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Sea Power
and Maritime Affairs
Lesson 6: The United States Navy, 18151860:
The Search for Professionalism
Course of the War – 1812:
• Cruise of Commodore Rodgers' squadron unsuccessful.
• Single-ship engagements won by Americans:
• USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere
• Captain Isaac Hull
• USS United States versus HMS Macedonian
• Captain Stephen Decatur
• USS Constitution versus HMS Java
• Captain William Bainbridge
• Superiority of U.S. ships, training, and commanders is
• Naval victories increase morale and support.
• Congress authorizes expanded naval building program.
• Unsuccessful American invasion of Canada.
• Detroit occupied by British and Indians - threat to NW
Commodore Rodgers’ Cruise – 1812:
USS Constitution versus
HMS Guerriere
USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere
USS Constitution versus HMS Guerriere 19 August 1812
USS Constitution
“Old Ironsides”
USS United States versus HMS Macedonian
Course of the War -- 1813
• British Strategy
Victories in Europe allow movement of ships and
troops from Europe to America.
Increase blockade on American ports.
Raid American coasts.
• USS Chesapeake versus HMS Shannon
• Lawrence: “Don’t give up the ship”
• Great Lakes Campaign
“Don’t give up
the ship!”
USS Chesapeake versus
HMS Shannon
USS Chesapeake versus HMS Shannon
1 June 1813
Great Lakes Campaign -- 1813
• British supply forces via St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.
• Control of communications routes on the lakes is necessary.
• Lake Ontario
• Commodore Isaac Chauncey and Commodore Sir James Yeo.
• Shipbuilding race and lack of initiative lead to stalemate.
• Lake Erie
• Oliver Hazard Perry
• Flagship: Named USS Lawrence in honor of fallen friend.
• Transfers flag to Niagra mid-battle
• Defeats British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie.
• “We have met the enemy and they are ours .”
• British forces cut off from supplies.
• General William Henry Harrison receives Perry’s message, recaptures
Detroit, and defeats British and Indians at the Battle of the Thames.
• Indian leader Tecumseh is killed and NW Territory secured for U.S.
Great Lakes Campaign:
Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Perry’s Battle Flag - USS Lawrence
Battle of Lake Erie
Oliver Hazard
Battle of Lake Erie
Perry transfers flag
from Lawrence to
Battle of Lake Erie: 10 September 1813
“We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
Oliver Hazard Perry
Course of the War – 1814:
• British blockade of American ports - highly effective.
American Navy unable to sortie.
U.S. economy in decline due to reduced maritime commerce.
• Washington Campaign
British forces raid Chesapeake.
• Washington burned.
• Baltimore -- Fort McHenry - Star Spangled Banner.
• Militia and gunboats very ineffective for coastal defense.
• Battle of Lake Champlain near Plattsburg.
Commodore Thomas MacDonough
Remembers Nelson’s tactics at the Battle of the Nile.
British invasion of New York from Canada.
British defeated and retreat to Canada.
Star Spangled Banner (Fort McHenry)
“…that the flag was still there…”
• Major George Armistead, the commanding officer at Fort
McHenry requested a flag "... so large that the British will have
no difficulty in seeing it from a distance..." to be flown over the
• On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in
Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes,
who had been captured after the burning of Washington, D.C.
The release was secured, but Key was detained on ship
overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts
defending Baltimore. In the morning, he was so delighted to
see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a
poem to commemorate the occasion.
Battle of Lake Champlain
11 September
USS Lake Champlain
(CG 57)
Peace and Aftermath:
• Great Britain agrees to peace.
• American victories at Lakes Erie and Champlain.
• American privateers capture British merchants.
• Treaty of Ghent -- 24 December 1814
“Status Quo Ante Bellum”
British end impressment of American seamen.
• Battle of New Orleans -- 1815
Occurred after peace treaty signed.
• Gunboats delay British at Lake Borgne.
• British defeated by General Andrew Jackson’s
makeshift army.
Victories in Creek War and at New Orleans - emerges as
national hero.
Naval Contributions:
• Victory on the lakes:
• Lake Erie: Restores American control of Northwest Territory.
• Lake Champlain: Prevented invasion of New York.
• Created stalemate.
• Commerce Raiding
• Ultimately ineffective.
• BUT - Plays a factor in British agreement to peace.
• Single ship engagements:
• Superiority of American shipbuilding and command.
• Boost to national morale.
• BUT - Ineffective against British blockade.
• British sea power’s effectiveness increased throughout the war
as French were defeated on continental Europe.
