Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

The Revolutionary War 1775-1783



Beginning with early 1775 actions in coastal waters, followed by Commodore Esek Hopkins' 1776 amphibious assault to capture military stores at New Providence, Bahamas, and reaching a climax in 1781 when French fleet action off the Virginia Capes led to victory at Yorktown, the war at sea was decisive in the Nation's struggle for independence. Small and fragmented American naval forces lacked the capabilities for major fleet engagements, but their contributions were crucial to failure or success. General Washington's fleet schooners, the Continental Navy, states navies, and privateers captured numerous enemy merchant ships to provide vitally needed supplies for the hard-pressed Army. On occasion armed vessels transported Washington's troops, and joined in the defense of important port cities -- New York, Philadelphia, Charleston. American naval officers including John Barry, Nicholas Biddle, Abraham Whipple, and Joshua Barney carried the patriotic cause to sea against the overwhelming strength of Britain's Royal Navy. Operations in European waters, especially John Paul Jones' celebrated Bonhomme Richard-Serapis battle, brought the war to England's shores. 

2 Silver Stars

1. New Providence, Bahamas, operation (3 March 1776) 
2. Inland waters and amphibious operations 
3. West Indies and European convoy operations 
4. Operations in European waters 
5. Commerce raiding operations
6. Randolph-Yarmouth (7 March 1778)
7. Ranger-Drake (24 April 1778)
8. Bonhomme Richard-Serapis (23 September 1779)
9. Other single-ship actions
10. Transport and packet operations

Published: Tue Nov 14 07:42:46 EST 2017