USS Washington (1776 lateen-rigged galley)

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Career (USA)
Name: USS Washington
Namesake: George Washington
Laid down: date unknown
Completed: 1776
In service: October 1776
Out of service: October 1776
Captured: by the British, 13 October 1776 retained by the British under the same name
Fate: unknown
General characteristics
Type: lateen-rigged, two-masted row galley
Displacement: 123 tons
Length: 72' 4"
Beam: 19' 7"
Draft: 6' 2"
Complement: 80
Armament: Eight to ten guns on board
For other ships of the same name, see USS Washington.

USS Washington (1776 lateen-rigged galley) was a row galley in the service of the Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War. Washington was capable of propulsion by sail or by the paddling of oarsmen. During a battle with British warships, Washington “struck her colors” and was captured by the British.

Built on Lake Champlain[edit]

The third ship to be named Washington -- a lateen-rigged, two-masted row galley—was built on Lake Champlain at Skenesboro, New York, in the autumn of 1776. On 6 October 1776, the row galley joined the small fleet established and commanded by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold.

Battle of Valcour Island[edit]

Washington -- commanded by Brigadier General David Waterbury, Arnold's second in command—was among Arnold's ships that anchored in the lee of Valcour Island to await the expected English move.

When that lakeward push began, Capt. Thomas Pringle, of the Royal Navy, led a 25-ship fleet past Valcour Island on 11 October. Pringle sighted the American fleet after he had passed it and attacked from leeward. In the ensuing action, Washington suffered the heaviest damage of any ship in Arnold's fleet; Waterbury, her commander, subsequently reported that she was

Arnold regrouped his shattered fleet and slipped past the British on 12 October with muffled oars, the Americans slipping noiselessly past Pringle's fleet in a desperate attempt at escape. However, after a long chase, the British caught the retreating Continental force the following day, on 13 October, at Split Rock near Crown Point.

After the battle[edit]

Arnold managed to beach and destroy four of the row galleys and his own flagship, Congress, while most of the remaining ships escaped upriver. Only Washington -- at the rear of the van—was captured by the enemy; she struck her colors, as Arnold reported later, "... after receiving a few broadsides."

Final disposition[edit]

Washington was eventually taken into British service, apparently retaining her name, and was re-rigged as a brig. Her subsequent fate, however, is unrecorded.