“I have not yet begun to fight!“
In 1953, John Paul Jones was remembered by Americans as “The Fighting Sailor.” He was actually much more than that.
He was born John Paul in 1747, on the southern coast of Scotland. He began his career as a mariner at the age of 13, when he sailed out of Whitehaven as a ship’s apprentice. During his sailing career, he had numerous contacts with his brother who had settled at Fredericksburg, Virginia.
He adopted the alias of “John Jones”, at the suggestion of this brother, when he fled to his Virginia home in 1773, to avoid execution after an incident where he was accused of murdering a sailor under his command. When the American Revolution commenced, he was using the name “John Paul Jones.” Although he is considered the father of the United States Navy, he never rose above the rank of Captain in the Continental Navy. With his highly regarded command of the frigate Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones became America’s first naval hero. He later earned the rank of Admiral for his service with the Russian Navy. He spent his last days abroad and ended up being buried in Paris, France. Years later his remains were brought home and reinterred at the United States Navy Academy chapel, in Annapolis, Maryland.
He is most famous for his legendary reply when a British officer asked for his surrender during battle: “I have not yet begun to fight!“
Learn More: The American Revolution
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