USS Spitfire (1814)

United States
Name: USS Spitfire
Namesake: ex Grampus of Baltimore
Builder: Kemp
Launched: 1812
Acquired: by the Navy between October and December 1814
In service: circa 20 May 1815
Out of service: circa 1816
Fate: sold 3 April 1816; fate unknown
General characteristics
Type: schooner
Displacement: 286 tons
Length: 106' (between perpendiculars)
Beam: 25' 6"
Draft: 11' 8"
Propulsion: schooner sail
Speed: not known
Complement: 60
  • 2 × long 9-pounder guns
  • 1 × long 18-pounder gun
  • 8 × 18-pounder carronades

USS Spitfire (1814) was a heavily armed schooner in the United States Navy. 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.

Purchased for the War of 1812

The third ship to be so named by the U.S. Navy, Spitfire was purchased at Baltimore, Maryland, between October and December 1814 for service in a squadron commanded by Commodore David Porter which was to operate out of southern American ports against British shipping in the West Indies. However, the Treaty of Ghent ended the second American war with the United Kingdom (UK) before Porter could get the squadron to sea.

Assigned to the Barbary Wars

However, as the United States ended war with the UK, it was reopening hostilities with Algiers. As a result, the ships acquired for Porter's commerce raiding squadron were assigned to a squadron assembled for operations against the Barbary pirates, commanded by Commodore Stephen Decatur.

Spitfire departed New York City with the squadron 20 May 1815, and sailed to the Mediterranean. On 19 June, she helped Epervier, Spark, and Torch to chase Estedio ashore at Cape Palos and capture that Algerian brig.

Spitfire then sailed with the squadron to Algiers where its presence forced the Dey to agree to American terms.

The squadron then sailed, in turn, to Tunis and Tripoli and successfully demanded indemnities for violations of treaties with the United States during the recent American war with the UK.

In September, Spitfire headed home and was laid up until she was sold 3 April 1816.


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