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This flag was raised by Captain John Paul Jones on the British frigate Serapis during the most famous Revolutionary naval battle.


After conducting sea raids on the coast of Britain, he took command in 1779 of a rebuilt French merchant ship, renamed the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard to honor Benjamin Franklin. On September 23, 1779, Jones engaged the British frigate Serapis in the North Sea, daringly sailing in close, lashing his vessel to the British ship, and fighting the battle at point-blank range. During the fight two of his cannon burst, and the British captain asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Replied Jones: "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight." The American crew finally boarded the Serapis after the British had struck her colors, and from the deck of the Serapis they watched the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard sink into the North Sea.

The ‘Serapis’ Flag

John Paul Jones speaks to his ideal of what a truly outstanding Naval Officer should be and that would make up the New US Navy.

John Paul Jones In His Own Words

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