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This Month in Naval History


A nocturnal, winged, light-producing insect.

(Brig: t. 333; 1. 109'; b. 29'4"; dph. 11'; cpl. 100; a. 4 long 18-pdrs., 10 18-pdr. car.)

Firefly, a brig formerly named Volant, was purchased by Captain David Porter at New York on 8 December 1814. The brig was fitted out as flagship of a squadron of five small ships which, under the command of Captain Porter, was destined for a cruise in the West Indies to destroy enemy commerce. The news of the peace treaty with Britain, however, obviated the mission.

When war with Algiers culminated from piratical depredations, Firefly commanded by Lieutenant G. W. Rodgers joined the squadron of Commodore Stephen Decatur and sailed from New York on 20 May for the Mediterranean. A few days out the squadron encountered a heavy gale which forced Firefly to return to port for repairs to a sprung mast.

On 18 July the brig weighed anchor for the Mediterranean where she joined Commodore William Bainbridge's squadron to spend the next several months in enforcing the peace concluded with Algiers by Commodore Decatur and Mr. William Shaler, Consul general for the Barbary States.

Firefly arrived with the squadron at Newport, R.I., 15 November 1815, then proceeded to New York where she was laid up at the navy yard. On 3 April 1816 she was sold at public auction at New York.


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