USS Cyane (1837)

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USS Cyane.jpg
"USS Cyane Taking Possession of San Diego Old Town July 1846", by Carlton T. Chapman (detail)
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Name: USS Cyane
Builder: Boston Navy Yard
Launched: 2 December 1837
Commissioned: May 1838
Decommissioned: 20 September 1871
Fate: Sold, 30 July 1887
General characteristics
Type: Sloop-of-war
Tonnage: 792
Length: 132 ft 4 in (40.34 m)
Beam: 26 ft 3 in (8.00 m)
Draft: 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 200 officers and enlisted
  • 18 × 32-pounder guns
  • 4 × 24-pounder guns

The second USS Cyane was a sloop-of-war in the United States Navy during the Mexican–American War.

Sloop-of-war ship type

In the 18th century and most of the 19th, a sloop-of-war in the Royal Navy was a warship with a single gun deck that carried up to eighteen guns. The rating system covered all vessels with 20 guns and above; thus, the term sloop-of-war encompassed all the unrated combat vessels, including the very small gun-brigs and cutters. In technical terms, even the more specialised bomb vessels and fireships were classed as sloops-of-war, and in practice these were employed in the sloop role when not carrying out their specialized functions.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.

Mexican–American War armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the American intervention in Mexico, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the independent Republic of Texas. The unstable Mexican caudillo leadership of President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna still considered Texas to be a northeastern province and never recognized the Republic of Texas, which had seceded a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

Cyane was launched 2 December 1837 by Boston Navy Yard. She was commissioned in May 1838, Commander John Percival in command.

Boston Navy Yard shipbuilding facility in the United States Navy

The Boston Navy Yard, originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard and later Boston Naval Shipyard, was one of the oldest shipbuilding facilities in the United States Navy. It was established in 1801 as part of the recent establishment of the new U.S. Department of the Navy in 1798. After 175 years of military service, it was decommissioned as a naval installation on 1 July 1974.

John Percival Officer of the United States Navy

John Percival, known as Mad Jack Percival, was a celebrated officer in the United States Navy during the Quasi-War with France, the War of 1812, the campaign against West Indies pirates, and the Mexican–American War.

She sailed 24 June 1838 for duty in the Mediterranean, returning to Norfolk, Virginia 16 May 1841. She cleared 1 November 1841 for the Pacific Squadron, returning 1 October 1844. Sailing again for the Pacific 10 August 1845, Cyane served on the west coast during the Mexican War. On 7 July 1846 her commanding officer, Captain William Mervine, led a detachment of Marines and sailors from Commodore John D. Sloat's squadron ashore at Monterey, California, hoisting the American flag at the Customs House and claiming possession of the city and all of present day California.

Norfolk, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2017, the population was estimated to be 244,703 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach.

Pacific Squadron

The Pacific Squadron was part of the United States Navy squadron stationed in the Pacific Ocean in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Initially with no United States ports in the Pacific, they operated out of storeships which provided naval supplies and purchased food and obtained water from local ports of call in the Hawaiian Islands and towns on the Pacific Coast. Throughout the history of the Pacific Squadron, American ships fought against several enemies. Over one-half of the United States Navy would be sent to join the Pacific Squadron during the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War, the squadron was reduced in size when its vessels were reassigned to Atlantic duty. When the Civil War was over, the squadron was reinforced again until being disbanded just after the turn of the 20th century.

William Mervine was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, whose career included service in the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War.

On 26 July 1846 Lieutenant Colonel John C. Frémont's California Battalion boarded Cyane, now under the command of Commander Samuel Francis Du Pont, and the ship sailed for San Diego, California on 29 July 1846. She landed Marines at nearby La Playa, where they were warmly welcomed by the largely pro-American civilian population. The Marines took abandoned guns from Fort Guijarros and used them to lay siege to Old Town San Diego. [1] A detachment of Marines and sailors from Cyane took possession of the town, raising the American flag. They were followed shortly by the Fremont volunteers and Cyane's detachment returned aboard to sail for San Blas where a landing party destroyed a Mexican battery 2 September.

John C. Frémont United States Army general and explorer

John Charles Frémont or Fremont was an American explorer, politician, and soldier who, in 1856, became the first candidate of the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, when he led five expeditions into the American West, that era's penny press and admiring historians accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder.

The California Battalion was formed during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848) in present-day California, United States. It was led by U.S. Army brevet lieutenant colonel John C. Fremont and composed of his cartographers, scouts and hunters and the California Volunteer Militia formed after the Bear Flag Revolt. The battalion's formation was officially authorized by Commodore Robert F. Stockton, commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Pacific Squadron.

