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USS Saratoga (I)

  • Laid down as the sloop Saratoga by Warton and Humphries at Philadelphia PA., in December 1779
  • Launched, 10 April 1780
  • USS Saratoga, CAPT. John Young in command, departed Philadelphia, 13 August 1780 escorting packet, Mercury carrying Henry Laurens, former President of the Continental Congress
  • Saratoga unable to keep up with Mercury returned to Philadelphia for additional ballasting
  • 9 September 1780 the sloop fought an inconclusive battle with the British brig HMS Keppel
  • 12 September 1780 she captured the British ship Sarah bound for New York
  • Clearing the Delaware Capes on 18 September and sailing north she captured the American brig Elizabeth a week later. The brig which had been taken by the British privateer Restoration in Chesapeake Bay
  • Saratoga while sailing east of Cape Henry, 11 October 1780, encountered and gave chase to the letter of marque ship, Charming Molly (22 guns), and schooner, Two Brothers capturing both with little fighting
  • Searching for additional merchantmen Saratoga overtook ship Nancy and two brigs taking Nancy and the brig Elizabeth
  • The Sloop-of-War encountered the British ship-of-the-line HMS Alcide and the American brig Providence near Cape Henlopen, 13 October recapturing Providence
  • Sailing from Philadelphia, 15 December 1780, for Hispaniola to load French military supplies there the sloop-of-War picked up and escorted a convoy of 12 merchantmen at Cape Delaware on the 20th
  • While escorting her charges the next afternoon she gave chase and captured the British privateer Resolution
  • The morning of 9 January 1781, off the coast of East Florida, Saratoga captured Tonyn, a 20-gun letter of marque. Saratoga and her prize got under way on the morning of the 11th for Hispaniola
  • The Sloop-of-War captured the armed brig Douglas on the 16th turning her prize over to the French Admiralty court at Cap Francais
  • From the French colony of Saint Dominique, on 20 February Saratoga join sister Continental frigates, USF Deane and USF Confederacy, American privateer, Fair American, and French naval brig, Cat, in a cruise through the windward passage to Jamaica taking as a prize Diamond
  • 15 March1781 Saratoga with French and Continental warships escorted 29 heavily-laden merchant ships bound for the American coast with French war supplies
  • Three days later, one of Saratoga's lookouts reported two sails far off to westward, the sloop-of-war left the convoy in pursuit
  • About mid-afternoon, she caught up with one of the fleeing ships which surrendered without a fight
  • CAPT. Young placed an American crew on board the prize and got underway after the second chase
  • Midshipman Penfield, commander of the prize crew, later reported that, as he was supervising his men's efforts to follow Saratoga, the wind suddenly rose to fearful velocity and almost capsized the prize. When he had managed to get the snow-rigged merchantman back under control, he looked up and was horrified to learn that Saratoga had vanished, and no further details of her fate have ever been discovered
    Displacement 150 t.
    Length 68'
    Beam 25' 4"
    Depth of Hold 12'
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 86
    sixteen 9-pdrs
    two 4-pdrs
    Propulsion sail

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Saratoga (I) 172k This drawing by J. M. Caiella is based on conjecture as to the first Saratoga's appearance; no depiction exists in any form. This is based on the 25-ship British Swan class of 1766-80 that was well known to American shipbuilders. The Saratoga of "trim lines," was an austere warship and thus was most likely not fitted with quarter badges and had a painted rather than coppered hull. Tommy Trampp

    USS Saratoga (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 12 August 2016