NASSAU, BAHAMAS. 3-4 March 1776. In the first major operation of the Continental Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins sailed from Delaware Bay on 18 February 1776. Acting on intelligence that the British had a large amount of materiel stored on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, but no troops to protect them, Congress sent the squadron to seize them. The Americans assembled at nearby Abacco, transferring all their marines to the sloop Providence and two captured local fishing sloops. Early in the afternoon of 3 March, Captain Samuel Nicholas, senior marine officer, led 250 men ashore and quickly captured Fort Montagu after token resistance. During the night Governor Montfort Browne removed most of the gunpowder stored in Fort Nassau, the other defensive work, and moved it to the Royal Navy's schooner St. John and a merchant sloop, and sent them off to St. Augustine. On 4 March the Americans moved on to secure Fort Nassau and the rest of the stores. Over the next two weeks the squadron loaded sixteen mortars, fifty-two cannon, and a large amount of ammunition. It sailed for home on 16 March with Governor Browne and two other prisoners.
SEE ALSO Bahamas.
Fowler, William M., Jr. Rebels under Sail: The American Navy during the Revolution. New York: Scribners, 1976.
revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.