Skip to main content
Related Content
  • People-Places-Things--French
  • People-Places-Things--British
Document Type
  • Historical Summary
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Sea Power versus Seapower: The Missing Element of Maritime Superiority

Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Ph.D.

The early morning collision on June 17, 2017 between the destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and the container ship MV ACX Crystal, and the resulting deaths of seven American sailors, has sparked a storm of controversy over responsibility for the accident.  Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer built at Bath Iron Works of Maine, versus ACX Crystal, launched at the STX Offshore and Shipbuilding in Changwon, Republic of Korea, represent two distinct aspects of maritime power.  At 730 feet in length and with a capacity to carry nearly 40,000 tons of cargo, with a crew of 20, ACX Crystal dwarfed Fitzgerald at 505 feet, 8,900 tons, and 287 personnel onboard.[i]  While many are debating who is at fault, it does highlight the difference that exists between how the military and the commercial utilize the seas and the lack of interoperability between the two. 

Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson laid out a challenge, “The Sea Services have a rich history.  There is much to be learned from history on multiple fronts – people, battles, strategy, tactics, leadership, values, and traditions…your essay should relate in some way to establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in today’s environment.”  One only needs to peruse the pages of the United States Naval Institute Proceedings to find discussions on surface warfare, aviation, submarines, the Coast Guard, the Marines, and potential rivals on the world oceans – Russia, China, Iran, and pirates.  Except for a few pages in the Annual Review, you will not find much discussion about the biggest user of the world’s oceans, that of the civilian merchant marine.  Whereas once the commercial and military components of the sea services were intertwined, the nearly complete bifurcation of these two entities have led to each being independent of the other.  No one can deny the power and impact of the American military on the world’s oceans, but where is America’s commercial influence on the seas, and more importantly, what does a lack of it mean for the nation going forward.

In 1890, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan published The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 and in the opening paragraph he stated:

The history of Sea Power is largely, though by no means solely, a narrative of contests between nations, of mutual rivalries, of violence frequently culminating in war.  The profound influence of sea commerce upon the wealth and strength of countries was clearly seen...Therefore the history of sea power, while embracing in its broad sweep all that tends to make a people great upon the sea or by the sea, is largely [but not exclusively] a military history.[ii]  Italics added.

Mahan readily acknowledged the relationship between military and commerce in his definition of Sea Power.  Throughout his works, the issue of trade is essential to understanding the rise of British dominance.  Fast forward to the modern day and the U.S. Navy demonstrates a mark change from Mahan’s vision of Sea Power.  In March 2015, the Navy, in cooperation with the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, released an updated version of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.  This one-word interpretation of Seapower focuses on the military aspect and includes sections on the global security environment, forward presence and partnership, support of national security, and force design.  What is missing is the commercial aspect.[iii] 

Nationally, the debate continues over the size of the fleet, from 308 ships to 355.  Within these discussions, almost no mention is made of the commercial component.  Essential to each of these plans, one-fifth of the total number of ships are manned by merchant mariners of the Military Sealift Command (MSC).  Therefore, to meet the Navy’s need, the ships will need to draw from a pool of merchant mariners from the dwindling commercial sector.[iv]

Most in the United States take for granted that we possess the greatest concentration of seapower upon the planet.  Well, if you use the definition of seapower (one-word) as proposed in A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, then the answer is clearly yes.  If, however, you measure it via the Mahanian definition of Sea Power (two-words), then the United States may not be the leader.  This is not a new occurrence for the United States, and in truth, the nation only held seapower supremacy during the Second World War and the in years immediately afterwards.  If you look back into the history of this nation’s Navy and merchant marine, one of the things that is most striking is the interoperability of the two during the country’s early years.  When the Continental Congress decided to outfit its first warships, it did so by converting merchantmen and enlisting mariners, such as John Barry and John Paul Jones.[v]  Many other commercial ships petitioned for letters of marque and sailed as private men-of-war, privateers.  In the Civil War, the “Flight from the Flag” had as much to do with Union strategy, as well as Confederate actions.[vi]  Post-Civil War legislation, with a aim to stimulate domestic shipbuilding, did not allow many of these ships to return and swelled the ranks of Britain’s Merchant Navy.[vii] 

