Dallas, 1816

Dec. 18, 2020

Dallas, 1816

Alexander Dallas (1759-1817) served as Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison beginning in 1814.  Dallas succeeded in his efforts to establish the Second Bank of the United States, which was chartered by Congress in 1816.  He retired the year after the new bank was organized.

TYPE/RIG/CLASS: Topsail schooner / Surprise Class



DISPLACEMENT: 51 3/95 tons


LENGTH: 56’8"

BEAM: 17’





The Revenue cutter Dallas was built by A & N Brown of New York and was completed in 1816.  She was one of the several cutters built to replace vessels the service had lost during the War of 1812 and was one of two vessels of the "Surprise" class, the other being the Revenue cutter Surprise, also built by A & N Brown.

She was stationed in Savannah and saw considerable service.  On 19 November 1817 she escorted into Savannah the brig USS Saranac and a slaver with 137 slaves on board that the brig had captured.  On 17 June 1818 she captured the privateer Young Spartan and her prize La Pastora off Port Royal.  The Dallas at this time was under the command of Revenue Captain John Jackson.  The 24 June 1818 issue of the Charleston Courier noted:

"On Wednesday last (June 17) information reached this place that a ship and schooner were hovering off the harbor of Port Royal for several days.  Suspicion was awakened, and Captain Jackson of the Revenue Cutter, immediately dispatched two boats in command of Lieutenant Hubbard to ascertain what vessels they were.  They proved to be the Patriot privateer YOUNG SPARTAN, with her prize the PASTORA from Caronne for Havana.  The ship was captured about 18 days ago, has in full cargo of boxes and bale goods.  The Captain and crew of the PASTORA were put in an open boat at sea and sent adrift.  Part of the cargo of the prize had been smuggled on shore before Lieutenant Hubbard boarded her.  He took possession of the ship and privateer, together with a small sloop called the FIREFLY of Beaufort that had aided in carrying the goods ashore.  The Captain and the crew of the privateer, at their own request, were placed in the privateers  boats and permitted to depart.  The ship, privateer and sloop were brought up to town Saturday morning." (Charleston Courier, June 24, 1818).

The New York Evening Post added a few details to the story, including the fact that the crew of the Young Spartan were not released but were thrown in jail:

"Through the vigilance of the officers of the Revenue Cutter DALLAS, many of the goods that were smuggled from the PASTORA, now in our harbor, have been found and taken possession of.  The Captain of the YOUNG SPARTAN and many of his crew have also been taken and lodged in jail.  They have committed offences that can only be expiated by making their exits on the gallows." (New York Evening Post, July 3, 1818.)

"In addition to what we mentioned in our last relative to the privateer YOUNG SPARTAN, we now state that the real name of her commander is [Ralph] Clintock and not Barnes, as was supposed. He confesses having boarded the Schooner COLONEL GEORGE ARMISTEAD, Captain Gatechair, belonging to Baltimore, but denies that he ever sanctioned the outrages committed upon the vessel by the crew of the privateer, neither does he justify the killing of the Spanish Captain. (New York Evening Post, July 10, 1818.)

"It is stated by one of the crew of the YOUNG SPARTAN, who is now confined in Beaufort jail, that a quantity of the very goods taken and landed from PASTORA, together with a number of cases of Holland gin, that had been plundered from a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to Havana, by the YOUNG SPARTAN, have been sent to Charleston." (New York Evening Post, July 11, 1818.)

On 22 December 1819, the captain of the Young Spartan, Ralph Clintock, was convicted of piracy.  Local newspapers stated "The testimony developed a scene of infamy calculated to excite the horror and indignation of every individual present."

On 11 July 1818 the Dallas seized and libeled the Venezuelan privateer Cerony, alias Felix, for violating the nation's neutrality laws that were recently passed by Congress.  On 29 June 1820 she captured the 12-gun brig of war General Ramirez, which was loaded with 280 slaves, off St. Augustine.  The Savannah Republican wrote:

"On the 28th ultimo, while the Cutter DALLAS was lying in the St. Mary's River, Captain Jackson received information that the Brig of war GENERAL RAMIREZ, supposed to be a piratical vessel was hovering off St. Augustine.  The Cutter forthwith got under way in pursuit of the Brig having first obtained 12 United States soldiers from Fernandina to strengthen the Cutter's force.  At half past three the next day, she hailed the Brig and received for answer, "This is the Patriot Brig GENERAL RAMIREZ----." Captain Jackson finding a number of blacks on board took possession of the vessel and brought her into St. Mary's, arriving on the 1st instant.  Captain Jackson found on the Brig about 280 African slaves.  The Captain and crew, 28 in number, acknowledged themselves Americans." 

The General Ramirez was under the command of a Captain John Smith and had a crew of 28 men.  They were thrown in jail but their ultimate fate, and the fate of the slaves, remains unknown.

Dallas was sold at Savannah, Georgia, in December, 1821.


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

U.S. Coast Guard.  Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).