A true treasure of the Northern sea, the SS Pacific was built in 1849 from the finest materials hewed with the highest of standards. The frame and keel were American hardwoods, chestnut and white oak, and the hull was skinned in yellow pine. She spanned 281 feet and was powered by two precision side-lever engines, each with a 95 inch cylinder traversing a massive 9 foot stroke. At full bore, she delivered 13 knots with all four boilers in service and consumed up to 85 tons of coal a day. The passenger compartments were just as impressive. They were spacious, finely trimmed and furnished with steam heat, an innovation of the day. The ship had many amenities to suit the passenger’s needs including bathrooms, smoking rooms, a barber shop and even a french chef in the kitchen. The reason for the elaborate extras was to compete with Britain's Cunard line. The SS Pacific and her three sister ships, Atlantic, Arctic and Baltic, were financed by the US government and specifically built to win back America dominance in transatlantic traffic. Together they made up the new Collins Line - a small group of larger, faster, and more comfortable passenger vessels.
On January 23, 1856, with a new first mate and captain at the helm, she departed Liverpool, England for New York. They waited patiently for her arrival, but she never showed. A team of ships were dispatched to trace her path, but nothing was ever found. She was completely gone - no debris, no survivors, nothing. 200 lost.
Many days later, someone walking the coast of Scotland happened to notice an object in the beach surf. It was a message in a bottle. According to Wyn Craig Wade's book "The Titanic: End of a Dream," the only clue to this wreck was a note in a bottle that washed up on the west coast of the Hebrides. It read:
On board the Pacific from Liverpool to N.Y. - Ship going down. Confusion on board - icebergs around us on every side. I know I cannot escape. I write the cause of our loss that friends may not live in suspense.
The finder will please get it published. W.M. GRAHAM.
A William Graham was on that ship according to the passenger list. He was a British sea caption heading to New York as a passenger to take command of a vessel awaiting him.
In 1991, 135 years after the wreck, scuba divers happened upon the bow section of the SS Pacific in the Irish Sea.
A treasure there to always be.