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Jackal

 

A wild dog of the Old World, resembling a wolf. (Sch: t. 47; cpl. 31; a. 3 guns)

 

Jackal, sometimes spelled Jackall, was one of eight schooners which Commodore David Porter purchased at Baltimore in January 1823 for service in the "Mosquito Fleet" being established for action against pirates in the West Indies. Jackal, commanded by Lt. T. H. Stevens, sailed from Norfolk with sloop of war Peacock, steam galliot Sea Gull, and other schooners 14 February and arrived St. Thomas 3 March. Porter's efforts to secure the cooperation of the Governor of Puerto Rico were thwarted when a Spanish battery at San Juan fired on Fox, killing her commander, as she entered the harbor carrying a message.

 

Porter then divided his fleet to scour the coasts of Hispaniola, Cuba, and part of Yucatan for buccaneers. In this operation Jackal, Fox, Gallinipper, and Mosquito were assigned to the northwestern coast of Cuba, where they searched each bay, inlet, and key and escorted merchantmen through the dangerous waters. The flotilla captured Pilot, a fast sailing schooner, off Norfolk, which the pirates had taken only 8 days before. About the same time they destroyed three pirate schooners and several of their bases.

 

In August operations were interrupted by an epidemic of yellow fever in the fleet which forced Porter to take most of his vessels north where more healthful conditions prevailed. When the epidemic had passed, Jackal returned to the West Indies to resume her vigilant patrolling of waters previously infested by pirates but now comparatively safe and peaceful. The freebooters had suffered so severely at the hands of Porter's flotilla that they had all but abandoned operations at sea for less dangerous raids upon settlements ashore.

 

When yellow fever broke out again in the summer of 1824, Jackal once more sailed north. Back in the West Indies on patrol off Cuba, Jackal rescued survivors of Ferret after her sister schooner had capsized in a gale 4 February 1825. Shortly thereafter Jackal, seriously in need of repair, was sold.