Existing comment: Upon the Coasts:
War of 1812: A Nation Forged by War:
Before the US established the Navy, the Treasury Department's Revenue Cutter Service watched its shores. During the War of 1812, the Service did inshore patrol duty, freeing the Navy's ships for blue-water cruises.
Several of the Service's cutter crews distinguished themselves in combat during the war. In fact, the honor of capturing the first enemy ship fell to the cutter Thomas Jefferson in June of 1812.

"Your gallant and desperate attempt... excited such admiration..."
-- Letter from Lieutenant John Crerie, Royal Navy, to Captain Travis, US Revenue Cutter Service, 1813

The next year, the cutter Vigilant captured a famous British privateer off Rhode Island, while the cutter Eagle fought to the last ounce of powder against a [sic] two larger British warships, before escaping overland.
A century after its display of dedication and courage in the War of 1812, the Revenue Cutter Service was converted into the US Coast Guard, which continues its proud traditions today.
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