A ship not forgotten- USS Independence

A ship not forgotten- USS Independence

Independence, despite being a part of some important historic events, she is often left out of the story of the American Revolution. Like Providence, Independence was a sloop and much smaller than many of the other ships that sailed in the Continental Navy like Ranger. For this week’s #TallShipTuesday, we remember this captivating ship.

Construction of Independence

In 1776 in the bustling city of Baltimore, Maryland, a unique vessel was built: a Continental sloop. She was appropriately named Independence. This ship, a masterpiece in her own right, was handpicked and fitted out by the Marine Committee. This was a 13 member organization- one member from each Colony. They readied her for a journey that would soon make history. 

Captain John Young

Captain John Young was at the helm. Before his naval career, he was an early settler and a Lieutenant under Daniel Boone. Captain Young’s task was to steer her along the Atlantic Coast, safeguarding American Merchant trade in the West Indies. In addition to this, he was told to capture British Merchant ships whenever possible as prizes to help fund the war effort.

As 1777 rolled in, armed with vital diplomatic dispatches, Independence sailed for France. Along the way, the crew managed to capture not one but two prize ships. These prizes were strategically disposed of in France, moving too quickly for the Royal Navy to interfere.

Quiberon Bay

On February 14, 1778 in Quiberon Bay, John Paul Jones was honored with the first-ever national salute to the American flag by a foreign power. Just earlier that month, following America’s triumphant win at the Battle of Saratoga, France had officially recognized American independence in a treaty. So here we have the French squadron under La Motte Picquet, proudly saluting Ranger from the deck of Robuste.

Returning to America

As her European mission came to an end, Independence set sail for home. But the unpredictable sea had other plans. On April 24, 1778, while attempting to navigate the Okracoke Inlet, in N.C., Independence tragically succumbed to the sea.

Don’t let the somber ending dampen the spirit of the story. Independence, though her journey was cut short, remains an emblem of courage, resilience, and a spirit of exploration. Her voyage, from the bustling ports of Baltimore to the history-making Quiberon Bay, is a lasting testament to those who dare to venture into uncharted waters with bravery and dedication.

Independence Lives On

Independence would be followed by not one but many more vessels carrying the name USS Independence. So, whenever you face your own challenging seas, remember the tale of this iconic ship, and keep sailing on!

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