User:RekonDog/Sandbox/Definitive History of the United States Marine Corps/Appendix

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United States Marine Corps

Marine Corps flame thrower.jpgMV-22 Osprey over the Gulf of Mexico - 070330-F-4684K-030.JPEG

Definitive History of USMC
Biography

——A——
Armour, Vernice

——B——
Basilone, John
Boyington, Gregory "Pappy"
Branch, Frederick C.
Butler, Smedley

——C——
Carlson, Evans
Cukela, Louis
Cunningham, Alfred A.

——D——
Daly, Dan
del Valle, Pedro
Diamond, Lou

——E——
Ellis, Earl "Pete"

——F——
——G——
Gabaldon, Guy

——H——
Hathcock, Carlos
Hayes, Ira
Henderson, Archibald

——I——
——J——
Johnson, Opha Mae
Jones, Jr.; James L.
Jones, Sr.; James L.

——K——
Krulak, Victor H.

——L——
Lejeune, John A.

——M——
Mackie, John F.

——N——
Nicholas, Samuel

——O——
O'Bannon, Presley
Ortiz, Peter J. Ortiz

——P——
Pace, Peter
Puller, Lewis "Chesty"
Puller, Jr.; Lewis B.

——Q——
——R——
Ripley, John

——S——
——T——
——U——
——V——
——W——
Williams, Dion

——X——
——Y——
——Z——

Chronology
Officer EGA.pngPortal

—————revision line—————[edit]

USS Fly patrolled off New London to learn the strength of the British Fleet until June, when she was detached to carry cannon from Newport to Amboy, New Jersey, where she was blockaded briefly by the British. Later in 1776, she cruised the New Jersey coast to intercept enemy ships bound for New York City. In an encounter with one of these in November, a number of Fly's men were wounded, and she was damaged to the extent that she had to put in to Philadelphia to repair and refit.



After repairs at Philadelphia, Wasp returned to duty in the Delaware River and Bay.


With repairs completed, Lexington, Capt. William Hallock in command, got underway for Cape Francois to obtain military cargo. On the return voyage, British frigate HMS Pearl overhauled the brigantine just short of the Delaware Capes 20 December and captured her. The commander of the frigate removed Lexington's officers, but left 70 of her men on board under hatches with a prize crew. But by luring their captors with a promise of rum, the Yankee sailors recaptured the ship and brought her to Baltimore.


The USS Hornet patrolled in the Delaware Bay for the rest of the year of 1776, then ran the British blockade to convoy merchantmen to Charleston.


USS Alfred remained inactive throughout the summer of 1776 due to repairs sustained since its naval action on 6 April, upon returning from the Nassau expedition in the Bahamas months earlier. There may had been other reasons, but high on the list of her problems was lack of funding and a shortage of men.

On 10 May, John Paul Jones assumed command of USS Providence with temporary rank of Captain. After a voyage to New York returning to the Continental Army about 100 soldiers whom Washington had lent to Hopkins to help man the American fleet, and after returning to Providence, Jones hove down the ship to clean her bottom and sailed 13 June escorting Fly to Fishers Island at the entrance to Long Island Sound. En route he saved a brigantine bringing munitions from Hispanola from the British frigate Cerberus.

USS Providence next escorted a convoy of colliers to Philadelphia arriving 1 August 1776. There, a week later, Jones received his permanent commission as Captain. On the 21 August 1776, Providence departed the Delaware Capes to begin an independent cruise, and in a few days took the brigantine Britannia and sent the whaler into Philadelphia under a prize crew.

On 7 August, Capt. John Paul Jones, who had helped to fit the USS Alfred out as a warship (commandeered by Captain Dudley Saltonstall), and had been its first lieutenant on the cruise to New Providence, was placed in command of the ship. She departed Providence, Rhode Island,, on 26 October 1776, in company with Hampden, but that vessel struck a "sunken rock" before they could leave Narragansett Bay and returned to Newport.

Her officers and men then shifted to sloop USS Providence accompanying USS Alfred to waters off Cape Breton Island which they reached by mid-November. There they took three prizes: on the 11 August 1776, the brigantine HMS Active, bound from Liverpool to Halifax with an assorted cargo, the next day, the armed transport HMS Mellish, laden with winter uniforms for British troops at Quebec; and, on 16 August, the HMS Kitty, bound from Gaspé to Barbados with oil and fish. Because of severe leaks, USS Providence sailed for home soon thereafter and USS Alfred continued her cruise alone.

On 1 September, daring seamanship enabled Jones to escape from the British frigate Solebay. Two days later Providence captured Sea Nymph, carrying sugar, rum, ginger, and oil, and sent the Bermudan brigantine to Philadelphia. On the 6th Providence caught the brigantine Favourite carrying sugar from Antigua to Liverpool, but HMS Galatea recaptured the prize before she could reach an American port.

Turning north, Jones headed for Nova Scotia, and on 20 September escaped another frigate before reaching Canso two days later. There he recruited men to fill the vacancies created by manning his prizes, burned a British fishing schooner, sank a second, and captured a third, besides a shallop which he used as a tender. Moving to Ile Madame, USS Providence took several more prizes fishing there before riding out a severe storm. One more prize, the whaler HMS Portland surrendered to USS Providence before she returned to Narragansett Bay on 8 October.

On 22 November, boats from the ship USS Alfred raided Canso, Nova Scotia, where their crews burned a transport bound for Canada with provisions and a warehouse full of whale oil, besides capturing a small schooner to replace Providence. Two days later, USS Alfred captured three colliers off w:Louisburg, bound from Nova Scotia to New York with coal for the British Army and, on 26 November, captured the 10-gun letter-of-marque John of Liverpool. On the homeward voyage, USS Alfred was pursued by HMS Milford but managed to escape after a four-hour chase. USS Alfred arrived safely at Boston on 15 December and began a major refit.

On 10 May, John Paul Jones assumed command of USS Providence with temporary rank of Captain. After a voyage to New York returning to the Continental Army about 100 soldiers whom Washington had lent to Hopkins to help man the American fleet, and after returning to Providence, Jones hove down the ship to clean her bottom and sailed 13 June escorting Fly to Fishers Island at the entrance to Long Island Sound. En route he saved a brigantine bringing munitions from Hispanola from the British frigate Cerberus.

