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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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DANFS - USS Mosquito


One of the worst pests found in temperate and tropical regions, the mosquito was especially troublesome in the West Indies during the era of pirates and sailing ships.


(Sloop, 4 guns)

The first Mosquito was a sloop purchased at Philadelphia late in 1775 for the new Continental Navy. She patrolled the Delaware River until destroyed during the British conquest of Philadelphia led by the Howe brothers in October 1777.



The second Mosquito, one of the cutters built for Potomac at the Washington Navy Yard, had an active role in controlling pirates in the West Indies. In 1823, Commodore David Porter formed his "Mosquito Fleet", part of the West India Squadron, of barges Mosquito, Gallinipper, Gnat, Sandfly, and Midge, operating from Thompson's Island.

In April 1823, Mosquito, Peacock, and Gallinipper had a running fight with a pirate ship 20 miles out of Havana, chasing the pirate ashore. Captain Cassin of Peacock reported the capture of schooner Pilot the 16th. Mosquito and Gallinipper discovered pirate schooner Catalina and a launch approaching merchant vessels 11 July. Giving chase, they captured her, killing the crew.

In 1824, an epidemic of yellow fever spread through the fleet, reducing the effectiveness of the barges, which operated without regular officers or crew. On 1 January 1825 Mosquito was on patrol off Mantanze, but was phased out early in the summer.

30 January 2002