How the American Revolution Went to Sea:
In the summer of 1775, George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the newly-formed Continental Army. He arrived in Cambridge in early July to find his rag-tag army surrounding the British forces in Boston. Washington was certain that the British would attack any time, and he began to reinforce his defenses and prepare for the blow. He did not know that General Thomas Gage, commander of the British troops in Boston, had no intention of coming out.
As the summer turned to early fall, it became clear to Washington that Gage would not come out, and he had no way of driving him out or realistically attacking the British in the city. His only option was to starve them out, but with British transports arriving every day, bringing shiploads of supplies, that would never happen. Unless he could stop them, too.
It took Washington, the frontier soldier, months before he realized that the fight he was engaged in was a fight for supplies, and it would be fought on the high seas. But Washington also knew that the creation of a navy was a hot-button issue, tantamount to declaring sovereignty, and the Continental Congress was not ready to go that far. So, with no real authority to do so, and without letting the civilian leadership know what he was up to, Washington created a navy of his own.
(2009 recipient of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for excellence in naval literature)
Author: James L. Nelson
Title: George Washington's Secret Navy
First Published by: McGraw-Hill Companies
Date: 21 April 2008