Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2, it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan; the island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago. The island is dominated by a maritime climate with quite narrow temperature differences between seasons. Politically, Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutes most of its territory. Most of England and Wales are on the island; the term "Great Britain" is used to include the whole of England and Wales including their component adjoining islands. A single Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland by the 1707 Acts of Union.
In 1801, Great Britain united with the neighbouring Kingdom of Ireland, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" after the Irish Free State seceded in 1922. The archipelago has been referred to by a single name for over 2000 years: the term'British Isles' derives from terms used by classical geographers to describe this island group. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of Prettanikē as a collective name for the British Isles. However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term Britannia was used for the island of Great Britain, Roman-occupied Britain south of Caledonia; the earliest known name for Great Britain is Albion or insula Albionum, from either the Latin albus meaning "white" or the "island of the Albiones". The oldest mention of terms related to Great Britain was by Aristotle, or by Pseudo-Aristotle, in his text On the Universe, Vol. III. To quote his works, "There are two large islands in it, called the British Isles and Ierne".
Pliny the Elder in his Natural History records of Great Britain: "Its former name was Albion. Old French Bretaigne and Middle English Bretayne, Breteyne; the French form replaced the Old English Breoton, Bryten, Breten. Britannia was used by the Romans from the 1st century BC for the British Isles taken together, it is derived from the travel writings of the Pytheas around 320 BC, which described various islands in the North Atlantic as far north as Thule. Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, described the island group as αἱ Πρεττανικαὶ νῆσοι; the peoples of these islands of Prettanike were called the Priteni or Pretani. Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic-speaking inhabitants of Ireland; the latter were called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans. Greek historians Diodorus of Sicily and Strabo preserved variants of Prettanike from the work of Greek explorer Pytheas of Massalia, who travelled from his home in Hellenistic southern Gaul to Britain in the 4th century BC.
The term used by Pytheas may derive from a Celtic word meaning "the painted ones" or "the tattooed folk" in reference to body decorations. The Greco-Egyptian scientist Ptolemy referred to the larger island as great Britain and to Ireland as little Britain in his work Almagest. In his work, Geography, he gave the islands the names Alwion and Mona, suggesting these may have been the names of the individual islands not known to him at the time of writing Almagest; the name Albion appears to have fallen out of use sometime after the Roman conquest of Britain, after which Britain became the more commonplace name for the island. After the Anglo-Saxon period, Britain was used as a historical term only. Geoffrey of Monmouth in his pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae refers to the island as Britannia major, to distinguish it from Britannia minor, the continental region which approximates to modern Brittany, settled in the fifth and sixth centuries by migrants from Britain; the term Great Britain was first used in 1474, in the instrument drawing up the proposal for a marriage between Cecily the daughter of Edward IV of England, James the son of James III of Scotland, which described it as "this Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee".
It was used again in 1604, when King James VI and I styled himself "King of Great Brittaine and Ireland". Great Britain refers geographically to the island of Great Britain, it is often used to refer politically to the whole of England and Wales, including their smaller off shore islands. While it is sometimes used to refer to the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, this is not correct. Britain can refer to either all island
Hessians were German soldiers who served as auxiliaries to the British Army during the American Revolutionary War and the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The Hessians were contracted by Great Britain and others as mercenaries in several 18th century European wars, but are most associated with the American Revolution, where around 30,000 German soldiers fought for the British during the war, forming a quarter of the troops sent to British America; the term Hessians is used by Americans to refer to all German troops fighting on the British side, a form of synecdoche as 65% of the German troops came from the German states of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Hanau, while the remainder were leased from other small German states. The Hessians were led by Wilhelm von Knyphausen, entering British service as entire units, fighting under their own German flags, commanded by their usual officers, wearing their existing uniforms; the use of German troops to suppress a rebellion in the British colonies angered the American patriots, one of the 27 colonial grievances against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was "transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries".
