Action of 1 January 1800

The Action of 1 January 1800 was a naval battle of the Quasi-War. It took place off the coast of present-day Haiti, near the island of Gonâve in the Bight of Léogâne. The battle was fought between an American convoy of four merchant vessels escorted by the United States naval schooner USS Experiment, and a squadron of armed barges manned by Haitians known as picaroons.

About Action of 1 January 1800 in brief

Summary Action of 1 January 1800The Action of 1 January 1800 was a naval battle of the Quasi-War. It took place off the coast of present-day Haiti, near the island of Gonâve in the Bight of Léogâne. The battle was fought between an American convoy of four merchant vessels escorted by the United States naval schooner USS Experiment, and a squadron of armed barges manned by Haitians known as picaroons. A French-aligned Haitian general, André Rigaud, had instructed his forces to attack all foreign shipping within their range of operations. After Rigaud was forced out of power by the forces of Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the 1791 Haitian Revolution, did the picaroon attacks cease. The U.S. and France were engaged in a bout of limited naval warfare in the Caribbean as part of the quasi-war. The Haitians took heavy losses during this engagement, but they remained strong enough to continue wreaking havoc among American shipping in the region.

In total some 37 barges and 1500 men were at Rigaud’s immediate disposal, though the Americans did not know this during the attack. They stood off the American convoy for thirty minutes before beaching at the nearby island of Gonâve to land their reinforcements and gather and gather more crews. During the lull in fighting, Experiment readied herself for the next attack and set course to attack the stern of the American warship while the next division attacked the rear of the convoy. The Americans returned the fire on the Haitians, and they were forced to withdraw and beached at the island for 30 minutes before being forced to land and gather reinforcements. On the American side, only the captain of the schooners Mary was killed.