November 13, 1839
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The first decked vessel ever built within the limits of the old United States, was constructed on the banks of the Hudson, by Adrian Block, in the summer of 1614. She was called a yacht, and her first voyage was made through Hell Gate, into the sound, and as far east as Cape Cod, by the Vinyard passage. It was in this voyage that Block Island was discovered. Within the first forty six years after the settlement of Massachusetts, there were built in Boston and its vicity (sic), 730 vessels, varying from 6 to 250 tons in burthen. One of these, the Blessing of the Bay, a bark of 30 tons, was built in 1631. The celebrated English patriot and divine, Hugh Peters, caused a vessel of 300 tons to be constructed at Salem, in 1641. The first schooner ever launched is said to have been built at Cape Ann, in 1714. Her name is not known. In 1718, Connecticut had but 2 brigs, 20 sloops, and a few smaller craft, employing but 120 seamen; while Massachusetts, about the same time, had 492 vessels, the tonnage of which was 25,406, and employed 3493 seamen. The first ensign ever shown by a regular American man of war, was hoisted on board the frigate Alfred, in the Delaware, by the hands of Paul Jones in the latter part of December, 1775. What this ensign was is not precisely known, as the present national colors were not formally adopted until 1777.

The first regular American cruiser that went to sea was the Lexington, a little brig of 14 tons, commanded by Capt. John Barry, of Philadelphia; she sailed some time in the winter of 1776. The first American man of war that got to sea after the adoption of our present form of government, was the Ganges. She was originally an Indiaman, but was purchased by the government, and converted to a cruiser, having an armament of 24 guns. She sailed in May, 1798, under the command of Capt. Richard Dale, who was first lieutenant of the Bon Homme Richard, when that ship captured the Serapis. The Constellation was the first of the new built vessels that went to sea under Captain Truxton (sic). She sailed in June, 1798, and was followed by the United States, and a little later by the Constitution, both of these latter sailing in July, the same year. The first prize made under our present naval organization, was the French privateer, Le Croyable. She was a schooner of 14 guns, and was captured by the sloop-of-war Delaware, Captain Decatur. The above historical facts we have gleaned from Mr. Cooper's* excellent Naval History of the United States. - Post.

*James Fenimore Cooper's book was published in 1839; revised, updated and expanded in 1856. He was a prolific writer of histories as well as a novelist.