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USS Argus (I)

  • Laid down as Merrimack, 12 May 1803, at Boston, MA., by Edmund Hartt
  • Renamed Argus, 4 June 1803
  • Launched, 21 August 1803
  • Commissioned USS Argus in 1803, LT. Stephen Decatur, in command
  • Argus was first assigned to the Mediterranean Squadron, arriving at Gibraltar, 1 November 1803
  • Argus Participated in the blockade of Tripoli
  • Argus left the blockade to escort a neutral ship to Tripoli with supplies for the captive officers and crew of the frigate USF Philadelphia which had been taken by the Tripolitans after she had run aground on an uncharted reef off that port the previous October
  • Argus resumed blockade duties, 7 July
  • On the night of 4 September, Argus was among the ships that escorted the ill-fated fire ship USS Intrepid to the entrance of Tripoli harbor
  • When Intrepid blew up prematurely, Argus remained on station to pick up survivors, but none were found
  • In the spring of 1805, Argus participated in one of the more celebrated episodes of American naval history, the capture of Derna Argus and USS Nautilus anchored about half a mile to the eastward of the fortifications to provide supporting gun fire for the attack force. The capture of Derna has been immortalized in the words of the Marine's Hymn, ". . . to the shores of Tripoli."
  • Argus returned to the United States in the summer of 1806
  • Laid up in ordinary at the Washington Navy Yard from 13 July 1806
  • Recommissioned in 1807 Argus began a series of cruises along the Atlantic coast of the United States through 1813
  • During one cruise between 8 October 1812 and 3 January 1813, Argus captured six prizes
  • On 18 June 1813, Argus put to sea from New York bearing the honorable William H. Crawford, the United States minister to France. She arrived in L'Orient, France, 11 July 1813
  • Argus spent the next month conducting a highly successful anticommerce cruise in the English Channel, along the southern coast of England and into St. George's Channel
  • On 14 August, Argus ran afoul of HMS Pelican after a 45 minute running battle Argus was forced to strike her colors, during the battle Argus lost ten men killed in battle including her captain William H. Allen
    Displacement 299 t.
    Length 94' 6"
    Beam 28' 2"
    Depth of Hold 12' 8"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 142
    two 12-pdrs
    sixteen 24-pdr carronades
    Propulsion sail

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    USS Argus
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 1 January 2015