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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services



Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Saturday, March 7, 1778
Engagement with HMS Yarmouth
On the evening of March 7, Randolph engaged the British 64-gun ship of the line, Yarmouth, the American frigate seemed to be on the verge of victory when her magazine ignited and the ship exploded in flames. Debris from Randolph showered down on the Yarmouth. ... Captain Vincent, the commander of the Yarmouth, in a report to Admiral Lord Howe in New York, said, “It was fortunate we were windward of her. As it was, our ship was in a manner covered with parts of her. A great piece of timber six feet long fell on our poop; another large piece of timber struck in our fore top gallant, then upon the cap. An American ensign, rolled up, blown in upon the forecastle, not so much as singed.” ... Vincent said he tried to chase the four South Carolina ships, but quickly gave up, “our sails being all torn pieces in a most remarkable manner.” ... Five days later, Vincent returned to the area, and found four survivors of the Randolph's 315 man complement still clinging to wreckage from the ship. “The proved to be four men who had been in the sup which blew up and who had nothing to subsist on from that time but by sucking the rain water that fell on a piece of blanket which they had luckily picked up.”

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 4

Namesort descending Service Branch
Lieutenant William Barnes USN
Captain Nicholas Biddle USN
Lieutenant Joshua Fanning USN
Lieutenant John Mcdougal USN
Various Sources