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William the Drake

American Independence and the Frigate of Freedom

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In celebration of our Independence this 4th of July, we should do well to remember our closest and staunchest allies, and the ship that helped us win our freedom:

America owes quite a bit to the French, be it the Democratic ideals influenced by philosophers like Rousseau, or the shared concepts of liberty. But America may very well owe its very existence to France, and its all centered around a ship unofficially and aptly dubbed the "Frigate of Liberty," L'Hermione.

The French Frigate L'Hermione was a light corvette style, Concorde-class ship built out of Rochefort, France. Her role was simple: a fast and maneuverable frigate that would ultimately be used as a courier. L'Hermione's claim to fame would be ferrying none other than the young French aristocrat and statesman, the Marquis de Lafayette, to America to assist in its raging Revolution.

The assistance of Lafayette was the first open act of support by France to America during the Revolution (France had long been secretly smuggling supplies to America, but nothing official). This would be the act that helped foster and furnish the Franco-American romance that would secure America's Independence, as the young (aged only 19!) Lafayette would develop a steadfast friendship with none other than George Washington. Seeing his potential, Washington would place Lafayette in a place of authority in the new American Continental Army, making Lafayette a general. Lafayette would prove to be crafty and cunning, covering Washington's retreat from the battle of Brandywine, and would would help lead American troops to victory in the Battle of Barren Hill, Monmouth, and others.

The deliverance of Lafayette by L'Hermione would secure the assistance of France on the American side that would later come officially and in full force after the battle of Saratoga. It would be this French support, mainly via the assistance of the powerful French Navy, that would ultimately ensure America's victory and independence, as it would be a French naval blockade that would trap Cornwallis at Yorktown, forcing him to surrender to the besieging American troops.

This is why L'Hermione is often called the "Frigate of Liberty" and why it is just a central a part of American Freedom as any other. So this 4th of July, don' forget to say "Vive la France, Vive la Liberte, et viva L'Hermione!"

 

Liberty.jpg

ships-084.jpg

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I very much like the picture with the statue of Liberty since it is a french gift to the US by bartholdi and eiffel.

it's smaller replica stands in paris.

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Thanks for remembering the frenchies.

Edited by Captain Jean-Luc Picard

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I have some very specific books on the french-'murican relations at the time, but nothing on the navy specifically.

A quick search bringed up this, don't know anything about it but it's by Dull, who has written great stuff, and is published by Princeton, who publishes great stuff, so it looks great. Should be interesting to some other people around here.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0t7s

31AAn-BIveL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

french help is nowadays considered indeed to have been essential to american independence, beyond the naval fight, it's the fact that the fight was not just taking place in the colonies but in various places, pulling much english ressources away from the fight in the colonies, all the while supplying the rebels ( including clothing, and if i remember correctly and if it is true some 90% of gunpowder )

Edited by Captain Jean-Luc Picard

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@William the Drake Nice post. I was fortunately enough to see her on the voyage to the US in 2015. In fact that second photo in the OP looks like one I took as she was saluting coming in to the dock in Philadelphia. Am I remembering correctly that you were there as well?  She fired quite a nice salute at least three guns on each broadside. One of her 12 lb cannon is an original 18th century piece as well. 

Here is a link to my flickr album including the other tall ships (Lynx and Pride of Baltimore as well).

https://flic.kr/s/aHskexpmSE

 

 

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L'Hermione really is a stunning ship but I'm not convinced the fighting capability of French navy was nearly as influential in the war as is portrayed, with the only major sea battles being Cape Henry and Chesapeake bay where both of these battled combined only resulted in the loss of 1 British ship. The true strength comes from the huge input of French supplies and land support, both through troops proper and the helping of training given the revolutionary troops given by French officers. Its also important not to underplay the other supporting nations and their role in helping America into being, The Dutch, The Spanish and all of the more minor parties in the conflict. 

While I don't aim or want to take too much away from the celebrations today, personally what impresses me most about the conflict is how the British operated an equivalent naval strength while being at war with the majority of continental Europe, and more importantly, being out numbered at sea in raw values by almost 3 to 1. This was mostly due to the huge efforts played by British shipyards, performing their maintenance tasks with incredible efficiency, but also the dramatic effect that coppering had on allowing for less time in docks and more time at sea, leaving the British fleet closer to being only slightly out numbered through most of the war, almost to the point where the numbers of active vessels were evenly split to each side.

For those of you who are celebrating, have yourselves a really fantastic day!!

 

But never forget why the White House is called the White House...

;)

Edited by Fluffy Fishy

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7 hours ago, DeRuyter said:

@William the Drake Nice post. I was fortunately enough to see her on the voyage to the US in 2015. In fact that second photo in the OP looks like one I took as she was saluting coming in to the dock in Philadelphia. Am I remembering correctly that you were there as well?  She fired quite a nice salute at least three guns on each broadside. One of her 12 lb cannon is an original 18th century piece as well.

 

You are correct, I did in fact travel to the Philadelphia-Camden festival, but I was not able to see either parades of sail in or out of the harbor. It was easily one of my favorite trips I have ever taken and most certainly solidified my love of sailing ships. I believe I ended up uploading a number of my own pictures here on the Naval Action website as well.

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The topic of l'Hermione :

When the l'Hermione entered in 2015 in New York. She fired on all these guns. The phone of the police has enormously sounded. The l'Hermione's commander had to go to the police stations and he was scolded abundantly. The people of Manhattan thought there had been an attack!

Edited by Surcouf

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congrats with your independence day

but

**"you say:

America owes quite a bit to the French, be it the Democratic ideals influenced by philosophers like Rousseau, or the shared concepts of liberty. But America may very well owe its very existence to France, and its all centered aro

if it wasn't t for the Dutch you would not exist at all..in your current existence

look at the middle flag horizontal(first picture) flag with  an extra color (i recognize it :) ) [just some extra info]

 

Edited by Thonys

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On 7/4/2017 at 10:56 PM, Fluffy Fishy said:

L'Hermione really is a stunning ship but I'm not convinced the fighting capability of French navy was nearly as influential in the war as is portrayed, with the only major sea battles being Cape Henry and Chesapeake bay where both of these battled combined only resulted in the loss of 1 British ship.

  Reveal hidden contents

But never forget why the White House is called the White House...

;)

There was no real need of sinking british ships, just of forcing them to be everywhere at once, cautious, and to render their operations difficult, and occasionally to just mess things up.

Cheasapake bay is a perfect example, sure as a naval battle per se it was kinda useless, but strategically it was a clear victory that forbid the evacutation of yorktown.

Yes, french land troops mattered, but they still had to be brought in by sea, all the while complicating the reinforcment, and thanks to cheasapake bay forbidding the evacuation, of british troops.

When you mention spain, it is also good to remember that although of course she her own reasons, it entered the war as an ally of france (the treaty of aranjuez).

The other minor nations played a role similar to the french navy in forcing the brits to be everywhere at the same time and unable to focus on the thirteen colonies as needed.

 

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