On March 27, 1794, 225 years ago, President George Washington signed “An act to provide a Naval Armament,” known as the Naval Armament Act of 1794. The act called for the construction of six frigates, commissioning of officers, and raising of crews. It specifies ship manning levels, pay, and rations as well. After the American Revolution, the Continental Navy was slowly disbursed with the last frigate, Alliance, sold in Philadelphia on June 3, 1785. During the War of 1812, brigs acquired distinction in small fleet engagements on the Great Lakes and as merchant raiders in the Atlantic. Because brigs required a large crew, schooners were often used because they handle better in coastal winds and require a smaller crew. Sloops were usually smaller, three-masted vessels commanded by a master commandant.