RUM WAR!  The Coast Guard & Prohibition:

A Historic Photo Gallery


Unless otherwise noted, the following are official U.S. Coast Guard photographs.  The original caption (if available) is listed below the photo along with any other identifying information. Comments are listed in brackets.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Old 75-foot patrol boat." 
Photo No. 34363; dated 15 February 1928;
by Joseph N. Pearce.

[The CG-100, one of the 203 75-foot patrol boats built specifically for Prohibition enforcement duties.  They were known as the "Six-Bitters" and entered service between 1924 and 1925.  They had a top speed of 15 knots, slower than most of the rum-runners they were up against but were known as sturdy, well-built craft capable of off-shore operations.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[Coast Guard 75-foot and 125 foot patrol boats--the 75-footers were the backbone of the Coast Guard's Prohibition enforcement campaign after their introduction into service.  The 125-footers, known as the "Buck & a Quarters," entered service beginning in 1927 and were built for off-shore operations, particularly for trailing the rum running "mother ships" sailing outside of U.S. territorial waters.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[CG-403, a 78-foot patrol boat.  Six 78-footers were built as a follow on to the 75-footers at a cost of $49,000 each.  These craft were faster, with a top speed of 24 knots and one historian noted that they were "the best of the anti-smuggling boats.  Their hulls were made primarily from white oak and fir.  They were known while in service as the "400" boats.] 



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[The Coast Guard Destroyer Tucker, flagship of the New London Destroyer Force.  Originally commissioned by the Navy in 1916, she was transferred to the Coast Guard in 1926 and served until 1933.] 



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Coast Guard cutters in Philly Navy Yard."  No photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[The Coast Guard destroyers Tucker (left) and the Cassin (right) at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[A gun crew prepares to fire one of a Coast Guard destroyer's four-inch 50 caliber batteries.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"CG Destroyer Paulding with seized rum runner alongside." 
No number; date/photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

LCDR John S. Baylis (left) and LCDR Robert C. Jewell relax in icy surroundings after their ordeal."
No photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[Baylis was the commanding officer of the destroyer Paulding when she went to the assistance of CG-238 during a gale in October 1925.  The patrol boat foundered before the Paulding could reach the area, and all of her crew were lost.  The Paulding took a terrific pounding and nearly foundered as well before making it safely back to Boston, her home port.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Cassin 1926." 
Photo No. 3; 1926; photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"A motorboat makes contact with liquor smuggling British schooner KATHERINE off the New Jersey coast to smuggle the booty ashore." 
Photo No. G-APA-04-19-23 GEN. F.; 1923; photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Two 75-ft. patrol boats (right) from Coast Guard Base 7, Gloucester, Mass., picket two rum running schooners." 
Photo No. USCG-HQ-G-APA-06-09-27 (n); 1927; International Newsreel photo.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Captain Byron Laverne Reed, USCG, Commander of the New York Division and Captain of the Port of New York, takes a group of Prohibition officials on board the USCGC MANHATTAN to observe the Rum-Row fleet, coast of New Jersey, in November 1924." 
Photo No. G-APA-11-20-24 GEN. F.; 1924; photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"RUM SCHOONER: The schooner ALMEIDA of St. Pierre off the Long Island coast on May 1, 1925.  Deck load of contraband is visible." 
Photo No. 6-4-25; 1 May 1925; photographer unknown.


A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Picketing a rum runner."
Photo No. 42826; 1926; photographer unknown.

[The Coast Guard Destroyer Ammen picketing an unknown rum runner.  The Ammen, commissioned into the Navy in 1911, entered Coast Guard service in 1925 and served until May, 1931.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Rum-runner sloop KIRK AND SWEENEY with cases and barrels of rum on her deck, was seized by the U.S. Coast Guard about January 13, 1924.  A generous supply of cases of liquors were kept on deck to save time when the fast motorboats of comrad[e] smugglers from shore came to make contact outside the three-mile limit (extended to 12-mile limit by Act of Congress April 21, 1924).  The KIRK AND SWEENEY was later renamed the CHASE and used as a training vessel at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in the 1930's." 
Photo No. G-APA-01-13-24 (02) G.F.; 1924; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Boarding party from Coast Guard cutter examining papers of a suspected rum-runner."
Photo No. 1-12-27; 1927; photo by United News Pictures.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"U.S. Coast Guard officer examining a suspected smuggler." 
Photo No. 1-7-27 N; 1927; photo by United News Pictures.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Coast Guardsmen searching a captured contraband runner for concealed narcotics and drugs (Taken about late 1923, place unknown)." 
Photo No. G-APA-01-13-24 (01) GEN. F.; 1923 (?); photographer unknown. 