While Providence was at home, Hopkins appointed Jones the Commander of USS Alfred. Shortly thereafter, Capt. Hoysted Hacker took command of Providence. The two ships got under way 11 November. After ten days they took the brigantine Active and the next day took the armed transport Mellish carrying winter uniforms and military supplies for the British Army. On 16 November, they captured the snow Kitty. The next night, Providence, troubled by leaks which had developed during bad weather on the cruise, headed back for Rhode Island and arrived at Newport two days later.

On 24 October 1776, Benjamin Franklin was dispatched to France as appointed 'Commissioner to France' for Congress. Captain Lambert Wickes was ordered by the Continental Congress to proceed to Nantes, France, aboard USS Reprisal. While en route to France, the sailors and Marines captured two brigantines. USS Reprisal reaches Nantes on 29 November, becoming the first vessel of the Continental Navy to arrive in European waters.


By autumn of 1776, Major Nicholas raised four new companies of Marines for four of the new frigates that were to be completed and commissioned in Philadelphia. Armed with marines by the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, the detachments guarded both the Continental and state vessels and store while waiting for their frigates to sail.[1] On 5 September 1776, the Marine Committee apportioned a uniform for the Continental Marines. It wasn't until the year 1777 that the Marines entirely appeared in uniform in numbers.[2]

Sometime in October, Sergeants William Hamilton and Alexander Neilson are promoted to Lieutenant, being the first recorded "mustangs" (enlistees who received field commission) in the Marine Corps.[3]

Throughout the winter of 1776, USS Columbus cruised off the New England coast taking five prizes. Captain Biddle, the captain of USS Andrew Doria, was transferred to another ship in September 1776. Captain Isaiah Robinson took command and was ordered to go to St. Eustatius to obtain munitions and military supplies. The USS Andrew Doria also carried a precious cargo to St. Eustatius—a copy of the Declaration of Independence. The ship received the first-ever salute to the United States by a foreign power when on 16 November 1776 she arrived at St. Eustatius. Johannes de Graeff, the Dutch governor of the island paid tribute with a 11-gun salute, two less than the amount of states and stripes in the flag (the event was widely reported in the United States, and provided the title for Barbara Tuchman's 1988 book, "The First Salute", about the American Revolution).

The British seized Narragansett Bay in December 1776 and Providence, with other American vessels there, retired up the Providence River. In February 1777, under Lt. Jonathan Pitcher, Providence ran the British blockade; after putting into New Bedford, she cruised to Cape Breton where she captured a transport brig loaded with stores and carrying two officers and 25 men of the British Army besides her crew. Under command of Capt. J.P. Rathbun, Providence made two cruises on the coast and about mid-January 1778, sailed from Georgetown, N.C., again bound for New Providence in the Bahamas, this time alone.

Near the end of the year, USS Wasp took three more prizes; HMS Leghorn Galley late in October, Two Brothers in December, and an unnamed sloop that same month. She also recaptured Success, an American ship previously taken by HMS Roebuck.

Battle of Nassau, 1776[edit]

Template:FixBunching Template:Infobox Military Conflict Template:FixBunching Template:Campaignbox American War of Independence: West Indies Template:FixBunching

The Battle of Nassau (March 3–4, 1776) was a naval action and amphibious assault by American forces against the British port of Nassau in the Bahamas during the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence). It is considered the first cruise and one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the progenitor of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The action was also the Marines' first amphibious landing. It is sometimes known as the Raid of Nassau.

Background[edit]

Map of the Bahamas

When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Lord Dunmore, the British provincial governor of the Colony of Virginia, with the British forces under his command, had removed Virginia's store of provincial arms and gunpowder to the island of New Providence in the Crown Colony of the Bahamas, in order to keep it from falling into the hands of the rebel militia. Montfort Browne, the Bahamian governor, was alerted by General Thomas Gage in August 1775 that the rebel colonists might make attempts to seize these supplies.[4]

The desperate shortage of gunpowder available to the Continental Army had led the Second Continental Congress to organize a naval expedition, one of whose goals was the seizure of the military supplies at Nassau.[5] While the orders issued by the Congress to Esek Hopkins, the fleet captain selected to lead the expedition, included only instructions for patrolling and raiding British naval targets, additional instructions may have been given to Hopkins in secret meetings of the Congress' Naval Committee.[6] The instructions that Hopkins issued to his fleet's captains before it sailed from Cape Henlopen on February 17, 1776, included instructions to rendezvous at Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas.[7]

The fleet that Hopkins launched consisted of Alfred, Hornet, Wasp, Fly, Andrew Doria, Cabot, Providence, and Columbus. In addition to ships' crews, it carried 200 marines under the command of Samuel Nicholas.[8]

In spite of high winds, the fleet remained together for two days, when Fly and Hornet became separated from the fleet. Hornet was forced to return to port for repairs, and Fly eventually caught up with the fleet at Nassau, after the raid took place. Hopkins did not let the apparent loss of the two ships dissuade him; he had intelligence that much of the British fleet was in port due to the poor conditions.[9]

File:EsekHopkins.jpg
Commodore Esek Hopkins (French engraving)

Governor Browne received intelligence in late February that a rebel fleet was assembling off the Delaware coast, but apparently took no significant actions to prepare a defense.[10] New Providence's harbor had two primary defenses. Fort Nassau was in Nassau itself, was poorly sited to defend the port against amphibious attacks, and had walls that were not strong enough to support the action of its 46 cannon. As a result, Fort Montagu had been constructed in 1742 on the eastern end of the harbor, commanding its entrance. At the time of the raid, it was fortified with 17 cannon,[10] although most of the gunpowder and ordnance was at Fort Nassau.[11]

Surprise foiled[edit]

The fleet arrived at Abaco Island on March 1, 1776. The force captured two sloops owned by Loyalists, one of those men being Capt. Gideon Lowe of Green Turtle Cay, and pressed their owners to serve as pilots. George Dorsett, a local ship's captain, got away from Abaco and alerted Governor Browne to the presence of the rebel fleet.[12]

