Tuesday, September 14, 2010
John Paul Jones
Jones’ greatest victory occurred off the English coast on September 23, 1779. In command of an old watership, the Bonhomme Richard, Jones attacked the British frigate Serapis. The Serapis had more gunpowder and was much larger than Jones’ ship, but Jones drew close to the enemy and succeeded in hooking the two ships together with grappling irons. For three and one-half hours on a moonlit night, the two ships exchanged fire.
The Bonhomme Richard was burning and filling with water when the British called on Jones to surrender. His defiant response is famous: “ I have not yet begun to fight.” And fight on he did, until the captain of the battered Serapis surrendered. The Bonhomme Richard was too badly damaged to save. It sank after Jones and his men boarded the Serapis. But John Paul Jones had won one of the greatest naval victories of the Revolution.
After the American Revolution, John Paul Jones served as a rear admiral in the Russian navy.