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Pennsylvania Navy Floating Battery Arnold




Arnold

(1) Captain Samuel Davison

Floating Battery

9 March 1776-15 June 1776

Pennsylvania Navy [unknown]

(2) First Lieutenant John Hennessy
15 June 1776-23 August 1776
(3) [First] Lieutenant John McFatrich
[23] August 1776-1 October 1776
(4) Captain Jeremiah Simmons
1 October 1776-21 November 1777


Commissioned/First Date:

10 January 1776

Out of Service/Cause:

21 November 1777/burned to prevent capture


Tonnage:


Battery:

Date Reported: 16 February 1776

Number/Caliber  Weight           Broadside

18/18-pounder    324 pounds   162 pounds

Total: 18 cannon/324 pounds

Broadside: 9 cannon/162 pounds

Swivels:


Date Reported: 25 June 1776

Number/Caliber  Weight           Broadside

10/18-pounder    180 pounds   90 pounds

Total: 10 cannon/180 pounds

Broadside: 5 cannon/90 pounds

Swivels:


Crew:

(1) 16 February 1776: 300 [total]
(2) 8 May 1776: 114 [total]
(3) 1 July 1776: 111 [total]
(4) 1 August 1776: 82 [total]
(5) 1 January 1777: 56 [total]


Description:

105' length on the keel, 120' overall length, 20' beam, 2'6" to 3' draft, fifty oars


Officers:

(1) First Lieutenant John [Joseph] Hennessy, 15 March 1776-23 August 1776; (2) [First] Lieutenant John McFatrich, [23] August 1776-1 October 1776; (3) First Lieutenant Thomas Fell, 5 April 1777-[November] 1777; (4) Second Lieutenant John McFatrich, 8 April 1776-[23] August 1776; (5) Master John Ross, 1 April 1777-1 September 1777; (6) [First] Mate John Ross, 15 March 1776-1 April 1777; (7) [Second] Mate James Clownish, 15 March 1776-; (8) [Third] Mate Edward Cochran, 15 March 1776-; (9) Captain of Marines Thomas Forrest, -5 October 1776; (10) Lieutenant of Marines John Rice, [fall/winter 1776-1777]


Cruises:


Prizes:


Actions:


Comments:

Pennsylvania Navy Floating Battery Arnold was constructed for the purpose of providing a heavy gun platform for close-in harbor and river defense. Arnold was authorized in late 1775.1 She was 105 feet in length on the keel,2 according to one report, and 120 feet in overall length according to another report, with a beam of twenty feet. The upperworks were very lightly built.3 The floating battery drew between two and a half and three feet of water.4 Arnold was powered by fifty oars,5 and was supplied with sails and ballasted with iron junk.6 Her rig type is unknown. The first reports of Arnold’s battery listed her as having eighteen 18-pounders (16 February 1776),7 another as having ten 18-pounders (4 March 1776).8 She carried at least two swivel guns.9 Arnold’s crew was reported as three hundred men on 16 February 1776, an excessive number.10 She is listed with a crew of 116 men on 1 May 1776.11


Arnold was under construction by 10 January 1776 when she was mentioned in a British spy’s report.12 A second report dated 16 February 1776 noted her dimensions, crew, and reported battery.13 The floating battery was far enough along in construction for the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety to appoint Captain Samuel Davison to her command on 9 March 1776.14 John Ross was appointed as Mate on 15 March.15 At the same time James Clownish was aboard as [Second] Mate,16 and Edward Cochran as [Third] Mate.17 First Lieutenant John Hennessy was appointed on 15 March and transferred from the Effingham on the 19th. Hennessy had been in New York seeking sailors.18 On 26 March she was named the Arnold by the Committee.19 She was to sail down to her station at Fort Island from Philadelphia on 29 March.20 Hennessy returned from his recruiting trip to New York on 30 March.21 On 7 April one John McFatrich petitioned to be appointed Second Lieutenant on the Arnold, which petition was granted by the Committee of Safety the next day.22


