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John Manley of Boston, born circa 1733, was selected for command of schooner Lee 24 October 1775. As Captain of Lee, on 28 November he captured one of the most valuable prizes of the Revolutionary War—British brigantine Nancy carrying much ordnance and military stores for British troops in Boston that proved invaluable to Washington’s army. For his “great vigilance and industry,” Manley was appointed commodore in January 1776 of “Washington’s fleet,” a group of small armed ships fitted out by him to harass the British and to seize supply vessels. Commissioned captain in the Continental Navy 17 April 1776, he sailed in Hancock until the frigate and her prize, HMS frigate Fox, were taken in July 1777. Imprisoned in New York until March 1778, he then entered privateer service to command Marlborough, Cumberland, and a prize, HMS Jason, until 1782, except for two more periods of imprisonment, one for 2 years in Mill Prison, England. On 11 September 1782, he returned to the Navy with command of frigate Hague. On a West Indies voyage he made a spectacular escape from a superior naval force; and, in January 1783, took the last significant prize of the war, Baille. Regarded as one of the outstanding captains of the young Navy, he had captured 10 prizes singlehanded and participated in the seizure of five others. Captain Manley died in Boston in 1793.




(TB‑23: dp. 30 (n.); l. 60'8"; b. 9'5"; dr. 2'11" (mean); s. 17 k.; cpl. 5; a. none)


Manley (TB‑23) more often spelled Manly, was built by Yarrow & Co., Ltd., Poplar, London, England; purchased from Charles R. Flint 13 April 1898 during the Spanish‑American War; and delivered to the New York Navy Yard to be placed in service.


Assigned to the Naval Auxiliary Force, Manley was laid up in ordinary for repairs 25 October 1898. On 20 April 1899 she left New York for the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; and served there as a training ship for the midshipmen until 1914, except for a brief period during 1906 and 1907 when the torpedo boat was assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at the Norfolk Navy Yard. On 1 April 1914 she was placed out of service and the next day was struck from the Navy list, but she continued to serve as a ferry launch at Annapolis. Renamed Levant II April 1918 when DD‑74 took the name Manley, the torpedo boat was sold 21 April 1920 to Jacob Meyer of Catonsville, Md.