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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

Philadelphia (I)

  • Laid down in July 1775, on Lake Champlain at Skensboro, N.Y. for Gen. Benedict Arnold
  • Launched in mid-August 1775
  • Placed in service shortly thereafter, CAPT. Rice in charge
  • Philadelphia was one of the vessels in Gen. Arnold's flotilla built to check the expected British invasion being launched from Montreal by the Royal Governor of Canada
  • On 23 September, Gen. Arnold stationed his ships on the New York shore near Valcour Bay to intercept the British squadron's advance on Fort Ticonderoga
  • The ensuing battle on 11 October lasted six hours with the schooner Royal Savage being run aground and burned and the Philadelphia holed and sunk.
  • Nightfall enabling Arnold to slip away with the remainder of his fleet, but he lost most of his ships during a two-day running battle
  • Arnold's ships delayed the British advance until approaching winter caused them to suspend operations until spring
  • Philadelphia was raised in 1935 by a group of marine archaeologists headed by Col. Lorenzo F. Hogglund. She is now the property of the Smithsonian Institution and is on display in the Museum of History and Technology
    Displacement 29 t.
    Length 53' 2"
    Beam 15' 2"
    Depth of Hold 4'
    Draft 2'
    Speed 2 to 3 kts.
    Complement 45
    one 12-pdr gun facing forward
    two 9-pdr guns facing port and starboard
    mountings for eight swivel guns
    twelve sweeps (oars used while standing)
    two square-rigged sail and topsail used for running downwind

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    Size Image Description Source
    Philadelphia 81k Painting of the Continental gunboat Philadelphia. Artist unknown.
    Image courtesy of Historic Naval Ships Association
    Robert Hurst
    Philadelphia 120k Model of the gunboat Philadelphia (I) in the National Navy Museum. Photo taken, 27 December 2011, by Sturmvogel 66 (real name unknown). Robert Hurst
    Philadelphia 78k The preserved remains of the Continental Navy gunboat (or gundalow) Philadelphia on display at the National Museum of American History. Photo taken by unknown US Government employee on 16 May 2008. Robert Hurst
    Philadelphia 237k Philadelphia, showing the ship's big guns soon after salvage from the bottom of Valcour Bay, Lake Champlain, New York, in 1935. Center gun is the bow gun, an iron 12-pounder. The others are the port and starboard guns, iron 9-pounders. All are on their original carriages. Philadelphia had been sunk in the Battle of Valcour Island, 11 October 1776.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. NH 42795
    Mike Green

    Philadelphia (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Wikipedia - USS Philadelphia (1776)
    National Museum of American History - Gunboat Philadelphia
    You Tube - Raising of the Gunboat Philadelphia (1935)
    Lake Champlain Maritime Museum - Gunboat Philadelphia (II)
    Historic Naval Ships Association
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 11 August 2017