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USS Ranger receiving the salute of the French fleet at Quiberon Bay, France, 14 February 1778.
|Builder:||James Hackett (shipbuilder), Badger's Island, Kittery, Maine|
|Launched:||10 May 1777|
|Captured:||11 May 1780|
|Acquired:||11 May 1780|
|Displacement:||308 long tons (313 t)|
|Length:||116 ft (35 m)|
|Beam:||28 ft (8.5 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)|
|Complement:||140 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||18 × 6-pounder guns|
|Commanders:||Capt. John Paul Jones (1777–1778)|
|Operations:||Siege of Charleston (1779–1780)|
|Victories:||North Channel naval duel (1778), captured 31 prizes worth well over $1,000,000|
USS Ranger was a sloop-of-war in the Continental Navy in active service in 1777–1780, the first to bear her name. Built in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, she is famed for the one-ship guerilla campaign waged by her captain, Captain John Paul Jones, against the British during the American Revolution.In six months spent primarily in British waters she captured five prizes, staged a single failed attack on the English mainland at Whitehaven, and sent the Royal Navy seeking to run her down in the Irish Sea.
Jones was detached in Brest, France to take charge of Bonhomme Richard, turning over command of Ranger to his first officer, Lieutenant Thomas Simpson. Under Simpson Ranger went on to capture twenty-four more prizes abroad the Atlantic and along the U.S. coast during 1778 and 1779.
Sent to the South in late 1779 to aid the U.S. garrison at Charleston, South Carolina, during the British siege, she continued her predatory ways until ultimately forced to take station on the Cooper River, and was captured on May 11, 1780 with the fall of the city.
She was brought into the Royal Navy as HMS Halifax. Decommissioned in 1781 in Portsmouth, England, she was sold that year as a merchant ship.
Ranger (initially called Hampshire) was launched 10 May 1777 by James Hackett, master shipbuilder, at the shipyard of John Langdon on what is now called Badger's Island in Kittery, Maine; Captain John Paul Jones in command.
After fitting out, she sailed for France on 1 November 1777, carrying dispatches telling of General Burgoyne's surrender to the commissioners in Paris. On the voyage over, two British prizes were captured. Ranger arrived at Nantes, France, 2 December, where Jones sold the prizes and delivered the news of the victory at Saratoga to Benjamin Franklin. On 14 February 1778, Ranger received a nine-gun salute to the new American flag, the "Stars and Stripes" from the ship of the line Robuste, under Lamotte-Picquet, at Quiberon Bay. This was the first salute from a warship and, the second to an American fighting vessel by a foreign power (the first salute was received by Andrew Doria when on 16 November 1776 she arrived at St. Eustatius and the Dutch island returned her 11-gun salute).
Ranger sailed from Brest 10 April 1778, for the Irish Sea and four days later captured a prize between the Scilly Isles and Cape Clear. On 17 April, she took another prize and sent her back to France. Captain Jones led a raid on the British port of Whitehaven, 23 April, spiking the guns of the fortress, but failing to burn the ships in the harbor. Sailing across the bay to St. Mary's Isle, Scotland, the American captain planned to seize the Earl of Selkirk and hold him as a hostage to obtain better treatment for American prisoners of war. However, since the Earl was absent, the plan failed. Several Royal Navy vessels were searching for Ranger, and Captain Jones sailed across the North Channel to Carrickfergus, Ireland, to induce HMS Drake of 14 guns, to come out and fight. Drake came out slowly against the wind and tide, and, after an hour's battle, the battered Drake struck her colors, with three Americans and five British killed in the combat. Having made temporary repairs, and with a prize crew on Drake, Ranger continued around the west coast of Ireland, capturing a stores ship, and arrived at Brest with her prizes on 8 May.
Captain Jones was detached to command Bonhomme Richard, leaving Lieutenant Simpson, his first officer, in command. Ranger departed Brest 21 August, reaching Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 15 October, in company with Providence and Boston, plus three prizes taken in the Atlantic.
The sloop departed Portsmouth on 24 February 1779 joining with the Continental Navy ships Queen of France and Warren in preying on British shipping in the North Atlantic. Seven prizes were captured early in April, and brought safely into port for sale. On 18 June, Ranger was underway again with Providence and Queen of France, capturing two Jamaicamen in July and nine more vessels off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Of the 11 prizes, three were recaptured, but the remaining eight, with their cargoes, were worth over a million dollars when sold in Boston.
Underway on 23 November, Ranger was ordered to Commodore Whipple's squadron, arriving at Charleston on 23 December, to support the garrison there under siege by the British. On 24 January 1780, Ranger and Providence, in a short cruise down the coast, captured three transports, loaded with supplies, near Tybee, Georgia. The British assault force was also discovered in the area. Ranger and Providence sailed back to Charleston with the news. Shortly afterwards the British commenced the final push. Although the channel and harbor configuration made naval operations and support difficult, Ranger took a station in the Cooper River, and was captured when Charleston fell on 11 May 1780.
