Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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WICKES, Lambert, naval officer, born in New England about 1735; died at sea on the banks of Newfoundland in 1778. He was among the first naval officers that were appointed in the war of independence, his first commission being dated 22 December, 1775. In the summer of 1776 he commanded the brig "Reprisal," and in a cruise to the West Indies he captured the British ships "Friendship" and " Shark" and the schooner " Peter." On his return in July he took Benjamin Franklin to France in the " Reprisal," which was the first American war-ship that ever visited Europe. On this cruise he captured two British brigs in November, 1776. After his arrival in France with his prizes, which were sold, he sailed on a cruise in the Bay of Biscay, where he captured several other English prizes. The BritiSh government remonstrated with France, then at peace with England, which necessitated mock sales of the prizes at sea. The French government was thereafter obliged to order the American cruisers to leave France. Wickes took command of the American squadron, consisting of the brig " Lexington," which had arrived from the United States, and the "Dolphin." Wickes captured fourteen vessels in five days in the Bay of Biscay and in the English channel, all of which were sent to France and sold in June, 1777. Wickes was afterward chased by a British ship of the line, and escaped by throwing his guns overboard. He continued his cruise toward this country in the " Reprisal" alone, as the little squadron had separated, and was lost in a storm on the banks of Newfoundland in 1778. All the crew of the "Reprisal" were lost with the ship except the cook.
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