7 thoughts on “A Footnote in CG History, Sinking the Rum Runner “I’m Alone”

  1. The Canadians were always complaining about the Coast Guard. Even when the Coasties shot up some her stalwart citizens on the Great Lakes.

    Willouby’s Rum War at Sea gives some explanation of the case but the congressional hearings provide more.

    On this line of footnotes, when in the service’s history was the first hanging on a Service unit?

    • Bill, this sounds a lot like the “listory” you protest against, “but when in the service‚Äôs history was the first hanging on a Service unit?”

      • Chuck,
        This is one of those fun little known factoids that has a larger impact. The normal answer is the 1929 hanging in Florida. See the piece on Jack’s Joint, http://www.jacksjoint.com/hanging.htm
        Also Time Magazine http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,751986,00.html

        Just over one hundred years earlier, two men, the captain and 1st officer (Desfarge and Robertson) of the pirate Le Brave (known incorrectly in Coast Guard history as Bravo) were hanged aboard the Revenue Cutter Louisiana at New Orleans (just opposite of what is today Jackson Square — Cafe Dumond anyone?). The execution drew a large crowd–anything for a party in New Orleans.

        They had been sentenced in the previous year and all but one of the pirates was ordered by personal order of President James Monroe on May 25, 1820. The extra time given them was because of appeals and an important case Smith vs. U. S. which is still being used today in priacy cases and has just recently made a reappearance in federal court for the accused Somali “pirates.”

        The hangings of the seventeen pirates had little to do with the actual crime of piracy that carried a death sentence until 1897. It was more of Monroe pressing U. S. hedgemony into the Gulf of Mexico and Carribbean Sea. He certainly made a point. No long afterwards Jean La Fite who owned Le Brave moved his operation out of Galveston, Texas which opened the way for immigrants from the U. S., such as the Robertsons and Austins, to begin the settling of Mexican Texas territory. Although not directly connected, the simple hanging of pirates made possible the beginning of that huge westward movement.

        The lack of knowledge of this execution aboard a cutter also indicates the shallowness of previous research. It was not that difficult to locate.

        This is part of an article submitted for publication.

      • It was a teaser anyway. At least it drew the interest of one.

        When I teach I’ll dribble in a few teasers to see who is awake or get an eyebrow to rise.

    • I do not believe they are unless Google Books has scanned them. However, Google is iffy in its application of Government Documents. They follow Copyright Law even though these are in the public domain.

      There tons of legal works done on this case. Google Books has some but will give leads to others. Evidently, the case remains one of those that keeps turning up because of its impact.

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