1776_header.gif (30032 bytes)


Draught of the Colonial Frigate "Boston"

Submitted by James Mathews

This is the earliest plan yet found of an American-built warship. Wrought by Ben Hollowell at Boston (1747-1748), the vessel was a 24 gunner, sturdy and fast. The lines and makeup of her design were standard for her class and era. As were those of the 44 gun frigate "America" built at Portsmouth N.H. (presumably by shipwright N. Meserve) in 1749. Proof that America could spawn fine naval vessels, these frigates may have alarmed the Crown Government of England who restricted gun manufacture to England, and awarded no more warship contracts to Colonials.

The American Frigate "Raleigh"---One of 13 frigates ordered by the Continental Congress on December 13, 1775. A 697 tonner carrying 32 guns, she was approximately 131 1/2 feet long, with a 34 1/2 foot beam, and an 11 foot depth of hold. Constructed by James K. and William Hackett of Portsmouth N.H., she was launched on May 21, 1776, and completed by midsummer. Her class (or rate) included the frigates "Hancock," "Randolph," "Warren," and Washington. Five smaller frigates of the "Providence" class were simultaneously projected. Built by Sylvester Bowers at Providence, R.I. 28-gun "Providence" was a 632 ton vessel, approximately 126 1/2 feet long, with a 33 1/2 foot beam, and a 10 1/2 foot depth of hold. Launched in May, 1776,she was completed and at sea by the following autumn. Her class included frigates "Congress," "Virginia," "Trumbull." and "Effingham." (Not all these 10 "heavy frigates" were completed. And of those that were, not one reminded to America at war's end.

uss_boston.gif (142955 bytes)

Picture History of the U.S. Navy, Theadore Roscoe and Fred Freeman,
Bonanza Books, New York, 1956.

Return to table of contents