Military operations during the Quasi-War involved encounters between the U.S. Navy and French privateers, first along the Atlantic coast but then mostly in the West Indies. In two major naval battles, the USS Constellation engaged two French ships in the Caribbean, capturing l’Insurgente and severely damaged La Vengeance. The USS Enterprise, USS Eagle, and USS Experiment were among the most successful U.S. ships, capturing twenty-five French privateers. Despite these effective U.S. military operations, however, the French seized some 2,000 U.S. vessels during this conflict.
This scene was painted by Rear Admiral John William Schmidt (Ret.) (1906-1981) depicting the action of February 9, 1799, when the USS Constellation (left), commanded by Captain Thomas Truxtun, captured the French frigate l’Insurgente (right).