It was the twentieth century that witnessed the rise of American maritime dominance.  Coming into the First World War, the US Navy and merchant marine were both third in the world.[viii]  By the end, they were second and poised to challenge Great Britain.  It was the Second World War, and specifically the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 that put the nation’s shipyards back into motion and allowed for a Navy “Second to None”.[ix] The victory over the Axis left the United States with both the largest Navy and merchant marine in the world.  That title quickly faded as the Navy maintained its supremacy, but the merchant marine declined; why?   

First, the scale of world shipping has increased dramatically.   The world’s oceans have become overrun with ships plying the trade routes.  Two figures stand out, the 90,917 vessels of the world’s merchant fleet and the ten billion tons of cargo shipped annually.[x]  Added to this is the movement of over 24.7 million people by cruise ships.[xi]  Of these figures, only a fraction of a percent is represented by ships that fly the American flag. 

Next, if the question is which nation or entity is the dominant Sea Power on the world’s ocean, the answers may surprise many.  In terms of the largest registered fleets, over half fall under five small nations.[xii]  Both Panama and Liberia registries owe their existence to the United States.  In the case of Panama, efforts to circumvent Neutrality Acts early in the Second World War led to tankers of the Esso fleet being reflagged to deliver 100-octane fuel to the British.[xiii]  Post-war, Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius aimed to help the west African nation of Liberia, while also creating a stable ally in the region by designing a business climate to attract world shippers.[xiv]  In both cases, the unintended consequences have led to two nations having fleets larger than that of the United Kingdom or United States at their height during the twentieth century.  The third, Marshall Islands, is a sovereign state in free association with the United States.  The International Registries Incorporated sought a registry more stable than Panama or Liberia, and aligned with the United States.[xv] 

In terms of ownership, seven states control 62 percent of the world fleet. [xvi]  Where the United States once held the commanding position, it has since declined.  Except for Greece at the top, due to historic maritime connection and extremely friendly provisions for shipping companies, the next three nations – Japan, China, and Germany – hold their positions akin to their place in term of their gross domestic product.  The one omission is the US in eighth place.[xvii]

When you break down the world’s commercial fleet further, into three specific categories – containers, tankers, and passenger ships – more evidence appears to the fact that the United States is not the most dominant Sea Power in the world, even thought it was Americans, in all three cases, that were responsible for the growth and evolution of each of these sectors. 

In 1956, it was a North Carolina trucker, Malcolm McLean, who introduced the shipping container.  Common place along the highways, ports, and railyards of the world, it was while sitting on a dock in New York, that he realized that concept that today has become intermodal transportation.  When SS Ideal X, a T-2 tanker in ballast sailed from Port Newark, New Jersey to Houston, Texas, she carried 58 containers and marked the birth of containerization.[xviii] 

Today, three firms control a third of the world’s container market share with ever growing megaships – CMA CGM is French, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is Swiss, and Maersk is Danish.[xix]  These companies, along with corporate alliances, are slowly devouring the competition and dominating oceanic transportation.  Smaller, and regional, container lines, known as feeders, will remain to take the cargo from these company’s megaships, which provide massive economies of scale.  This year, the first of the modified Maersk Triple Es, the 20,000 container MV Madrid Maersk, a far cry from the 58 onboard SS Ideal X, entered service.[xx]  American firms, such as Sea-Land, American President Lines, and US Lines, once powerhouses in the field, no longer exist.[xxi]  Earlier this year, the eighth largest container line in the world, Korean Hanjin Marine filed for bankruptcy and its 94 ships, and their cargoes, went idle.  It created massive disruptions in trade between eastern Asia and the world.[xxii]   This event provided opportunities for the larger firms to buy up ships and make advances into Hanjin’s routes.