The landing force was transferred to the two captured sloops and Providence the next day, and plans were formulated for the assault.[13] While the main fleet held back, the three ships carrying the landing force were to enter the port at daybreak on March 3, and gain control of the town before the alarm could be raised.[14]

However, the alarm was raised early in Nassau when the three ships were spotted, with Governor Browne roused from his bed. He ordered four guns fired from Fort Nassau to alert the militia; two of the guns came off their mounts when they were fired.[4] At 7 am he held a discussion with Samuel Gambier, one of his councillors, over the idea that the gunpowder should be removed from the islands on the Mississippi Packet, a fast ship docked in the harbor. They ultimately did not act on the idea, but Browne ordered thirty mostly unarmed militiamen to occupy Fort Montagu before retiring to his house to "make himself a little decent".[14]

Landing and capture[edit]

When the guns at Fort Nassau were heard by the attackers, they realized their surprise was lost, and aborted the assault. The elements of the fleet rejoined in Hanover Sound, about six nautical miles east of Nassau. There Hopkins held council, and a new plan of attack was developed. With the landing force augmented by a company of fifty sailors under the command of CabotTemplate:'s Lieutenant Thomas Weaver, who was familiar with the island, the three ships, with the Wasp offering additional covering support, carried it to a point south and east of Fort Montagu, where they made an unopposed landing between noon and 2 pm.[15] This was the first landing of what eventually became the United States Marine Corps.[15]

A Lieutenant Burke led a detachment out from Fort Montagu to investigate the rebel activity. Given that he was severely outnumbered, he opted to send a truce flag to determine their intentions. From this he learned that their objective was the powder and military stores.[16] In the meantime, Governor Browne arrived at Fort Montagu with another eighty militiamen. Upon learning the size of the advancing force, he ordered three of the fort's guns fired, and withdrew all but a few men back to Nassau. He himself retired to the governor's house, while most of the militiamen, rather than attempting to make a stand, also returned to their homes.[16] Browne sent Lieutenant Burke out to parley with the rebels a second time, in order to "wait on the Command Officer of the Enemy to know his Errand and on what account he had landed his troops."[16]

An 1803 depiction of Nassau; the harbor entrances are on either side of Hog Island, just north of Nassau.

The firing of Montagu's guns had given Nichols pause for concern, but his men had occupied the fort, and he was consulting with his officers on their next move when Burke arrived. They obligingly repeated to Burke that they had arrived to take the powder and weapons, and were prepared to assault the town. Burke brought this news back to Browne around 4 pm.[16] Rather than advance further on Nassau, Nichols and his force remained at Fort Montagu that night.[17] Browne held a war council that evening, in which the decision was made to attempt the removal of the gunpowder. At midnight, 162 of 200 barrels of gunpowder were loaded onto the Mississippi Packet and the HMS St. John, and at 2 am they sailed out of Nassau harbor, bound for Saint Augustine.[11] This feat was made possible because Hopkins had neglected to post even a single ship to guard the harbor's entrance channels, leaving the fleet safely anchored in Hanover Sound.[18]

Nichols' marines occupied Nassau without resistance the next morning, after a leaflet written by Commodore Hopkins was distributed throughout the town. They were met en route by a committee of the town's leaders, who offered up the town's keys.[17][18]

Return voyage[edit]

Hopkins and his fleet remained at Nassau for two weeks, loading as much weaponry as would fit onto the ships, including the remaining 38 casks of gunpowder.[19] He pressed into service a local sloop, the Endeavour, to carry some of the materiel.[20] Governor Browne complained that the rebel officers consumed most of his liquor stores during the occupation, and also wrote that he was taken in chains like a "felon to the gallows" when he was arrested and taken to the Alfred.[17]

During their sojourn at Nassau, the Fly arrived. Her captain reported that she and the Hornet had fouled their riggings together, and that Hornet suffered significant damage as a consequence.[20] On March 17, the fleet sailed for Block Island Channel off Newport, Rhode Island, with Governor Browne and other officials as prisoners.[21] The return voyage was uneventful until the fleet reached the waters of Long Island. On April 4 they encountered and captured the HMS Hawk, and the next day they captured the Bolton, which was laden with stores that included more armaments and powder. The fleet finally met resistance on April 6, when it encountered the HMS Glasgow, a heavily-armed sixth-rate ship. In the ensuing action, Glasgow was driven off, although Cabot was severely damaged, with her captain and ten others killed or wounded.[22]

The fleet sailed into the harbor at New London, Connecticut on April 8.[23]

Aftermath[edit]

Browne was eventually exchanged for American general William Alexander (Lord Stirling), and was roundly criticized for his handling of the whole affair.[24]

Nassau remained relatively poorly-defended, and was again subjected to American rebel threat in January 1778.[25] It was then seized by Spanish forces under Bernardo de Gálvez in 1782, and returned to British control after the war.[26]

Legacy[edit]

Two ships of the United States Navy have been christened USS Nassau; one is named specifically in recognition of this battle.[27] Template:Bahamas topics

References[edit]


[Insert name here], [YYYY][edit]

USS Alfred was inactive through the summer for a number of reasons, but high on the list of her problems were want of funds and a shortage of men. On 7 August, Captain John Paul Jones was placed in command of the ship USS Alfred. Captain John Paul Jones had helped fit USS Alfred as a warship, and had been its first lieutenant on the cruise during the Nassau expedition to New Providence, Bahamas in early March 1776. USS Alfred departed Providence, Rhode Island, on 26 October 1776, in company with USS Hampden. But USS Hampden struck a "sunken rock" before they could leave Narragansett Bay. USS Hampden returned to Newport where the officers and men then shifted to sloop USS Providence to continue with USS Alfred to the waters off of Cape Breton Island which they reached by mid-November. USS Alfred took three prizes: on the 11th, the brigantine HMS Active, bound from Liverpool to Halifax with an assorted cargo; the next day, the armed transport HMS Mellish, laden with winter uniforms for British troops at Quebec; and, on the 16th, the HMS Kitty, bound from Gaspé to Barbados with oil and fish.

