Chapter 1 - The Navies of the American Revolution
Pg. 13 - 16
- 1779 Continental Navy’s busiest. 18 ships.
- New frigate, Confederacy, and other ships are engaged in unsuccessful attempts to clear British from
American coast north of Chesapeake.
- Jan 1779, new frigate Alliance, dispatched to France under command of Pierre Landais, a former erratic
French naval officer.
- Aboard was Marquis de Lafayette on a sensitive diplomatic mission to smooth feelings from first French
expeditionary force to the American coast.
- French fleet commanded by Count d’Estaing takes 3 months to cross the Atlantic in summer of 1778,
which gave the British a chance to evacuate Philadelphia.
- French fleet fled to Newport, Rhode Island, which was not taken well by Americans.
- Fleet left for the West Indies, and Washington did his best to cover up the incident, and sent Lafayette to
smooth out damage done.
- Assisted by the exploits of Gustavus Conyngham, who spent over a year on shore before securing
commission in the Continental Navy in 1777 being trapped in Holland.
- Conyngham had a total of sixty captured vessels in 18 months.
- But captured in 1779 by British and sent to prison in England. Third attempt, dug way out of prison and
went back to France.
- After delivering Lafayette to France, put under command of John Paul Jones, who had a converted French
East Indiaman, Bonhomme Richard, and 4 French privateers in his squadron.
- Made circular voyage through Irish Sea and around Great Britain. Climax came in the duel on September
23, 1779 between Bonhomme Richard and British frigate Serapis. “I have not yet begun to fight.”
- Heroics by Jones not enough to offset despair at Penobscot, Maine in August 1779.
- Largest American amphib assault of the war, brought together three Continental Navy vessels, NH state
Navy brig, three MA Navy brigatines, 13 privateers, and twenty transports with 3000 MA militiamen.
- Left Boston in July to drive out British on the Penobscot River.