The small German states of the Holy Roman Empire had professional armies, which their ruling princes sometimes hired out for service with other armies as auxiliaries. When military conflict broke out, the German states provided a ready supply of trained troops, prepared to go into action immediately. Hesse-Kassel was prominent in this role: Between 1706 and 1707, 10,000 Hessians served as a corps in Eugene of Savoy's army in Italy before moving to the Spanish Netherlands in 1708. In 1714, 6,000 Hessians were rented to Sweden for its war with Russia whilst 12,000 Hessians were hired by George I of Great Britain in 1715 to combat the Jacobite Rebellion.... In the midst of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1744, 6,000 Hessians were fighting with the British army in Flanders whilst another 6,000 were in the Bavarian army. By 1762, 24,000 Hessians were serving with Ferdinand of Brunswick's army in Germany. In most of these wars, Hesse-Kassel never became a belligerent by declaring war on any other country.
The troops were hired out for service in other armies, Hesse-Kassel itself had no stake in the outcome of the war. Thus, it was possible for Hessians to serve with the British and Bavarian armies in the War of the Austrian Succession though Britain and Bavaria were on opposite sides of the war. In the Seven Years' War, the forces of Hesse-Kassel served with both the Anglo-Hanoverian and the Prussian armies against the French. In July 1758, the city of Kassel and most of the principality was occupied by a French army under Charles, Prince of Soubise overcoming the home defence force of 6,000 Hessian militia. Soubise ordered his troops to live off the land while taking high-ranking hostages and extorting payments of cash and produce. However, Hessian forces together with their allies attempted to liberate their homeland but were repulsed at the Battle of Sanderhausen on 23 July, they participated in the first Siege of Cassel in 1761 and the second Siege of Cassel in 1762, surrendered by the French that November, the last action of the whole war.
To field a large professional army with a small population, Hesse-Kassel became the most militarized state in Europe. The country maintained 5.2% to 6.7% of its population under arms in the 18th century, a larger proportion than heavily-militarized Prussia. In contrast to Prussia, which relied in part on mercenaries from other German states, Hesse-Kassel employed only Landeskinder. One in four households had someone serving in the army. Hesse-Kassel manufactured its own uniforms, its textile industry was so prosperous that workers could afford to buy wine every day. Subsidy payments from Great Britain were used to build public works and buildings, taxes were reduced by one-third from the early 1760s to 1784. In 1884, the American historian Edward Jackson Lowell lauded the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel for spending the British money wisely, describing him as "one of the least disreputable of the princes who sent mercenaries to America."The characterization of Hessian troops as "mercenaries" remains controversial over two centuries later.
American history textbooks refer to the Hessians as "mercenaries." American historian Charles Ingrao said that the local prince had turned Hesse into a "mercenary state" by renting out his regiments to fund his government. However, British historian Stephen Conway called them "Britannia's auxiliaries." Canadian military historian Rodney Atwood explained that jurists of the time drew a distinction between auxiliaries and mercenaries. Auxiliaries served their prince and were sent to the aid of another prince, while mercenaries served a foreign prince as individuals. Great Britain maintained a small standing army, so it found itself in great need of troops at the outset of the American Revolutionary War. Several German princes saw an opportunity to earn some extra income by hiring out their regular army units for service in America, they entered the British service not as individuals but in entire units, with their usual uniforms, flags and officers. Methods of recruitment varied according to the state of origin.
The contingent from Waldeck for example was drawn from a principality army based on universal conscription, from which only students were exempt. Other German princes relied on long-service voluntary enlistment supplemented by conscription and the press-gang when numbers fell short. Many of t
Raid of Nassau
The Raid of Nassau was a naval operation and amphibious asssault by Colonial forces against the British port of Nassau, during the American Revolutionary War. The battle is considered one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the respective progenitors of the United States Navy and Marine Corps; the action was the marines' first amphibious landing. It is sometimes known as the "Battle of Nassau". Departing from Cape Henlopen, Delaware on February 17, 1776, the fleet arrived in the Bahamas on March 1, with the objective of seizing gunpowder and munitions known to be stored there. Two days the marines came ashore seizing Fort Montagu at the eastern end of the Nassau harbor, but did not advance to the town where the gunpowder was stored; that night Nassau's governor had most of the gunpowder loaded aboard ships sailing for St. Augustine. On March 4, the Continental Marines took control of the poorly defended town; the Continental forces remained at Nassau for two weeks and took away all the remaining gunpowder and munitions found.
