USS Alexander Hamilton

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Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

I

(RC: dp. 223; cpl. 38; a. 1 4")

The first Alexander Hamilton—a revenue cutter constructed in 1870 and 1871 at Buffalo, N.Y., by David Bell—was commissioned in the Revenue Cutter Service in October 1871.

Between 1871 and 1898, the cutter operated with the Revenue Cutter Service along the eastern seaboard of the United States between Virginia and Massachusetts. During that service, she operated from various bases including Boston, Mass., Philadelphia, Pa., and Norfolk, Va. On 24 March 1898, impending hostilities with Spain over the unresolved instability and oppressive rule in Cuba prompted President McKinley to issue an executive order instructing the Revenue Cutter Service to cooperate with the Navy.

Alexander Hamilton departed Baltimore on 26 March and reported for duty at Norfolk on the 28th. She conducted defensive patrols out of Norfolk until midsummer. By the beginning of August, the cutter was at Key West, Fla., undergoing repairs to her rudder. On 10 August she departed Key West, bound for the blockade off Havana. She joined the fleet there on the 11th delivered mail, and took up station with the blockading force The following day, she came under enemy fire but, rather than return the desultory shots, she hauled off out of range. On 13 August, she completed her brief tour on the blockade and headed via Key West, to Charleston, S.C., where she arrived on 17 August. That same day, she was returned to the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.

She resumed service with the Revenue Cutter Service with cruises along the Carolina coast. Later, her area of operations was extended to include portions of the Florida coast. By the spring of 1903, the cutter was operating in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. In June 1904 her cruising grounds were extended west to Mobile, Ala. That area remained her zone of operations for the remainder of her career. On 31 January 1906 Alexander Hamilton was placed out of commission at Mobile Ala. She was sold to Mr. Lee Kimball, of Mobile, on 6 March 1906 and was delivered to him on 26 March.