USS Washington (1776 frigate)

Last updated
History
Flag of the United States (1776-1777).svgUnited States
Name: USS Washington
Namesake: George Washington (1732-1799)
Ordered: By Act of Congress 13 December 1775
Builder: Manuel Eyre, Jehu Eyre, and Benjamin Eyre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Laid down: 1776
Launched: 7 August 1776
Completed: Never
Commissioned: Never
Fate:
  • Scuttled incomplete 2 November 1777
  • Portion above water burned May 1778
  • Bottom salvaged and sold
General characteristics
Type: Frigate
Length: Probably 132 ft 9 in (40.46 m) [1]
Beam: Probably 34 ft 6 in (10.52 m) [2] moulded
Depth of hold: Probably 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) [3]
Propulsion: Sails
Armament:

26 x 12-pounders guns

10 x 6-pounders guns

USS Washington was a Continental Navy frigate laid down in 1776 but never completed.

Contents

Washington was among thirteen frigates authorized to be constructed for the new Continental Navy by an Act of Congress of 13 December 1775, and among four to be built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The act called for all thirteen ships to be ready for sea by March 1776. Official designs were drawn up for the ships, but credit for their design is a matter of dispute, with Joshua Humphreys, John Wharton, and Nathaniel Falconer all being possible designers. [4] In any event, plans had been drawn up and copies made of them by 2 February 1776, [5] too late for the ships to be completed by March 1776.

The design of the 32-gun frigate USS Randolph, also built at Philadelphia under the same construction program, probably to the same design as Washington - the two ships may even have been sisters - provides insight into the design of Washington, which has not survived. Randolph's design appears to have been inspired by British 36-gun frigates of the period. This resulted in a ship with a similar beam and depth of hold to the 36-gun British ships, but longer than the 36-gun frigates of the time, and thus oversized for her rate - much in the way the French Navy built oversized ships at that time. Randolph was planned to be somewhat more lightly built than the British frigates that inspired her design, with a broader frame spacing and a much more raked bow, but with less freeboard. [6]

The thirteen ships were named on 6 June 1776. Washington, built by Manuel Eyre, Jehu Eyre, and Benjamin Eyre, was launched on 2 August 1776. She was not yet completed when British forces advancing on Philadelphia in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War threatened to capture her, and she was scuttled incomplete on 2 November 1777 to prevent capture. The portion of her hull remaining above water was burned in May 1778, while her bottom was salvaged and sold in Philadelphia. [7]

Notes

  1. Chapelle, pp. 64 and 557, says that Washington probably had the same dimensions as USS Randolph, and on p. 74 that the ships probably were sisters; he provides these dimensions for Randolph on p. 551
  2. Chapelle, pp. 64 and 557, says that Washington probably had the same dimensions as USS Randolph, and on p. 74 that the ships probably were sisters; he provides these dimensions for Randolph on p. 551
  3. Chapelle, pp. 64 and 557, says that Washington probably had the same dimensions as USS Randolph, and on p. 74 that the ships probably were sisters; he provides these dimensions for Randolph on p. 551
  4. Chapelle, pp. 56-59.
  5. Chapelle, p. 59
  6. Chapelle, pp. 64-65, 74, and 557
  7. Chapelle, pp. 74 and 78

Related Research Articles

William Bainbridge Commodore in the United States Navy (1774–1833)

William Bainbridge was a Commodore in the United States Navy. During his long career in the young American Navy he served under six presidents beginning with John Adams and is notable for his many victories at sea. He commanded several famous naval ships, including USS Constitution and saw service in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. Bainbridge was also in command of USS Philadelphia when she grounded off the shores of Tripoli in North Africa, resulting in his capture and imprisonment for many months. In the latter part of his career he became the U.S. Naval Commissioner.

USS <i>Franklin</i> (1815) 74-gun ship of the line

USS Franklin of the United States Navy was a 74-gun ship of the line.

USS <i>Congress</i> (1799) ship

USS Congress was a nominally rated 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. James Hackett built her in Portsmouth New Hampshire and she was launched on 15 August 1799. She was one of the original six frigates whose construction the Naval Act of 1794 had authorized. The name "Congress" was among ten names submitted to President George Washington by Secretary of War Timothy Pickering in March of 1795 for the frigates that were to be constructed.Joshua Humphreys designed these frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so Congress and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than the standard frigates of the period.

USS <i>Philadelphia</i> (1799) United States 36-gun sailing frigate

USS Philadelphia, a 1240-ton, 36-gun sailing frigate, was the second vessel of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Philadelphia. Originally named City of Philadelphia, she was built in 1798–1799 for the United States government by the citizens of that city. Funding for her construction was the result of a funding drive which raised $100,000 in one week, in June 1798. She was designed by Josiah Fox and built by Samuel Humphreys, Nathaniel Hutton and John Delavue. Her carved work was done by William Rush of Philadelphia. She was laid down about November 14, 1798, launched on November 28, 1799, and commissioned on April 5, 1800, with Captain Stephen Decatur, Sr. in command. She is perhaps best remembered for her burning after being captured in Tripoli.

