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This Month in Naval History

Delaware I

An Indian tribe, the first state in the Union, a bay, and a river.

(Fr: dp. 563; 1. 117'10"; b. 32'10"; dph. 9'8"; a 22 12-pdr., 6 13-pdr.)

The first Delaware, a frigate, was built under the 13 December 1775 order of the Continental Congress in the yard of Warwick Coates of Philadelphia, Pa., under l the direction of the Marine Committee. Upon her I launching in July 1776, Captain C. Alexander took command. Delaware served in the Delaware River, joining with Commodore J. Hazelwood's Pennsylvania state ships in operations which delayed the British Fleet in approaching Philadelphia and supplying the British Army. When the British took possession of Philadelphia 26 September 1777, Delaware in company with several smaller ships advanced upon the enemy fortifications which were being erected, and opened a destructive fire while anchored some 500 yards from shore. On 27 September she went aground on the ebb tide and came under the concentrated fire of the British artillery. After a brave defense against overwhelming odds, Captain Alexander was compelled to strike his colors. Delaware was taken into the Royal Navy until sold in March 1783.


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