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Coffin, Sir Isaac (16 May 1759–23 July 1839), Loyalist and British admiral, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Coffin, the last receiver general and cashier of His Majesty’s Customs at Boston, and Elizabeth Barnes. Born into a family of wealth and social prominence, Isaac Coffin attended the Boston Latin School and then entered the British Royal Navy in May 1773. Assigned to the brig ...

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Johnstone, George (1730–24 May 1787), naval officer and first governor of British West Florida, was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, the son of Sir James Johnstone, Laird of Westerhall, and Barbara Murray. After entering the Royal Navy in 1743, Johnstone fought in King George’s War before his promotion to lieutenant in 1749. Johnstone was undoubtedly brave but also, wrote a superior, “incapable of subordination.” He faced two courts-martial and fought at least one duel during the French and Indian War....

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Loring, Joshua (03 August 1716–05 October 1781), British naval officer and Loyalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Joshua Loring, a tanner, and Hannah Jackson. Fatherless by the age of five, Joshua moved to Roxbury, where he was apprenticed to a tanner named James Mears. However, the continuing warfare between England and France attracted him, and when of age he went to sea and served on a privateer. In 1740 he married Mary Curtis; they had seven children. During the War of Austrian Succession (1740–1748), he became captain of his own privateer with 120 seamen under his command. In 1744, near Louisburg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, his ship was captured by two French men-of-war after a four-hour chase. He spent several months in a prison in Louisburg, then was released. When the French and Indian War began, Loring was commissioned a lieutenant in the British navy and by December 1757 was commissioned a captain in command of a twenty-gun vessel named the ...

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Ranger, Joseph (1760?–?), revolutionary war seaman, was born probably in Northumberland County, Virginia, to unknown parents. Ranger was a free African American, or perhaps a runaway slave, who probably worked as a seaman in Northumberland County and Elizabeth City County before the revolutionary war. In the early eighteenth century, Virginia’s waters were sailed extensively by free African Americans and slaves who also worked in the colony’s two shipyards. Despite long-standing concern among the elite in the South about arming even free African Americans for fear of inciting slave revolt, the maritime experiences of Virginia’s African Americans made them prime candidates for enlistment in the state navy (just as many African-American seamen served in the Continental navy)....

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Ulloa, Antonio de (12 January 1716–05 July 1795), Spanish naval officer and governor of Louisiana, was born in Seville, Spain, the son of Bernardo de Ulloa y Sousa, an economist, and Josefa de la Torre Guiral. He was educated by private tutor. In 1733 he joined the Guardias Marinas, an elite naval unit....

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Warren, Sir Peter (10 March 1703–29 July 1752), British admiral and politician, was born in Warrenstown, County Meath, Ireland, the son of Michael Warren, a country gentleman, and Catherine Aylmer. As Catholics, both Peter’s father and his maternal grandfather, Sir Christopher Aylmer, were Jacobites. Seeking government preferment, young Peter embraced Anglicanism and entered the British navy as a seaman in 1716. Here, his own abilities and family interest promised a speedy advance. His uncle Matthew, Lord Aylmer, Lord of the Admiralty, and Aylmer’s son-in-law, Admiral Sir John Norris, actively promoted Warren’s career. By 1727 he was captain of the ...