From the Honorable
Gordon R. England
Secretary of the Navy
On the occasion of the 230th Birthday
Birthdays are traditionally
milestones in time that call for
both reflection on achievements past and thoughts on changes
ahead. The Navy's birthday is no different.
On the occasion of this
230th milestone, we can all take enormous
pride in a naval history rich in tradition and unparalleled
success. Today, the United States Navy stands alone, unmatched
in the world.
John Paul Jones
set the tone of our service when he stated, "I
wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail
fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." For more than
centuries, this legacy has endured, along with our core
of honor, courage, and commitment. Brave Sailors and Marines
have repeatedly fought to guarantee the security and prosperity
of our great Nation and to defend freedom and democracy
Freedom and liberty are not birthrights; rather, they need
guarded, defended and protected. For 230 years, magnificent
and women have stepped forward to preserve this gift of
and liberty for us. Now, it's our responsibility to pass
this gift to future generations.
Today, our Navy again
sails in harm's way fighting global
terrorism - a profound threat to peace, stability, and our
of life. We are again a Nation at war, and these are historic
Like the men and women
who served during World War II, this
generation will also earn the respect and admiration of
generations yet unborn for answering the call and defeating
global scourge of terrorism. You and your families are making
many sacrifices to preserve our way of life, and it is deeply
appreciated by the American people. In this global war on
terror, your service is vitally important and highly valued.
For me, it's an honor
and privilege to serve with the
professional men and women who wear the Navy uniform. I
thank all the civilians in our Navy family for their hard
and devotion. Quite simply, without our civilians behind
lines, Sailors and Marines could never deploy to the front
lines. In this fight, we truly are One Team!
Happy 230th birthday
to the greatest Navy the world has ever
seen. God bless each of you and your families, and may God
continue to bless America.
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Captains and Commanders
Esek Hopkins, Commander
in Chief, 22 Dec. 1775
1. James Nicholson, 6 June 1776
2. John Manley, 17 Apri.1776
3. Hector McNeill, 15 June 1776
4. Dudley Saltonstall, 22 Dec. 1775
5. Nicholas Biddle, 22 Dec. 1775
6. Thomas Thompson, 6 June 1776
7. John Barry, 6 June 1776
8. Thomas Read, 6 June 1776
9. Thomas Grinnell, 15 June 1776
10. Charles Alexander, 18 Apr. 1776
11. Lambert Wickes
12. Abraham Whipple, 22 Dec.1775
13. John Burrows Hopkins, 22 Dec.1775
14. John Hodge, 22 Aug.1776
15. William Hallock, 18 Apr.1776 16. Hoysted Hacker
17. Isaiah Robinson
18. John Paul Jones
19. James Josiah
20. Elisha Hinman, 13 Aug. 1776
21. Joseph Olney
22. James Robinson
23. John Young
24. Elisha Warner
John Nicholson, 19 Nov.
Samuel Nicholson, 10 Dec. 1776
Henry Johnson, 5 Feb. 1777
John Peck Rathburne, 15 Feb. 1777
Gustavus Conyngham, 1 Mar.1777
Samuel Tucker, 15 Mar.1777
Daniel Waters, 17 Mar.1777
John Green, 11 Feb. 1778
William Burke, 1 May 1778
Pierre Landais, 18 June 1778
Seth Harding, 23 Sept. 1778
Silas Talbot, 17 Sept. 1779
Note: The names of captains which are numbered were those
appointed 10 Oct. 1776 in order of rank. Many held earlier
commissions which are noted.
