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Lesson 5 US Navy in the Napoleonic Era

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Published on January 20, 2008

Author: Raulo

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Sea Power and Maritime Affairs:  Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Lesson 5: The U.S. Navy in the Napoleonic Era, 1783-1815 Learning Objectives:  Learning Objectives Comprehend the influence of European events upon American trade and naval policy during this period. Understand and be able to explain the term “Battle of Annihilation.” Know the background of Jefferson’s defensive naval strategy including the use of gunboats and forts. Know the causes and naval operations of the Napoleonic Wars. Learning Objectives:  Learning Objectives Recall operations against the Barbary corsairs during this period. Comprehend the main factors of the European war and their effect on causing the War of 1812. Understand and be able to explain the term “Guerre de Course.” Know the U.S. and British Naval Strategy during the war. Learning Objectives:  Learning Objectives Comprehend the Great Lakes campaign and its importance to the U.S. war effort. Comprehend (compare and contrast) the naval strategies of Rodgers and Decatur. Comprehend the significance of the Washington and New Orleans campaigns. Know the contributions of the U.S. Navy during the war of 1812, and assess the state of the Navy after the treaty of Ghent Remember our Themes!:  Remember our Themes! The Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy Interaction between Congress and the Navy Interservice Relations Technology Leadership Strategy and Tactics Evolution of Naval Doctrine A New Nation:  A New Nation Articles of Confederation Weak central government No power of taxation. Congress unable to fund a Navy after Rev War. 1785 - All Continental Navy warships decommissioned. New maritime trade markets- Large American merchant fleet. China and Mediterranean Sea. American merchant ships no longer protected by the Royal Navy. A word on Neutrality…:  A word on Neutrality… US wanted to trade with anyone, anywhere “Free ships make free goods” Belligerents didn’t want US taking their trade during war A New Nation:  A New Nation Barbary States -- North Africa Demands for tribute to guarantee safe passage in Mediterranean. -Barbary Pirate Attacks 1783-1787 War of the French Revolution (1792)-- U.S. neutral rights violated. Great Britain - Orders in Council, 1793 French Privateers seize American merchant ships Naval Policy Debate Begins:  Naval Policy Debate Begins U.S. Constitution - 1788. Stronger federal government with ability to tax. “The Congress shall have Power To provide and maintain a Navy.” “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” Federalists: New England -- Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams Proponents of a strong Navy. Ensure neutral rights on the seas and protect vital trade interests. Republicans: Middle and Southern States -- Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry Strong U.S. Navy would provoke European powers. Navies are expensive and imperialistic - a “luxury”. Beginnings of the U.S. Navy:  Beginnings of the U.S. Navy Navy Act of 1794 Navy is part of the Department of War. Secretary of War Henry Knox. Large 44-gun frigates planned. More heavily armed than normal frigates. Faster than Ships of the Line. 1797: United States, and Constitution, completed -- called Humphrey’s frigates. Marines deployed on Navy ships. Continue tradition of British Royal Marines. Protect Captain and officers from the crew. Provide musket fire from quarterdeck and “fighting tops”. Too Little Too Late:  Too Little Too Late Pinckney Treaty 1794 Breakdown Portuguese-Algerian Relations 1796 Treaty with Algiers Treaties with Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis The Med is reopened to American trading without a Naval response! Diplomacy and Naval Policy:  Diplomacy and Naval Policy Jay’s Treaty -- 1794:  Jay’s Treaty -- 1794 Spring 1794: Congress finds out about British Orders in Council against US shipping 30-day embargo on all American exports to Britain Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton engineer John Jay’s appointment as emissary to London Hamilton’s Instructions: 1) Do not contravene Franco-American alliance of 1778 2) British West Indies opened to American trade Treaty Results:  Treaty Results Treaty signed November 19, 1794 Britain promises to relinquish northwest forts Opened British West Indies to American trade Most Favored Nation status to Americans trading in the British home Isles Settle Canadian boundary disputes Restrict French privateers in the U.S. BUT...:  BUT... No headway on neutral rights Seizure of goods bound for France Abandons “Free ships make free goods” Restrictions on shipping in British West Indies President Washington delays proclamation of the treaty until 2 February 1796 France now the Villain:  France now the Villain Franco-American Alliance 1796 French seizure of commerce in West Indies Eject American minister Charles C. Pinckney John Adams calls special session of Congress