The fleet returned to New London, Connecticut in early April after capturing a few British supply ships, but failed to capture HMS Glasgow in an action on April 6. When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Lord Dunmore, the British provincial governor of the Colony of Virginia, with the British forces under his command, had removed Virginia's store of provincial arms and gunpowder to the island of New Providence in the Crown Colony of the Bahamas, in order to keep it from falling into the hands of the rebel militia. Montfort Browne, the Bahamian governor, was alerted by General Thomas Gage in August 1775 that the rebel colonists might make attempts to seize these supplies; the desperate shortage of gunpowder available to the Continental Army had led the Second Continental Congress to organize a naval expedition, with the intention of seizing military supplies at Nassau. While the orders issued by the congress to Esek Hopkins, the fleet captain selected to lead the expedition, included only instructions for patrolling and raiding British naval targets on the Virginia and Carolina coastline, additional instructions may have been given to Hopkins in secret meetings of the congress' naval committee.
The instructions that Hopkins issued to his fleet's captains before it sailed from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on February 17, 1776, included instructions to rendezvous at Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. The fleet that Hopkins launched consisted of Alfred, Wasp, Andrew Doria, Cabot and Columbus. In addition to ships' crews, it carried 200 marines under the command of Samuel Nicholas. In spite of gale force winds, the fleet remained together for two days, when Fly and Hornet became separated from the fleet. Hornet was forced to return to port for repairs, Fly caught up with the fleet at Nassau, after the raid took place. Hopkins did not let the apparent loss of the two ships dissuade him. Browne received further intelligence in late February that a rebel fleet was assembling off the Delaware coast, but took no significant actions to prepare a defense. New Providence's harbor had Fort Nassau and Fort Montagu. Fort Nassau was located in Nassau, but was poorly equipped to defend the port against amphibious attacks, as it had walls that were not strong enough to support the action of its 46 cannons.
As a result, Fort Montagu had been constructed in 1742 on the eastern end of the harbor, commanding its entrance. At the time of the raid, it was fortified with 17 cannon, although most of the gunpowder and ordnance was at Fort Nassau; the fleet arrived at Abaco Island on March 1, 1776. The force captured two sloops owned by Loyalists, one of whom was Captain Gideon Lowe of Green Turtle Cay, pressed their owners to serve as pilots. George Dorsett, a local ship's captain, got away from Abaco and alerted Browne to the presence of the rebel fleet; the landing force was transferred to the two captured sloops and Providence the next day, plans were formulated for the assault. While the main fleet held back, the three ships carrying the landing force were to enter the port at daybreak on March 3, gain control of the town before the alarm could be raised; the decision to land at daybreak turned out to be a mistake, as the alarm was raised in Nassau when the three ships were spotted in the morning light, rousing Browne from his bed.
He ordered four guns fired from Fort Nassau to alert the militia. At 7:00 a.m. he held a discussion with Samuel Gambier, one of his councilors, over the idea that the gunpowder should be removed from the islands on Mississippi Packet, a fast ship docked in the harbor. They did not act on the idea, but Browne ordered thirty unarmed militiamen to occupy Fort Montagu before retiring to his house to make himself "a little decent"; when the guns at Fort Nassau were heard by the attackers, they realized the element of surprise was lost and aborted the assault. The elements of the fleet rejoined in Hanover Sound, about six nautical miles east of Nassau. There Hopkins held council, a new plan of attack was developed. According to accounts now discredited, Hopkins' lieutenant, John Paul Jones, suggested a new landing point and led the action. Jones was unfamiliar with the local waters, unlike many of the captains present in the council, it is more that the landing force was led by Cabot's lieutenant, Thomas Weaver, familiar with the area.