Because of severe leaks, Providence sailed for home soon thereafter and Alfred continued her cruise alone. On 22 November boats from the ship raided Canso, Nova Scotia, where their crews burned a transport bound for Canada with provisions and a warehouse full of whale oil, besides capturing a small schooner to replace USS Providence. Two days later, USS Alfred captured three colliers off Louisbourg, bound from Nova Scotia to New York with coal for the British Army. On 26 November , USS Alfred' captured the 10-gun letter-of-marque John of Liverpool. On the homeward voyage, Alfred was pursued by HMS Milford but managed to escape after a four-hour chase. She arrived safely at Boston on 15 December and began a major refit.

However, Marines did fight on the duel between Template:USS and Template:HMS on 10 March 1783, the last recorded shots of the war, and Pvt Robert Stout of that ship would be the last recorded mention of a Continental Marine one year later. Major Nicholas would die from w:yellow fever on 27 August 1790. In all, the Continental Marines suffered 49 dead and 70 wounded.[28] On 28 June Pennsylvania’s brig Nancy arrived in w:Cape May with 386 barrels of powder in her hold and ran aground while under fire while attempting to elude British blockaders Template:HMS and Template:HMS. The next evening, the Continental Marines aboard Lexington, along with four American warships to assist the wreck Nancy.[3] By dawn, the crew in small boats unloaded weaponry and precious gunpowder, leaving only 100 barrels of powder behind. Barry devised a delayed action fuse just as a boatload of British seamen boarded Nancy, exploding the powder.

The Continental sailors and Marines aboard Reprisal and then headed south to the w:Caribbean Islands on 27 July. Their assignment was to bring w:William Bingham, who had been appointed agent from the American colonies to Martinique, in acquiring [[w:military intelligence|intelligence]], and additional arms and supplies for George Washington's armies. While enroute, they encountered the British sloop-of-war Template:HMS off the coast of Martinique and forced her out of the area. Reprisal and her accompanying Marines returned to Philadelphia from the w:West Indies on 13 September.

The Continental sailors and Marines aboard Providence sails north to Canada toward Nova Scotia. By 22 September, the sailors and Marines reached Canso Harbor and recaptured the small port. The following next day, they struck w:Isle Madame destroying fishing boats. On 27 September while fishing, Providence, became under surprise attack from the British frigate HMS Milford. Although surprised, the smaller American ship managed to escape in a day of expert sailing.[3]

Meanwhile at sea, Lexington becomes captured by the British frigate HMS Pearl. Momentarily, Marine Captain w:Abraham Boyce leads his men and Lexington's sailors in overtaking the small British prize crew. Alfred also engaged combat with HMS Milford on 9 December. Although the British frigate was better-armed, the American ship was able to out-sail their opponent and escape unharmed. The Continental Marines and sailors were able to escape to the harbor at w:Baltimore, Maryland.[3]

In the w:Bay of Biscay off w:France, on 5 February, the Continental Marines aboard Reprisal led a boarding party that seized and sank HMS Swallow.[3]The 32-gun frigate Randolph was put to sea in early February 1777, joining the smaller Continental vessels from Hopkins's squadron.[29] Constantly, the Continental Navy attempted to breach the cordon of British vessels awaiting their departure; tasks in reaching the open seas came with such burden that Congress and the state assemblies attempted to mount a serious naval campaign in an effort to drive away the British warships that were blockading the American harbors.[30] One achievement was that they warranted in shifting some of its cruises to European waters, using the ports of their ally, France, as a w:base of operation. Although it did not totally hinder nor prevent the Royal Navy from going anywhere in American waters.[31] But the naval campaigns did made it costly for Great Britain to maintain its army in American.[2]

Marines made another overseas strike, raiding the coast of Britain (notably at w:Whitehaven) with w:John Paul Jones on the Template:USS in April 1777.[3][2]

Alfred; and Raleigh under command of Capt. Thomas Thompson; and their accompanying Continental Marines, departed for France on 22 August 1777. On 4 September, the Continental Marines aboard the frigate Raleigh participated in the bold attack on the British sloop HMS Druid.[3] The approach of the remaining British escorts forced them to break off, unabling them to sink or capture any British prizes.[32] On 14 September 1777, Reprisal left France, for w:New England.

On 19 September, Lexington and her Marine detachments are defeated by the British cutter HMS Alert, near France.

The Continental frigate Delaware and her Marines were forced onto a shoal in the Delaware River as they fought with British batteries guarding the approaches to Philadelphia occupied by the British. Although Delaware was captured, many of the sailors and Marines managed to escape.[3]

On 1 October 1777, caught in an Atlantic storm, Reprisal foundered off the banks of w:Newfoundland and all 129 on board (sailors and Marines), except the cook, went down with her. Continental naval officer in command of w:sloop-of-war Ranger, Captain w:John Paul Jones, sailed for w:Nantes, France, on 1 November 1777, to dispatch news to Commissioner w:Benjamin Franklin about the American victory of Saratoga and the surrender of British General w:John Burgoyne. On the voyage over, two British prizes were captured. Ranger arrived at Nantes on 2 December. Captain Jones sold the prizes and delivered the news of the victory at Saratoga to Dr. Ben Franklin.

During a surprise attack on the night of 28 January 1778, Marines repeated the raid on smaller scale once again at w:New Providence Island, on Nassau in the Bahamas, under Captains John Trevett and w:John Rathbun. The 'Stars and Stripes' was hoisted over a foreign shore for the first time.[3] It was repeated again for the third time, in May 1782, with Bernardo de Gálvez to secure the island for the Spanish.[3]

The ill-fated day of 7 March, the frigate Randolph, commanded by w:Nicholas Biddle, explodes while commencing in a firefight with HMS Yarmouth, a British 64-gun ship-of-the-line.[1] During battle, the powder magazines onboard combusted, exploding the entire hull. Randolph sank taking a loss of 301 sailors, soldiers, and Marines.[3]

On 9 March 1778, near w:Barbados in the w:Lesser Antilles of the w:Caribbean Sea, Alfred and Raleigh encountered British warships HMS Ariadne and HMS Ceres. When the American ships attempted to flee, Alfred fell behind her faster consort Raleigh, who was unable to reach Alfred in time to assist her. Shortly afternoon the British w:men-of-war caught up with Alfred and forced her to surrender after a half an hour's battle. The Marine detachment, along with the Continental sailors, were taken prisoner. Raleigh continued north to w:New England. On 27 March, Raleigh was chased ashore on w:Point Judith, near w:Newport, Rhode Island, by a British squadron. The Continental Marines hold off an attack by Royal Marines while the crewmen unload valuable equipment from the grounded ship.[3] The Continental Navy ship Raleigh returned to w:New England early in April 1778.

