August 29 This day during the American Revolution

August 29, 1781 – Capture of USS Trumbull On 8 August 1781, Trumbull — the last remaining frigate of the original 13 authorized by Congress in 1775 — eventually departed from the Delaware capes in company with a 24-gun privateer and a 14-gun letter-of-marque. Under their protection was a 28-ship merchant convoy . On 28 August 1781, lookouts on the American ships spotted three sails to the eastward; two tacking to give chase to the convoy. At nightfall, a rain squall struck with terrific force and carried away Trumbull’s fore-topmast and her main topgallantmast. Forced to run before the wind, the frigate separated from the convoy and their escorts, and soon found herself engaged with the frigate Iris (the former Continental frigate Hancock), and the 18-gun ship General Monk (the former Continental privateer General Washington). Even with the “utmost exertion,” the wrecked masts and sails could not be cleared away. Knowing he could not run, Nicholson decided to fight. Trapped, Trumbull “beat to quarters,” but three-quarters of the crew failed to respond, and instead fled below. Undaunted, Nicholson bravely gathered the remainder. For one hour and 35 minutes, Trumbull and Iris remained engaged; General Monk soon closed and entered the contest as well. “Seeing no prospect of escaping in this unequal contest,” Nicholson later wrote “I struck….” Eleven Americans were wounded and five killed during the engagement before Trumbull struck her colors. Iris reported that she had lost one man killed and six wounded, while Trumbull had two men killed and 10 wounded. Trumbull, by this point almost a wreck, was taken under tow by the victorious Iris to New York. However, because of her severe damage, the British did not take the frigate into the Royal Navy; and detail of her subsequent career are lost in the mists of unrecorded history.

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