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"U.S. Coast Guard 75-ft. Patrol Boat CG-262 towing into San Francisco Harbor her prizes, the tug ELCISCO and barge REDWOOD CITY, seized for violation of U.S. Customs laws." 
Photo No. CPI-02-24-27 GEN.; 1927; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"A rum runner afire.  The crew of the rum-runner LINWOOD set fire to their vessel
after being pursued by a patrol boat in order to destroy the evidence." 
Photo No. 5-4-23N; 1923; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"One of many discouraging cases the Coast Guard encountered with court procedures was the smuggler tug UNDERWRITER which was seized four times in one year by Coast Guard patrol boats.  Three times liquor was found on board.  Each time, however, the tug was released on bond and went back to her illicit business." 
Photo No. G-APA-12-08-24; 1924; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date unknown; photo by CMoMM Alan Jones, USCG.

[An unidentified Lake class cutter--probably the Mendota--and her capture: the rum-runner Edna.  The Edna was commissioned into USCG service as the CG-936.  She was later intentionally destroyed by the Coast Guard when she was no longer fit for service.  Note the unidentified battleship in the center background.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date unknown; photo by CMoMM Alan Jones, USCG.

[The seized rum-runner Edna, commissioned into USCG service as the CG-936.  She was later intentionally destroyed by the Coast Guard when she was no longer fit for service.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Fort Lauderdale, Sec. Base Six, Dec. 6, 1926, The Commandant looking over the latest capture."  Photo No. B-6/4, #21; 1926; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[Ensign Charles L. Duke carried out one of the most remarkable arrests ever conducted by the Coast Guard during the enforcement of Prohibition.  While on patrol in New York harbor, he single-handedly captured the freighter Greypoint and its crew of 22 in a daring and heroic act.  The freighter carried over a half-million dollars worth of illegal liquor on board.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"The TORNADO, seized by Base 17, Dec. 7, 1931."
No photo number; 1931; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"The crew of I'm Alone after its sinking.  Left to right: Edward Bouchard (sailor), Captain John Thomas Randall, Jens Jensen (assistant engineer), John George Williams (mate), Chester Hobbs (engineer), James Barrett (sailor), William Wordsworth (cook), Eddie Young (sailor), and Mr. Simpson (British vice consul in New Orleans)."

[The I'm Alone, flying a Canadian flag, was a "black" sunk by Coast Guard patrol boats in the Gulf of Mexico in March, 1929.  One of the rummies was killed in the incident.  The Canadian Government sued the United States for $365,000 and the ensuing legal battle brought world-wide attention.]

Scanned from David P. Mowry's Listening to the Rumrunners (Fort Meade, MD: NSA, 2001), p. 21.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Indian Lake Boat Company, Lima, Ohio." 
Photo No. 20864F, 3199; date/photographer unknown.

[Another seized rum runner.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Feb. 1932, Base 18 USCG, Woods Hole, Mass., CG-813, the former rum-runner 'The Tramp.'" 

Photo donated to the USCG Historian's Office by ENC Leonard A. Royels, USCG (Ret.) in memory of his father, Anthony W. Rogers, CMoMM who was a crew member on the CG-813.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"CG-8031."  Photo No. 124; no date; photographer unknown.

[The CG-8031 was a former rum runner seized by the Coast Guard--case No. 1464-A--and put into service.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Lugger Princess, to be used as wrecking boat, 18 Aug. 1931, now CG-964."
  Photo No. 8; 1931; photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[Horace Alderman, convicted of killing two Coast Guardsmen and one Treasury officer and also wounding two other Coast Guardsmen during a boarding and seizure near Bimini.  He was later hanged at Coast Guard Section Base, Fort Lauderdale.  He is the only person ever executed on Coast Guard property.]



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.

"Captain Frank M. Meals.  As a lieutenant, he was greatly responsible for the success of radio communications in the fight against the smuggler."

No photo number; date/photographer unknown.



A photo of the Coast Guard enforcing Prohibition.


No caption/photo number; date/photographer unknown.

[A Coast Guard developed radio direction finder the size of a small suitcase.  Its small size made it easily transportable.  Coast Guard intelligence operations were one of the many unsung Coast Guard successes during the "Rum War."]


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Last Modified 1/26/2012