Lewis Cass, 1855

Feb. 7, 2021

Lewis Cass, 1855

The secretary of state in President James Buchanan's cabinet. 

Builder: Page & Allen, Portsmouth, Virginia

Length: 80'

Beam: 23'

Draft: 5'

Displacement: 93 tons

Rig: Topsail schooner

Cost: $

Commissioned: 1856

Decommissioned: N/A

Disposition: Seized

Machinery:  None

Performance & Endurance:


Complement: 13, plus officers

Armament: 1 x 9-pounder

Cutter History:

The revenue cutter Phillip Allen was constructed by Page and Allen of Portsmouth, Virginia.  Her construction was superintended by Revenue First Lieutenant Robert K. Hudgins.  She was launched in early 1856 and her station designated as New Orleans, Louisiana.  On 1 July 1856 she was ordered to sail for New Orleans from Portsmouth.  After fitting out she set sail on 21 July.

She was transferred to Mobile, Alabama, to replace the cutter McClelland.  During the secession crisis, Revenue Captain J. J. Morrison, commanding the cutter Lewis Cass at Mobile, decided to cast his lot with the Confederacy, and accordingly surrendered his cutter to the state authorities of Alabama at Mobile on 30 January 1861.  The crew remained loyal to the United States and made its way through the hostile South to reach Northern territory.  

Alabama turned the cutter over to the Confederate Navy, which commissioned her CSS Lewis Cass.  There is no further record of her service under the Confederate flag or her ultimate fate.


Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.  Washington, DC: USGPO.

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).

U. S. Navy, Naval History Division. Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865. Washington: USGPO, 1971.