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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Hornet (III)


Brig:
  • Built by William Price of Baltimore, MD.
  • Launched 28 July 1805
  • Commissioned USS Hornet, 18 October 1805, at Baltimore, MD., Master Commandant Isaac Chauncey in command
  • Joined the Mediterranean Squadron, 29 March 1806, to protect American Commerce from threats of piracy
  • returned to Charleston, S.C., 29 November 1807 and was decommissioned
  • Recommissioned, 26 December 1808
  • Transported General James Wilkinson to New Orleans, cruised in home waters to enforce the Embargo Act, and carried dispatches to Holland, France, and England
  • From November 1810 to September 1811 USS Hornet was rebuilt and ship-rigged in the Washington Navy Yard
  • Cruising with Commodore John Rodgers' Squadron during the War of 1812
    Hornet captured privateer Dolphin, 9 July 1812, only to have Dolphin recaptured while en route to the United States
    Assisted in the blockade of the Brazilian port of Bahia
    Hornet, CAPT. James Biddle in command, captured HMS Peacock in a short but skillfully fought engagement off British Guiana 24 February 1813
    Hornet sailed north to New London after capturing Peacock only to be blockaded there until 14 November 1814 when she slipped past British cruisers and took another merchant prize en route to New York
    Unaware that the war had ended, she sailed south and captured HMS Penguin, 23 March 1815, off the island of Tristan da Cunha
  • Cruised to the West Indies and reached Copenhagen in 1818
  • Served a second Mediterranean tour in 1819
  • While based at Key West and Pensacola, FL. to help end piracy in the Caribbean Sea
  • Hornet captured the pirate schooner Moscow, 29 October 1821 off the coast of Santo Domingo
  • Hornet cruised throughout the Caribbean for the next 9 years
  • Hornet departing Pensacola, 4 March 1829, setting a course for the coast of Mexico and was never seen again
  • Final Disposition, 27 October 1829, the commander of the West Indies Squadron received information that Hornet had been dismasted in a gale off Tampico 29 September 1829 and had foundered with the loss of all hands
    Specifications:
    Displacement 440 t.
    Length 106' 9"
    Beam 31' 5"
    Draft 14'
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    Armament eighteen guns
    Propulsion sail

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    Pennsylvania 110k Warships of the sailing navy. Chromolithograph by Armstrong & Company, after an 1893 watercolor by Fred S. Cozzens, published in Our Navy -- Its Growth and Achievements, 1897. Ships depicted are from different eras, and are identified by the artist as (from left to right): U.S. Brig (Schooner) Enterprise (1799-1823), firing a salute; U.S. Ship of the Line Pennsylvania (1837-1861); U.S. Ship of the Line North Carolina (1825-1867), mis-labeled by the artist as South Carolina; and U.S. Brig Hornet (1805-1829). The vessel under sail in the far center distance is not identified. Collection of Captain Glenn Howell, USN, 1974.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: NH 460-KN (Color)
    Robert Hurst
    Grampus (I) 209k USS Hornet (III), (1805-1829) at top, and USS Grampus (I) (1821-1843) at bottom. Sketches of hulls and rigging (with the latter out of scale to the hulls), by William A.K. Martin, circa 1843 or later. Both vessels, which were lost at sea with all hands, are depicted flying their National Ensigns upside down, a sign of distress.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 86236
    Robert Hurst
    Hornet 86k USS Hornet rigged model, made circa 1812. Hornet was converted from brig to ship rig in 1811.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 53414 Courtesy Anderson Galleries, New York.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Hornet 105k Artwork depicting USS Hornet (foreground) off São Salvador (Bahia), Brazil, with the British sloop of war HMS Bonne Citoyenne blockaded inside the harbor, circa 13 December 1812 - 24 January 1813. Hornet's Commanding Officer, James Lawrence, had challenged the enemy warship to a single-ship action, but Bonne Citoyenne, which carried a significant amount of money, declined the offer. The original was in a journal kept by William H. Macy of a whaling voyage to the Pacific Ocean in the ship Potomac, 1841-1845.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42072 Courtesy Charles H. Taylor, 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Hornet 141k Artwork depicting HMS Peacock's mainmast collapsing at the close of her engagement with USS Hornet
    Text at bottom of image
    "Hornet and Peacock"
    "February 24 1813"

