An incorrect spelling of the name Rathbun, also spelled Rathbourne, Rathburn, or Rathbon.


John Peek Rathbun served in the Continental Navy from its beginning. As a lieutenant in Providence, he participated in an attack on New Providence in 1776. When John Paul Jones took command, he remained in Providence, then went with Jones to Alfred. Promoted to captain of the sloop Providence in April 1777, he took his ship back to the Bahamas, and on the night of 27 January 1778, sent a small landing party of marines ashore at New Providence. They captured Forts Nassau and Montague without bloodshed. On the 28th Rathbun brought Providence into Nassau harbor. Before departing on the morning of the 30th, he and his crew had taken two sloops and a brig, Mary; released American prisoners; dismantled the fortifications; and acquired badly needed small arms, ammunition, and powder.


In 1779 he assumed command of the frigate Queen of France and in July cruised off Newfoundland with Providence and Ranger. On the 16th the ships sighted a convoy bound for Britain. Fog closed in, but when it lifted, Queen of France was next to a merchantman whose crew mistook the American for a British escort vessel. Rathbun took advantage of the situation, exploited the mistake in identity, and captured the ship. Ranger and Providence followed suit. Ten more ships were cut out of the convoy, their total value approaching $1 million.


In 1780 Rathbun took Queen of France south in Commodore Whipple's force to bolster the defenses of Charleston, S.C. There, with smaller ships, she was stationed in the Ashley River to prevent British forces under Cornwallis from crossing and attacking the city. As the American position weakened, Queen of France's guns were removed and she was sunk as a block ship. Her crew then went ashore and Rathbun served as an artilleryman until the city fell in May 1781.


Taken prisoner at the fall of Charleston, Rathburn and the other American captains were paroled and allowed to return to New England. There he found that the Continental Navy had dwindled and no commands were available. Thereupon, Rathburn, a true patriot, secured a commission from congress on 4 August to command the Massachusetts privateer brig Wexford. About two weeks later, be set sail from Boston bound for St. Georges Channel and, within another six weeks reached the coast of Ireland. There, less than 100 miles from Cape Clear, he ran afoul of the 32-gun frigate HMS Recovery. Following a 24-hour chase during which HMS Recovery fired at least one broadside, Rathburn and his ship were captured by the British warship. Incacerated first at Kinsale Prison near Cork Ireland, Rathburn was later transferred to Mills Prison in Plymouth, England, where he died on 20 June 1782.




(DE-1057: dp. 4,064 (f.); l. 438'; b. 47'; dr. 25'; s. 27 k.; cpl. 243; a. ASROC, 1 5", 4 tt.; cl. Knox)


The second Rathburne (DE-1057) was laid down 8 January 1968 by Lockheed Shipbuilding & Construction Co. Seattle, Wash.; launched 2 May 1969; sponsored by Mrs. Charles A. Bowsher; and commissioned 16 May 1970, Comdr. Richard B. Evans in command.


Rathburne arrived at her home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 20 July 1970 and spent the remainder of that year and the first quarter of the next engaged in weapons systems' testing and various exercises. On 14 April 1971, she departed Pearl Harbor for a six-month WestPac deployment, returning to Hawaii on 27 October for an extended upkeep period. After a short visit to the west coast in May and June 1972, Rathburne embarked upon her second tour of duty in WestPac 31 July 1972. She ended 1972 and began 1973 in the western Pacific, off the coast of Vietnam, and did not return to Pearl Harbor until 25 February 1973. She remained in the Pearl Harbor area throughout 1973 and is still operating there as of January 1974.