Wow … DoD manages to insult me BOTH as a naval officer AND as a historian.

Fact check: the Continental Navy was a commissioned, government naval force. It was NOT just a bunch of privateers.
Ok ... lets do a quick tweet storm and educate our Army or Civilian PAO who wrote this tweet. I won't touch on the USN's "birthday" and the history v heritage elements of the date, etc. Just the question of the make up of the maritime force during the American Revolution.
The United States had 4 different "types" of maritime forces fighting for the cause during the Revolution. Two were not professional forces, two of them were professional forces.
The French Navy was one of the professional forces. We won't get into them here because we recently discussed them to recognize the 240th of the Battle of the Chesapeake.
The other professional naval force (and the one that the USN draws its lineage and birthday to) was the Continental Navy. It was authorized by the Continental Congress #OTD in 1775, and it was a professional force.
Why does being a professional force matter? Well, lots of reasons. A few include having a chain of command which can do operational planning/strategy, the ability to enforce cooperation, the enforcement of behavioral norms that make a force more efficient and more "lethal," etc.
Continental Navy ships were commissioned warships, with commissioned officers, trained and professional crews, and with a broad mission set.
The rebels also had 2 non-professional forces in play. First were "special" naval forces like Washington's schooners preying on British supply lines in Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic during Bunker Hill, or like Arnold's force on Lake Champlain.…
These were short term forces (both of those only lasted about a year), had mixed leadership and mixed levels of professionalism, but were only really created for a specific operational purpose.
The other non-professional force were the privateers. Privateers were private naval units organized and shipped out for profit. Sure, they had to have a letter of marque from the government (license), but they were on their own and did not respond to a chain of command.
They were private actors, out for their own financial gain. (We can discuss the legal bounds of privateering another time, they were NOT pirates.) They were only loosely bound to the articles of war and naval regulations. And they were often TERRIBLE at their jobs tactically.
Privateers were an important, maybe even vital, part of the maritime AmRev. But mostly because there were so many of them. So most could be failures, but a couple really good skippers and ships could really hurt British trade, and attack the empire's pocketbook.
That being said, the Congress had almost zero control over them. Some of them did violate the laws of war and turn pirate. The disaster at Penobscot Bay was partially the result of privateers being part of a force that refused to follow orders or respond to the chain of command.
(That's a simplification, and @pptsapper will probably quibble but agree that at the "tweet" level I'm being accurate).
So, saying that the Continental Navy (a professional force of government owned and controlled commissioned warships) was really just a group of Privateers is like saying that George Washington's Army was a great bunch of mercenaries. What would you think of that label?
(End for now).

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More from @WWATMD

21 Nov 18
Wait ... WT actual F! @routledgebooks is republishing Augustus Buell's biography of John Paul Jones? Any #naval #historian who has published with them should be ashamed and embarrassed.
So, the story of Augustus Buell...historical fabricator & con artist. Seeing an opportunity to make some bank on a biography of "the Father of the American Navy," AB set out to write his bio but couldn't find the sources he wanted to make his story he made them up.
He created whole sources, including a sailors journal that never existed, he wrote whole letters that he then faked JPJ's signature on. If he thought something needed punched up in the history, to make it exciting, he would not only just make it up, he would then fake a source.
Read 13 tweets

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