American navy -revolutionary warWelcome back to Balladeer’s Blog! As always I am big on seasonal articles and here is another one of my examinations of a neglected aspect of Revolutionary War history. With the 4th of July coming up quickly enjoy this look at some forgotten naval battles from the war for our country’s independence.

AUGUST 7th, 1775 – The Commerce raided the HMS Betsy and successfully made off with over 17,000 lbs of gunpowder for the rebel cause.

AUGUST 10th, 1775 – In Gloucester, MA the town militia fired on the HMS Falcon and drove it off, killing 35 British sailors and forcing the ship to abandon its efforts to capture two American schooners.

NOVEMBER 27th, 1775 – Captain John Manley and his ship the Lee captured the HMS Nancy off the coast of Boston and with it a fortune in military supplies for the Continental Army.

JANUARY 23rd, 1776 – 40 miles off the coast of Sandy Hook, NJ, an impromptu rebel force attacked and captured the HMS Blue Mountain Valley, raided its supplies and then burned it.

JANUARY 27th-28th, 1776 – The HMS Cruizer (sic) attempted to penetrate up the Cape Fear River in North Carolina but after incessant fire from the American forces on both sides of the river the ship was forced to withdraw.

MARCH 22nd, 1776 – The South Carolina Ship Comet defeated and captured the HMS General Clinton, a mammoth battleship.

APRIL 6th, 1776 – Captain Esek Hopkins’ command defeated and drove off the HMS Glasgow after a three hour long battle just off Block Island, RI.

APRIL 17th, 1776 – Captain John Barry and his ship the Lexington fought and captured the HMS Edward somewhere off the Virginia coast.

MAY 8th-9th, 1776 – On the Delaware River near Wilmington, DE a makeshift American force of thirteen galleys attacked two British ships. After a battle that lasted all night and into the following day the Americans forced the British ships to withdraw.

MAY 17th-19th, 1776 – The American ship the Franklin captured the HMS Hope along with its gunpowder and all the entrenching tools it was taking to the British Army. As the Franklin and its prize approached Nantasket Roads, MA thirteen small British ships with 200 men attacked. After a half hour battle which began with gunfire and ended with close-quarters battling with hooks and lances the British were forced to retreat. The Franklin’s Captain James Mugford was killed in this battle. 

AUGUST 7th, 1776 – Off the coast of New Hampshire the American Privateer ship the USS Hancock captured the HMS Reward along with all its cargo intact. That cargo included turtles being delivered to Lord North.

Balladeer's Blog

Balladeer’s Blog

SEPTEMBER 6th, 1776 – Near Governor’s Island, NY Ezra Lee attempted the very first submarine attack in military history. In the underwater vessel American Turtle designed by David Bushnell Lee attempted to destroy the British ships ported in the area. The powder charges he unleashed from the American Turtle successfully exploded against the hulls of the ships but those copper hulls were too thick to be penetrated by the charges. The ships were tossed around badly like on a storm at sea but no permanent damage was done.

NOVEMBER 1st, 1776 – North Carolina’s Independent Company of Carteret County attacked and captured the foundered HMS Aurora, along with the entire crew and all supplies. This took place at Ocracoke Inlet, NC.



© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.          


Filed under Neglected History, Revolutionary War


  1. Our privateers did better than our traditional navy did.

  2. Why do guys like war stories so much?

  3. I like these small scale battles.

  4. Didnt u guys loose this war?

  5. The navy always gets overlooked!

  6. Nice out of the oridary topic!

  7. Pingback: URL

  8. Karen L

    To me these are more interesting than things like Germantown.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s