to be American, in lifting the hatches abaft a number of men were exposed to view, he still resisted all persuasion to hoist his colours or show a manifest. I therefore detained her and sent Lieut de Kantzow on board with an armed party to take possession, and when the boat returned, Lieut de Kantzow sent me word that upwards of 16 Brazilians had made their appearance from below, begging that the hatches might be taken off.

13 Jan 1850 towed the vessel in shore and at 5 a.m., when the 2nd Lieut., on being relieved on the Paulina, reported that her slave deck had been laid, she had slave coppers hidden, along with leaguers &c. He brought the vessel's papers with him showing that she was the Paulina, of 331 tons, from Rio to Paranagua, and Monte Video. Took on board 26 of the crew, leaving the master and 2 others on board. Whilst all that was going on the Cormorant went off in chase of the Brazilian brig Carega, bound from Paranagua to Buleos and Monte Video with a cargo. A second brig was observed escaping into the Paranagua Channel under Sardinian colours and a ship's boat was sent after her, after she ignored several shot that had been fired at her, but she turned out to be the Carlotta, and was empty and bound for Bahia.

14 Jan 1850 put on board a prize crew under master's assistant Mr E.B. Smyth, with 8 seamen and 2 Royal Marine artillerymen and dispatched to Paulina to St Helena for adjudication with the Master, and 2 men, and then proceeded to St Catherine's Bay to land the remaining crew of the Paulina, a search of which had produced about $250 and a more thorough search of the vessel revealed that $530 dollars had been hidden, although it later transpired, after she'd departed for St Helena, that $25,000 were hidden in the casks of farinha. When trying to hand over the master of the Paulina to the American Consul he had changed his name from Murray to Nicholls, and then denied being an American citizen and put him ashore.

26 Jun 1850 the ship's boats captured and destroyed the slaver Rival, 91 tons, in the Rio Frio - see p. 391 at

29 Jun 1850 further to the last article carried out operations against slavers in the Bay of Paranagua during which she detained the Brazilian slave vessels Campeadora, Serea, Leonidas, alias Donna Anna, and Astro, and in an attempt to stop the vessels leaving the bay a fort exchanged shots with the Cormorant, damaging her hull, and killing one man and wounding two others - see p. 391-2 at

29 Jun 1850 detained near Paranagua, Brazil, the Brazilian slave schooner Campeadora, 213 tons.

29 Jun 1850 detained near Paranagua, Brazil, the Brazilian slave schooner Serea, 108 ft. long, 25 ft. broad, 16 ft. 6 in. depth.

29 Jun 1850 detained near Paranagua, Brazil, the Brazilian slave schooner Leonidas, alias Donna Anna, 365 tons.

30 Jun 1850 detained near Paranagua, Brazil, the Brazilian slave brigantine Astro, 112 ft. long, 24 ft. broad, 14 ft. depth.

29 Oct 1850 Is reported by the Alpha, barque, 357 tons, bound for Sydney, Australia, (11 Jan 1851), to be at Bahia and is said to be recruiting, having recently returned from a cruise off the Brazilian coast, where she has been successful in capturing several slave vessels.

25 Jan 1851 It is reported in Sydney that the a prize crew from the Cormorant, Commander H Schomberg, has recently discovered a cache of some 5,000 to 6,000 dollars hidden in a farina cask, when the vessel was taken to St. Helena to be condemned as a slave vessel.

23 Apr 1851, at Rio de Janeiro, towed the survey vessels Calliope, Fantome and Pandora out of harbour, en route for their passage to the Cape of Good Hope and Australia.

30 Apr 1851 a 17 ton slave vessel is reported to have landed her cargo of 139 slaves in the mouth of the River Itapaboama, most of who were recovered the following day by the authorities and were sent to Rio, although many were said to be dying.

20 May 1851 the Captain reports that he spoke with the President of the Province of Espiritu Santo, who returned his call on board the following day. It was suggested that whilst the slave trade may stagger on, as with the example from 30 Apr, 1851, for a few more years, the President was of the opinion that the slave trade was already at an end.

23 May 1851 joined the Geyser off Guarapari, who had been sent to watch this part of the coast. We remained in company for a few days before it became necessary to fuel the Cormorant and so departed for Rio, calling at Campos, Macahé, Rio Frio, and Cape Frio en route.

5 Jun 1851 has returned to Rio de Janeiro.

9 Jun 1851 detained off Rio de Janeiro, following a long chase, the slave steam schooner Sarah, Joao Chrysostomo, Jun., master, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, and on 14 Aug 1851 sentenced to be condemned.

13 Jun 1851 not being authorised to arrest Sardinian vessels involved in the slave trade, with the assistance of Lieut. Bailey of the Sharpshooter, who was suitably authorised, detained the Sardinian schooner Valoroso, Geo. Batta. Bonsignore, master, 3½ miles NNW of Santa Cruz Fort, and ESE of the Island of Paya. Whilst much of the evidence available at that time wouldn't have been sufficient for a court at Genoa to condemn the schooner, statements were taken from the prospective crew of the Valoroso, found on board the tug Sarah, most of whom gave evidence in the form of statements tying the Flor do Mar, Sarah and Valoroso together.

16 Jun 1851 returned to Rio de Janeiro having failed to find the patacho Flor do Mar, eventually found by the Plumper.

30 Aug 1851 South America