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"From Across the Sea: North Americans in Nelsonís Navy" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2020 10:41 p.m. PST

"From Across the Sea: North Americans in Nelson's Navy explores the varied contributions of North Americans to the Royal Navy during Great Britain's wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. It is the first book that explores this topic in depth. As an edited compilation, top specialists in the field have contributed thematic essays (on topics ranging from impressment to the Anglo-American maritime relationship) as well as biographical essays on a range of North Americans from both the officer ranks and the lower deck. For the biographical portraits, special attention has been paid to individuals who have not already been the subject of extensive research and writing. Accompanying these essays are several never-before-published illustrations depicting some of the key North Americans as well as the ships and naval battles in which they were a part.

The book's central focus is to challenge the common assumption that the Nelsonic-era Royal Navy was manned exclusively by British sailors and officers. Instead, Royal Navy personnel from this era often hailed from different parts of the world, with North Americans comprising a particularly significant contingent. For instance, Nelson's fleet at Trafalgar had hundreds of Americans as well as Canadians, not to mention individuals from the Caribbean. Thus, From Across the Sea sheds new light on these sailors and officers, showcasing years of original, primary source research on the subject…"


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newarch27 Aug 2020 10:55 p.m. PST

Yet another book challenging common assumptions that no one has actually made. I'd have thought everyone knew that navies of this period tended to recruit whoever was available wherever the navy served.

The Mary Rose had foreign sailors on board when it sank and that was in service several hundred earlier. The idea that you have to be a citizen of a country to serve in its armed forces in quite a modern concept.

NotNelson28 Aug 2020 3:57 a.m. PST

I agree – the navy was so desperate that it press-ganged British people and took anyone it could find from wherever it could. There were hundreds of slaves from America who had escaped for example and joined to get away. Of course, many Americans at this time might well have actually been born British subjects and many were loyalists from the defeated side who were less than welcome in the new USA.

Pan Marek28 Aug 2020 10:54 a.m. PST

Impressment of American sailors on the high seas was one of the causes of the War of 1812.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2020 11:59 a.m. PST

You are right my friend….no so modern concept those days too! (smile)


NotNelson28 Aug 2020 12:02 p.m. PST

It certainly was a stated reason but how many of these 'Americans' were actually American and not British deserters is debatable. You could equally argue that the Americans encouraging British sailors to desert and then sheltering them was one of the causes.

Let's not forget that the only reason a US Navy was even born was because independence meant that US ships no longer had the benefit of British protection and Barbary Pirates starting attacking their ships which then had to be protected.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Aug 2020 12:33 p.m. PST

The only reason…?… so, nobody think that as an Independent country they decided about the need to have a Navy?… even in my country their decided to have a Navy… and they have not a single coin to do it…


NotNelson31 Aug 2020 5:44 a.m. PST

They had armed privateers but the actual formation of a navy was driven by the Barbary Pirates attacking US ships.

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