1822 – The captain of a U.S. Navy schooner is killed during a battle with the infamous pirate Diabolito during which his out-manned and out-gunned ship rescued five American merchant vessels.
Washington, D.C. The National Intelligencer, 1822. Newspaper. “The Pirate Fight (The Action of 9 November 1822)” by “An Officer on board the Schooner Alligator” in The National Intelligencer. Washington, D.C.: December 5, 1822.
This article, which is included in the entire four-page newspaper, recounts in detail the battle between the American Schooner USS Alligator, commanded by Lieutenant William Howard Allen, of the West Indies Squadron and three pirate ships, probably commanded by Diabolito. The battle took place off the coast of Cuba on November 9, 1822. It occupies over 18" of front-page column space and has a large, capitalized headline. The paper is toned but supple; generally clean with some staining at the upper right. The spine appears to have been neatly mended.At the time of battle, the pirate force had in its possession five US merchant vessels. The Alligator, although out-gunned and out-manned, had an experienced crew which recently captured another pirate ship after a bloody battle, and its commander, Lt. Allen, had previously commanded the USS Argus, when it engaged the HMS Pelican during the War of 1812. Allen and his crew manned launches from the Alligator in an attempt to board the principal pirate vessel, the Revenge, which fired upon the Americans with grape and roundshot. Rather than attempt to fight off the boarding party, the pirates abandoned the Revenge and fled to their other two ships. As Allen turned his boats to continue the attack, they came under withering fire from the pirates. In an attempt to rally his men, Allen stood up and was cut down by musket fire. The two remaining pirate ships fled the battle during the resulting confusion, leaving the pirate ship, Revenge, and the five merchant ships with the Alligator.
Allen became an immediate naval hero, and his name was used as a rallying cry a year later when the Navy killed Diabolito while defeating another pirate force in the same area..". Very Good. Item #008040
(For more information, see “Death of lieut. Allen: Official Account” in the Niles’ Register 1 Feb 1823, Calkins’s “The Repression of Piracy in the West Indies: 1814-1825 in the United States Naval Institute Proceedings December 1911, and Bradlee’s Piracy in the West Indies and Its Suppression.).