Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Washington II (Galley)

(Gy: cpl. 60; a. 1 18-pdr.)

Washington, the 42d state, was admitted to the Union on 11 November 1889. The first six Washingtons were named for George Washington; the seventh and eighth, for Washington state.


In the autumn of 1775, the Rhode Island General Assembly ordered the construction of two row galleys, Washington and Spitfire, and in January 1776 appointed John Grimes commodore of galleys. During the winter and spring of 1776, these galleys operated in Narragansett Bay, protecting the colony's shipping, carrying troops, and covering foraging parties seeking supplies.

In July, the galleys were sent to New York to join the tiny flotilla George Washington was fitting out on the Hudson River and apparently came under Continental control. On the afternoon of 3 August, Washington served as flagship for Lt. Col. Benjamin Tupper as that officer led an attack on the Royal Navy's warships Phoenix and Rose. As the galleys approached, Phoenix opened fire on the American boats to begin an action at grapeshot range which lasted some two hours before the Americans retired to Dobb's Ferry.

During the engagement, four Americans were killed, and 14 others were wounded. On the British side, Phoenix was hulled twice and suffered substantial damage.

After the British captured Manhattan Island late in the summer, Washington and her sister galleys vanished in the mists of unrecorded history.

The 32-gun frigate Washington, one of the 13 authorized by the Continental Congress on 13 December 1775, was built above Philadelphia, Pa., by Manuel, Jehu, and Benjamin Eyre. Launched on 7 August 1776, the ship lay under construction into the following year. However, the British occupied Philadelphia on 26 September 1777 forcing the local Continental forces to strip and sink Washington on 2 November 1777 to prevent her falling into enemy hands intact.

Although the still-incomplete frigate was apparently raised by the spring of 1778, she was never completed. On 7 May 1778, both Washington and Effingham were destroyed, by fire, where they lay, below Bordentown, N.J. Washington's remains were later salvaged and sold at Philadelphia.

Published: Mon Oct 26 12:09:23 EDT 2015