The Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France; the modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century. From the middle decades of the 17th century, through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War; the Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, the Royal Navy was reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest.
By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. However, 21st century reductions in naval spending have led to a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships; the Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines including two aircraft carriers, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of November 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 12 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; the RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels.
It works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is 408,750 tonnes; the Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom; the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom; as the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its 6 major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms. Preventing Conflict – On a global and regional level Providing Security At Sea – To ensure the stability of international trade at sea International Partnerships – To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies Maintaining a Readiness To Fight – To protect the United Kingdom's interests across the globe Protecting the Economy – To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and its allies' economic prosperity at sea Providing Humanitarian Aid – To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century.
At one point Aethelred II had an large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, this continued for a time under the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor, who commanded fleets in person. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Norman navy that brought over William the Conqueror disappeared from records due to William receiving all of those ships from feudal obligations or because of some sort of leasing agreement which lasted only for the duration of the enterprise. More troubling, is the fact that there is no evidence that William adopted or kept the Anglo-Saxon ship mustering system, known as the scipfryd. Hardly noted after 1066, it appears that the Normans let the scipfryd languish so that by 1086, when the Doomsday Book was completed, it had ceased to exist.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1068, Harold Godwinson's sons Godwine and Edmund conducted a ‘raiding-ship army’ which came from Ireland, raiding across the region and to the townships of Bristol and Somerset. In the following year of 1069, they returned with a bigger fleet which they sailed up the River Taw before being beaten back by a local earl near Devon. However, this made explicitly clear that the newly conquered England under Norman rule, in effect, ceded the Irish Sea to the Irish, the Vikings of Dublin, other Norwegians. Besides ceding away the Irish Sea, the Normans ceded the North Sea, a major area where Nordic peoples traveled. In 1069, this lack of naval presence in the North Sea allowed for the invasion an
Congress of the Confederation
The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. A unicameral body with legislative and executive function, it was composed of delegates appointed by the legislatures of the several states; each state delegation had one vote. It was preceded by the Second Continental Congress and governed under the newly adopted Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which were proposed in 1776–1777, adopted by the Continental Congress in July 1778 and agreed to by a unanimous vote of all thirteen states by 1781, it was held up by a long dispute over the cession of western territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains to the central government led by Maryland and a coalition of smaller states without western claims. The plan was introduced by Maryland politician John Hanson and was referred to as'The Hanson Plan'; the newly reorganized Congress at the time continued to refer itself as the Continental Congress throughout its eight-year history, although modern historians separate it from the earlier bodies, which operated under different rules and procedures until the part of American Revolutionary War.
The membership of the Second Continental Congress automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. It had the same secretary as the Second Continental Congress, namely Charles Thomson; the Congress of the Confederation was succeeded by the Congress of the United States as provided for in the new Constitution of the United States, proposed September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia and ratified by the states through 1787 to 1788 and into 1789 and 1790. The Congress of the Confederation opened in the last stages of the American Revolution. Combat ended in October 1781, with the surrender of the British after the Siege and Battle of Yorktown; the British, continued to occupy New York City, while the American delegates in Paris, named by the Congress, negotiated the terms of peace with Great Britain. Based on preliminary articles with the British negotiators made on November 30, 1782, approved by the "Congress of the Confederation" on April 15, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was further signed on September 3, 1783, ratified by Confederation Congress sitting at the Maryland State House in Annapolis on January 14, 1784.
This formally ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the thirteen former colonies, which on July 4, 1776, had declared independence. In December 1783, General George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, journeyed to Annapolis after saying farewell to his officers and men who had just reoccupied New York City after the departing British Army. On December 23, at the Maryland State House, where the Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber, he addressed the civilian leaders and delegates of Congress and returned to them the signed commission they had voted him back in June 1775, at the beginning of the conflict. With that simple gesture of acknowledging the first civilian power over the military, he took his leave and returned by horseback the next day to his home and family at Mount Vernon near the colonial river port city on the Potomac River at Alexandria in Virginia. On March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were signed by delegates of Maryland at a meeting of the Second Continental Congress, which declared the Articles ratified.
As historian Edmund Burnett wrote, "There was no new organization of any kind, not the election of a new President." The Congress still called itself the Continental Congress. Despite its being the same exact governing body, with some changes in membership over the years as delegates came and went individually according to their own personal reasons and upon instructions of their state governments, some modern historians would refer to the Continental Congress after the ratification of the Articles as the Congress of the Confederation or the Confederation Congress; the Congress had little power and without the external threat of a war against the British, it became more difficult to get enough delegates to meet to form a quorum. Nonetheless the Congress still managed to pass important laws, most notably the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; the War of Independence saddled the country with an enormous debt. In 1784, the total Confederation debt was nearly $40 million. Of that sum, $8 million was owed to the Dutch.
