Thomas Read (naval officer)

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Commodore Thomas Read discovering the Alliance and Morris Islands, 1787. Rossiana; papers and documents relating to the history and genealogy of the ancient and noble house of Ross, of Ross-shire, Scotland, and its descent form the ancient earls of Ross, together with the (14763892881).jpg
Commodore Thomas Read discovering the Alliance and Morris Islands, 1787.

Thomas Read (1740 in New Castle, Delaware 26 October 1788 in White Hill, New Jersey) was the first naval officer to obtain the rank of commodore in command of a fleet of the Continental Navy.

New Castle, Delaware City in Delaware, United States

New Castle is a city in New Castle County, Delaware, United States, six miles (10 km) south of Wilmington, situated on the Delaware River. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 5,285.

Continental Navy Navy of Patriot forces in the American Revolution

The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. The fleet cumulatively became relatively substantial through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, when considering the limitations imposed upon the Patriot supply pool.



Coat of Arms of Thomas Read Coat of Arms of George Read.svg
Coat of Arms of Thomas Read

Thomas Read was the son of John and Mary (Howell) Read, and the younger brother of U.S. statesman George Read. A brother worked in Havana, and Read early took up a life on the ocean, where he was master of vessels in the trans-Atlantic and West Indies trade. [1] He was appointed, on 23 October 1775, commodore of the Pennsylvania Navy, having as the surgeon of his fleet Benjamin Rush, and while holding this command he made a successful defence of the Delaware River. He was appointed, 7 June 1776, to the highest grade in the Continental Navy, and assigned to one of its four largest ships, the 32-gun frigate George Washington, then being built on the Delaware River. While awaiting the completion of his ship he volunteered for land service, and was sent as captain by the committee of safety to join George Washington. He gave valuable assistance in the crossing of the Delaware, and at the Battle of Trenton commanded a battery made up of guns from his frigate, and with it raked the stone bridge across Assunpink Creek.

Havana Capital city of Cuba

Havana is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial center of Cuba. The city has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 781.58 km2 (301.77 sq mi) – making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, and the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region.

Atlantic Ocean Ocean between Europe, Africa and the Americas

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".

West Indies Island region of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean

The West Indies is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.

After much service on sea and land, Thomas Read resigned his commission, and, retiring to his seat near Bordentown, New Jersey, dispensed a liberal hospitality to his old companions-in-arms, especially to his brother members of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Bordentown, New Jersey City in Burlington County, New Jersey, U.S.

Bordentown is a city in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 3,924. The population declined by 45 (-1.1%) from the 3,969 counted in the 2000 U.S. Census, which had in turn declined by 372 (-8.6%) from the 4,341 counted in the 1990 Census.

Society of the Cincinnati Nonprofit organization

The Society of the Cincinnati is a hereditary society with branches in the United States and France, founded in 1783, to preserve the ideals and fellowship of officers of the Continental Army who served in the Revolutionary War. Now in its third century, the Society promotes the public interest in the Revolution through its library and museum collections, publications, and other activities. It is the oldest hereditary society in the United States. The Society does not allow women to join, though there is a partnership society called Daughters of the Cincinnati which permits all female descendants of Continental officers.

Shortly afterward he was induced by his friend, Robert Morris, to take command of his old frigate, the Alliance , which had recently been bought by Morris for commercial purposes, and make a joint adventure to the China seas. Taking with him as chief officer one of his old subordinates, Richard Dale, afterward Commodore Dale, and George Harrison, who became an eminent citizen of Philadelphia, as supercargo, he sailed from the Delaware on 7 June 1787, and arrived at Canton on 22 December following, after sailing on a track that had never before been taken by any other vessel, and making the first "out-of-season" passage to China. In this voyage he discovered two islands, which he named, respectively, "Morris" and "Alliance" islands, and which formed part of the Caroline Islands. By this discovery the United States became entitled to rights which were never properly asserted.

Robert Morris (financier) American merchant

Robert Morris, Jr. was an English-born merchant and a Founding Father of the United States. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, the Second Continental Congress, and the United States Senate, and he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. From 1781 to 1784, he served as the Superintendent of Finance of the United States, becoming known as the "Financier of the Revolution". Along with Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin, he is widely regarded as one of the founders of the financial system of the United States.

USS <i>Alliance</i> (1778)

The first Alliance of the United States Navy was a 36-gun sailing frigate of the American Revolutionary War.

Richard Dale American admiral

Richard Dale was an American naval officer who fought in the Continental Navy under John Barry and was first lieutenant for John Paul Jones during the naval battle off of Flamborough Head, England against HMS Serapis in the celebrated engagement of September 23, 1779. He became one of the six original commodores of the permanent United States Navy, and commanded a blockade of Tripoli in 1801 during the First Barbary War of Thomas Jefferson's presidency.


  1. Westcott, Allan (1935). "Read, Thomas". Dictionary of American Biography . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

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