Van Santvoort, 1857

(Later-Coeur de Leon)

July 1, 2020

Van Santvoort, 1857

later-Coeur de Leon

A former name retained (Van Santvoort).  Coeur de Leon is French for "lion-hearted."


Length: 100'

Beam: 20' 6"

Draft: 4' 10"

Displacement: 110 tons

Cost: ?

Commissioned: 1857

Decommissioned: 1866

Disposition: Sold

Machinery: One high pressure steam donkey engine; single boiler; side paddle wheels

Deck Gear: 

Performance & Endurance:


Complement: 29 (USN)

Armament: None; 1 x 30-pounder; 1 x 12-pound rifle; 1 x 12-pounder (USN)

Tender History:

Van Santvoort was originally constructed in 1853 as the commercial steamer Alfred Van Santvoort, and was named for her owner.  She was acquired by the Lighthouse Board in 1857 and was assigned to the 2nd Lighthouse District.  Her name was changed in 1860 to Coeur de Leon, which was a French phrase meaning "lionhearted", used to describe Richard I of England and Louis VIII of France.

She was used for the construction of the Minot's Ledge lighthouse in November of 1860.  She was loaned to the Navy in April of 1861 and she was outfitted at the New York Navy Yard and sailed on 2 October 1861 for Washington, D.C.  She was under the command of Acting Master Alexander.

Until the end of the war Coeur de Lion patrolled in the Potomac, James, and other rivers of Virginia.  She burned the schooners, Charity, Gazelle, and Flight in the Appomattox River on 27 May 1862 and the schooners Sarah Margaret and Odd Fellow up the Coan River 1 June 1862.  Enforcing the blockade, Coeur de Lion captured the schooners Emily Murray off Machodoc Creek, Virginia on 9 February 1863, and Robert Knowles on 16 September 1863, and Malinda on 3 June 1864, in the Potomac.  During a reconnaissance up the Nansemond River, she exchanged fire with enemy batteries on 17 and 19 April 1863, taking the surrender of one of these on the 19th.

Arriving at Washington Navy Yard 15 May 1865, Coeur de Lion was decommissioned 2 June 1865 and returned to the Lighthouse Board the following day.  She was sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February 1866 and was "found to be worthless as a tender." 

She was sold in November, 1866.


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Vessels.  Washington: USGPO.

Douglas Peterson.  United States Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939. Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000.