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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive


  • Built in France in 1778 as the privateer Pallas, commanded by Capitaine de Brulot Cottineau de Kerloguen
  • Pallas made one voyage as a privateer carrying military stores to North Carolina before being taken into the French Navy
  • Pallas was turned over to American commissioners at Paris in the spring of 1779 to form a squadron commanded by Captain John Paul Jones
  • Pallas departed Groix Roads, near L'Orient, France, 19 June 1779, with Jones' squadron to escort French merchantmen to Bordeaux and other ports on the Bay of Biscay
  • The ships returned to L'Orient 1 July, but Pallas, brig Vengence, and cutter Cerf soon got underway again chasing off Belle Īle to protect Allied shipping from British privateers
  • The American fleet departed Groix Roads before dawn 14 August to begin a cruise around the British Isles
  • the 21st the squadron captured Mayflower, a brigantine heading toward Liverpool laden with provisions from London
  • On the afternoon of the 27th they took an Irish brigantine returning from Norway
  • On 15 September they captured two colliers from Leith headed for Riga
  • Two days later, contrary winds frustrated an attempt to attack the port of Leith
  • Returning toward France on the 23rd, the Americans encountered a large convoy off Flamborough Head escorted by the British frigate HMS Serapis and sloop of war Countess of Scarborough
  • In the ensuing battle, while Jones in Bonhomme Richard defeated Serapis despite tremendous odds and Pallas captured Countess of Scarborough
  • Then, besides manning their prize, Pallas' crew labored to save Bon Homme Richard until the battered frigate sank in the forenoon of the 25th.
  • After the war, Pallas was returned to France.
    Displacement unknown
    Length unknown
    Beam unknown
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement unknown
    26 9-pdrs
    6 4-pdrs
    Propulsion sail

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    Bonhomme Richard 130k Oil on canvas by Thomas Mitchell (1735-1790), signed and dated by the artist, 1780. It depicts Bonhomme Richard (center), commanded by Continental Navy Captain John Paul Jones, closely engaged with HMS Serapis, commanded by Royal Navy Captain Richard Pearson, off Flamborough Head, England. Firing at right is the Continental frigate Alliance, while at left the British Countess of Scarborough is engaging the American Pallas. 23 September 1779.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #: KN-10855 (color)
    Robert Hurst

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)

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    Last Updated 17 May 2019