When Greed Interferes With One’s Duty

War at sea during the American Revolution, as it is today, is a dangerous business. One tactic governments increased the crew member pay was by allowing prize money to be distributed amongst the crew.

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Marines First Raid

John Paul Jones, the first lieutenant (or executive officer) on Hopkins’ flagship Alfred strongly pushed blockading the harbor, but Hopkins refused. Instead, the landing was made the next morning about a mile from the harbor under the command of Captain Nicholas.

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The Shores of Tripoli

With camels as pack animals, the column followed the coast reaching the port of Bomba on April 17th, 1805. Along the way, Eaton and O’Bannon put down a mutiny, deal with truculent soldiers as well as dwindling supplies. For the last few days, each man was subsisting on a bowl of rice and two biscuits.

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H.M.S. America(s) as in Plural

Launched in 1777, the third H.M.S. America had 64 guns – twenty-six 24-pounders on her lower gun deck and 18 on its main deck. The ship participated in the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781 in which the Royal Navy’s defeat paved the way for Cornwallis’ defeat and ultimately independence.

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Jefferson’s Complicated Relationship With the U.S. Navy

Fortunately for the navy, tribute to the Barbary Pirates was approaching 30% of the Federal budget and it was obvious to Jefferson and the Congress that it would go in only one direction, up. The money spent on tribute could more than pay for a Navy. With the Barbary Pirates again seizing U.S. flagged ships in the Caribbean, he authorized the Navy to expand and he ordered them to the Mediterranean in May 1801 to end this piracy.

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Jefferson Takes a Budget Axe to the New U.S. Navy

The man from Monticello (Thomas Jefferson) learned a hard lesson that our political leaders continue to relearn today when it comes to defense policy. With the stroke of a pen one can deactivate squadrons or divisions or ships. The savings are soon realized. However, it takes years, sometimes decades to recoup the capability cut.

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Benjamin Stoddert’s Difficult Task

Stoddert began a ship building program. While most have heard of the famous “Six Frigates” – Chesapeake, Congress, Constellation, Constitution, President, United States – he also established six formal Navy yards to support the new U.S. Navy. Stoddert realized that in order to have an effective navy, the country needed an infrastructure to keep the ships manned, equipped, and maintained.

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We Need a Strong Navy

Ever since the American Revolution, the U.S. has depended on freedom of the seas to trade with other nations. In every major conflict, the role of the U.S. Navy was decisive in helping ensure victory. Without control of the Atlantic, victory in Europe in WWI or WWII would not have been possible. And during the Cold War, had the Soviets invaded Europe, we would have fought the third Battle of the Atlantic.

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We Are a Maritime Nation

The U.S. is bounded by two oceans, a gulf, five very large lakes and a long deep river. Ever since the colonies on the North American Coast were founded, our commerce with other nations was dependent merchant ships carrying cargoes. This was true when this country was founded as is true in 2021.

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