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History of the Continental Navy Cutter Dolphin

A gregarious aquatic mammal having a pointed muzzle, and found in most oceans; also, a swift, spiny-finned fish having a long dorsal fin and iridescent body, and found throughout warm seas.


(Cutter: Armament 10 guns)

The first Dolphin, a cutter, was purchased in February 1777 at Dover, England, and outfitted for use in the Continental Navy at Nantes, France. She was placed under the command of Lieutenant S. Nicholson and sailed from St. Auzeau, France 28 May 1777 with Reprisal and Lexington, in a squadron commanded by Captain L. Wickes in Reprisal. During a cruise off Ireland this squadron captured and sent into port eight prizes, sank seven, and released three, throwing British shipping circles into an uproar. A 74-gun British war ship gave chase to the squadron and Reprisal drew him off to enable the other ships to reach port safely. Dolphin arrived at St. Malo, France, 27 June 1777 where she was repaired and converted into a packet ship. On 19 September she put into Loire for further repairs. Owing to diplomatic protests by the British that American vessels should not be allowed to use neutral ports to prey upon British shipping, Dolphin was seized by the British.


9 August 2001