Chase, 1861

Nov. 23, 2020

Chase, 1861

Salmon P. Chase resigned from the Senate in 1861 to become the 25th Secretary of the Treasury as the Civil War began.  He served for President Abraham Lincoln in that capacity from March 7, 1861 until June 30, 1864.  The war created the need to raise money, and with customs revenue from the Southern cotton trade cut off, Chase had to implement internal taxes. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, later the Internal Revenue Service, was created in 1862 to collect stamp taxes and internal duties. The next year it administered the nation's first income tax.  In order to further finance the war, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was established in 1862 to print the government's first currency, known as greenbacks because of their color. These were legal tender notes not backed by specie. Chase disapproved in principle of the legal tender notes; with no requirement for specie backing they could be printed in unlimited quantities and were therefore inflationary. He recognized their necessity in a time of emergency, but later, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he would declare the notes unconstitutional.  The National Banking System was created in 1863 to establish a uniform currency.  The greenbacks, within a new network of national banks, directly involved the government in banking for the first time.  Chase resigned in 1864, having put the nation's finances in a more favorable condition.  Lincoln appointed him Chief Justice later that year, and he presided over the Court during the difficult period of Reconstruction.

Salmon P. Chase was born in 1808. He died in 1873.

Builder: Unknown

Cost: Unknown


Rig: schooner

Length: Unknown

Beam: Unknown

Draft: Unknown

Displacement: 57 tons

Built: 1856

Acquired: Purchased in 1861

Commissioned: April 1861

Disposition: Declared unseaworthy in June 1867; sold May 1860

Complement: Unknown

Cutter History:

A small private schooner, it was assigned to the 5th Lighthouse District. In May 1866 it was re-assigned to the 6th Lighthouse District. After being declared unseaworthy the vessel was sold for $1,253.85.


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