John Rathbun

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John Peck Rathbun (1746–1782) was an officer in the Continental Navy and in the United States Navy. Rathbun was from Rhode Island with family in Boston. Rathbun served in the Continental Navy from its late 1775 beginning as John Paul Jones First Lieutenant.

Capture of Nassau

Rathbun was promoted to Captain in April 1777 and given command of the sloop Providence upon which he had participated in an American attack on New Providence in 1776. Rathbun took Providence back to the Bahamas on the night of 27 January 1778. Rathbun approached Nassau disguised as a trading sloop and anchored offshore in darkness. Twenty-six marines under command of Captain John Trevett went ashore by boat with a scaling ladder. They climbed Fort Nassau's 22-foot walls with the ladder and overpowered the two guards before daybreak. The Marines then continued sending the guards' periodic "All is well" call to guards outside of the fort while repositioned the fort's 18-pound cannon to cover parts of the city and harbor from which reinforcements might arrive. Dawn found the American stars and stripes flying over conquered enemy territory for the first time since the Continental Congress approved the flag. While his remaining marines patrolled the wall in full view of the city, Trevett sent three Marines to Fort Montague with a claim that a force of 230 Marines held Fort Nassau. Fort Montague surrendered, and Marines spiked the cannon and poured the gunpowder into the sea. ...
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