USS Hannah

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Not to be confused with USS Hanna (DE-449).
Model of Hannah in the U.S. Navy Museum
Acquired: 24 August 1775
Commissioned: 2 September 1775
Decommissioned: October 1775
Out of service: 10 October 1775
Fate: Unknown
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 78
Propulsion: Sail
Armament: 4 × 4-pounder guns

The schooner Hannah was the first armed American naval vessel of the American Revolution and is claimed to be the founding vessel of the United States Navy. She was owned by John Glover's in-laws of Marblehead, Massachusetts and was named for his wife, Hannah Glover. The crew was drawn largely from the town of Marblehead.

Service history[edit]

The schooner was hired into the service of the American Continental Army by General George Washington. Washington commissioned Nicolson Broughton to command the Hannah on 2 September 1775 and ordered the vessel to cruise against the enemy. Hannah set sail from the harbor of Beverly, Massachusetts on 5 September 1775, but fled to the protection of the harbor of Gloucester, Massachusetts two days later under the pursuit of HMS Lively and a second British vessel. Leaving Gloucester Harbor, Hannah captured the British sloop Unity.

Hannah's brief naval career ended on 10 October 1775, when she was run aground under the guns of a small American fort near Beverly by the British sloop Nautilus. After an engagement between the British ship and townspeople on the shore, Hannah was saved from destruction and capture, but was soon decommissioned as General Washington found more suitable ships for his cruisers.

Soon after the Hannah's decommissioning, the schooner was towed to Lee's Wharf in Manchester, where its name was changed to the Lynch. There, the vessel was restored to working condition by 7 carpenters over the course of 3 weeks. In March of 1777, the Lynch was sent to France with congressional correspondence for Benjamin Franklin, who was there was U.S. Ambassador. Upon embarking on their journey back to the U.S., the Lynch and its crew were captured by British ship HMS Foudroyant. The Lynch was sold as a prize by the British and documentation indicates that the schooner was used as a merchant vessel thereafter (Macy, 2002).

The City of Beverly, Massachusetts and the Town of Marblehead, Massachusetts each claim to have been the home port of the schooner. Each asserted the honor of being "the Birthplace of the American Navy" from the career of the Hannah until a plaque, currently on display in the Selectmen's room at Abbot Hall in Marblehead, was discovered in the Philadelphia Navy Yard proclaiming Marblehead to be the birthplace; Beverly has since reinvented itself as "Washington's Naval Base."