Nautilus, 1843

March 1, 2021

Nautilus, 1843

A Greek derivative meaning sailor or ship; a tropical mollusk having a many chambered, spiral shell with a pearly interior.

Builder: Baltimore, Maryland

Length: 76'

Beam: 19'

Draft: 7'


Cost: $

Commissioned: 1838 (Coast and Geodetic Survey)

Decommissioned: 1859 (C&GS)


Performance & Endurance:

Complement: 21 (C&GS)

Armament: 2 x 6-pounders

Cutter History:

The second Nautilus, the first ship designed for the Coast and Geodetic Survey, was completed in 1838.  Until the spring of 1844 she carried out surveys for the Commerce Department in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast, operating under Mr. F. R. Hossler (1838–1843) and Dr. A. D. Bache (1843–1844).  She was loaned to the Revenue Service to replace the cutter Jefferson.  She was turned over to Revenue Second Lieutenant John G. Breshwood at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 5 May 1843.  She served for nearly a year and was returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey at Baltimore, Maryland, on 10 June 1844.

In April 1844, although still a Coast and Geodetic Survey ship, she was put under the command of LT G. M. Bache, USN, to undertake surveys for the Navy.  She was transferred to the Revenue Service again on 30 October 1847, in exchange for the cutter Forward, and was ordered to Wilmington.  Nautilus was returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on 5 March 1848.  She then saw service with the Navy during the War with Mexico and was returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey after the war and then performed survey duties for that agency until 1859.


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).