American naval history

In 1942, Congress and the Administration debated cancelling the famous gridiron match-up between Army and Navy because of wartime gas rationing. President Roosevelt found a novel solution.

In the weeks after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese conquered most of the areas of Southeast Asia that produced rubber and cut off supply to the U.S. Read more >>

America’s naval tradition is as old as America itself, and an amazing number of the ships that forged it are still afloat.

Something about ships accentuates the human experience, most obviously because of the breadth of activity that has taken place within such small spaces. Read more >>

In which John Jones, né Paul, invades both England and Scotland, despoils a countess, and defeats a British sloop—all in less than forty-eight hours

Edward Moran’s series of Victorian seascapes recall a vanished national mood—when the eagle screamed, when painters were sentimental and poets misty about the eyes.

A carefree Sunday lay ahead for one of the mess cooks on USS Oklahoma. His pockets jingled, and a pretty girl awaited him for a picnic on a warm, white beach. Minutes later he lay entombed at the bottom of Pearl Harbor

American forces had returned to the Philippines, and the Japanese Navy was about to make its last, desperate attempt to stave off defeat. Suddenly, by miscalculation, nothing stood between its most powerful task force and the American beachhead at Leyte Gulf but a small group of U.S. escort carriers. Could little Taffy 3 hold off Admiral Kurita’s gigantic battleships?

In modern war, the true exercise of maritime power depends nearly as much upon the exertions of land and air forces as it does upon naval.” But it is still sea power.

The task of the military historian is beginning to look a trifle odd because the world is moving out from under him. Statesmen who have at their disposal intercontinental missiles with atomic warheads are not apt to find much nourishment in studies of conventional strategy. Read more >>

Japan’s feudal, shut-in history suddenly came to an end when the bluff American commodore dropped anchor in Tokyo Bay

Throughout the mid-1830’s there raged in American naval circles, as veil as in Congress when defense appropriations came up, a debate on the wisdom of introducing into our sail-driven frigate fleet a revolutionary new method of propulsion—steam. Most captains as well as congressmen were opposed to the innovation. It was costly. It was uncertain. Sailors knew nothing about machinery and did not want to learn. There had even been a near-mutiny when a Navy crew refused to hoist out firebox clinkers from an experimental floating battery designed by Fulton. Read more >>

American sea captain George Coggeshall tells of his experiences evading the British navy during the War of 1812 and spending over half a century at sea.

George Coggeshall of Milford, Connecticut, was a sea captain in the great Yankee tradition. His father had been a successful shipmaster but was ruined by repeated confiscations of his cargoes by British and French vessels in the years after the Revolution. Read more >>