With the force enlarged by 50 sailors, the three ships, with Wasp offering additional cove
United States Marine Corps birthday
The United States Marine Corps Birthday is celebrated every year on 10 November with a traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremony. On that day in 1775, the Continental Marines were established; the official birthday of the United States Marine Corps is on 10 November 1775. That was the day when the Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines with the following decree: That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments. Tun Tavern, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is regarded as the birthplace of the Corps as the location of the first Marines to enlist under Commandant Samuel Nicholas, though it is disputed if a recruiting drive may have occurred earlier at Nicholas's family tavern, the Conestoga Waggon; when the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the Continental Navy was disestablished, with it, the Continental Marines. The Corps was re-established on 11 July 1798, when the act for establishing and organizing a Marine Corps was signed by President John Adams.
Prior to 1921, Marines celebrated the recreation of the Corps on 11 July with little pomp or pageantry. On 21 October 1921, Major Edwin North McClellan, in charge of the Corps's fledgling historical section, sent a memorandum to Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting the Marines’ original birthday of 10 November be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. Lejeune so ordered in Marine Corps Order 47: MARINE CORPS ORDERS No. 47 HEADQUARTERS U. S. MARINE CORPS Washington, November 1, 1921 759; the following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt. On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.
The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security. In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all, highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue; this high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age.
So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps. JOHN A. LEJEUNE, Major General Commandant 75705—21 The first formal ball was celebrated in 1925, though no records exist that indicate the proceedings of that event. Birthday celebrations would take varied forms, most included dances, though some accounts include mock battles, musical performances and sporting events; the celebrations were formalized and standardized by Commandant Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. in 1952, outlining the cake cutting ceremony, which would enter the Marine Drill Manual in 1956. By tradition, the first slice of cake is given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present, symbolizing the old and experienced Marines passing their knowledge to the new generation of Marines.
The celebration includes a reading of Marine Corps Order 47, republished every year, as well as a message from the current Commandant, includes a banquet and dancing if possible. In many cases, the birthday celebration will include a pageant of current and historical Marine Corps uniforms, as a reminder of the history of the Corps. Another modern tradition includes a unit run on the 10th. Marines are reputed to celebrate the birthday, regardless of where they may be in the world in austere environments or combat. In a more somber tradition, Samuel Nicholas's grave in the Arch Street Friends Meeting graveyard in Philadelphia is marked with a wreath at dawn by a group of Marines annually on 10 November to celebrate his role in the founding of the Corps. Culture of the United States Marine Corps History of the United States Marine Corps Cushman, Sgt. Steve. "'Two battalions of Marines' celebrate Corps' 233rd birthday in Afghanistan". 2nd Battalion 7th Marines. United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
Retrieved 26 November 2008. Fuentes, Gidget. "Happy
A sharpshooter is one, proficient at firing firearms or other projectile weapons accurately. Military units composed of sharpshooters were important factors in 19th-century combat. Along with "marksman" and "expert", "sharpshooter" is one of the three marksmanship badges awarded by the U. S. Army. Another use of units of marksmen was during the Napoleonic Wars in the British Army. While most troops at that time used inaccurate smoothbore muskets, the British "Green Jackets" used the famous Baker rifle. Through the combination of a leather wad and tight grooves on the inside of the barrel, this weapon was far more accurate, though slower to load; these Riflemen were the elite of the British Army, served at the forefront of any engagement, most in skirmish formation, scouting out and delaying the enemy. Another term. In the Edinburgh Advertiser, 23 June 1801, can be found the following quote in a piece about the North British Militia; the term appears earlier, around 1781, in Continental Europe, translated from the German Scharfschütze.
