Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Hudson II (Revenue Cutter)

William Levereth Hudson was born 11 May 1794 at Brooklyn, N.Y. His first service afloat was in the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore Bainbridge in the schooner Alert and sloop Ontario from 1815 to 1817. Hudson was appointed midshipman 1 January 1816. In 1821-1823 he served in Dolphin on the Pacific coast of South America, and in Warren for a Mediterranean cruise 1826-1829. In 1830-1831 Hudson accompanied Lieutenant Ramsey on a tour to Russia, and then assumed duty at the New York Navy Yard. In June 1838 he was ordered to command Peacock, attached to the Wilkes Exploring Expedition. After strenuous service in the Antarctic, the South Seas, and along the coast of North America, Peacock was wrecked 18 July 1841 while attempting to cross the bar and enter the Columbia River on Wilkes' orders. Commander Hudson made every effort to free his ship but was forced to leave her, fortunately saving all his men and the scientific papers. In September 1849, after shore and lighthouse duty, he was ordered to command Vincennes, cruising the Pacific until 1852. In March 1857 Hudson, appointed captain 8 October 1855, assumed command of Niagara. That August, in conjunction with British ships, he made the first attempt at laying a transatlantic cable. This try was unsuccessful, but a second attempt met with success 10 August 1858. After commanding the Boston Navy Yard 1858-1862, Captain Hudson was made Inspector of the 3d Light House District. He died 15 October 1862 in Brooklyn.


The second Hudson was loaned to the Navy for use in the Spanish-American War by the Treasury. The revenue cutter was acquired at New York 24 March 1898 and commissioned there, Lt. F. H. Newcombe in command.

Departing New York 24 April, Hudson sailed to Key West via Wilmington and Jacksonville. There, after brief patrol duty, she was pressed into use as a dispatch carrier and sent to the Fleet off Cuba. On the morning of 12 May the gunboat Winslow was disabled by heavy fire from Spanish shore batteries and five of her crew were killed. Hudson, under heavy fire from shore, towed the other ship to safety and took on board the dead and wounded of her crew. Finally delivering her dispatches to Havana 14 May, Hudson remained there on blockade duty for a while before returning to Key West. Another period of patrol ended 10 July as she returned to the blockading fleet with further dispatches. Hudson captured two small fishing sloops attempting to run the blockade off Havana. Reaching Norfolk via Key West and Charleston 21 August 1898.

Hudson was subsequently returned to the Treasury Department.

Published: Mon Jul 20 13:40:47 EDT 2015