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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Quasi-War with France 1798-1801

With independence won, the last ship of the Continental Navy was sold in 1785, and the Nation soon experienced the consequences of neglecting sea power. The actions of Mediterranean pirates caused Congress in 1794 to provide a Navy for the protection of commerce. Subsequently, depredations by the privateers of Revolutionary France against the expanding merchant shipping of the United States led to an undeclared war fought entirely at sea.

In this quasi-war the new U.S. Navy received its baptism of fire. Captain Thomas Truxtun's insistence on the highest standards of crew training paid handsome dividends as the frigate Constellation won two complete victories over French men-of-war. U.S. naval squadrons, operating principally in West Indian waters, sought out and attacked enemy privateers until France agreed to an honorable settlement.

3 Bronze Stars

1. Constellation-L'Insurgente (9 February 1799)
2. Constellation-La Vengeance (1-2 February 1800)
3. Anti-privateering operations

15 July 1996