USS Warren 1776

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The second Warren, one of the 13 frigates authorized by the Continental Congress on Dec. 13 1775, was given that name on June 6, 1776. Built at Providence, R.I., by Sylvester Bowers, Warren was probably one of the first two of the 13 frigates to be completed. The other was the Rhode Island-built frigate Providence. However, difficulties in manning the two ships & the British occupation of Newport made the tricky task of getting the vessels out to sea doubly difficult.

Although the ship was bottled up in the Providence River, Commodore Esek Hopkins broke his pennant in Warren early in December of 1776. Ordered to prepare for sea as soon as possible to cruise the upper half of the eastern seaboard to interdict British troop & logistics shipping traveling the Rhode Island to Virginia route, Hopkins' flagship nevertheless remained anchored in the Providence River for nearly a year afterward. As a result, Hopkins was suspended by the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress for his lethargic performance. Warren, blockaded in Narragansett Bay, did no cruising.

Aided by favorable weather, Warren finally slipped through the British blockade on or about March 8, 1778 & escaped into the open sea at last. Warren took two prizes in her first cruise: the ship Neptune- bound from Whitehaven, England, to Philadelphia- with a cargo of provisions; & another supply vessel, before the Continental frigate put into Boston on March 23. She apparently conducted a second cruise off the eastern seaboard in the autumn, as records indicate that she cruised for a time in company with the Massachusetts State Navy ship Tyrannicide in September.

Warren remained at Boston into the winter of 1778 & apparently did not sortie again until March 13, 1779. The frigate, under the command of Commodore John B. Hopkins, departed in company with Queen of France & Ranger for a cruise off the northeastern coast. The squadron took the armed schooner Hibernia as a prize on April 6, & good fortune smiled upon them even more the following day, because at 4 am, American lookouts sighted two "fleets" of ships. One contained 10 vessels & the other, nine.

Warren & her two consorts set upon the nine-ship group to windward and, by 2 pm, had captured seven of the nine. The British convoy had been bound from New York to Georgia. The catch included two ships, four brigs, & a schooner. Most of the prizes were richly laden with provisions for the British Army. Warren towed the brig Patriot from 10 April, bringing her triumphantly into port.

Initially, Congress expressed great pleasure with Hopkins' exploit, but its satisfaction soon soured. The Marine Committee charged Hopkins with violating his orders, maintaining that he had returned to port too soon & had not sent his prizes to the nearest port. As a disciplinary measure, the Committee relieved Hopkins, suspended him from the Navy, & gave his command to Capt. Dudley Saltonstall, a move which would have sad repercussions for both ship & her new commander.

While Warren lay at Boston, fitting out for further operations, the British established a base on the Bagaduce peninsula, near the present site of Castine, Maine, in mid-June 1779. This British intrusion into the figurative back yard of the Massachusetts colony could not go unchallenged. Thus, a large-but unfortunately uncoordinated-force was assembled in hope of evicting the newly established British. Saltonstall became the naval commander, in Warren, & was given 19 armed vessels & some 20 transports with which to project the Continental invasion.

On July 19, 1779, the Continental armada sailed from Boston, bound for Penobscot Bay. The expedition turned out to be a dismal failure. First, the fleet was unfit for the work & was primarily composed of privateers. The military forces, as in the seagoing ones, lacked decisive leadership; & the land forces lacked artillery & necessary equipment & supplies. Cooperation between military & naval forces was entirely lacking, with the obvious end-result that the entire expedition collapsed in disaster like a house of cards.

Warren & the other vessels of the American fleet were consequently burned to prevent their capture by the British. Warren was probably set afire by her crew on either August 14 or 15, 1779 in the Bagaduce River, above the Bagaduce peninsula. Later that autumn, Saltonstall was tried by court martial on board the frigate Deane in Boston harbor & was summarily dismissed from the Continental Navy.

This article is taken directly from: Naval History and Heritage Command

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President Reagan's

1981 Inaugural Address

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In his first Inaugural address on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1981, President Ronald Reagan - citing Dr. Warren's Boston Massacre Oration - called Warren an inspiration to all Americans.

USS Warren 1775

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Commissioned on October 1, 1775, the USS Warren was a Schooner with 14 guns. It was the 4th vessel added to a struggling force assembled by General Washington to intercept British supply ships. Its first commander was Captain Winborn Adams who took command upon being commissioned. After a very successful cruise, capturing the schooner Rainbow (this is mentioned in a letter from G.W. to John Hancock), then the brig Sally, which was carrying a supply of 153 casks of wine, the Warren delivered the Sally as a Christmas gift to General Washington in Boston. After going through some repairs, the command of the Warren was then given to William Burke. Sidenote: Winborn Adams reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonial & was killed on Sept. 19, 1777 at the Battle of Bemis Heights.


William Burke had quite a challenge commanding the schooner. The Warren was frustrated by weather, then got into a scuffle with the HMS Milford but finally managed to get to sea. The Warren then engaged with another British ship, Unity. While disengaging there was an explosion on the quarterdeck killing three and injuring seven. After repairs, the Warren set out for patrol, again commanded by Burke. The Warren & the Lynch encountered the British frigate HMS Liverpool. As the Warren & Lynch began to flee the HMS Liverpool chose to follow Warren. The Warren was overtaken & captured by the Liverpool on August 26, 1776 & the crew was transferred to that ship. 


Capt. Burke (& more than likely the rest of the crew) became a prisoner on a guard ship in New York. 


The Warren was used by the British as a tender to the Milford until December 1776 when it was run aground & destroyed.