On 1 May 1778, the Marines assist in a night battle with the British frigate HMS Lark in w:Narragansett Bay as Providence escapes the blockade and makes it to the open sea.[3] Accused of cowardice and dereliction of duty for not aiding Alfred, Captain Thomas Thompson was suspended soon after reaching port. On 30 May 1778 the w:Marine Committee appointed John Barry to replace him as captain.

On 3 August 1778, the sailors and Marines aboard the Continental Navy ship General Gates and intercepted, then defeated, the British w:letter-of-marque brigantine HMS Montague, whose under command of Captain Horatio Nelson.[3]

The Marines aboard Providence attack a 30-ship convoy on 7 August, off the coast of Nova Scotia. They inflict damage on an armed transport carrying w:Highland troops.[3]

On 27 September, the British ships HMS Experiment and HMS Unicorn engage Continental ship Raleigh off the w:Penobscot River, w:Maine, and force her aground. Some of the Marines and sailors escape to shore, but more are captured.[3]

Marines would mainly participate in in the naval battles of the war, fighting ship-to-ship, such as the w:Battle of Valcour Island and famed w:Battle of Flamborough Head. Marksmen would perch in the upper riggings and masts of the ship to fire on enemy sailors from above. However, unlike British Marines, the Continental Marines would take the then-unorthodox missions of landing parties and other services ashore.[3] For example, Marines would support batteries ashore at the w:Siege of Charleston in the spring of 1780.[3]

The last official act of the Continental Marines was to escort a stash of silver, on loan from Louis XVI of France, from Boston to Philadelphia to enable the opening of the Bank of North America.[3] [33]


June 1776[edit]

On 28 June Pennsylvania’s brig Nancy arrived in the area with 386 barrels of powder in her hold and ran aground while attempting to elude British blockaders Kingfisher and Orpheus.[34]

Boats from the four American warships unloaded the precious powder during the night leaving only 100 barrels in Nancy at dawn. Barry then devised a delayed action fuse which exploded the powder just as a boatload of British seamen boarded Nancy.

USS Lexington
On 29 June, the Continental Marines aboard Lexington assisted in the unloading of arms and gunpowder from Pennsylvania Navy brigantine Nancy that has been ran aground while under fire from HMS Orpheus and HMS Kingfisher.[3]

July[edit]

July 4 1776, the Declaration of Independence is signed.

The Continental sailors and Marines aboard Reprisal headed south to the Caribbean Islands on 27 July to bring William Bingham, who had been appointed agent from the American colonies to Martinique, in acquiring intelligence, and additional arms and supplies for George Washington's armies. While enroute, they encountered the British sloop-of-war HMS Shark off the coast of Martinique and forced her out of the area.

August[edit]

By autumn of 1776, Major Nicholas raised four new companies of Marines for four of the new frigates that were to be completed and commissioned in Philadelphia. Armed with marines by the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, the detachments guarded both the Continental and state vessels and store while waiting for their frigates to sail.[1]

September[edit]

On 5 September 1776, the Marine Committee apportioned a uniform for the Continental Marines. The standard uniform was a short green coat with white trim, complemented by a white waistcoat, white or buff short breeches, woolen stockings, and a short black gaiter. Marine officers wore small cocked hats, and a single epaulette;[3] and the enlisted men sported round black hats with the brim pinned on one side.[1] The adoption of green coats and round hats probably reflects the constraints of availability, for both of the uniform attire were used by the Philadelphia Associators.[35] It wasn't until the year 1777 that the Marines entirely appeared in uniform in numbers.[36]

The Continental sailors and Marines aboard Providence sails north to Canada toward Nova Scotia. By 22 September, the sailors and Marines reached Canso Harbor and recaptured the small port. The following next day, they struck Isle Madame destroying fishing boats. On 27 September while fishing, Providence, became under surprise attack from the British frigate HMS Milford. Although surprised, the smaller American ship managed to escape in a day of expert sailing.[3]

Reprisal and her accompaning Marines returned to Philadelphia from the West Indies on 13 September.

October[edit]

Sometime in October, Sergeants William Hamilton and Alexander Neilson are promoted to Lieutenant, being the first recorded "mustangs" (enlistees who received field commission) in the Marine Corps.[3]

On 24 October 1776, Benjamin Franklin was dispatched to France as appointed 'Commissioner to France' for Congress. Captain Lambert Wickes was ordered by the Continental Congress to proceed to Nantes, France, aboard Reprisal. En route to France, the sailors and Marines captured two brigantines.

November[edit]

In late November 1776, General Washington's Continental Army positions along the Hudson River collapsed from the concurring assaults of British forces. In emergency response Washington requested assistance of a brigade of Philadelphia militia, a company of local seamen, and Major Nicholas's four companies of Continental Marines. George Washington wrote a staunchly letter to John Cadwalader, a brigadier general of the Pennsylvania Associators:

"...if they came out resolved to act upon Land...instead their Services to the Water only."[36]George Washington to John Cadwalader, 7 December 1776.

Reprisal reaches Nantes, France on 29 November, becoming the first vessel of the Continental Navy to arrive in European waters.

