USS Terrier

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Terrier

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Terrier

(Sch.: t. 6; a. 3 guns)

The first Terrier, a schooner, was purchased in 1822 at Baltimore, Md., for service in Commodore David Porter's "Mosquito Fleet" in conjunction with the campaign to suppress the West Indian pirates, outfitted at Norfolk, Va., during the latter part of the year; and probably commissioned sometime early in 1823, Lt. Robert M. Rose in command.

Terrier departed Hampton Roads with the other ships of Porter's squadron on 15 February 1823. The ships reached St. Thomas on 3 March and, the following day, began patrolling the coast of Puerto Rico. For the next two years, she operated out of the depot Porter established at what is now Key West, Fla. Her area of concentration was the northern coasts of Cuba and Puerto Rico where havens for the pirates abounded and Spanish authority—weakened by the struggle against her former colonies in Central and South America—proved almost non-existent.

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 where the pirates sought refuge and whence they ventured to commit their depredations. That work occupied the ship throughout her brief Navy career. Over the next two years she remained almost continually on station even luring the two outbreaks of yellow fever—in the fall of 1823 and the summer of 1824—which sent the majority of the squadron's ships north to healthier latitudes. Undoubtedly, she participated in many of the small expeditions and skirmishes of the squadron, but there is only one documented instance of the schooner's 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 pursue them. The schooner operated in the West Indies until 1825, the year in which a slackening in seaborne piracy enabled the Navy to begin disposing of its special purpose ships on the West Indies station. Terrier was one of the ships sold—presumably at auction—during that year.
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