Liveblogging the American Revolution: June 24, 1777: John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones takes command of the USS Ranger:
Wikipedia: John Paul Jones:
Jones sailed from the Delaware River in February 1776 aboard Alfred on the Continental Navy’s maiden cruise… hoisting the first U.S. ensign over a naval vessel…. Nassau was raided for its military supplies. On the fleet’s return voyage it had an unsuccessful encounter with a British packet ship.
Jones was then assigned command of the sloop Providence. Congress had recently ordered the construction of thirteen frigates for the American Navy, one of which was to be commanded by Jones. In exchange for this prestigious command, Jones accepted his commission aboard the smaller Providence. During this six week voyage, Jones captured sixteen prizes and inflicted significant damage along the coast of Nova Scotia. Jones’s next command came as a result of Commodore Hopkins’s orders to liberate hundreds of American prisoners forced to labor in coal mines in Nova Scotia and also to raid British shipping. On November 1, 1776, Jones set sail in command of Alfred to carry out this mission. Although winter conditions prevented the freeing of the prisoners, the mission did result in the capture of the Mellish, a vessel carrying a vital supply of winter clothing intended for General John Burgoyne’s troops in Canada.
Despite his successes at sea, upon arrival in Boston on December 16, 1776, Jones’s disagreements with those in authority reached a new level. While at the port, he began feuding with Commodore Hopkins, who Jones believed was hindering his advancement and talking down his campaign plans. As a result of this and other frustrations, Jones was assigned the smaller command, the newly constructed USS Ranger….
Jones sailed for France on November 1, 1777 with orders to assist the American cause however possible. The American commissioners in France, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Arthur Lee, listened to Jones’s strategic recommendations. They assured him the command of L’Indien, a new vessel being constructed for America in Amsterdam. Britain, however, was able to divert L’Indien away from American hands by exerting pressure to ensure its sale to France instead (who had not yet allied with America). Jones was again left without a command, an unpleasant reminder of his stagnation in Boston from late 1776 until early 1777. It is thought that it was during this time Jones developed his close friendship with Benjamin Franklin, whom he greatly admired…
Originally published at www.bradford-delong.com.