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The first USS Terrier was a United States Navy schooner in commission from 1823 to 1825. It was part of the West Indies squadron and served transporting U.S. sailors, marines and supplies to the pirate infested waters of the Caribbean and was used to search out and attack pirate ships and pirate strongholds.
In 1822, the U.S. Navy purchased Terrier at Baltimore, Maryland, for service in Commodore David Porter's (1780–1843) "Mosquito Fleet" in conjunction with the campaign to suppress pirates in the West Indies. Outfitted at Norfolk, Virginia, during the latter part of 1822, she was commissioned sometime early in 1823 as USS Terrier with Lieutenant Robert M. Rose in command.
Terrier departed Hampton Roads, Virginia, with the other ships of Porter's squadron on 15 February 1823. The ships reached St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies on 3 March 1823 and began patrolling the coast of Puerto Rico the next day.
Terrier and the seven other shallow-draft schooners acquired at Baltimore were ideally suited to the work of exploring the coastal shallows and shoal waters of the Caribbean where the pirates were based. For the next two years, Terrier operated out of the depot Porter established at what is now Key West, Florida, and remained almost continually on station even during the two outbreaks of yellow fever – in the autumn of 1823 and the summer of 1824 – which sent the majority of the squadron's ships north to healthier latitudes. Terrier's area of concentration was the northern coasts of Cuba and Puerto Rico, where havens for the pirates abounded and the authority of the Spanish Empire – weakened by the Spanish struggle against Spain's former colonies in Central America and South America – proved almost non-existent.
Undoubtedly, Terrier participated in many of the small expeditions and skirmishes of the squadron, but there is only one documented instance of her capturing a prize. That event occurred early in 1824, when she succeeded in retaking a French ship which had been seized by pirates. Unfortunately, the pirate crew escaped ashore to Spanish territory, a refuge into which Americans could not legally pursue them. Terrier operated in the West Indies until 1825.
In 1825, a slackening in seaborne piracy enabled the U.S. Navy to begin disposing of its special-purpose, shallow-draft ships on the West Indies station. Terrier was one of the ships sold – presumably at auction – during 1825.
Roberto Cofresí (Kupferschein) y Ramírez de Arellano Segarra, better known as El Pirata Cofresí, was a pirate from Puerto Rico. He was born into a noble family, but the political and economic difficulties faced by the island as a colony of the Spanish Empire during the Latin American wars of independence meant that his household was poor. Cofresí worked at sea from an early age which familiarized him with the region's geography, but it provided only a modest salary, and he eventually decided to abandon the sailor's life and became a pirate. He had previous links to land-based criminal activities, but the reason for Cofresí's change of vocation is unknown; historians speculate that he may have worked as a privateer aboard El Scipión, a ship owned by one of his cousins.
USS Grampus was a schooner in the United States Navy. She was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Grampus griseus, also known as Risso's dolphin.
The third USS Hornet was a brig-rigged sloop-of-war in the United States Navy. During the War of 1812, she was the first U.S. Navy ship to capture a British privateer.
Sea Gull was a steamship in the United States Navy. She was the second steamship of the United States Navy and the first to serve actively as a warship.
The first USS Shark was a schooner in the United States Navy. Built in the Washington Navy Yard to the designs of Henry Steers, Shark was launched on 17 May 1821. On 11 May 1821, Matthew C. Perry was ordered to take command of Shark, and the ship was ready to receive her crew on 2 June 1821.
The first USS Porpoise was a topsail schooner in the United States Navy.
The term Mosquito Fleet has had a variety of uses around the world.
Diabolito or Little Devil was a 19th-century Cuban pirate. One of the more violent of the era, he engaged the United States Navy and Revenue Marine Service several times. Being one of the main fugitives hunted and pursued later by American Naval forces during the West Indies anti-piracy operations of the United States in the Caribbean during the 1820s. He was also known for having a mixed-race crew, which included “English, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Mulattoes, and Negroes.”
