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Illustrations & Photographs of United States

Revenue Marine & Revenue Cutter Service

Uniforms 

1790 through 1889


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A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Portrait of Captain Frederick Lee, who commanded the cutter Eagle during the War of 1812.

There is little information on the uniforms worn by officers of the Revenue Marine/Cutter Service.  Here Captain Lee is portrayed in a period uniform of the U.S. Navy, which is probably what most Revenue officers wore, the majority of whom had seen service in the Continental or State navies, and/or the U.S. Navy at one time or another.

The earliest surviving written description of a Revenue service uniform dates from 1819. The officer was described as outfitted in a "neat and becoming suit of blue, a body coat, trimmed with brass buttons, having for a design an eagle perched upon an anchor surrounded by stars. The pants and vests were blue, with tall, round hats, black cockades, leather stocks and cut and thrust swords."

Coast Guard Academy collection

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform.

The earliest known illustration of uniform items for the Revenue Marine, undated but circa sometime between 1840-1861.

Document is in the archival collection of the Gale Huntington Library of History, Martha's Vineyard Historical Society [formerly the Dukes County Historical Society].  It was part of Revenue Captain William Cook Pease's papers which are held by the library.

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform.

Illustrations of the shoulder epaulettes for Revenue Marine officers, date unknown.

National Archives?

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Third Lieutenant Henry Harwood Key, USRCS, circa 1855-1857.  This is the earliest known photographic image (it is actually a Daguerreotype) of a Revenue Cutter Service officer. 

Note the unique USRCS sword.  Records indicate that Key spent at least $124.00 for his uniform, this at a time when there was no uniform allowance.  He was outfitted by the firm "Messrs. E. Owen & Son Tailors, Washington City."

Key was commissioned Third Lieutenant on 10 March 1855, promoted to Second Lieutenant on 18 January 1856, but was dismissed from the service in March, 1856. He was reappointed as a Third Lieutenant on 10 March 1856 and resigned his commission in April, 1857.  For more information, see:
McCauley, Robert H., Jr.  "A U.S. Revenue Marine Officer's Uniform, CA 1855."  Military Collector and Historian XXVI, pp. 21-23.

Original Daguerreotype is in the collections of the Maryland Historical Society

A photo of a Revenue Marine officer Captain John Faunce, USRCS, circa 1860.

Captain Faunce was the commanding officer of the steam cutter Harriet Lane at the onset of the Civil War.  He was in command when she fired the "first naval shot" of the Civil War outside Charleston Harbor.  

Faunce entered the service and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 5 June 1841.  At that time he served aboard the cutter Forward which was home-ported at Wilmington, Delaware.  He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 28 October 1843.  He was promoted to Captain on 8 March 1855.  Faunce was born in Maryland and entered the Service while living in Massachusetts.   He passed away on 5 June 1891.

Library of Congress Photo: Call Number LC-B813-2134 C.

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Captain Henry Benjamin Nones, USRCS, circa 1860.

Henry B. Nones was born in 1804 in Virginia.  He entered the Revenue Cutter Service with an appointment as a Second Lieutenant on 15 June 1831.  Though involved in numerous rescues, Captain Nones was most famous for commanding the Revenue cutter Forward throughout that cutter's distinguished career between 1841 and 1865, including combat action in the Mexican War and through the Civil War.  During the Mexican War the Forward under Captain Nones led the attack upon Alvarado and Tabasco, and played a major part in the blockade of the Mexican port of Vera Cruz.  He died in 1868.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

Henry B. Nones in full dress uniformCaptain Henry Benjamin Nones, USRCS, circa 1860-1870.

First Lieutenant Henry B. Nones in Full Dress.

Library of Congress Photo, Call Number: LC-B813-1545 B.

A photo of a Revenue Marine officer First Lieutenant Alvan A. Fengar, USRCS, circa 1861.

Alvan A. Fengar, a native of Connecticut, was born on 1 January 1835, came into the Revenue Cutter Service as a First Lieutenant (perhaps due to prior service in the Navy?) on 9 October 1861 from New York.  He was promoted to Captain on 11 July 1864 and died on 18 April 1896.

During the Civil War First Lieutenant Fengar was assigned to the Revenue cutter Flora until he reported for duty aboard the cutter Morris on 24 July 1852.  He began serving aboard the cutter Miami on 15 January 1863.  After being promoted to Captain on 11 July 1864, he assumed command of the cutter Pawtuxet in September of that year.  In April, 1885, he took command of the famous cutter Bear, being the first Revenue officer to command her after her transfer from the Navy.  He sailed the Bear to San Francisco and thence to the Arctic. 

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Third Lieutenant Joseph K. Whitcomb, USRCS, circa 1862.

