The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence

Library of Alexandria
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Publisher
Library of Alexandria
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Published on
Dec 31, 1969
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Pages
322
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ISBN
9781465547316
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Language
English
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This content is DRM protected.
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Captain Broke's victory in 1813 over Captain Lawrence of USS Chesapeake, which was to have far reaching influence on the future of North America, did much to restore the morale of the Royal Navy, shattered by three successive defeats in single-ship duels with US frigates, and stunned the American nation which had come to expect success.

2013 sees the bicentenary of the battle and this new book seeks to reverse the neglect shown by most modern historians of one of Britain's finest frigate captains, who by his skill, determination and leadership won one of the bloodiest naval duels the world has seen. Even now both Britain and the USA claim to have won the war but only Canada, the third country heavily involved, can fully claim to have done so, for the peace that followed established her as an independent nation.

Leading historians from all three countries have joined to give their sometimes conflicting views on different aspects in a way to interest and entertain general readers, as well as challenge academics. It is a tale of political and military blunders, courage and cowardice in battle, a bloody ship-to-ship fight, and technical innovation in the hitherto crude methods of naval gunnery. It also tells the human story of Broke's determination to achieve victory so he could return to his wife and children after seven lonely years at sea.

The near-fatal wound Broke received in hand-to-hand fighting as he boarded the Chesapeake meant that he never served again at sea, but his work on naval gunnery, paid for out of his own pocket, transformed Admiralty thinking and led to the establishment of the British naval school of gunnery, HMS Excellent. This Bicentenary year of his victory is timely for an up-to-date, wide-ranging work incorporating the latest thinking; this is the book.

As seen in the East Anglian Daily Times and the Ipswich Star.
This lively book recounts the story of the antagonism between the American colonists and the British armed forces prior to the Revolution. Douglas Leach reveals certain Anglo-American attitudes and stereotypes that evolved before 1763 and became an important factor leading to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.

Using research from both England and the United States, Leach provides a comprehensive study of this complex historical relationship. British professional armed forces first were stationed in significant numbers in the colonies during the last quarter of the seventeenth century. During early clashes in Virginia in the 1670s and in Boston and New York in the late 1680s, the colonists began to perceive the British standing army as a repressive force.

The colonists rarely identified with the British military and naval personnel and often came to dislike them as individuals and groups. Not suprisingly, these hostile feelings were reciprocated by the British soldiers, who viewed the colonists as people who had failed to succeed at home and had chosen a crude existence in the wilderness. These attitudes hardened, and by the mid-eighteenth century an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion prevailed on both sides.

With the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754, greater numbers of British regulars came to America. Reaching uprecedented levels, the increased contact intensified the British military's difficulty in finding shelter and acquiring needed supplies and troops from the colonists. Aristocratic British officers considered the provincial officers crude amateurs -- incompetent, ineffective, and undisciplined -- leading slovenly, unreliable troops. Colonists, in general, hindered the British military by profiteering whenever possible, denouncing taxation for military purposes, and undermining recruiting efforts. Leach shows that these attitudes, formed over decades of tension-breeding contact, are an important development leading up to the American Revolution.

During the winter of 1776-1777, Lieutenant General John Burgoyne, who at the time was second in command of Britain’s Northern Army (based in Canada), proposed his “Thoughts for Conducting the War from the Side of Canada” to King George III. Unhappy with the lack of success during the Northern Campaign of 1776, King George approved Burgoyne’s campaign plan and chose Burgoyne to lead the Northern Army. Burgoyne’s plan was a simple two-pronged attack from Quebec to seize Albany and secure the Lake Champlain-Lake George-Hudson River Waterway. After seizing Albany, Burgoyne expected to linkup with a third force attacking north from New York City.

While strategic policies and decisions negatively affected Burgoyne’s campaign and the third force from New York City never really materialized, Burgoyne’s campaign concept was both feasible and achievable. Of the two forces attacking south from Canada, Burgoyne commanded the main attack force of 9,000-plus soldiers and Brigadier General Barry St Leger commanded a 2,000 man diversionary force. In his “Thoughts for Conducting the War from the Side of Canada,” Burgoyne intended to seize Fort Ticonderoga and develop a theater logistics base before advancing, via Lake Champlain-Lake George-Hudson River waterway, on Albany. Simultaneous with Burgoyne’s advance on Albany from the north, St Leger was advancing on Albany from the west, using the St Lawrence River-Lake Erie-Mohawk River waterway as a his axis of advance. Ultimately, Burgoyne believed that both attacks would make the Americans to split their forces in order to defend Albany.

While the British tackled supply problems, the Americans seized the initiative by harassing and delaying the British and destroying the only usable roads. By September, the Americans were dictating the terms of each engagement and controlling the tempo of the campaign.
Naval historians and maritime students alike will welcome this fascinating compendium of writings by one of the world's most influential and respected experts on naval warfare. Considered by many the greatest of all naval theorists, Admiral Mahan was revered by his contemporaries (including Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who made Mahan mandatory reading for his naval officers) for the quality of his insight and analysis.
Mahan's close reading of history, his evaluation of the lessons of naval events and his predictions and prescriptions for the conduct of future naval policy contributed powerfully to the shaping of the twentieth century. His influence on naval theorists and policy makers in every great nation was profound, but nowhere was it stronger than among the three "upstart" powers, the United States, Japan and Germany. The Mahan-inspired devotion of these three powers to challenging the naval superiority of the existing naval triumvirate, Britain, France and Russia, and then each other, was among the catalysts for the eruptions of 1914 and 1939.
While Mahan's theories received their most cogent statement in his masterwork, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783, he expanded upon them in many other books, articles and essays. The present volume comprises a rich selection of his shorter pieces. Ranging widely, these selections cover over 40 different topics in a comprehensive discussion of naval principles, sea power in history, and naval and national policies. Taken together, they offer the distilled wisdom, sober evaluations and closely reasoned analysis of a celebrated figure who was an American naval officer in the Civil War, second president of the Naval War College and one of the most outspoken delegates to the Peace Conference at The Hague in 1899.
This single volume of selections will enable naval officers, laymen, armchair sailors and students of world history to grasp quickly the essence of Mahan's ideas and their lasting effect upon naval policy and international affairs.
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