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Feb 3 1812: Naval Battle off the Coast of Haiti

On February 3, 1812 there was a minor naval battle off the western coast of Haiti between the British frigate CHMS Southampton, commanded by Captain Sir James Lucas Yeo, and a number of Haitian ships, commanded by a French privateer named Gaspard. The Haitian ships included a frigate named Heureuse Réunion with a crew of between 600 to 700 men. The battle lasted a couple of hours but resulted in a complete defeat for the Haitian ships with about 105 dead and 120 wounded. Gaspard was injured and latter died from his injuries. 
The navy engagement occurred eight years after the 1804 Haitian Revolution that had expelled the French. In 1812, Haiti was divided into a number of fiefdoms including areas controlled by Henri Christophe and Alexandre Pétion. There was also a smaller area controlled by Jérôme Maximilien Borgella in the south of the island. The small Haitian navy had defected to Borgella. He in turn placed the ships in the command of Gaspard. 
During the War of 1812, American privateers tried to capture ships in the British trade routes of the Caribbean. In turn, the British ships patrolled the area to try to defeat them. The Southampton was wrecked in the Bahamas during one such patrol in November 1812. The British Navy patrols ensured that there were few French or American incursions into the Caribbean during the war.


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