Battle of Doro Passage
Part of Aegean Anti-Piracy Campaign

Greek pirates attacking a merchant ship.
DateOctober 23, 1827
Result United States/British victory
 United States
 United Kingdom
Greek Pirates
Commanders and leaders
Benjamin Cooper
Louis M. Goldsborough
1 schooner,
1 brig
5 mistikos
Casualties and losses
none ~85 killed or wounded

  • The British brig was captured by the pirates and liberated by the Americans.

Template:Campaignbox Piracy in the 19th century Template:Nineteenth century Atlantic/Mediterranean conflicts involving the United States

The Battle of Doro Passage was a naval engagement during the United States Navy's campaign against Greek pirates in the Aegean Sea. On October 16 of 1827 a British merchantship was attacked by pirates in Doro Passage off the islands of Andros and Negroponte but was retaken by United States Navy sailors.[1][2][3]


The Greek War of Independence changed the balance of sea power in the Mediterranean Sea to shift against the Ottoman Empire. This led to a rise in piracy particularly among the Greek islands in the Aegean. In 1825 after several American merchant ships had been attacked the American navy sent a squadron of warships to protect American interests and hunt pirates. Lieutenant Benjamin Cooper commanded the twelve gun schooner USS Porpoise in October of 1827 and was in the process of escorting a convoy of fiver American ships and six others from Syrma to Malta. At dusk on October 16 the convoy was sailing through Doro Passage when suddenly the wind came to a calm. The armed British brig Comet had fallen behind and now that the wind was gone she drifted away from the rest of the convoy and attacked by 200 to 300 Greek pirates in boats called mistikos by the Americans.[4][5][6]

In general the mistikos were small but fast three masted galleys armed with one bow gun. The pirates eventually took contol of Comet and put most of the crew in chains before attempting to flee back to the islands from which they came. The British captain and some crewmen managed to lower a boat and paddle to the Porpose which was heading back to find the Comet after hearing the fighting. Lieutenant Conner gave the order to opened fire and give chase to the Greeks who were trying to tow the Comet away but because of the calm, the sailors had to propel their ship by oars. When this failed to close the range, Lieutenant Cooper dispatched four boats with thirty-five men under the command of Lieutenant Louis M. Goldsborough. With boats the Americans felt they could close the range faster and cut out the captured brig. It was now a dark night so when the Greeks opened fire on the approaching boats they had trouble hitting their targets and throughout the action no Americans were hurt.[7][8][9]

During the boarding a wardroom steward killed eleven of the pirates single handedly, Lieutenant John A. Carr killed the pirate leader and several others with his pistol. Ultimately eighty to ninety pirates became casualties and the remaining escaped to shore in their boats. Lieutenant Goldsborough recieved recognition for winning the largest battle of the American campaign in the Aegean, including a message of thanks from the British government.[10][11][12]

See Also


  1. ^ Wombwell, pg. 80-82
  2. ^ Various authors, pg. 315
  3. ^ Wilson, pg 673
  4. ^ Wombwell, pg. 80-82
  5. ^ Various authors, pg. 315
  6. ^ Wilson, pg 673
  7. ^ Wombwell, pg. 80-82
  8. ^ Various authors, pg. 315
  9. ^ Wilson, pg 673
  10. ^ Wombwell, pg. 80-82
  11. ^ Various authors, pg. 315
  12. ^ Wilson, pg 673