"and had the reputation of being the most obstinate and sanguinary naval battle during the Revolution.
The "Trumbull" being badly disabled failed to capture the "Watt" although she defeated her.
The next summer in 1781, she left the Deleware, still under Cat. Nicholson, having been thoroughly equipped as convoy to 208 sail of merchant craft bound for Cape Francois, West Indies. Off the capes the "Trumbull" met three British Cruisers astern. Two of them one being a frigate, stood for the "Trumbull" which ship by hauling up against the wind of them. (sic)
While standing on in this manner, hoping everything from the darkness, which was fast aproaching, a gale carried away the "Trum- bull's" 'fore top mast' which in falling, brought down the main gall- ant mast. She was otherwise disabled and night coming on was unable to clear up the wreck. At 10 o'clock the "Iris," 32 guns, one of the vessels in chase, closed with her and forced her to combat. In the midst of rains and tempestuous winds Capt. Nicholson found himself obliged to go to quarters or to strike without resistance. He pre- fered to do the first, but the English volunteers on board his ship, instead of obeying orders, went below, extinguished lights and se- creted themselves.
Near half the remaining men followed their example and Capt. Nicholson could not muster fifty of even the diminished crew he had at the guns. The battle that followed might almost be said to have been fought by the officers. These brave men, sustained by a party of the petty officers and seamen, managed a few of the guns for more than an hour and when the "General Monk," 18 guns, coming up and join- ing in the fire of the "Iris," the "Trumbull" submitted.
The "Trumbull" after her capture, was towed into New York harbor and condemmed. Though unsuccesful in her battles, she still fought two of the most famous fights that took place on the Ocean during the exciting times of the Revolution."
"Jonathan Maltbie was afterwards appointed Master of the "Argus," a cutter in the Service of the United States for the protection of the revenue." He died Feb. 11, 1798, while in command of this vessel.
An interesting record of Jonathan Maltbie follows: (Civil and Military Lists of Rhode Island, 1800-1850, by Smith, p.704)
"Centinental Fleet, in which were many Rhode Island officers as well as from the other Colonies, under command of Commodore Ezek. Hopkins of Providence, ship "Alfred" one of the fleet, Dec. 1775.
1st. Lieut. John Paul Jones
among three other lieutenants--"Lieut. Jonathan Maltbie."
Having served in the same ship with John Paul Jones, makes Jonathan Maltbie's Rev. War service doubly historical.
In a lost note-book, I had an account of Jonathan Maltbie on a ship sent to assist at the "Battle of Bunker Hill," Boston. The item was in "Sketches of Bunker Hill and Monument," Third Edition, 1843". . .
(Coll. Conn. Hist. Soc.) This contains a letter from Col. Gurton Saltonstall, dated "New London. Jan. 23, 1776--to Silas Dean, delegate at the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress at Philadelphia." This letter mentions: "Second Lieut. Maltbie's crew."