Extreme clipper designed and built in 1851 by Samuel Hanscomb Jr, Portsmouth, NH, USA. Dimensions: 185'×36'×19' and 1060 tons, or 722 tons new measurements, later adjusted to 657 tons.

Griffiths gave a description of the ship in the U.S. Nautical Magazine Volume III (1855-56).

1851 February
The keel was laid.
1851 April
The original name Sarah Cowles was exchanged for Nightingale in honour of Jenny Lind, "The Swedish Nightingale" who at the time was touring the United States.
1851 June 16
Launched a the shipyard of Samuel Hanscomb Jr, Portsmouth, NH, for Captain A.F Miller, Boston, MA.
1851 September 6
Sold at auction in Boston for $ 43.500 to Davis & Co. Sailed for Sampson & Tappan's Pioneer Line of Australian Packets.
1851 October 18
Sailed from Boston for Sydney in 90 days under command of Captain John H. Fiske.
1852 July 31 - December 11
Sailed with a cargo of tea from Shanghai to London in 133 days under command of Captain Samuel W. Mather.
1853 August 8 - November 29
Sailed with a cargo of tea from Woosung to London in 113 days.
1854 May 20 - August 2
Sailed a general cargo and 125 passenger from New York to Hobson's Bay, Melbourne, in 75 days. The abstract log was reprinted in Volume III (1855-56) of the U.S. Nautical Magazine.
1855 February 16 - May 21
Sailed with a cargo of tea from Shanghai to London in 94 days.
Sailed with a cargo of tea from Shanghai to New York in 88 days.
1858 December 17 - May 18
Sailed from Boston to San Francisco in 152 days under command of Captain Peterson.
Sold to Salem, MA, and was sent to Rio de Janeiro where she was again sold.
1861 April 21
Captured by boats from the USS Saratoga while engaged in slaving off Kabenda, Africa.
1861 July 6
Sold to the United States Government for $ 13.000. Fitted out as a coal and store ship, the Nightingale was commisioned on August 18 with Acting Master David B. Horne in command.
Fitted out as an ordnance ship at Pensacola.
1864 June 9
Returned to the Boston Navy Yard where she was decommisioned on June 20.
1865 February 11
Sold at auction in Boston to D.E Mayo, Boston, for $ 11.000.
Sold to the Western Union Telegraph Co. in San Francisco for $ 23.381 to be used for laying a telegraph cable across the Behring Straits. [Fairburn has April 1866]
1868 September
Sold to Samuel G. Reed & Co., Boston, MA.
Sold to George Howes in San Francisco for $ 11.500. Sailed from San Francisco to New York with a cargo of oil [?].
Sold to S.P. Olsen, Krager°, Norway, for $ 15.000. [Howe & Matthews has 1876].
1882 June 19 - July 8
Sailed from Quebec to London in __ days. The old clipper ship John Bertram that left at the same time arrived to London four days later.
Reduced to barque rig during the winter, when also the deckshouse was removed.
1893 April 17
Abandonded at sea en route Liverpool - Halifax, NS, under command of Captain Chr. Ingebritsen, Krager°. [Brighton has April 5]
What is supposed to be the figurehead has surfaced in Sweden in 1994, where the Gothenburg antique dealer Karl-Erik Svärdskog bought the figurehead in the neighbourhood of Gothernburg. The figurehead of the Nightingale was a bust of the singer Jenny Lind. It has been possible to trace it back to Kragerø where according to a strong oral tradition the deckhouse and the figurehead was taken off the Nightingale after she was bought to Kragerø.

This figurehead was exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Art in Stockholm, September 1-9, 1996, during the Royal Swedish Festival (Svenskt Festspel).



Updated 2000-01-11 by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.