Named after the principal owner of the famous Black Ball Line of North Atlantic passenger packet ships, the Charles H. Marshall was, in fact, the last sailing vessel ordered for the company before it succumbed to the competition of steam and went out of business.
Built, like practically all the other Black Ball ships, in William H. Webb's yard in New York, Charles H. Marshall was registered at 1,683 tons and measured 193 feet in length with a 39 foot beam. Launched on 26th May 1869, she drew just over 10 feet of water (or 24 feet deep loaded) and soon acquired the well-deserved reputation of being "a large carrier and a good sea boat". Although primarily intended for the North Atlantic run, she was also designed to suit "both the European and East Indian trades" almost as if her owners had sensed that the days of the passenger sailing packets were drawing to a close. After nine years of reliable service, during which the ship's best-ever Atlantic crossing was in a very creditable 23 days, she was sold when the Black Ball Line abruptly suspended operations in the summer of 1878. Thereafter employed as a general trader until her demise in 1891, she survived into venerable old age enjoying the dual distinction of being not only the last of the Black Ball Line's celebrated ocean thoroughbreds, but also the very last true square-rigged sailing ship to be built in either the City or State of New York.