Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Boutwell and the Pamlico

Treasures from the Kellenberger Room

Featuring books, pamphlets, photographs, documents, and the occasional object from the collections of the New Bern-Craven County Public Library

by John B. Green III

United States Revenue Cutter (later U.S. Coast Guard Cutter) Pamlico

When examining early photographs of the New Bern waterfront, a white-hulled vessel is often seen which most New Bernians would identify as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Pamlico.  This identification is correct in most instances.  The Pamlico was stationed in New Bern her entire career from 1907 to 1946.  Some photographs upon closer examination, however, reveal a much different vessel, the Pamlico's predecessor, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Boutwell.

United States Revenue Cutter Boutwell
The United States Revenue Cutter Service was established in 1790 to patrol the country's ports and coastal waters and enforce the nation's maritime commerce laws.  It would be combined in 1915 with the U.S. Life Saving-Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard.  The USRC Boutwell was one of a succession of cutters assigned to New Bern and eastern North Carolina.  Constructed in 1873, the Boutwell was stationed in New Bern from 1898 to 1907.  Capable of both sail and steam-powered propeller propulsion, the ship measured 138 feet in length with a beam of 23 feet and a draft of 6 feet 9 inches.  The ship carried a crew of seven officers and thirty-one enlisted men and was armed with two deck guns.

The aging Boutwell was removed from New Bern and decommissioned in 1907.  It was replaced by the newly constructed U.S.R.C. Pamlico.  The Pamlico would remain a cherished part of the town's life until it was decommissioned in 1946.