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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Providence

 

The capital of Rhode Island, in turn named in thanksgiving for God’s guidance and care.

 

II

 

(Fr: t. 632; 1. 126’6½” b. 33’8”; dph.; 10’5”; a. 28 guns)

 

The second Providence, a 28-gun frigate, built by Silvester Bowes at Providence, R.I., by order of the Continental Congress, was launched in May 1776.

 

After being blockaded in the Providence River for more than a year, the new frigate, under command of Captain Abraham Whipple, ran the British blockade on the night of 30 April 1778, returning the heavy fire of the British ship Lark and damaging that vessel, then fighting a running battle with another vessel of the British blockading force. She sailed directly for France, arriving at Paimboeuf 30 May to procure guns and supplies for Continental Navy vessels under construction. She sailed from Paimboeuf 8 August and six days later, joined frigate Boston at Brest, France. The two ships sailed back to America 22 August. They took 3 prizes on the return voyage and Providence arrived Portsmouth, N.H., 15 October.

 

Transferred to Boston to seek a crew, Providence sailed from Boston 18 June 1779 as flagship of Commodore Abraham Whipple, cruising eastward in company with Ranger and Queen of France. In the early morning of mid-July, the squadron was in a dense fog off the banks of Newfoundland and fell in with a Jamaican fleet of some 150 sails. The vessels remained with the enemy fleet all day without causing alarm. They took 11 prizes, many by quietly sending boats to take possession. The squadron slipped away with their prizes during the night. They sent 8 of the prizes, valued together with their cargo at over a million dollars, into Boston and Cape Ann. The Squadron returned to Boston and 23 November sailed from Nantasket Roads, first cruising eastward of Bermuda, arriving at Charleston 23 December to defend that city.

 

Providence, with other ships of Commodore Whipple’s Squadron remained for the defense of Charleston and was one of the ships taken by British when that city fell, 12 May 1780. She subsequently served in the British Navy until sold in March 1783.