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Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Continental gondola Philadelphia

Continental gondola Philadelphia

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Continental gondola Philadelphia, 1776

Constructed at Skenesboro, New York, the gondola Philadelphia was laid down in mid-August 1776 and quickly placed into service.   To thwart the British on the northern sections of Lake Champlain, General Benedict Arnold stationed his fleet of ships on the New York shore near Valcour Bay to intercept the British squadron's advance on Fort Ticonderoga.   During the six-hour Battle of Valcour Bay on October 11, Philadelphia was sunk by a 24-pound shot.   The British, led by General Guy Carleton, burned, sank, or captured many ships of the fleet, including the Continental gun schooner Royal Savage.   Despite General Arnold's loss, the British advance was delayed until spring of 1777, where a stronger army awaited them, forcing a surrender at Saratoga.   Philadelphia was raised in 1935 by a crew led by Lorenzo Hagglund and is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.  

A model of the gondola can be found in The American Revolution and the French Alliance section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.    

Image:  NH 83140-KN:  Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, October 11, 1776.  Artwork by V. Zveg.  Courtesy of the Navy Art Gallery.   NHHC Photograph Collection.