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American Light and Medium Frigates 1794-1836
The "Original Six" frigates were commissioned by the new-born US Navy at a staggering cost of $688,888.82. Designed to be light and fast, these warships enabled America to project its power across the globe. Among the ships Mark Lardas examines is USS Constellation: the first ship to be commissioned by the United States Navy, and also the first ship to engage and capture an enemy vessel, the French L'Insurgente - this engagement is vividly portrayed in original color artwork. The fascinating history of the USS Chesapeake is also brought to life through the dramatic account one of the bloodiest duels in the age of fighting sail as the Chesapeake meets the British frigate Shannon and is overwhelmed, the dying cry of the captain, "Don't give up the ship!" inspired the US Navy thereafter. Alongside stirring accounts of engagements during the Barbary Wars and the Quasi-War, the author explores the design and development of these frigates, explaining the shortcomings that led to their replacement by larger, heavier 44-gun models by 1800. Contemporary illustrations of US frigates and their British and French rivals help to place these ships in the context of European ship design, clearly showing the escalation of the naval 'arms race' during the seventeenth century. American Light and Medium Frigates is an ideal resource for any naval enthusiast wanting to learn more about the ships that witnessed the rise of the US Navy and Marines.
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August 19, 2008
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