Through his Naval career he never rose to the rank of captain in the Continental Navy after his victory over the Serapis with the frigate Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones remains the first genuine American Naval hero, and a highly regarded battle commander. His later service in the Russian Navy as an admiral showed the mark of genius that enabled him to defeat the Serapis.
John Paul Jones was a Scottish born naval officer serving for the Americans during the American Revolution. He came to America in 1773, and in 1775 he joined the Continental Navy. Due to his experience as a sailor and captain, he was appointed the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
His first commands were of the Alfred, the Providence, and the Ranger. He sailed the first two ships in the waters close to America and Canada, but while captain of the Ranger, he was stationed out of France. He spent this time mainly attacking British merchant ships, which he managed to do successfully. While returning to France after a failed raid on the British coastline, he ran into the Drake, a ship belonging to the Royal Navy. After a long gun battle, Jones seized control of the Drake and brought it back to France. This capture was one of great importance. It showed that the Royal Navy was not invincible, and became an inspiration for the Continental Navy in general.
CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES
On April 10, 1778, Commander John Paul Jones and his crew of 140 men aboard the USS Ranger set sail from the naval port at Brest, France, and head toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.
As an officer of the Continental Navy of the American Revolution, John Paul Jones helped establish the traditions of courage and professionalism that the Sailors of the United States Navy today proudly maintain. John Paul was born in a humble gardener's cottage in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, went to sea as a youth, and was a merchant shipmaster by the age of twenty-one. Having taken up residence in Virginia, he volunteered early in the War of Independence to serve in his adopted country's infant navy and raised with his own hands the Continental ensign on board the flagship of the Navy's first fleet. He took the war to the enemy's homeland with daring raids along the British coast and the famous victory of the Bonhomme Richard over HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out on board, the British commander asked Jones if he had struck his flag. Jones replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered.....Commander Jones, remembered as one of the most daring and successful naval commanders of the American Revolution, was born in Scotland, on July 6, 1747. He became an apprentice to a merchant at 13 and soon went to sea, traveling first to the West Indies and then to North America as a young man. In Virginia at the onset of the American Revolution, Jones sided with the Patriots and received a commission as a first lieutenant in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775.After departing from Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England s Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in "gain than honor." Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship s captain and lieutenant.Jones again took command of a new ship, the Bonhomme Richard, in 1779. Later that year he engaged in his most famous battle: the Battle of Flamborough Head. The battle took place against the British warship called the HMS Serapis. It was a long battle that Jones nearly lost, but he continued to fight until the very end. His ship on fire and sinking, he refused to give up. When the commander of the Serapis asked him about surrendering, instead of giving the idea any thought, he quickly replied with his famous line "I have not yet begun to fight!" You can imagine the surprise of the British commander, seeing as the American ship was already in a bad state. But Jones was true to his word, he had not begun to fight. After uttering that reply, he was able to overcome the enemy and actually captured the Serapis.
Captain John Paul Jones 1747 - 1792Portrait of Captain John Paul Jones
As an officer of the Continental Navy of the American Revolution, John Paul Jones helped establish the traditions of courage and professionalism that the Sailors of the United States Navy today proudly maintain. John Paul was born in a humble gardener's cottage in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, went to sea as a youth, and was a merchant shipmaster by the age of twenty-one. Having taken up residence in Virginia, he volunteered early in the War of Independence to serve in his adopted country's infant navy and raised with his own hands the Continental ensign on board the flagship of the Navy's first fleet. He took the war to the enemy's homeland with daring raids along the British coast and the famous victory of theBonhomme Richard over HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out on board, the British commander asked Jones if he had struck his flag. Jones replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered. Jones is remembered for his indomitable will, his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still burned. Throughout his naval career Jones promoted professional standards and training. Sailors of the United States Navy can do no better than to emulate the spirit behind John Paul Jones's stirring declaration: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way."
I Have Not Begun to Fight!
1779On August 14, 1779, Commodore John Paul Jones departed Lorient, France with a small squadron of American and French warships. Flying his commodore’s pennant from the 42-gun Bonhomme Richard, a converted East Indiaman, Jones intended to circle the British Isles in a clockwise fashion with the goal of attacking British commerce and diverting attention from French operations in the Channel. lookouts reported sighting a large group of ships to the north. Based on intelligence reports, Jones believed this to be a 41-ship convoy returning from the Baltic guarded by the frigate HMS Serapis and the sloop-of-war HMS Countess of Scarborough.Piling on sail, Jones’ ships turned to chase. Bonhomme Richard rounded Serapis’ port quarter and following an exchange of questions with the British commander, Captain Richard Pearson, Jones opened fire with his starboard guns. Aboard Bonhomme Richard, the situation quickly deteriorated when two of the ship’s heavy 18-pdr guns burst in the opening salvo. In addition to damaging the ship, this led to the other 18-pdrs being taken out of service for fear that they were unsafe. Using its greater maneuverability and heavier guns, Serapis raked and pounded Jones’ ship. Realizing his only hope was to board Serapis, Jones turned his ship, ramming the enemy and laying along side. Quickly the crew of Bonhomme Richard bound the two ships together with grappling hooks. The ships continued firing into each other as both side’s marines sniped at opposing crew and officers. An American attempt to board Serapis was repulsed, as was a British attempt to take Bonhomme Richard. After two hours of fighting, Alliance appeared on the scene. Believing the frigate’s arrival would turn the tide, Jones was shocked when Landais began indiscriminately firing into both ships. Aloft, Midshipman Nathaniel Fanning and his party in the main fighting top succeeded in eliminating their counterparts on Serapis. Moving along the two ships’ yardarms, Fanning and his men were able to cross over to Serapis. From their new position aboard the British ship, they were able to drive Serapis’ crew from their stations using hand grenades and musket fire. With his men falling back, Pearson was forced to finally surrender his ship to Jones. Across the water, Pallas succeeded in taking Countess of Scarborough after a prolonged fight. During the battle, Jones was famously reputed to have exclaimed “I have not yet begun to fight!” in response to Pearson’s demand that he surrender his ship.In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.
One of the greatest naval commanders in history, Jones is remembered as a "Father of the American Navy," along with fellow Revolutionary War hero Commodore John Barry.John Paul Jones is buried in a crypt at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, where a Marine honor guard stands at attention in his honor whenever the crypt is open to the public.
John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones (July 6, 1747–July 18, 1792) was America's first well-known naval hero in the American Revolutionary War. John Paul Jones was born "John Paul" in 1747, on the estate of Arbigland in the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright on the southern coast of Scotland. John Paul's father was a gardener at Arbigland, and his mother was a member of Clan MacDuff.John Paul adopted the alias John Jones when he fled to his brother's home in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1773 in order to avoid the hangman's noose in Tobago after an incident when he was accused of murdering a sailor under his command. He began using the name John Paul Jones as his brother suggested during the start of the American Revolution.During his engagement with Serapis, Jones uttered the legendary reply to a British officer's surrender request, "I have not yet begun to fight!"