Non sibi sed patriae
241 years ago today, October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized a standing Navy. This force remained in being until 1 August 1785 when the last warship of the fleet, the 36-gun sailing frigate Alliance, was sold into merchant service, leaving a nine year gap until the U.S. Congress ordered a new Navy, that of the United States proper, into being with The Act to Provide a Naval Armament of March 27, 1794.
The Founding Fathers were not short of modern fighting ideas, only in the cash to accomplish them.
For instance in 1783, after learning of the first balloon ascent in Europe, Benjamin Franklin observed that for the price of three ships-of-the-line, a country could procure 5,000 hot air balloons, and use them to deposit 10,000 men into an enemy’s territory, wrecking havoc on any attempt at a coherent defense. Of course, at the time the Continental Navy mentioned above was on the way to full disbandment and the Army was likewise reduced to just 25 caretakers at Fort Pitt and 55 at West Point following the Treaty of Paris.
But of course we celebrate the October 13, 1775 date today as the Navy’s birth with the Sea Chanters Chorus singing the haunting Eternal Father, Strong to Save with narration by Musician 1st Class Michael Webb