The second mode of transportation owes a debt to Hollywood.  In 1977, ABC highlighted the concept of cruising with The Love Boat. [xxiii]  As millions watched the episodic adventures of the crew of MS Pacific Princess, Ted Arison, a nationalized American, founded a fledgling company that has emerged as the behemoth of the cruise industry, Carnival Cruise Corporation.[xxiv]  Today, Carnival and its other brands – Costa, AIDA, Holland America, P&O, Ibero, Seabourn, Cunard, and including Princess – transport 48.1 percent of all passengers.  Following in its wake, Royal Caribbean Lines (RCL) handles 23.1 percent and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) 10.4 percent.  These three brands control 81.6 percent of the world’s passenger trade.[xxv] 

All three companies are based in Miami, Florida.  Yet, out of all their 173 ships, even though more than half of all passengers originate in North America, only NCL’s MS Pride of America is American-built, American-flagged, and American-crewed.  This means she conforms to the provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly referred to as the Jones Act, and therefore can sail directly to and from American ports in the protected cabotage trade.  All the ships are built in state-of-the-art European shipyards – Meyer, Meyer Turku, STX France, and Fincartieri.  They all fly open registry flags – NCL and RCL prefers Bahamas and Carnival uses Panama.  Recently, the firms have taken to placing American mariners into some prominent positions, such as the promotion of Kate McCue to be the first American female master of a cruise ship for Celebrity.[xxvi]

Even the location of the headquarters is misleading as NCL is incorporated in Bermuda, RCL is Liberian, and Carnival is Panamanian.[xxvii]  By filing their articles of incorporation outside the United States, registering their vessels under open registries, and utilizing foreign crews they avoid U.S. taxes.  By citing Section 883 of the Internal Revenue Code, they are exempted from federal income tax on U.S. source income derived from the international operation of their ships.[xxviii] 

In the last area, petroleum tankers, the market has evolved greatly.  American Daniel Ludwig, the head of National Carriers, went to Japan after the Second World War, and utilized the drydock that built the super-dreadnought Yamato, to construct the first supertanker, the 85,515-ton Universe Leader.[xxix]  Until the mid-1980s, the industry was dominated by the Seven Sisters – Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Gulf, Texaco, Royal Dutch Shell, and British Petroleum.  These were not only the largest producers of oil, but they also possessed over half of the world’s tanker tonnage.  Several high-profile accidents highlighted the names of these companies – Amoco Cadiz and Exxon Valdez.  These, along with associated law suits, exposed the companies to vast liabilities.  These corporations divested themselves of their fleets.  Today, the top thirty transport companies only constitute a third of the total tanker tonnage in the world.  Many oil producing and consuming states realize the need to safeguard the transport of this commodity, as demonstrated by NITC of Iran in second place, Bahri of Saudi Arabia in fifth, followed by the Russian Sovcomflot Group and China VLCC.  The only American firm in the top thirty is International Seaways, spun off from Overseas Shipholding Group with a fleet of 55 ships (not all American flagged), of 6.5 million deadweight tons.[xxx]

What does this commercial situation mean for American maritime superiority?  Why does having a merchant marine that is ranked 8th in the world in term of ownership and 21st in flag of registry have an impact on establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in today’s environment?  