Joseph Whitcomb was commissioned as Third Lieutenant on 9 October 1861.  He died on 19 February 1863.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Captain Amasa L. Hyde, USRCS, circa 1861.

Amasa Hyde was commissioned as Third Lieutenant on 28 October 1845; promoted to Second Lieutenant on 2 March 1849; First Lieutenant on 3 December 1852 and as Captain on 5 February 1861.  He resigned his commission on 4 May 1864.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Third Lieutenant Morton L. Phillips, USRCS, circa 1861.

Morton Phillips was commissioned as Third Lieutenant on 21 August 1861; promoted to Second Lieutenant 14 July 1863; First Lieutenant on 15 January 1871 and as Captain on 22 May 1886.  He died on 12 March 1899.  

Note his chapeau and the Revenue Cutter Service sword.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of Revenue Third Lieutenant Henry P. Hamilin, circa 1863. Third Lieutenant Henry P. Hamlin, USRCS, circa 1863.

Henry P. Hamlin was commissioned as Third Lieutenant on 1 July 1863; Second Lieutenant on 7 March 1865; First Lieutenant on 6 June 1866 and as Captain on 10 April 1871.  He died on 16 February 1879.

Photo from the collection of the U.S. Army's Military History Institute archival collection, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Provided courtesy of Michael L. Strauss

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform.

Illustrations of the various insignia for Revenue Marine officers, circa 1871.

Plate from the 1871 Revenue Marine Uniform Regulations

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Chief Engineer James M. MacDougall, USRCS, a New York native, in his Service Dress uniform, circa 1871.  At this time, officers were appointed specifically as "engineering officers" to distinguish them from those of the "line."  

MacDougal was appointed as a Second Assistant Engineer on 20 June 1864; promoted to First Assistant Engineer on 9 November 1865 and as Chief Engineer on 26 May 1871.  On 3 May 1895 he was placed on the Permanent Waiting Orders List, "so placed by reason of permanent disability."  This List was simply a means of providing for officers to old or infirm to continue in active service since there was no official "retirement" system in place at this time.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of Philip Littig Second Assistant Engineer Philip Littig, USRCS, no date.

Philip Littig had an interesting career with the Revenue Marine/Cutter Service and the U.S. Navy.  He was appointed an Acting 3rd Assistant Engineer in the Navy on 3 February 1865 and was honorably discharged on 21 August 1865.  He was appointed as a Second Assistant Engineer on 16 April 1866 and resigned on 4 December of that same year and rejoined the Navy as a 3rd Assistant Engineer on 14 December 1866.  His commission in the Navy was revoked on 8 January 1867.  He entered the Navy for a third time on 5 July 1867 as a 3rd Assistant Engineer and was mustered out on 22 August 1869.  He re-entered the Revenue Marine on 28 September 1871 and was assigned to the steam cutter Thomas Ewing, home-ported in Baltimore.  He was dismissed from the Service on 15 October 1883.  He was reappointed as a Second Assistant Engineer on 9 May 1885 and was assigned to the steam cutter Schuyler Colfax out of Wilmington, North Carolina.  He was transferred to the launch Discover based in Savannah, Georgia, in 1890.  In 1892 he was transferred to the steam cutter Perry based out of Erie, Pennsylvania.  In 1894 he was transferred to the steam cutter Johnson based out of Milwaukee.  On 3 May 1895 he was placed on the "Permanent Waiting Orders List" due to "by reason of permanent disability. . .[by the] Act approved March 2, 1895".  He was born in Maryland on 17 September 1862 and died on 14 February 1907.

Photo from the collection of the U.S. Army's Military History Institute archival collection, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Provided courtesy of Michael L. Strauss

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. An unidentified Third Lieutenant of the Revenue Cutter Service in Parade Dress Blue uniform, circa 1887.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Revenue Cutter Service Cadet Stanley M. Landrey in the Dress Blue cadet uniform, circa 1885.

Landrey was appointed as Cadet on 6 August 1885; commissioned as Third Lieutenant on 25 July 1888; promoted to Second Lieutenant on 28 January 1892; First Lieutenant on 5 March 1901 and Captain on 26 December 1907.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection

A photo of a Revenue Marine uniform. Revenue Cutter Service Cadet Godfrey L. Carden, circa 1886.  Overcoat with cape and cap worn by cadets.

Godfrey Carden was appointed as a Midshipman (USN) on 17 May 1883 but resigned on 3 October 1885.  He was appointed Cadet (RCS) on 4 June 1886; commissioned as Third Lieutenant on 25 July 1888; promoted to Second Lieutenant on 19 April 1893; First Lieutenant on 26 April 1902 and Captain on 23 December 1907.

Copy of photo in the Coast Guard Historian's Office collection


Last Modified 11/17/2014