The late military successes have given us a season repose. People are changing their notions of the power of the country to meet such a trial, which is attended with quite favorable consequences to use in our position. Our diplomacy is almost in a state of profound calm. Even the favorite idea of a diversion into two states is less put forward than it was. Yet the interest with which the struggle is witnessed grows deeper and deeper. The battle between the Merrimack and our vessels has been the main talk of the town ever since the news came, in Parliament, in the clubs, in the city, among the military and naval people. The impression is that it dates the commencement of a new era in warfare, and that Great Britain must consent to begin over again. I think the effect is to diminish the confidence in the result of hostilities with us. In December we were told that we should be swept from the ocean in a moment, and all our ports would be taken. They do not talk so now. So far as this may have an effect to secure peace on both sides it is good…. Continue reading
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
SIR: I telegraphed yesterday to the Secretary of War the fact of the naval engagement on the 8th and 9th instant. As the battle was fought by the Navy, Flag-Officer Forrest will no doubt report to the Navy Department the result of the engagement.
The batteries at Sewell’s Point opened fire on the steamers Minnesota and Roanoke, which attempted on the 8th to pass to Newport News to the assistance of the frigates attacked by the Virginia. The Minnesota ran aground before reaching there. The Roanoke was struck several times, and for some cause turned around and went back to Old Point. Continue reading
The Naval Act of 1794 permitted the construction of six frigates during time of conflict. The captains and ship yards got started, but the potential conflict on the horizon disappeared and according to the agreement, construction was supposed to stop too. Learning that he had to have force to ensure his country’s neutrality, President Washington convinced Congress to pass a bill in 1796 allowing the first three frigates to be finished. In 1798, in the midst of troubles with France, Congress finally approved the funds for three more frigates.
Today’s blog post introduces the first six ships built specifically for the United States Navy and some of their famous moments in history. Designed by Joshua Humphreys, these ships were constructed to last and to be the best-built and fastest for their size. Although small than British ships-of-the-line, the maneuverability, speed, and armament of the American frigates would give the new navy a significant advantage in forthcoming combats. Continue reading
It was a debate that continually divided the two political parties in the early days of United States history. Was it proper to have a standing army and navy? Or was it better to call out the militia and arm a few privateers in the event of war or rebellion? The arguments and decisions regarding American military were passionate from both sides. Understanding the political conflict and its resolution is key to knowledge about the early American navy and its role as “protector” of maritime interests in the 19th Century.
The American War For Independence concluded with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Four years later the U.S. Constitution was written. In 1789, George Washington became the first president. An ocean away from the new country, Britain frowned at the colonial loss and tried to restrict American trade. The French Revolution did not ease the tensions over trade and the American interest in the European “republicanism” drama.
George Washington tried to navigate uncharted waters regarding diplomacy, government, and international relations. While he held a view of neutrality, future presidents argued in his cabinet and in congress – seeking ways to strength the new nation and enforce respect. With maritime trade still a key part of the country’s wealth, protecting American interests on the high seas seemed imperative to some, impossible to others. Continue reading