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Bill Wells

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  1. As good as Howard I. Chapelle was, he made errors in interpretation of drawings and other factors. In this discussion of US Revenue Cutter Louisiana (II) of 1819, his assumptions were misplaced. She, like her twin, Alabama, were built by Christian Bergh in New York City. Both of the same pilot boat schooner rig. 52 feet in keel and 56 tons. There is no evidence that Bergh used Doughty's plans. However, every shipbuilder of the period stole the good ideas and designs of the others. Bergh's price was $4,500 each. There was no pivot gun. The ever fiscally cheap U. S. Treasury Department found the expense to high and removed them the contract. In their place were two small 3-pounders. Later from New Orleans, Louisiana's captain the villainous Jarius Loomis, asked for four 6-pounders. He did not get them. Other models and comments about both indicate there was no bulwark. There was, a short one, but one still there. Louisiana (I) was built in 1804 and by 1812 lay abandoned and in extreme disrepair at New Orleans. The hurricane of 1812 sunk her and from there sold to the State of Louisiana, raised, refitted in time for the famous Battle of New Orleans. Christian Bergh also built Alert (I) in 1818. This Alert was a bit larger and had eight gun ports. Although not a model builder, I have been researching the USRCS since about 1892. If anyone is looking for details, I may be able to help. I don't have all but in my research I have located over a dozen cutters the Coast Guard was unaware. It is all about record keeping. As for my comment about Loomis. In 1819, he in Louisiana with Alabama, re-seized a Spanish merchant vessel that had been captured by a LaFitte vessel, Le Brave. In the process of transferring the goods, Loomis stole a small chest with doubloons, jewels, and other coins all worth in 1819 dollars about $3000. About $65,742.05 in2020 dollars. To keep his officers quiet, he gave them part of the loot. However, one officer when questioned about the missing items, confessed and gave up his share - or the share he said he got. Louisana (II0 has the distinction of being the only U. S. revenue cutter in U. S. History to have executed by hanging two pirates on board. The whole story is here https://www.academia.edu/25596743/Hanging_Le_Brave
  2. Sometimes iron guns were painted to appear bronze. This is an article from a small blog I do. http://simplyforgotus.blogspot.com/2014/01/guns-of-another-color.html?view=flipcard
  3. Indeed, it is that simple. We called them Voice Tubes. They were made of thin brass and were Point A to Point B. (and reverse) communication. Ships used them more commonly for lookouts to bridge or on small vessels to the engineering spaces. In this case they appear to be used for helm and engine order instructions.
  4. It does look good. However, there was no revenue cutter Ranger. I noticed you siaid you consluted the Coast Guard's drawing of the revenue cutter Louisiana. This drawing is inaccurate. Louisiana was a pilot boat schooner built in New York in 1819.
  5. Greetings. My name is Bill Wells and I have been researching and writing USRCS history for over 35 years. I am a retired Master Chief Gunner's Mate and my initial interests were the ordnance used on the early cutters. However, I found so many inconsistencies in the published history I decided to abandon them and look at the original sources. One of the largest errors is the crediting of too many ship designs to Doughty. These errors come largely from Irving King who did little research of his own. He relied on the works of Chapelle who made assumptions not born out by the documentation. For example, the 1818 Alert did not have a pivot gun and none of the previous vessels either. Alert had eight gun ports. In fact, Treasury Secretary Dalllas in December 1815 canceled the six-pounder pivot gun for both Eagle (II) and Detector (I) building at Newport, RI. The 1819 Louisiana and Alabama were pilot boat schooner built by Christian Bergh. They followed the Alert lines and had two-3 Pounders and four gun ports. The cutter captains found the mid-ships pivot guns too unwieldy and they complained about not having room on deck for a boat. This did not stop some captains from asking for more carriage guns. It depended on the region. The Northern cutters had little use for guns (other than firing salutes) and commonly stored them below for ballast or on shore. One captain took his ashore, plugged them and painted them black with a thick coat of varnish and buried them "in the Customs House lawn." The Southern cutter continued to encounter pirates, slavers, and smugglers. Similarly, the so-called "Morris-Taney" Class, 1829-1831, were more Henry Eckford than Humphreys. The cutter Hamilton and Gallatin were twin sisters based on an 1830 Boston design. Hamilton is featured in my article, https://www.academia.edu/8038319/_Sunk_To_Rise_No_More_ I do not model myself, but if I can be of help to anyone building antebellum revenue cutters please feel free to contact me.

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