FLORIDA KEYS Shipwrecks USS Alligator Wreck Key West
Historical and current Florida Keys Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers, fisherman and marine historians.




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   

U.S.S. ALLIGATOR Upper Matecumbe Key

The U.S.S. Alligator was launched on November 2, 1820, at the Boston Navy Yard. The copper and bronze fittings used in her construction came from Paul Revere's foundry, which at the time was being run by his son following Paul's death in 1818. She was 86 feet long, had a 24 foot beam, carried twelve guns and was commissioned in 1821 with Commandant R.F. Stockton in charge.

The Alligator made two voyages to the African west coast during her first year at sea and was successful in capturing several slave running ships. She was part of the West Indies Squadron, a force deployed to eliminate pirates from Florida. From June to November of 1822, she hunted pirates in the West Indies. On November 9, 1822, she captured a pirate vessel off Matanzas, Cuba, but not without the loss of the Alligator's commander, Lieutenant William H. Allen. On November 23, 1823, the Alligator ran aground on Craysfort Reef. She was off loaded of everything of value and then blown up by the Navy.

Today the Alligator's broken and scattered remains lie in the sand 100 yards offshore of Alligator lighthouse . Alligator Reef, assumed its name from this once mighty war ship. 

Photo: The U.S.S. Alligator fires her cannons at pirate vessels. Photo courtesy The Mariners Museum, Newport News. Virginia.
Brass sword hilt recovered the Alligator wreck by Art McKee Photo by Jozef Koppelman.

Basic shipwreck information and images for this section of this site was taken with permission from the book Florida Shipwrecks by Daniel Berg. You are invited to submit your shipwreck related articles, images and information. As long as the text, photographs, sketches etc are of professional quality we will showcase them. Full credit will be provided and a same page link to your web site can be arranged.

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