Military Wiki
USS Nonsuch (1813)
Name: Nonsuch
Launched: 1812
Acquired: by purchase, December 1812
Decommissioned: December 1825
Fate: Sold, 1826
General characteristics
Type: Schooner
Displacement: 148 long tons (150 t)
Length: 86 ft (26 m)
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Draft: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 61 officers and enlisted
Armament: 14 × guns

USS Nonsuch was an armed schooner in the United States Navy during the War of 1812.


Nonsuch was built in 1812 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her owner, George Stiles and Company, requested a commission for Nonsuch as a letter of marque on 29 June 1812. The schooner soon commenced privateering along the East Coast of the United States and in the West Indies seeking British shipping. Under Captain Henry Levely, she attacked two British armed vessels, a ship and a schooner off Martinique on 28 September. Nonsuch fought these two ships for three hours in an extremely furious battle, causing great confusion and killing or wounding a considerable number of the enemy. Unfortunately damage to her own rigging prevented Nonsuch from pursuing the British ships as they fled to Martinique.

US Navy service

Purchased by the Navy and placed in service at Charleston, South Carolina in December 1812, the schooner, under the command of Lieutenant James Mork, sailed in January 1813 to carry supplies to the United States Army at Fort Johnson. She then resumed cruising in search of English merchantmen. The schooner captured British schooner Sancho Panza in early April 1813 and took privateer Caledonia, 8 guns, following a bloody seven minute fight on the 9th. The schooner continued her patrols out of Charleston into 1814. In June, off Charleston Bar, she was chased by an enemy ship of superior force and speed and was forced to throw 11 of her guns overboard in order to escape.

Following the war, with her armament reduced to five 12-pounder carronades and one long 12-pounder, Nonsuch cruised in the West Indies. In 1819, she, with frigates John Adams and Constellation, sailed in a squadron under Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, for the Orinoco River, Venezuela, arriving 15 July to discourage piracy while still maintaining friendly relations with Venezuela and the Republic of Buenos Aires. Shifting his flag to Nonsuch, Commodore Perry sailed upriver to negotiate an anti-piracy agreement with President Simón Bolívar. A favorable treaty was signed on 11 August, but when the schooner started downriver, many of her crew including Perry had been stricken with yellow fever. Commodore Perry died on board the USS John Adams shortly its arrival at Trinidad on 23 August. He was buried at Trinidad with great honors while Nonsuch's crew acted as honor guard.

Returning to the United States, Nonsuch operated off the East Coast and in the Caribbean against piracy and made a short deployment to the Mediterranean. She was placed in ordinary at Boston, Massachusetts in December 1825, sold in 1826, and broken up the same year.


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