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General McPherson 1880

The General McPherson in 1880

The General McPherson was a ship used by the U.S. military to travel between military installations in the San Francisco Bay area. Named after Union General James Birdseye McPherson, a prominent figure in the American Civil War, the 109 ton two-masted Quartermaster steamer was docked at Pier 7, Pacific Street Wharf, San Francisco.[1] It was a small boat, reportedly "not much larger than a tug".[2]

The ship was the main mode of transport to Alcatraz Island during its function as a military defense and war camp after the ship was built in 1867. In addition to people is also carried military supplies and water.[3] A time schedule dated 1885 shows that it traveled between San Francisco, Fort Mason, the Presidio, Alcatraz Island and Angel Island twice a day and took 20 minutes to travel between Camp Reynolds and Washington Street Wharf.[3]

On February 2, 1869, the vessel was badly damaged following an accidental collision with the British ship Duke of Edinburgh. It was repaired and continued activities until 1886 when it was replaced by the General McDowell and subsequently sold by the military in 1887.[1][2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jr, Jerry Lewis Champion (27 January 2011). The Fading Voices of Alcatraz. AuthorHouse. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-4567-1488-8. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Soennichsen, John (2001). Miwoks to Missiles: A History of Angel Island. Angel Island Association. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-9667352-2-2. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fanning, Branwell; Wong, William (4 April 2007). Angel Island. Arcadia Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7385-4719-0. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 

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