Richard Dale, born 6 November 1756 in Norfolk, Va., was appointed a midshipman in the Continental Navy in 1776. Captured by the enemy in 1777 while serving in the Continental brig Lexington, he was imprisoned in Mill Prison, England, but escaped to France to join John Paul Jones. He was First Lieutenant in Bonhomme Richard when she captured Serapis in the celebrated engagement of 23 September 1779. During 1781 and 1782 he commanded Queen of France and made several captures. Commissioned a Captain in the United States Navy 4 June 1794, he commanded Ganges during the Quasi-War with France, 1798-1801, then commanded the Mediterranean Squadron in the operations against Tripoli in 1801. He resigned from the Navy 17 December 1802, and died at Philadelphia 26 February 1826.
(Sip: t. 566; l. 117'; b. 32'; dr. 15'8"; s. 13 k.; cpl. 150; a. 14 32-pdr., 2 12-pdr.)
The first Dale, a sloop-of-war, was launched 8 November 1839 by Philadelphia Navy Yard, and commissioned 11 December 1839, Commander J. Gwinn in command. She was taken to Norfolk Navy Yard to be readied for sea.
Dale's first cruise, on which she sailed from Norfolk 13 December 1840, took her around Cape Horn to the Pacific Station. Based at Valparaiso, Chile, she patrolled the eastern waters of the vast ocean to protect American commerce and the whaling industry. Upon her return to the east coast in October 1843, she went into ordinary at New York until early in 1846, when she was refitted for a second cruise in the Pacific.
Sailing from New York 6 June 1846, Dale arrived at Valparaiso 8 September, and cruised the coast of South America until ordered north for duty in the Mexican War. The sloop arrived off Monterey, Mexico, in January 1847, and through the remaining year of the war, cruised the coasts of Mexico and California. Not only did she capture several Mexican privateers and merchantmen, but landing parties she sent ashore raised the American flag over the towns of Guaymas and Muelje. Following the ending of the war in February 1848, Dale continued to patrol until the summer of 1849, when she sailed for the east coast, arriving at New York 22 August 1849.
In ordinary at New York between August 1849 and August 1850, Dale made three extended cruises along the African coast to suppress the slave trade until going out of commission in May 1859. She was recommissioned 30 June 1861 at Portsmouth, N.H., and sailed to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, capturing two schooners on her passage to Port Royal, S.C. Here she served as store and guard ship until sailing north for repairs 30 September 1862.
Dale arrived at Key West 10 December 1862 for duty as ordnance store ship until 3 July 1865. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia 20 July 1865, and was in ordinary at Norfolk until recommissioned 29 May 1867. She served as training ship at the Naval Academy until 1884, then as receiving ship at Washington Navy Yard until 1894. Transferred to the Maryland Naval Militia in 1895, she was renamed Oriole 30 November 1904, and transferred to the Coast Guard at Baltimore 23 July 1906.