By Bill Federer, staff writer
”I have not yet begun to fight!” shouted John Paul Jones when the captain of the British ship Serapis asked him to surrender.
Their ships were so close their cannons scraped and masts entangled, yet his American ship Bonhomme Richard, named for Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, refused to give up.
When two cannons exploded and his ship began sinking, John Paul Jones lashed his ship to the enemy’s to keep it afloat.
After 3 more hours of fighting, the British surrendered.
This was SEPTEMBER 23, 1779. Called the “Father of the American Navy,” John Paul Jones commanded the Continental Navy’s first ship, Providence, in 1775.
With 12 guns, it was the most victorious American vessel in the Revolution, capturing or sinking 40 British ships.
In 1778, sailing the Ranger, Jones raided the coasts of Scotland and England.
After the Revolution, in 1788, Jefferson arranged for John Paul Jones to join Russia’s Catherine the Great in repulsing the Muslim Ottoman Turks from the Black Sea, sailing the Vladimir.
On February 13, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote:
“The remains of Admiral John Paul Jones were interred in a certain piece of ground in the city of Paris…used…as a burial place for foreign Protestants…
The great service done by him toward the achievement of independence…lead me to…do proper honor to the memory of John Paul Jones.”
His remains were placed in the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.
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