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happy? - Sept 23 (Richard v. Serapis)

Abby Sale 23 Sep 05 - 08:36 AM
Liz the Squeak 23 Sep 05 - 05:38 PM
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Subject: happy? - Sept 23 (Richard v. Serapis)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 23 Sep 05 - 08:36 AM

[per The United States Navy - Traditions: ]

On 23 September 1779, John P Jones' Bonhomme Richard engaged the HMS Serapis in the North Sea off Famborough Head, England. Richard was blasted in the initial broadside the two ships exchanged, losing much of her firepower and many of her gunners. Captain Richard Pearson, commanding Serapis, called out to Jones, asking if he surrendered. Jones replied: "I have not yet begun to fight!"

It was a bloody battle with the two ship literally locked in combat. Sharpshooting Marines and seamen in Richard's tops raked Serapis with gunfire, clearing the weather decks. Jones and his crew tenaciously fought on , even though their ship was sinking beneath them. Finally, Capt. Pearson tore down his colors and Serapis surrendered.

Bon Homme Richard sank the next day and Jones was forced to transfer to Serapis.

        An American frigate,a frigate of fame,
        With guns mounting forty, "The Richard" by name,
        Sailed to cruise in the channels of Old England,
        With a valiant commander, Paul Jones was the man.

                "Paul Jones' Victory," originally a British broadside, soon went into tradition
                 in the US. On The American Revolution; Folkways FH5277 & DigTrad.

See also the Dutch song "Hurrah for John Paul Jones" & also "Ballad of John Paul Jones" on Folkways Seaport 76 & also "Paul Jones" in DigTrad (from Purslow, The Constant Lovers).

[per above-cited Navy site, Early in 1779, the French King gave Jones an ancient East Indiaman Duc de Duras, which Jones refitted, repaired, and renamed Bon Homme Richard as a compliment to his patron Benjamin Franklin.]

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
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Subject: RE: happy? - Sept 23 (Richard v. Serapis)
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Sep 05 - 05:38 PM

The comment about 'not yet begun to fight' also appears in some versions of 'Captain Ward and the Rainbow'.

Of course, I'm totally unable to find the words but it's from an LP recorded by an old English group, Tundra.


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