Capture of the schooner Bravo
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|Capture of the schooner Bravo|
|Part of West Indies Anti-Piracy Operations, Piracy in the Caribbean|
|United States||Caribbean pirates|
|Commanders and leaders|
|William H. Crawford||Jean La Farges|
|2 schooners||1 schooner|
|Casualties and losses|
|Unknown||1 schooner captured|
In early 1819 the two U.S. Revenue Cutters, USRC Alabama and USRC Louisiana, had just been constructed in New York City, at a cost $4,500 each. The two sister ships, each equipped with a single pivot gun in the 9 to 18-pounder range, were dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to conduct counter-piracy patrols. Alabama was assigned to the Mobile Squadron and Louisiana assigned to the New Orleans Squadron.
In August 1819, Alabama was temporarily assigned to New Orleans to help thwart the pirate incidents in those waters with Louisiana. On 31 August, the two ships were sailing the Gulf off southern Florida when they sighted the schooner Bravo. The Americans gave chase and eventually came within firing range. Bravo resisted and a brief gunnery duel occurred, in which the first officer and three crew members of Louisiana were wounded. The Americans then boarded Bravo and the pirates were captured. Jean La Farges, who commanded the suspected privateer, was a lieutenant of French pirate Jean Lafitte. Apparently no letter of marque was presented to the Americans which explained why the pirates fled at the sight of the Revenue Cutter schooners.
More battles between United States naval forces and pirates in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean would occur. On 19 April 1819, Alabama and Louisiana destroyed a pirate base at the Patterson's Town Raid on Breton Island, Louisiana. Another action was fought on 10 July 1820 when the Captain of Louisiana captured four pirate ships off Belize. On 2 November 1822, Louisiana along with USS Peacock and the Royal Navy schooner HMS Speedwell captured five pirate vessels off Havana, Cuba.
- Evans, Stephen H. (1949). The United States Coast Guard 1790–1915: A Definitive History. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland.
- Official U.S. Coast Guard history page
- Donald Canney. U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.
- U.S. Coast Guard. Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934–1989