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Washington (III)

  • A lateen-rigged, two-masted galley, built on Lake Champlain at Skenesboro N.Y., in the autumn of 1776
  • Commanded by Brigadier General David Waterbury, Brigadier General Benedict Arnold's second in command, Washington joined the small American fleet, 6 October 1776
  • Washington was among Arnold's ships that anchored in the lee of Valcour Island to await the expected English move
  • CAPT. Thomas Pringle, RN, led a 25-ship fleet past Valcour Island on 11 October, passing the American fleet, sighting the Americans Pringle attacked from leeward
  • In the ensuing action, Washington suffered the heaviest damage of any ship in Arnold's fleet
  • Arnold slipped past the British on 12 October slipping noiselessly past Pringle's fleet in a desperate attempt at escape
  • The British caught the retreating Continental force the following day, on 13 October, at Split Rock near Crown Point
  • Arnold managed to beach and destroy four of the galleys and his own flagship, Congress, while most of the remaining ships escaped upriver.
  • Only Washington captured by the enemy, struck her colors
  • Washington was eventually taken into British service, apparently retaining her name
  • Final Disposition, unrecorded
    Displacement 123 t.
    Length 72' 4"
    Beam 19' 7"
    Depth of Hold 6' 2"
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 80
    Armament According to her Captain's receipt of 2 October 1776 Washington (III) carried the following:
    two 18-pdrs guns
    two 12-pdrs guns
    two 9 pdr- guns
    four 4-pdr guns
    one 2pdr gun
    eight swivel guns
    Propulsion oars and sail

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    Washington 117k Pen-and-ink sketch by Henry Rusk of the Continental Navy Lake Champlain galley Washington (III), 1776. font size=2>Robert Hurst
    fig. 1

    270k Naval architecture drawings of the Continental Navy Lake Champlain galley Washington (III), 1776.
    Figure 1 - the body plan of the Continental galley Washington (III)*. For further details see below.
    Figure 2 - inboard profile and deck of Continental Navy Lake Champlain galley Washington (III)*. For further details see below.
    Figure 3 - perspective view of the Continental Galley Washington (III) drawn by George C. Wales*. For further details see below.

    *Note: Taken from The History of American Sailing Ships by Howard I. Chappelle
    Washington, as originally fitted and rigged, had two masts, about half the waterline length in height, with a yard on each. The yards, judging by very imperfect pictures, were about two-thirds the waterline in length. The plans show the simplicity of hull and fittings better than a lengthy description. The capstan or "capstern" as it was often spelled, may have been a British addition.
    Washington was taken into British lake-service and re-rigged as a brig. Under the same name and her new rig, she seems to have been employed until the end of the war. While in British hands, her lines were taken off. Figs 1 and 2 are copies of the Admiralty draught as taken off, except the bowsprit added by the British when they changed the rig, which has been omitted, and the transom, shown in the body plan, which has been added. This last detail, figure 3, was reconstructed from contemporary pictures of the British schooners Maria and Carleton, since the sterns of these schooners were probably very much like those on the American galleys.

    font size=2>Robert Hurst
    fig. 2

    fig. 3


    Washington (III)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 15 July 2016