22 April 1778

Early in April 1778, Captain John Paul Jones in the 20-gun Continental sloop Ranger sailed from Brest in France for the Irish Sea. His intention was to “end the barbarous ravages perpetuated by the British in America.” To accomplish this seemingly impossible task, he proposed to descend upon an English port, destroy merchant shipping, and carry away a person of distinction to be held as a hostage for the release of American prisoners. April 22 dawned fair and cold; snow covered both sides of Solway Firth and the Isle of Man . After several days at prize taking, Jones now decided to carry out his planned descent upon the English coast. Of the numerous seaports wh ich dotted the inlets and coves, the Ranger’s captain settled upon the port of Whitehaven, partly because he knew it well, having sailed from there for Virginia at the age of 13, and partly because of information which placed a large number of vessels within its harbor. By midnight, the Ranger had crossed the Firth but was still miles away from the port. Wishing not to lose the advantage of darkness, Jones ordered two boats lowered and 30 volunteer Marines and seamen over the side. Jones rook command of one boat, while Marine Lieutenant Samuel Wallingford of Somersworth, New Hampshire, officered the other. The early morning raid on Whitehaven, a second raid later in the day at St. Mary’s Isle, accomplished little. Indignation, however, ran high. British portS along the coast were alerted and militiamen mobilized. Although the raid on Whitehaven had been bloodless and the affair at St. Mary’s Isle in the nature of an outing, the battle with HMS Drake the following morning tested the Ranger’s crew. Within one hour of the first broadside, the Drake was a badly beaten ship; beaten at a cost of three lives, among them Marine Lieutenant Samuel Wallingford.

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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