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USS Trippe (I)

  • Contractor, a merchant sloop purchased in 1812 by the Navy on the Niagara River in New York in 1812
  • Converted to a warship by Henry Eckford of New York
  • Commissioned, USS Trippe, circa May 1813, LT. Thomas Holdup in command
  • Trippe, assigned to COMO. Chauncey's squadron, and her sister ships, fitted out on the Niagara River while bottled up by British shore batteries at Fort George
  • A joint attack on the British shore batteries at Fort George by the squadron and troops under Col. Winfield Scott upon the fort cleared the river for Trippe and the rest of COMO. Chauncey's squadron to join Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet, 19 June 1813, at Erie, Pa.
  • Trippe and the rest of Perry's squadron remained at Erie for another month in need of additional crew as well as having their movement restricted by a British blockade
  • On 4 August Trippe and the other ships slipped past the British and exited Erie harbor setting sail for the western end of Lake Erie
  • On 10 September American lookouts spotted the British fleet Trippe and the other ships of Perry's fleet cleared for action
  • Trippe fought a long range duel with HMS Lady Prevost and HMS Little Belt, battering Lady Prevost severely causing her to fall off to leeward
  • Trippe charged ahead, firing furiously as the British one by one struck their colors
  • The Battle of Lake Erie was Trippe only action in the War of 1812
  • Throughout the remainder of her career, Trippe carried supplies to support General Harrison's land operations
  • Final Disposition, set on fire and burned completely while aground near Buffalo Creek when the British attacked captured Buffalo, 13 October 1812, and the Americans were forced to evacuate the city
    Displacement 60 t.
    Keel Length unknown
    Beam unknown
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 36
    Armament one 32-pdr long gun
    Propulsion sail

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    Trippe (I) 218k
    LT. John Trippe USN
    Lieutenant John Trippe U.S. Navy, (1785-1810). 19th Century stipple engraving based on the 1809 portrait by Charles Ste. Memin, featuring a facsimile of Trippe's signature.
    John Trippe, born in 1785 in Dorchester County, Md., was appointed a midshipman in the Navy on 5 April 1799. During the Quasi-War with France, he made his first cruise in the frigate Constitution and later served in the schooner Experiment. On 21 May, he was assigned to Commodore Richard Dale's flagship President, and he served in her until early 1802 in operations against the Tripolitan corsairs in the Mediterranean.
    He returned to the United States in April 1802 and received a furlough to make a mercantile voyage. On 24 May 1803, the Navy Department ordered Trippe to Vixen as an acting lieutenant. The schooner sailed for the Mediterranean on 3 August and joined Commodore Preble's squadron off Tripoli on 14 September 1803.
    Lt. Trippe served with distinction in the Mediterranean until the fall of 1805. On 3 August 1804, he led his crew of Gunboat No. 6, manned by another midshipman and nine Sailors, to victory over the 36-man crew of a large Tripolitan boat. Trippe and his men boarded the enemy, and Trippe himself grappled with the leader of the pirates. Though his adversary towered over him, Lt. Trippe used his own agility and tenacity to emerge victorious in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle. Seriously wounded, he was unable to participate in the next three of Preble's five attacks on Tripoli. However, by the beginning of September, he had recovered sufficiently to resume command of Gunboat No. 6 for the fifth and final assault carried out on the 3d. For his gallentry in action against the Barbary pirates, Lt. Trippe received a sword and a commendation from Congress.
    Trippe returned to the United States in November 1805, but 1806 found him back on duty in the Mediterranean. In 1808, Trippe served at Charleston, S.C., enforcing the embargo legislation. He took command of Enterprise on 23 January 1809, departed New York on 24 June, and headed for Holland. On 31 July, he reached Amsterdam, where he delivered official dispatches and conducted negotiations which helped cement commercial relations between The Netherlands and the United States. Having helped open Dutch ports to American shipping, he weighed anchor on 10 October and reentered New York harbor on 2 December.
    On 26 April, Trippe transferred to the command of Vixen and, a month later, departed New Castle, Del., bound for New Orleans. Off Stirrup Key on 24 June, Vixen came under the fire of a British ship, HMS Moselle. When summoned on board the Britisher, Trippe refused, cleared Vixen for action, and demanded an explanation of Moselle's untoward action. Her captain responded with an apology, stating that he had mistaken the American man-of-war for a Frenchman. Vixen then continued peacefully on her way and put into Havana, Cuba, six days later. On 9 July 1810, while en route from Havana to New Orleans, Lt. Trippe died.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 61301. Courtesy U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    Trippe (I) 682k Five views of a replica of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's armed cutter USS Trippe that is being assembled by members of the Buffalo Maritime Center.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photos
    Robert Hurst

    USS Trippe (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Battle of Lake Erie - Building the Fleet in the Wilderness
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    Last Updated 26 August 2016