Revenue Cutter Henrietta.

Robert Gray

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Revenue Cutter Henrietta at Alexandria, Virginia.
She was commanded by Lieutenant James Gordon Bennett, Jr., who was her owner as a civilian yacht.

The United States Revenue Cutter Service was established by an act of Congress on 4 August 1790 as the Revenue-Marine upon the recommendation of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to serve as an armed customs enforcement service. As time passed, the service gradually gained missions either voluntarily or by legislation, including those of a military nature.

By 1860, the Revenue Cutter Service’s fleet was spread across the nation, with cutters stationed in every major American seaport. Revenue cutters assisted U.S. Navy operations throughout the war.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the following order to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase on 14 June 1863: "You will co-operate by the revenue cutters under your direction with the navy in arresting rebel depredations on American commerce and transportation and in capturing rebels engaged therein."

The war transformed the Revenue Cutter Service from a collection of obsolete sailing vessels to a primarily steam-driven fleet of cutters. The important operations supported by cutters also cemented the role of the service in such missions as convoy duty, blockade operations, port security, coastal patrol and brown-water combat operations.

After President Lincoln was assassinated on 15 April 1865, revenue cutters were ordered to search all ships for any conspirators who might be trying to escape.

The Revenue Cutter Service operated under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On 28 January 1915, the service was merged by an act of Congress with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard.

Wikipedia
Library of Congress (LC-B813-2256 B) (LC-B8184-7149)
National Archives (NARA - 528809)
COAST GUARD COMPASS
OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD

528809a (Revenue Cutter).jpg


service-pnp-ppmsca-33800-33854v.jpg


service-pnp-cwpb-06500-06532v.jpg


Currier_&_Ives-Schooner_Henrietta.jpg
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
It is curious that in the first photo she is obviously in commission but doesn't have any sails bent on.

Gafrigged Schooner Lewis R. French.jpeg

Gaff-Rigged Schooner
Gaff-rigged schooner Lewis R. French is an modern example of the rig carried by the Henrietta. It is really something to see one of them close hauled with all sails drawing & a bone in her teeth.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Revenue Cutter Henrietta at Alexandria, Virginia.
She was commanded by Lieutenant James Gordon Bennett, Jr., who was her owner as a civilian yacht.

The United States Revenue Cutter Service was established by an act of Congress on 4 August 1790 as the Revenue-Marine upon the recommendation of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to serve as an armed customs enforcement service. As time passed, the service gradually gained missions either voluntarily or by legislation, including those of a military nature.

By 1860, the Revenue Cutter Service’s fleet was spread across the nation, with cutters stationed in every major American seaport. Revenue cutters assisted U.S. Navy operations throughout the war.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the following order to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase on 14 June 1863: "You will co-operate by the revenue cutters under your direction with the navy in arresting rebel depredations on American commerce and transportation and in capturing rebels engaged therein."

The war transformed the Revenue Cutter Service from a collection of obsolete sailing vessels to a primarily steam-driven fleet of cutters. The important operations supported by cutters also cemented the role of the service in such missions as convoy duty, blockade operations, port security, coastal patrol and brown-water combat operations.

After President Lincoln was assassinated on 15 April 1865, revenue cutters were ordered to search all ships for any conspirators who might be trying to escape.

The Revenue Cutter Service operated under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On 28 January 1915, the service was merged by an act of Congress with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard.

Wikipedia
Library of Congress (LC-B813-2256 B) (LC-B8184-7149)
National Archives (NARA - 528809)
COAST GUARD COMPASS
OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD

View attachment 380253

View attachment 380254

View attachment 380255

View attachment 380256
Do you know what the max speed for a cutter like this was? I'm curious.
 

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
President Lincoln, even though somewhat confused as to the proper administrative chain of command for the USRM, helped secure one vessel. Within weeks of the firing at Fort Sumter, he dashed off a note to the "Hon. Sec. of Navy," realized his error and crossed out the word "Navy," and substituted "Treasury," requesting an interview for James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald. In the end, Secretary Chase commissioned Bennett as a First Lieutenant to command his own yacht, which became the USRM cutter Henrietta and did blockade duty from Long Island to Port Royal, South Carolina, during the war. Although Bennett resigned from the USRM in May 1862, his tour of duty gave him a life-long interest in nautical and military affairs, for his newspaper became noted for its wide and detailed coverage of these fields.
 

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
For his sixteenth birthday, Jamie received a 77-ton centerboard sloop named Rebecca. He raced that year, 1857, in the Annual Cruise of the New York Yacht Club, and must have handled himself and his crew of 22 well, because he was duly elected to membership when the captains met on board the flagship on the layday in New Bedford. He remains the youngest member ever admitted, at age 16 and 3 months. Rebecca is recorded at or near the top of the racing results on many occasions up until 1861, though not without controversy and protests. Bennett Jr., makes his first appearance on the newspaper scene in 1861, at an important dinner. Bennett Sr. invited Henry Villard to the Bennett mansion in Washington Heights. During dinner where the only other diner was his son, age 20, Bennett Sr. gave welcome assurances to be passed to the new Lincoln administration that the Herald would henceforth stand solidly behind Lincoln and the North in the coming fury. This was a reversal of recent editorials, but it would hold throughout the Civil War. The paper vaulted to the top of its game in its war coverage: Lincoln reportedly read only the Herald if he read any newspaper at all: his hand-written letters to Bennett are much studied as evidence of Lincoln's sure hand on the ship of state and his skill as a statesman, even in the early days of his presidency. Also during that dinner the father offered his son's new 225-ton schooner Henrietta to the Revenue Cutter Service, and Lincoln made Bennett Jr. a third Lieutenant.

