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History of Continental Navy Schooner Revenge

(Schooner: Complement 50; Armament 4 4-pounder, 4 2-pounder)

The first Revenge was a schooner built in the summer of 1776 by Col. Jeduthan Baldwin at Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y.

The schooner, commanded by a Captain Seaman, joined the flotilla commanded by Gen. Benedict Arnold at Crown Point. She got underway at sunset on 24 August and headed north along the New York shore of Lake Champlain. Two days later, when Connecticut lost a mast during a storm Revenge towed the damaged gundalow out of danger of grounding. In the weeks that followed, the ships maneuvered on the lake enabling the green crews, for the most part made up of landsmen, to learn the ways of the sea.

Meanwhile, the British were building a fleet farther north, and were preparing to challenge Arnold for control of the lake. Naval supremacy would enable the King's troops assembled in Canada to drive down the strategic Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor to New York. Success of this British strategy would cut the American colonies in two, beginning a dismemberment process by which the "redcoats" could defeat the "rebels" in detail and restore Royal authority in North America.

The two forces met on 11 October in the strait between Valcour Island and the lake's western shore where Arnold had stationed his ships. In the action, the out-gunned Americans suffered a tactical defeat, but won a great strategic victory by delaying the British advance for a year -- a year in which the Americans strengthened their Army enough to capture General Burgoyne's expeditionary force at Saratoga.

After the battle of Valcour Island, Revenge and the other remaining American ships retired farther up the lake. Only Revenge, another schooner, two galleys, and a sloop reached the protection of Fort Ticonderoga. She remained on the upper lake until she was taken early in July 1777 when a British force under General Burgoyne captured Fort Ticonderoga. However, some sources indicate that the schooner may have been burned and sunk to prevent capture.


30 July 2001