Vigilant / Dallas, 1824

July 1, 2020

Vigilant / Dallas, 1824

On the alert: watchful.

Builder: Andrew Flanigan, Baltimore, Maryland




Displacement: 75 tons

Rig: Schooner

Commissioned: 8 November 1824

Decommissioned: N/A

Disposition: Lost off Mexico, 21 September 1836


Armament: 4 x 3-pounders


Vigilant entered service in 1824 and was stationed in the Chesapeake Bay.  There was another cutter named Vigilant in service at the same time but sailed out of Newport, Rhode Island and then New Haven, Connecticut.  As Canney noted: "The existence of two vessels with the same name may not have been a problem to contemporaries, as the two were rarely out of their district of operations. . ."

She transported the lighthouse keeper to Dry Tortugas in 1826.  After transferring to New Bern, North Carolina, becoming the first revenue cutter to be stationed there, she was severely damaged in a hurricane in 1830, apparently losing all of her rigging.  After first being ordered to be sold, she was instead repaired at a cost of $5,400 in Baltimore and returned to service.  She was then renamed Dallas.  

On 1835 she was ordered to New Orleans to take the  place of the cutter Ingham.  On 11 January 1836 she was ordered by the Collector to St. Marks, Florida, to "aid in protecting whites against Indian depredations."  Her orders specified that her commanding officer, Revenue Captain F. Green, sail Dallas to St. Marks and present his command to the Collector there and "render such services as he may require in defence of that part, or any other part of the coast of Florida, now threatened with attack by the Seminole Indians.  When the Collector can dispense with the services of your vessel, you will return to the mouth of the river and report yourself to this office for further instructions.  /s/ Jas. W. Breedlove, Collector."  Here she assisted Army forces in numerous engagements with the Seminoles during the spring of 1836, including sending armed landing parties ashore, transporting personnel, and other duties, earning a commendation from the "commanding generals who take occasion to eulogized the services" of the Revenue Cutters.

She returned to New Orleans and resumed normal operations in May of 1836 but was placed under orders of the Navy Department "in connection with the difficulties between Mexico and Texas." 

She was lost while crossing the bar at Tampico, Mexico, on 21 September 1836.


Donald Canney, U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995. 

U.S. Coast Guard. Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard, 1790-December 31, 1933. Washington, DC: GPO, 1934.  Reprinted, 1989.