With the U.S. declaring war against Great Britain in 1812, Revenue Service cutters, the forerunner of the Coast Guard, set sail to assist with war efforts. As they would in future American conflicts, the revenue cutters went in harm’s way and participated in some of the first encounters of the war.
For 225 years, the Coast Guard has served as the nation’s lead Federal maritime law enforcement agency, protecting our shores each and every day. The Coast Guard also serves as one of the nation’s five armed forces, assisting in the defense of our nation during times of war.
Brewster began serving as an officer in the Revenue Cutter Service in 1797, about the time the Quasi-War with France began. By 1801, he received his captain’s commission and began serving as skipper of cutter Active, out of New York. He remained in the service until a year after the end of the War of 1812. All of cutter Active’s missions during the War of 1812 were carried out under his command.
Before the War of 1812, revenue vessels already enforced trade laws, interdicted smuggling, facilitated the operation of lighthouses and performed rescue operations. During the war, the revenue cutters cemented many of the combat and homeland security missions performed today by the U.S. Coast Guard, including port and coastal security, convoy and escort duty, shallow-water combat operations and intelligence gathering.
Written by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah B. Foster, Atlantic Area Public Affairs. Uncovering the mysteries of our nation’s past can shed light on historical events, along with providing insight on how our past shaped our future. As our nation […]
The Coast Guard’s roots in America’s maritime history is a daily reminder to Coast Guard men and women of their service’s unique contributions to the nation. Arguably, nowhere is that more true than aboard Coast Guard Barque Eagle. Crewmembers aboard the current Eagle had a unique opportunity to reflect on the service’s storied past when they visited the site of an intense battle fought by their maritime forefathers nearly 200 years before.
Standing on the dock at Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts, a seaman discusses shipboard life while effortlessly tying knots. Soon he’s joined by another crewmember regaling the crowd with descriptions of food storage at sea, back in 1812. Tugging on their red wool vests, the pair continues their storytelling while transporting the crowd back to a little known era in American history.
While the Coast Guard was aware prisoners of war had been taken captive during the War of 1812, there was uncertainty about the number of prisoners and details of their imprisonment. Until recently. Since the British burned the Treasury Building in 1814 during its attack on Washington, D.C., historical records from the Coast Guard’s predecessor Revenue Cutter Service had been lost. Thanks to the curiosity and meticulous research by a Coast Guard Auxiliary member, an Internet search yielded records kept by the British at their National Archives in Kew.
The following article is being reprinted with permission from The Hill. Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. As one of the five Armed Services, the Coast Guard has proudly stood the watch for more than 221 years, even during […]
Two hundred years ago, the United States, independent for less than 30 years, went to war with Great Britain to preserve its economy, its way of life and its independence. Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2015, the U.S. Navy, […]