Sailing Under John Paul Jones

The Memoir of Continental Navy Midshipman Nathaniel Fanning, 1778–1783

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About the Book

Connecticut privateer Nathaniel Fanning (1755–1805) was captured by the British during the Revolutionary War. Upon his release, he joined the Continental Navy and sailed as a midshipman under Admiral John Paul Jones during his most famous battles. Fanning later obtained his own command, sailing from French ports to prey upon British warships.
This new edition of Fanning’s memoir—first published in 1806—provides a vivid account of wartime peril and hardship at sea, and a first-hand character study of Jones as an apparent tyrant and narcissist. Vocabulary, spelling and narrative style have changed in the more than two centuries since Fanning’s chronicle, and some details clash with historical and geographical data. The editor has updated and annotated the text for modern readers, but attempted to retain much of the original memoir’s style.

About the Author(s)

Louis Arthur Norton, professor emeritus from the University of Connecticut, has published extensively on maritime history topics. Several of his journal articles have been awarded prizes for nonfiction and one for fiction. He lives in West Simsbury, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Nathaniel Fanning
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 179
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7960-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3754-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Editor’s Acknowledgments viii
Editor’s Preface 1
Editor’s Introduction 3
1. Catch and Release 7
2. Manifold Malevolent Captains Contentious 18
3. The Battle Between Good Man Richard and HBM Warship Serapis 25
4. Aftermath 35
5. The Alliance as Flagship 49
6. Taking Command of the Ariel 60
7. Adventures as a French Privateer 79
8. French Privateer Captain Fanning 100
9. Lieutenant in the French Navy 126
10. Aftermath of War 138
11. Reflections on French Society 149
A Brief Overview of Nathaniel Fanning’s Career 155
Editor’s Postscript 157
Chapter Notes 159
Bibliography 167
Index 169