Oliver Cromwell (ship)

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Name: Oliver Cromwell
Namesake: Oliver Cromwell
Operator: Connecticut State Navy
Ordered: January 1, 1776
Builder: Uriah Hayden
Laid down: April 2,1776
Launched: June 13, 1776
Completed: August 18, 1776
Captured: June 6, 1779
Naval Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svgGreat Britain
Name: HMS Restoration
Acquired: 6 June 1779
Fate: unknown
General characteristics
Type: corvette
Tons burthen: 300 (bm)
Length: 80 ft (24 m)
Beam: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Complement: 180 officers and enlisted
Armament: 20 guns
Service record

Oliver Cromwell was the largest ship in the Connecticut State Navy from her launch on 13 Jun, 1776, until the British Royal Navy captured her in a battle off the coast of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, on 6 June 1779. The Royal Navy renamed her HMS Restoration.[1]



Upon the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the Connecticut General Assembly in July 1775 authorized Governor Jonathan Trumbull to purchase and outfit two armed vessels, the largest of which would be Oliver Cromwell.[2] Under the supervision of Capt. Seth Harding, ship builder Uriah Hayden began preliminary work for the project on 30 January. Work began in the Hayden family shipyard that sat on the Connecticut River in Saybrook (Essex), Connecticut, on April 2, and continued until the ship's launch on 13 June 1776.[3]

Capture of Admiral Keppel[edit]

In the spring of 1778 Oliver Cromwell set sail from Boston with Defence for the West Indies, stopping in Charleston, S.C., for refitting.[4] On April 15th, while sailing east of St. Kitts, the pair encountered two British ships, Admiral Keppel and Cyrus, and captured them. On board Admiral Keppel, and taken prisoner, was Henry Shirley, the former British Ambassador to Russia, and other bureaucrats, and their families, who were en route to Kingston, Jamaica, to relay instructions from London to the colony. Admiral Keppel was sailed to Boston and sold for £22,321, and, after some deliberation by Gov. Trumbull, Mr. Shirley and the other captives were permitted to continue to Kingston under a flag of truce.

End of Service with the Connecticut Navy[edit]

A hurricane struck Oliver Cromwell while she was off the coast of the Bahamas in which she was stripped of her masts. In June, 1779, she encountered British ships off of Sandy Hook and was forced to strike her colors after a battle lasting several hours. After her capture, the British refitted her and commissioned her as the HMS Restoration.[5]


  1. ^ Middlebrook, Louis F. "History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1773 - 1783 Vol. 1, Oliver Cromwell". langeonline.com. The Essex Institute. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  2. ^ "Oliver Cromwell Launched – Today in History: June 13". connecticuthistory.org. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  3. ^ "The Oliver Cromwell". CTMQ.com. Connecticut Museum Quest. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  4. ^ Paullin, Dr. Charles O. (1906). "Connecticut State Navy in the American Revolution". The New England Magazine. Vol. 35. Boston, MA. p. 714.
  5. ^ Caleb Lincoln (June 28, 2016). "Days gone by: The Oliver Cromwell was fierce predator in the state's early Navy in 1777". Shoreline Times. Retrieved December 22, 2020.