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Incidents
Marlborough Engages Hope





Massachusetts Privateer Ship Marlborough Engages the British Hope
[20] September 1778



Massachusetts Privateer Ship Marlborough was commissioned on 8 September 1778 under Commander George Wait Babcock of Exeter, Rhode Island. Her £2000 Massachusetts bond was signed by James Godfrey of Taunton, Massachusetts, James Swan of Boston, Massachusetts, and Babcock. This ship had previously had a Rhode Island commission (see Rhode Island Privateer Ship Marlborough).1


Marlborough was at sea in September 1778. At 40°22′N, 66°36′W she fell in with the British vessel Hope (Joseph Browne), described as “His Majesty’s sloop.” Browne described Marlborough as a “rebel ship from Boston, with two tiers of guns.” A “close” action began and continued for two hours. Hope suffered severely in her masts, rigging and sails, but managed to escape in light winds because of “confusion” aboard the Marlborough. Hope had one killed and two wounded, including Browne. She managed to get into Halifax on 26 September.2 An alternate account indicates the brig Hope (Brown) was off Nantucket shoals, when she encountered the forty-four gun ship Marlborough, commanded by John Manley. This took place about mid-September 1778. There was a fight and Hope sheered off with damage.3 It seems clear enough that Hope did have an encounter with the Marlborough, and that there was a fight, but Manley did not command her, and the Marlborough never could have carried forty-four guns in her main battery.


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

Marlborough

250

20

[60]

125

Hope

1

2

3

Time: [20] minutes
Note: No American casualties reported.



1 Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution, 215. Many biographies of Captain John Manley of the Continental Navy indicate that Manley commanded the Marlborough on this cruise. There is no evidence for this statement.

2 Thomass Massachusetts Spy, or American Oracle of Liberty [Worcester], Thursday, November 5, 1778, datelined Halifax, September 29

3 The Connecticut Journal, Wednesday, October 21, 1778, datelined Newport, October 8


Posted 13 February 2017 © awiatsea.com