Non-partisan council to go to France Money for Navy A provisional Army Congress answers 1 July 1797 United States, Constitution, and Constellation back in the game The XYZ Affair:  The XYZ Affair Talleyrand wants bribe XYZ Affair American delegation to Paris insulted - Congress and American public outraged. “Millions for Defense, not one cent for tribute” Department of Navy:  Department of Navy Department of the Navy established -- 1798. Benjamin Stoddert - First Secretary of the Navy. Increase in naval expenditures for: Shipyards Ships - completed frigates begun by Navy Act of 1794. Stoddert’s Navy 50 ships by end of 1799 Wanted fleet navy (ships of the line) Not guerre de course Slide19:  The Quasi War with France Operations of the Quasi-War:  Operations of the Quasi-War Main theater of war: West Indies. Stoddert orders all Naval ships to West Indies 1798-99 U.S. Navy uses British ports. Most of the French fleet blockaded in Europe after defeats by Royal Navy. Early American naval commanders: Lieutenant William Bainbridge is captured in Retaliation. Commodore Thomas Truxton in Constellation. Captain Edward Preble in Essex to the Pacific and East Indies. U.S. naval funding again increased in 1799. Large shipbuilding program increases size of U.S. Navy. Treaty of Mortrefontaine - 1801. 1778 Alliance and 1798 Decree nullified, recognizes US neutral rights Thoughts on Quasi-War:  Thoughts on Quasi-War Washington, Adams, Jefferson: neutrality and free trade! Guerre de course effective British blockade of European ports prevented French fleet action Republican Naval Policy:  Republican Naval Policy Thomas Jefferson elected in 1800. Large reductions in Naval funding. Republicans reduce federal taxation and spending. All Navy ships sold except 13 frigates. 7 of the 13 frigates in mothballs. Jefferson’s “Gunboat” Navy -- a strictly defensive strategy. Static and weak defense of American coast (consisted of gunboats and forts). Floating gun platforms - reduced maneuverability. President Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809:  President Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809 Louisiana Purchase Lewis and Clark Expedition Slide24:  The Barbary Wars 1801-1805 Barbary Wars 1801-1805:  Barbary Wars 1801-1805 Increasing tribute demands of North African states. William Bainbridge forced to sail George Washington under Algerian flag with tribute to Ottoman sultan. Undeclared war against the Barbary States begins - 1801. Secretary of Navy Smith deploys Commodore Richard Dale and ships to Mediterranean Secretary Samuel Smith’s Instructions:  Secretary Samuel Smith’s Instructions Protection of American merchantmen vessels from non-European powers Wars against such powers blockade would be strategy of choice Seizure or destruction of ships- whether armed or not Solitary American frigate would suffice Barbary Wars 1801-1805:  Barbary Wars 1801-1805 Early commodores unsuccessful: Richard Dale fails to be aggressive - resigns in 1802. Thomas Truxton turns down command due to lack of a captain for his flagship and is dismissed from service. Richard Morris - dismissed for “dilatory conduct” p.90 Commodore Edward Preble takes command - Sept 1803. Aggressive tactics are highly successful. “Preble’s Boys” will command U.S. ships in the War of 1812. Commodore Edward Preble “Preble’s Boys”:  Commodore Edward Preble “Preble’s Boys” Barbary Wars Operations:  Barbary Wars Operations “Hard Luck” Captain William Bainbridge -- Philadelphia captured in Tripoli harbor and crew imprisoned. Philadelphia held under Tripoli’s guns. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur -- special warfare mission. Uses captured Intrepid to board and burn Philadelphia. Promoted to Captain at age 25. (p. 92) Eaton’s march on Tripoli. Includes First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon and six Marines. Capture of Derna in April 1805. Awarded Mameluke sword by Prince Hamet - still used today. “The shores of Tripoli.” Boost in support for Marine Corps. Burning of the Philadelphia:  “The most heroic and bold act of the age.” - Admiral Horatio Nelson Burning of the Philadelphia Barbary Wars:  Barbary Wars Barbary Wars:  Barbary Wars Napoleonic Wars:  Napoleonic Wars French Revolution - 1789 French aristocracy overthrown. War with Great Britain resumes in 1793. French Navy leadership adversely affected. French Army leadership relatively unaffected - artillery officers. Change in strategy and tactics from more formal and professional armies. War between France and continental European powers. Britain forms a series of five “Coalitions” with continental powers to counter the French - continues Pitt’s Plan. Early failures by British and allies while French counter-revolution threatened republicans. French Empire established under Emperor Napoleon. Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation :  Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation Fleet engagements between Royal Navy and French Navy and French allies’ navies: Battle of the “Glorious” First of June -- 1794 Battle of Cape St. Vincent -- February 1797 Battle of Camperdown -- October 1797 Battle of the Nile -- 1 August 1798 Battle of Copenhagen -- 2 April 1801 Battle of Trafalgar -- 21 October 1805 Admiral Horatio Nelson Highly successful through the use of melee tactics. “Concept of Operations” to ship captains prior to battle. Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation :  Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation Fleet engagements between Royal Navy and French Navy and French allies’ navies: Battle of the “Glorious” First of June -- 1794 Battle of Cape St. Vincent -- February 1797 Battle of Camperdown -- October 1797 Battle of the Nile -- 1 August 1798 Battle of Copenhagen -- 2 April 1801 Battle of Trafalgar -- 21 October 1805 Admiral Horatio Nelson Highly successful through the use of melee tactics. “Concept of Operations” to ship captains prior to battle. Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation :  Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation Fleet engagements between Royal Navy and French Navy and French allies’ navies: Battle of the “Glorious” First of June -- 1794 Battle of Cape St. Vincent -- February 1797 Battle of Camperdown -- October 1797 Battle of the Nile -- 1 August 1798 Battle of Copenhagen -- 2 April 1801 Battle of Trafalgar -- 21 October 1805 Admiral Horatio Nelson Highly successful through the use of melee tactics. “Concept of Operations” to ship captains prior to battle. Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation :  Napoleonic Wars Naval Confrontation Fleet engagements between Royal Navy and French Navy and French allies’ navies: Battle of the “Glorious” First of June -- 1794 Battle of Cape St. Vincent -- February 1797 Battle of Camperdown -- October 1797 Battle of the Nile -- 1 August 1798 Battle of Copenhagen -- 2 April 1801 Battle of Trafalgar -- 21 October 1805 Admiral Horatio Nelson Highly successful through the use of melee tactics. “Concept of Operations” to ship captains prior to battle. Admiral Horatio Nelson :  Admiral Horatio Nelson Slide40:  Nelson and his captains on the eve of Trafalgar. Slide42:  Nelson - Mortally wounded at Trafalgar. Nelson’s Funeral Procession:  Nelson’s Funeral Procession British Victory at Trafalgar:  British Victory at Trafalgar Great Britain secures command of the seas. French threat to invade England ended. Great Britain’s overseas commerce flourishes. Royal Navy gains ability to threaten U.S. commerce with France and other countries. French Navy declines in strength. Napoleon’s army still supreme on European continent. Continental System established in Europe to isolate Great Britain. Napoleonic Wars continue until Napoleon is defeated by Britain’s Duke of Wellington at Waterloo - 1815. Causes of the War of 1812:  Causes of the War of 1812 British at war with France British begin to seize U.S. Ships Neutral rights categorized (next slide) 1807: Chesapeake-Leopard Affair Embargo Act 1810: War Hawks to Congress Increased tension finally led to War of 1812 Neutral Rights of U.S. Shipping:  Neutral Rights of U.S. Shipping Great Britain at war with the French Empire British seize U.S. merchant ships. Dispute over neutral rights: Blockade United States: Must be effective to be legal. Great Britain: “Paper blockades” are binding. Visit and search of merchants by naval vessels. United States: Only in restricted areas. Great Britain: Virtually anywhere on high seas. Ports closed in peacetime United States: Can be open to neutral trade during war. Great Britain: Must remain closed. Impressment United States: Search of neutral vessels for British subjects is illegal. Great Britain: Search of neutral vessels for British subjects is okay. Chesapeake - Leopard Affair -- 1807:  Chesapeake - Leopard Affair -- 1807 Impressment USS Chesapeake attacked by HMS Leopard. Issues Sanctity of a warship as part of national territory. American commander's unreadiness to fight. Result American public opinion increases against Great Britain. Jefferson imposes embargo on American merchants. Chesapeake-Leopard Affair - 1807:  Chesapeake-Leopard Affair - 1807 Jefferson’s Gunboat Navy 1807-1809:  Jefferson’s Gunboat Navy 1807-1809 The Road to War:  The Road to War President Madison - 1809 Begins to move naval policy away from building gunboats. Responds to Congress’ wish to build up frigate Navy 1 May 1811: HMS Guerrière impresses American seaman within sight of New York 10 May 1811: USS President vs. HMS Little Belt John Rodgers Destroys British sloop-of-war The Road to War:  The Road to War 12th Congress: the “War Hawks” Henry Clay of Kentucky John C. Calhoun of South Carolina Madison was onboard coastal fortifications limited activation of gunboats offshore operation of frigates recommendations for military augmentation Congress answered: Navy received funds to refortify The Road to War:  The Road to War War in Europe turns in France’s favor -- 1812. U.S. Declaration of war against Great Britain - June 1812. Neutral rights, impressment, and Indian relations. (US is unprepared) Minimal U.S. Army and Navy strength. U.S. Naval Policies:  U.S. Naval Policies Strategy Rodgers: Proponent of squadron operations. Decatur: Proponent of single-ship operations. Commerce Raiders