Early in the American Revolution, James Mugford of Marblehead, Massachusetts, was impressed aboard a Royal Navy warship near his hometown, and while there overheard some of the British officers talking about the anticipated arrival of a large stores ship.
When his wife was able to obtain his release by appealing to the British captain, Mugford convinced the commander of American forces around Boston, General Artemus Ward, to give him command of the Franklin, a schooner armed with six carriage guns and a number of rail-mounted swivel guns.
Sailing immediately, Mugford soon spotted the anticipated British supply ship the Hope. She was considerably larger than the Franklin, and worse, she was within visual range of the British fleet she had come to resupply. Mugford warned his crew of 17 that they were probably in for a desperate fight but pressed on.