Colonial Gothic: Prelude


The American Continental Navy, formed in late 1775 from John Adam's "Maddest Idea" and initially organized with the help of General George Washington of Virginia, was given its first "Operational" mission in early 1776. Their mission was to clear the coast of the small squadron of British warships on station in the North American colonies.

Esek Hopkins, a Successful Rhode Island Privateer from the French and Indian War (Seven Years war in 1755-1762), was made the American Continental Navy's 1st commodore and issued 14 converted merchant ships and 300 of the newly formed American Continental Navy Marines to do the task.

Commodore Hopkins set sail from Philadelphia and sailed out of Delaware bay in early February, but instead of searching the coast for the British squadron, he bypassed the coast and laid in a course for

New Providence in the Bahamas.

He explained to his senior officers that he had received orders from General Washington that the Royal Navy Powder stores at New Providence, Nassau were practically unguarded and the grave need of the American Continental Army for powder and cannon made their acquisition a mission of the utmost priority.

By Sunday morning March 3rd the American Fleet was off Nassau. 270 Marines and 50 sailors "stormed" ashore in America's first amphibious landing. After firing off three twelve pounders as a symbolic gesture, the defenders, less than 50 British sailors and Royal marines, abandoned the town's eastern Fort. Governor Browne, the British governor of Nassau then negotiated a truce, and handed over the keys to the Towns Main Fort, Fort Nassau.

71 cannon, 15 Large brass mortars, and 24 Hugh casks of gun powder were captured. Still Hopkins swore that there was supposedly almost 200 casks of powder on the island. So on Sunday Evening Hopkins orders a search party formed and he and the senior Lieutenant of the Alfred, one John Paul Jones, assemble several American sailors and marines and begin to search the Fort Nassau catacombs.....

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