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HMS Chatham (1788)

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Name  HMS Chatham
Fate  Sold in 1830
Tons burthen  133 bm
Launched  1788
Builder  Dover
Acquired  12 February 1788
Class and type  4-gun survey brig
Beam  22 ft (6.7 m)
Length  24 m
HMS Chatham (1788) httpssubantarcticstoriesfileswordpresscom20

HMS Chatham was a Royal Navy survey brig that accompanied HMS Discovery on George Vancouver's exploration of the west coast of North America in his 1791–1795 expedition. Chatham was built by King, of Dover and launched in early 1788. She was purchased for navy service on 12 February 1788.


The Vancouver Expedition

Chatham's first significant voyage was Vancouver's five-year mission to the South Seas and Pacific Northwest coast of America. Her commander was Lieutenant William Robert Broughton, with 2nd Lieutenant James Hanson.

In November 1791, while exploring the South Pacific, Broughton's crew were the first Europeans to sight the Chatham Islands, which they named after their ship. Among the other achievements of Chatham's crew was the exploration of the Columbia River as far as the Columbia River Gorge, reaching today's eastern Multnomah County east of Portland and north west of Mount Hood. A plaque erected by the State of Oregon along Interstate 84 commemorates the spot where Broughton landed in 1792.

In November 1792 Chatham's commander was sent back to England with dispatches; Peter Puget was her commander through her return to England on 17 October 1794. Chatham suffered severe wear on her long voyage, and was repaired at Deptford in 1797. She continued in Royal Navy service until 1830, when she was sold in Jamaica.

The lost anchor

In 2008, a scuba fisherman found a 900 lb. anchor off Whidbey Island that he and others believe was lost from Chatham on June 9, 1792. Northwest historian Richard Blumenthal stated that, "They indeed found an anchor that fits the description of the anchor lost at that time". In June 2014, the anchor was raised and will be assessed to see if it is actually the sole remaining relic of Capt. George Vancouver’s famed 1792 voyage into Puget Sound.


HMS Chatham (1788) Wikipedia