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Van Buren, 1839

The eighth president of the United States and the names of cities in Maine, Arkansas, Missouri, and Ohio.

Builder: [John J.] Abrahams & [Hugh A.] Cooper Shipbuilders, Philpot Street, Despeaux's Wharf and down Fleet west of Ann Street, Baltimore, MD

Cost:  Unknown

Rig: Topsail Schooner

Length: Unknown

Beam: Unknown

Draft: Unknown

Displacement: 103 tons

Keel Laid: Unknown

Launched: Saturday, 13 October 1839

Commissioned: 1839

Decommissioned: Probably early 1847

Disposition: Sold on 1 June 1847 for $1,200.

Complement: Normally four officers and 16 seaman and boys, including the Boatswain, Carpenter, Gunner, Cook and stewards.

Ordnance (as of 15 August 1845):

Cannon: Iron., 4 12-pdr carriage
Muskets: 12; Caliber 18 balls to the pound [.69]
Carbines: 12; Caliber 18 balls to the pound
Pistols, brass: 12; Caliber 18 balls to the pound
Pistols, iron: 12; Caliber 18 balls to the pound
Cutlasses: 23
Boarding Pikes: 12
Hatchets: 6
Passing boxes: 5
Tube boxes: 4
Cannon (firing) locks: 4
Powder Horns: 5
Round shot: 98 12-pdr
Grape, stand: 14 12-pdr
Cannister(sic): 49  

[Note: The cutlasses may not have been of the traditionally held type. There were swords in service called the “Roman” or “Artillery” sword.] The word “cutlasses” was on the form used by Secretary Walker. The first standard ordnance form. [The above was researched and provided to us by GMCM William R. Wells, II, USCG (Ret.)]

Cutter History:

Van Buren may have been built to the lines of the cutter Morris. The cutter was ready on 29 November 1839 and her logs began on 23 December 1839. The cutter's original station was Baltimore, but she was transferred to naval control on 2 August 1841 in support of the Seminole War.

The cutter returned to Revenue service on 18 August 1842. The cutter was eventually assigned at Charleston, SC until May 1846 when the cutter was ordered to cooperate with the Army and Navy in the war against Mexico. The cutter made one passage to Veracruz, Mexico before being found to be unseaworthy and was sold in New York on 1 June 1847 for $1,200.

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Further Information, courtesy of William R. Wells, II:

Another source indicates on May 11, 1846 the Treasury Secretary sent out a Circular requesting each cutter to send the draft of their vessels. Unfortunately, Capt. Rudolph did not put the drafts in his log. Some captains put their answers to the Circulars in the log to show they did answer it.  Rudolph received the letter on May 16, 1846 and was out of Charleston for about two or three more days. He would have answered the Circular before June first.

The only answer to the May 11, 1846 Circular I have seen is from Daniel Dobbin and the cutter Taney at Norfolk. He wrote on May 18, Taney’s draft was 9 feet 4 inches aft, and  6 feet 10 inches forward. (Source: RG 26 E-151 [Letters from Officers of Cutters. 1833-1869]. The Van Buren, and the other cutters, should be there.

I have not found a notice of Van Buren’s 1847 sale in New York. The cutters were usually advertised and the results of the sale published. If sold in New York for commercial purposes she would have been registered with all the pertinent information. WRW, II.

Commanding Officers:

Images: None available


William R. Wells, II, GMCM, USCG (Ret.).  Bill Wells is a long-time researcher and historian of the history of the Coast Guard and the Revenue Cutter Service.  Most of the information posted above, including details of the cutters history, armament and list of commanding officers, came from his research and reference work.

Cutter History Files, U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office.

Donald Canney. U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

U.S. Coast Guard. Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).

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Last Modified 1/12/2016