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Gallinipper

 

A large mosquito or other stinging insect.

 

The barge Gallinipper was one of five ship's boats equipped with sails and double-banked oars in January 1823 for duty with Capt. David Porter's West India Squadron, known as the "Mosquito Fleet," fitted out under an act of Congress approved 20 December 1822 to cruise in the West Indies and Gulf of Mexico for the suppression of piracy.

 

On 14 February 1823 the squadron, composed of 12 ships, sailed from Hampton Roads for its base at Thompson's Island (later Key West, Fla.) via a circuitous route through the Caribbean, while Gallinipper and the other barges, in charge of Lt. T. M. Newell, loaded on two chartered schooners, proceeded directly to base a few days later. Arriving at Thompson's Island 3 April, Captain Porter landed the stores, built storehouses, and fitted out the barges and manned them from the crew of Peacock.

 

Gallinipper, one of the more active barges, participated in several successful expeditions against the pirates operating on the coast of Cuba. On 8 April 1823 she and barge Mosquito, under command of Lt. C. K. Stribling, captured pirate schooner Pilot near Havana after running her on shore; two pirates were killed and one captured, the others escaping on shore.

 

In July, 1823 Gallinipper, Lt. W. H. Watson in command, with the aid of Mosquito, captured the pirate schooner Catilina and a launch near Sigaumpa Bay. Catilina, commanded by the celebrated pirate Diaboleto, lost about one-third of her crew of approximately 75 in the running fight. The barges pursued the schooner to the village of Signapa; as they closed to board, the pirates fled to their launch. A volley of musketry directed at the launch drove them into the sea where the boats cut off the retreat of all but 15. Even of these, 11 were killed or taken prisoner by the barges' men who landed in pursuit, and the remaining 4 were apprehended by the local authorities. Lt. Watson was highly commended by Captain Porter for his brilliant victory over a superior force without the loss of a man, and recommended to the Department for promotion.

 

In March 1825 a joint American-British expedition under Lt. I. McKeever in Gallinipper, destroyed a pirates' lair east of Matanzas, Cuba, and captured 2 of their schooners, killing at least 8 pirates and taking 19 prisoners. The ultimate fate of Gallinipper is unknown. By December 1825 it was reported that one of the barges had been lost at sea, some had decayed to the point of uselessness, and the rest remained on duty in Florida.