Salmon P. Chase resigned from the Senate in 1861 to become the 25th Secretary of the Treasury as the Civil War began. He served for President Abraham Lincoln in that capacity from March 7, 1861 until June 30, 1864. The war created the need to raise money, and with customs revenue from the Southern cotton trade cut off, Chase had to implement internal taxes. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, later the Internal Revenue Service, was created in 1862 to collect stamp taxes and internal duties. The next year it administered the nation's first income tax. In order to further finance the war, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was established in 1862 to print the government's first currency, known as greenbacks because of their color. These were legal tender notes not backed by specie. Chase disapproved in principle of the legal tender notes; with no requirement for specie backing they could be printed in unlimited quantities and were therefore inflationary. He recognized their necessity in a time of emergency, but later, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he would declare the notes unconstitutional. The National Banking System was created in 1863 to establish a uniform currency. The greenbacks, within a new network of national banks, directly involved the government in banking for the first time. Chase resigned in 1864, having put the nation's finances in a more favorable condition. Lincoln appointed him Chief Justice later that year, and he presided over the Court during the difficult period of Reconstruction.
Salmon P. Chase was born in 1808. He died in 1873.
Type/Rig/Class: Schooner/side-wheel steamer; Chase Class
Builder: James Murphy and Company, Brooklyn, New York
Dates of Service: 1865 - 1875
Displacement: 500 tons
Draft: 10' 8"
Propulsion: Sail / steam
Machinery: Single walking-beam steam engine; side wheels;
Armament: 3 x 4-pounders; 1 x 30-pounder; 2 x 24-pounders (Johnson, 1889)
In 1865 and 1866 five cutters of the Chase Class were constructed for the Revenue Cutter Service: Chase, Fessenden, Johnson, McCulloch and Sherman. They were wooden-hulled side-wheel steamers powered by walking-beam steam engines. Their hulls were constructed with iron diagonal bracing for added strength. They were designed for operations on the Great Lakes, where they were laid up during the winter months, but McCulloch served in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.
The revenue cutter Salmon P. Chase, known also as simply Chase, was commissioned on 9 October 1865. She was first ordered to Ogdensburg, New York, via the St. Lawrence, where she was then stationed at Oswego. She patrolled the waters of the Great Lakes during the navigation season and was laid up during the winter months, usually from late-November until May.
She was sold for $11,527.00 on 15 June 1875. She became the merchant vessel Admiral and was sold overseas in 1883.
Donald Canney. U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935. Annapolis, MD: 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).