The First USS Enterprise

What? No, I’m not talking about the old NCC-1701 from Star Trek.

(Image via US Navy)

I’m referring to the Enterprise, a ship in the Continental Navy from 1775-1777.

In May 1775, the dashing American Colonel Benedict Arnold captured a ship on the southern end of Lake Champlain. He boarded it with several dozen men and promptly sailed through the northern end of the lake and down the Richelieu River to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec.

(Map via Google)

He raided the town and seized additional sailing vessels, including a British sloop named Enterprise. Arnold took the Enterprise back down the lake and armed it with 12 4-pound guns.

When the United States declared independence in 1776, that ship became the first US warship to bear that famous name.

In October of 1776, the British launched an invasion down Lake Champlain. The Royal Navy defeated Arnold and the rebels at Valcour Island, but the American resistance delayed the British advance so long that they called off the invasion until the next year.

In 1777, in advance of the overwhelming British fleet, Arnold burned the Enterprise and his other remaining vessels. The rest of the campaign, which would result in an American victory, would be fought on land.

(Image via Paramount)

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