It was “the maddest Idea in the World to think of building an American Fleet.”

The above was famously spoken by Samuel Chase of Maryland scoffing at a proposal to build an American Navy before the Continental Congress.

Brittania ruled the waves in those days. Although it had been contested by the Dutch, Spanish, and especially the French, she beat every adversary it had fought. Now America itself was the Crown’s enemy for rebelling and seeking independence.

The Colonies ran up the Eastern Seaboard of North America and were entirely dependent on foreign trade for their economy.  Now with a war on, the Royal Navy was blockading or occupying the Colonies’ seaports and British ships were arriving from England laden with troops, ammunition, guns, and supplies.