Home Squadron

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Home Squadron
USS Mississippi 1863.jpg
USS Mississippi in 1863, she served as the flagship of the Home Squadron during the Mexican-American War.
Active 1838-1861
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy
Type Naval squadron

The Home Squadron was part of the United States Navy in the mid-19th century. Organized as early as 1838, ships were assigned to protect coastal commerce, aid ships in distress, suppress piracy and the slave trade, make coastal surveys, and train ships to relieve others on distant stations. It was discontinued in 1861 after the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the Union blockade forced a reassignment of ships to close off Southern ports.

History[edit]

Mexican-American War[edit]

USS Albany, a sloop of the Home Station during the Mexican-American War.
Main article: Mexican-American War

During the Mexican-American War the ships of the Home Squadron, commanded by Commodore David Conner, USN fought in several engagements against Mexican forces. Many of the Home Squadron vessels were attached to vice commander Commodore Matthew C. Perry's Mosquito Fleet which was involved in the battles of Tuxpan, Tabasco, Villahermosa and Veracruz. No ship-to-ship combat occurred though several merchant vessels were captured, the Home Squadron primarily operated against Mexican coastal forts and artillery batteries.

Reform War[edit]

Since the Mexican War of Independence ending in 1821, Mexican liberals and the rebel conservatives were constantly in conflict. The friction led to a major civil war known as the Reform War from 1858 to 1860. During the Second Siege of Veracruz in 1860, a Mexican officer named Thomas M. Marin of the Mexican Navy mutinied and escaped to Havana with several of his crewmen. There he armed and equipped five vessels to sail back to Veracruz to assist and supply General Miramon's siege of the federal held city. The Mexican government declared Marin's fleet to be that of pirates so ships of the Home Squadron were ordered to intervene and arrest Marin. Two of Marin's ships, the steamer General Miramon and the sloop-of-war Marquis of Havana, arrived at their rendezvous off Anton Lizardo. They were spotted by a Mexican fort and the frigate USS Savannah which ordered the sloop-of-war USS Saratoga to intervene with help from two steamers.

USS Savannah, a frigate and flagship of the Home Squadron from 1859 to 1860.

As the American ships under Commodore Thomas Turner approached and fired warning shots, the Mexicans attempted to flee but were closely pursued until forced to engage. A short but bloody engagement was fought resulting in the capture of the two conservative ships and over thirty casualties on both sides. The battle played an important role in ending the Reform War with a liberal victory. Due to the loss of supplies, the conservatives under General Miramon failed to take Veracruz from the liberals for a second time. Soon after Miramon surrendered his army which ended the conventional phase of the war and started the guerrilla phase.

Slave Trade[edit]

Slavers seized by the Home Squadron:

Vessel Captor Date Location
Putnam Dolphin 21 August 1858 Cuba
Cygnet Mohawk 18 November 1859 Cuba
Wildfire Mohawk 26 April 1860 Cuba
William Wyandotte 9 May 1860 Cuba
Bogota Crusader 23 May 1860 Cuba
W.R. Kibby Crusader 23 July1860 Cuba
Joven Antonio Crusader 14 August 1860 Cuba
Toccoa Mohawk 20 December 1860 Havana
Mary J. Kimball Mohawk 21 December 1860 Havana

Commanders[edit]

References[edit]