During the American Civil War, sharpshooters saw limited action, as tacticians sought to avoid the heavy casualties inflicted through normal tactics, which involved close ranks of men at close ranges. The sharpshooters used by both sides in the Civil War were less used as snipers, more as skirmishers and scouts; these elite troops were well equipped and trained, placed at the front of any column to first engage the enemy. Notable sharpshooter units of the Civil War included the 1st and 2nd United States Volunteer Sharpshooter Regiment, composed of companies provided by numerous Union states; the U. S. V. S. R. Were organized by Colonel Hiram Berdan, a self-made millionaire, reputed to be the best rifle marksman in the nation at that time. There was an all-Native American company of sharpshooters in the Army of the Potomac; these men Odawa and Potawatomi from northern Michigan, comprised the members of Company K of the 1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Sharpshooters. In the Western Theater were the well known 66th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment known as "Birge's Western Sharpshooters" and the "Western Sharpshooters-14th Missouri Volunteers".
The regiment was raised by MG John C. Fremont at St. Louis' Benton Barracks as the Western Theater counterpart to Berdan's sharpshooters. Members were recruited from most of the Western states, predominantly Ohio, Michigan and Missouri. Competitive induction required candidates to place ten shots in a three-inch circle at 200 yards, they were armed with half-stock Plains Rifles built and procured by St. Louis custom gunmaker Horace Dimick; these "Dimick Rifles" were modified for military use by the installation of the Lawrence Patent Sight, fired a special "swiss-chasseur" minie ball selected by Horice Dimick for its ballistic accuracy. They were the only Federal unit armed with "sporting rifles". Beginning in the autumn of 1863 soldiers of the regiment began to reequip themselves with the new 16 shot, lever action Henry Repeating Rifle giving them a significant advantage in firepower over their opponents. Over 250 of the Western Sharpshooters purchased Henrys out of their own pocket, at an average price of forty dollars.
Illinois Governor Richard Yates provided Henrys for some members of the 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment or Yates Sharpshooters and other soldiers of the unit appear to have equipped themselves with Henry Rifles in 1864. On the Confederate side, sharpshooter units functioned as light infantry, their duties included reconnaissance. Robert E. Rodes, colonel of the 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment, a major general, was a leader in the development of sharpshooter units; the Confederate States Army made more widespread use of sharpshooters than Federal forces having semi-permanent detachments at the regimental level and battalions of various size attached to larger formations. Dedicated sharpshooter units included the 1st Georgia Sharpshooter Battalion and three more from that state, the 9th Battalion Missouri Sharpshooters as well as the sharpshooter battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia. Confederate sharpshooters were less well equipped than Federal counterparts using the Enfield Rifled Musket or hexagonal bore British Whitworth rifles, rather than breech loading Berdan Sharps rifles.
In his memoirs, Louis Leon detailed his service as a sharpshooter in the Fifty-Third North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War. As a sharpshooter, he volunteered as a skirmisher, served on picket duty, engaged in considerable shooting practice. Of his company's original twelve sharpshooters, only he and one other were still alive after Gettysburg; as related by the regiment's commanding officer, Col. James Morehead, in a rare one-on-one encounter Pvt. Leon killed a Union sharpshooter. Designated marksman Marksman Sniper
George Washington in the American Revolution
George Washington commanded the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. After serving as President of the United States, he was in charge of a new army in 1798. Washington, despite his youth, played a major role in the frontier wars against the French and Indians in the 1750s and 1760s, he played the leading military role in the American Revolution. When the war broke out with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, Congress appointed him the first commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army on June 14; the task he took on was enormous, balancing regional demands, competition among his subordinates, morale among the rank and file, attempts by Congress to manage the army's affairs too requests by state governors for support, an endless need for resources with which to feed, equip and move the troops. He was not in command of the many state militia units. In the early years of the war Washington was in the middle of the action, first directing the Siege of Boston to its successful conclusion, but losing New York City and losing New Jersey before winning surprising and decisive victories at Trenton and Princeton at the end of the 1776 campaign season.
