Timeline

BIRTH OF THE AMERICAN NAVY TIMELINE
Part 1 - 1651-1799
Part 2 - 1801-1815

1600-1774 COLONIAL AMERICA
1651 The Navigation Act is passed by Britain's Parliament to channel exports from the colonies through an English port before continuing to a foreign harbor.
1663 The Staple Act adds to the existing laws by requiring goods to be unloaded, inspected, paid for in duties, and repacked for shipment.
1673 The Act of 1673 states that all goods not bonded in England must have a duty and bond placed on them when the ship reaches the colonies.
1733 The Molasses Act attempts to stop trade between the New England colonies and the French West Indies.
1764 The Revenue Act (Sugar Act) reduces taxes on molasses from six to three pence a gallon, but it also adds to the list of American exports that must pass through English ports.
1765 The Stamp Act requires that a revenue stamp be placed on all newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, legal documents, liquor licenses, college diplomas, playing cards, and even dice.
1766 Repeal of the Stamp Act due to violent opposition.
1767 The Townshend Acts adds duties to the importation of paper, lead, painters' colors, and tea.
1773 The Tea Act is designed to help the nearly bankrupt East India Company by giving it direct access to the American market.
1774 The Coercive Acts are actually a series of acts which include the Port Act, the Massachusetts Regulating Act, and the Quebec Act.
1775 April-The American militia confront British troops at Lexington and Concord.

June 16-The British attempt to break the American defensive line by attacking the militia's fortified positions at Breed's Hill.

August-Washington charters the fishing schooner Hannah to raid British shipping of valuable military supplies.

Fall-Washington gives Benedict Arnold command of an American expedition into Canadian territory.

October 13-Continental Congress establishes a Naval Committee. Celebrated today as the official "birthday" of the U.S. Navy.

1776 Summer-At Lake Champlain, under the command of General Horatio Gates, Benedict Arnold constructs a squadron of sixteen ships.

October 11-At Valcour Island, Lake Champlain, British and American ships face off in a two-day running battle down the lake.

1778 February 6-France signs treaties of alliance and commerce with the United States.

April 24-John Paul Jones, in his Continental Navy sloop, Ranger, defeats British sloop of war Drake.

1779 September 23-John Paul Jones, in the French East Indiaman Bonhomme Richard, defeats the British frigate Serapis.
1781 Summer-General Cornwallis establishes a base of operations at Yorktown, Virginia.

Summer-Admiral de Grasse begins moving his fleet north from the West Indies, bound for the Chesapeake Bay.

Summer-Admiral Sir George Rodney dispatches fourteen British ships in pursuit.

August 21-Washington's army begins moving south from New York to confront Cornwallis at Yorktown.

August 29-French fleet arrives in Virginia, anchoring in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. French troops land to hold Cornwallis at Yorktown. Washington's men are ferried by the French from the northern bay. Now Cornwallis is effectively trapped.

September 5-British fleet arrives at mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. At 3:45 P.M., the two fleets face off in a confrontation known as the Battle of the Capes. The French successfully protect the Chesapeake Bay from the British.

October 22-Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown.

1789 Henry Knox is appointed first secretary of war by George Washington.
1793 Without the protection of the British navy, losses of American shipping to the Algerine pirates grow at an alarming rate.
1794 March 18-Congress passes An Act to Provide for a Naval Armament, authorizing the creation of a fleet of six ships to be used against the Algerine pirates.

Jay's Treaty of 1794. America and Great Britain sign the Jay Treaty.

1795 Construction begins on the six frigates authorized by the 1794 Naval Armament Act at various American ports along the Atlantic seaboard.

Angered by Jay's Treaty, French vessels begin to seize American ships on the high seas.

1796 March-A peace accord is signed between the United States and the Dey of Algiers.
1797

President John Adams dispatches a special commission to France to renegotiate trade treaties with the French Republic.

May 10-United States, the first of six frigates authorized by the 1794 Naval Armament Act, is launched in Philadelphia.

1798 March-After a year of fruitless negotiations the American commission to France returns empty-handed.

March-President Adams notifies Congress of the commission's failure, producing proof of bribes requested by French officials. The incident is named the XYZ Affair.

April 27-A new naval appropriations bill passes Congress. It calls for the building or purchase of twelve ships of war, the raising of a naval officers corps, and the creation of a budget of $950,000. Benjamin Stoddert is appointed to administer this new office.

May-Congress authorizes U.S. warships to seize "armed vessels under authority or pretense of authority from the Republic of France" when they are found operating in American coastal waters.

July-Captain Stephen Decatur, Sr., in the 20-gun schooner Delaware, encounters French privateering ship Croyable and wins the first encounter of the Quasi-War by capturing the enemy.

1799 February 9-Constellation, commanded by Thomas Truxton, defeats French ship L'Insurgente in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean.

Continue to:
Part 2 - 1801-1815

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