USS Chippewa (1815)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Chippewa.
Sail plan of USS Chippewa
Launched: 1815
  • Ran aground and sank,
  • 12 December 1816
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 410 (bm)
Length: 108 ft (33 m)
Beam: 29 ft 9 in (9.07 m)
Draft: 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Depth of hold: 13 ft 9 in (4.19 m)
Complement: 90
  • 14 × 32 pounder (15 kg) carronades
  • and 2 × 12 pounder (5 kg) guns

USS Chippewa was a brig built in 1815 at Warren, Rhode Island, under the direction of Commodore Oliver Perry, and sent to New York City to be outfitted and manned. Chippewa sailed from Boston, Massachusetts, 3 July 1815, with Lieutenant George C. Read in command, as a part of a squadron under the command of Commodore William Bainbridge. It was intended to go to the Mediterranean for use against the Barbary pirates based in North Africa.

Before the squadron's arrival in the Mediterranean, another squadron under the command of Commodore Stephen Decatur had succeeded in making peace with the Dey of Algiers. Bainbridge, after showing the flag in several ports in the Mediterranean, departed for home 6 October 1815. Upon her arrival at Boston, Chippewa was placed in ordinary service.

Chippewa sailed from Boston 27 November 1816 for the Gulf of Mexico to join the frigate Congress in the anti-piracy, anti-slave trade patrols in the Caribbean. The United States and Britain were cooperating in attempts to suppress the international slave trade. The Chippewa ran aground on an uncharted reef in the Bahamas off East Caicos and sank 12 December 1816 without loss of life.

In 2008, the wreck of the Chippewa was found by a NOAA-supported expedition searching with representatives of Turks & Caicos Islands seeking the Trouvadore, a Spanish slave ship that wrecked in 1841 in the same area. They had found wreckage of a wooden ship in 2004, and 2008 was the third field season. The Chippewa wreck was identified by the unique 32-pounder carronade armament.[1] The US team is also seeking the wreckage of the USS Onkahye, another 19th-century ship that conducted anti-piracy/anti-slavery patrols; it was lost in 1848 in that area.[2]


  1. "NOAA-supported mission discovers historic shipwrecks off Turks and Caicos Islands". NOAA. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  2. "Anti-piracy/Anti-slavery patrols", Slave Ship Trouvadore website, accessed 7 April 2013

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