Sometimes the least assuming and impressive ships are thrust to the fore and exhibit great heroics. Such is the case of the little 94-foot U.S. Revenue Cutter Hudson during one of the first battles of the Spanish-American War.
The tug Hudson had a number of firsts to her credit when she initially touched water. She was among the first cutters to be completely designed by the office of the superintendent of construction of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service—one of the two agencies that merged in 1915 to become the U.S. Coast Guard. Commandant Charles F. Shoemaker noted in the service’s 1897 annual report that the Hudson was “the first and only effort at modern cutter construction up to 1895.”
Built by John H. Dialogue & Son in Camden, New Jersey, she was completed and accepted by the service on 17 August 1893. At the time, the Dialogue shipyard was at the cutting edge of marine technology, having adopted both the Scotch boiler and compound engines. The Hudson incorporated both. In fact, she had the Revenue Cutter Service’s first triple-expansion engine and was its first cutter with a steel hull.