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Franklin I (Ship-of-the-Line)


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was born in Boston but moved at an early age to Philadelphia where his countless talents and unlimited energies found expression in successful contributions as a statesman, diplomat, scientist, editor-author, and philosopher. During the Revolution he was appointed American Minister Plenipotentiary to the French Court enabling him to function also as the Navy's representative in Europe. He promoted the plan to bring the war to British shores, supporting Lambert Wickes' spectacular raids and enabling John Paul Jones to perform his daring feats by providing funds, attending to purchases and repairs, and determining questions of authority and discipline. His astute and visionary policies merit for him deserved recognition in the annals of the infant Navy as well as esteem as a founder of the United States. (The first four ships of the name honor Benjamin Franklin; CV-13 specifically perpetuates the names of the ship-of-the-line and the frigate).


(Ship-of-the-Line: tonnage 2,257; length 190'10"; beam 54'8"; draft 26'6"; complement 786; armament 63 32-pounders, 24 32-pounder carronades; class Franklin)

The first Franklin, a ship-of-the-line built in 1815 under the supervision of Samuel Humphreys, was the first vessel to be laid down at the Philadelphia [Pa.] Navy Yard. Launched on 25 August 1815, she was commissioned later the same year [1815].

Franklin sailed on her first cruise on 14 October 1817, when under the command of Master Commandant Henry E. Ballard she proceeded from Philadelphia to the Mediterranean. She carried the Hon. Richard Rush, U.S. Minister to England, to his post. Subsequently she was designated flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron, cruising on that station until March 1820. She returned to New York on 24 April 1820.

From 11 October 1821 until 29 August 1824 she served as flagship on the Pacific Station. Franklin was laid up in ordinary until the summer of 1843 when she was ordered to Boston as a receiving ship. She continued in this capacity until 1852 at which time she was taken to Portsmouth, N.H., and broken up in 1853.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

12 April 2021

Published: Mon Apr 12 21:47:17 EDT 2021