Jump to content

U.S.S. Frigate Bourbon

This topic has been inactive for at least 365 days, and is now closed. Please feel free to start a new thread on the subject! 

Recommended Posts


"(Fr: dimensions unknown; a. 28 guns)

On Thursday, 23 January 1777, the Continental Congress ordered "that two frigates, one of 36, and the other of 28 guns, be immediately undertaken in the state of Connecticut." Little is known of the smaller of these warships, and some of the extant records of the vessel appear to be contradictory.

To begin, we do not know when the task of building the ship began. No record of her keel laying has been found, and we have no evidence that any effort to construct the ship had been made before the autumn of 1779 when the Marine Committee appointed Capt. Thomas Read to outfit and command the ship. One authority on the early American Navy, Howard I. Chapelle, tells us that Bourbon's keel was not laid down until "...early in 1780...."

Again, most records identify Bourbon as the 28-gun frigate ordered by Congress; but she has been, nevertheless, frequently rated as a 36-gun warship.

We know for sure that Bourbon was built at Chatham (now Middletown), Conn., and that by the end of March of 1780, she was almost ready for launching. Yet Congress's recurring financial difficulties caused work on the frigate to be suspended soon thereafter, and she remained on the stocks until after a peace settlement recognizing American independence had been negotiated. This dropped naval strength far down the almost bankrupt new nation's list of priorities.

In the spring of 1782, Congress wanted to sell Bourbon as she then existed, but the Agent of Marine, Robert Morris, felt strongly that she would be of little value while still high and dry and received authority to prepare her for launching. The frigate finally entered the water on 31 July 1783, was advertised for sale in the following September, and presumably was sold soon thereafter. No trace of her subsequent history has been found."

James L. Mooney

Assuming the ship was named after the French Bourbons (Louis XVI) who helped win American independence. How fitting she remained "high and dry" for so long but eventually "entered the water."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.