Gustavus Conyngham


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(1747–1819) naval officer, born in County Donegal, Ireland. In 1775 Conyngham sailed to Holland to purchase military supplies for the Continental army, but British pressure prevented him from acquiring any cargo. Stranded in France, Conyngham was given a commission by American representatives, including Benjamin Franklin, who were in Paris seeking aid from the French. Conyngham was commissioned captain of the lugger Surprise in 1777 and within a week of sailing had captured two British vessels. Ordered by the French (who seized his commission) to return the ships, Conyngham went back to sea a few months later in the cutter Revenge and captured or destroyed at least sixty vessels in twenty-two months.


From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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