Jefferson Davis, 1853
Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce from 1852 to 1857. He later served as the first and only president of the Confederate States of America.
Builder: J. M. Hood, Bristol, Rhode Island
Displacement: 160 tons
Disposition: Converted to a marine hospital
Rig: Topsail schooner
The Jefferson Davis was one of six Cushing Class cutters that entered service in 1853. She was named for then-Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. In fact, all cutters of the Cushing Class were named for members of President Franklin Pierce's cabinet.
The topsail schooner was built at Bristol, Rhode Island, by J. M. Hood, and her construction was supervised by Revenue Captain Gay Moore, who was suspended from the Revenue Marine later that year.
The cutter was towed to New York where she was fitted out. On 28 October 1853 she was ordered to Puget Sound and assigned the home port of Olympia, Washington. She sailed on 10 November 1853 but sustained damage in a hurricane she encountered off the coast of the Carolinas. She managed to limp into Charleston on 26 November where she was repaired and returned to service. She departed Charleston on 14 January 1854. She arrived at San Francisco on 24 July 1854 and Port Townsend, Washington, on 28 September of that same year.
On 3 November 1855 her officers and crew were credited with assisting in suppressing an "Indian outbreak at Olympia." On 15 September 1859 the Jefferson Davis was "placed temporarily under control of General Scott." Her sale was authorized by the Collector of Customs at Port Townsend on 25 October 1861 but this was cancelled and she was used as a "Marine Hospital Boat."
U.S. Coast Guard. Records of Movements, p. 67.