USS Hancock (1775)

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Name: USS Hancock
Namesake: John Hancock
Acquired: October 1775
Fate: Returned to owner, 1777
General characteristics
Type: Schooner
Displacement: 72 bm)
Length: 60 ft (18.3 m)
Beam: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 70 officers and enlisted
Armament: 6 × 4-pounder guns
Service record
Part of: Continental Navy

The first USS Hancock was an armed schooner under the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Congress returned her to her owner in 1777.

A schooner is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. The most common type has two masts, the foremast being shorter than the main. While the schooner was originally gaff-rigged, modern schooners typically carry a Bermuda rig.

Continental Army Colonial army during the American Revolutionary War

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.

American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.



Hancock, was the former schooner Speedwell, hired from Mr. Thomas Grant of Marblehead, Massachusetts, in October 1775 as one of a small fleet fitting out to prey upon British supply ships and support General George Washington's siege of Boston, Massachusetts. This fleet, the first under Continental pay and control, came to be called "George Washington's Navy."

Marblehead, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Marblehead is a coastal New England town in Essex County, Massachusetts. Its population was 19,808 at the 2010 census.

George Washington 1st president of the United States

George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, and he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.

In October 1775, Hancock and Franklin were ordered to intercept two brigs as they arrived in the St. Lawrence River from England. But the two schooners instead sought easier quarry off Cape Canso where five prizes of dubious legality were taken. They also raided Charlottetown settlement without regard to orders to respect Canadian property. The story of their illegal actions reached General Washington who dismissed both ship commanders and returned their prizes to Canadian owners with apologies.

The first USS Franklin was a schooner in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. She was named for Benjamin Franklin.

Brig sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts

A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and maneuverable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. They were especially popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Brigs fell out of use with the arrival of the steam ship because they required a relatively large crew for their small size and were difficult to sail into the wind. Their rigging differs from that of a brigantine which has a gaff-rigged mainsail, while a brig has a square mainsail with an additional gaff-rigged spanker behind the mainsail.

Cape Canso

This article is about the headland. For the town, see Canso, Nova Scotia.

On 1 January 1776, Captain John Manley, Continental Army, was appointed Commodore of the Fleet and hoisted his flag in Hancock. She captured two enemy transports on 25 January 1776, fending off an eight-gun British schooner in a brisk engagement while prize crews took the captured ships into Plymouth Harbor. [1]

John Manley (naval officer) Continental Navy officer

John Manley (c.1733–1793) was an officer in the Continental Navy and the United States Navy. Manley was appointed commodore of "George Washington's fleet."

Commodore was an early title and later a rank in the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard and the Confederate States Navy. For over two centuries, the designation has been given varying levels of authority and formality.

Plymouth Harbor is a harbor located in Plymouth, a town in the South Shore region of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It is part of the larger Plymouth Bay. Historically, Plymouth Harbor was the site of anchorage of the Mayflower where the Plymouth Colony pilgrims disembarked to establish a permanent settlement at Plymouth.

On 30 January 1776 the 14-gun British Brig Hope, which had sailed from Boston for the express purpose of capturing Hancock, intercepted her off Plymouth. Manley ran Hancock ashore where it became impossible for Hope, with her deeper draft, to draw close aboard. The Americans later refloated Hancock and she later captured several more prizes in joint operations with the squadron by April 1776, when Captain Samuel Tucker relieved Commodore John Manley in command of Hancock. Manley was taken into the Continental Navy to command the Continental frigate Hancock.

Samuel Tucker was an officer in the Continental Navy and the United States Navy.

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.

USS <i>Hancock</i> (1776) 1776 frigate of the Continental Navy

The second Hancock was one of the first 13 frigates of the Continental Navy. A resolution of the Continental Congress of British North America 13 December 1775 authorized her construction; she was named for John Hancock. In her career she served under the American, British and French flags.

The schooner Hancock captured two brigs off Boston 7 May 1776. She continued to cruise under Tucker until declared unfit for service late in 1776. She returned to her owner early the following year.

See also

Citations and references


  1. Coggins, 2002, p.25


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

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