Tuesday, November 6, 2007
George Washington's "Navy"
In late 1775, as the fires of revolution and war were becoming hotter each day, General George Washington commissioned two small schooners (named "Lynch" and "Franklin"), to patrol in and around Boston Harbor, and to harass the British whenever possible. This small "fleet" of ships eventually included four additional boats, which were officially commissioned by General Washington as the first "armed Vessels" of the "United Colonies of North America." In essence, this small fleet of ships became America's first Navy.
Washington himself financed the six-ship fleet out of his own pocket. Knowing that this small rabble of a Navy could never stand up to the mighty arm of the British, Washington requested that a unique banner be flown by each of these six ships. At Washington's request, this "white flag, with a green pine tree, and the inscription, 'An Appeal to Heaven'" became the official banner of the "Washington Navy." In addition, Washington ordered that all crewmen of these ships be dressed in an green and white uniform.
Interestingly enough, this fleet lasted throughout the duration of the Revolutionary War, carrying out a diverse number of assignments and playing a number of different roles in the process.