From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships


A species of dolphin.

(Sch: dp. 171; l. 97'; b. 23'6"; dph. 9'6"; cpl. 64; a. 12 guns)

The first Grampus, a schooner built at Washington Navy Yard under the supervision of naval constructor William Doughty on a design by Henry Eckford was laid down in 1820 on a 73-foot keel; and launched in early August 1821. The necessity of suppressing piracy and of maintaining ships to catch slavers led to the building of five such schooners, largest of which was Grampus. This was the first building program undertaken by the Navy since the War of 1812.

Lt. F. H. Gregory commanded Grampus on her first cruise, which took her to the West Indies in pursuit of pirates. In the company of Hornet, Enterprise, Spark, Porpoise, and Shark, Grampus engaged in convoying merchant vessels throughout 1821, the presence of the squadron having a marked effect on piratical activity among the islands.

On 16 August 1822, Grampus gave chase to a brig flying Spanish colors, but which Lt. Gregory suspected was a pirate. When he called upon her commander to surrender, he was met with cannon and small arms fire. To this rebutt [sic; rebuff], Grampus answered in turn, and reduced the bogus Spaniard to a floating wreck in 3 minutes. The brig struck her colors and Lt. Gregory discovered that she was Palmyra, a Puerto Rico-based pirate carrying the papers of a privateer as a subterfuge.

Grampus continued her duties in the protection of shipping in the Caribbean Sea and in the South Atlantic Ocean until August 1841, when she was detached from the African Squadron while lying at Boston Navy Yard. Attached to the Home Squadron at Norfolk, Va., 23 January 1843, Grampus was lost at sea in March, presumably after having foundered in a gale off Charleston, S.C.

Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (