In 1775, a press gang pressed him into service on a British frigate. Before his wife went on board and persuaded the captain to release him, however, he learned that a “powder ship” was expected from England. Securing a commission in haste as a privateer, commanding schooner Franklin in Capt. John Manley’s squadron off Boston, Mugford captured the brig Hope with 75 tons of vitally needed powder and ran her into Boston in open view of the British fleet, 17 May 1776. Two days later—his 27th birthday—Capt. Mugford was killed when Franklin was attacked by small boats intent on her capture.
Coincidentally, Mugford (DD 389) was escorting carrier Franklin (CV 13) when the latter was hit on 30 October 1944.