On this day in 1775, the Continental Navy (established to curb British Sea Control) became the United States Navy.
Courtesy of the Navy’s official website, since its foundation “our Navy has grown to become the largest, most advanced, and most lethal fighting force the world has ever known.” In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt officially marked October 13th as the Navy’s birthday, a day to “enhance appreciation of our Navy’s Heritage.”
Navy.mil outlines the timeline of our Navy’s development on their birthday celebration article, which we’ve linked in the footer. Here are dates they’ve decided to highlight:
October 13, 1775 - Establishment of the Continental Navy
Quick note: The Continental Navy originally consisted of two armed ships positioned to attack British ships arriving to resupply British soldiers in the colonies.
February 17, 1776 - First Overseas Expedition of the Continental Navy
Quick note: Commodore Esek Hopkins, “commander in chief of the fleet,” sailed from Delaware to the Bahamas with 300 sailors and marines. They capture 73 cannons, mortars and munitions and take them back to the colonies to clear the Chesapeake Bay and the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
March 27, 1794 - U.S. Navy is Reestablished
Quick note: At the conclusion of our victory in the American Revolution, the Continental Navy sold their ships and their sailors returned to civility. In 1794, President George Washington and the Congress reestablished the Navy and ordered the construction of six frigates to protect the new country.
June 28, 1794 - First Officers Appointed
Quick note: The new navy appointed six captains to oversee the six soon-to-be constructed frigates.
April 20, 1796 - Three Frigates
Quick note: Following peace with former foe Algiers, the U.S. postponed construction of three of the frigates, opting to move forward with three ships, the Constitution, the United States, and the Constellation.
April 30, 1798 - Establishment of Navy Department
Quick note: Secretary of War James McHenry was overworked and the costs of Navy projects were found to be excessive. To lighten his load and to give the Navy administration the attention it needed, President John Adams established the Navy Department.
May 18, 1798 - First Secretary of the Navy
Quick note: Benjamin Stoddert becomes the first Secretary of the Navy after serving as secretary of the Continental Board of War during the revolution. In 3 years, he grows the Navy to nearly 30 ships, 700 officers, and 5,000 seamen.
You can find more information on the Navy’s birthday and history by visiting this link.