USS Providence (1776 frigate)

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Name: USS Providence
Builder: Silvester Bowes, Providence, Rhode Island
Launched: May 1776
Fate: Captured 12 May 1780
Career RN Ensign
Name: HMS Providence
Acquired: 12 May 1780
Fate: Sold, March 1783
General characteristics
Type: Frigate
Displacement: 632 long tons (642 t)
Length: 126 ft 6 in (38.56 m)
Beam: 33 ft 8 in (10.26 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)
Armament: 28 guns
Service record
Commanders: Capt. Abraham Whipple

The second Providence, a 28-gun frigate, built by Silvester Bowes at Providence, Rhode Island, by order of the Continental Congress, was launched in May 1776.

After being blockaded in the Providence River for more than a year, the new frigate, under command of Captain Abraham Whipple, ran the British blockade on the night of 30 April 1778, returning the heavy fire of the British frigate Lark and damaging that vessel, then fighting a running battle with another vessel of the British blockading force. She sailed directly for France, arriving at Paimboeuf 30 May to procure guns and supplies for Continental Navy vessels under construction. She sailed from Paimboeuf 8 August and six days later, joined frigate Boston at Brest, France. The two ships sailed back to America 22 August. They took 3 prizes on the return voyage and Providence arrived Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 15 October.

Transferred to Boston to seek a crew, Providence sailed from Boston 18 June 1779 as flagship of Commodore Abraham Whipple, cruising eastward in company with Ranger and Queen of France. In the early morning of mid-July, the squadron was in a dense fog off the banks of Newfoundland and fell in with a Jamaican fleet of some 150 sails. The vessels remained with the enemy fleet all day without causing alarm. They took 11 prizes, many by quietly sending boats to take possession. The squadron slipped away with their prizes during the night. They sent 8 of the prizes, valued together with their cargo at over a million dollars, into Boston and Cape Ann. The Squadron returned to Boston and 23 November sailed from Nantasket Roads, first cruising eastward of Bermuda, arriving at Charleston, South Carolina 23 December to defend that city.

Providence, with other ships of Commodore Whipple's Squadron remained for the defense of Charleston and was one of the ships taken by British when that city fell, 12 May 1780. She subsequently served in the British Navy until sold in March 1783.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.