Summary -- War of 1812:
• British view as a “Limited War”.
• Americans view as:
A struggle to end British-supported Indian attacks.
An attempt to acquire Canada.
An assertion of the nation’s neutral rights against
British interference.
• Main Theatres
• Atlantic
• Effective British blockade of US ports.
• Gunboat policy fails to prevent British raids.
• Great Lakes
• U.S. wins control of sea lines of communication.
• British forced to retreat.
Sea Power
and Maritime Affairs
Lesson 6: The United States Navy, 18151860:
The Search for Professionalism
Learning Objectives:
• The student will comprehend the influence of
European events upon American trade and
naval policy during this period.
• The student will understand and be able to
explain the term “Battle of Annihilation.”
• The student will know the background of
Jefferson’s defensive naval strategy including
the use of gunboats and forts. Know the causes
and naval operations of the Napoleonic Wars.
Learning Objectives:
• The student will know (recall) operations against
the Barbary corsairs during this period.
• The student will comprehend the main factors of
the European war and their effect on causing the
War of 1812.
• The student will understand and be able to explain
the term “Guerre de Course.”
• The student will know the U.S. and British Naval
Strategy during the war.
Learning Objectives:
• The student will comprehend the Great Lakes
campaign and its importance to the U.S. war effort.
• The student will comprehend (compare and
contrast) the naval strategies of Rodgers and
• The student will comprehend the significance of
the Washington and New Orleans campaigns.
• The student will know the contributions of the U.S.
Navy during the war of 1812, and assess the state
of the Navy after the Treaty of Ghent
Next time: The United States Navy, 1815-1860:
The Search for Professionalism
Learning Objectives:
•Comprehend the effectiveness of the U.S. Navy as an
instrument of diplomacy.
•Know the state of naval technology and its evolution
during this period.
•Know U.S. naval policy as a reflection of the period of
•Comprehend the Wilkes and M. C. Perry expeditions and
assess their importance to U.S maritime interests.
•Know the technical advances used in the Crimean War
and lessons learned.
Period of Expansion
• Monroe Doctrine -- 1823
• No European colonization or intervention in the
• Manifest Destiny
• “Our manifest destiny is to overspread the continent
allotted by Providence for the free development of
our yearly multiplying millions.”
• John L. O'Sullivan, 1845
Anglo-American Friendship:
• Monroe Doctrine sprung from British
interest to prevent Holy Alliance (Prussia,
Russia, Austria) from grabbing Spanish
• Began to see eye-to-eye with erstwhile
Mother Country
• Love, peace, and harmony…kind of
Continuing Problems with Barbary States:
Barbary Wrap-Up:
• Algerian Dey up to old tricks
• Madison sends Decatur back to Med after
Treaty of Ghent
• MFN - Sets standard for US maritime
pacts in 19th century
• The Golden Age of “Gunboat Diplomacy”
• Decatur: “The settlement has been
dictated at the mouths of our cannon.”
Monroe’s “Gunboat Diplomacy”:
• Increase in Size
• Anglo-American Cooperation
• Monroe Doctrine (1823)
• Squadron Deployment
• From periodic scourge to worldwide
“Gunboat Diplomacy” was the Naval
predecessor to what other term we have
discussed at length?
Answer: “What is Power Projection”?
(I’ll take “America kicking ass around the
globe” for 300, Al…)
Board of Commissioners:
• Secretary of Navy William Jones overwhelmed
with paperwork during War of 1812
• Asked Congress to establish three officer
“advisory board”
• Congress does so in 1815
• John Rodgers
• Isaac Hull
• David Porter
Naval Warfighting Doctrine:
• Primary mission of the Navy = “Gunboat
• Protect U. S. commercial interests overseas “Showing the flag.”
• Overall Doctrine
• Focus on Commerce Raiding - “Guerre de Course”.
• Command of the sea -- de-emphasized.
• Coastal defense - Army forts constructed at
entrances to ports.
Initial Squadrons (1826):
West India
East India (1835)
Permanent U.S. Navy Squadrons:
Permanent Squadrons:
• Home Squadron
• Atlantic coast.
• Mediterranean Squadron
• Barbary states’ tribute demands.
• West Indies Squadron
• David Porter battles Caribbean and Gulf Coast piracy.
• Brazil Squadron
• Enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine.
• African Squadron
• Enforcement of ban on the slave trade (Enacted in 1807).
• Pacific Squadron
• Chile and Peru, later Hawaii - protection of whaling fleets.
• East Indies Squadron
• Protect expanding U.S. trade in Asia.
