The Alliance was built in Philadelphia, PA in 1853 and originally named Caledonia. She was a 162 foot 426 ton, steam-powered screw vessel. In 1859 she was purchased by the U.S. Government, armed, renamed Mohawk and used as a slave chaser. She captured the slaver Sygnet in the Atlantic soon after she was commissioned and in 1860 took another slave ship Wild Fire, near the Bahamas, with a cargo of over 500 Africans. During the Civil War the Mohawk was put on blockade duty where she was successful in capturing the blockader George B. Sloat.
On July 12, 1864 she was sold out of service at public auction in Philadelphia and redocumented Alliance the following September 30.
During the night of March 4, 1869 the Alliance, enroute from Boston to Charleston, went ashore about one mile south of Hatteras Inlet during a severe storm. The storm, which developed during the night into a full gale from the southeast, drove her onto the beach and completely wrecked the vessel. Portions of the cargo of boots, shoes and hay were salvaged and sold on the beach at public auction March 7th. The wrecking vessel Resolute, which had been sent from Norfolk, VA, was unable to move her and reported the vessal as abandoned.