At the end of the year in both 1775 and 1776, he had to deal with expiring enlistments, since the Congress had only authorized the army's existence for single years. With the 1777 establishment of a more permanent army structure and the introduction of three-year enlistments, Washington built a reliable stable of experienced troops, although hard currency and supplies of all types were difficult to come by. In 1777 Washington was again defeated in the defense of Philadelphia, but sent critical support to Horatio Gates that made the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga possible. Following a difficult winter at Valley Forge and the entry of France into the war in 1778, Washington followed the British army as it withdrew from Philadelphia back to New York, fought an inconclusive battle at Monmouth Court House in New Jersey. Washington's activities from late 1778 to 1780 were more diplomatic and organizational, as his army remained outside New York, watching Sir Henry Clinton's army that occupied the city.
Washington strategized with the French on how best to cooperate in actions against the British, leading to unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the British from Newport, Rhode Island and Savannah, Georgia. His attention was drawn to the frontier war, which prompted the 1779 Continental Army expedition of John Sullivan into upstate New York; when General Clinton sent the turncoat General Benedict Arnold to raid in Virginia, Washington began to detach elements of his army to face the growing threat there. The arrival of Lord Cornwallis in Virginia after campaigning in the south presented Washington with an opportunity to strike a decisive blow. Washington's army and the French army moved south to face Cornwallis, a cooperative French navy under Admiral de Grasse disrupted British attempts to control of the Chesapeake Bay, completing the entrapment of Cornwallis, who surrendered after the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781. Although Yorktown marked the end of significant hostilities in North America, the British still occupied New York and other cities, so Washington had to maintain the army in the face of a bankrupt Congress and troops that were at times mutinous over conditions and pay.
The army was formally disbanded after peace in 1783, Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief on December 23, 1783. Born into a well-to-do Virginia family near Fredericksburg in 1732, Washington was schooled locally until the age of 15; the early death of his father when he was 11 eliminated the possibility of schooling in England, his mother rejected attempts to place him in the Royal Navy. Thanks to the connection by marriage of his half-brother Lawrence to the wealthy Fairfax family, Washington was appointed surveyor of Culpeper County in 1749. Washington's brother had purchased an interest in the Ohio Company, a land acquisition and settlement company whose objective was the settlement of Virginia's frontier areas, including the Ohio Country, territory north and west of the Ohio River, its investors included Virginia's Royal Governor, Robert Dinwiddie, who appointed Washington a major in the provincial militia in February 1753. Washington played a key role in the outbreak of the French and Indian War, led the defense of Virginia between 1755 and 1758 as colonel of the Virginia Regiment.
Although Washington never received a commission in the British Army, he gained valuable military and leadership skills, received significant public exposure in the colonies and abroad. He observed British military tactics, gaining a keen insight into their strengths and weaknesses that proved invaluable during the Revolution, he demonstrated his toughness and courage in the most difficult situations, including disasters and retreats. He developed a command presence—given his size, strength and bravery in battle, he appeared to soldiers to be a natural leader and they followed him without question. Washington learned to organize and drill, discipline his companies and regiments. From his observations and conversations with professional officers, he learned the basics of battlefield tactics, as well as a good understanding of problems of organization and logistics, he gained an understanding of overall strategy in locating strategic geographical points. He developed a negative idea of the value of militia, who seemed too unreliable, too undisciplined, too short-term compared to regulars.
