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USRC Jefferson Davis (1853)
Revenue Cutter Jefferson Davis model
Model of the USRC Jefferson Davis, Coast Guard Museum/Northwest, Seattle, Washington
Career (United States) Flag of the United States (1851–1858).svg
Name: USRC Jefferson Davis also referred to as USRC Davis
Namesake: Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War
Owner: U.S. Revenue Cutter Service
Builder: J.M. Hood, Bristol, Rhode Island
Completed: 1853
Commissioned: 1853
Decommissioned: 1862
Status: converted to a marine hospital
General characteristics
Class & type: Cushing Class topsail schooner
Displacement: 160 tons
Length: 93 ft (28 m)
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Draft: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Complement: 13
Armament: 6 × 12 pdr (5.4 kg) cannons[1]

USRC Jefferson Davis was a United States Revenue Cutter Service topsail schooner of the Cushing class built in 1853. She was named for Jefferson Davis, then United States Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, and later president of the Confederate States of America.[2]


The ship, a topsail schooner, was built by J.M. Hood of Bristol, Rhode Island for US$9,000.[2] [3] One online Coast Guard source describes her as a 90-plus foot (27-plus meter) vessel with 150 short tons (140 t) displacement; exhibit text at the Coast Guard Museum/Northwest describes her as a 94 ft 8 in (28.85 m) vessel with 177 short tons (161 t) displacement, 23 ft 1 in (7.04 m) beam, and 9-foot (2.7 m) draft, with six 12 pdr (5.4 kg) guns.[1][2][3]


After surviving a hurricane in 1853 with slight damage, the ship put into Charleston, South Carolina for repairs, then sailed to around Cape Horn and arrived at San Francisco in July 1854 to serve on the West Coast.[2] Continuing up the coast to arrive in Port Townsend, Washington September 28, 1854, Jefferson Davis became the first cutter stationed north of San Francisco.[3]

Under Captain William C. Pease, Jefferson Davis participated in the suppression of a Native American uprising in Olympia, Washington in 1855, during the Puget Sound War.[1][4] Later, in Bellingham, Washington, the entire crew except for the captain deserted to join the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.[3][5] One Coast Guard source says Jefferson Davis was converted to a "Marine Hospital Boat" in 1862; however, other sources (including exhibit text in the Coast Guard Museum/Northwest) say that it was sold that year to Grennan & Craney Co. of Utsalady, Washington for US$2920.[2][3][6] According to one of the latter sources, Grennan & Craney Co. "refitted and sent her to China, carrying as cargo a flat-bottomed sternwheeler, which was to be supplied with the engines from Tom Wright's old Enterprise, dismantled on the Chehalis."[7]

Coupeville, Washington, on Whidbey Island was named for Captain Thomas Coupe, once Jefferson Davis's sailing master.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Strobridge and Noble, p 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 US Coast Guard Historian's website
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Text accompanying model at Coast Guard Museum/Northwest, Seattle, Washington. Consulted 2009-09-21.
  4. Snowden, p 381
  5. Wright, p 72
  6. Wright, p 113
  7. Wright, p 60
  • Snowden, Clinton A. (1909). History of Washington: The Rise and Progress of an American State. Century History Company. 
  • Strobridge, Truman R. and, Dennis L. Noble (1999). Alaska and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service 1867–1915. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-845-4. 
  • "USRC Jefferson Davis (1853–1862)" (asp). Eighteenth, Nineteenth & Early Twentieth Century Revenue Cutters. U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  • Wright, E.W. (1961). Puget Sound Steamboats, Golden Days of Fraser River Navigation, Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. New York: Antiquarian Press, Ltd.. 

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