The First Four Ships in the Continental Navy

The First Four Ships in the Continental Navy

This #TallShipTuesday, we are celebrating Independence Day. Tall Ship Providence was the first ship authorized to join the Continental Navy during the American War for Independence. Providence was the fifth ship to officially join though. So who beat providence to the punch? These are the first four Continental Navy ships commissioned before Providence.

No. 4- Cabot

Cabot was a 14 gun brigantine that was originally called Sally. She was the first ship to engage a british war ship in the war for American Independence. She sailed from 1775 to 1777 where in March she engaged HMS Milford. Unfortunately for the crew of Cabot, they were outmatched and were forced to abandon ship. She then became the “first Continental Naval ship captured by the British“.

No. 3- Andrew Doria

She was named after Andrew Doria. He was a Genoese admiral in the 16th Century who in his career gained the title, “Liberator et Pater Patria”. The ship, Andrew Doria was a brigantine rigged merchant ship turned warship. She’s was captained by Nicholas Biddle and sailed in the Continental Navy until November 1777. She was scuttled by her own crew.

No. 2- Columbus

Columbus was also originally called Sally, Providence’s captain, Abraham Whipple went on to be the first captain this ship. She was a Frigate with 24 guns. She sailed in the Continental Navy until 1778 when the British chased her ashore in Rhode Island. Then, “Columbus was stripped of her sails, most of her rigging, and other usable material” and the crew abandoned ship. She was then burned to the waterline by the enemy.

No. 1- Alfred

Originally called the Black Prince, Alfred was the first to raise the Grand Union Flag. Lieutenant John Paul Jones was the one to take on this great honor, before becoming captain of Providence. Alfred was a part of the engagement as a fleet with HMS Glasgow. Alfred made a daring escape that time, but wasn’t as lucky a few years later. When she engaged two Royal Navy ships near Barbados, the crew was forced to surrender. Alfred went on to sail for the Royal Navy until 1782.


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