Of the domestic debt, government bonds, known as loan-office certificates, composed $11.5 million, certificates on interest indebtedness $3.1 million, continental certificates $16.7 million. The certificates were non-interest bearing notes issued for supplies purchased or impressed, to pay soldiers and officers. To pay the interest and principal of the debt, Congress had twice proposed an amendment to the Articles granting them the power to lay a 5% duty on imports, but amendments to the Articles required the consent of all thirteen states: the 1781 impost plan had been rejected by Rhode Island and Virginia, while the revised plan, discussed in 1783, was rejected by New York. Without revenue, except for meager voluntary state requisitions, Congress could not pay the interest on its outstanding debt. Meanwhile, the states failed, or refused, to meet the requisitions requested of them by Congress. To that end, in September 1786, after resolving a series of disputes regarding their common border along the Potomac River, delegates of Maryland and Virginia called for a larger assembly
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history; the causes of the French Revolution are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was in debt, it attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were regressive.
Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime; the next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.
The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution; the Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins; the dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies. After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795.
They suspended elections, repudiated debts, persecuted the Catholic clergy, made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars; the modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. All future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor, its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day; the Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, nominal establishment of equality among men.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity. Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of democracies, it became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest; some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century. Historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Rising social and economic inequality, new political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment, economic mismanagement, environmental factors leading to agricultural failure, unmanageable national debt, political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVI have all been cited as laying the groundwork for the Revolution.
Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the "public sphere" in France and elsewhere
USS Constitution known as Old Ironsides, is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy named by President George Washington after the United States Constitution. She is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat, she was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more armed and built than standard frigates of the period, she was built at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in the North End of Massachusetts. Her first duties were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War. Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Pictou and Levant.
The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname "Old Ironsides" and public adoration that has saved her from scrapping. She continued to serve as flagship in the Mediterranean and African squadrons, she circled the world in the 1840s. During the American Civil War, she served as a training ship for the United States Naval Academy, she carried American artwork and industrial displays to the Paris Exposition of 1878. Constitution was retired from active service in 1881 and served as a receiving ship until being designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1934, she completed a 90-port tour of the nation, she sailed under her own power for her 200th birthday in 1997, again in August 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerriere. Constitution's stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy's role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, active participation in public events as part of the Naval History & Heritage Command; as a commissioned Navy ship, her crew of 60 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours.
The officers and crew are all active-duty Navy personnel, the assignment is considered to be special duty. She is berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard at one end of Boston's Freedom Trail. In 1785, Barbary pirates began to seize American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, most notably from Algiers. In 1793 alone, 11 American ships were captured and their crews and stores held for ransom. To combat this problem, proposals were made for warships to protect American shipping, resulting in the Naval Act of 1794; the act provided funds to construct six frigates, but it included a clause that the construction of the ships would be halted if peace terms were agreed to with Algiers. Joshua Humphreys' design was unusual for the time, being deep, long on keel, narrow of beam, mounting heavy guns; the design called for a diagonal riders intended to restrict hogging and sagging while giving the ships heavy planking. This design gave the hull a greater strength than a more built frigate.
It was based on Humphrey's realization that the fledgling United States could not match the European states in the size of their navies, so they were designed to overpower any other frigate while escaping from a ship of the line. Her keel was laid down on 1 November 1794 at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Captain Samuel Nicholson and master shipwright Colonel George Claghorn. Constitution's hull was built 21 inches thick and her length between perpendiculars was 175 ft, with a 204 ft length overall and a width of 43 ft 6 in. In total, 60 acres of trees were needed for her construction. Primary materials consisted of pine and oak, including southern live oak, cut from Gascoigne Bluff and milled near St. Simons, Georgia. A peace accord was announced between the United States and Algiers in March 1796, construction was halted in accordance with the Naval Act of 1794. After some debate and prompting by President Washington, Congress agreed to continue funding the construction of the three ships nearest to completion: United States and Constitution.
