South Carolina, 1798

Nov. 9, 2021

South Carolina, 1798

A state of the southeast United States bordering on the Atlantic Ocean.  It was admitted as one of the original Thirteen Colonies in 1788.  First visited by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s, the region was granted by Charles II of England to eight of his principal supporters in 1663.  The territory was divided into the colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina in 1729. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union (1860), thus precipitating the Civil War.  Columbia is the capital.

TYPE/RIG/CLASS: Topsail schooner




LENGTH: 58' (keel)

BEAM: 20'



ARMAMENT: 10 x 4-pounders?


The cutter was one seven that entered service between 1797-1798 as the U.S. was entering into an undeclared war with Revolutionary France.  The U.S. Navy's first warships had yet to be commissioned and so the Revenue Cutter fleet served as the nation's first line of defense.  Consequently, these seven cutters were larger and more heavily armed than their predecessors and they were quickly taken over by the U.S. Navy and pressed into service.  Most were returned to the Treasury Department at the conclusion of the Quasi-War.

The second cutter to bear the name South Carolina was built in Charleston and was launched on 27 November 1798.  She was rated at 10 guns.   While she was being fitted out, South Carolina was placed under jurisdiction of the Navy for operation. On 13 December 1798, Captain of a Galley James Payne was ordered to assume command of the schooner, and she cruised in the West Indies -- principally off Cuba and Haiti -- until the summer of 1799.  She participated in the capture of the French-flagged vessel Adelaide as it departed Havana, in concert with the USS General Pinckney.

The Navy, however, found the South Carolina to be a "very dull Sailer and useless in the Navy Service" and so she was returned to the Collector at Charleston in August, 1799.  She was commissioned in the Revenue Cutter Establishment on 29 August 1799 and remained in service until 1803.


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.

Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War Between the United States and France.  Washington, DC: USGPO.

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).