Jul 4

John Paul Jones Hoists First Stars and Stripes Flag 4 July 1777

Monday, July 4, 2011 12:01 AM


Standing at attention during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, saluting the national ensign, and reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” are all acts performed occasionally by most Americans and regularly by the men and women who wear the uniforms of the armed services. These acts have meaning because of the flag’s symbolic significance. The stars and stripes represent the nation’s independence, the sacrifices that established and have maintained our freedom, and our national values embodied in the Declaration of Independence. This is why the displaying of a large stars and stripes flag on a building opposite… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 26

John Paul Jones’ Crypt

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:01 AM


A most impressive site at the United States Naval Academy is the crypt holding the body of America’s great Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones. Visited by thousands of people each year, it is an icon of both the Naval Academy and the United States Navy. How that crypt came to be is an interesting story. Jones died alone and almost forgotten in Paris in 1792, where he was buried in an obscure cemetery that was later paved over. When in the early 1900’s President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to celebrate the emergence of the United States as a world-class… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 19

John Paul Jones and Russia

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 8:52 AM


America is often called a nation of immigrants, and Scottish-born John Paul Jones is as much a citizen of his adopted country as is any other immigrant. Jones was not unique as a foreign-born officer in the Continental Navy. John Barry, born in Ireland, Denis-Nicolas Cottineau de Kerloguen, born in France, and John Manley, born in England, are a few other examples. Although, in the spirit of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, Jones called himself a “citizen of the world,” Americans today can justly embrace him as their own. While it is true that in accepting appointment to command in the navy… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 18

‘A Very Disagreeable Affair’

Monday, January 18, 2016 12:01 AM


In Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island colonists head for shore after setting HMS GASPEE ablaze. (Heroic Deeds of American Sailors)

When we reflect back at the early period of our naval history, Americans tends to look for battles out on the blue water to mark the beginning of our sea services. John Paul Jones and his battles against HMS Serapis and Drake capture the imagination because of the quotable exclamations of the captain, as well as because of a caricatured Mahanian view of the centrality of big decisive sea battles. Lost in that search for the Midway or Jutland of the distant past is the fact that many of the most important naval fights of the Revolutionary era occurred instead… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 20

The Posterity of the Ganges

Thursday, August 20, 2015 6:00 AM


Portrait of Thomas Macdonough, who served aboard the Ganges. Courtesy Library of Congress.

It is frequently the case that a ship is given the name of an individual as a honorarium. Names such as Campbell, Fletcher, Porter, and many, many others are accepted in kind. So when individuals are given the name of a ship, suddenly we take notice that something very remarkable is afoot. Such is the case of the surname Ganges. The story of how a family came to be named after a 26-gun sloop-of-war is one that upholds the finest traditions of the U.S. Navy.

Jul 4

America, Independence and Freedom: Three Great Names That Go Great With Navy Ships

Saturday, July 4, 2015 10:47 AM


By Joshua L. Wick Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division When many Americans think of the 4th of July, a few words come to mind: Freedom, Independence, America. These words carry a certain weight; they represent power, strength and fortitude. So it’s no wonder why some of the greatest U.S. Navy ships have born these names. Since the establishment of America’s Navy there have been very few years in which Sailors were not actively serving aboard ships with these names. To truly know these Sailors, we need to know their ships – as it is their ships bear… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 8

French, American Alliance Hastened End of Revolutionary War

Monday, June 8, 2015 8:12 AM


Editor’s Note: As the French tall ship replica L’Hermione makes her way up the East Coast to celebrate the relationship between France and the United States, a series of blogs will discuss four topics: the Marquis de Lafayette; the ship that brought him to America the second time in 1780, L’Hermione; the critical Battle of the Virginia Capes on Sept. 5, 1781, and the Franco-American relationship as it has grown over the past years. From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division Proving that partnerships mattered in our countries infancy, during the American Revolution, the American colonies faced… Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 11

Naval Battles of the American Revolutionary War

Saturday, April 11, 2015 3:21 PM


By Joshua L. Wick, Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division Despite the success of the fledgling Continental Navy during the American Revolution the ending of the war actually brought an end to our nation’s first navy. A few months after the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown Oct. 19, 1781, the British Parliament made its first overtures to the United States to begin peace talks the following spring. Nearly a year later, the Confederation Congress issued a proclamation on this date (April 11) in 1783, “declaring the cessation of arms” against Great Britain, which had passed… Read the rest of this entry »