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HMS Drake (1777)

HMS Drake (1777)

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HMS Drake was a twenty-gun sloop-of-war
Sloop-of-war
In the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, a sloop-of-war was a warship with a single gun deck that carried up to eighteen guns. As the rating system covered all vessels with 20 guns and above, this meant that the term sloop-of-war actually encompassed all the unrated combat vessels including the...

 of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. Originally named Resolution, she was purchased in 1777. She served in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, and on 24 April 1778, off Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus , known locally and colloquially as "Carrick", is a large town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is located on the north shore of Belfast Lough, from Belfast. The town had a population of 27,201 at the 2001 Census and takes its name from Fergus Mór mac Eirc, the 6th century king...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, she fought the North Channel naval duel
North Channel naval duel
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...

 with the 18-gun sloop Ranger
USS Ranger (1777)
The first USS Ranger was a sloop-of-war in the Continental Navy, and received the second salute to an American fighting vessel by a foreign power The first USS Ranger was a sloop-of-war in the Continental Navy, and received the second salute to an American fighting vessel by a foreign power The...

 of the Continental Navy
Continental Navy
The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. Through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron, John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, the fleet cumulatively became relatively...

, commanded by Captain John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones was a Scottish sailor and the United States' first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. Although he made enemies among America's political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to...

. 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
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 as his prize on 8 May 1778. This was the first, and most decisive, American victory over any Royal Navy vessel in British waters.

Sources