Admiral Comte de Grasse (1722-1788) commanded the French Fleet which defeated the British in the Battle off the Virginia Capes, 5 September 1781. Lord Cornwallis' army, cut off from sea support by De Grasse, surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown—the most decisive victory of the Revolutionary War.
The first De Grasse, inspected for naval service but never taken over, would have retained the name under which she was acquired.
(Yacht: length 81'2½"; beam 13'; draft 6'8½" (mean); speed 14.5 knots; armament 1 3-pounder, 1 machine gun)
The wooden-hulled steam turbine-powered yacht De Grasse, then under construction at Neponset, Massachusetts, by George Lawley and Son Corporation, for J. L. Redmond of New York City, was ordered taken over on 7 June 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I. Assigned the identification number (Id.No.) 1217, with an eye toward her potential use as a section patrol craft, De Grasse was taken over by the Commandant, 1st Naval District, on 18 July 1918, who was ordered on 27 July to have the new craft inspected. Tests and trials at the Boston Navy Yard, however, quickly revealed (for the report of the inspection board is dated 31 July 1918), De Grasse to be “unseaworthy” and of “no value for naval operations.” Directed on 17 August 1918 to return the vessel to her owner, Commandant, 1st Naval District carried out the recommendation of the board on 7 November 1918, just four days before the Armistice, and provided the owner with $500.00 “for restoration of [the] ship its former condition.”
Rewritten, Robert J. Cressman, 26 February 2007