December[edit]

On 2 December, Major Samuel Nicholas and his three companies of Marines, garrisoned at the Marine barracks in Philadelphia, were tasked to reinforce Washington's retreating army from New York through Trenton to slow the progress of British troops southward through New Jersey.[3] Unsure what to do with the Marines, Washington requested that the Marines be attached to a brigade militiamen from the Philadelphia Associators, in which were also dressed in green uniforms alike of the Continental Marines.[34]

The American marines marched off to aid in support an American army for the first time in history; Major Nicholas led a battalion of 130 officers and enlisted men from Philadelphia,[3] leaving behind one company to man the Continental vessels, and joined Calwalader's brigade of Pennsylvania Associators, a force of 1,200 men. The Marines lived side-by-side with the militia brigade in Bristol, Pennsylvania for two weeks waiting for an attack from the British. However, the British army instead went into winter quarters along the New Jersey shore of the Delaware River.[1]

Meanwhile at sea, Lexington becomes captured by the British frigate HMS Pearl. Momentarily, Marine Captain Abraham Boyce leads his men and Lexington's sailors in overtaking the small British prize crew. The Continental Marines and sailors were able to escape to the harbor at Baltimore, Maryland. Alfred also engaged combat with HMS Milford on 9 December. Although the British frigate was better-armed, the American ship was able to out-sail their opponent and escape unharmed.[3]

On Christmas Day, General Washington attack the German garrison at Trenton, though Calwalader's brigade were unable to arrive in time to affect the battle for Trenton, due to problems crossing the ice-choked Delaware River; Calwalader finally crossed the river on 27 December on his own initiative reaching Trenton by 2 January as Washington concentrated his army.[1]

1777[edit]

For the first two years of the Revolutionary War, through all the tribulations that the Continental navy and its marine detachments had experienced, it had not been very discouraging. However, it began to decline as Great Britain mobilized, although they were facing war at all fronts with Europe; they could not deploy all of its fleet to the New England colonies. The Royal Navy increased its surplus in warships as they attempted to maintain control of the seas.

Continental Congress had twenty-seven commissioned vessels during the winter of 1776–1777 but declined dramatically thereafter; the Navy and its Marine detachments during its first two years Its manpower was is most cases not larger than 3,000 sailors and Marines.

[37]


The also state navies were not proportioned larger than the Continental Navy, nor the hundreds of small privateers that cruised the eastern seaboard.

[1]

Even as England mobilized its fleet, they themselves faced a very hostile Europe, their strength increased enough to maintain control of the seas, and struggled to deploy all its fleets to the North America waters. The Royal Navy numbered 268 vessels and by the end of war, the numbers grew to 468; its naval personnel increased from 18,000 to 110,000. Nonetheless, the American naval forces found it increasingly difficult to take prizes, let alone influence the outcome of the war.[38]

Americans shifted part of their operations to European waters and depended on France for ports, suppliers, some seamen and marines, and government money; as well as the protection of the French navy. Although the French goverment did not become a belligerent until 1778, American navies used the French ports for naval operations as early as January 1777.

The naval war in the European waters were guided by commissioners Silas Deane, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. In 1777, Franklin purchased and outfitted three vessels; Reprisal, commanded by Captain Lambert Wickes, was the only patriot ship manned by all-American Marines—Lexington and the other new vessels were manned by mixed crews, mostly recruits from France.[34]

January[edit]

As Calwalader and his brigade managed to reach Trenton on 2 January from across the Delaware River, the Continental Marines watched the cannonade between the Continental Army and Lord Cornwallis' British Army at Assunpink Creek. The Marines helped defend a crucial bridge against a Hessian attack.[3]

On the night of 3 January, Calwalader's brigade (including Major Nicholas's battalion of Continental Marines) and General Washington's Army silently departs the battlefield and marches toward Princeton. By daybreak, they launched a two-pronged attack.[36] The first prong of attack, led by Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, a close friend of George Washington, attacked a British stronghold. Mercer's brigade ran into heavy, disciplined musketry of two British regiments that were well-emplaced in front of Princeton, Mercer's brigade position soon collapsed.[1] Calwalader's brigade (along with the Marines) came to the assistance, but too stumbled into the British infantry forcing them to fall back. The second prong of attack caught the British on in open flank, scattering three British regiments and took Princeton.[39] The battle for Princeton was the first engagement that the Continental Marines fought and died in battle.

After the TrentonPrinceton campaign, Nicholas's four-company battalion discontinued service; reduced by transfers, desertion, and disease of eighty Marines.[1] The remaining three companies encamped at its winter quartering at Sweets Town, not far from Washington's bivouac at Jockey Hollow, Morristown on 4 January.[34]

February[edit]

From 1 February 1777 and throughout the winter, the two companies of Marines either transferred to Morristown to assume the roles in the Continental artillery batteries, or left the service altogether.[3] Captain Robert Mullan's company returned to Philadelphia as prisoner guards after they found that there was no ship to man. Many would also return to Philadelphia in the spring to become part of the detachments of the new Continental galley Washington [the third ship to be named as such] and the frigate Delaware.[36]

In the Bay of Biscay off France, on 5 February, the Continental Marines aboard Reprisal led a boarding party that seized and sank HMS Swallow.[3]

The 32-gun frigate Randolph was put to sea in early February 1777, joining the smaller Continental vessels, mostly from Hopkins's squadron.[29]

Constantly, the Continental Navy attempted to breach the cordon of British vessels awaiting their departure; tasks in reaching the open seas came with such burden that Congress and the State assemblies attempted to mount a serious naval campaign in an effort to drive the British warships blockading the American harbors.[40]

One achievement was that they warranted in shifting some of its cruises to European waters, using the ports of their ally, France, as a base of operation; although it did not totally hinder nor prevent the Royal Navy from going anywhere in American waters.[41] The naval campaigns made it costly for Great Britain to maintain its army in American.[36]

April[edit]

Captain Robert Mullans' company of Continental Marines disbanded in April 1777.

August[edit]

Alfred and Raleigh, and their accompanying Continental Marines, departed for France on 22 August 1777.[34]

September[edit]

On 4 September, the Continental Marines aboard the frigate Raleigh participated in the bold attack on the British sloop HMS Druid.[3] The approach of the remaining British escorts forced them to break off, unabling them to sink or capture any British prizes.[42]

On 14 September 1777, Reprisal left France, for the New England.

On 19 September, Lexington and her Marine detachments are defeated by the British cutter HMS Alert near France.