Arnold’s part in the Action in the Delaware River between the Pennsylvania Navy galleys and several British frigates was limited to the sending of men and supplies down river. On 7 May Davison furnished seventy-four men to the galleys to fill out their crews.23 On 8 May Arnold furnished ten boxes of powder to the galleys and formed a second line of battle above the chevaux-de-frise with Pennsylvania Navy Ship Montgomery and Continental Navy Brig Reprisal.24  On the following night, Davison loaded 120 rounds of shot and other ammunition stores aboard a small sloop to send down to the galleys. The wind failing, he transhipped to one of Arnold’s boats and got the ammunition down to the galleys. He found the galleys better supplied than he had thought, so he boarded the Pennsylvania Navy shallop at the scene and returned to the Arnold.25 On 10 May Arnold was ordered to send wadding to the galleys.26 Davison noted that he had only four men to man each gun left aboard the Arnold.27 Arnold was stationed at Fort Island during the battle.28 On 15 June 1776 Davison was promoted to Commodore to command the Pennsylvania Navy, flying his flag in the Montgomery.29 Despite threats from the galley captains not to accept Davison, he was commissioned on 18 June.30 When Davison hoisted his flag the galley captains boarded the Montgomery and there was an extended verbal argument which nearly escalated to fighting.31 The Committee of Safety backed off and limited Davison’s command to the Montgomery and the Arnold on 25 June.32 Meanwhile, also on 25 June, Arnold was reported as armed with ten 18-pounders.33


During this period of time there was a minor altercation on the Arnold concerning the discipline of the Marines aboard. Davison attempted to exercise direct command over them and members of his staff attempted to discipline individual Marines, in some cases striking the men for insubordination or misbehavior. The Marine officers protested and the Committee of Safety supported them, issuing orders that Marines should only be disciplined by Marine officers.34


On 1 July 1776 Arnold had a crew of 111 men and was under command of First Lieutenant John Hennessy.35 Arnold had a crew of eighty-two men on 1 August 1776.36 Hennessy had transferred from the galley Effingham on 15 March 1776. He took the part of Commodore Davison during the dispute with the galley captains. Hennessy resigned his commission on 23 August 1776.37 About 1 October 1776, Davison apparently resigned.38 At the same time, McFatrich was promoted to Captain and transferred to galley Washington.39 Jeremiah Simmons was appointed as the new Captain of the Arnold.40 On 5 October, Captain of Marines Thomas Forrest resigned, and transferred to Procter’s artillery.41 Arnold’s crew, on 1 January 1777, consisted of the captain, three lieutenants, a master, master’s mate, twelve petty officers, and thirty-eight “privates,” a total of fifty-six men.42 A small contingent of Marines from the Arnold, under Lieutenant Joseph Rice, served with Washington’s army during the Trenton-Princeton campaign.43


Apparently additions were made to the Arnold in the spring of 1777. On 13 March 1777 the Pennsylvania Navy Board ordered the barracks master at Fort Island to deliver to Captain Simmons enough two inch plank to complete her forecastle and gangways.44 On 1 April John Ross was promoted from Mate to Master.45 On 5 April 1777 the Navy Board recommended and the Supreme Executive Council commissioned, Thomas Fell as First Lieutenant of the Arnold.46 On 7 April the Navy Board ordered Simmons to report before it, in person, the next day. The Board was curious to hear Simmons’ reasons for not recruiting a crew for the Arnold.47 Arnold was in Commodore Thomas Seymour’s command on 9 April.48 On 12 April the Navy Board ordered Simmons to release an apprentice he had aboard, apparently recruited by him.49


Arnold’s payroll was listed as in excess of £314 per month for May 1777.50 On 1 September 1777, Master John Ross was transferred to the galley Experiment as Captain.51  She was ordered down the river with the mixed Continental-Pennsylvania fleet to oppose the British naval forces there and was sighted by the British frigate Pearl on 19 September 1777.52 She was among those vessels trapped in the lower Delaware River when Philadelphia fell to the British on 25 September 1777.53


On 14 November 1777 Simmons attended a council-of-war held aboard the Pennsylvania Navy Galley Chatham. He signed the official recommendations.54


Following the fall of Fort Mifflin and the impending fall of Fort Mercer, portions of the Pennsylvania Navy escaped up river, running past British held Philadelphia. On the morning of 21 November there was no wind to assist the sailing craft in running up the river. According to previously made plans all were set on fire: Continental Navy Brig Andrew Doria, Continental Navy Xebecs Champion and Repulse, Continental Navy Sloops Surprize and Fly, and Pennsylvania Navy Ship Montgomery, and Pennsylvania Navy Floating Batteries Arnold and Putnam..55 The officers and crews got safely up to Bordentown, New Jersey. By 4 December 1777 most of the sailors had deserted.56


