USS Philadelphia served the Continental Navy of America during the American Revolutionary War - the war between the Thirteen Colonies and the British Empire. The vessel was designed as a gondola (gunboat) and accordingly given a shallow draught to navigate the waterways near shore as well as those making up the American river network. She, along with six other gunships of similar design, were constructed at Skenesboro, New York and made up half of the total Continental Navy's strength on Lake Champlain - a strategic body of water found at the American-Canadian border between the states of New York and Vermont. The lake also gave access to the Canadian city of Montreal.
On October 11th, 1776, USS Philadelphia joined the battle line west of Valcour Island in the west of Lake Champlain, the fleet falling under the overall command of General Benedict Arnold (Philadelphia fell under the direct command of Benjamin Rue). The American fleet was met by elements of a numerically superior Royal Navy fleet and a heavy exchange of gunfire ensued between the two sides (marking the Battle of Valcour Island). Philadelphia took a direct hit from a British 24-pounder gun along her waterline which forced her to take on water and ultimately sink where she fought. Her surviving crew were rescued by American ships and relocated south to Buttonmold Bay, Vermont. The Continental fleet suffered a devastating loss that day - many of its ships sunk or captured while others burned into the morning.
Fifteen Continental Navy warships with 500 sailors met a British force of 25 ships, nearly 700 sailors and 1,000 soldiers backed by some 650 Indians. Eleven of the American ships were lost, 120 persons captured and 80 killed or wounded. The British lost three ships and saw 40 killed or wounded.
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