Samuel Francis Du Pont United States Navy admiral

Samuel Francis Du Pont was a rear admiral in the United States Navy, and a member of the prominent Du Pont family. In the Mexican–American War, Du Pont captured San Diego, and was made commander of the California naval blockade. Through the 1850s, he promoted engineering studies at the United States Naval Academy, to enable more mobile and aggressive operations. In the American Civil War, he played a major role in making the Union blockade effective, but was controversially blamed for the failed attack on Charleston, South Carolina in April 1863.

Entering the Gulf of California, Cyane seized La Paz and burned the small fleet at Guaymas. Within a month, she cleared the Gulf of hostile ships, destroying or capturing 30 vessels. In company with Independence and Congress, she captured the town of Mazatlán, Mexico, 11 November 1847. On 22 January 1848, she arrived off San José del Cabo to relieve the besieged garrison there. She landed a force of about 100 men who fought the final engagement and broke the Mexican siege. She returned to Norfolk 9 October 1848 to receive the congratulations of the Secretary of the Navy for her significant contributions to American victory in Mexico.

Gulf of California A gulf of the Pacific Ocean between the Baja peninsula and the Mexican mainland

The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depth soundings in the gulf have ranged from fording depth at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.

La Paz, Baja California Sur City in Baja California Sur, Mexico

La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2015 census population of 244,219 inhabitants, making it the most populous city in the state. Its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of the surrounding towns, such as El Centenario, Chametla and San Pedro. It is in La Paz Municipality, which is the fourth-largest municipality in Mexico in geographical size and reported a population of 290,286 inhabitants on a land area of 20,275 km2 (7,828 sq mi).

Guaymas city in Sonora, Mexico

Guaymas is a city in Guaymas Municipality, in the southwest part of the state of Sonora, in northwestern Mexico. The city is 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border. The municipality is located on the Gulf of California and the western edge of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot, dry climate and 117 km of beaches. The municipality’s formal name is Guaymas de Zaragoza and the city’s formal name is the Heróica Ciudad de Guaymas.

Between 9 October 1851 and 24 June 1852 Cyane sailed in the Home Squadron, rejoining it 10 October 1852 to cruise constantly on the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean from Nova Scotia to Aspinwall for the protection of the lives and property of American citizens. She bombarded and destroyed Greytown, Mosquito Coast, 13 July 1854, in retaliation for an incident where local protesters had thrown a broken bottle at Solon Borland. [2] On June 3, 1857, the Cyane retrieved from Greytown more than 150 filibusters who surrendered with William Walker at Rivas, Nicaragua, on May 1, some of whom had their families with them. The ship afterward protected the disputed fisheries along the coast of Nova Scotia from 2 September to 30 October 1857. She sailed for Haiti 19 November 1857 and joined a special expedition surveying the Isthmus of Darien as a possible canal site.

Home Squadron military unit

The Home Squadron was part of the United States Navy in the mid-19th century. Organized as early as 1838, ships were assigned to protect coastal commerce, aid ships in distress, suppress piracy and the slave trade, make coastal surveys, and train ships to relieve others on distant stations. It was discontinued in 1861 after the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the Union blockade forced a reassignment of ships to close off Southern ports.

Nova Scotia Province of Canada

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).

Mosquito Coast former protectorate of the United Kingdom

The Mosquito Coast, also known as the Miskito Coast and the Miskito Kingdom, historically included the kingdom's fluctuating area along the eastern coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras. It formed part of the Western Caribbean Zone. It was named after the local Miskito Amerindians and was long dominated by British interests. The Mosquito Coast was incorporated into Nicaragua in 1894; however, in 1960, the northern part was granted to Honduras by the International Court of Justice.

Bombardment of e, 1854 Bombardment of San Juan del Norte, 1854.jpg
Bombardment of e, 1854

In August 1858 Cyane stood out for the Pacific, joining the Pacific Squadron. In 1863, during the Civil War, the Cyane prevented the sloop J. M. Chapman from being used as a Confederate privateer when their boarding parties took control of the ship as it was preparing to leave San Francisco. [3]

Except for necessary overhauls, the Cyane was constantly employed on the coasts of North and South America until decommissioned and placed in ordinary at Mare Island Navy Yard 20 September 1871. She was sold at auction 30 July 1887.

There is an effort by The Center for Living History to build a full scale replica of the ship in Monterrey, California. More information can be found on their website at

Related Research Articles

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Robert F. Stockton United States Navy officer

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  1. "History of Ballast Point". Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  2. Schoultz, Lars (1998). Beneath the United States: a history of U.S. policy toward Latin America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University: Harvard University Press. p. 60. ISBN   0-674-92276-X.
  3. The California Military Museum, "The Pacific Squadron of 1861-1866," The following article is taken from Aurora Hunt's book, The Army of the Pacific; Its operations in California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, plains region, Mexico, etc. 1860-1866, under the chapter The Pacific Squadron of 1861-1866.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.