Bennett did indeed roam the coast in his country's service for a full year at sea. He was reported off the Carolina coast in April, but he was back in New York for the social season and to join the NYYC Annual Cruise in August which confined itself to the waters of New York Harbor and the Sound. During this year at sea in Henrietta, in a vessel whose model... shows her hull to be very like the schooner America..., Bennett became quite a good sailor and amateur navigator, skills that he was to exercise for the rest of his life. He developed a great respect for the professional sailor, and a deep commitment to a life at sea, though not the life of an ordinary sailor, as we shall see.

 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
It is curious that in the first photo she is obviously in commission but doesn't have any sails bent on.

View attachment 380746
Gaff-Rigged Schooner
Gaff-rigged schooner Lewis R. French is an modern example of the rig carried by the Henrietta. It is really something to see one of them close hauled with all sails drawing & a bone in her teeth.
Question, did these schooners make good blockade runners? We're they as fast as their side wheel counterparts?
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question, did these schooners make good blockade runners? We're they as fast as their side wheel counterparts?
There were quite a few schooners in the Gulf, judging by the captures. They carried cargos of salt from Havana. The blockade runners going into Charleston or Wilmington were very fast paddle or screw steamers that came on during the dark of the moon. They staged out of one of the British islands. They made a dash with highly combustible fuel that did not make smoke for the final stage. A sailing vessel would have been far to visible & dependent on the wind.

NavSource Old Navy Sail& Steam has photos & bios of CW era vessels of both navies. There is a lot of excellent information about blockade runners. Somewhere in my ‘piling’ system I have a book that lists every known blockade runners... where oh where I do not know.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
There were quite a few schooners in the Gulf, judging by the captures. They carried cargos of salt from Havana. The blockade runners going into Charleston or Wilmington were very fast paddle or screw steamers that came on during the dark of the moon. They staged out of one of the British islands. They made a dash with highly combustible fuel that did not make smoke for the final stage. A sailing vessel would have been far to visible & dependent on the wind.

NavSource Old Navy Sail& Steam has photos & bios of CW era vessels of both navies. There is a lot of excellent information about blockade runners. Somewhere in my ‘piling’ system I have a book that lists every known blockade runners... where oh where I do not know.
1. "A sailing vessel would have been far to visible & dependent on the wind." Even in the early on in the conflict?

2. "They carried cargos of salt from Havana." No cotton?
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
1. "A sailing vessel would have been far to visible & dependent on the wind." Even in the early on in the conflict?

2. "They carried cargos of salt from Havana." No cotton?
Cargos of salt from Havana were typical of Gulf Cost incoming blockade runners. The return voyage typically contained cotton. Commerce in Gulf waters was carried out by shallow draft vessels. This was because of the nature of the coastal waters from Florida to Texas.

During the early months of the war, any vessel that could float was put into service. Ferries & snag boats were converted into gunboats, for example. The schooners of all sizes that carried coastal traffic were the ready made fleet that everyone began the war with. That phase did not last very long.

Because of geography, there are only three deep water ports on the Atlantic seaboard south of Chesapeake Bay. Wilmington was of limited utility because there was only 9 feet of water over the bar at the mouth of Cape Fear River. An example of the type of vessel making for Wilmington was Modern Greece. She was a converted ferry.

blockade runner modern greece.jpeg

Modern Greece aground, Monitor from blockading squadron on right.​

Forced aground by blockaders, the ship was destroyed by a combination of gunfire from born Fort Fisher & Union gunboats. When Modern Greece & her remaining cargo was discovered in 50 feet of water, it was salvaged. You can google it to see what a blockade runner brought into the CSA.

Like the majority of blockade runners, Modern Greece was a hybrid with both sails & steam propulsion. Purpose built blockade runners designed for a dash from Bermuda or Jamaica were sharp bowed sleek speedsters. On a vessel of that sort, the sails were there for stability.

Long after sails had any utility for propulsion, they were necessary to dampen the roll of ocean going vessels. Gyro stabilization brought the age of sail to an end.

Pure deep water sailing vessels operated well into the 20th Century. The P ships built in Germany are arguably the best deep water square rigged vessels ever built. As with so many things, the CW era of ship design was the opening crack in the door of the industrial revolution.

It was not at all unusual for a sailing ship to beat back & forth outside the mouth of a harbor for weeks awaiting a favorable wind. Obviously, blockade runners could not do that. Steam driven blockaders would have gobbled them up. Successful runners combined both sail & steam.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
USS Gem of the Sea, Gulf Coast Blockader
The all sail USS Gem of the Sea was a 371 ton civilian craft purchased by the U.S. Navy August 4, 1861. Her list of captures gives a clear picture of what early war & gulf coast blockade-running consisted of.

USS Gem of the Sea record.jpeg


NavSource Old Navy Sail & Steam​
 
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J&FD1861

Cadet
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
If you're ever in San Diego, the Maritime Museum has a replica of a Revenue Cutter that sails:

The Californian is a replica of the 1847 Revenue Cutter C.W. Lawrence, which patrolled the coast of California enforcing federal law during the gold rush. The Revenue Cutter Service, along with four other federal maritime agencies, was consolidated into the United States Coast Guard in 1915.
https://sdmaritime.org/visit/the-ships/californian/

Better pictures and a video:
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
USS Gem of the Sea, Gulf Coast Blockader
The all sail USS Gem of the Sea was a 371 ton civilian craft purchased by the U.S. Navy August 4, 1861. Her list of captures gives a clear picture of what early war & gulf coast blockade-running consisted of.

As I was thinking. Early on, Sloops and Schooners would be good enough for the job.
 

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