John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones




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John Paul Jones


John Paul Jones was born in Scotland in 1747. His father had been employed as a gardener, however John Paul was apprenticed to a ship owner. John Paul found his very first voyage to America very exciting. After a short time, his employer died, and out of desperation, John Paul took a job on a slave ship. It didn't take long before he could no longer stomach the slave trade and he quit. John Paul took the first ship back to England. However, in route both the captain and the first mate died. John Paul knew exactly what to do, he took command of the ship and returned it to the grateful owner. The owner was so impressed that he gave him a huge financial reward, and hired him to be the captain of one of his ships.

On his second voyage to the West Indies, Jones flogged the ship's carpenter to death. As a result, the man's father charged John Paul Jones with murder, and he was arrested. He was subsequently tried and found innocent. Then a short time later he became captain of a ship called Betsy, which was docked in London. A few weeks later he was back in the West Indies, and the men on his ship mutinied against him, and once more he killed one of them, only this time he did it with his sword. Because this was the second man to die at his hands, John's friends didn't believe that he could get a fair trial. They told him to flee to America. John Paul Jones escaped to America and lived off of borrowed money from his friends until he got a job on the ship Alfred. The Alfred had recently been purchased by Congress for the Continental Navy. At this time, he was sworn in as a first lieutenant.

On April 6, 1776, the Alfred was in a five-ship flotilla headed back to Rhode Island from the West Indies, when they were attacked by the British frigate Glasgow. The frigate had the element of surprise on its hands, and 24 American soldiers died, and the Alfred was badly damaged. The captain of the flotilla was Esek Hopkins and he hadn't managed to get off one shot. Soon afterward, Hopkins was relieved of his command. At the same time, the captain of the ship Providence was court-martialed for cowardice, and he was replaced by John Paul Jones. Jones was now the head of a small flotilla and he didn't waste any time. He quickly went on the attack, capturing or sinking 21 British ships before the end of 1776.

Congress decided to reward John Paul Jones. They assigned him a sloop named the Ranger and ordered him to sail to France to pick up a new frigate that was being built in Amsterdam for the Continental Navy. There he discovered that the frigate had been given to the French and King Louis XVI. Jones wasted no time. He and 140 men attacked Whitehaven, Scotland. Jones burned 3 ships in the harbor before fleeing. Next, he crossed the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where he defeated and captured the British sloop Drake in a battle that only lasted an hour.

Then, during the summer of 1779 , the French gave John Paul Jones five ships. The ship which Jones named Bonhomme Richard had 42 guns, however it moved slowly in the water. It wasn't long before, Jones spotted a convoy of two British warships escorting a convoy of 40 merchant ships. The battle started after dark with Jones in hot pursuit of the warship Serapis. The Serapis also had 42 guns. Jones and his crew were saved when they outmaneuvered the enemy. Then as the two ships collided he ordered his men to lash the boats together. The entire time the Americans were firing their cannons into the British warship. Eventually, the British returned the fire, but it was too late, after 2 hours they surrendered.