Constitution's launching ceremony on 20 September 1797 was attended by President John Adams and Massachusetts Governor Increase Sumner. Upon launch, she slid down the ways only 27 feet before stopping. An attempt two days resulted in only an additional 31 feet of travel before the ship again stopped. After a month of rebuilding the ways, Constitution slipped into Boston Harbor on 21 October 1797, with Captain James Sever breaking a bottle of Madeira wine on her bowsprit. Constitution was rated as a 44-gun frigate, but she carried more than 50 guns at a time. Ships of this era had no permanent battery of guns such as those of modern Navy ships; the guns and cannons were designed to be portable and were exchanged between ships as situations warranted. Each commanding officer outfitted armaments to his liking, taking into consideration factors such as the overall tonnage of cargo, complement of personnel aboard, planned routes to be sailed; the armaments on ships changed during their careers, records of the changes were not kept.
During the War of 1812, Constitution's battery of guns consisted of thirty 24-pounder cannons, with 15 on each side of the gun deck. A total of 22 cannons were deployed on the spar deck, 11 per side, each a 32-pounder (1
History of the United States Navy
The history of the United States Navy divides into two major periods: the "Old Navy", a small but respected force of sailing ships, notable for innovation in the use of ironclads during the American Civil War, the "New Navy", the result of a modernization effort that began in the 1880s and made it the largest in the world by the 1920s. The United States Navy claims 13 October 1775 as the date of its official establishment, when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution creating the Continental Navy. With the end of the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was disbanded. Under first President George Washington threats to American merchant shipping by Barbary pirates from four North African Muslim States, in the Mediterranean, led to the Naval Act of 1794, which created a permanent standing U. S. Navy; the original six frigates were authorized as part of the Act. Over the next 20 years, the Navy fought the French Republic Navy in the Quasi-War, Barbary states in the First and Second Barbary Wars, the British in the War of 1812.
After the War of 1812, the U. S. Navy was at peace until the Mexican–American War in 1846, served to combat piracy in the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas, as well as fighting the slave trade off the coast of West Africa. In 1845, the Naval Academy was founded at old Fort Severn at Annapolis, Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay. In 1861, the American Civil War began and the U. S. Navy fought the small Confederate States Navy with both sailing ships and new revolutionary ironclad ships while forming a blockade that shut down the Confederacy's civilian coastal shipping. After the Civil War, most of its ships were laid up in reserve, by 1878, the Navy was just 6,000 men. In 1882, the U. S. Navy consisted of many outdated ship designs. Over the next decade, Congress approved building multiple modern steel-hulled armored cruisers and battleships, by around the start of the 20th century had moved from twelfth place in 1870 to fifth place in terms of numbers of ships. After winning two major battles during the 1898 Spanish–American War, the American Navy continued to build more ships, by the end of World War I had more men and women in uniform than the British Royal Navy.
The Washington Naval Conference of 1921 recognized the Navy as equal in capital ship size to the Royal Navy, during the 1920s and 1930s, the Navy built several aircraft carriers and battleships. The Navy was drawn into World War II after the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, over the next four years fought many historic battles including the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, multiple naval battles during the Guadalcanal Campaign, the largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Much of the Navy's activity concerned the support of landings, not only with the "island-hopping" campaign in the Pacific, but with the European landings; when the Japanese surrendered, a large flotilla entered Tokyo Bay to witness the formal ceremony conducted on the battleship Missouri, on which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. By the end of the war, the Navy had over 1,600 warships. After World War II ended, the U. S. Navy entered the 45 year long Cold War and participated in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the First Persian Gulf War, the Second Persian Gulf War / Iraq War.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990-91, the Soviet Red Navy fell apart, which made the United States the world's undisputed naval superpower. Nuclear power and ballistic missile technology led to new ship propulsion and weapon systems, which were used in the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and Ohio-class submarines. By 1978, the number of ships had dwindled to less than 400, many of which were from World War II, which prompted Ronald Reagan to institute a program for a modern, 600-ship Navy. Today, the United States is the world's undisputed naval superpower, with the ability to engage and project power in two simultaneous limited wars along separate fronts. In March 2007, the U. S. Navy reached its smallest fleet size, with 274 ships, since World War I. Former U. S. Navy admirals who head the U. S. Naval Institute have raised concerns about what they see as the ability to respond to'aggressive moves by Iran and China.' The Navy was rooted in the American seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors and shipbuilders in the colonial era.
During the Revolution, several states operated their own navies. On 12 June 1775, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a resolution creating a navy for the colony of Rhode Island; the same day, Governor Nicholas Cooke signed orders addressed to Captain Abraham Whipple, commander of the sloop Katy, commodore of the armed vessels employed by the government. The first formal movement for the creation of a Continental navy came from Rhode Island, because its merchants' widespread smuggling activities had been harassed by British frigates. On 26 August 1775, Rhode Island passed a resolution that there be a single Continental fleet funded by the Continental Congress; the resolution was tabled. In the meantime, George Washington had begun to acquire ships, starting with the schooner USS Hannah, paid for out of Washington's own pocket. Hannah was commissioned and launched on 5 September 1775, from the port of Marblehead, Massachusetts; the US Navy recognizes 13 October 1775 as the date of its official establishment — the date of the passage of the resolution of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that created the Continental Navy.
