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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Pallas

 

An epithet of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and the name of an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.

 

(Fr: a. 26 9-pdrs., 6 4-pdrs.)

 

Soon after she had been completed, Pallas, a privateer built in France in 1778, commanded by Capitaine de Brulot Cottineau de Kerloguen, made one voyage carrying military stores to North Carolina. While awaiting a return cargo, her crew helped the state to fortify a position on Point Lookout named Fort Hancock. Returning to France, Pallas fared so well in a brush with HMS La Brune that the ship, captain, and crew were taken into the French Navy.

 

In the spring of 1779 Pallas was one of several ships turned over to American commissioners at Paris to form a squadron commanded by Captain John Paul Jones. Taken into the Continental Navy, Pallas departed Groix Roads, near L’Orient, France, 19 June 1779, with Jones’ squadron to escort French merchantmen to Bordeaux and other ports on the Bay of Biscay.

 

The ships returned to L’Orient 1 July, but Pallas, Vengence, and Cerf soon got underway again cruising off Belle-Ile to protect Allied shipping from British privateers. Returning from this assignment, she prepared for a longer cruise under Jones.

 

The American fleet departed Groix Roads before dawn 14 August to begin the cruise around the British Isles. Four days later Monsieur, a French privateer which had started the cruise with the American squadron, captured a ship but left with her prize the next day. A large ship outran Jones 1920 August; but on the 21st Mayflower, a brigantine heading toward Liverpool laden with provisions from London, struck her colors, and was sent to L’Orient.

 

The little squadron was scattered by a storm on the night of the 26th, but reassembled on the night of 1–2 September. The following afternoon they took an Irish brigantine returning from Norway. On the 15th they captured two colliers from Leith headed for Riga. Two days later, contrary winds frustrated an attempt to attack the port of Leith.

 

Returning toward France on the 23rd, the Americans encountered a large convoy off Flamborough Head escorted by the British frigate HMS Serapis and sloop of war Countess of Scarborough. In the ensuing battle, while Jones in Bon Homme Richard won undying fame defeating Serapis despite tremendous odds, Pallas captured Countess of Scarborough after an hour’s action. Then, besides manning their prize, Pallas’s crew labored to save Bon Homme Richard until the battered frigate sank in the forenoon of the 25th.

 

After the war, Pallas was returned to France.