On September 23rd of 1779, John Paul Jones flagship Bonhomme Richard sank in the icy waters off Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, England. She was broken and on fire after a long and bloody battle with HMS Serapis that resulted in the British ship striking to the upstart American and Jones taking Serapis as prize. Bonhomme Richard still lies, rather ingloriously given the results of the battle, in the silt at the bottom of the sea,
This brief post over at the US Naval History Blog gives the heads up that marine archaeologists and the American Navy now have an idea of where the wreck of Bonhomme Richard might be. According to reports from USNS Henson on the site, about 45% of surveying using a towed sonar scanner has been completed. When this is done and likely sites have been identified, divers and Remotely Operated Vehicles will be sent in to investigate. As noted in the post, the scanning should be done within the next few days, weather permitting.
Bonhomme Richard is an important symbol of America’s struggle for independence that has, in the past, been unfortunately glossed over. Like so many other of the U.S. Navy’s early achievements, the victory over Serapis that stunned the mighty Royal Navy has taken a back seat to the land based successes of Washington and his ilk. I will say Huzzah! for Bonhomme Richard. You know I’ll be keeping an eye on this project, and keeping you updated as she goes.
Header painting: of Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis “The Deadly Embrace” by William Gilkerson at J. Jinishian Gallery.