- The war at sea
- Birth of the U.S. Marine Corps - HISTORY
- Globalization of the American Revolution
- The major operations of the navies in the War of American Independence
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The war at sea
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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Very interesting detail of the naval engagements that were pertinent for the American War of Independence. Sriramadhani rated it it was amazing Apr 01, So from a European and global view, the aftermath of the American Revolution was relatively positive for the British. In fact, some British political observers believed that American independence was a good development for Britain.
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I say, I am glad, that America had declared herself independent of us, though the Reasons very opposite to theirs. America, I have proved beyond the Possibility of a Confutation, ever was a Millstone hanging around the Neck of this Country, to weigh it down: And as we ourselves had not the Wisdom to cut the Rope, and to let the Burden fall off, the Americans have kindly done it for us. Victories over its European foes preserved Britain as a global trading colonial empire, which strengthened, and endured through the 19 th Century. Lastly, Britain turned the United States into a major trading partner and a central component of its commercial empire.
He died in the pivotal Battle of the Saintes in IV, They were employed to capture the Caribbean island of St. Lucia on December 13, Granville W. Well done, Gene. For example, they left Boston in and simply never went back; they left Philadelphia in without a whimper; Clinton stayed in New York City for years without taking his troops out to chase Washington. Even after Yorktown the British had ten thousand troops available and did little to nothing. Your article reveals a lot about what else was on their plate. Thanks for your comment. I concur with your point that limited military and financial resources stretched thin over a global theaters played a big role in British military strategies and goals.here
Birth of the U.S. Marine Corps - HISTORY
Great Britain did not have enough forces to follow up every victory in the 13 Colonies with an occupation force. And they mostly succeeded….. British leaders had differing perspectives and motivations which are important to understand their war strategies and decision making. All of us benefit from looking at the Revolutionary War events from the differing points of view of various constituents. Too often we just focus on the American Patriot point of view.
I believe that each side had differing motivations but both achieved positive outcomes. British leaders believed that large colonial empires were critical to the growth and vitality of their economies; a strong mercantilist viewpoint. This is a major reason why they fought so hard and so long to retain America and why they devoted substantial resources to the defense of colonies in other regions from French and Spanish attack.
King George III was especially concerned with any risks to the British holdings in the Caribbean which at the time, were more valuable that America to the British economy. The American Patriots, as you point out sought social and political goals in addition to economic ones.
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But not in military sense mr Procknow. Loses in imperial prestige and territory cannot be discarded. The outcome still remains military defeat nethertheless. Well done Gene. Insightful look into the broader world issues driving the Brits. I wonder if they understood what America would become if they would have given up the Caribbean properties and defended the continent? Its fascinating to think of how much of the globe England had to cover in a time with limited communication and slow decision making. You make great points about slow communications over vast distances making for difficult decisions.
Your question about whether the British would have changed their priorities and the outcome would have been different if they recognized the vast potential in North America and shifted more resources to the rebellion in the 13 colonies is an interesting one. Certainly at several pivotal moments, the Patriot cause held on by the barest of threads! As you point out, what is more evident is that the leaders of the British Government were more capable than commonly represented in American sources.
They were discerning strategists, made the most use of limited resources and operated with tiny staffs. The American Patriots were fortunate that the British had so any other colonies to defend! The point about distances separating metropolitan London from far off colonies is a profound one that directly affected the nature of colonial relationships, and, thus, the happenstance of war itself. One need look no further than to consider how London interacted with Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, which were all in close proximity, in contrast to what happened in the North American and Caribbean colonies.
If there were no distance factors, it is likely that the Revolution would have taken an entirely different course; that is, if it even happened in the first place. With regard to the deployment of resources, the British certainly did recognize the crucial economic role the Americans, particularly the south, and Caribs played. Indeed, post-Saratoga, those areas became the new focus of British efforts in as they sought to keep them within their sphere of influence and away from French intervention.
The British were adept at keeping strategic parity or a small advantage in each of the major theaters. For example they proficiently allocated critical ships of the line. The British leaders deployed just enough ships to bottle up the Dutch at Texal, protect Gibraltar and the home isles, counter French and Spanish invasions fleets in the Caribbean and sustain parity in the Indian Ocean. In each theater they had enough, but not too few or too many to counter French and Spanish threats. The complex, five continent military deployment with supporting supply units was accomplished with small numbers of people.
For example George Germain had a staff of less than 10 to manage his military and political communications. As you point out, the American Patriots were severely resource constrained, but so too were the British given their global military requirements. Very decent article, but not terribly new. That your point of view is surprising to Americans says more about the sorry state of American historiography than any radical revelations.
The rest of the world has mostly seen the British loss of the 13 colonies as a sideshow in the really large battle — that over the really important colonies — viz. Jamaica, India, etc. On that score, the Brits knew precisely what they were doing, and did it splendidly. This is a terrific piece. Could you help fill in a blank.
What island did the French want in return for not supporting the Americans? Thank you.
Globalization of the American Revolution
Peter, thank you! It provides a unique British perspective on the war strategy and its prosecution. The French even contemplated an invasion of Britain and waged total war throughout their respective colonial empires. However, in the strategically important and economically valuable Caribbean, one of the principal French territorial objectives was the capture of Jamaica.
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Probably more war resources including ships and men were devoted to its capture than resources in any other theater. The Battle of Saintes was pivotal and the French decided that they did not have the military resources nor funds to try a second attempt. So the Brits gave up on the American colonies, in order that they preserve their Caribbean holdings, which were o so much more profitable at the time than the American colonies.
Well, in any case, even if the Brits had held on to their sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean for the long haul, today the combined GDP of Grenada, St. That was some trade-off, John Bull!