USS Torch was a schooner—heavily armed with guns and carronades—in the United States Navy during the early years of the republic. She was built for service in the War of 1812, but did not see service until the Barbary Wars when she was sent with the American fleet to the Mediterranean to force an end to piracy of American ships.
USS Decoy was a schooner in the United States Navy during the 1820s. Decoy was purchased 27 December 1822 by Commodore David Porter at New York under the name Zodiac.
USS Beagle was a schooner in the United States Navy during the 1820s. Beagle was purchased by the Navy on 20 December 1822 in Baltimore, Maryland, and commissioned early in 1823, Lieutenant John T. Newton in command.
The Capture of the schooner Bravo was a naval battle between United States Revenue Cutter Service cutters and one of Jean Lafitte's pirate ships.
The capture of the sloop Anne was the result of a naval campaign carried out by an alliance between the Spanish Empire forces in Puerto Rico, the Danish government in Saint Thomas and the United States Navy. The powers pursued Roberto Cofresí's pirate flotilla in March 1825 because of the economic losses suffered by the parties to the pirates, as well as diplomatic concerns caused by their use of the flags of Spain and Gran Colombia which menaced the fragile peace between the naval powers. Several of those involved had been attacked by the freebooters. Among the diplomatic concerns caused by Cofresí was a robbery carried out by several of his subordinates, the catalyst of an incident that threatened war between Spain and the United States known as "The Foxardo Affair", eventually leading to the resignation of his rival, pirate hunter David Porter.
The Action of 9 November 1822 was a naval battle fought between the United States Navy schooner USS Alligator and a squadron of three pirate schooners off the coast of Cuba during the Navy's West Indies anti-piracy operation. Fifteen leagues from Matanzas, Cuba, a large band of pirates captured several vessels and held them for ransom. Upon hearing of the pirate attacks, Alligator under Lieutenant William Howard Allen rushed to the scene to rescue the vessels and seize the pirates.
The West Indies Squadron, or the West Indies Station, was a United States Navy squadron that operated in the West Indies in the early nineteenth century. It was formed due to the need to suppress piracy in the Caribbean Sea, the Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico region of the Atlantic Ocean. This unit later engaged in the Second Seminole War until being combined with the Home Squadron in 1842. From 1822 to 1826 the squadron was based out of Saint Thomas Island until the Pensacola Naval Yard was constructed.
The first USS Greyhound was a U.S. Navy, two-masted schooner in commission from 1822 to 1824.
The West Indies Anti-Piracy Operations refer to the United States Navy presence in the Antilles, and surrounding waters, which fought against pirates. Between 1817 and 1825, the American West Indies Squadron constantly pursued pirates on sea and land, primarily around Cuba and Puerto Rico. After the capture of Roberto Cofresi in 1825, acts of piracy became rare and the operation was considered a success although limited occurrences went on until slightly after the start of the 20th-century.
USS Ferret was a two masted schooner, the third U.S. Navy vessel to bear this name, and was purchased 20 December 1822 at Baltimore, Maryland and commissioned early in 1823, with Lieutenant R. Henley in command. It was the first U.S. naval ship commanded by the famous naval hero David Farragut. Ferret served transporting U.S. sailors, marines and supplies to the pirate infested waters of the Caribbean and was used to search out and attack pirate ships and pirate strongholds for a little more than two years when her career was cut short when the vessel capsized in a gale force storm off the coast of Cuba.
USS Wildcat was a two masted schooner of 48 tons and was part of a U.S. naval fleet, and part of the West Indies Squadron, that sailed to the Caribbean to subdue the occurrence of pirate raids on merchant ships that had increased to almost 3,000 by the early 1820s. She was armed with three guns and had a crew of 31. Wildcat was commanded by Lieutenant Legare' who sailed her to Washington with a dispatch regarding the disposition of the squadron and other matters concerning the war against piracy in the Caribbean. On 28 October 1824 Wildcat was lost in a gale with all hands while sailing between Cuba and Thompson's Island, West Indies. Approximately 31 drowned.
The USS Weasel was a three-gun schooner in the United States Navy.