West Indies Squadron:
Spanish degenerates to outright piracy
Monroe turns to Navy
1821 Adams-Onis Treaty
WI Squadron cleans out Caribbean
Based in Key West
James Biddle, David Porter
1841 Absorbed into “Home Squadron”
Pacific Squadron
Isaac Hull
Anglo-American relations
Dolphin to Hawaii
Peacock to Honolulu
Andrew Jackson
Jackson’s Naval Diplomacy
• “...standing armies dangerous to free
governments in time of peace.”
• Enough ships to protect commerce
• But Bellicose in action
• Natives in Qualla Battoo raided American
merchant Friendship
• Potomac captained by John Downes
• Amphibious landing in Qualla Battoo
• slaughter
• Jackson: publicly praises
The Falkland Islands:
• Argentine governor Louis Vernet
• Prosecutes illegal seal poacher Harriet
• Lexington, Captain Silas Duncan in
• Raids the Falklands
• Buenos Aries cuts of diplomatic ties with
• President “entirely approves of
[Duncan’s] conduct
Turkish-American Treaty- 1830
• Most Favored Nation status
• Opened Black Sea to American
• Confirmed principle of extra-territoriality
• Guranteed humane treatment of
shipwrecked sailors
• Set standard for 19th century American
diplomacy outside of Europe
1837- Handoff to Martin Van Buren:
• 21 ships
• Five Squadrons
• All operating away from the Atlantic Coast
• Anglo-American friendship
• Van Buren not interested in Navy
• Depression 1837
• Secretary of Navy James K. Paulding kind of a
A word on Science and Technology...
Industrial Revolution (1750-1830):
• Affects naval technology.
to Steam
to Iron
Solid Shot
to Shell
Steam Power:
• James Watt -- Steam Engine advances made in 1770’s.
• Robert Fulton - Steam-driven “paddle wheelers”.
• Clermont - 1807 First practical steamship.
• Demologos (Fulton) - 1814
First steam warship.
• Engines and paddles take gun space and are vulnerable to
• M. F. Maury, Robert Stockton and M.C. Perry:
• Leading naval advocates for steam power.
• Fulton II - 1837 -- Commanded by M.C. Perry.
• Mississippi and Missouri - 1842.
• Princeton - 1842-43 “Screw” propeller warship.
• Stockton brings John Ericcson from Europe to design.
• All machinery below decks.
• Merrimack - class “fast screw” frigates - 1850’s.
• European navies also develop steam power and screws.
Robert Fulton
USS Mississippi
USS Princeton (1842-43):
Battle of Vera Cruz
M.C. Perry’s Flagship
USS Mississippi
Wilkes Expedition 1838-1842:
• Lieutenant Charles Wilkes
• Six-ship squadron.
• Gathers scientific knowledge.
• Charted much of the Pacific Ocean, Antarctica,
and North American West Coast.
• Recognized growing importance of the Pacific.
• Increasing trade with Asia.
The “Wilkes Expedition”
August 1838 - July 1842
Matthew Fontaine Maury
Pathfinder of the Seas
“Father of Naval
• Studies of weather
and currents allow
preparation of
detailed navigation
Back to the action...
- Manifest Destiny - The Mexican-American War - The Ante-Bellum period -
“Tippecanoe and…”
• Abel P. Upshur SECNAV under President
• Tyler Doctrine: No one colonizes Hawaii
• Bureau System
• Continued Naval Increase
• Guerre de Course
The “Bureau System”:
• Secretary of the Navy Upshur -- 1841-42
• Proponent of expansion, modernization, and reform.
• Five “bureaus” established to replace the Board
of Commissioners in 1842.
• Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks
• Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography
• Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and
• Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
• Bureau of Provisions and Clothing
“We have tried every effort
at reconciliation… But
now, after reiterated
menaces, Mexico has
passed the boundary of the
United States (Rio
Grande), has invaded our
territory and shed
American blood upon
American soil…. The two
nations are at war.”
Mexican-American War (1846-48):
• Republic of Texas
• Independent from Mexico: 1836.
• Annexed by United States: 1845.
• Southern border in dispute with Mexico.
• General Zachary Taylor
• Operations against Mexican Army in Texas 1846.
• Picking a fight
• 25 April 1846: clash on the border
Gulf of Mexico - 1847
• SECNAV George Bancroft
• Home Squadron
David Connor
Blockade, bombardment, amphibious assault
Where is the guerre de course?
We are the stronger power!
