The first Active — a brigantine-rigged packet built at Marsh-field, Mass., on the orders of the Continental Congress — was launched in July 1779. Under the command of Capt. Corbin Barnes, she made voyages to Bilbao, Spain, in 1780 and to Nantes, France, in 1781. On 23 March 1782, while sailing from Philadelphia to Havana, Cuba, she encountered the British man-of-war HMS Proserpine and was captured. The British warship took her into Jamaica where she was condemned as a prize and sold.