Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Content
Document Type
  • nhhc-document-types:ship-history
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Confederacy (frigate)


(Frigate: Tonnage 959; Length 153'; Beam 35'6"; Complement 260; Armament 28 12-pounder, 8 6-pounder)

A number of states or persons in league with each other, applied to the union of original 13 States.


The Continental frigate Confederacy was launched 8 November 1778 at Chatham (Norwich?), Conn., and towed to New London to be prepared for sea. From 1 May to 24 August 1779 she cruised on the Atlantic coast under the command of Captain S. Harding. While convoying a fleet of merchantmen, on 6 June, she and Deane captured three prizes, drove off two British frigates and brought the convoy safely into Philadelphia, Pa.

On 17 September 1779 Confederacy was ordered to carry the French Minister and his family back to France. Later John Jay, the first American Minister to Spain, his secretary, and family were added to the passenger list. During the passage on 7 November 1779 Confederacy was completely dismasted and almost lost, but managed through the skillful seamanship of Captain Harding to reach Martinique early in December. After repairs, she returned to convoy duty.

While homeward bound from Cape Francois in the West Indies in 1781 with military stores and other supplies, Confederacy was forced to strike her flag to the British ships Roebuck (44) and Orpheus (32). She was subsequently taken into the British service as Confederate.



8 August 2001

Published: Tue Jun 30 15:03:39 EDT 2015