Commodore Abraham Whipple of the Continental Navy
Privateer, Patriot, Pioneer

Sheldon S. Cohen

Foreword by James C. Bradford and Gene Allen Smith, Series Editors

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"Finally, after more than two centuries of living in the shadow of other revolutionaries whose reputations have been extolled and exaggerated, this intriguing character is brought to life. Through careful research Cohen has uncovered a wide variety of materials hitherto ignored. The result is neither hagiography nor muckraking, but a carefully crafted biography that gives us new insights into the American Revolution and the early days of the Republic."--William M. Fowler Jr., Northeastern University

"This is the first full-length biography of one of the more successful officers of the Continental Navy. As it is comprehensive and exhausts what it is possible to know about Abraham Whipple from the available sources, it is likely to remain the definitive biography well into the future."--Michael J. Crawford, Naval Historical Center

Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) commanded insurgents who destroyed HMS Gaspee in Narragansett Bay and helped direct the successful invasion of the Bahamas. This little-known, yet intrepid and frequently successful Continental Navy officer contributed significantly to the War for Independence. An esteemed officer of the fleet, he spent his last years in frontier Ohio where he was respected and appealed to younger generations as a "representative of the Revolution."

Sheldon Cohen's biography of Whipple presents a look inside the life of a Continental officer. He illustrates at a personal level the complexities of naval warfare, including Whipple's reliance on personal finances and family connections to outfit his ships and pay his crew. Cohen also reveals the commander’s treatment as a British prisoner of war, and his eventual migration west, shedding light on experiences shared by many Revolutionary War veterans.

Sheldon S. Cohen, professor emeritus of history at Loyola University Chicago, is author of numerous books, including Yankee Sailors in British Gaols, and British Supporters of the American Revolution.

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"An informative, complete accounting of a man who can be considered one of our nation's founding fathers."
--Pirates and Privateers: The History of Maritime Piracy

"Abraham Whipple is an overlooked and somewhat tragic naval hero, largely lost in the dusty history of the Continental Navy, but Cohen's stunning and seminal biography should go a long way in correcting this oversight."
--Sea History

"the life and times of a seaman in peace and war, a man who knew success and failure, a stout-hearted sailor and devoted patriot."
--The Northern Mariner/ Le marin du nord v. xx, no. 3

"Sheldon Cohen's biography of Captain Abraham Whipple is <…>a welcome literary tapestry, a vivid depiction of events woven together with threads of strong scholarship and attention to detail."
--The New England Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 3

"Anyone who is interested in naval warfare during the American Revolution should have this volume on his bookshelf."
--The Journal of America's Military Past, vol. XXXVI no. 115

Despite Cohen's obvious respect for his subject, he does present a well-written and easy-to-understand book that brings to life an important figure in American history. The biography will prove useful to professional historians, college students and to a general audience. Spans the areas of military history, maritime history, and the American Revolution, and should be included in any course touching on early American history.
--International Journal of Maratime History, volume XXII, no 2

"Provides an excellent picture of life at sea and the conduct of naval operations in the mid-eighteenth century. A valuable read for students of the Revolutionary War or naval operations in the Age of Sail."

"Cohen knows Whipple better than anyone, and the biography was clearly a labor of love. Cohen meets his goal of rescuing Whipple from obscurity. He has produced what will be the definitive biography of the commodore."
--The Journal of the Early Republic

"The execellent research and strong narrative offered by Sheldon S. Cohen in past articles and books continues in his study of Commodore Abraham Whipple. A worthy addition to existing biographies of the men and women who purchased freedom for thirteen British colonies with their blood and treasures. Certainly, it fills an empty niche in the list of the early captains of the US Navy."
--Nautical Research Journal

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