(Sen: t. 135; l. 84'7"; b. 22'6"; dph. 9'6"; cpl. 70; a. 12 6-pdr.)
A trial made to test a theory or a piece of equipment.
The first Experiment, a schooner, was built in 1799 at Baltimore, Md.; and first put to sea late in November 1799, Lieutenant W. Maley in command.
Experiment joined the squadron commanded by Captain S. Talbot on the Santo Domingo station, and for 7 months, cruised against French privateers in the Caribbean, taking a number of valuable prizes. On 1 January 1800, while becalmed in the Bight of Leogane with a convoy of four merchantmen, Experiment was attacked by 11 armed pirate boats, manned by about 4 or 5 hundred buccaneers. In the 7 hours of fighting that followed, the pirates boarded one of the merchantmen, killing her captain, and towed off two other ships of the convoy after their crews had abandoned them. But Experiment sank two of the attacking craft, and killed and wounded many of the pirates, suffering only one man wounded.
Arriving in the Delaware River early in July 1800, Experiment refitted, and returned to the West Indies. Again successful in her patrols against the French, she captured several armed vessels, one of which was carrying a high-ranking army officer. She also recaptured a number of American merchantmen, and in January 1801 rescued 65 Spaniards from the ship Eliza, wrecked on a reef of the island of Saona.
Experiment returned to Norfolk early in February 1801, and was laid up there until August, when she sailed to Baltimore. There she was sold in October 1801.