Ranger was taken into the British Royal Navy and commissioned under the name HMS Halifax. She was decommissioned in Portsmouth, England, in 1781, then sold as a merchant vessel for about 3 percent of her original cost.
Ranger's specifications were:
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.
John Young was a captain in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War, commander of the Saratoga which was lost at sea.
USS Providence was a sloop-of-war in the Continental Navy, originally chartered by the Rhode Island General Assembly as Katy. The ship took part in a number of campaigns during the first half of the American Revolutionary War before being destroyed by her own crew in 1779 to prevent her falling into the hands of the British after the failed Penobscot Expedition.
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Indien (1778), often L'Indien, was a frigate built for the U.S. Commissioners in France – Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee – to a design by the French naval architect Jacques Boux. She was laid down early in 1777 by a private shipyard in Amsterdam and launched in February 1778. Apparently she was built with the scantlings and lines of a small 74-gun Third Rate ship of the line but was a frigate in construction. In 1780 the Duke of Luxembourg chartered her to the navy of South Carolina and she sailed as South Carolina.
USS Queen of France was a frigate in the Continental Navy. She was named for Marie Antoinette.
HMS Drake was a 14-gun sloop-of-war of the Royal Navy. Originally the merchantman Resolution, she was purchased in early 1777 and commissioned in April 1777, being fitted for RN service at Plymouth from 19 April to 24 May. She served in the American Revolutionary War, and on 24 April 1778, off Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, she fought the North Channel naval duel with the 18-gun sloop Ranger of the Continental Navy, commanded by Captain John Paul Jones. Five of Drake's crew, including her captain, George Burdon, were killed, and after an hour-long engagement, Drake surrendered to the Americans. Jones was able to evade capture and deliver Drake to Brest, France as his prize on 8 May 1778. This was the first, and most complete, American victory over any Royal Navy vessel in British waters.
Elijah Hall was an officer in the Continental Navy.
The North Channel naval duel was a single-ship action between the United States Continental Navy sloop of war Ranger and the British Royal Navy sloop of war Drake on the evening of 24 April 1778. Fought in the North Channel, separating Ireland from Scotland, it was the first American defeat of a Royal Navy ship within British home waters, and also very nearly the only American victory over the Royal Navy in the Revolution achieved without an overwhelming superiority of force. The action was one of a series of actions by Jones that brought the American War of Independence to British waters.
The second Providence, a 28-gun frigate, built by Silvester Bowes at Providence, Rhode Island, by order of the Continental Congress, was launched in May 1776.
Surprise, the first American naval ship of the name, was a sloop that the Continental Navy purchased in 1777. The Royal Navy had purchased a vessel named Hercules in 1776 and renamed her HMS Racehorse. Andrew Doria captured Racehorse in 1776 and the Americans took her into service as Surprise. Her crew destroyed Surprise on 15 December 1777 to prevent the Royal Navy from recapturing her.
USS Independence was a sloop in the Continental Navy. Acting as a dispatch boat, she was sent to France on a diplomatic mission – carrying important dispatches. While there, John Paul Jones embarked on her, and she received additional salutes to the American Republic from the French.
HMS Ariel was a 20-gun Sphinx-class sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy. The French captured her in 1779, and she served during the American Revolutionary War for them, and later for the Americans, before reverting to French control. as well as the British. Her French crew scuttled Ariel in 1793 to prevent the British from recapturing her.
HMS Amphitrite was a 24-gun Porcupine-class sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy. She served during the American Revolution primarily in the economic war. On the one hand she protected the trade by capturing or assisting at the capture of a number of privateers, some of which the Royal Navy then took into service. On the other hand, she also captured many American merchant vessels, most of them small. Amphrite was wrecked early in 1794.
HMS Lowestoffe was a 32-gun fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Built during the latter part of the Seven Years' War, she went on to see action in the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary War, and served often in the Caribbean. A young Horatio Nelson served aboard her shortly after passing his lieutenant's examination.
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HMS Nymphe was a fifth-rate frigate of the British Royal Navy, formerly the French La Nymphe. HMS Flora, under the command of Captain William Peere Williams, captured Nymphe off Ushant on 10 August 1780. Indiscriminately referred to as Nymph, Nymphe, La Nymph or La Nymphe in contemporary sources, she served during the American, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. On 19 May 1793, while under the command of Captain Edward Pellew, she captured the frigate Cléopâtre, the first French warship captured in a single-ship action of the war. After a long period of service in which she took part in several notable actions and made many captures, Nymphe was wrecked off the coast of Scotland on 18 December 1810.
HMS Diligent was a brig the Royal Navy purchased in 1777. The Continental Navy captured her in May 1779 and took her into service as the USS Diligent. She then participated in the disastrous Penobscot Expedition where her crew had to scuttle her in August to prevent the British from capturing her.
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