The Continental frigate Delaware and her Marines were forced onto a shoal in the Delaware River as they fought with British batteries guarding the approaches to Philadelphia occupied by the British. Although Delaware was captured, many of the sailors and Marines managed to escape.[3]

October[edit]

On 1 October 1777, caught in an Atlantic storm, Reprisal foundered off the banks of Newfoundland and all 129 on board (sailors and Marines), except the cook, went down with her

November[edit]

Continental naval officer in command of sloop-of-war Ranger, Captain John Paul Jones, sailed for Nantes, France, on 1 November 1777, to dispatch news to Commissioner Benjamin Franklin about the American victory of Saratoga and the surrender of British General John Burgoyne. On the voyage over, two British prizes were captured.

December[edit]

Ranger arrived at Nantes on 2 December. Captain Jones sold the prizes and delivered the news of the victory at Saratoga to Dr. Ben Franklin.[34]

1778[edit]

January[edit]

—Hopkins's termination of command—
On 2 January 1778, the Marine Committe had came to the conclusion that Esek Hopkins be relieved of command.[1] Thereafter as such, the Continental Congress implemented a few plans for squadron operations.[36]

On 10 January, a company of Marines under Navy Captain James Willing depart Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania for an expedition, in the armed boat Rattletrap. They sail into the Ohio River en route to New Orleans.[3]

Marines from the frigate Randolph help extinguish a huge blaze on 15 January in Charleston, South Carolina, that destroyed hundred of buildings.[3]

During a surprise attack during the night of 28 January 1778, the Marines once again stormed the beaches at New Providence Island, Bahama Islands, and seized the forts, and captured five ships in the harbor. They hoisted the 'Stars and Stripes' over a foreign shore for the first time.[3]

February[edit]

Captain Willing and the Marines from Rattletrap captured the British sloop HMS Rebecca while sailing down the Mississippi River. They were able to temporarily weaken the British hold on the waterway from occupation.[3] They raided British Loyalist plantations along on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain.

March[edit]

The ill-fated day of 7 March, the frigate Randolph, commanded by Nicholas Biddle, explodes while commencing in a firefight with HMS Yarmouth, a British 64-gun ship-of-the-line.[1] During battle, the powder magazines onboard combusted, exploding the entire hull. Randolph sank taking a loss of 301 sailors, soldiers, and Marines.[3]

On 9 March 1778, near Barbados in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean Sea, Alfred and Raleigh encountered British warships HMS Ariadne and HMS Ceres. When the American ships attempted to flee, Alfred fell behind her faster consort Raleigh, who was unable to reach Alfred in time to assist her. Shortly after noon the British men-of-war caught up with Alfred and forced her to surrender after a half an hour's battle. The Marine detachment, along with the Continental sailors, were taken prisoner. Raleigh continued north to New England.[34]

Chased ashore on Point Judith near Newport, Rhode Island on 27 March, by a British squadron, the Continental Marines hold off an attack by Royal Marines while the crewmen unload valuable equipment from the grounded ship.[3]

April[edit]

The Continental Navy ship Raleigh returned to New England early in April 1778.

On 23 April 1778, John Paul Jones and sailors and Marines aboard USS Ranger make a dawn raid on the British port of Whitehaven, Great Britain. The crew of Ranger set fire to ships and spiked the cannon of the fort. Later that same day, they land on St. Mary Isle to capture a British earl, but find him away from home and instead take the family silver. The next day [24 April], Ranger and her Marines defeat the British sloop HMS Drake in the Irish Sea.[3]

May[edit]

On 1 May 1778, the Marines assist in a night battle with the British frigate HMS Lark in Narragansett Bay as Providence escapes the blockade and makes it to the open sea.[3]

Accused of cowardice and dereliction of duty for not aiding Alfred, Captain Thomas Thompson was suspended soon after reaching port. On 30 May 1778 the Marine Committee appointed John Barry to replace him as captain.

August[edit]

On 3 August 1778, the sailors and Marines aboard the Continental Navy ship General Gates intercepted, then defeated, the British letter-of-marque brigantine HMS Montague, whose under command of Captain Horatio Nelson.[3]

The Marines aboard Providence attack a 30-ship convoy on 7 August, off the coast of Nova Scotia. They inflict damage on an armed tranport carrying Highland troops.[34]

September[edit]

On 27 September, the British ships HMS Experiment and HMS Unicorn engage Continental ship Raleigh off the Penobscot River, Maine, and force her aground. Some of the Marines and sailors escape to shore, but more are captured.[3]

1779[edit]

Around 1779–1780, Continental Marines landed in Maine and captured Nautilus Island and the Majabagaduce Peninsula during the Penobscot Expedition.[34]

April[edit]
May[edit]
July[edit]

1783[edit]

At the end of the Revolution in 1783, both the Continental Navy and Marines were disbanded. In all, there were 131 Colonial Marine officers, and probably no more than 2,000 enlisted Colonial Marines. Though individual Marines were enlisted for the few American naval vessels, the organization would not be re-created until 1798.[43]

The last official act of the Continental Marines was to escort a stash of French silver crowns on loan from Louis XVI, from Boston to Philadelphia, to enable the opening of the Bank of North America.[34]


  • Captains Henry Johnson and John Barry eventually escaped from an English prison.[3]

13 October 1775 The first legislation of the Continental Congress in regard to an American Navy directed the equipment of one vessel of 10 guns and another of 14 guns as national cruisers.[44]

At the same time an act was passed establishing a "Marine Committee," consisting of Messrs. John Adams, John Langdon, and Silas Deane, which was chosen by Congress from among its own members, and was to be in complete control of naval affairs.

30 October 1775 Act of the Continental Congress authorizing the equipment of two additional armed vessels, the one to carry twenty guns, the other thirty-six, and increasing the membership of the Marine Committee to eleven.

10 November 1775 Organization of a Marine Corps, to consist of two battalions, authorized by Act of Congress.

25 November 1775 Act of Congress authorizing the capture and confiscation of all British armed vessels, transports, and supply ships, and directing the issuing of commissions to captains of cruisers and privateers.

28 November 1775 Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies, the first regulations of the Navy.

3 December 1775 The first fleet of the United States put in commission.

11 December 1775 A Committee appointed by Congress "to devise the ways and means for furnishing these Colonies with a Naval Armament."

