HMS Vulture (1776)

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Atalanta (1775); Cygnet (1776); Hound (1776); Vulture (1776); Spy (1776); Hornet (1776); Alligator (1780). RMG J4431.jpg
Plans of the Vulture
Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Swan class ship sloop
Name: HMS Vulture
Ordered: 30 October 1775
Builder: John and William Wells, Deptford
Laid down: November 1775
Launched: 18 March 1776
Commissioned: April 1776
Fate: Sold August 1802
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 304 5894 bm
  • 96 ft 9 12 in (29.5 m) (gundeck)
  • 79 ft 2 in (24.1 m) (keel)
Beam: 26 ft 10 34 in (8.2 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 11 in (3.9 m)
Complement: 125
  • 14 × 6-pounder guns;
  • 2 more added ca. 1780

HMS Vulture was a 14 to 16-gun ship sloop of the Swan class, launched for the Royal Navy on 18 March 1776. She served during both the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolutionary War, before the Navy sold her in 1802. Vulture is perhaps best known for being the warship to which Benedict Arnold fled on the Hudson River in 1780 after unsuccessfully trying to betray the Continental Army's fortress at West Point, New York to the British.


Vulture was commissioned in April 1776. She then sailed for North America on 9 September.

On 5 May 1779, Vulture and Hope shared in the proceeds of the capture of General Gates.[1] She was a Massachusetts privateer brig or schooner of eight guns and 40 men, under the command of Captain William Carleton. Hope took Genreral Gates into Halifax where she was condemned and sold.[2]

On 29 May 1779, Vulture was part of Admiral George Collier's small flotilla that sailed up the Hudson River and captured Stony Point, two months later the site of the American victory in the Battle of Stony Point. After dark, Collier sent Vulture and the galley Cornwallis further up the river past Fort Lafayette to prevent the Americans from escaping by water, in which task they were successful.[3]

Vulture shared with Iris, Galatea, and Delight in the proceeds from the capture on 21 April 1780 of the American privateer General Reed. Vulture' captain at the time was Andrew Sutherland.[4] General Reed was a Philadelphia brig armed with 16 guns, with a crew of 120 men under the command of Samuel Davidson.

On 21 April 1782, Narcissus, Vulture, and Savage captured the Virginia privateer brig Grand Turk, of 12 guns and 75 men. Vulture was under the command of Lieutenant John Laugharne.[5]

After her service on the North American Station, Vulture was paid off at Portsmouth in November 1783. At that time she received copper sheathing, but was laid up.

In May 1790, Lieutenant Timothy Bird commissioned Vulture as a storeship. Lieutenant Samuel Short recommissioned her as slop ship in April 1791, but she was not fitted for that role until December 1792. Lieutenant William Crosbe recommissioned her that month. In 1799 Lieutenant Jeffrey Gawen replaced Crosbe.


The Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy offered the "Vulture, 304 Tons, laying at Portsmouth" for sale on 11 August 1802.[6] She sold in August.

Notes, citations, and references

  1. ^ "No. 12243". The London Gazette. 17 November 1781. p. 2. 
  2. ^ American War of Independence at Sea - Granville Hough's list of ships: General Gates.
  3. ^ "No. 11995". The London Gazette. 10 July 1779. p. 3. 
  4. ^ "No. 12419". The London Gazette. 1 March 1783. p. 3. 
  5. ^ American War of Independence at Sea - Granville Hough's list of ships: Grand Turk.
  6. ^ "No. 15503". The London Gazette. 3 August 1802. p. 818. 

Coordinates: 39°34′41″N 74°18′00″W / 39.578°N 74.300°W / 39.578; -74.300

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