Saratoga is a seminal American ship name that virtually spans the nation’s existence. Six ships have carried the name in the commissioned service of their country, although one—the first—was not a U.S. Navy warship. She served the Continental Navy.
That first Saratoga is a bit of a mystery. Her existence spanned but 15 months, from being laid down in Philadelphia in December 1779—and even this date is surmise—to being lost in a storm in March 1781. Little documentation exists, and there are no known construction drawings or other depictions of her. To envision what she looked like is confounded by the nomenclature of her time.