In the conclusion to Global Reach: Revolutionizing the Use of Commercial Vessels and Intermodal Systems for Military Sealift, 1990-2012 (2015), the authors note, “the key issue now becomes whether the partnerships formed by U.S.-flag commercial carriers, U.S. maritime labor, the U.S. military, and USTRANSCOM (United States Transportation Command), and enlightened leaders in Congress and the Department of Defense and Transportation/MARAD can meet the challenges of the future.”[xxxi]  In all previous wars, the United States could depend on the commercial fleet, or utilize the infrastructure to construct additional ships.  Today, of the sixty ships in the Maritime Security Program, and currently receiving funds to help offset the higher costs associated with American registry, the largest single recipient is the eighteen U.S.-flagged ships of Maersk Lines.  The U.S. military depends on these ships, along with the Maersk global network to sustain itself overseas.  The recent cyber-attack on Maersk highlights vulnerabilities to the supply chain and our dependence on just a few large firms.[xxxii]

In many ways, Maersk Lines works in a manner similar to mercantilist companies of old or J.P. Morgan’s vision of a global shipping giant, the International Mercantile Marine at the beginning of the twentieth century.[xxxiii]  Maersk operates over 600 ships that travel more than 50 million miles a year, make over 45,000 port calls a year, operate terminals in 72 ports in 69 countries on 5 continents, and contains an oil and gas exploration service.[xxxiv]  The Maersk fleet is continually renewed as they purchase and construct new vessels.  In early 2011, the company contracted with Daewoo Shipbuilding in Korea to construct twenty 18,000 TEU Triple E-class container ships.  At 1,312 feet in length, with a top speed of 23 knots, and at a cost of $185 million per ship, the keel for the first was laid down on November 27, 2012, and entered service eight months later, using techniques developed by Liberty ship builder Henry J. Kaiser.[xxxv]  The complete run of twenty ships were completed by June 2015, only four years after the initial order were submitted.  Simultaneously, Maersk followed up with an order for eleven Super Triple-Es and the first of these leviathans entered service earlier this year.[xxxvi] 

In terms of passenger ships, the last large-scale movement utilizing troopships took place during the early years of the Vietnam War.[xxxvii]  Since then, planes of the Air Mobility Command and commercial carriers have facilitated the transportation of personnel.  While the military application for passenger ships has diminished, the lack of integrating the three largest shipping companies from the commercial merchant structure fails to capitalize on many lessons that can be incorporated into the military sector. 

For example, Disney Cruises operates four Bahamian-flagged ships and represents only a small market share.  What is remarkable is their ability to keep their fleet in near continuous operation.  For 2017, Disney Magic began the year in the Caribbean and operated in Europe during the summer.  Disney Wonder follows a similar pattern, but shifting to the West Coast.  The larger vessels, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy operate exclusively in the Caribbean.  Of the four ships, the only down time scheduled is a brief three-week period in early May for Disney Fantasy.[xxxviii]  Except for this period, ships arrive in port in the morning, discharge their passengers, load an entire new compliment of tourists, provision, replenish, swap out crew members and contractors, and depart by the afternoon.     

What can the Navy learn from the operation of cruise ships?  Disney Wonder, at 83,000 tons, 964 feet in length, and completed in 1999, can cruise at 21.5 knots on three of her five diesel engines or on four with a maximum speed of 23.5 knots.  She also possesses three service diesel generators to provide power for hotel services but only requires two.  During a recent cruise, one of the five main engines underwent overhaul and service by a riding crew.  This level of redundancy and back-up allows the ships to maintain their near continuous presence in service.[xxxix]  There is no question that a cruise ship is vastly dissimilar to an Aegis-equipped warship, but in terms of forward presence and showing the flag, a yearly deployment schedule of 100 percent for three vessels and 94 percent for the fourth, a fleet operational tempo (OPTEMPO) of 98.5 percent, is unheard of in the military.  Additionally, technologies on board, that facilitate maneuvering without tugs and moving thousands of passengers in-stream, are capabilities worth emulating.  

