The United States Navy: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

The United States Navy: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

The United States Navy: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

The United States Navy: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present

Synopsis

The United States Navy: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present showcases the dramatic role of the nation's warships throughout America's long history and documents the Navy's vital contributions to establishing the United States as a superpower. Beginning with the American Revolutionary War, this comprehensive work details major and minor events in the history of the U.S. Navy through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

The topics included in this book describe not only battles at sea, but also important political and administrative changes, as well as notable events in the careers of admirals and other naval leaders. Significant battles in all major wars are covered, along with actions in smaller conflicts. This chronology also includes the founding of noted schools of instruction; the introduction of new classes of warships and aircraft; and significant naval texts, such as Alfred Thayer Mahan's seminal The Influence of Naval Power upon History.

Excerpt

The United States Navy is viewed presently as the strongest force of its kind in the world, but its origins and survival were decidedly problematic. Its lineal predecessor, the Continental Navy, consisting of a dozen or so frigates authorized by Congress in 1775, found itself pitted against the dominant naval power of its day, Great Britain. Some gifted commanders, such as John Barry and John Paul Jones, scored a series of upset victories in singleship actions, but the navy was ultimately swept from the sea by the sheer number of British hulls brought to bear against them. Fast-moving, lightly armed privateers, by comparison, enjoyed far more success in raiding British maritime commerce. Little wonder, then, that the Continental Navy was disbanded and its surviving vessels sold off in the postwar period. However, no sooner had independence been gained than President John Adams established the U.S. Navy in 1794 to counter depredations by the Tripolitan pirates. This nascent force cut its teeth in the Quasi-War with France, 1798–1800, fought gallantly during the war with the Barbary pirates, 1801–1805, and garnered a measure of glory during the War of 1812–1815 against its old nemesis, the Royal Navy. However, in all these early contests, the navy remained numerically small and incapable of a strategic impact at sea. Fortunately, its status improved greatly over the next half-century with the founding of the Board of Navy Commissions in 1815, the five Navy Bureaus in 1842, the U.S. Naval Academy in 1845, and the adoption of iron technology, steam propulsion, and enhanced ordnance. the Navy performed splendidly in its limited role throughout the Mexican War, 1846–1848, which concurrently laid the foundations for its first major deployment, the Civil War of 1861–1865. For the first time in its history, the Navy was accorded with sufficient resources, manpower, and vessels to act strategically, and its blockade of the Southern coastline proved a major factor in the Confederacy’s ultimate collapse. the creation of revolutionary vessels such as the uss Monitor also ushered in new classes of iron vessels that sounded the death knell of the wooden warship.

Three decades of fiscal retrenchment and decline ensued as the Navy was allowed to dwindle from the world’s second-largest naval force after Great Britain, to the level of Chile, but this course was quickly reversed following the revolutionary theories of Alfred Thayer Mahan. the navy force was revived in time to win a splendid “little war” against Spain in 1898, through which the United States acquired its first overseas possessions. During this imperial age, naval construction was in vogue around the world, and the battleship was king. But the U.S. Navy remained behind in numbers when compared to the splendid squadrons of England, Germany, Russia, and Japan.

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