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Gaspee Raiders
for biographical information on the Americans in the boats attacking the Royal Navy ship Gaspee.


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The Rose, the command ship of the English
in 1772 on the American coast.

HMSRose.jpg (27948 bytes)On the left is a 18th century drawing of the 1756 built English ship Rose, which carried 24 guns.  It was a frigate. Click on thumbnail to enlarge. Notice the three masts, the considerable amount of sail, and the covered gun deck. The Rose was used as the Admiral's command ship for the Atlantic Coast in 1772.

The Rose was recreated in the 20th century. This photo of the recreated Rose shows the grace of this type of ship, compared to the huge behemoth multiple gun decks and ponderous shapes of the battleships of the day, the "ships of the line."  Although graceful, the Rose was a substantial navel ship of the day, and easily could outfight any of the ships possessed by the Rhode Island merchants.

The Rose continued in the Newport, Rhode Island area, as a principle instrument of the English enforcement of the customs law, and for a base for the seizure of militarily stores in the early days of 1775.  In 1775, the English command of the seas in the area of Newport was such that a Rhode Island response after the Lexington and Concord battles was necessary. On 12 June, the General Assembly of the Crown Colony of Rhode Island met at the Kent County Courthouse in East Greenwich and created the very first Navy in the Western Hemisphere.  A Rhode Island navy was created for the express purpose of opening a way to the ocean through the 24 gun frigate Rose and its auxiliary ships stationed at the three exits out of Narragansett Bay.

This Rhode Island Navy consisted of two armed vessels - the sloop Katy, with 12 guns, and the galley Washington, with six guns.  The attempt of the Rhode Island merchants to break past the Rose led to the first purely naval engagement of the Revolution, in June of 1775, when the Rhode Island sloop Katy, under Captain Abraham Whipple, engaged the Royal Navy Schooner Diana. The Rhode Island Navy never did accomplish its initial objective of driving off the Rose.  The Rose only met her end in 1779 in Savannah, Georgia, when she was scuttled to avoid capture.