In the realm of tankers, the U.S. military has followed the example set by the seven sisters in divesting itself of its own petroleum vessels.  In 2016, Military Sealift Command possesses only six point-to-point tankers, five are under long-term commercial charter.[xl]  When U.S. naval vessels replenish at sea today, it is a MSC oiler that comes alongside.  These oilers depend on their fuel from Defense Logistics Agency depots which receive their tonnage from commercial tankers.  The lack of domestic tankers means that thirty percent of the military’s fuel, on average over the past five years, is dependent on foreign-flag ships.  This equates to a total of 62 voyages and over ten million barrels annually.  These foreign-flagged ships are susceptible to the whims of the tanker market and political forces from their registry nations.[xli] 

As the investigation continues over the Fitzgerald and ACX Crystal collision, the accident highlights a larger disconnect between the military use of the seas versus the commercial.  The decline of the American merchant marine is evident by the fact that only 178 ships, over 1,000 tons, remain from a merchant fleet high of 1,288 in 1951.[xlii]  

Why then do we still need a commercial merchant marine?  If your definition of Seapower is the one-word version, then the answer is no.  We can utilize commercial ships of other nations to support our economy, transport goods and raw materials to and from the United States, and take benefit of the lower costs associated with open registries.  But that leaves the United States susceptible to situations faced by the US in the early national era or prior to both world wars.  The recent harassment of the American-flagged MV Green Ridge, carrying equipment for U.S. and NATO forces in Lithuania in support of Exercise Saber Strike, by Russian ships and aircraft is a case in point.  What would be the response if this was a foreign flagged ship, by the U.S. or shipping companies?[xliii]  Look at how the military reacted to the seizure of MV Maersk Alabama versus the dozens of other ships captured by Somali pirates. 

If we embrace the two-word Sea Power, that extolls the virtues of both military and commercial components, then we most certainly need to develop a viable commercial merchant marine.  Such a resource provides a pool of personnel to man the twenty percent of the U.S. Navy battlefleet and begin the replacement of aging vessels; the average of ships in the Ready Reserve Force is 43 years old.[xliv]  American container firms provide the systems to transport the sustainment needed for our forces overseas.  American cruise lines demonstrate a template for ship operation, from near constant deployments, to a ship maintenance and replacement cycle that is changing out ships every thirty years and substantial overhauls every ten, and provide a training ground for reserve sealift crews.  American tanker firms ensure the safe arrival of fuel and provide that key linchpin between MSC oilers and the fleet.  These support an American shipbuilding industrial base and employ trained personnel of the U.S. merchant marine. 

While there is no doubt that the U.S. Navy is the most powerful military force the world has ever seen on the ocean, it is incomplete without a commercial counterweight.   When the Royal Navy was at its peak, it relied on its Merchant Navy to provide the support, bases, and manpower needed during time of war.  The United States needs to draw from a viable and vibrant commercial sector to fully emulate the Sea Power advocated by Mahan over a century ago. 

(This essay was originally published in the U.S. Naval Institute's Naval History Blog.)


[i] “Investigators Seek Answers into Containership Collision with USS Fitzgerald,” gCaptain (June 19, 2017).

[ii] Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783.  (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1890), 1.

[iii] Joseph F. Dunford, Jonathan W. Greenert, and Paul F. Zukunft, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.  (March 2015). 

[iv] Ronald O’Rourke, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress (Congressional Research Service, June 7, 2017), 3.   These totals do not include ships of the Afloat Prepositioning Force or surge sealift. 

Ship Type

355-Ship Plan

308- Ship Plan

Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBN)



Attack Submarines (SSN)



Aircraft Carriers (CVN)



Large Surface Combatants (CG and DDG)



Small Surface Combatants (LCS, FF, and Minecraft)



Amphibious Ships



Combat Logistics Force ships [civilian manned]



Expeditionary Fast Transports [civilian manned]



Expeditionary Support Bases [civilian manned]



Command and Support Ships [hybrid and/or civilian manned]




355 (71 = 20%)

308 (63 = 20.5%)

[v] Tim McGrath, Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America’s Revolution at Sea (New York: Penguin, 2014), 25-29.

[vi] Rodney Carlisle, Rough Waters: Sovereignty and the American Merchant Flag (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2017, 39-52.

[vii] Andrew Gibson and Arthur Donovan, The Abandoned Ocean: A History of American Maritime Policy (Columbia: South Carolina Press, 2000), 72-78.

