Hot seller already!
The first Eagle was launched sometime in 1793. She was built in Savannah, Georgia for service in Georgia’s waters.
DECOMMISSIONED: Sold 14 September 1799 for $595.00.
DISPLACEMENT: 55 65/95 Tons
LENGTH: 55′ 10″
BEAM: 17′ 6″
DRAFT: 6′ 8″
ARMAMENT: Probably ten muskets with bayonets; twenty pistols; two chisels; one broad axe.
COMPLEMENT: 4 officers, 4 enlisted, 2 boys
US Coast Guard Eagle History:
The Eagle was one of the first ten revenue cutters. She has been often misidentified as the cutter
Pickering which was in fact not launched until 1798 (and so was not among the first ten cutters). The
Eagle was built in Savannah, Georgia for service in that state’s waters. Savannah remained her
homeport throughout her career as a revenue cutter.
The only surviving documentation regarding the cutter Eagle’s construction, dimensions, or her rig is
a description written when she was sold in 1799:
“that the said ship or vessel has one deck and two masts, and that her length is fifty five feet ten
inches, her breadth seventeen feet six inches, her depth six feet eight inches and that she measures
fifty five 66/95 tons; that she is square sterned long quarter has Quarter Deck Badges and no
Galleries and an Eagle head.”
Some documentation does survive that provides a glimpse at her duties, however. Cutters typically
were assigned to duty by the local collector of customs and as such they carried out a myriad of tasks
and the Eagle was no exception. She was assigned to enforce the quarantine restrictions imposed
during the outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793. For that task she lay off Cockspur Island
and prevented any vessel carrying infected persons from entering Savannah Harbor. According to
some documentation discovered by Florence Kern, the Eagle’s commanding officer “did not feel
obliged to be at the helm of EAGLE at all times,” and therefore left her in the care of her first mate,
Hendrick Fisher, on many occasions.
There are glimpses in the records of some of her adventures as a revenue cutter. She had a small
hand in the establishment of the United States Navy when, in 1794, Eagle delivered woodcutting
supplies to contractors on St. Simons Island. The contractors were to supply wood for the frigates
recently authorized by Congress, an authorization that marks the birth of the nation’s second oldest
sea-going service. There is also some record of her being captured and held in U.S. territorial waters
by a British man-of-war in 1795 while the cutter was on an “unofficial” mission. Senator Pierce Butler,
from South Carolina, needed to transport a cargo of wool to his plantation on St. Simons Island and
somehow convinced either Hendrick Fisher, the acting commanding officer of Eagle as Howell was
not available–or the local customs collector–that the Eagle should carry out this task.
Trouble appeared off Jekyll Island, when the Royal Navy sloop of war Lynx, under the command of
Captain J. P. Beresford, fired a shot across the cutter’s bow. Fisher attempted to hove-to, but the
Senator ordered him to sail on. The Lynx then began to fire continuously as the Eagle sailed towards
the shoal waters on the north point of Jekyll Island. As the Lynx drew too much water to continue the
chase, Beresford sent his pinnace and cutter, in charge of Lieutenant Alex Skene, in pursuit. They
quickly overtook the larger schooner and came on board, demanding to know why they did come
about when fired upon by a vessel of his majesty’s navy. After learning the schooner was in fact a
revenue vessel of the U.S. government, the Royal Navy lieutenant returned, with his men, to their
boats and hence to their sloop.
In the ensuing international political battle brought about by this clash, Beresford claimed to be
outside the 12 mile limit and noted that the schooner was not flying any flag. The national ensign was
in fact not displayed on board the Eagle for unexplained reasons but was instead stored in the
captain’s cabin. The Eagle did apparently display some sort of small “pennant,” but it was not visible
to the British man-of-war.
She was sold on 14 September 1799 for $595.00.
Fantastic.....excellent communication! My ship was beautifully wrapped and arrived very quickly and safely to Australia. Item arrived exactly as in the picture..beautifully constructed :-)
Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Oh My Gosh!! What a gorgeous ship!!! Wonderful!! Thank you for everything!! AAAAAAAAAA++++++++++
Arrived safe and sound and was extremely well-packed. The ship itself is spectacular... obviously a labor of love. Meticulously detailed and well-made, it looks fantastic displayed in my home. Love the historical aspect. Perfect transaction in every way. I'm already eyeballing another one... if only I had more room! Thanks a ton!