American Prizes
October 1778

Name of Vessel:


Master of Vessel:


Rig of Vessel:


Date of Capture:

29 October 1778

Place of Capture:

On the east side of Rhode Island


Continental Army Sloop Hawk

Home Port:

From What Port:


To What Port:















Ordered Into:

Stonington, Connecticut

Into What Port:

Stonington, Connecticut

Date Arrived:

29 October 1778

Date Tried:

25 November 1778

Date Sold:






Comments: British Army Galley Pigot (Dunlap) was one of the British vessels protecting the British position at Newport and blockading the passages out of Narragansett Bay. Pigot was a tender to HMS Chatham.

Continental Army Sloop Hawk was part of the Continental Army’s Providence River Squadron, organized after the failure of the Franco-American attack on Newport. Her commander was Captain Silas Talbot, and he was assigned the specific task of capturing the Pigot.

On 25 October 1778 Talbot sailed from Providence, his object being the capture of the British schooner Pigot (Dunlap). Aboard the Hawk were troops from Major General Sullivan’s command. At last report the Pigot was lying in the east side of Rhode Island. The wind was “small,” so Talbot anchored for the night under Rocky Island. The next day he sailed past Bristol Ferry to Mount Hope. After laying there a day, Hawk sailed on 28 October, at 2000, and ran through Howland’s Ferry. As the Hawk approached Fogland Ferry, a British post with a heavy battery, all sail was lowered and the sloop drifted through under bare poles. No alarm was given.

By 0130 on 29 October Hawk was with a short distance of the Pigot. The British lookouts sighted her, she was hailed and the Marines on her quarter fired at the Hawk. Talbot pushed on, ran his jib boom through her fore shrouds, and then his men poured a volley of musketry into the Pigot: a special load of musket balls and buck shot.

By now Dunlap was on deck, aroused from sleep and dressed only in shirt and drawers. At the American volley his men ran below: those below deck refused to come up. Dunlap was by himself at the rail of the schooner. The Americans ran out on the jib boom, and boarded and carried the schooner with out any loss.

Quickly getting underway, Talbot carried his prize out to sea and put into Stonington, Connecticut on 29 October, from where he reported to Sullivan. Pigot had a battery of eight 12-pounders and a crew of forty-five men. The prisoners were sent to Providence, Rhode Island, arriving on 2 November 1779, and put on a prison ship in the river. Pigot was tried on 25 November 1778 and condemned.

[Middlebrook, Maritime Connecticut During The Revolution, 118-119, reprinting most of a letter from Talbot to Sullivan, taken from the Providence newspaper.]

Posted 20 January 2009 ©