Great Britain and the United States Naval Establishments Research
This research paper topic illustration attempts to present a brief discussion of the naval establishments of Great Britain and the United States as they existed during the War of 1812. As Paper Masters reports, there were enormous differences between the two in terms of size and projected roles. But, as we shall also see, the two navies shared certain qualities—professionalism among the officers and high morale—that made them, in some respects, somewhat alike.
The United States had vastly inferior naval resources to work with as compared to the British. Research papers by Paper Masters note:
- American navies biggest ships were three large frigates rated at 44 guns, three frigates rated at 38 guns, a single frigate rated at 32 guns and nine smaller ocean-going vessels rated at 12 to 28 guns. T
- The US had 200 or so gunboats, coastal defense craft that carried one large gun each. These proved to be virtually worthless during the war.
- The United States had “ships of the line”, ships with two or more full gun decks, rated at 64 guns or more, and capable of fighting in “the line” in a full fleet action.
The British navy dwarfed the US navy. Research from Paper Masters notes:
- In 1810 Britain had 1058 warships in commission manned by over 151 thousand officers and men.
- 152 Royal Navy ships in 1810 were classed as line of battleships and that she had 390 ships of the frigate, sloop, and brig class (“cruisers”) that constituted the mainstay of the US Navy.
These figures must be qualified somewhat. For Britain at that time was engaged in a war against Napoleonic France, a war that required an enormous commitment of ships and men. But, as an author notes, she had forces at Halifax, Bermuda, and in the West Indies—forces that could be primarily dedicated to the struggle with America—that amounted to seven times the strength of the entire American navy.