[viii] Salvatore R. Mercogliano, “The Shipping Act of 1916 and Emergency Fleet Corporation: America Builds, Requisitions, and Seizes a Merchant Fleet Second to None,” The Northern Mariner, XXVI, No. 4 (Oct. 2016), 407-424. 

[ix] Salvatore R. Mercogliano, “Delivering the Goods: The United States Merchant Marine at War,” presented at McMullen Naval History Symposium, September 20, 2013.

[x] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Review of Maritime Transport 2016 (New York: United Nation Publications, 2016), 6 & 30.

[xi] Cruise Lines International Association, “2017 CLIA State of the Industry.” (December 2016), 7.

[xii] Review of Maritime Transport 2016, 45.


Number of Vessels (over 100 tons)

Deadweight Tons (x000)

Share of DWT (percentage)

1.       Panama




2.       Liberia




3.       Marshall Islands




4.       Hong Kong (China)




5.       Singapore








       21.   United States




World Total




[xiii] Carlisle, Rough Waters, 116-129.

[xiv] Ibid., 155-168.

[xv] Ibid., 183-191.

[xvi] Review of Maritime Transport 2016, 37.


# Ships
National Flag


National Flag

# Ships

Foreign Flag


Foreign Flag

Total DWT

Total Percentage

1.       Greece







2.       Japan







3.       China







4.       Germany







5.       Singapore







6.       Hong Kong







7.       Korea(ROK)







8.       USA














[xvii]  The data is of 2015. 

[xviii] Alex Roland, W. Jeffrey Bolster, and Alexander Keyssar, The Way of the Ship: America’s Maritime History Reenvisioned, 1600-2000 (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2008), 343-352.  For the complete story, see Marc Levinson, The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (Princeton University Press, 2006). 

[xix] Review of Maritime Transport 2016, 40. 



Capacity (TEU)

Average Ship Capacity

Market Share (Percentage)






Mediterranean Shipping Company










[xx] Review of Maritime Transport 2016, 39-41.

[xxi] A. J. Herberger, Kenneth C. Gaulden, and Rolf Marshall, Global Reach: Revolutionizing the Use of Commercial Vessels and Intermodal Systems for Military Sealift, 1990-2012 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015), 162-163.

[xxii] “Stranded on the High Seas – An Updated on Hanjin’s Fleet,” gCaptain.  (September 1, 2016).

[xxiii] Kristoffer A. Garin, Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes and Showdowns That Built America’s Cruise-Ship Empires (New York: Penguin, 2006), 92-111.

[xxiv] Roland, et al, The Way of the Ship, 390-399.


[xxvi] Gene Sloan, “In First, American Woman to Take Helm of Giant Cruise Ship,” (USA Today, July 13, 2015).

[xxvii] Carnival Cruise Corporation 2016 Annual Report,; Royal Caribbean Cruise 2016 Annual Report,; and Norwegian Cruise Line 2016 Annual Report


[xxix] Roland, et al., The Way of the Ship, 335-342.

[xxx] “Tanker Operator’s Top 30 Owners and Operators,” Tanker Operator (March 2017), 26-36.

[xxxi] Herberger, et al., Global Reach, 411.

[xxxii] “Maersk’s Cargo Operations Hit Hard by Cyberattack,” Maritime Executive (June 28, 2017).

[xxxiii] See Chris Jephson and Henning Morgen, Creating Global Opportunities: Maersk Line in Containerisation, 1973-2013 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Thomas R. Navin and Marian V. Sears, “A Study in Merger: Formation of the International Mercantile Marine Company,” The Business History Review, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Dec. 1954), 291-328. 


[xxxv] Roland, et al., The Way of the Ship, 317-324.


[xxxvii] Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Fourth Arm of Defense: Sealift and Maritime Logistics in the Vietnam War.  (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 2017), 11-20.

