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The Second Mass and Its Fighting Californians

A Reference site of images, articles, artifacts of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry including the Cal 100 and the Cal Battalion.

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The Golden Age

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The Golden Gate

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Pacific Mail Steamship Line wharf, San Francisco

The "Golden Age", 2280 tons, was originally laid down for the Collins Line and intended for service between Panama and Australia. After a maiden voyage to Australia she sailed to Panama arriving on June 17, 1854. The owners decided there was not enough business to warrant the long haul and sold the ship to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. Along with her sister ships, the "Golden Gate", "John L. Stephens" and "Sonora" she helped Pacific Mail to control the route from Panama to San Francisco during the 1850's. After completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 the Golden Age was sold to the Japanese firm of Mitsubishi Co., Renamed Hiroshima Maru she continued in service until about 1890. She was very popular among the Japanese who nicknamed her the "Good Luck Ship." She was specially honored in 1877 by conveying the Emperor from Kobe to Yokohama, the first time an Emperor boarded a steamship. (San Francisco Maritime Museum)
Journal of an expedition sent by government to protect emigrants to gold regions on Washington and Oregon frontiers by the northern overland route. Kept by Samuel R. Bond, secretary to expedition.

Thursday, December 11, 1862

We came abord the steamer Golden Age at about nine o'clock this morning, the hour on which she was advertised to sail but as the oposition steamer Moses Taylor was lying at a neighboring wharf we expected each would wait to get all the passengers she could, and in fact, we did not swing out from our landing until twelve o'clock noon. This oposition line of steamers which has recently started, having made only one trip from San Francisco before the present one of the Moses Taylor, this season, has the general sympathy of the people of San Francisco and the newspapers nearly, if not quite, all advocate its claims to public patronage, against the old line which has so long been a monopoly. The first trip which the oposition made from San Francisco it did not bring down the fare much on the old line. There was no oposition steamer on the sailing of the St. Louis on the 1st of this month and the fare was then $267 in the first cabin and $200 in the second, but the fare today on both steamers is only $137 in the first cabin.

Cavalry company sails with us. A company of California cavalry some time since tendered their services to the general Government through Gov. Andrews of Massachusetts and were accepted in behalf of the Old Bay State, I think. This Cavalry company is now ready, consisting of 100 privates and Captain Reed and two lieutenants. It came on board the Golden Age today en route for the scene of its future peril and glory.

The people of San Francisco take great pride in this company and will watch its future course with great interest and anxiety as it is the only representative body of men which she will have on the great stage on which the terrible drama of war is now being enacted. Benifits and balls were givin in its honor before it left the city, it was reviewed on the Public Plaza and attended Thomas Starr King's church in a body and in full uniform last Sunday morning when the preacher found occasion to address to it some glowing, encouraging words. Today it was escorted to the steamer by the military of the city with a band of twenty pieces. At the boat was a dense crowd of thousands of citizens and two pieces of artillery which belched forth their thunder as we swing from our pier, while the band played Sweet Home, Old Lang Syne, Hail Columbia, Star Spangled Banner and other appropriate airs.  The members of this Company, a free will contribution to the service of our country, are mostly young and very active men of middle size and rather light weight. They are mostly New England men who have spent some years in California, and have all been tested to horsemanship before they were allowed to enroll themselves in the company.

May they serve their country effectually in the field and prove worthy of the two states which will share their glory or their shame!

By half past twelve we were fairly on our way out of the harbor, and all its islands, the Golden Gate, the Fort and all the surroundings were seen by us under favorable auspices, as the day was warm, and, although a fog hung over the water when we first started, it soon rose and the sun came out bright and warm before we procceded a mile. The Moses Taylor swung out and came stealing on half an hour after us but we soon lost sight of her as she did not pursue the same course as we did.

In going over the bar the sea was rough and so early in the voyage many of our passengers became sea-sick. The table was only set for one meal today and that was not well patronized. After passing over the bar the ocean was more tranquil and we kept till dark very near the coast. I sat on the hurricane deck most of the day and until long after dark enjoying the scene and breathing the inspiring air that came from far out over the blue waste of waters, while some of my companions and a large part of the other passengers were in no mood to enjoy.

The Golden Age is a good stout ship of 300 tons burthen with a single engine of 1400 horse power.