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Richard F. Grimmett Specialist in International Security - page 5 / 34





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Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2010

Listing of Notable Deployments of U.S. Military Forces Overseas, 1798-2010


Undeclared Naval War with France. This contest included land actions, such as that in the Dominican Republic, city of Puerto Plata, where marines captured a French privateer under the guns of the forts. Congress authorized military action through a series of statutes.


Tripoli. The First Barbary War included the U.S.S. George Washington and Philadelphia affairs and the Eaton expedition, during which a few marines landed with United States Agent William Eaton to raise a force against Tripoli in an effort to free the crew of the Philadelphia. Tripoli declared war but not the United States, although Congress authorized U.S. military action by statute.


Mexico (Spanish territory). Capt. Z. M. Pike, with a platoon of troops, invaded Spanish territory at the headwaters of the Rio Grande on orders from Gen. James Wilkinson. He was made prisoner without resistance at a fort he constructed in present day Colorado, taken to Mexico, and later released after seizure of his papers.


Gulf of Mexico. American gunboats operated from New Orleans against Spanish and French privateers off the Mississippi Delta, chiefly under Capt. John Shaw and Master Commandant David Porter.


West Florida (Spanish territory). Gov. Claiborne of Louisiana, on orders of the President, occupied with troops territory in dispute east of the Mississippi River as far as the Pearl River, later the eastern boundary of Louisiana. He was authorized to seize as far east as the Perdido River.


Amelia Island and other parts of east Florida, then under Spain. Temporary possession was authorized by President Madison and by Congress, to prevent occupation by any other power; but possession was obtained by Gen. George Matthews in so irregular a manner that his measures were disavowed by the President.


War of 1812. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war between the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Among the issues leading to the war were British interception of neutral ships and blockades of the United States during British hostilities with France.


West Florida (Spanish territory). On authority given by Congress, General Wilkinson seized Mobile Bay in April with 600 soldiers. A small Spanish garrison gave way. The U.S. advanced into disputed territory to the Perdido River, as projected in 1810. No fighting.


Marquesas Islands. U.S. forces built a fort on the island of Nukahiva to protect three prize ships which had been captured from the British.


Spanish Florida. Gen. Andrew Jackson took Pensacola and drove out the British with whom the United States was at war.


Caribbean. Engagements between pirates and American ships or squadrons took place repeatedly especially ashore and offshore about Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Yucatan. Three thousand pirate attacks on merchantmen were reported between 1815 and 1823. In 1822 Commodore James Biddle employed a squadron of two frigates, four sloops of war, two brigs, four schooners, and two gunboats in the West Indies.


Algiers. The second Barbary War was declared against the United States by the Dey of Algiers of the Barbary states, an act not reciprocated by the United States. Congress did authorize a military expedition by statutes. A large fleet under Decatur attacked Algiers and obtained indemnities.

Congressional Research Service


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