13 December 1775 The report of the Committee providing for the construction of "five ships of thirty-two guns, five of twenty-eight guns, and three of twenty-four guns," accepted by Congress, and a law passed for their immediate construction.

14 December 1775 The number of the members of the Marine Committee increased to thirteen, one from each colony, by Act of Congress.

22 December 1775 The Marine Committee appointed the following officers, with the approval of Congress:

  • Commander-in-Chief: Esek Hopkins
  • Captains: Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle, John B. Hopkins
  • First Lieutenants: John Paul Jones, Rhodes Arnold, Eli Stansbury, Hoysted Hacker, Jonathan Pitcher
  • Second Lieutenants: Benjamin Seabury, Joseph Olney, Elisha Warner, Thomas Weaver, James McDougall
  • Third Lieutenants: John Fanning, Ezekiel Burroughs, Daniel Vaughan

25 January 1776 The Marine Committee given full powers in the direction of the fleet under Commodore Esek Hopkins.

19 March 1776 Congress authorized the fitting out of armed vessels "to cruise on the enemies of these united colonies."

23 March 1776 General Letters-of-Marque and Reprisal issued by Congress, and thenceforth all British vessels, armed or unarmed, were liable to capture by American ships.

17 April 1776 With respect to the relative rank of the officers of the Navy, Congress decided that the nominations or appointments of captains or commanders "shall not establish rank." This was to be "settled by Congress before commissions are granted."

4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

5 September 1776 The Marine Committee decided upon the uniform to be worn by officers of the Navy and Marine Corps.

3 October 1776 Congress authorized the purchasing, arming, and equipping of "a frigate and two cutters in Europe."

10 October 1776 Congress established the rank and command of the Captains of the Navy.

29 October 1776 Act of Congress denying to private vessels the right of wearing "pendants" in the presence of Continental Navy vessels without the permission of the commanding officer thereof.

6 November 1776 A "Continental Navy Board, consisting of "three persons well skilled in maritime affairs," appointed by Congress "to execute the business of the Navy under the direction of the Marine Committee"; This Board was subsequently divided into an "Eastern Board," and a "Board of the Middle District.

15 November 1776 Congress established the relative rank of Naval and Army officers.

20 November 1776 Law authorizing the construction of the first line-of-battle ship, to carry seventy-four guns.

23 January 1777 Congress authorized the construction of one 36-gun frigate and one 28-gun frigate.

6 February 1778 Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded between the United States and France.

28 October 1779 A "Board of Admiralty" established which was given control of all naval affairs; it consisted of three commissioners who were not in Congress and two who were.

11 January 1781 James Reed, by resolution of Congress, invested with full powers to conduct the business of the Navy Board in the "Middle Department."

7 February 1781 Alexander McDougal, a major-general, who had been a seaman in his youth, appointed "Secretary of Marine," with all the duties previously confided to the Board of Admiralty.

29 August 1781 An "Agent of Marine"" appointed "with authority to direct, fit out, equip, and employ, the ships and vessels of war belonging to the United States, according to such instructions as he shall from time to time receive from Congress."

7 September 1781 Resolution of Congress by which the duties prescribed to the "Agent of Marine," until he should be appointed, devolved on the Superintendent of Finance, Robert Morris, who, indeed, appears to have had the chief agency in the civil administration of the Navy during the greater part of the Revolutionary War.

2 September 1782 Presentation of the U.S. 74-gun line-of-battle ship America to Louis XVI, King of France, to replace the Magnifique, 74, lost in Boston Harbor.

3 September 1783 Definitive treaty of peace concluded with Great Britain and the United States, acknowledged a sovereign and independent state. On April 11, 1783, a cessation of hostilities bad been proclaimed.

References[edit]

  1. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Millet
  2. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RevMarines
  3. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Hoffman
  4. a b Riley, p. 100
  5. Field, p. 104
  6. Field, pp. 94-97
  7. Field, pp. 100-102
  8. Field, pp. 108-113
  9. Hand, pp. 108-109
  10. a b McCusker, p. 182
  11. a b Riley, p. 101
  12. McCusker, p. 181
  13. Field, p. 113
  14. a b McCusker, p. 183
  15. a b McCusker, p. 184
  16. a b c d McCusker, p. 185
  17. a b c Riley, p. 102
  18. a b McCusker, p. 187
  19. Field, pp. 115-117, lists the entire inventory taken
  20. a b Field, p. 117
  21. Field, pp. 117-118
  22. Field, pp. 120-121
  23. Field, p. 125
  24. Riley, p. 103
  25. Riley, p. 103
  26. Riley, p. 104
  27. History of USS Nassau (LHA-4)
  28. Marine Corps casualties by war: Marine Corps History Division and Naval History & Heritage Command
  29. a b Clark, William Bell (1949). Captain Dauntless: The Story of Nicholas Biddle of the Continental Navy. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press. 
  30. Clark, William Bell (1938). Gallant John Berry. New York, NY: MacMillan. 
  31. Morgan, William J. (1959). Captains to Northward: The New England Captains in the Continental Navy. Barre, MA: Barre Gazette. 
  32. U.S. Naval History on USS Raleigh (1776)
  33. Goddard, Thomas H. (1831). History of Banking Institutions of Europe and the United States. Carvill. pp. 48– 50. 
  34. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RekonDog
  35. McClellan, Edwin North (1974 [reprint]). Uniforms of the American Marines, 1775 to 1829. Washington, D.C.; Maryland: Marine Corps History and Museums Division. ISBN 1-59114-790-5. 
  36. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Smith
  37. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Smith.2C
  38. Paullin, Charles O. (1906). The Navy of the American Revolution. Chicago, IL: Burrows Brothers. 
  39. Stryker, William S. (1898). The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 
  40. Clark, William Bell (1938). Gallant John Berry. New York, NY: MacMillan. 
  41. Morgan, William J. (1959). Captains to Northward: The New England Captains in the Continental Navy. Barre, MA: Barre Gazette. 
  42. [1]
  43. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Simmons
  44. "Congress and the Continental Navy, 1775-1783: Chronology and Documents". Naval Historical Center. U.S. Department of the Navy. 3 October 2000. http://www.history.navy.mil/wars/revwar/chron.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-01.