Vessels of the Continental
Name Guns Type How acquired
Alfred 24 Ship Purchased 1775 Captured 9 March 1778 by HMS
Ariadne and Ceres
Columbus 20 Ship Purchased 1775 Burned 27 March 1778 after
being chased on shore by a British squadron
Andrew Doria 14 Brig Purchased 1775 Burned to prevent capture,
21 November 1777
Cabot 14 Brig Purchased 1775 Captured by HMS Milford in
Providence 12 Sloop Purchased 1775 Destroyed 1779
Hornet 10 Sloop Purchased 1775 Destroyed 1777
Wasp 8 Schooner Purchased 1775 Destroyed 1777
Fly 8 Schooner Purchased 1775 Destroyed 1777
Lexington 16 Brig Purchased 1776 Captured by British cutter
Reprisal 16 Brig Purchased 1776 Lost at sea 1777
Hampden 14 Brig Purchased 1776 Sold 1777
Independence 10 Sloop Purchased 1776 Wrecked 1778
Sachem 10 Sloop Purchased 1776 Destroyed 1777
Mosquito 4 Sloop Puchased 1776 Destroyed 1777
Raleigh 32 Frigate Launched 1776 Captured 1778
Hancock 32 Frigate Launched 1776 Captured 1777
Warren 32 Frigate Launched 1776 Destroyed 1779
Washington 32 Frigate Launched 1776 Destroyed 1777
Randolph 32 Frigate Launched 1776 Lost in action 1778
Providence 28 Frigate Launched 1776 Captured 1780
Trumbull 28 Frigate Launched 1776 Captured 1781
Congress 28 Frigate Lauched 1776 Destroyed 1777
Virginia 28 Frigate Launched 1776 Captured 1778
Effingham 28 Frigate Launched 1776 Destroyed 1777
Boston 24 Frigate Launched 1776 Captured 1780
Montgomery 24 Frigate Launched 1776 Destroyed 1777
Delaware 24 Frigate Launched 1776 Destroyed 1777
Ranger 18 Ship Launched 1777 Captured 1780
Resistance 10 Brigantine Launched 1777 Captured 1778
Surprise Sloop Purchases 1777 Unknown
Racehorse 12 Sloop Captured 1776 Destroyed
Repulse 8 Xebec Pennsylvania State Navy gunboat lent to
Continental Navy 1777 Destroyed 1777
Champion 8 Xebec Pennsylvania State Navy gunboat lent to
Continental Navy 1777 Destroyed 1777
L'Indien 40 Frigate Built in Holland 1777 Sold to France;
later acquiredby South Carolina Navy as South Carolina
Deane (later Hague) 32 Frigate Purchased 1777 Sold 1783
Queen of France 28 Frigate Purchased 1777 Sunk 1780
Dolphin 10 Cutter Purchased 1777 Unknown
Surprise 10 Lugger Purchased 1777 Seized by France
Revenge 14 Cutter Purchased 1777 Sold 1779
Alliance 32 Frigate Launched 1778 Sold 1785
General Gates 18 Ship Purchased 1778 Sold 1779
Retaliation Brigantine Purchased 1778 Unknown
Pigot 8 Schooner Captured 1778 Unknown
Confederacy 32 Frigate Launched 1779 Captured 1781
Argo 12 Sloop Purchased 1779 Sold 1779
Diligent 12 Brig Captured 1779 Destroyed 1779
Bonhomme Richard 42 Ship Purchased 1779 Lost in action 1779
Pallas 32 Frigate Lent by France 1779 Returned to France
Cerf 18 Cutter Lent by France 1779 Returned to France
Vengeance 12 Brig Lent by France 1779 Returned to France
Serapis 44 Frigate Captured 1779 Sold 1779
Ariel 20 Ship Lent by France 1780 Returned to France 1781
Saratoga 18 Ship Launched 1780 Lost at sea 1781
America 74 Ship of the line Launched 1782 Given to France
General Washington 20 Ship Captured 1782 Sold 1784
Duc de Lauzun 20 Ship Purchased 1782 Sold 1783
Bourbon 36 Frigate Launched 1783 Sold 1783
GENERAL ORDER NO. 30
Washington, D.C., May
ORDERS GOVERNING THE MOVEMENTS OF THE RUDDER.
1. On and after July
1, 1913, the present designations "starboard"
and "port" governing movements of a ship's helm
are hereby ordered discontinued in orders and directions
to the steersman, and the terms "right" and "left,"
referring to movement of the ship's head, shall thereafter
be used instead.
2. The orders as to
rudder angle shall be given in such terms as "Ten degrees
rudder; half-rudder; standard rudder; full rudder;"
etc, so that a complete order would be "Right --- Half
3. Commanders in chief
and commanding officers acting independently may, in their
discretion, institute the above changes at an earlier date.
F. D. ROOSEVELT,
Acting Secretary of
UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
It having been represented
to the Department, that confusion arises from the use of
the words "Larboard" and "Starboard,"
in consequence of the similiarity of sound, the word "Port"
is hereafter to be substituted for "Larboard."
Washington, D.C., May 12, 1917.
1. Upon the receipt
of this order steps will immediately be taken to make identification
tags for all officers and enlisted men of the United States
naval service. Make requisition on the supply officers,
New York, for tags and necessary outfit for preparing same.
2. The following instructions
will be followed:
The identification tag
for officers and enlisted men of the Navy consists of an
oval plate of monel metal, 1.25 by 1.50 inch, perforated
at one end and suspended from the neck by a monel wire encased
in a cotton sleeve.
The tag has on one side
the etched finger print of the right index finger. On the
other side are to be etched the individual's initials and
surname, the month, day, and year of enlistment (expressed
in numerals, e.g., 1.5.1916) and the month, day, and year
of birth (similarly expressed). This side will also bear
the letters U.S.N.; for officers - initials and surname,
the rank held, and date of appointment.