On the other hand, his ex
Commodore Esek Hopkins was the only Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. He was an accomplished merchant captain and privateer. Esek Hopkins was born in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Before the Revolutionary War he had sailed to nearly every quarter of the earth, commanded a privateer in the French and Indian War, served as a deputy to the Rhode Island General Assembly. In September 1764, during his time as a privateer and merchant, Hopkins took command of the slave ship Sally, owned by Nicholas Brown and Company. Hopkins had no prior experience in operating a slave trading vessel at the time, the 15-month voyage would result in the death of 109 out of 196 slaves. In late 1765, Sally arrived at its first trading destination in the West Indies, but the surviving African captives were in such poor health that most sold for little. Hopkins' failed command of Sally contributed to the Brown brothers reconsidering their participation in the active slave trade of Rhode Island in the 18th century.
Hopkins was appointed a brigadier general to command all military forces of Rhode Island on October 4, 1775. He began to strengthen Rhode Island's defenses with the help of his deputy, William West. A few months December 22, 1775, Hopkins was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy authorized by the Continental Congress to protect American commerce. On January 5, 1776, Congress gave Hopkins his set of orders: "You are instructed with the utmost diligence to proceed with the said fleet to sea and if the winds and weather will admit of it to proceed directly for Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and when nearly arrived there you will send forward a small swift sailing vessel to gain intelligence.... If...you find that they are not superior to your own you are to enter the said bay, search out and attack, take or destroy all the naval force of our enemies that you may find there. If you should be so fortunate as to execute this business in Virginia you are to proceed to the southward and make yourself master of such forces as the enemy may have both in North and South Carolina...
Notwithstanding these particular orders, which it is hoped you will be able to execute, if bad winds, or stormy weather, or any other unforeseen accident or disaster disenable you so to do, you are to follow such courses as your best Judgment shall suggest to you as most useful to the American cause and to distress the Enemy by all means in your power." Hopkins took command of eight small merchant ships, altered as men-of-war at Philadelphia. After much deliberation about taking on the overwhelming British forces listed in his orders, Hopkins utilized the last portion of his orders. Hopkins sailed south February 17, 1776 for the first U. S. fleet operation. He felt that it would be much more advantageous to seize a prize for the Continental Army than take a chance of destroying the Continental Navy in its infancy, he knew that the British port in Nassau would be poorly guarded and had friends there who would help his cause. The Raid of Nassau, an assault on the British colony there March 3, 1776 was the first U.
S. amphibious landing. Marines and sailors landed in "a bold stroke, worthy of an older and better trained service," capturing munitions needed in the War of Independence; the little fleet returned to New London on April 8, 1776, having made prizes of two British merchantmen and a six-gun schooner, but failing to capture but injuring HMS Glasgow on April 6. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, wrote Hopkins: "I beg leave to congratulate you on the success of your Expedition. Your account of the spirit and bravery shown by the men affords them the greatest satisfaction..." Not only did Hopkins' expedition get needed war supplies for the Continental Army, but it showed the British Navy that they would have to divert their ships from the belligerent colonies to protect non-belligerent areas, thereby leaving fewer British ships to fight on the war front. John Paul Jones was a lieutenant at this time under Hopkins. Hopkins' decision to go to Nassau rather than pursue another part of his orders concerning Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and North and South Carolina, upset southern members of the Continental Congress, which added to the political, economic and philosophical differences occurring between members of the Congress.
What happened next in the ensuing months was politically complex and controversial. The Continental Congress and individual state governors through their legislatures allowed owned ships to help in the battle against Britain by issuing letters of marque. There were thousands of these ships, which overtook British ships, helping the war effort at sea; these privateer ships were allowed to claim any items found on the British ships they conquered as their own. They therefore were able to pay their seamen and officers nearly twice the amount that the Continental Navy could pay their crews, since the items captured by Continental ships went for the good of the colonies. After the Congress built and outfitted several more ships for Commodore Hopkins to use, he could not find adequate personnel to man the ships. John Adams, Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee, Robert Treat Paine, John Paul Jones came to the defense of Hopkins. On August 12, 1776, Congress censured Hopkins. Humiliation and an injured reputation followed.
Many sources say it would have been better if Hopkins was relieved of his command after the censure, rather than resume his command with a disgraced reputation and a loss of respect from