Battle of Nassau

Battle of Nassau

The Battle of Nassau (March 2 – March 3, 1776) was a naval action and amphibious assault by American forces against British-occupied Nassau in the Bahamas during the American Revolutionary War. It is considered the first cruise and one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the progenitor of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The led assault procured the Marines' first amphibious landing in United States' history. It is sometimes known as the Raid of Nassau.


Under the command of Fleet Captain or Commodore Esek Hopkins of Rhode Island, a task force of four ships, including "Hornet", "Alfred", and "Wasp", rallied near Great Abaco Island, north of the Island of New Providence, on March 1, 1776. The force captured two sloops owned by Loyalists, one of those men being Capt. Gideon Lowe of Green Turtle Cay, and pressed their owners to serve as pilots. It is said that the two Abaconians escaped as soon as Nassau was in sight and warned the British of the approaching American ships

On March 2, the force approached Nassau, sending ashore a raiding party of 230 Continental Marines and 50 sailors under the command of Captain Samuel Nicholas, the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines. The force captured nearby Fort Montague but were repulsed in their assault on Fort Nassau.

On March 3 at 10:00 in the morning, a landing was again attempted, and this time the Marines captured Nassau without a fight, seizing a sizable store of 103 cannon, mortars and munitions. Much of the precious gunpowder stores that were the target of the raid had been evacuated after the failed raid on March 2.

It marked the first instance in American military history that forces responded to the equivalent modern command of "Land the landing force." []

On March 17, the fleet sailed for Block Island Channel off Newport, Rhode Island, with Montfort Browne, Lieutenant Governor of the Bahamas, as a prisoner. Browne was later exchanged for American general William Alexander.


In commemoration of the battle, two ships of the United States Navy have been christened USS "Nassau".

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