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Continental Military

Background

Continental Army

See Continental Army

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.

Most of the Continental Army was disbanded in 1783 after the Treaty of Paris ended the war. The 1st and 2nd Regiments went on to form the nucleus of the Legion of the United States in 1792 under General Anthony Wayne. This became the foundation of the United States Army in 1796.

Continental Marines

See Continental Marines

The Continental Marines were the naval infantry force of the American Colonies (and later the United States) during the American Revolutionary War. The Corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and was disbanded in 1783. Their mission was multi-purpose, but their most important duty was to serve as onboard security forces, protecting the captain of a ship and his officers. During naval engagements marine sharpshooters were stationed in the fighting tops of the ships' masts, and were supposed to shoot the opponent's officers, naval gunners, and helmsmen.

In all, there were 131 Colonial marine officers and probably no more than 2,000 enlisted Colonial marines. Though individual marines were enlisted for the few U.S. naval vessels, the organization would not be re-created until 1798. Despite the gap between the disbanding of the Continental Marines and the current organization, the Continental Marines' successor, U.S. Marine Corps, marks November 10, 1775 as its inception.

Continental Navy

See Continental Navy

The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. The fleet cumulatively became relatively substantial through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, when considering the limitations imposed upon the Patriot supply pool.

The main goal of the navy was to intercept shipments of British matériel and generally disrupt British maritime commercial operations. The initial fleet consisted of converted merchantmen because of the lack of funding, manpower, and resources, with exclusively designed warships being built later in the conflict. The vessels that successfully made it to sea met with success only rarely, and the effort contributed little to the overall outcome of the war.

The fleet did serve to highlight a few examples of Continental resolve, notably launching Captain John Barry into the limelight. It provided needed experience for a generation of officers who went on to command conflicts which involved the early American navy. With the war over and the Federal government in need of all available capital, the final vessel of the Continental Navy was auctioned off in 1785 to a private bidder.

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