    "At 3.30 p.m. while beating round Caroband bank, the Hornet discovered a sail on her weather quarter bearing down for her. This was the British brig-sloop Peacock of 16 24 pdr. carronades and 2 sixes, Captain William Peake, who had only sailed from Demerara at 10 a.m. At 4.20 Peacock hoisted her colors and at 5.10 having kept close to the wind to weather the Peacock, the Hornet tacked for that purpose and hoisted her colors. At 5.25 pm the ship and brig exchanged broadsides, within half pistol shot. The Peacock then wore to renew the action on the other tack, the Hornet quickly bearing up, received Peacock's starboard broadside, then ran the latter close aboard on the starboard quarter. The Hornet then poured in so heavy and well directed fire, that at 5.50, having had her commander killed, and being with six feet of water in the hold, and cut to pieces in hull and masts, the Peacock hoisted from her fore-rigging an ensign, union down as a signal of distress. Shortly afterwards her mainmast went by the board. Both Hornet and Peacock were immediately anchored, and every attempt made to save the latter, by throwing her guns overboard, by pumping and bailing her, and stopping such shot holes as could be got at; but all would not do, and in a very few minutes after she had anchored, Peacock went down in 5½ fathoms, with 13 of her men, four of whom afterwards got to the foretop and escaped, as well as 3 men belonging to the Hornet. An American lieutenant and midshipman, and the remainder of the Hornet's men on board the Peacock, with difficulty saved themselves by jumping, as the brig went down, into a boat which was lying on her booms. Four of the Peacock's men had just before taken to her stern boat, in which notwithstanding it was much damaged by shot, they arrived safely at Demerara."
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42073
    Tommy Trampp
    Hornet 76k USS Hornet and HMS Penguin, 23 March 1815. Sketch by Fred S. Cozzens, 1892, copied from his 1897 book "Our Navy -- Its Growth and Achievements". It depicts Hornet, at left, firing on the British brig sloop Penguin during the early part of the engagement..
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 74523
    Robert Hurst
    Hornet 123k USS Hornet captures HMS Penguin, 23 March 1815. Colored lithograph by S. Walters , after a sketch by William Skiddy, depicting the two sloops close aboard during the engagement, which took place in the South Atlantic off Tristan d'Acunha. Note that the erroneous date of 23 January 1815 appears on the print. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland. Beverly R. Robinson Collection.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 55463
    Robert Hurst
    Hornet 131k USS Hornet in action with HMS Penguin, 23 March 1815. Halftone reproduction of an artwork by Carlton T. Chapman, depicting the capture of HMS Penguin by USS Hornet off Tristan da Cunha, in the South Atlantic.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 1867
    Robert Hurst
    Hornet 161k Newspaper article from the Boston Patriot, July 8, 1815, "Another Naval Victory by the HORNET". USS Hornet captures HMS Penguin in a battle off Tristan da Cunha. Tommy Trampp
    Hornet 123k Artwork depicting the British 74 gun ship HMS Cornwallis (at left) chasing the US sloop of war USS Hornet in the South Atlantic, as the latter's crew throws overboard spare spars, guns and other items in an effort to increase her speed.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42074 Courtesy of Mr. Beverly R. Robinson, March 1937.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Hornet 189k Lithograph by Imbert, published in "The Sailors Magazine" March 1830. It depicts USS Hornet foundering off Tampico, Mexico, on 29 September 1829.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 53416
    US Naval History and Heritage Command

    USS Hornet (III)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 21 April 2017