USS Petrita
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Petrita SwStr

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(Sw Str: dp. 200; a. 1 gun)

Early in the morning of 23 October 1846, a small squadron under Commodore Matthew Perry steamed into a sleepy Mexiean town located 7 miles up the Grijalvn River. Frontera (now Alvaro Obregon) was caught by surprise. Leaving the steam frigate Mississippi at the mouth of the river because of her draft, the squadron captured 2 steamers and a number of coastal schooners. The most important capture was Petrita, a small but swift Ameriean built steamer. She was added to the squadron which was composed of the steamers McLane and V*en, and schooners Ponita and Nonata. Early the next morning Perry sailed farther up the Grijalva River to attack the town of San Juan Bautista (now Villa Hermosa). At 9 a.m. the Squadron passed the abandoned Fort Aeaeehappa, where it stopped long enough to spike the guns. It was 12 noon when the Viee Commodore arrived at his destination. Capturing 5 more vessels, the squadron bombarded San Juan Bautista. Not being able to garrison the town because of the leek of men, Perry withdrew to Anton Lizardo, and island just south of Vera Cruz.

Petrita was inactive for the remainder of 1846 and the first

part of 1847. This was due to a eoal shortage and violent storms ealled "northers" which ocour during the winter months. On 7 March 1847, Commodore David Conner and General Winfield Seott made a reconnaissance of Vera Cruz in Petrita. She ran close to Fort San Juan de Ulua and was straddled by gunfire. However, no damage was sustained. Petrita participated in the Vera Cruz amphibious assault. Commodore Conner's plan was to have the large warships tow landing craft from Anton Lizardo to Isla Saerifieios, a distanee of a few miles. The small steamers would then piek up the tow and run the landing craft in to shore. Sloop Saint Marys transferred her tow to Petrita, and she safely towed them in. By 10 p.m. more than 10,000 troops had been landed. The operation was a complete success.

Suffering from engine defects, Petrita was inactive for the remainder of the war. In 1848 Petrita was lost off Alvarado. All hands were saved.