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Capture of the Bravo

Capture of the Bravo
Part of West Indies Anti-Piracy Operations, Piracy in the Caribbean

A model of USRC Alabama.
Date August 31, 1819
Location off Florida, United States, Gulf of Mexico
Result United States victory
 United States Jean Lafitte's Pirates
Commanders and leaders
Jairus Jean La Farges
2 schooners 1 schooner
Casualties and losses
unknown 1 schooner captured

The Capture of the Bravo was a naval battle between United States Revenue Cutter Service cutters and one of Jean Lafitte's pirate ships.

In early 1819 the two ships USRC Alabama and USRC Louisiana were finished being built in New York and fitted with one pivot gun each. The sister ships cost $4,500 apiece and were sent to the Gulf of Mexico to conduct counter piracy patrols. Alabama was assigned to the Mobile Squadron and Louisiana assigned to the New Orleans Squadron.

Sometime in August 1819, Alabama was temporarily assigned to New Orleans to help thwart the pirate incidents in those waters with the Louisiana. On August 31, the two ships were sailing the Gulf off southern Florida when they sighted the schooner Bravo. The Americans gave chase and eventually came within range. Bravo resisted and a brief gunnery duel occurred, then the Americans boarded the enemy. The pirates were captured. Jean La Farges commanded the suspected privateer, he was a lieutenant of Jean Lafitte. Apparently no letter of marque was presented to the Americans which explained why the pirates fled at the sight of the Revenue Cutter schooners. The pirates were taken into United States custody and probably hanged later on. Casualties are unknown.

More battles between United States naval forces and pirates in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean would occur. On April 19, 1819, the Alabama and Louisiana destroyed a pirate base at the Patterson's Town Raid on Breton Island, Louisiana. Another action was fought on July 10, 1820 when Captain Jairus of Louisiana captured four pirate ships off Belize. On November 2, 1822, Louisiana along with USS Peacock and the Royal Navy schooner HMS Speedwell captured five pirate vessels off Havana, Cuba. Louisiana '​s career was soon over, in March 1824 the vessel was put up for public auction. Alabama eventually went on to fight the slave trade in the Atlantic until being sold in Florida on August 6, 1833.

See also


  • Official U.S. Coast Guard history page
  • Donald Canney. U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.
  • U.S. Coast Guard. Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934–1989

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