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War with France
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Constellation, President, Chesapeake, and Congress.  Two  of  these  ships,  the  Constitution and the Constellation, are still afloat! In building them,  Humphreys  broke  sharply  with  current naval ideas. He displayed virtues of great value to  any  nation—a  friendliness  to  innovation  and a willingness to experiment. OPENING  HOSTILITIES Enemies other than the Barbary pirates soon harassed  the  defenseless  United  States.  Both France and England, then engaged in a war, began to  plunder  American  merchantmen.  While  a  treaty with Great Britain relieved the conflict with that country,  our  relations  grew  worse  with  France, who charged us with treaty violations. The capture of men and ships continued as French privateers began  operating  near  American  harbors. The actions of the French privateers aroused Congress to take immediate and vigorous action. In  1798  Congress  established  the  Navy  Depart- ment  and  appointed  Benjamin  Stoddert  of Georgetown,  Maryland,  as  the  first  Secretary  of the  Navy.  Again,  as  had  happened  during  the revolutionary war, a fleet had to be created with war  already  in  progress.  Our  small  Navy, therefore,  was  immediately  expanded  as  numerous naval  officers  were  appointed  for  active  duty. Recruiting  officers  in  the  main  ports  along  the Atlantic  coast  began  a  drive  to  enlist  seamen. Although   no   official   war   was   declared, Congress  authorized  the  Navy  to  retaliate.  The Navy  was  ordered  to  seize  any  armed  French vessels  within  the  jurisdictional  limits  of  the United States or on the high seas. The quasi-war with  France  had  begun. This   naval   war, waged   mainly   in   the Caribbean, was so costly to France that the French Directory  was  ready  to  sue  for  peace  by  1801. Thomas  Truxtun,  another  naval  leader  who endowed  the  Navy  with  great  traditions,  was largely  responsible  for  this  American  victory. THOMAS   TRUXTUN Care   for   your   men;   see   that   each understands   his   duties;   exact   instant obedience;  superintend  everything;  practice daily with the guns. —Thomas   Truxtun Captain Truxtun (fig. 2-4), an expert seaman and  a  strict  disciplinarian,  devised  this  simple philosophy  for  attaining  victory  over  an  enemy. The  fame  of  this  outstanding  officer  is  derived principally  from  his  defeat  of  the  French  ships Insurgence  and Vengeance.  However,  he  is  best remembered  for  his  basic  philosophy  about  the relationship  between  officers  and  their  men,  as shown  by  the  example  he  set. Enlisted  men,  looked  upon  during  this  time as  fighting  mechanisms  rather  than  as  human beings,  were  often  punished  savagely  and  without justice.  Captain  Truxtun  began  to  change  that image.  He  insisted  his  officers  treat  their  men courteously but firmly and that the men respect and  obey  their  officers.  Concerned  officers  and respectful enlisted personnel in today’s Navy still follow  Captain  Truxtun’s  example. In language that could not be misunderstood, Captain  Truxtun  wrote  the  following  to  his officers: It   is   not   to   be   expected   that   the Lieutenants of Ships are to remain idle and indifferent spectators of what is going on, but  on  the  contrary  it  is  absolutely necessary  that  they  overlook  the  duty  of every  department  on  board. An  officer  in  carrying  on  his  duty should be civil and polite to everyone, for civility does not interfere with discipline. An officer is never to lose sight of the humanity and care that is due to those who may  really  be  sick  or  otherwise  stand  in need of his assistance. Truxtun’s  attitude  toward  his  men  resulted from his experience during the revolutionary war as a successful privateer captain working closely with  the  Navy.  He  could  not  help  noticing  and regretting  that  many  naval  officers,  slack  and indolent, cared too little about a taut ship. As a captain of the Constellation  during the war with France   in   1799,   he   found   an   opportunity   to instill his own miliary spirit in his crews. A  dramatic  act  of  bravery  during  Captain Truxtun’s command of the  Constellation  showed the  respect  and  loyalty  he  had  earned  from  his men. The battle against the  Vengeance  began at 2000 and lasted until 0100. During that battle, a teenaged midshipman lived up to what the Navy calls “the highest traditions of the naval service.” When a sailor told Midshipman James Jarvis that 2-6

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