So, the question I have for everyone is who could deduce what this week’s entry was going to be. Anyone who was thinking it would be something scary or fell in the lines of superstition are one hundred percent wrong. Still trying to figure it out well hold on to your seats as we travel back in time.
Today is the official birthday of the United States Navy. It was on Friday October 13th, 1775 when the Continental Congress authorized a Continental Navy. This was a much-debated issue prior to this date. To better understand why this was a hot button item we must understand where it all started.
It was the spring of 1775 when the colonists decided to take up arms against the British Empire. This was not done lightly or maliciously at first. The idea was just to defend their rights as citizens within the empire. By the autumn of the same year the colonies were in an open rebellion against the British Royal Government. With this a lot of the colonies but revolutionary governments in their place. Among the notable events during the autumn moths was the capture of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys.
When October rolled around the British Royal Navy held superiority of the sea and were threatening trade as well as destroying seaside settlements. There were several states that decided to commission small fleets of their own to combat this problem and keep trade lines open. Among those was Massachusetts Naval Militia. This occurred without the Continental Congress authorizing the privateering of naval forces.
Even with this occurring there was still a hot debate over whether to create a Naval force. There were many men within Congress who were all for the idea. One of the more notable was John Adams of Massachusetts. Meanwhile many of the southern delegates were against the idea, thinking it was to bold a move. Their thoughts were that the colonies were not seeking a permanent break from the British Empire.
At the beginning of October, a letter was read by congress from General George Washington the then commander and chief of the armed forces that stated he had taken three schooners under his command at an expense to the continental government. This made those opposed to a Navy take notice since there were already ships sailing against the Royal Fleet under there name. with this the decision was made to authorize two more ships. The entire idea was to cruise off the coast of Massachusetts and intercept supply ships and munitions bound for the British Armies.
Throughout the war the Navy sent more than fifty different armed vessels to sea. They would take nearly two hundred British ships during battle. Some of those were even taken right off the shores of the British Isles. The navy was also instrumental in gaining support from other foreign powers, most notably the French.
The navy grew to be a formidable force against the Royal Navy. Even so in august of 1785 congress decided to disband the Navy due to lack of funds. They sold the remaining ships and released the from there service. After this occurred only the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service the predecessor to the Coast Guard patrolled the coastal waters off the newly formed United States. On March 27, 1794 congress signed the Naval act of 1794, which established a permanent standing navy.
It wasn’t until 1972 when Chief Of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt officially authorized October 13th be recognized as the official birthday. Since that date each of the CNO’s has encouraged Navy wide birthday celebrations.
Today the U.S. Navy is one of the largest and most powerful Navies sailing the ocean blue. If you know a sailor retired, reserve, or active duty take a minute out of your day to wish them a Happy 242nd Birthday. They deserve the recognition and our appreciation for their service and helping to protect us from all enemies both foreign and domestic. After all, without them we might still be subjects of the British Empire.
To learn more about Naval History visit. www.history.navy.mil
Want to follow what is going on within the fleet https://twitter.com/USNavy
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Check back next Friday at 1500 or 3 PM for an original recipe.