In 1775, it seemed inconceivable that the American colonists could overcome the overwhelming military superiority of Great Britain. Yet the belligerent colonists were certain they could defeat the British army they so despised. On the other hand, their one great fear was that they would not be able to overcome the presence of the Royal Navy. Somehow though, the colonists were able to resist the British at sea, attract capable allies, and successfully conclude their quest for independence. The primary focus of this work is the period prior to 1779 before the French had come to the aid of the fledgling American nation—when the Blue Water Patriots confronted the Royal Navy alone, relying on little more than ingenuity and courage.
In 1775, it was inconceivable that the American colonists could have overcome the overwhelming military superiority of Great Britain. Yet the belligerent colonists seemed certain that they could defeat the British army they so despised. On the other hand, the one great fear shared by all colonists was that they would not be able to overcome the presence of the Royal Navy. Yet, somehow, the colonists were able to resist the British at sea, attract capable allies to aid them, and successfully conclude their quest for independence. The American Revolution can safely be viewed as part of a prolonged worldwide naval conflict between France and Britain beginning with the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and ending with the British victory at Trafalgar in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. This was a period in which the armed merchantmen of the age of trade were replaced by genuine warships whose task was to control the sea lanes. The American Revolution was a watershed in this regard with improved warship designs, new technologies, improved gunpowder and communications, and innovative tactics. Although French participation in the war for independence was crucial, the primary focus of this work is the period before 1779, when the colonists confronted the Royal Navy alone with only their ingenuity and courage to defend them.
Every school child knows that the American Revolution began on Lexington Green in April, 1775, but how many are aware that in 1764 a Royal Navy cutter, St. John, engaged in the suppression of smuggling, was fired upon by Rhode Islanders; that in 1769, the revenue sloop Liberty was seized and burned by the people of Newport; or that in 1772, the navy cutter Gaspee was burned in the night by armed patriots attacking from small boats. These Blue Water Patriots fought the first battles on the road to American independence. This is their story.