Happy Navy Birthday!
On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress of the fledgling United States passed a resolution to purchase and fit out two vessels as warships. This naval force was intended to intercept British supplies that were supporting and sustaining the occupying forces in America. That same resolution also created a Marine Committee consisting of John Adams, Silas Deane and John Langdon to oversee naval affairs. The Continental Navy was born! The resolution read:
Resolved, That a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months, and that the commander be instructed to cruize eastward, for intercepting such transports as may be laden with warlike stores and other supplies for our enemies, and for such other purposes as the Congress shall direct.
That a Committee of three be appointed to prepare an estimate of the expence, and lay the same before the Congress, and to contract with proper persons to fit out the vessel.
Resolved, that another vessel be fitted out for the same purposes, and that the said committee report their opinion of a proper vessel, and also an estimate of the expence.
For nearly ten years of existence, the Continental Navy served to bolster American morale during the Revolutionary War. However, its cultural success far exceeded its tactical success -- virtually every ship constructed was either sunk or captured. Those that weren't were eventually auctioned off, the last remaining vessel (USS Alliance) being sold on 01 August 1785 for $26,000.
After the American victory at Yorktown and the disarmament that followed (since many felt that having a standing military force would "only serve to involve America in conflicts it had no service in being a part of" ), it would be nearly 13 more years until Congress authorized the creation of a permanent naval force in response to an overseas threat. The United States Navy was formally chartered in April 1798 to protect America's growing interests abroad, and to thwart the threat posed by the Barbary Pirates.