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Military history of France
Military history of the United States
Conflict Quasi-War
Date 17981800
Place North American coasts
Result End of French Revolutionary piracy
Battles of the Quasi-War
United States of America Revolutionary France
1 frigate
8 cutters
20 dead
42 wounded

The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought entirely at sea between the United States and France from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict is sometimes also referred to as the Undeclared War with France.

The pirates of the Mediterranean Sea caused the U.S. Congress to begin building a navy for the protection of commerce in 1794. Shortly thereafter, depredations by the privateers of Revolutionary France required the US Navy to protect the expanding merchant shipping of the United States. Naval squadrons sought out and attacked enemy privateers until France agreed to an honorable settlement.

The Quasi-War started on July 7, 1798 when the United States Congress rescinded treaties with France. Captain Thomas Truxtun's insistence on the highest standards of crew training paid handsome dividends as the frigate Constellation won two victories over French men-of-war. Eight cutters (one sloop, five schooners, and two brigs) operated along the southern coast of the United States and among the islands of the West Indies. The two brigs and two of the schooners each carried 14 guns and 70 men. The sloop and the other schooners each had ten guns and 34 men. Of the twenty-two prizes captured by the United States between 1798 and 1799, eighteen were taken by unaided cutters. Revenue cutters also assisted in capturing two others. The cutter Pickering made two cruises to the West Indies and captured ten prizes, one of which carried 44 guns and was manned by some 200 sailors, more than three times Pickering's strength.

The Quasi-War was ended by the Convention of 1800 (Treaty of Mortefontaine).

See also

Further Reading

  • Alexander De Conde: The quasi-war : the politics and diplomacy of the undeclared war with France 1797–1801. – New York : Scribner's, 1966

External link

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