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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Warren

 

Joseph Warren—born on 11 June 1741 at Roxbury, Mass.—graduated with distinction from Harvard College in 1759. After a year as headmaster of the Roxbury Grammar School, he entered the medical profession and later practiced as a physician in Boston. There, he became interested in politics and formed an early association with the firebrand Samuel Adams.

 

As the break in relations between the colonies and Great Britain approached, Warren abandoned his medical practice to enter military service. While still in Boston, he dispatched William Dawes and Paul Revere on their famous nocturnal rides to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of approaching British troops on 18 April 1775.

 

Elected a major general by the provincial congress on 14 June, Warren went out to Bunker Hill to look over the defenses shortly before the British attack on the afternoon of 17 June 1775. Although he consistently refused to take command, claiming that he would take part in the battle only as a volunteer, Warren eventually tried to exert leadership in rallying the colonial militia at Breed's Hill. Unfortunately, he was shot and killed by a British soldier while engaged in the attempt.

 

IV

 

SlpW: t. 697; lbp. 127'0"; b. 33'9"; dph. 15'6"; cpl. 190; a. 20 32-pdrs.)

 

The fourth Warren, a 2d class sloop-of-war, was built at the Boston Navy Yard between 1825 and 1827 and was commissioned at her builders on 14 January 1827, Master Commandant Lawrence Kearny in command.

 

Warren sailed for the Mediterranean on 22 February 1827 to stop Greek-flag pirates from victimizing American merchantmen. Unsettled conditions in the Near East and the Greek fight for independence had resulted in some excesses against third parties, notably American flag merchantmen. The piracy caused the American Mediterranean Squadron to establish a regular convoy system from Malta to Smyrna.

 

Warren sailed with a convoy of American vessels on 25 September 1827 and separated from them some 200 miles west of Cerigo. On 4 October, Kearny's command bagged her first "piratical boat" and its crew of five. Later that same day, Warren captured a brig "peerced (sic) for 16 guns" flying the Greek flag. For the next three weeks, Warren cruised between Cape Matapan and Carabusa, touching occasionally to contact outward-bound American merchantmen.

 

While off Melo on 25 October, Kearny learned of recent pirate attacks on the American ships Cherub and Rob Roy. That same day, Warren chased a 10-gun pirate brig ashore at the island of Argenteero; but the brigands escaped to the nearby hills. Warren's men cut away the masts of the erstwhile pirate ship and stripped them of their sails, leaving the rigging submerged in the waters offshore.

 

Three days later, Warren came across Cherub and took possession of her. That evening, the brig Lexington arrived and assumed protective guard over Cherub while Warren returned to the pirate-hunt. They did not have far to go nor long to wait to see further evidence of the freebooters' handiwork. The next day, between Tino and Miconi, Warren fell in with the Austrian brig Silence "robbed of everything." The American sloop-of-war towed Silence to Syra, where she left her in care of Lexington.

 

Cruising around the island of Mykonos, Warren captured a large tratta "capable of rowing 40 oars," before she put in to Mykonos harbor on 1 November. The following day, Kearny and his men recovered sails and some property taken from Cherub and two cases of opium taken from the brig Rob Roy, as well as the sails and rigging from Silence. The local inhabitants turned over four men accused of being pirates while a landing party of Warren men picked up a fifth man from the mountains. Kearny and his men also took possession of a boat belonging to pirates living at Mykonos and later burned it.

 

Returning to Syra on the 7th, Kearny restored the goods to Cherub and the sails and rigging from the Austrian ship. Cherub, escorted by Lexington, set sail for Smyrna. That evening, Warren put to sea, bound for the reputed pirate lair of the island of Andros.

 

A boat expedition, led by Lt. William L. Hudson, departed the ship to circle Andros Island. While Hudson's party was thus engaged, a brig with a convoy of some 20 to 30 boats opened fire on them in the darkness. Although shot went through the sails of Warren's boats and through the clothing of some of her sailors, no one was hurt. After this action—which probably occurred because he and his expedition had been mistaken for pirates—Hudson continued on, undaunted. Near the south end of the town of Andros, Warren's men brought out one "piratical craft" and burned another in a small bay nearby. At the head of that bay, the American sailors blew up a house believed to have been owned by a pirate and raised and took possession of a boat which had been sunk by pirates to avoid detection by the Americans. Rob Roy's master later identified the boat as the craft in which pirates had attacked his vessel.

 

Kearny, in Warren, remained in the vicinity of Andros and Jura until 14 November. The people of Andros again cooperated and produced a pirate boat which contained a 12-pound carronade and some tools from Cherub.

 

Four days later, Warren made port at Milos and tarried there into late November. On the 27th of that month, the American brig Sarah and Esther and six other vessels arrived. Three days later, that convoy sailed for Smyrna under Warren's protection. They arrived at their destination, without incident, on 6 December.

 

For the next two years, Warren remained in the Mediterranean guarding American commerce in the western end of that historic sea. She returned to the United States in the summer of 1830, arriving at Norfolk, Va., on 30 August. Decommissioned for repairs, on 10 September, Warren was recommissioned on 2 September 1831, Master Commandant Benjamin Cooper in command, for service on the Brazil Station. After two years in the South Atlantic, the sloop-of-war headed northward and reached Philadelphia on 31 October 1833.

 

Warren then made three successive tours in the West Indies, protecting American commerce in deployments that began in 1836, 1839, and 1841. On 19 October 1843, Warren sailed for the Pacific and served on the western coast of the North American continent for the remainder of her naval career.

 

During the war with Mexico, Warren acted as a guardship at Monterery and eventually moved to San Francisco for duty as a stores and receiving ship. On 13 November 1846, the former sloop-of-war's launch, in charge of Acting Master William H. Montgomery, departed the ship with $900.00 to pay bills accrued by the Navy for supplies, bound for Sutter's Fort, up the Sacramento River. By the end of the month, when no word came from the launch's crew, Warren's commanding officer felt "great anxiety" and sent out a hired boat with some men from his ship to hunt for the missing craft and its crew. On 18 December, the search party—having combed the river and inlets as far as Fort Sacramento—returned and reported finding no sign of the launch or of the crew.

 

Eventually, the fate of Warren's launch came to light. The officers had been murdered—their throats cut—and their bodies thrown overboard. The men divided the money and split up, some returning overland across the North American continent to the east; others remained in California to pan for "washing gold." Records do not indicate whether or not the guilty men were ever found and brought to trial. However, they do show that orders were issued that valid discharges were to be shown by all naval personnel returning overland to prove that they were not deserters.

 

Thereafter, Warren was solely a stores ship. She was sold at Panama on 1 January 1863. Her eventual fate is unrecorded, although records indicate that the erstwhile sloop-of-war was used as a coal hulk by the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. as late as 1874