HMS Phoenix (1759)

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The Phoenix and the Rose engaged by the enemy's fire ships and galleys on Aug. 16, 1776, 08-16-1776 - NARA - 532907.tif
The Phoenix and the Rose engaged by the enemy's fire ships and galleys on Aug. 16, 1776. Engraving by Dominic Serres after a sketch by Sir James Wallace
RN EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Phoenix
Ordered: 5 January 1758
Builder: John & Robert Batson, Limehouse
Laid down: February 1758
Launched: 25 June 1759
Completed: By 26 July 1759
Fate: Foundered on 4 October 1780
General characteristics
Class and type: 40-gun fifth rate frigate
Tons burthen: 842 6794 bm
  • 140 ft 9 in (42.90 m) (gundeck)
  • 116 ft 8 in (35.56 m) (keel)
Beam: 36 ft 9.75 in (11.2205 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft 11.5 in (4.864 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 280
  • 44 guns:
  • Lower gundeck: 20 × 18-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 20 × 9-pounder guns
  • Quarterdeck: 4 × 6-pounder guns

HMS Phoenix was a 44-gun[1][2] fifth rate Ship of the Royal Navy.

She saw service during the American War of Independence under Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.[2] She, along with HMS Rose and three smaller ships launched an attack on New York City on 12 July 1776.[1] During that attack, Phoenix and the other ships easily passed patriot defences and bombarded urban New York for two hours.[3] This action largely confirmed continental fears that British naval superiority would allow the Royal Navy to act with relative impunity when attacking deep-water ports.[3]

HMS Phoenix was also involved in a kind of currency war. During the Revolutionary War, when the Continental Congress authorized the printing of paper currency called continental currency, the monthly inflation rate reached a peak of 47 percent in November 1779 (Bernholz 2003: 48). One cause of the inflation was counterfeiting by the British, who ran a press on HMS Phoenix, moored in New York Harbour. The counterfeits were advertised and sold almost for the price of the paper they were printed on.[4]

The Phoenix was lost on 4 October 1780 in a storm.[5]


  1. ^ a b Chernow, Ron (2011). Washington: A Life. Penguin Books. p. 238. ISBN 978-0143119968. 
  2. ^ a b Naval Documents of The American Revolution Vol. 5 Part 5 (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. 1970. p. 1043. 
  3. ^ a b Fischer, David (2004). Washington's Crossing. Oxford. pp. 83–84. ISBN 9780195181593. 
  4. ^ Stealing Lincoln’s Body (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007: pg. 33
  5. ^ Lettens, Jan. "HMS Phoenix (+1780)". Retrieved 7 September 2013.