In May and June 1778, seven men from her crew were still in service.57



1 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 30-31

2 NDAR, "Intelligence regarding the Naval Force at Philadelphia," III, 1322-1323

3 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 23

4 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 23

5 NDAR, "Intelligence regarding the Naval Force at Philadelphia," III, 1322-1323

6 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 23

7 NDAR, "Intelligence regarding the Naval Force at Philadelphia," III, 1322-1323

8 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 23

9 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 23

10 NDAR, "Intelligence regarding the Naval Force at Philadelphia," III, 1322-1323

11 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 23, 42

12 NDAR, "Gilbert Barkley to Sir Grey Cooper," III, 721-722

13 NDAR, "Intelligence regarding the Naval Force at Philadelphia," III, 1322-1323

14 NDAR, "Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," 4, 266

15 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 338

16 Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, 62

17 Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, 63

18 NDAR, "Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 398, 412 and note

19 NDAR, "Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 526

20 NDAR, "William Whipple to Josiah Bartlett," IV, 550-551 and 551 note

21 NDAR, "Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 578

22 NDAR, "Petition of John McFatrich to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 699 and note

23 NDAR, "Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 1445-1446; “Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” IV, 1465  “Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” IV, 146-1466;  “Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 16 and note; “James Mease to the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 137-138

24 NDAR, "Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 1465; "Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety," IV, 1465

25 NDAR, “Captain Thomas Read to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” 5, 16 and note; “Captain Samuel Davison to the Pennsylvania Committeeof Safety,” V, 35-36

26 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 50-53

27 NDAR, “Captain Samuel Davison to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 35-36

28 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 50-53

29 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 413-414 and 414 note, 549-550; “Pennsylvania Committee of Safety to Captain Samuel Davison,” V, 550-551

30 NDAR, “Pennsylvania Navy Captains to the Committee of Safety,” V, 604-605; “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety,” V, 605 and 605-606 note

31 NDAR, “Commodore Samuel Davison to Robert Morris,” V, 627; “Deposition of Martin Wert,” V, 684

32 NDAR, “Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Conference of Committees,” V, 697-698; “Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Conference of Committees,” V, 714-715; “Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Conference of Committees,” V, 738; “Pennsylvania Committee of Safety to Commodore Samuel Davison,” V, 738-739

33 NDAR, “Reverend George Duffield to Reverend David McClure,” V, 737-738

34 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 67

35 NDAR, “Amount of Men in Actual Pay, Officers Included, In the Service of the Province of Pennsylvania, to the First of July, 1776,” V, 857-858

36 NDAR, “Men in Actual Pay In the Service of Pennsylvania First of August 1776,” VI, 6-7

37 NDAR, “Lieutenant John Hennessy to the Pennsylvania Council of Safety,” VI, 287 and note

38 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 66, 334

39 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 339

40 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 345

41 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 378, 423 note 2

42 NDAR, “Pennsylvania Navy List,” VII, 834-835

43 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 81-82

44 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Navy Board,” VIII, 102-103

45 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 338

46 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council,” VIII, 277

47 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Navy Board,” VIII, 291

48 NDAR, “Pennsylvania Navy Board to Commodore Thomas Seymour,”  VIII, 307

49 NDAR, “Minutes of the Pennsylvania Navy Board,” VIII, 329

50 NDAR, “Amount of the Pay Rolls of the Pennsyllvania State Fleet for the Month May 1777,” IX, 150

51 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 338

52 NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Pearl, Captain John Linzee,” IX, 942 and note

53 NDAR, “Diary of Captain Francis Downman, Royal Artillery” IX, 973-974

54 NDAR, “Council of War held on Board the Pennsylvania Navy Galley Chatham,” X, 488 and 489 notes

55 NDAR, “William Bradford to Thomas Wharton, Jr.,” X, 568-569 and notes

56 NDAR, “William Bradford to Thomas Wharton, Jr.,” X, 666 and notes

57 Jackson, Pennsylvania Navy, 344


Posted 21 September 2014 © awiatsea.com