USS <i>Constellation</i> (1797) US naval frigate commissioned in 1797

USS Constellation was a nominally rated 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate of the United States Navy.

USS <i>Constellation</i> (1854) Last sail-only warship designed and built by the United States Navy

USS Constellation is a sloop-of-war, the last sail-only warship designed and built by the United States Navy. She was built at the Gosport Shipyard between 1853 and 1855 and was named for the earlier frigate of the same name that had been broken up in 1853. The sloop's primary armament was 8-inch (203 mm) shell-firing guns and four 32-pounder long guns, though she carried other guns as well, including two Parrott rifle chase guns. Constellation's career as a front-line unit was relatively short; after entering service in 1855, she served with the Mediterranean Squadron until 1858, and in 1859, she was assigned as the flagship of the Africa Squadron, where she served with the African Slave Trade Patrol. During the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865, the ship returned to the Mediterranean to patrol for Confederate vessels. In late 1864, she returned to the United States to be decommissioned, as most of her crews' enlistments had expired. She spent the rest of the war out of service.

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>Chesapeake</i> (1799) 38-gun frigate of the United States Navy

Chesapeake was a 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She was one of the original six frigates whose construction was authorized by the Naval Act of 1794. Joshua Humphreys designed these frigates to be the young navy's capital ships. Chesapeake was originally designed as a 44-gun frigate, but construction delays, material shortages and budget problems caused builder Josiah Fox to alter her design to 38 guns. Launched at the Gosport Navy Yard on 2 December 1799, Chesapeake began her career during the Quasi-War with France and later saw service in the First Barbary War.

USS <i>Syren</i> (1803)

USS Syren was a brig of the United States Navy built at Philadelphia in 1803. She served during the First Barbary War and the War of 1812 until the Royal Navy captured her in 1814. The British never commissioned her but apparently used her for a year or so as a lazaretto, or a prison vessel. She then disappears from records.

Nicholas Biddle (naval officer) Royal Navy officer

Nicholas Biddle was one of the first five captains of the Continental Navy, which was raised by the Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War. Biddle was born in Philadelphia in 1750. He began sailing at the age of 13 and joined the Royal Navy when he was 20. In 1773, he sailed the Arctic with Constantine Phipps and Horatio Nelson. When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Biddle joined the Continental Navy and commanded several ships. In 1778 off the coast of Barbados, Biddle confronted HMS Yarmouth, a 64-gun British warship. After a twenty-minute battle, Biddle's ship Randolph suddenly exploded, killing him and most of his men. Four ships of the U.S. Navy have been named in his honor.

Joshua Humphreys American shipbuilder

Joshua Humphreys was an American ship builder and naval architect. He was the constructor of the original six frigates of the United States Navy and is known as the "Father of the American Navy".

Original six frigates of the United States Navy First six ships of the US Navy

The United States Congress authorized the original six frigates of the United States Navy with the Naval Act of 1794 on March 27, 1794, at a total cost of $688,888.82. These ships were built during the formative years of the United States Navy, on the recommendation of designer Joshua Humphreys for a fleet of frigates powerful enough to engage any frigates of the French or British navies yet fast enough to evade any ship of the line.

USS <i>Randolph</i> (1776)

The first USS Randolph was a 32-gun frigate in the Continental Navy named for Peyton Randolph.

HMS Greenwich was a 50-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was built during the War of the Austrian Succession, and went on to see action in the Seven Years' War, during which she was captured by the French and taken into their service under the same name. She was wrecked shortly afterwards.

Henry Eckford (shipbuilder) Scottish/American shipbuilder

Henry Eckford was a Scottish-born American shipbuilder, naval architect, industrial engineer, and entrepreneur who worked for the United States Navy and the navy of the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century. After building a national reputation in the United States through his shipbuilding successes during the War of 1812, he became a prominent business and political figure in New York City in the 1810s, 1820s, and early 1830s.

HMS <i>Yarmouth</i> (1745)

HMS Yarmouth was a 64-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Deptford Dockyard. She was previously ordered to the dimensions specified in the 1741 proposals for modifications to the 1719 Establishment, but the Admiralty had very quickly concluded that these were too small, and as an experiment in 1742 authorised an addition of 6ft to the planned length, and Yarmouth was re-ordered to the enlarged design in June 1742. She was built at Deptford, where the Admiralty felt they could best observe the effectiveness of the added size, and launched on 8 March 1745.

John Barry (naval officer) United States admiral

John Barry was an Irish-American officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War and later in the United States Navy. He has been credited as "The Father of the American Navy" and was appointed a captain in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775. He was the first captain placed in command of a U.S. warship commissioned for service under the Continental flag, which would indeed make him the father of the U.S navy.

John Lenthall (shipbuilder) American shipbuilder

John Lenthall was an important American shipbuilder and naval architect. He was responsible for the construction and repair of United States Navy ships during the American Civil War (1861–1865), as well as in the years immediately before and after it. His career spanned the U.S. Navy's transition from sail to steam propulsion and from wooden ships to ironclads, and in retirement he participated in early planning for an eventual steel navy.

References