[xxxviii] Disney Cruise Lines, 2017-2018 Sail Dates and Itineraries.

[xxxix] Discussion between the Chief Engineer of Disney Wonder with the author during a recent cruise. 

[xl] This does not include fifteen fleet oilers (T-AOs) or two combat support ships (T-AOE). 

[xli] Military Sealift Command, 2016 in Review (Washington, 2016), 24-26; MSC, 2015 in Review (Washington, 2016), 24; MSC, 2014 in Review (Washington, 2014), 22; MSC, 2013 in Review (Washington, 2013), 24-25; and MSC, 2012 in Review (Washington, 2012), 22-23. 

[xlii] Maritime Administration, U.S. Fleet Summary 1946-2016.

[xliii] David B. Larter, “Russian military ‘harassed’ US-flagged merchant ship in the Baltic ahead of exercises,” DefenseNews (June 27, 2017). 

[xliv] U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration, “National Defense Reserve Fleet Inventory for the Month ending May 31, 2017,” 7-10.


[1] Doreil to Belle Isle, 31 August 1758, in Edward B. O’Callaghan and Berthold Fernow, eds., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York (hereafter DRCHNY), vol. 10 (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons, 1856-93), 819-20.

[2] Lawrence Henry Gipson, The Great War for the Empire, vol. 8 of The British Empire before the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954), 4-5, 40-41; and Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and the Seven Years’ War (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2005), 129-32, 134-35.

[3] Gipson, The Great War, 6-15.

[4] Hawke to Cross, 6 June 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 199; Hawke to Rogers, 6 June 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 200; Hawke to Clevland, 8 June 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 201; Hawke to Clevland, 3 July 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 212; Admiralty to Victualling Board, 19 July 1759, Mackay,

Hawke Papers, no. 224; Hawke to Clevland, 23 July 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 230; Hawke to Ommanney, 23 July 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 233; Hawke to Ommanney, 24 July 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 234; Hawke to Clevland, 24 July 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 235; Ommanney to Hawke, 27 July 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 237; Hawke to Ommanney, 2 August 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 240; Admiralty to Victualling Board, 2 August 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 242; Victualling Board to Hawke, 6 August 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 245; Hawke to Clevland, 12 August 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 249; Admiralty to Victualling Board, 13 August 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 251.

[5] Gipson, The Great War, 4-5, 40-41.

[6] Hawke to Clevland, 10 October 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 295.

[7] “Intelligence,” n.d., Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 294a.

[8]  Hawke to Clevland, 10 November 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 319.

[9]  Hawke to Clevland, 17 November 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 323; Nicholas Tracy, The Battle of Quiberon Bay, 1759: Admiral Hawke and the Defeat of the French Invasion, digital ed. (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Maritime, 2010), loc. 2564-76.

[10] Julian S. Corbett, England in the Seven Years’ War: A Study in Combined Strategy. vol. 2 (London: Longmans, Green, 1907), 61.

[11] Hawke to Clevland, 24 November 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 327.

[12] Hawke to Anson, draft, November 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 328.

[13] Hawke to Clevland, 24 November 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 327; “List of the French Squadron which came out of Brest, November 14th, 1759,” Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 327a; “Line of Battle,” Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 327b; Thompson to G.T., 20 November 1759, in Edward Thompson, Sailor’s letters: Written to his select friends in England, during his voyages and travels in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, vol. 2 (London, 1767), 123; Dull, The French Navy and the Seven Years’ War, 161-62; Gipson, The Great War, 17-24; Corbett, England in the Seven Years’ War, 56-69; Tracy, The Battle of Quiberon Bay, Iocs. 2725-83, 2793, 2823-37, 2917; Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), 381-83.

[14] Hawke to Clevland, 24 November 1759, Mackay, Hawke Papers, no. 327; Corbett, England in the Seven Years’ War, 69.

[15] Gipson, The Great War, 24.


Published: Fri Jan 11 16:15:16 EST 2019