On this day, Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. On 13 December 1775, Congress authorized the building of thirteen
USS Congress (1799)
USS Congress was a nominally rated 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She was named by George Washington to reflect a principle of the United States Constitution. James Hackett built her in Portsmouth New Hampshire and she was launched on 15 August 1799, she was one of the original six frigates. Joshua Humphreys designed these frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, so Congress and her sisters were larger and more armed and built than the standard frigates of the period, her first duties with the newly formed United States Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War. During the War of 1812 she made several extended length cruises in company with her sister ship President and captured, or assisted in the capture of twenty British merchant ships. At the end of 1813, due to a lack of materials to repair her, she was placed in ordinary for the remainder of the war.
In 1815 she returned to service for the Second Barbary War and made patrols through 1816. In the 1820s she helped suppress piracy in the West Indies, made several voyages to South America, was the first U. S. warship to visit China. Congress spent her last ten years of service as a receiving ship until ordered broken up in 1834. In 1785 Barbary pirates, most notably from Algiers, began to seize American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean. In 1793 alone, eleven American ships were captured and their crews and stores held for ransom. To combat this problem, proposals were made for warships to protect American shipping, resulting in the Naval Act of 1794; the act provided funds to construct six frigates, but included a clause that if peace terms were agreed to with Algiers, the construction of the ships would be halted. Joshua Humphreys' design was unusual for the time, being deep, long on keel and narrow of beam and mounting heavy guns; the design called for a diagonal scantling scheme intended to restrict hogging while giving the ships heavy planking.
This design gave the hull a greater strength than a more built frigate. Humphreys' design was based on his realization that the fledgling United States of the period could not match the European states in the size of their navies; this being so, the frigates were designed to overpower other frigates with the ability to escape from a ship of the line. Congress was given her name by President George Washington after a principle of the United States Constitution, her keel was laid down late in 1795 at a shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. James Hackett was charged with Captain James Sever served as a superintendent, her construction proceeded and was suspended when in March 1796, a peace treaty was signed with Algiers. Congress remained at the shipyard, until relations with France deteriorated in 1798 with the start of the Quasi-War. At the request of President John Adams, funds were approved on 16 July to complete her construction; the Naval Act of 1794 had specified 36-gun frigates. However and her sister-ship Constellation were re-rated to 38s because of their large dimensions, being 164 ft in length and 41 ft in width.
The "ratings" by number of guns were meant only as an approximation, Congress carried up to 48 guns. Ships of this era had no permanent battery of guns such as modern Navy ships carry; the guns and cannons were designed to be portable and were exchanged between ships as situations warranted. Each commanding officer outfitted armaments to their liking, taking into consideration factors such as the overall tonnage of cargo, complement of personnel aboard, planned routes to be sailed; the armaments on ships would change during their careers, records of the changes were not kept. During her first cruise in the Quasi-War against France, Congress was noted to be armed with a battery of forty guns consisting of twenty-eight 18 pounders and twelve 9 pounders. For her patrols during the War of 1812, she was armed with a battery of forty-four guns consisting of twenty-four 18 pounders and twenty 32 pounders. Congress launched on 15 August 1799 under the command of Captain Sever. After fitting-out in Rhode Island, she set off on her maiden voyage 6 January 1800 sailing in company with Essex to escort merchant ships to the East Indies.
Six days she lost all of her masts during a gale. Because her rigging had been set and tightened in a cold climate, it had slackened once she reached warmer temperatures. Without the full support of the rigging, all the masts fell during a four-hour period, killing one crew member trying to repair the main mast; the crew limped back to the Gosport Navy Yard for repairs. While there, some of Sever's junior officers announced that they had no confidence in his ability as a commanding officer. A hearing was held, Captain Sever was cleared of any wrongdoing and remained in command of Congress, though many of his crew soon transferred out to Chesapeake. Remaining in port for six months while her masts and rigging were repaired, she sailed again on 26 July for the West Indies. Congress made routine patrols escorting American merchant ships and seeking out French ships to capture. On two occasions she ran aground. Although their exact depth was not determined, Sever abandoned pursuit of the privateer and changed course towards deeper waters.
Her second close call occurred off the coast of the Caicos Islands, when during the night she drifted c