The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence.

Conducive as each of these policies is to national safety and peace amid international conflagration, neither the one nor the other can be sustained without the creation and maintenance of a preponderant navy.  In the struggle with which this book deals, Washington at the time said that the navies had the casting vote.  To Arnold on Lake Champlain, to DeGrasse at Yorktown, fell the privilege of exercising that prerogative at the two great decisive moments of the War.  To the Navy also, beyond any other single instrumentality, was due eighty years later the successful suppression of the movement of Secession.  The effect of the blockade of the Southern coasts upon the financial and military efficiency of the Confederate Government has never been closely calculated, and probably is incalculable.  At these two principal national epochs control of the water was the most determinative factor.  In the future, upon the Navy will depend the successful maintenance of the two leading national policies mentioned; the two most essential to the part this country is to play in the progress of the world.

For, while numerically great in population, the United States is not so in proportion to territory; nor, though wealthy, is she so in proportion to her exposure.  That Japan at four thousand miles distance has a population of over three hundred to the square mile, while our three great Pacific States average less than twenty, is a portentous fact.  The immense aggregate numbers resident elsewhere in the United States cannot be transfered thither to meet an emergency, nor contribute effectively to remedy this insufficiency; neither can a land force on the defensive protect, if the way of the sea is open.  In such opposition of smaller numbers against larger, nowhere do organisation and development count as much as in navies.  Nowhere so well as on the sea can a general numerical inferiority be compensated by specific numerical superiority, resulting from the correspondence between the force employed and the nature of the ground.  It follows strictly, by logic and by inference, that by no other means can safety be insured as economically and as efficiently.  Indeed, in matters of national security, economy and efficiency are equivalent terms.  The question of the Pacific is probably the greatest world problem of the twentieth century, in which no great country is so largely and directly interested as is the United States.  For the reason given it is essentially a naval question, the third in which the United States finds its well-being staked upon naval adequacy.

CHAPTER I

THE NAVAL CAMPAIGN ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN 1775-1776

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The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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