In the late 1790's the US Navy began to protect the expanding merchant shipping of the United States. Naval squadrons sought out and attacked enemy privateers, some coming from Revolutionary France, until France agreed to an honorable settlement.
The Quasi-War started on July 7, 1798 when the United States Congress rescinded treaties with France. The U.S. 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 Caribbean Sea. 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 Greater Antilles and captured ten prizes, one of which carried 19 guns throwing 150 pounds of iron compared to Pickering's 14 guns and total iron weight of only 56 pounds, and was manned by some 250 sailors, more than three times Pickering's strength.
The Quasi-War was ended by the 1800 Treaty of Mortefontaine (a.k.a. Convention of 1800)
On the U.S. side there were about 20 combat casualties and eight ships involved.
- Alexander De Conde. (1966) The quasi-war : the politics and diplomacy of the undeclared war with France 1797–1801. New York : Scribner's. ASIN B0006BOJ32.
- Wikipedia contributors (2005). Quasi-War. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:08, January 5, 2006 .