• Kept to our guns
• “Free ships make free goods”
• Legal blockades...pretty boring
Gulf of Mexico – 1847:
• U.S. Navy establishes command of the sea.
• Blockade and capture of Mexican ports.
• Marines used as a garrison force.
• Combined Army-Navy operations at Vera Cruz.
• Commodore M.C. Perry takes command of Home
• Amphibious landing including Marines.
• General Winfield Scott marches to Mexico City.
• Accompanied by a regiment of Marines.
• Marines in the Battle of Chapultepec.
• “The Halls of Montezuma”
Winfield Scott
Calbraith Perry
Battle of Vera Cruz:
Pacific Squadron:
• Initially under Commodore John Sloat.
• Monterey and San Francisco captured by joint
American forces - Army, Navy, and Marine
• Commodore Robert Stockton - Los Angeles.
• California and Oregon occupied by the end of
the war.
Battle of Monterey
Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo – 1848:
• Rio Grande established as Texas-Mexico border.
• Western United States ceded from Mexico.
• Mexico kept Baja (lower) California
The Crimean War (1853-56)
Crimean War 1854-56:
• Russian invasion of Ottoman Empire in Europe.
• Battle of Sinop
• Russian fleet annihilates Turkish fleet by use of shell
• Proves wooden-hulled ships are obsolete -- unable to
withstand explosive shell fire.
• Great Britain and France allied with Ottoman
• Sevastopol Campaign
• Sailing ships inadequate compared to steam ships for
• Importance of proper planning and coordination of
amphibious assaults.
• Kinburn
• Ironclad armor on French ships used for protection.
Secretary of Navy James C. Dobbin:
• Hagan: “godfather of modern American Sea
• Modernized fleet in order to maintain “our
proper and elevated rank among the great
powers of the world.”
U.S. Navy Expedition to Japan – 1854:
• Acquisition of California and Oregon - 1848.
• U.S. is now a power in the Pacific Ocean.
• Japan
• Island nation closed to foreign influence.
• Commodore M.C. Perry
• U.S. Navy squadron to Japan - 1853.
• Returns to Tokyo Bay - 1854.
• Treaty of Kanagawa - 1854
• Protection of American seamen.
• Two ports opened to American shipping.
USS Susquehanna
Commodore Perry’s Flagship during mission to
• Korean “Turtle” Ships
• Japanese-Korean War 1592-1598
• Iron deck on galleys provided protection from
boarding and projectiles.
• French ironclad frigate Gloire - 1859.
• 36 guns in broadside.
• 5,600-tons displacement.
• Wooden hull with iron armor plating.
• British ironclad battleship Warrior - 1860.
40 guns in broadside.
9,000-tons displacement.
Iron hull with iron armor plating.
First “modern” warship -- sometimes referred to as
first battleship.
HMS Warrior
First “Modern”
• USS Princeton ordnance demonstration - 1844.
• Ericcson’s “Oregon” and Stockton’s
• “Peacemaker” improperly reinforced.
• Explosion kills six, including the Secretary of War
and the Secretary of the Navy.
• U.S. naval ordnance development suspended.
• John Dahlgren -- “Father of Modern Naval
• “Dahlgren Gun” - 1850’s.
• Nine inch shell gun.
• Mounted on Merrimac - class frigates.
• Bore is smooth - still inaccurate at longer ranges.
• Experiments with “rifled” cannon begin.
John Dahlgren
The “Peacemaker”
Conclusion: 1815-1860
• Period of U.S. territorial and commercial
• Navy grows after War of 1812.
• Supports American trade overseas.
• Relative peace throughout period.
• U.S. -- defensive and isolationist policy for
• Popular support of Navy slowly declines.
• Experiments with new naval technologies.
Learning Objectives:
•Comprehend the effectiveness of the U.S. Navy
as an instrument of diplomacy.
•Know the state of naval technology and its
evolution during this period.
•Know U.S. naval policy as a reflection of the
period of 1815-1860.
•Comprehend the Wilkes and M. C. Perry
expeditions and assess their importance to U.S
maritime interests.
•Know the technical advances used in the
Crimean War and lessons learned.
• Battle of the Nile
• Battle of Trafalgar
• Crimean War
• Battle of New Orleans
- The Battle of the Nile
- The Battle of Trafalgar
- The Battle of Monterey
- The Crimean War
- The Battle of New Orleans
- The American Revolution, 1775-1783: Part of a Larger Struggle
- The U.S. Navy in the Napoleonic Era, 1783-1815
- The United States Navy 1815-1860: The Search for
Next time: The Civil War