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Four American Naval Heroes Paul Jones, Admiral Farragut, Oliver H. Perry, Admiral Dewey   By:

Four American Naval Heroes Paul Jones, Admiral Farragut, Oliver H. Perry, Admiral Dewey by Mabel Beebe

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FOUR AMERICAN NAVAL HEROES PAUL JONES OLIVER H. PERRY ADMIRAL FARRAGUT ADMIRAL DEWEY

A BOOK FOR YOUNG AMERICANS BY MABEL BORTON BEEBE WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JAMES BALDWIN

[Illustration] WERNER SCHOOL BOOK COMPANY NEW YORK CHICAGO BOSTON

INTRODUCTION.

Four times in the history of our country has the American navy achieved renown and won the gratitude of the nation. These four times correspond, of course, to the four great wars that we have had; and with the mention of each the name of a famous hero of the sea is at once brought to mind. What would the Revolution have been without its Paul Jones; or the War of 1812, without its Perry? How differently might the Civil War have ended but for its Farragut; and the Spanish War, but for its Dewey! The story of the achievements of these four men covers a large part of our naval history.

[Illustration: SEAL OF THE U.S. NAVY.]

Six months after the battle of Lexington the Continental Congress decided to raise and equip a fleet to help carry on the war against England. Before the end of the year (1775) seventeen vessels were ready for service, and it was then that Paul Jones began his public career. Many other ships were soon added.

[Illustration: EZEK HOPKINS.]

The building and equipping of this first navy was largely intrusted to Ezek Hopkins, whom Congress had appointed Commander in Chief, but it does not seem that he did all that was expected of him, for within less than two years he was dismissed. He was the only person who ever held the title of Commander in Chief of the navy. During the war several other vessels were added to the fleet, and over 800 prizes were captured from the British. But before peace was declared twenty four of our ships had been taken by the enemy, others had been wrecked in storms, and nearly all the rest were disabled. There was no effort to build other vessels, and so, for many years, our country had no navy.

[Illustration: THE FRIGATE CONSTITUTION.]

In 1794, when war with the Barbary States was expected, Congress ordered the building of six large frigates. One of these was the famous Constitution , which is still in existence and about which Dr. Holmes wrote the well known poem called "Old Ironsides." Through all the earlier years of our history, John Adams used his influence to strengthen our power on the sea; and he was so far successful that he has often been called "The Father of the American Navy." When the War of 1812 began the United States owned a great many gunboats for coast defense, besides seventeen sea going vessels. It was during this war that the navy especially distinguished itself, and Oliver Hazard Perry made his name famous.

[Illustration: A SLOOP OF WAR.]

The ships of war in those earlier times were wooden sailing vessels, and they were very slow goers when compared with the swift cruisers which sail the ocean now. The largest of these vessels were called ships of the line, because they formed the line of battle in any general fight at sea. They usually had three decks, with guns on every deck. The upper deck was often covered over, and on the open deck thus formed above there was a fourth tier of guns. This open deck was called the forecastle and quarter deck. Some of the largest ships of the line carried as many as 120 guns each; the smallest was built to carry 72 guns.

Next in size to these ships were the frigates. A frigate had only one covered deck and the open forecastle and quarter deck above it, and therefore had but two tiers of guns. The largest frigate carried sixty guns, besides a large pivot gun at the bow. The American frigates were noted for their speed.

Still smaller than the frigates were the corvettes, or sloops of war, as they are more commonly called. These had but one tier of guns, and that was on the open deck. They were rigged like the larger vessels, with three masts and square sails... Continue reading book >>




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