John Paul Jones was born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, during 1747, and in 1775 was appointed the senior lieutenant on the first list of the Continental Navy. He hoisted the Navy's first flag and served as first lieutenant in Alfred, flagship of the expedition which captured Nassau, New Providence. Later he commanded that ship. In 1778 he commanded Ranger when her colors received the first salute rendered to the American flag by a foreign government. In Ranger, Jones cruised British waters and fought and captured HMS Drake. On 23 September 1779 Jones in Bonhomme Richard won a historic victory over HMS Serapis; his defiant "I have not yet begun to fight" inspired his battered crew to victory and founded a tradition of the United States Navy. Jones died in Paris, France, 18 July 1792. His body was brought to the United States in 1905 and is buried in the chapel crypt at the United States Naval Academy.
(SwStr: t. 542; l. 154'; b. 32'6"; dph. 11'8"; s. 12 k.; cpl. 88; a. 4 9" sb., 1 50-pdr. r., 2 30-pdr. r., 4 24-pdr.)
Commodore Jones, an armed side wheel ferry, was purchased at New York in 1863 and commissioned 1 May 1863, Lieutenant Commander J. G. Mitchell in command.
Serving with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Commodore Jones operated in Virginia's rivers and on her coast from 11 May 1863. She performed picket and patrol duty, dragged for torpedoes (mines), skirmished with enemy cavalry, shelled shore installations, and captured contraband goods with her shore parties. She joined in the evacuation of West Point, Va., on 31 May and 1 June, in the expedition up the Mattapony from 3 to 7 June, in the Chickahominy demonstration of 10 to 13 June, and put to sea in search of CSS Tacony from 13 to 19 June. She patrolled up the James frequently in the course of her service, and there on 6 May 1864 she was destroyed by an electric torpedo.