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SERAPIS: Fifth Rate, 44 gun, Two Decker (incorrectly a frigate: D Lyon), Roebuck class by Slade of 1769

Built Randall, Rotherhithe, 1778; launched 4 March 1779; taken by BONHOMME RICHARD (accompanied by ALLIANCE (36), PALLAS (30 or 32) and VENGEANCE (12)) and transfered to the French Navy; wrecked 1781 off Madagascar.

140' x 115'9' x 37' 9 1/2" x 16' 4"
879 20/94 tons
264 men
Gun Deck 20 x 18lb
Upper Deck 22 x short 12lb
Forecastle 2 x 6lb
(broadside 318 lbs)

BONHOMME RICHARD: normally referred to as a frigate (42), armed merchantman converted to privateer / warship use

Ex DURAS [Note 1], (or DUC DE DURAS) French built 1765 for the East India Co., purchased by le Roi Louis and placed at the disposal of John Paul [Jones] 4 Feb 1779 by de Sartine, Ministre de la Marine, and renamed by John Paul as BONHOMME RICHARD (Benjamin Franklin had used 'Richard' as a nom de plume).

Sank 25 Sep 1779, resulting from engagement with SERAPIS, accompanied by COUNTESS OF SCARBOROUGH (20), 23 Sep 1779

152' x Keel x 40' x 19'
998 tons
375 men (DANFS); 347 Clowes)
Lower deck 6 x 18lb, could be fought either side [Note 2]
Main deck 28 x 12lb
Forecastle and quarterdeck 8 x 9lb
(broadside 312 lbs)

[Note 1] DUC DE DURAS, built in Lorient, 1764; variously as 900 or 1000 tonneaux (tons); normally mounted 20 guns, but was pierced for 26. Launched 28 November 1765. Not to be confused with a different but contemporaneous DUC DE DURAS, also of Lorient, used in the slave trade by Espivent de la Villeboisnet (or Epevent de la Ville Boisnet) between 1769 and 1772 - variously given as 10, 12 or 16 guns between 1771 and 1784, with tonnage ranging from 250 to 900.

[Note 2] Ordered by John Paul [Jones] from Sazerac et Cie, who had them made by the Fonderie Royale d'Angoulême; however, at least 2 of these guns exploded on first being fired during the engagement with the SERAPIS, and all were abandoned.



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Revised: 21 January 2003