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Continental Navy Schooner Wasp (I)

  • Built, date unknown, as the merchant schooner Scorpion, at Baltimore, MD.
  • Purchased by the Continental Navy in late in 1775
  • Outfitted at Baltimore during the winter of 17751776
  • Commissioned into the Continental Navy in December 1775 or January 1776, Capt. William Hallock in command
  • Wasp sailed from Baltimore, 14 January 1776 in company with Hornet joining Commodore Esek Hopkin's squadron at the Delaware Capes
  • Wasp and Hornet appear to be the first ships of the Continental Navy to get to sea, joining Hopkins' squadron on 13 February
  • The schooner participated in the the capture of New Providence in the Bahamas in March 1776.
  • Wasp and the remainder of the squadron remained at Nassau for two weeks before setting a course for New England on 17 March
  • Wasp returned to Philadelphia, 4 April
  • After repairs at Philadelphia, the schooner returned to duty in the Delaware River and Bay
  • On 5 May, two British men-of-war, the 44-gun HMS Roebuck and the 28-gun HMS Liverpool, entered the bay with several prizes
  • In the face of these two formidable enemies, Wasp retreated into Christiana Creek
  • On 8 May she joined a force of galleys in attacking Roebuck after she had run aground
  • During the ensuing engagement, the Continental schooner captured the British brig HMS Betsey and took her into Philadelphia where the British officers were jailed
  • On 28 June, she engaged in the Battle of Turtle Gut Inlet to salvage the cargo of Nancy
  • Near the end of the year, she took three more prizes; Leghorn Galley late in October, Two Brothers in December, and an unnamed sloop that same month
  • She also recaptured Success, an American ship previously taken by HMS Roebuck
  • Into the fall of 1777, Wasp continued her operations in the vicinity of the Delaware Capes until November when she and four other ships unsuccessfully engaged the British force under Admiral Sir Richard (Black Dick) Howe
  • Following the engagement Wasp was run aground, set afire, and destroyed when her gunpowder exploded
    Displacement 189 t. (burthen)
    Length 74'10" (gun-deck)
    Beam 24'8"
    Draft unknown
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    five 2-pdrs
    six swivel guns
    Propulsion sail

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Wasp - Any of numerous winged hymenopterus insects possessing smooth, slender bodies, and an abdomen attached by a narrow stalk. They have well developed wings, biting mouthparts, and often administer painful stings
    Tommy Trampp
    Wasp 28k Wasp (I) under sail. Note the Grand Union Flag. Robert Hurst

    Wasp (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 4 December 2020