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Revenue Cutter Photo Archive

USRC John A. Dix

Call sign:
Nan - Romeo - Zulu - Delta

Revenue Cutter:

  • Built in 1865 by James Murphy, Tonawanda, New York
  • Commissioned USRC John A. Dix in 1865
  • Decommissioned in 1872 and sold
  • Acquired by the Pere Marquette Line of Arcadia, MI, rebuilt as a passenger steamer and placed in service 5 September 1872 at Detroit, MI
  • Acquired by Nathan Engelmann in 1877
  • Sold in 1884 for use as an excursion steamer out of Chicago, IL
  • Sold by U.S. District Court 28 February 1896, to satisfy claim of $8,500
  • Bought by Detroit Dry Dock in 1879, for reuse of her engine in Pennsylvania
  • A proposal to use the vessel as a resort outside police jurisdiction was unsuccessful
  • She was burned intentionally 6 July 1898


  • Displacement 290 t.
    1872 - 250 t.
  • Length 144'
    1872 - 179'
  • Beam 26'
    1872 - 28'
  • Draft 11' 6"
    1872 - 10' 6"
  • Complement 21
  • Speed 10 kts.
  • Armament: Two gun mounts of unknown caliber
  • Propulsion: One 300hp Fletcher, Harrison and Co. of New York, Walking beam steam engine, side paddle-wheels.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Dahlia 78k

    John Adams Dix (1798-1879): Dix was appointed to be the 24th Secretary of the Treasury and served in that capacity from January 15, 1861 until March 6, 1861. Dix was a former postmaster and Senator from New York, and was reputed to be "a cultivated writer, a fluent vigorous speaker, a man of great courage, prompt decision and proved executive ability." Entering office during a financial panic, he quickly obtained the much needed loans from banks and the American people that his predecessor had failed to secure. He won further confidence in the North by dispatching a message to a Treasury customs official in New Orleans to take possession of a Treasury Department revenue cutter there. "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag," he ordered, "shoot him on the spot." Dix was in office less than three months, resigning at the end of Buchanan's presidency. Buchanan's successor, President Abraham Lincoln, rewarded his performance as Secretary of the Treasury with the commission of Major General in charge of Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia during the Civil War

    Dahlia 151k Milwaukee, WI
    Photo from Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
    John Spivey

    Coast Guard History: The John A. Dix was a side-wheel steam cutter that was based on the Great Lakes. She operated from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan and spent the winters at Detroit.

    She was decommissioned and sold in 1872. The cutter Wilderness assumed the name Dix in 1873.

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