The major operations of the navies in the War of American Independence
Not to mention that the American Revolution — which was contrary to what others may assert at its heart mostly an ideological revolution, not a mere commercial venture, and which greatly undermined and eventually helped cause along with the two world wars the total loss of the British Empire. The American Revolution proved to be a key inspiration for numerous other revolutions and independence movements undertaken by a many other holdings of the British Empire in later centuries, not the least of which included India and Ireland.
This article examines the founding and remarkable if uneven growth of the US Navy from to While its early history is rich with naval heroes such as John Paul Jones, Edward Preble, Stephen Decatur, David Farragut, and George Dewey, the evolving navy also demonstrated a willingness to embrace emerging naval technologies in times of war in an effort to achieve parity with, and ultimately superiority over, other naval powers. The fledging Continental Navy created at the outset of the American Revolution had its roots in early colonial America.
Early English settlers to the 13 colonies were as much drawn to the sea as to the land. The sea was a principal means of transportation and colonists looked to the sea to provide their living; the sea was a barrier to their enemies and a marine highway to their mother country. Shipbuilding and the timber business formed the principal industries of colonial America, supplying both local and home country maritime needs. All up and down the coast, new ships slid down the stocks almost on a daily basis. In late , the Continental Congress of the rebelling colonies appointed a Marine Committee consisting of 7 members, and gave it the mandate to organize a navy.
Meeting each evening in a Philadelphia tavern, the committee struggled to agree on the most basic strategic and tactical questions. The Committee audaciously chose all of the above. In practice, the new navy was virtually powerless to do anything other than prey on enemy commerce. Constructing a fleet of 64 and 74 gun ships of the line to face the main battle fleet of Great Britain was out of the question see Table 1.
That it had limited financial resources, no administrators, few experienced officers and not least of all, the absence of fighting ships did not dissuade the Committee. A small squadron of merchantmen were converted into warships and placed under the command of Eseks Hopkins, a merchant skipper with no naval experience. In December, , the committee authorized the construction of 13 light frigates rated between 24 to 32 guns each. Building, arming and fitting out the frigates was an enormous challenge for thirteen colonies that had no naval yards, no factories to produce ordnance Britain had forbade the manufacture of heavy cannon in the colonies , or supplies like hemp and sailcloth.
Even deciding which colonies were to receive contracts provided an early glimpse of pork barrel politics. Those frigates that managed to get to sea were often so poorly equipped that they were forced to return to port for repairs. But despite these defects, their design provided a valuable apprenticeship for a naval architect of future distinction, Joshua Humphrey. Several frigates such as the Confederacy 36 were notable designs, heavier than comparable enemy frigates and much admired by the British. In a protracted conflict between vastly unequal forces, the Continental Navy inevitably succumbed: of the 13 frigates ordered, 2 were never completed, 2 were scuttled when the British captured Philadelphia , 1 was set afire by its crew, 1 blew up in battle, and the remaining 7 were captured and taken into the British navy.
Despite its record, the Continental Navy produced several naval heroes, the most famous being John Paul Jones, and several promising young officers, including Thomas Truxtun and Edward Preble. However, England, still smarting from defeat and desirous of rebuilding its own merchant fleet, passed a measure in barring American ships from entering any West Indian port.
The closing of this market, which had prior to the Revolution consumed two thirds of American food exports, had devastating results for the economy of the young Republic. While the democratic American public initially approved of the reforms taking place in Paris, opinion turned when reports filtered back of wholesale killings of men, women, and children simply because they belonged to the clergy or aristocracy, or were supporters of those classes.
But a Republican Party-sponsored codicil in the act required that construction be halted in the event of peace with Algiers, the most militant of the Barbary States.
French warships and privateers were preying on British and American merchantman and by mid year, had taken American ships. Congress, under pressure from Adams, finally voted to finish 3 of the 6 frigates closest to completion, and then established a Navy Department. Adams, always a shrewd judge of character, appointed Benjamin Stoddert, a Revolutionary cavalry major, as the first Secretary of the Navy. Stoddert proved to be an able Secretary who quickly increased the navy to a fleet of 54 ships that within three years captured 94 French ships. During this so-called Quasi War, the frigate Constellation under Thomas Truxtun earned the first laurels of the Federal navy by defeating 2 French National frigates.
While peace with England removed the threat to American merchant ships, it also left them without the protection provided by the Royal Navy prior to the war. General opinion held that the army, together with the French navy, had won the war with England. Christian nations lacking the will to pay sufficient tribute or a navy to protect its maritime trade. Without the protection of the Royal Navy, the Barbary States began to seize American ships, and enslave or kill their crews. The protests raised by American shipping interests gradually prodded President Washington to realize he must somehow replace the protective umbrella of the Royal Navy.
The first squadron sent by Jefferson in was commanded by an unimaginative Richard Dale and accomplished nothing. The second command, initially offered to Thomas Truxtun, was commanded by an unaggressive Richard Morris, who achieved little, and was dismissed from the service. For the third squadron, Jefferson finally found his man: Edward Preble. Under the command of Lt. In June, , with the pirate menace subdued by the emerging American navy, a treaty advantageous to the United States was signed with the Bashaw of Tripoli.
It was in the crucible of war with the Barbary states and the quasi-war with France that the fledgling American navy was shaped into a fighting force through the efforts and leadership of Truxtun and Preble. This policy, which was defensive in nature and reflective of anti-navy politics, was poorly conceived and hampered the development of the American blue-water navy.
Understanding the difference in the two types of naval concepts is necessary. A gunboat was a shallow-draft coastal vessel typically feet in length, and armed with a single cannon mounted in the bow or amidships.