In here you find brief descriptions of the ships of Colonial Warfare from the First to Sixth rate vessels.


These three-deckers, the flagships of the fleet, bore from 100-120 cannons each. A first-rate might be as long as 206 feet on the lower gun deck and carry a crew of 875 men more if an admiral and his entourage were aboard. The Victory was the most famous of this category. Because of their bulk, first-rates tended to be slower than their smaller sisters but are the most powerful arsenals afloat. They were also the most expensive, costing $100,000.00 apiece ($105,000,000.00 at current rates.)

A second rate carried anywhere from 90 to 98 cannons on her three gun decks, along with 743 men. She was 195 feet long only a little smaller than a first-rate, which she resembled in nearly every aspect. 

Third-Rates: The most varied ship-of-the-line category, the third rates included ships bearing 64, 74, or 80 guns. An 80-gun ship had three decks; a 74 or 64 had two. Commensurate crew sizes were 724, 620, or 494 men. These vessels offer the best balance of speed and power.

Fourth-Rates: A fourth rate was a two-decker that mounted 50-56 guns and carried 345 men. She could be built for only about $26,000.00 ($27,000,000), as inexpensive to maintain, and functioned well at the head of cruiser squadrons.

Fifth-Rates: These were the frigates, the swift raiders, scouts and watchdogs of the fleet. They were single-deckers and ranged in length from 130 to 150 feet. Frigates carried 32, 36, 38, or 44 guns, and crews numbered from 217 to 297 men, most of them enthusiastic volunteers. Frigates were the ships of choice bringing down enemy merchantmen.

Sixth-Rates: Sixth-Rates were small frigates, agile 125-foot ships that carried 20, 24, or 28 guns and crews of 138, 158, and 198. These vessels were useful as couriers and convoy escorts and were cheap to build, each on costing about $10,000.00 ($11,000,000.00)