USS Hancock (1775)
|Fate:||Returned to owner, 1777|
|Displacement:||72 long tons (73 t)|
|Length:||60 ft (18 m)|
|Beam:||20 ft (6.1 m)|
|Complement:||70 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||6 × 4-pounder guns|
|Part of:||Continental Navy|
Hancock, was the former schooner Speedwell, hired from Mr. Thomas Grant of Marblehead, Massachusetts, in October 1775 as one of a small fleet fitting out to prey upon British supply ships and support General George Washington's siege of Boston, Massachusetts. This fleet, the first under Continental pay and control, came to be called "George Washington's Navy."
In October 1775, Hancock and Franklin were ordered to intercept two brigs as they arrived in the St. Lawrence River from England. But the two schooners instead sought easier quarry off Cape Canso where five prizes of dubious legality were taken. They also raided Charlottetown settlement without regard to orders to respect Canadian property. The story of their illegal actions reached General Washington who dismissed both ship commanders and returned their prizes to Canadian owners with apologies.
On 1 January 1776, Captain John Manley, Continental Army, was appointed Commodore of the Fleet and hoisted his flag in Hancock. She captured two enemy transports on 25 January 1776, fending off an eight-gun British schooner in a brisk engagement while prize crews took the captured ships into Plymouth Harbor.
On 30 January 1776 Hancock was intercepted off Plymouth by the 14-gun British Brig Hope who had sailed from Boston for the express purpose of capturing Hancock. The American schooner ran ashore and grounded where it became impossible for Hope, with her deeper draft, to draw close aboard. The little sloop refloated and captured several more prizes in joint operations with the squadron by April 1776 when Captain Samuel Tucker took command of Hancock. He relieved Commodore John Manley who was taken into the Continental Navy to command Continental Frigate Hancock.
Hancock captured two brigs off Boston 7 May 1776. She continued to cruise under Tucker until declared unfit for service late in 1776. She returned to her owner early the following year.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Coggins, Jack (2002). Ships and Seamen of the American Revolution: Vessels, Crews, Weapons, Gear, Naval Tactics, and Actions of the War for Independence. Courier Dover Publications. p. 224. ISBN 0486420728.
- Dept U.S.Navy. "Ships Histories Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy - Naval Historical Center.