Atlantic Ocean English Channel USS Essex in the Pacific Ocean -- Captain David Porter Raids on British whaling fleet. Letters of marque issued to privateers. Naval Administration Small organization. Inadequate coastal defenses. Limited resources available. Funding increases significantly during the course of the war. Course of the War -- 1812:  Course of the War -- 1812 Cruise of Commodore Rodgers' squadron unsuccessful. Single-ship engagements won by Americans: USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere Captain Isaac Hull USS United States versus HMS Macedonian Captain Stephen Decatur USS Constitution versus HMS Java Captain William Bainbridge Superiority of U.S. ships, training, and commanders is evident. Naval victories increase morale and support. Congress authorizes expanded naval building program. Unsuccessful American invasion of Canada. Lack of effective leadership and small army Detroit occupied by British and Indians - threat to NW Territory. Commodore Rodgers’ Cruise - 1812:  Commodore Rodgers’ Cruise - 1812 USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere:  USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere:  USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere 19 August 1812 Slide60:  USS Constitution “Old Ironsides” Course of the War -- 1813:  Course of the War -- 1813 British Strategy Victories in Europe allow movement of ships and troops from Europe to America. Increase blockade on American ports. Raid American coasts. USS Chesapeake versus HMS Shannon Captain James Lawrence:  Captain James Lawrence USS Chesapeake “Don’t give up the ship!” USS Chesapeake versus HMS Shannon:  USS Chesapeake versus HMS Shannon 1 June 1813 Course of the War -- 1814:  Course of the War -- 1814 British blockade of American ports - highly effective. American Navy unable to sortie. U.S. economy in decline due to reduced maritime commerce. Washington Campaign British forces raid Chesapeake. Washington burned. Baltimore -- Fort McHenry - Star Spangled Banner. Militia and gunboats very ineffective for coastal defense. Battle of Lake Champlain near Plattsburg. Commodore Thomas MacDonough Remembers Nelson’s tactics at the Battle of the Nile. British invasion of New York from Canada. British defeated and retreat to Canada. Great Lakes Campaign -- 1813:  Great Lakes Campaign -- 1813 British supply forces via St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Control of communications routes on the lakes is necessary. Lake Ontario Commodore Isaac Chauncey and Commodore Sir James Yeo. Shipbuilding race and lack of initiative lead to stalemate. Lake Erie Oliver Hazard Perry Flagship: Named USS Lawrence in honor of fallen friend. Defeats British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie. “We have met the enemy and they are ours .” British forces cut off from supplies. General William Henry Harrison receives Perry’s message, recaptures Detroit, and defeats British and Indians at the Battle of the Thames. Indian leader Tecumseh is killed and NW Territory secured for U.S. Great Lakes Campaign:  Great Lakes Campaign Oliver Hazard Perry:  Oliver Hazard Perry Commander American Lake Erie Squadron 1813 Captain Robert Barclay:  Captain Robert Barclay Commander British Lake Erie Squadron 1813 Battle of Lake Erie:  Battle of Lake Erie - Perry transfers flag from Lawrence to Niagara. Perry’s Battle Flag - USS Lawrence:  Perry’s Battle Flag - USS Lawrence Battle of Lake Erie Battle of Lake Erie 10 September 1813 :  Battle of Lake Erie 10 September 1813 “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” - Oliver Hazard Perry Peace and Aftermath:  Peace and Aftermath Great Britain agrees to peace. American victories at Lakes Erie and Champlain. American privateers capture British merchants. Treaty of Ghent -- 24 December 1814 “Status Quo Ante Bellum” British end impressment of American seamen. Battle of New Orleans -- 1815 Occurred after peace treaty signed. Gunboats delay British at Lake Borgne. British defeated by General Andrew Jackson’s makeshift army. Victories in Creek War and at New Orleans - emerges as national hero. Naval Contributions:  Naval Contributions Victory on the lakes: Lake Erie: Restores American control of Northwest Territory. Lake Champlain: Prevented invasion of New York. Created stalemate. Commerce Raiding Ultimately ineffective. BUT - Plays a factor in British agreement to peace. Single ship engagements: Superiority of American shipbuilding and command. Boost to national morale. BUT - Ineffective against British blockade. British sea power’s effectiveness increased throughout the war as French were defeated on continental Europe. Summary -- War of 1812:  Summary -- War of 1812 British view as a “Limited War”. Americans view as: A struggle to end British-supported Indian attacks. An attempt to acquire Canada. An assertion of the nation’s neutral rights against British interference. Main Theatres Atlantic Effective British blockade of US ports. Gunboat policy fails to prevent British raids. Great Lakes U.S. wins control of sea lines of communication. British forced to retreat.

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