The etching of the tag
shall be done by such member or members of the Hospital
Corps as the medical officer may designate.
The following articles
1. The outfit for making
a finger print on paper.
2. A supply of printer's ink thinned to the proper consistency
for easy use with an ordinary steel pen. (Dilute with gasoline
3. Gilsonite or powdered asphaltum.
4. Nitric acid (1 part by volume), water (2 parts by volume),
in glass dish.
5. Alcohol lamp with good flame or electric stove.
6. A device for holding the tag without touching the flat
surfaces (not supplied but can be made by any carpenter's
The steps in the preparation
of the etchings are as follows:
After collecting the
various articles described above, take an ordinary "rolled"
(see Manual for Medical Department - "Identification
records and finger prints") finger print on paper to
show that the finger is clean, not too heavily inked, etc.,
and will make a good print, and write down on paper the
data for the other side - initials, surname and dates required.
Make a "rolled" finger print (right index finger)
on the metal tag in the usual manner. Holding the tag by
the edge (by
improvised holder), turn it over and write on the other
side with a clean steel pen (in printer's ink that has been
thinned out with turpentine or gasoline) the initials and
surname, the date of enlistment and of birth (using figures),
and the letters U.S.N. on the left end of the oval.
While ink is still fresh
on both surfaces sprinkle them with finely powdered asphaltum.
Some of this will mix with the ink and stick to the two
surfaces. The rest should be blown off. Now heat the tag
slightly above the boiling point of water. Allow the tag
to cool. Put it in the nitric-acid solution for one hour.
Remove, wash in water, and dry.
Great care is to be
exercised in the preparation of the tags so as to avoid
useless expense for tags spoiled in the process.
The following cautions
are to be noted:
Remove all excess of
ink from the finger, leaving a smooth, uniform coating.
Press the finger lightly against the metal tag, avoiding
too great pressure, as this will smear the impression.
If the first impression
with ink is not satisfactory, make it again on a fresh tag.
Tags that have been soiled with printer's ink can be used
again after thorough cleansing with gasoline. The cleansing
must be thorough, as the least trace of ink left on the
tag from a previous attempt will spoil the etching. (It
is well to put aside the tags on which poor printing has
been done and clean them up all at one time for use.)
In inscribing the name
use a blunt pen and diluted printer's ink. The ink can be
thinned with gasoline or turpentine. Turpentine is preferable,
as it does not dry so quickly, and the next step must be
carried out with both sides of the tag wet. Have the initials,
surname, and dates written out on paper in advance so they
can be quickly inscribed on the tag without having to delay
by questioning the person for whom the tag is being prepared.
The ink should be just
thin enough to write with. If it spreads on the metal it
is too thin; if too thick it will not flow from the point
of the pen.
Be careful not to smudge
the finger print while writing name.
The next step is the
application of the gilsonite or asphaltum. This should be
fine enough to pass through a sieve having 100 meshes to
the square inch. Sprinkle thickly on the two wet surfaces.
Remove what does not mix with and stick to the ink by tapping
The tag is now held
with forceps over a flame or stove until the ink and asphaltum
have melted together, forming sharp, glossy black lines.
If not enough heat is
applied to completely melt the asphaltum, the action of
the acid will be too powerful. Complete melting of the asphaltum
is indicated by the lines becoming glossy. If too much heat
is applied, the lines run together and are obliterated.
The etching solution
consists of -
acid-------1 part by volume
Water-------------------------2 parts by volume
The solution may be
placed in glass, china, or enameled iron ware (if there
are no nicks or cracks). A number of tags can be etched
at once, but do not pile them one on top of the other. The
name side should be up and the finger-print side down while
in the acid bath. This will favor deeper etching on the
name side, which is desirable, as it will then not wear
off so rapidly.
The etching process
or acid bath should be watched and a tag lifted out from
time to time to see how lively the action is. It can be
moderated by adding water. Usually the process of etching
requires one hour. The acid solution naturally weakens with
use and should be renewed from time to time. If the corrosive
action is slow in beginning, concentrated muriatic acid
(HCl) may be added - 1 part to every 30 of the nitric solution.
The data desired are
put on thus:
U.S.N.[*] Frank W.
4. 14. 16------------(First enlistment).
2. 21. 85------------(Date of birth).
[*Editor's Note: This text was placed at a 90 degree angle
to the text.]
In the case of officers
it will be necessary, when making the tags, to make also
the usual finger prints on paper (as required for enlisted
men) and to send them to Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department,
Washington, D.C., for filing.
Enter on the blank,
full name of officer, the rank held, and date of appointment.
Secretary of the Navy.
Source: General Orders of Navy Department, Series of 1913.
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1918.
15 December 1998
Dictionary of American
Naval Fighting Ships
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060