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.